|The Fox Area
This is a very clean right facing corner a few hundred feet above the desert floor. It is a fantastic pitch on perfect desert varnish.
Start directly below the dihedral and follow discontinuous holds and finger locks 20' up to the dihedral proper. From here, climb the nice jam crack, gradually widening from thin hands to an offwidth section about 70' up the corner. A #4 camalot is mandatory for this section, two would be nice. Bring a #5 if you have one. After a few secure wide crack moves (some face holds are helpful here too), you will surmount a slight bulge and continue up a low angle 5" crack to the top. The descent is easy and obvious.
|By Larry DeAngelo|
Feb 2, 2005
Historical note: What's in a name?
On page 45 of the Supertopo Red Rock guidebook is a dramatic photo of this route by Greg Epperson. The caption reads, "Peter Kohl on the fabulous 8th Wave, Calico Basin." Where did THAT name come from? Here is the story:
The route was climbed in 1970 by local high-schoolers John Williamson and Bob Logerquist. "It was pretty intimidating," recalls John. "We did it a few times on top rope before we got up the courage to lead the thing." John and Bob named it "The Fox," which was in keeping with several other route names that referred to children's stories. The nearby "Riding Hood" and "Over the Hill to Grandmother's House" shared a similar reference to children's books. Soon afterward, John left Las Vegas to attend college. At the time there was almost no other climbing activity in the area, so the ascent was essentially unknown to climbers who were not personal friends of John or Bob. Over the next few years climbing activity picked up considerably as Joe Herbst began to make a more systematic exploration of the area. Interestingly, Joe's early activity started mainly in the south part of the range, while John was working from the north end, and the two climbers never met. One of Joe's apprentices was the later-to-be-famous Red Rock guide, Randal Grandstaff. A young Randal accompanied Joe on the first ascent of Tunnel Vision in 1974, and soon emerged as an accomplished climber in his own right. At this point the story becomes a little muddy. In the middle 1970's, Randal claimed a first ascent of the Fox dihedral, and apparently named it the "7th Wave." This was the first name that Joanne Urioste heard when she arrived in Las Vegas at about that time. Some other climbers who were active then also recalled the "7th Wave" name. In the 1990's, Randal was still claiming a first ascent when he was talking with author Todd Swain. Randal made his claim with such vehemence that Todd recorded the route as "first ascent: unknown" in order to not step on Randal's toes. The thing that makes the situation sticky is that, even in the 1970's, Randal had developed a reputation for exaggeration about his exploits, so many local climbers simply did not believe him. His case was not helped by the evolution of the name: was it still 7th Wave, or was he now calling it the 8th Wave, or something else? Some of the locals expressed their doubt by putting up a route that was facetiously named "No Wave," (this was the first couple of pitches of the route that was later expanded to become the Bighorn Buttress in Willow Springs).
In the late 1970's, John Williamson returned to Las Vegas. By chance, he met up with the Uriostes and did a few climbs with them. It was, coincidentally, on this trip that they teamed up to climb the now popular Olive Oil. John told them of his early climbs, and pointed out the Fox dihedral. Since John's ascent predated any possible Grandstaff ascent by several years, Joanne credited him with the first ascent and used his name, "The Fox," when she authored the 1984 guidebook. Before the 1984 guide gave the Fox name any kind of official status, there was a period where both names were circulating, and the one you heard was dependent on whom you heard it from. Since the Epperson photograph in the Supertopo guidebook dates back to early 1980's, it is probably safe to conclude that the route name came from someone on the Randal Grandstaff side of the story.
|By L. Hamilton|
Feb 3, 2005
That's a nice piece of history, Larry. Thanks for putting this together.
I haven't tried the route, but from your description it would have been quite something to lead back in 1970, mostly with pitons I presume -- even hexentrics and tube chocks were a year or two away. Bong-bongs take much energy to place, but they never gave me much confidence for free climbing on sandstone.
|By John Wilder|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Feb 8, 2005
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b
This route is simply amazing- to have led it in the 70's would have been bold beyond comprehension! It starts out with thin hands, but opens up quickly and by the time you're at the midpoint- your #4 camalots are already in use. I used 4 cams larger than the #3 on this route, including the #6 C4.
Great route, though...well worth doing!
|By Jake Martin|
Feb 28, 2005
Bring 2 4 camalots if you got'em and a 3.5 for the top. As mentioned, a 5 or 4.5 wouldn't hurt the cause either if your a bit sketch on the wide stuff. Sweet pitch, right on at 10 plus (and no easier).
|By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?|
Jul 29, 2006
A truly amazing climb! One of my favorite single pitch routes. I liebacked most of the route (on T.R.), which tore some of the skin off my upper palms, and fingers. Ouch! I suggest taping up. A worthwhile climb, with a short approach (by Red Rock standards),and an easy walk-off/descent. You won't be disappointed! Hell of a work-out, for me anyway!
This route is shaded in the afternoon, which makes it doable in the summer.
Nov 26, 2008
Never thought I'd get this one but it went down yesterday:)
I climbed it in sections utilizing three semi-rest spots with good foot placements. The gear went like this.... A blue tcu at the bottom before the crack begins then camolots .75 green - 1.0 red - 2.0 yellow - 3.0 blue - 3.0 blue - 4.0 purple just above the dog leg crux and finally a 5.0 I dragged with me the rest of the way. NOTE to myself: Bring one more 5.0 or a 6.0 so won't have to run the last part of OW out.
There was no fixed anchor at the top. Someone chopped the sling. Plenty of options for a natural anchor.
|By Greg starke|
Mar 13, 2010
I did quite a bit of free climbing in this area and knew John Williamson until about 1972. Any climbing here is sure to be awesome if the park has been preserved.
Does anyone know where John is or what became of him? He was a true nature lover, last time I saw him was North Shore Lake Tahoe and he was living in an eloquent Tee Pee. firstname.lastname@example.org
|By Buster Jesik|
Apr 25, 2010
sweet pitch, could use a bolted anchor though
|By Spencer Weiler|
From: SLC, UT
May 20, 2010
Almost half the route is bigger than #4 camalot size. I took one 4 and one 5 and felt quite runout, though the top 20 feet is lower angle and easy. Rack accordingly. No need for bolted anchor. Easy walkoff and belay takes bomber #1 and #2 camalots. Indian creek quality
Aug 30, 2010
But if there were bolts up top we could all TR it into submission without having to think about setting up an anchor... then it would get as grooved up as anything in IC since most folks would be too lazy to properly extend their anchor. No Thanks. Great gear anchor, great walkoff. If a few more cams on the harness cause you to blow the send, train harder.
From: Durango, Colorado
Jun 22, 2011
A #3 Camalot was the biggest I brought...and the top, while easy and low-angle, was pretty runout. A big cam would have made it more comfortable.
|By Phil Esra|
Nov 29, 2011
I placed a #5 and a #6. I brought a second #5 but never managed to unload it. Great climb--like an offwidth version of Indian Creek's Black Uhuru.
From: THA WEST COAST
Feb 19, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b
My first Red Rock climb.
Dec 8, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b
Phenomenal! From fingers to chicken-winging in an OW, and I lost the skin on my elbows to prove it! Can be top-roped with a 70m (barely), but without extending the anchor there will be some solid rope drag. Decent semi-rests whenever it switches from fingers to hands, or hands to fists, or fists to "lets see what we can shove in there".
From: Las Vegas
Apr 17, 2013
Beautiful lead. A creek trip is in order for thin hands training. The OW is secure. The top OW is even more secure + leaving the #5 at your feet for a 10 foot runout isn't intimidating. I used 2 #1's and a #2 for the anchor directly in line with climb. No laybackng required but could be fun on TR for the pump. Friendly folks to chat with at the base. Also it was blowing from the SW 40 plus gusts at the parking area and the Fox alcove was completely protected. Will return for another lap :-)