The Halidome Rock Climbing
Some of the stone in the West Sector of The Halido...
The Halidome is the enormous, south-facing crag adjacent to Ra. It is 500+ feet tall and over a 1/4 mile wide with several offshoot canyons, gullies, and other connected buttresses. It is the most obvious huge rock 3.2 miles west of Empire. The height of the crag plus the fact that it sits several hundred feet above the road, combine to create a surprising big-wall atmosphere. For years climbers driving by haven't considered this crag to be worth investigating. It might appear broken-up, the rock unappealing, but closer inspection has revealed several excellent, steep, direct lines to the top on mostly good rock. Where the stone is good, it is as good as alpine granite can be. The Halidome has some cracks but no continuous trad lines have been found, yet. Most routes will either be mixed or pure sport routes. Remember, this is an alpine environment (top elevation over 10,000') where all alpine variables, risks and dangers should be considered, even on "sport" routes. An imperative concern on both Ra and The Halidome is the sharpness of the rock. Ledges, aretes, and lips of overhangs tend to be extremely sharp. Always protect your rope.
The Halidome is so big that it is hard to describe, especially on its upper left reaches where access can be difficult. So far, the most direct lines being developed climb above an easily accessible, huge, sloping ledge that divides the right half of the crag horizontally into thirds. This ledge (The Catwalk) can be accessed by trail from the right. It tapers and ends at its left margin at a point about 200' off the ground. On an early trip across The Catwalk a climber was trapped when he looked back and saw a mountain lion strolling along the ledge blocking his return! At the left end of The Catwalk is a peculiar feature: A 50' tall balanced pillar stands about 15' away from the main wall. Resembling a carved stone head, it's been dubbed the Easter Island Head (EIH or the Head), and it is the best landmark from which to describe the routes on the main sector of the crag.
History: Little is known about early climbing history on The Halidome. Signs of climbing (about a half dozen old pitons) have been seen here and there. In the recent past, bolts and rap anchors were placed on and below the Easter Island Head. There's also an unfinished 4-bolt line coming off the ground way down and left of the EIH. These were probably drilled by Bob Horan who has done some exploring in the area (he related the story of the cougar on The Catwalk). It seems likely that someone (Kor?) may have climbed all the way up, but definitive evidence has yet to be found.
The approach to The Catwalk follows the same trail as for Ra but turns left about 3/4 of the way to Ra. The very lowest flanks of the Ra massif touch down in a boulder field (still a few hundred feet from the routes on Ra), and the trail to Ra skirts these lower flanks. At this point in the boulder field you'll spot a big blonde boulder above as a first landmark. About 200' above this boulder is another obvious big boulder near some trees. The trail to Ra continues straight above this second boulder, whereas the Halidome/Catwalk trail cuts left just below it, then follows cairns for a short distance across the hillside into a gully. (As of spring 2008, this gully has tons of freshly cleaved boulders that have come off an obvious scar below the start of The Catwalk--scary!) Hike up the gully for about 100' to the start of The Catwalk. Look for a 6' tall pointed tree stump and head left. Once on the exposed part of The Catwalk, watch for loose rock and carefully navigate across toward the EIH. Allow 20-25 minutes for the approach.
This small, narrow canyon is located on the far right (East) side of The Halidome. The main wall is east-facing and is obvious from all of the routes on Ra. Follow the approach for The Catwalk but continue straight up the steep, loose gully at the point where the Catwalk heads left (at the 6' tall pointed tree stump). You'll enter into a narrow slot that could hold up to a dozen one and two pitch routes. All the routes are on the left wall, facing Ra. The top end of the canyon is nearly closed off by a giant chockstone. A couple lines will likely be done above this point. This gully sheds lots of debris from who knows how far up the hillside and funnels it into the chute. In the few years we've been going up this little canyon, it has continually changed, collecting and depositing rocks and logs of all sizes each spring. It seems safe in the summer, but it might be best to avoid hanging around down low if parties are on the higher walls. The sun/shade exposure is a nice complement to Ra's, providing a welcome option depending on the weather, wind, and temps.
- To the base of The Halidome:
Park in a large pullout about .1 mile past the regular parking. This will put you approximately below the center of The Halidome. An obvious boulder field, mostly marked with cairns, shoots straight up to the base. When you reach the base of the cliff you should be in a steep gully with the wall on your right. Move up the gully and then left along the base for a couple hundred feet to a rocky ramp where the stone gets better, and start to look for bolts. The Central Sector is home to two routes, Cat Tracks and King of the Mountain.
A new sector has been developed up and left of Cat Tracks and KM. This is the West Sector, and presently it is home to four routes, the first of which is Wind Machine, the last, Manalive. Continue up the ramp past Cat Tracks for 100' or so to an old, unfinished 4 bolt line. 70' past this is the start of Wind Machine. The vertical plates slightly farther up the scree-filled ramp are home to three excellent one and 2-pitch routes. Going farther on puts you at the top of a deep, narrow chute that ends this sector. More to come.
Climbing Season For the Empire area.
Weather station 4.3 miles from here
14 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in The Halidome
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Halidome
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Halidome:
Unknown 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport, 2 pitches, 200'
Manalive 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport, 1 pitch, 115'
Priceless 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport, 4 pitches, 350'
Featured Route For The Halidome
Priceless 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b CO
: The Halidome
Bolts & hangers: $3.25. Gas to the crag: $3.00/gal. Coming home after a brush with eternity: Priceless. The first route to go to the top of The Halidome, this 350' sport route starts from the Catwalk, about 30' right of the EIH, just behind a long boulder. Overall, the route is very nice with some sections of less than perfect rock, but most is on good stone.Pitch 1: 5.11a, 18 bolts, 140', 3-bolt anchor. This pitch can be broken into two shorter pitches (1: 85', 12 bolts + anchor, 2: 55', 5...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
Projects on the Halidome.
Richard Wright moving along The Catwalk toward the...
The view you get looking down, near the top of The...
Bouldering below the Halidome, Cone Mountain, Empi...
The Easter Island Head on the left with The Catwal...
Looking straight west from near the top.
The Halidome, Cone Mountain, Empire CO.
Looking down the third pitch of Priceless, the fir...
Routes on The Halidome as of May, 2008. Yellow cir...
The Halidome seen somewhat more from the west.
The Halidome and Easter Island Spire.
Three routes in the West Sector. Left to right: Ma...
By Brent Apgar
From: Out of the Loop
Jul 18, 2015
Props to Mark and Richard, y'all put some serious work into developing this area.
Thanks for the effort.