"The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we're about to watch could be our journey."
In the spring and summer, the area stays shady and cool through the morning but bakes in the sun in the afternoon. Strangely enough, in the fall sunshine is as rare as slabs here. If steep, shady rock is your bag, consider making a journey into The Twilight Zone.
We've done our best to clean up the routes and surrounding rock, but these climbs are still pretty fresh so care is in order.
About thirteen steps beyond the end of the cement retaining wall at the Canal Zone, head uphill by stepping onto a big boulder with a straggly pine tree above it. Scramble up to reach the beaten path uphill to the left. Third class into the red dihedral, exit right, and scramble up onto the trail. The approach is steep, exposed, and a little loose in spots...not for the faint of heart.
Eds. Note that rocks knocked off along this approach can go all the way to the level of the canal trail!
Thank you for these excellent routes Kirk. I climbed The Chaser and Freedom Fries on my birthday last week. Both routes definitely added to a great day. The area is well worth the added effort to get up to them. I'm anxious to get back and tick-off the remaining climbs. The bolting is just right, and The Chaser and Freedom Fries were just plain fun routes. They will be on my list of good fun climbs (along with the entire Canal Zone area) to recommend to other climbers. Thanks again.
Seems like the bottom of the routes is the worst in rock quality but should clean up with time (and luckily is the easiest terrain.) I was surprised to find how solid most of the roofs were and the top of the climbs (although lichen-y in spots) seemed really solid. The climbing here is really FUN.
-MAKE SURE your belayer and climber is wearing a helmet!! Loads of friable rock make ripping grips off a very likely possibility (I personally had a brick size rock rip off a seemingly decent spot).
- BE SUPER CAREFUL of trundling boulders down. While the boulders aren't necessarily going to hit "belayers" at the canal zone, they come extremely close to the trail, if not on the trail, leading west away from the canal zone. And yes, people other than rock climbers use this trail.
-DO NOT bring a dog up there... its loose and 4th class in areas.
However, with a little more cleaning and possible trail maintenance this area has some nice lines worthy of pulling on!