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Routes in Buffalo Wall

Tatanka T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A2-3 R
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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


The Buffalo wall sits majestically at the top of the north fork of Ice box canyon. The Buffalo wall and the Rainbow wall offer the only big wall aid experineces in Red Rock. The wall has 3 reported routes and a rumored 4th. All of the routes currently have 2 or fewer ascents. The Original Buffalo wall route is still waiting for a second ascent. The wall has a long and somewhat complicated approach lending to the reason it has so few ascent's. The Wall get's it's name from an image that appears in the varnish resembling, yep a Buffalo.

Getting There

There are 2 ways to approach the Buffalo wall.
The first, and traditional way, to approach is to go straight up Ice box Canyon. This involves some 5th class climbing but is the fastest.
Start at the Ice Box trailhead and follow the standard trail into the canyon. After the section of boulder hopping you will reach an impasse. Climb up the right hand side of the canyon taking the path of least resistance...there is sometimes a fixed rope here.
After this first step head back left into the main canyon again and continue up for aways. Whem you reach another impasse climb up the right hand canyon/gully, again weaving around a bit to find the path of least resistance. Climb this gully to it's top on a big terrace. scramble right a short distance until you can follow the terrace back left and back into the Main drainage. Pick your way up the main drainage, climbing 1 5th class section with a fixed rope, until you reach the base of the wall. Without packs this can be done in an hour and a half.

The second way to approach goes up a formation know as "2 Fools chute". See the picture on this page to locate "2FC".
Again start at the Ice box trailhead. Just before you head into the mouth of the canyon you will see 2FC on the right. Bushwack over to the start of the chute. go up 2FC with a bit of scrambling here and there. Near the top of the Chute look for the obvious place to head left on the big terrace, there are usually Cairns. Head left and follow the terrace all the way over to the the main drainage coming in just above the fifth class climbing mentioned in the other appraoch. There is a bit of scrambling and easy route finding involved. It helps to locate the obvious terrace from the parking lot. The terrace is a few hundred feet up on the nroth side of Ice box.

The descent from the top of the wall is actually very easy.
Head south west and locate the only spur ridge that goes all the way to the bottom of the canyon. There is an excellent climbers trail heading down this ridge. Do not get sucked into any drainage's! The trail stays on the ridge the entire way. The Rocky Gap road is in the bottom of the canyon and will lead you back to the loop road. Leaving a car back there is advised. High clearance only.

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J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Rumor is that a better way to approach is by hiking up the backside, from the rocky gap road, and rappelling the wall. I haven't done it, and don't know anyone who has, but it SOUNDS like a good idea!!!

josh May 29, 2005
You can scramble up Two Fools Chute and aviod all class 5 and 4 climbing to the base of Buffalo Wall. This chute is well before where the trail descends into the wash. Jun 29, 2005
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Two fools chute huh??? Sounds's about some more info??? Maybe a photo? Jul 2, 2005
Greg Gibson
Napa, Ca
Greg Gibson   Napa, Ca
Gents, It is also said that none of these routes have ever been freed. Lets see any of the proclaimed hardmen free this area. Jun 10, 2009
John Wilder
Las Vegas, NV
John Wilder   Las Vegas, NV
according to Handren, two routes have been freed:

Buffalo Soldiers @ .12c R
Original Route @ .13b/c… for reference. Jun 10, 2009
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Buffalo soldiers was freed like what...2 years ago?

I think The OG just went this year...with some major variations...I think????? Can someone confirm?

Also I'm fairly certain that the true line of Tatanka won't be freed. Some of those bolt ladders are both blank and steep. I know it has been rappelled by the free climbing crew, apparently they think it could be done but would with MAJOR variations.

I'd love to be proven wrong!

josh Jul 11, 2009

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