Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.
Elevation: 2,849 ft
GPS: 35.71519, -114.92613
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 76,434 total · 726/month
Shared By: SenorDB on Aug 21, 2015
Admins: Luke EF, Justin Johnsen

Description Suggest change

The Lower Canyon has the highest concentration of climbs at Keyhole, with routes ranging from 5.0 to 5.13 and boulder problems up to V10. The rock throughout Keyhole Canyon is quartz monzonite with a lot of desert varnish on the faces outside the wash. It has the feel and flavor of the small-grained, heavily varnished areas of J-Tree, including the serious nature. Climbing has been done here regularly since the 60s, with the earliest known technical climbers being the Sierra Club.

Most of the petroglyphs at Keyhole reside in the Lower Canyon also. Some excellent pictographs can be found in the Indian cave under the boulders at the mouth of the canyon, and an eclipse on the backside of the fin rock to the right of the stairs under the big boulder choking the wash. BLM lists Keyhole as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), and requires climbing to be 100' from rock art here. Any routes described inside of this restricted area are for historical purposes only and every climber should respect rock art by staying off and not touching it in any way.

There are no sport climbs anywhere at Keyhole. The area is steeped in traditional climbing with old-school grading, and the handful of routes that protect entirely with bolts tend to be run out and committing. The routes that protect naturally or are mixed also tend to be run out and committing. Finding gear here can be tricky, with many obscure or technical placements. Bolts are used sparingly on lead and even less so for anchors. Only a couple of climbs have fixed anchors at the top, and those only because no natural gear was available. Please do not add top anchors or bolts to climbs.

Leading with a nut tool to clean out clogged seams can be useful as well as extra micro cams, and brass and ball nuts. That being said, Keyhole still has a bunch of climbs that are beginner-friendly and protect in a straightforward manner. AND everything can be top roped.

If you're looking for convenience, there's none to be found here. It's 25 miles from the nearest town, full of sharp plants, poisonous critters, and is hot six months out of the year (which only accentuates the balancy, slippery, insecure feeling known as Keyhole Weirdness). If you do make the effort to come here, you'll be rewarded with super fun climbing in an awesome, uncrowded, and remote setting.

Getting There Suggest change

The Lower Canyon is the first part of Keyhole you'll get to, and runs from the fenced mouth up to the top of the first waterfall.

83 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Lower Canyon Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Lower Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 5
Temptation Crack
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 10
Intelligence Test
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 9
Red Shoes
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 44
Demonstrator
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 9
Carpe Diem
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 14
History Book
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 5
Shoshone Tears
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 10
Son of Demonstrator
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 8
5.9 Crack
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Gila Tequila
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 9
A Might Fright
Trad
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 8
Front Boulder Crack (right)
Trad, TR
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 19
Chicken Leg
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 5
Blood Test
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 4
Waterfall Left
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Temptation Crack Shark Fin Wall
 5
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Intelligence Test Intelligence Test Slabs
 10
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Red Shoes Front Slabs
 9
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Demonstrator Demonstrator Wall
 44
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Carpe Diem Shark Fin Wall
 9
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
History Book Shark Fin Wall
 14
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Shoshone Tears Front Slabs
 5
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Son of Demonstrator Demonstrator Wall
 10
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad
5.9 Crack Front Bouldering Wall
 8
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Gila Tequila Chuckwalla Wall
 4
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
A Might Fright Chicken Leg
 9
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Front Boulder Crack (right) Front Bouldering Wall
 8
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Chicken Leg Chicken Leg
 19
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Blood Test Blood Test Area
 5
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Waterfall Left First Waterfall Area
 4
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
More Classic Climbs in Lower Canyon »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos

loading