Description

The First Waterfall stops most people, so when going above it, one is rewarded with near solitude. The few people that come through here are usually canyoneers.

The wash is lined with bouldering and small, outspread crags form the wash to the canyon rim for the next half mile. The Second Waterfall blocks upward progress, much like the First, with cliffs that extend up the canyon sides. The Second Waterfall and the cliffs along the canyon rims, which end a little ways past the Second Waterfall, are described here. A few hundred feet up from the First Waterfall on the north side is Far Side Canyon, the largest side drainage in the upper canyon.

Getting There

The Upper Canyon can be approached by the canyoneers trail starting outside the canyon mouth and following the small canyon around to the east.

Approach #1: From the mouth of Keyhole Canyon, take the smaller drainage to the left, following the Keyhole Narrows Trail.

Approach #2: From the base of the first waterfall, hike 100' up the Death Couloir (the one on the right) until you're even with the height of the waterfall. Then, fourth class across exposed ledges back to the notch above the waterfall.

Approach #3: From the town of Nelson, take the Old Nelson Hwy (aka dirt road) until you get to the turn-off to the FAA towers at the top of the hill. Follow this road about halfway up until an obscure jeep trail cuts up & across the hill to the right. Follow this narrow and exposed road all the way to the top of the last waterfall.

19 Total Climbs

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DesertDan
On the Wind
DesertDan   On the Wind
All new climbers at Keyhole are taught to do climbs in the same, or better style, than the first ascent. Anyone can lower the bar, but it’s far more admirable to raise the bar.

Please be respectful of the traditional climbing at Keyhole, first instilled by the Stone Masters, and help maintain the longevity and traditional flavor of the area, i.e.

- Never add bolts to established climbs- this includes belays/rappel stations.
- On new routes use gear whenever possible, bolts are always a last resort.
- Lead new climbs ground up, even if top roped or cleaned on rappel first. Jan 12, 2018