Mountain Project Logo

Myster Z/Armatron Linkup - Red Rock NV (w/ the traveling stopper)


Original Post
Christopher K. · · Summerlin, NV · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 170

Old Lady H was kind enough to send me the traveling stopper in the mail a couple of weeks ago. Along with my good friend, Bill Thiry (co-author of “Red Rock Odyssey” Guidebook/History book) we decided to take the stopper to Armatron, a route which contains 2 of the best “stopper only” pitches in Red Rock.

High in the back recesses of Juniper Canyon, across the way from Rainbow Wall, lies the Brownstone Wall. Brownstone Wall hold some spectacular routes, and were it not for the fact that the wall requires a several hours long slogging adventure just to reach it, it would be uber-crowded every day in the autumn. Lying well over 1,000 feet above the floor of the valley, reaching Brownstone Wall, while not overly technical or grueling, just takes a long time and uses up precious energy and daylight.

Fortunately, directly below Brownstone Wall is Jackrabbit Buttress which has a few routes which will deposit climbers a mere 10 minute hike from the base of Armatron proper. Of increasing popularity to reach Brownstone Wall is Myster Z, an easy 5.7 6 pitch climb, and many people now do the Myster Z – Armatron linkup, which allows climbers to get in a great 12 pitch day.  On Nov 1st, we set off from the Pine Creek Canyon parking lot around 7:00 am, and quickly made our way into the mouth of Juniper Canyon and to the base of Myster Z. As we would be passing this spot on our descent, we left our large packs near the base here, and merely climbed with smaller 16 L packs up Myster Z.

At the bottom of Myster Z looking up at Jack Rabbit Buttress

We quickly roped up and set off around 8:30, with us trading the first 3 pitches. By the 4th pitch, we set off within a few minutes of each other, and simul-climbed the remaining 3 pitches very quickly. Climbing alongside us and passing us near the top, simul-climbing all of Myster Z on their way to “Sweet Thin” were our new friends, Oskar and Kevin. We un-roped and quickly hiked the 10 minutes to the base of Armatron, it now only being about 10:15 or so.
At the base of Armatron, looking up.

We took a solid 30 minutes to rest, ate some food, and roped up. Because we would pass them on the descent, we left our smaller packs at the base here, with extra water, layers, and snacks inside. From this point, we merely climbed with a small water bottle attached to the back of our harness. Bill took off on pitch 1, cruising through it quickly and clipping 5 bolts (a mellow sport pitch). I took the lead for the crux 5.9 pitch 2 finger crack. I felt the 5.9 section, which perhaps lasts only a couple of moves, to be mellow for the grade, and one could totally zip it up. I screwed up at the end of the pitch, and set up a belay at the bottom of a left facing corner with a bolted anchor. I came to find later that this is actually the bottom of the pitch 3 for Sweet Thin; the actual anchor for the top of pitch 2 of Armatron is another 30 feet up and to the right of the corner.
Bill set off on pitch 3, the first of the two “vertical cobblestone” pitches. The varnished plates on these two pitches are very unique. For the most part, these two pitches protect mainly with stoppers only, and this is where we were able to place the travelling stopper twice, once on pitch 3, and another time when I led pitch 4. The stopper deserved…..no…needed to be placed on these two pitches. The climbing here, is not particularly difficult at all, but is fun, unique, and exciting, as we didn’t place any cams, and it is a great exposed feeling.
The stopper on pitch 3 in all it's glory between patinated plates

Another view

Placement of stopper on pitch 4

The author after placing the stopper

Video I took from the top of pitch 4 showing the cobblestone pitches and the amazing views

View from top of pitch 4 looking down at cobblestone pitches

We quickly dispatched the final two easy pitches, and then ran up the final short 3rd/4th class scramble to the true summit of Juniper Peak.

At the top of the climb overlooking Juniper Canyon with the top of Crimson Chrysalis behind his elbow in the distance and Rainbow Wall just out of the picture to the photographers right.

All in all, Armatron is a great 3 star route. I found the rating to be pretty soft for the grade, but the exposure, views, and uniqueness of the route, make it a 5 star day.
The descent down the gully back to our smaller packs at the base of Brownstone Wall was easy and quick and quite fun. We then continued down the slabs to the base of the canyon below Rainbow Wall, and then back out to the mouth of the canyon, and to our larger packs. A final 50 minute push took us back to our car.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trip Reports
Post a Reply to "Myster Z/Armatron Linkup - Red Rock NV (w/ the…"

Log In to Reply