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Trad, 800 ft, 5 pitches,
Avg: 3.1 from 25
> Southern Nevada
> Red Rock
> 09-Icebox Canyon
> Bridge Mountain
Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet.
Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm, the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN RED ROCKS during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby.
HUMAN WASTE Human waste is one of the major issues plaguing Red Rocks. The Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council and the AAC provides free "wag bags" in several locations (Black Velvet, First Pullout, Kraft Mtn/Bouldering, The Gallery, and The Black Corridor). These bags are designed so that you can pack your waste out - consider bringing one to be part of your kit (just like your rope and shoes and lunch) no matter where you go. Once used, please dispose of them properly (do not throw them in the toilets at the parking area).
Here is a route with an approach that will take you longer than doing the route itself! If this turns you off, no need to read farther. This route looks intriguing from the loop road, but it is a huge effort to get to the base and the route is shorter than it looks (only 5 pitches). It is best to take a very small rack as the climb is not that hard. This route is the Snake Dike of Red Rocks, but that perhaps is too big a compliment. Still, I highly recommend this route if you are up for an adventurous day of mostly hiking.
Approaches (from hardest to easiest): (1) Climb the Frigid Air Buttress, then wander up through the maze in front of the summit to the base of the climb. In my photo this approach goes directly towards the summit dome from below. Be warned that the easiest routes on the Frigid Air Buttress are considerably harder than 5.6, and could be up to 9 pitches long! I don't know anyone who has done it this way, although I'm sure some parties have done it.
(2) Hike up the broad ridge south (left) of the entrance to Refrigerator Canyon. This is the way we went, marked by the black line in the photo. Most of this route appears to be easy, and indeed almost all of it is scrambling. At one point there is a 200' high cliff (visible in the sun on the ridge before cutting back right), we couldn't find any way to scramble around it. So we did 2 pitches up grungy rock with some 5.8 to climb the wall directly. 6 hours to the base of the route! We marveled at the climbing ability of some bighorn sheep on this approach.
(3) Take the trail up Bridge Mountain (requiring a long hike from Willow Springs or 4WD to get to the trailhead). Before reaching the summit, you will see the arch the peak is named after and beyond that the "hidden forest" in a pocket of soil in the slickrock. Head NE down a slot and traverse east to the base of the route, I believe this approach is the red line I have marked in the photo although I have not done it. See Swain's guide for more info.
The climb itself follows cracks on a blunt arete and goes quickly. The setting feels surprisingly remote.
Descent: I suppose one could go back down using the descent on approach (3) and then down the east side using (1) or (2), but this sounds like an epic. The usual descent is to go down the trail. Beware that this route follows bare rock at the start and is not that easy to locate. You can try hitchhiking back from the trailhead but no SUV's passed us and we ended up walking along the road all the way back to our car at Willow Springs, a distance of 8-10 miles from the summit.
Light rack to 2". You might want a larger piece if 5.6 is your limit.
[Hide Photo] Bridge Mountain from the Rocky Gap approach. The Hidden Forest lies in the gap on the north side of the peak.
[Hide Photo] For added adventure we approached through Pine Creek the afternoon before and bivied about 300 yards west of the start of the route on a ledge with a stunning view. Somebody wasn't all the excited…