Frigid Air Buttress
Avg: 3.1 from 191 votes
|Type:||Trad, 800 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||1976, Larry Hamilton and Joe Herbst|
|Page Views:||21,294 total, 128/month|
|Shared By:||John Peterson on Mar 19, 2004|
|Admins:||Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen|
RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Details
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 identified this problem years ago and has worked to provide "wag bags" free of charge 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 areas). This project was funded primarily by the American Alpine Club
DescriptionThis route is guarded by the fearsome words "offwidth", "6-inch nuts", and "big pro". I'm probably ruining some big secret by saying that it's not at all fearsome - just lots of fun with a short approach, good pro, and big ledges at every belay.
Approach via the Icebox Canyon trail. Cut over to the streambed at the confluence of the two forks of the canyon. This is a good place to leave your packs / shoes. Follow a faint path to an obvious flake just left of the toe of the buttress.
P1 (190', 5.7): Climb the right side of the flake to a bolted rap station at its top - this allows you to set a TR on the flake (about 5.5). Continue up a thin crack (5.7) and then step left to easier ground. Look for a tree up and left under a cracked wall and climb easily to a belay there.
P2 (160', 5.8): Climb up the cracked wall to another big ledge with lots of greenery. Walk right to a left facing blocky dihedral and climb it (5.8) to a big ledge (this is the notch behind a small pinnacle). Continue easily up and left to yet another huge ledge.
P3 (100', 5.5): climb an elegant chimney (5.5) until you can step left onto easy face leading to another big ledge.
P4 (120', 5.9): there are two cracks leading up from the ledge. Take the right hand crack (hand / finger). This is mostly 5.7 or so with an occasional harder move. There is a wide section with chockstones at the top of this. Continue to a good block and contemplate the 'offwidth' section. This has a couple of hard moves but can be protected easily with #3 camalots. Most of the offwidth can be avoided on the left wall. Belay at yet another large ledge about 20' beyond the offwidth.
P5: (100', 5.8): climb a short wide chimney until it roofs off then swing out left (the hand traverse). Continue up easier ground to a narrow, evil looking slot. Set pro and then climb down and out to the outside of the slot (just 5.5 or so) instead of putting yourself through the meatgrinder. Above, a big easy chimney leads left to a big pine tree.
P6: (140', 5.6): proceed up a fun inside corner behind the tree. This leads to easy ground beneath the final headwall. Climb easy huecos to a ledge beneath the obvious 5.9 crack.
P7: (60', 5.9): climb the varnished crack with good pro. Things ease up considerably about 25' up. Belay at a good ledge immediately atop the black crack.
P8: (130', 5.?): boulder up the wall just left of the belay or go further left to avoid this short wall and then make a run for the top on easy ground.
Descent: look for a big chockstone back and to the left from the top. Either rap 50' or downclimb the chimney beneath the chock to easier ground - the downclimb is a lot easier than it looks from above. Proceed along the ridge avoiding the temptation to drop off right to the upper part of the canyon - this is well cairned. If you roughly follow the edge of the buttress you'll find a pine tree with rap slings about 60' before the ridge hits the slot where the stream runs. Rap about 50' to a big ledge with an anchor. From here, a 190' rap takes you to a new bolted rap station. There is a ledge partway down this but we didn't see an anchor on it (but we didn't look too hard). From the bolts it's about 100' to a big ledge. There was an anchor on the left side of the ledge that takes you 100' to the streambed.
We took about 6 hours to do the route and 2 hours to descend. We were in the sun till around 10am.
While this route lacks the elegant line of something like Crimson or Dark Shadows, it has a lot of fun pitches separated by big ledges. It appears to get very little traffic even though it's very close to the road. Check it out!
There is an entire chapter about this route in Red Rock Odyssey