Type: Trad, 900 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Karl Wilcox and Joanne Urioste
Page Views: 29,007 total · 167/month
Shared By: karl g wilcox on May 6, 2006
Admins: Justin Johnsen, Larry DeAngelo, Aaron Mc

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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details

Description

"Purblind" starts at the obvious crack system about 80 feet west and slightly up from the beginning of "Healy's Haunted House". Approach as for both "Group Therapy" and "Healy's".

Pitch 1 (5.7): Begin climbing the easy crack/corner system for about 20 feet to a ledge with trees and shrubs. Pass the vegetation on the right and continue up the stellar crack system until you reach the end of the crack at a sling belay (190 ft.)

Pitch 2 (5.8) From the sling belay head up and right along a crack/flake line below an overhang. When the crack diminishes, move right on white, slabby face to a bolt. From the bolt move out right on rounded holds to cross over a shoulder to easier ground. Scamper directly up for a few feet to a flat ledge below another crack system and the belay--takes 1-1.75 cams (85 ft.)

Pitch 3 (5.7) From the pitch 2 belay move directly right about 20 feet along a ledge to a water groove/crack system. Do not climb the crack/chimney system directly above the pitch two belay unless you plan on doing the 5.9 variation*. After traversing out right you will encounter a water groove/crack system. Climb this for another 30 feet or so and then traverse directly right onto the obvious brown face (a bolt protects the move out of the groove). Continue to traverse straight right--after clipping the bolt--on excellent holds until you reach the water groove/crack system that borders the right side of the brown face. Climb up this for a short distance and then traverse up and right a bit to a spacious ledge area below an obvious vertical crack system (150 ft.)

Pitch 4 (5.7) From the spacious ledge climb the obvious crack system to its end. The crack is very wide in places, but adequate protection can be had. When the crack ends, trend along a ledge system overlooking a large, brushy chasm/gully on your left. At the end of the ledge you will find a bolted belay anchor in white rock. This ledge is very comfortable for up to 4 people (180 ft.)

Pitch 5 (5.8): From the bolted belay head up the micro-crack system on white rock (a single bolt protects the moves off of the belay). Continue up the crack system and then traverse directly right up easy ground to another excellent ledge area below an impressive left-facing dihedral (120 ft.)

Pitch 6 (5.7-): From the large ledge head up to the base of the large dihedral. From the belay you will see a large patch of shrubbery blocking the entrance to a menacing off-width. Head towards the bush, but when feasible veer left to the face just left of the off-width. You will see a bolt at the base of the face, clip this and climb up over excellent 5.6 terrain to another bolt, from here traverse right into the crack (the bush remains inviolate!) and head up to a class four ramp that ends at the top (195 ft.).

  • 5.9 variation: instead of traversing right from the pitch 2 belay, go straight up the crack system directly above the pitch 2 belay. This pitch ends at a bolted belay anchor (80 ft.). From the anchor traverse right on easy holds to a water groove. Climb the groove up until just below a patch of diabolical scrub-oak (50 feet). Belay in the groove using a couple of large cams in pockets in the base of the groove itself. The next pitch ascends the obvious broad corner to the right of the water groove/now gully, with the small crack in its right side. A bolt protects the initial moves into the crack. Although this 5.9 pitch is good, initially it is somewhat friable, and not easy to protect. A Wild country Z3 cam (gray) protects the move above the bolt. After a few moves the crack widens to accept .33 to .5 cams. This is a technical pitch. Upon reaching the top of the corner and the end of the crack, traverse right around an improbable shoulder (strange mud-colored rock) and then up easy ground to end at the normal route pitch 4 bolted belay.

Location

"Purblind Pillar" ascends a natural line to the highest vertical point on the Angel Food Wall. From just below the start of "Tunnel Vision" follow the climbers' trail that traverses right along the base of the wall. When you reach the massive, cavernous chimney that is "Healy's Chimney", the start of "Purblind" is just a bit further right and slightly up.

I spied this line years ago, while guiding-- I thought that it would make a nice alternative to the likes of "Tunnel Vision." In fact, in some ways this route is the premier line on the cliff, since it reaches the highest point, every pitch is good, and pitches 1,2,4,6 are stellar while the 5.8 sections are short but interesting. Upon completing the first ascent, both Joanne Urioste and myself were amazed that this line remained undiscovered for so many years-- hence the route's name!

The descent is easy: from the top, go south and slightly uphill through some lovely pine trees to the obvious gully/chasm that head down and east. Eventually you will intersect the "Tunnel Vision" descent (watch for cairns). Follow the cairns...

Protection

Standard rack: nothing larger than a 3-inch cam is needed. Paradoxically, a medium slider nut (gold color) is useful for protecting the start of the wide crack bit on pitch 4-- but a small cam will also work (look for a small horizontal fissure!). The 8,9,10 hexes are also useful. A 60-meter rope is mandatory. The route can be rappelled from pitch 1 with two 60-meter ropes. Retreating from pitch 3 or higher would not be advisable.

Photos