Type: Trad, 110 ft
FA: First 80': G. Stephens, A. Snider '86. Extension to the top: T. Souders, '86.
Page Views: 31,453 total · 206/month
Shared By: Tony B on Oct 3, 2006 with improvements by Billy Simek
Admins: saxfiend, Jason Halladay, Shirtless Mike

You & This Route

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Rock Wars is one of the finest routes in the Red and offers a little of everything but off-width. Start off on moderate climbing and stem, lock, and jam your way up for some moderate climbing to a tiny "roof" where the crack/flake stick out to the right and you are forced to move with it. High feet to the right and a positive finger lock/lieback (5.9) get you through the first crux. There were once anchors here where the inital FA was completed, but these have since been removed. A second set of anchors is now 40' above. Continue climbing into the left-leaning handcrack (5.10a) to only (formerly top) set of anchors at 10a.
Watch your rope length when you lower off, as the top anchor is up there for a 60M rope.


Walk right from the approach trail along the wall until you stand below a massive light-colored roof, a few hundred feet up. There is a large boulder under this, perhaps 15 meters back from the wall. A left-facing obtuse corner in orange/brown rock on the left has a hand-crack (Autumn) and a right-facing obtuse corner is on the right with a thinner crack and lighter rock (Rock Wars).


Gear to 3." The (formerly 1st pitch) initial crux gear is first-to-second knuckle sized cams. If you run all the way up to the top in a single pitch, the second and true crux (formerly second pitch) is on hand-to-wide hands gear.
The flake is thin in spots and stoppers have been known to pop out with flex in the rock, but cams are pretty secure. Place them a little deep just to be safe.
max seigal
max seigal   boulder
this is a great line, and not as hard as it looks. The gear is solid, and both pitches should be linked (with a 60meter rope you can make it down). Jul 28, 2007
Jeff Mekolites
Jeff Mekolites   ATL GA
forget that bolt...put in a cam and keep going!!!! Nov 19, 2007
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
This is one of the best (if not THE best) crack climbs I've done in the southeast. Classic locks and jams. Mar 17, 2008
David Aguasca!
New York
David Aguasca!   New York
locks and jams? i couldn't get a single fingerjam on the whole thing...i was tips laybacking up the entire finger crack. Jan 14, 2009
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Mostly solid first and second knuckle for me on P1, but I do have small fingers. Second pitch I was in up to my wrists, and comfortably so. Jan 14, 2009
This route is a must do. One of the most memorable and excellent single pitches I have ever done- and that was 11 years ago. Jun 27, 2009
Ryan Justen
St. Paul, MN
Ryan Justen   St. Paul, MN
CLASSIC!!! Be ware of the bolt... it's loose (use a cam instead)

Pro: small cams #1 #2 BD C3's and BD C4's 0.4 to 2 for the top, with an optional #3 or #4 down low (you'll see the one spot)

Lot's of good feet make this easier than it looks, except at the top ;) Jul 11, 2010
Alsip, Il
sunder   Alsip, Il
The single bolt is more for if you are toproping the route. Make sure to clip the single bolt before lowering the other person. This will stop a swing into Souder's Crack if someone falls on TR on the lower half of the route.

Takes 2xC3 #1 on the lower half along with some nuts. The dihedral midway takes 2x.75 BD cams. Plus other gear. Aug 30, 2010
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
A warning about doing this on nuts- that flake expands on hard pulls. More than one person I know has zippered a series of stoppers out of it in a fall. Oct 29, 2010
This would be two pitches if you didn't have enough gear possibly. I've never seen anyone do it in two. 60m rope is good enough. Nov 16, 2012
Alexander Blum
Charlotte, NC
Alexander Blum   Charlotte, NC
I have to echo the commentators before me: this route is stellar, it is everything you have ever hoped for or dreamed of, it will raise your children for you and send them to Harvard too. It is also not nearly as hard as it looks (finger size dependent, of course). It would certainly be at home in Utah or Nevada, and is one of the best crack climbs I have done on the right coast.

RE: Conditions

There is, as of spring 2014, no intermediate belay - just one bolt with an empty hole where the second one used to be. This is no big deal, it is easy to get down with a sixty, the top protects well, and there is simply no reason not to do the entire route anyway. Apr 5, 2014
Dom R
Bend, OR
Dom R   Bend, OR
Beautiful. The lower portion eats up blue and yellow metolious sizes. Only used a .75 and 1 camelot for the the top. Don't miss this climb and if your confident at 5.9 go do hot september, an amazing compliment climb. Mar 22, 2015
dave Hause
carrboro, nc
dave Hause   carrboro, nc
The original anchor bolts have been reduced to one and it still spins. Only way down is to keep going up. Nov 13, 2015
Big Ears  
Great route. But not "all time" I rated it 3 star, would do 3.5 if I had the option Apr 19, 2016
Gear (c4 sizes): #3 at start above death block, #.2, #.3(2), #.4(2), #1 (for top slant layback after bolt), #.75 (for top before anchors). Apr 22, 2016
Kyle Hartung
Cleveland, OH
Kyle Hartung   Cleveland, OH
Led for the first time over the weekend - the route was a lot of fun. To me it really seemed like a one-pitch route and climbed as such. The bolt IMO is more to just clip a draw to and keep going, or for re-directing a top rope for following climbers. Oct 25, 2016
Joel Allen
La Crosse, WI
Joel Allen   La Crosse, WI
No bolts remain on this. Do it as one pitch, the gear is perfect all the way to the top! Apr 17, 2017
Wesley Neill
Sequoia National Park, CA
Wesley Neill   Sequoia National Park, CA
I don't have enough 10 trad lines under my belt to grade this accurately, but it definitely felt very stiff compared to "Ben Dunne 10a" and "Second Thoughts 10b" at the New. It felt easier than "Tradisfaction 10a" over at the Stadium.

Maybe trad routes are graded harder at the Red than at the New?

Either way, this route was a blast. Nov 26, 2018
Nick Ross
Cockeysville, MD
Nick Ross   Cockeysville, MD
I wish they kept the old anchors in. That traverse way out left to the other set of anchors wasn't my favorite; makes cleaning a pain in the rump. Not to mention one of the bolts is a spinner. But an amazing route otherwise!! 2 days ago