Type: Trad, 120 ft
FA: Chris Henze, Cyrena Goodrich, Eric Fazio-Richard, Bob Kerry (1989)
Page Views: 9,926 total · 68/month
Shared By: Christian on Dec 27, 2006
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

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Stem up to first bolt and clip before moving onto slab (under 5'8" may find this difficult). Slab moves to small tree above then traverse left to second bolt. Traverse further left to where wide right-leaning crack meets thinner left-leaning crack. Make a couple of moves up into left-leaning crack before heading straight up to chickenheads. Two more bolts are found higher up the face in areas short on slingable chickenheads.


On lower-angle side of Owl Rock. Rap off overhanging side 90 degrees clockwise from route


4 bolts + gear
Mark Abbott  
The route faces southeast. The start is tucked behind a huge boulder that makes up one side of the starting stem.

There is a 4th bolt, among the chickenheads/plates about 15 feet below the summit.

The following gear is enough to keep almost any leader happy, seriously:
-- One set of wired nuts.
-- One #4 Camalot (for the first wide crack you pass; a #3 can be made to work if you're skilled).
-- One #2 Camalot (for a crack about half way up, just after pulling the crux).
-- Some trad-length slings (for slinging chickenheads and smoothing out the rope line).

There are two pairs of bolts on the summit, but only one has rappel chains. Rappel toward the southwest. One rope is all you need for the rap. It looks like a 50m rope would suffice. Jan 28, 2007
David Arthur Sampson  
This is a very nice climb, but I found it a bit sandbagged; for shorter individuals the opening move is not 5.9 but, rather, more like 5.10a/b. and, the move at the diagonal crack (after the first bolt) is also more like 5.10a/b.

For gear, I would also suggest small to medium Aliens to protect (one of) the crux move(s) [establishing one-self onto the plates/jugs above the diagonal crack]. Feb 20, 2007
Brad Schierer
Brad Schierer   LAVEEN
Good intro to stronghold climbing, esp. runnering chickenheads. I'm 5'8 and thought the opening moves up and onto the slab were manageable. Aug 25, 2007
Steve Pulver
Williston, ND
Steve Pulver   Williston, ND
I used different size gear than the previous poster, 000, .75, and #1 camalot, and a #2 nut. Whatever you use I'm sure you'll want more than what is recommended in the Rock Climbing Arizona Falcon guide, which only recommends slings and quickdraws. Oct 22, 2007
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
You can manage with a set of nuts and small cams too. Right after the #4 camalot placement, you go up and right one move and get into a tasty fingercrack with good locks and stoppers. I placed nothing larger than 2".

As well, the top can be done directly with only moderate difficulty and less wandering than following the bolts. I was going directly up and looked over left and below for a footr when I saw the bolts in the distance (past). You just don't need them.

A 70M rope will get you down the front with the chains pulled forward and you can clean your own gear with maybe 2 meters of mellow downclimbing at the ends of the rope. Jan 1, 2008
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
I lead this route in March 2007. The weather that weekend was iffy to say the least. I would bet we were the only ones anywhere in the park that weekend. We had been rained and lightninged off pitch 3 of Peacemaker the day before but tried this one the next morning while it was sunny. Heavy clouds blew in while I was belaying Jay from the top, and when he was about 10 feet below me it started to drizzle. I lowered him, and by the time I was setting up my rap, it was blowing about 30 mile per hour freezing gusts in driving hail and rain. I couldn't see more than 3 feet in front of me and was soaked through, couldn't feel my hands to thread my rope in my ATC or work the screw gate on the biner. You can see how exposed the top is from the photos. Was praying for no more lightning. It took about 24 hours to warm up. Great route though. A must-do for the area. Jan 2, 2008
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
We had some serious rope twistage/stickage after the free-hanging rap. The basic rap is vertical of course. We then continued down to skiers left to the ground before pulling the knotted doubles; knot was on uphill side of anchor. Rope pulled maybe 10 feet before becoming seriously stuck. I suspect that pulling off to the side drug the knot across the rock and wrapped it up tight in the other strand. Feb 22, 2008
Jeremy Steck
Salt Lake City, UT
Jeremy Steck   Salt Lake City, UT
This route is really fun. There is no gear, besides slings, between the large ledge and the 3rd bolt. The move to reach the 3rd bolt may be a bit heady if you are not yet used to trusting slung shallow chickenheads. It requires you to make 1 slab style move to reach the bolt. Also, when you reach the top and look in the large hole, you will know why it's called owl rock! Mar 5, 2008
missoula, mt
joshf   missoula, mt
You can lower off of this with a 70, watch rope drag Apr 11, 2008
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
Great fun route and a must do anytime in the area. Casual walk to the formation and super fun.

My experience brings the following....

I was prepared for the first bolt to be a reach (thanks DAS) but not that it is a spinner, which required me to move even closer to clip it.

I protected the finger crack (just above the first bolt) with a .5 camalot and an extended sling.

Moving beyond the 2nd bolt was the crux IMO.

I used a 3.5 camalot to protect the large crack before moving left even though it was only a foot or so away from the 2nd bolt. I extended a the sling on this as well to avoid drag.

The upper section which is predominantly climbing chicken heads is fun and easy compared to the 1st half of the route which is really the "business" section.

The main anchor has chains of which you can rap easily with a 70m cord (and likely a 60m to the ledge). There is a second set of anchors slightly back and climbers left from the first set but the provide hangers only, no rings or chains. Perhaps these are best used for the 5.12 route up the steep back side.

Superb! Loved the EFR hang tags at the bolts....history is fun.

~Susan Jan 4, 2009
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
We added a rap ring and a carabiner (with screw links) to the hangers on the "backside" of Owl Rock's summit this past weekend. I was leery to rap the Nightcrawler route (with our 70m rope) fearing the rope might get stuck on a feature on the route. Clean rap and pull on the "backside". Feb 24, 2009
Mobes Mobesely   MDI
as of 3/1/09 there is a bees nest in a crack on the left side of the formation. you cant miss the noise when you rap off the back. I didnt stick around to see what kind of bees they were but I did have to pull the rope pretty close to them. Mar 6, 2009
Geir www.ToofastTopos.com   Tucson, AZ
Rack for this climb: Standard rack with a variety of small to medium aliens, slings to tie off an occasional chickenhead, and two full-strength beekeeper suits. Mar 7, 2009
orin salah  
I just climbed this on the 22nd, (March 2009) and I didn't hear or see any bees. But maybe I missed them. Mar 27, 2009
Oh sweet god of stone and sky /// This route is fantastic. Bring up a set of nuts, it may give you some peace of mind before slinging the first chicken head(s). I would suggest bringing some double length runners. Dec 18, 2009
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
First bolt clip is intense for those 5'6"! If it wasn't a spinner, it wouldn't be so bad, but when you are stretched out at your max on tippy toes in that scary stem 30 feet above the ground, the edge of the biner just keeps pushing the damn hanger away. My partners kept telling me to just make the move onto the face and clip, but I don't care so much for highball boulder moves above a pinball landing zone, so finally a friend taped open another draw and threw it up to me: problem solved once I didn't have to push against the hanger to open the gate!

The first half of the route is kinda heady in general. I made do with a #3 Cam after the second bolt, but a #4 would truly be better to take. Jan 4, 2010
Ze'ev Horowitz
Caldwell, NJ
Ze'ev Horowitz   Caldwell, NJ
I was there mid october 2010 and there was definitely a bee nest there. It's off route so if you lower/rap on-route you should be fine. Nov 16, 2010
Climbed nightstalker last week and we rappeled off the back with one 60 meter rope to the ledge. The swarm of bees were still there to the right of the rapel. Dec 22, 2010
Scott Hamman  
Still bees around the corner of this climb. I think the rating of this climb should be harder when bees are present... at least give it a PG-13. I mean come on, those bees are scary. Jul 14, 2011
Peter Franzen
Phoenix, AZ
Peter Franzen   Phoenix, AZ  
This was a lot of fun. I placed a #0.5 a bit above the first bolt, then a #4, a #2, and a few slung chickenheads above that.

The technical crux is up higher, but the most intense move is probably clipping that first bolt. Feb 20, 2012
Joe Kreidel
San Antonio, TX
Joe Kreidel   San Antonio, TX
Climbed this on Oct 21, 2012 and saw no evidence of bees.

A great climb with lots of variety and some thoughtful moves. I did not bring the #4, but wish I would have, as the move onto the left face felt pretty committing with out it. Oct 22, 2012
You can TR the route with a 60 if you...
1. extend the anchors with slings below the lip to reduce rope drag.
2. have the belayer scramble ten feet up the 4th class slab on the left of the climb when lowering.
3. tie a knot in the end of your rope.
4. are psyched you have just or are about to climb an awesome route!

Still have to rap off the back after cleaning though. Feb 25, 2013
Geir www.ToofastTopos.com   Tucson, AZ
Hey Ryan, if the weather is nice just belay from the top and lower the second, third, etc. Much cleaner setup and you can enjoy the top for longer. :) Feb 25, 2013
Mesa AZ
ClimbPHX.com   Mesa AZ
Be careful if you do this route - There is an aggitated bee's nest to the left of the belay in the second book. You should not have issues rappelling, however, the route used in a TopRope scenario stirred them up!
Great route and a great send! Apr 22, 2013
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
Jon Ruland   Tucson, AZ
i like my women like i like my climbs...

covered in BEES! Jan 28, 2015
Mark Grundon
Lee Vining
Mark Grundon   Lee Vining
Five bee stings and had to down climb. It was the one pitch we were going to try in Cochise while driving by. Not a good first impression. Apr 12, 2015
Reno, NV
slk   Reno, NV
^^^^^^^ Damn Man, there was wildlife in the wilderness?!? Should have brought some Raid... Who would've thought this climb had a tendency for bees? Oh, wait... Nov 10, 2015
Jack Lusk
Los Angeles, CA
Jack Lusk   Los Angeles, CA
I should have read the comments about the bees. I was swarmed by bees and got stung 5 times. Oct 10, 2016
Be sure to extend your anchor when TR/ lowering to avoid cutting up your rope. I'd also feel this climb could be close to pg-13 to maybe even R. Definitely lots of areas on this climb where you're well above your last piece of gear and a fall while placing some pro would definitely hurt. Dec 23, 2017