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Routes in Crabby Appleton Area

Crabby Appleton T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
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Type: Trad, 550 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: Harrison, Broussard, Van Betten, 1982
Page Views: 1,620 total · 12/month
Shared By: John Wilder on Aug 18, 2007
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

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


Crabby Appleton is a faint crack system that travels up the right wall of the Crabby Appleton Gully. Start on a large ledge just below a traversing line of huecos. Pitch 1: Climb up and then right along the huecos, eventually gaining a crack heading upward. Ascend the crack to a stance. 130', 5.7 Pitch 2: Climb the crack, pass an intermediate belay stance with a bad bolt, climbing to a better stance with a bolt and a pin. 190', 5.8 Pitch 3: Continue up the crack, following the corner on the left as it arches up and left. When it begins to arch severely, step right onto the face and follow it to the ledge above. 120', 5.9 Pitch 4: Climb right 20', then head up a faint crack system through an overhang and follow it to the summit. 120', 5.9 Descent: Walk toward the canyon proper (northwest), following the ridge until some steep 4th class or a short rappel off to the right (east) leads to a gully/ramp system heading back into Crabby Appleton gully. From here, follow the gully for 5-10 minutes back to the base of the route.


Follow the right hand wall of the Crabby Appleton gully up past a small chockstone and a waterfall to the base of a monstrous chockstone. Climb up on the right side of it, squeezing through the top. From here, walk up about 20-30', and make your way to a nice ledge on the right hand side about 20' up.


A good assortment with a focus on the small to medium. A 4" cam comes in handy, but isn't mandatory.
John Wilder
Las Vegas, NV
John Wilder   Las Vegas, NV
A good route, but pretty spicy, i thought. Rock quality is mediocre to good, and thankfully it's good at the cruxes. The bolts are definitely bad and I strongly suggest linking the second and third pitches as described above to avoid a funky belay.

The route gets a 5.9+ in the book, and while I normally defer to the book ratings, 5.9+ is generous for this route, I think. Other routes in the area with the 5.9+ rating are more demanding technically, although this route is definitely not for the budding 5.9 leader! Aug 19, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
  5.9+ PG13
George Bell   Boulder, CO
  5.9+ PG13
I don't remember it being too runout where it was hard, except maybe for the final pitch (which I did not lead). Fun route with an easy walk off. Oct 10, 2008
John Hegyes
Las Vegas, NV
John Hegyes   Las Vegas, NV
This is a great route, lots of variety. Pitch it out as listed above, you can do this in four pitches instead of the five listed in the books. I agree that 5.9+ is generous and I think the PG rating is unwarranted as we found the protection adequate. However there is still some fluffy rock here and there so use your head before yarding on those chickenheads and plates.

I don't get why all the descriptions say to do a long rightward traverse at the start of the climb. We did the direct start and climbed straight up the crack through a small roof at about 5.8 - lots of fun, shouldn't be missed. We roped up at the far right end of the shelf at the base of the route. Oct 16, 2008
Brandt Allen
Joshua Tree, Cal
Brandt Allen   Joshua Tree, Cal
I would second the suggestion to do a direct start. It was fun climbing and much easier than we thought at first glance; 5.8 seems about right. Oct 16, 2008
George Bell
Boulder, CO
  5.9+ PG13
George Bell   Boulder, CO
  5.9+ PG13
But to the contrary, the p1 traverse is kind of cool. We do not all have to follow Messner and his proverbial drop of water falling from the summit!

By the way, I did not see a direct start listed in any of my Red Rocks guidebooks (Swain or Brock). There are several variations listed to many of the pitches, but not the first. Oct 16, 2008
Larry DeAngelo
Las Vegas, NV
Larry DeAngelo   Las Vegas, NV  
That was Comici with the water drop... Oct 16, 2008
George Bell
Boulder, CO
  5.9+ PG13
George Bell   Boulder, CO
  5.9+ PG13
Oops. I stand corrected, Larry! Oct 17, 2008
las vegas
  5.8+ PG13
billdlee   las vegas
  5.8+ PG13
I thought that this route was really well protected whenever it got a little sketchy. There were a few areas where it was runned out, but that was typically when it got easier. Its something you get use to climbing at RR. It had a lot of fun moves but nothing too difficult. The crux on the 5.9 pitch was not very difficult bc the holds were large at the roof and also going over it. You just had to look for them.

We also did the 5.9 variation on pitch 4. This was also very easy. It looks scarry bc you can't see the holds until you get there.

The other thing was, pitch 2 and 4 were longer than posted. I had a 70meter rope and we estimated that we used at least 150 feet. Just an FYI.

Getting to the route was harder than climbing it. I have the new book and its hard to tell where the route is from the picture. Is far up the gully to the left. You can climb the 5.3 or was it 5.4 up the rock face or walk up the gully to what looks like a large rock fall. There is a cave in there that you can scamper up and it will lead to the start of the 2nd pitch. There is also a repel station here. Just another note, there is a large pine tree where the 1st pitch ends that you can rap down if you don't want to climb down the gully.

One word... when you get to be base of the route and you are in the gully, there are a few places you can go cut up to the route May 17, 2009
The Crabby Appleton area is so scenic that it makes this 2 star climb worth doing. The approach nearing the route is scrambly, and has some short 4th, and low 5th class moves, and a couple of squeezes through holes to get to the base of the route. We started hiking in the afternoon, which gave us just enough time to do the route (in 4 pitches), and hike out as the sun set. We were in the shade the entire climb this time of year, which was nice. I don't recommend a late start if you're not familiar with the area, as the approach isn't too straightforward. The walk-off descent down the beautiful gully was a breeze (very cruiser by Red Rock standards), and took less than 15 minutes at a casual pace to get back down to the base of the route. May 4, 2012

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