Avg: 3 from 4 votes
Routes in Brazos Cliffs
|Cat Burglar T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b|
|Roybal's Horrendous 5.10 Offwidth T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b|
|Type:||Trad, 2000 ft, 14 pitches, Grade IV|
|FA:||Don Liska and Larry Campbell, 1971|
|Page Views:||4,866 total, 44/month|
|Shared By:||scotthsu on Oct 10, 2008|
|Admins:||Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski|
The Cliffs are on private property. Access is restricted. Details
DescriptionThis is a ~2000' climb just to the left of the "Great Couloir," a prominent cleft running the whole height of the cliffs just to the left of the highest part of the Brazos Cliffs (see photo at right).
We did 11 roped/belayed pitches using double 50 m ropes, and simul-climbed several hundred feet more before unroping at the top. I will try to describe the roped pitches here, but please also look at the attached photos and their captions. In particular, take a look at the attached hand-drawn topo by Norbert Ensslin (a senior member of the Los Alamos Mountaineers).
Approach the base of the Great Couloir. There are two possible starts to the route: (a) "direct start" to the left of the Great Couloir and (b) the Great Couloir start. We did the latter.
p1: climb up a buttress with featured rock (to the left of the Great Couloir) up to a tree on the skyline (see photo)
p2: continue up clean rock to another large tree at a good ledge (see photo)
Continue with p4 below.
Great Couloir start:
p1: climb the start of the Great Couloir almost a full rope length; snow/ice probable near the very bottom early season (see photo)
p2: continue up solid rock with some vegetation (see photo); a 60 m rope here would have allowed us to reach a better belay spot.
p3: traverse left a bit and continue up solid rock to the big tree at the top of p2 of the direct start (see photo)
p4: from the tree, head slightly right then up crack system; go up to the right of a roof then back left onto the top of the roof; belay on a small ledge or from inside a small cutout about 10 feet above the ledge. This pitch is sustained 5.7 and exciting.
p5: continue up a crack system and pass by the left side of the prominent "boxcar" feature; stem on some small features; medium/large hexcentrics and small/medium tri-cams proved useful; belay near the top of the boxcar.
p6: traverse left about 80 ft. to some brush (recommend simul-climbing this pitch); continue on some 4th class scrambling (that can also be simul-climbed) to a notch with a tree that is the start of the "Cat Burglar" pitch
p7 (Cat Burglar pitch): climb up the exposed face toward the left of a big roof; upper part of the pitch has scarce protection.
p8: traverse left past a tree, then up a bulge; past the bulge, there is an exposed traverse up and left taking big protection; the next belay is on a small perch with a tree.
p9: head up a chute and then some stemming in a left-facing dihedral ending at another big tree for belay.
p10: some tricky climbing up a small right-facing dihedral up to a small roof, then up and beyond a tree into a wide chute to a small belay stance taking small pro in cracks on the right wall of the wide chute.
p11: continue up the wide chute, then right and up around a roof up to a little notch in the rock.
p12-14: we simul-climbed 3rd-4th class; the ridge started to flatten out and approach the summit; we unroped just a short scramble from the summit plateau; the last bit of scrambling was mostly 3rd class along the ridge with a couple of exposed 4th class moves.
Descent: Walk toward the left (west) down a moderate wide slope, being careful not to angle too far left, lest you get cliffed out. The trick is to stay right far enough to enter the descent gully while avoiding cliffs. Descend about 2,000 feet in a steep gully on mixed scree & talus. Stay to the left of the gully to hike on dirt rather than scree. When the gully flattens out and becomes consistently forested, angle right or you will miss the dirt road like we did and end up on the lower dirt road by the Rio Brazos and lots of extra bushwhacking.
approach ~1-1.5 hours
climb 6-12 hours depending on your climbing speed and routefinding abilities
descent ~1.5-2 hours