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Routes in River Rock

Africa Flake T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Drunken Sporto's S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Head Case S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Improbable T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Just to Watch Him Die T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Karl's Variation T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Karls Crack T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Mr. Bigglesworth T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
On Safari T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
School Stinks T,TR 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Spring Break T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Summer Session T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Total Recall S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
UNR Crack T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
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Type: Trad, 60 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,772 total · 15/month
Shared By: Rick D on Feb 23, 2009
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, Refuge Jared, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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At first ledge, slot blue tcu (bad) or nut and make balancy move. Next crux is the last crack seem before the crack ends. Then head right and up final seem to ledge on Carl's.


This climb starts just to the left of carl's crack. Start right next to the tree trunk and head up. The branches from the tree will get in your face towards the top.


Poor protection. Bring small cams and small nuts. there is a solid slot right before the final crux seem that is good for a blue or yellow tcu. If you fall before here, could be dicey.


- No Photos -
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
Josh, did you put up the brand new mussy hook anchors I saw sitting smack in the middle of the rock face today?

I have to say, my friends and I were rather appalled. The anchor looks unsightly, garish, and out of place. The route doesn't even look worth the cost of the anchor hardware from the ground, especially when it appears one will have to fight their way through those tree branches soon.

I just moved here recently, so clearly I'm not a local with a local's knowledge of the area, but gosh, is a 30 foot toprope really worth the unsightliness of that monstrosity?

Is River Rock an "anything goes" place when it comes to bolting? (I am not anti-bolt, but I think it should be done properly and not just for the sake of squeezing in one more thing.) Mar 1, 2009
I have yet to climb this route, but I would have to give Josh credit for establishing something new for all of us to climb. River Rock is one of the only areas within 15 minutes of Reno and I think the more routes we have there the better. Often times it is too crowded and consequently people end up waiting around and not climbing at all.

I'm not a fan of placing bolts in any area where natural protection will work, but Winter Break looks like a fun trad climb that needs an anchor (otherwise this route simply won't be climbed). As far as the tree branches being in the way - they may need to be trimmed back soon as they have been on other routes. Mar 1, 2009
Matt Riddle
Sierra Vista, AZ
Matt Riddle   Sierra Vista, AZ
Josh, thanks for taking initiative. We need more routes up anyway. Climbing is the least in the realm of intrusiveness and and environmental impact. Throwing bolts up, whether you like it or not, is not destructive. You do more environmental damage driving out to River Rock than you do drilling.

I moved to Reno from Arizona 10 years ago and there has never been enough routes around the city. River Rock is it and there is incredible potential in the surrounding foothills.

But right now it's LAME.

Green Eyes, you might not be able to do the new route, but Josh can. He's got sticky fingers. Mar 1, 2009
I was born and raised in the Reno area, and as an avid rock climber I have just got to say that iam pretty stoked with all the new routes that are being put up at river rock.

As everyone from this area knows Reno is right next door to some of the best climbing in the west in the Donner and Tahoe areas. But once winter comes around climbing gets limited and there is not much to climb. So i say we should be giving these guys props for spending the money and taking the time to put up exciting new routes, especially in a place were people can go in the winter.

Right on guys! keep it up. Mar 1, 2009
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
My views on bolt or anchor placement have nothing to do with whether I can or cannot climb a route. I also agree that adding quality routes when possible in a crowded area is a nice thing.

I do not at all diss anyone for spending their money or time to improve an area, but considering all the other anchors and bolts at River Rock are inconspicuous, I thought this anchor seems really out-of-character and an eyesore. Wouldn't it be good to at least paint it to blend in a bit better?

That's just my $0.02.

P.S. Just some clarification: I did actually spend most of my childhood and adolescence living here, so in a sense I'm a local, but since I've lived out of the area for a bit more recently, I just don't consider myself a "local climber." Mar 1, 2009
tahoemnts Schroeder
Truckee, California
tahoemnts Schroeder   Truckee, California
Sweet. I've seen so much more potential for routes at River Rock. It's nice to have someone who has the time and effort to get out there and put up some new routes. In terms of the hooks in the middle of the rock, well, if that's where the route ends, then so be it. Hey, everyone uses fixed gear that someone has put there for us to enjoy. I'll just be thankful for those that get out there and make it happen! I think river rock has great aesthetics. It's definitely not at par with Pig Rock or Dinosaur that remind me of a post apocolyptic war zone with the remnants of an inconsiderate trash dump area, shooting range and cheap graffiti renditions of Keith Haring. Mar 1, 2009
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
Dr. Dave wrote:Hey, everyone uses fixed gear...
Yes, but it's hard to compare an inconspicuous fixed nut or cam here and there aesthetically to enormous, silver mussy hooks sitting in the middle of a face, you know.

I agree River Rock has great aesthetics...primarily because most anchors and bolts are hard to see. Mar 1, 2009
Wow, lived here my whole life. It's great to see a new route in one of the few winter climbing locations. In my opinion the bolts are great to have because it is difficult to set an anchor at the top, and hiking off every time someone climbs it seems like a pain. I'm not sure how old other bolts/anchors are here, but I don't recall seeing any painted. If anyone thinks the anchor is too ugly before it ages a little they could be painted (without getting any paint on the rock)(Now that really is about $0.02).

Also, I'm interested in why the cliffs up-river have no routes. It looks like there could be some potential, and possibly several routes that require no fixed gear at all, though I've only walk by it and never attempted anything. Mar 2, 2009
Reno, NV
Malieka   Reno, NV
I actually posted on about this same topic.…;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;forum_view=forum_view_collapsed;

To quote Eyes of Green "I am not anti-bolt, but I think it should be done properly and not just for the sake of squeezing in one more thing."
This is what I intended to address in my RC post.

I have been climbing at River Rock for several years and agree that new routes are fabulous. I greatly appreciate those willing to invest their time and money for the benefit of others. However, I also appreciate the "clean" aesthetics of RR and personally don't feel that the benefits outweigh the costs for a 30 ft run-out line (is there only one placement?) that by the FA's description "branches from the tree will get in your face" and "If you fall before here, could be dicey". Any combination of those issues is par for the course when climbing (especially trad), but I know I would hope to climb farther than 30 ft.

I'd be interested to hear from some more folks like Eyes of Green & Mr. Jig with some posting history in addition to the brand new members such as myself and the other 7 respondents to Eyes' post. Mar 2, 2009
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
So I've talked to Josh on email and he seems like a nice guy. I think his intentions are good and he appears open to listening to his greater climbing community. So I applaud that. That said, bolting new routes is an art and having a mentor to help one get started is probably a good thing...if you can come by one, that is.

Based on my limited interaction with Josh, I am sure he will welcome any constructive input.

Also, recent comments on some routes here sound like they come from people who know River Rock history well. That is great, because I think it's hard to find the history, FAs, etc. for this small area (at least to my limited knowledge...I haven't found anything personally). If you can add to the public database here in that regard, please do! I doubt Josh (or anyone else) posted errors in blatant ignorance; it seems like the info is unpublished! Thanks and... see you all out there! Mar 23, 2009
Consulting with the climbers who have been climbing at River Rock for a long time before thinking of adding bolts would be a good idea.

UNR climbing classes were taught at River Rock as far back as the 1960s and 70s. (According to someone I met there years ago who claimed he taught the class there in the 70s) Also met a couple there recently claiming to have climbed there while taking the class together in the late 60s or early 70s.

This has been a very popular place to climb for 40+ years. Some of the best climbers of their era have visited this tiny crag.

Lower River Rock is roughly 100 ft. wide by 60' tall.
Currently there are about 10? well established lead climbs across this wall. Four or five are bolted face routes, the rest are protectable without bolts. I am pretty certain that every inch of the rock between these routes up to .13+ has been top roped or led hundreds, probably thousands, of times. Some of the old, rotten, anchor bolts were removed years ago.

Many, many climbers have refrained from degrading the ambiance of climbing there by not adding bolts to squeezed in routes and keeping anchors discreet. It sounds like Josh did this route without adding bolts, except for new, overly obvious, anchors. After all the years of top roping these route, is there really a need to add more lead bolts?

It would be nice to hear from anyone establishing routes there in the 60s and 70s, as no one seems to know the history. I am a new comer to the climbs at River Rock, only been climbing there for a little over 25 years.

P.S. The crag just upstream has a far better variety of climbing than Lower River Rock. Routes are dirtier though because no one ever goes there anymore. Some truly fun, all trad, lines. Please remember bolts outside are as U G L Y!!!! as a pimple on your face. Place them with discretion and respect for the beauty of the rock. Mar 27, 2009
Rick D
Reno, NV
Rick D   Reno, NV
The anchors have been removed and patched. Climb through to karl's anchors. Mar 28, 2009
Colonel Mustard
Sacramento, CA
Colonel Mustard   Sacramento, CA
Not one comment pertaining to the route itself. There are several one post accounts though! I guess somebody wanted to simulate a group of people anonymously? Whatever.

Karl's Variation is difficult and sort of a series of body English boulder problems utilizing shallow pockets, thin seams, and tension. Quite good really, although I found it as difficult as the 11's to the left.

Gear doesn't look great, the climb definitely would earn the R on lead. I think I'll continue to save it for the post-Karl's top rope, as I'm not feeling that inspired. Apr 20, 2012

More About Karl's Variation