Mountain Project Logo

Routes in The Rainbow Wall

Birdhunter Buttress T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Brown Recluse T 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a PG13
Desert Solitaire T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A3+
Original Route, The T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Paiute Pillar T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Sergeant Slaughter T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b PG13
Type: Trad, 1500 ft, 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Vincent Poirier, Andrew Fulton (1998)
Page Views: 1,258 total, 14/month
Shared By: fossana on Apr 26, 2010
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

You & This Route

2 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Details


Be prepared for 5.9 runouts on lichen-covered, suspect rock. I've seen this rated as PG13, but it's more of an R. Ratings felt kind of soft, so more of a mental crux plus crap rock.

On the upside you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of Brownstone Wall, Rainbow Wall and Cloud Tower. We did the first 6 pitches, then finished on Bird Hunter Buttress. There's not much beta on this route in Handren's guide, but there's a brief description and topo in Brock and McMillen's Red Rock Canyon: A Climbing Guide.

P1 (5.9, 180')
Climb up the prominent splitter crack in the middle of the red cliff band.

P2 (4th, 200')
Angle up and right to reach a large ledge.

P2 (5.9, 110')
Head straight up the face to the ledge with a tree.

P3 (5.9, 200')
Instead of pulling the crappy white sandstone roof we traversed up and right toward a small varnished arete of sorts. After pulling onto the arete move slightly back left toward the crack that splits the licheny face. Belay at a ledge.

P4 (5.9, 170')
Climb the runout face aiming for the base of a prominent right-facing corner from which you will belay on gear.

P5 (5.8, 100')
Climb up the face to the left of the right-facing corner clipping 3 old bolts. Belay at a ledge with a bush.

P6 (5.7, 175')
Climb up the pillar. Optionally climb the (better) mossy 5.8 right-facing corner to the right, part of Bird Hunter Butress. Crappy bolts but the crack protects with small cams. Note: there were tons of ants all over the belay ledge.

P7 (5.9, 200')
Head up the face right then up over a roof to belay on a ledge. Optionally, climb the fun and grovelly 5.7 squeeze chimney on Bird Hunter Buttress. You'll wish you had dieted. One bolt. Belay from prominent ledge.

P8 (5.8, 180')
Move slightly right passing one bolt then through a roof.

P9 (4th, 80')
Go up and left to the top.


Park at either Pine Creek or Oak Creek. Take the trail up Juniper Canyon, passing below Cloud Tower and Jack Rabbit Buttress. The trail will cross the wash then head up a red dirt hill before dropping back down into the wash. Look left for a slab heading up toward the base of the wall. Work your way up the slabs heading climber's right for the base of an obvious dark red cliff band. This took us 1:20, although I've seen guidebook times up to 4 hours. You can leave packs at the base as you'll end your raps uphill and left from the start.

If you took the Bird Hunter Buttress variation you'll see a rap station climber's left and ~20 feet above the ledge. Head up toward it then hand traverse on the exposed but easy ledge system heading left around the corner until you reach a rap station. Note: we finished on Bird Hunter, so I don't have any firsthand info on getting from the top of Paiute Pillar to the first Brown Recluse rap station. The topo shows a rap station from the summit. Both routes rap Brown Recluse with a single 70m. From Bird Hunter you will start lower down.

Be cautious as some of the rap stations are close to the end of the rope and/or are difficult to locate. You do not want to do this in the dark; Plan accordingly.

Descend back down the slabs. The final steepest slab has a rap station that takes you down the (potentially wet) water streak.


Not much beta on this. We brought gear to 4", with doubles 0.5" to 2" (#4 optional for future reference). Nuts weren't overly useful. The bolts on this route were mostly antiquated or spinners. Some fixed anchors/slung trees.

A 70m rope will allow you to rap from the top of Brown Recluse with a single rope.
  5.9 X
  5.9 X
Here is what I wrote back in 2001...

To fall on any of the pitches between 4-9 would mean much more than a broken leg. Be solid at 5.10 face climbing before stepping onto this death route. Some pitches only had 3 micro stoppers to protect a monstrous fall on very loose 5.9 climbing. We needed to simuclimb with a 60 meter to reach many of the belays meanwhile tearing off loose plates of rock the size of dinner plates. EESH! Stay away.

I used to really enjoy an under protected 5.10 at that time in my life but clearly this left an impression. I hear that birdhunter is a much better option. I'm hoping to give that a try this fall with a bolt kit in tow.

I should add that we added 4 pitches to the route by starting from the creek drainage, it was mostly 5.7 and brought it to 12 pitches. I see that I marked the 1st pitch of the original route as the best pitch on the route. Apr 5, 2017