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The Free Hallucinogen Wall

5.13 R, Trad, 12 pitches,  Avg: 4 from 4 votes
FA: Hansjoerg, Aug. 2011
Colorado > Gunnison > Black Canyon of… > N Rim Routes > N Chasm View Wall
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


The Free Hallucinogen Wall is fully MEGA! The climbing is unique, thoughtful, wildly exposed and just plain fun. As far as big wall free routes, this is one of the best in the country.

The "R" rating is totally dependent on the integrity of the fixed gear. On many of the pithes, your only protection is fixed copperheads, nuts, and pitons. The climbing is exciting, and large run-outs are to be expected. This route deserves respect. If going ground-up, you want to be a solid, 5.12+ onsight climber. A ground up effort would make the overall experience harder and much more committing.

Everyone that I know who has done the route has rappelled in from the top and worked many of the pitches on top-rope (including myself). With chalk on the holds and knowledge of the climbing, the H-Wall is very reasonable.

P1-P3. Start on a big, right-leaning ramp, 240 feet of 5.8. The next few pitches are blue collar 5.10+ Black Canyon climbing.

P4. Climb up a corner above belay, and traverse left under a small roof. Continue up 5.11 face climbing to fixed sling. Traverse left on thin holds to another bolt. 5.12- downclimbing gains Fantasy Island.

P5. Awesome, 5.12- face climbing protected by bolts to a thin corner (sometimes wet) past a small roof. Easy climbing leads to an aid anchor, keep climbing on 5.11R to a two bolt anchor at a nice stance.

P6. This pitch has wild face climbing with lots of fixed copperheads. A very cool 5.12+ arch is the crux. Belay at a shitty hanging stance on bolts.

P7. Next up is more run-out 5.12+ climbing with bolts and fixed heads. There are several crux sections separated by good rests. Belay at a nice ledge with bolts.

P8. An awkward 5.12 boulder problem protected by a bolt leads to maybe the most dangerous move on the route. Clip a copperhead that has been driven into a bolt hole, and do a tricky 5.12 move to a jug rail. If this heads rips, there are some ledges that you could hit. Continue up 5.11R corner, and traverse right to the belay ledge.

P9. Awesome 5.12 climbing with fixed heads to a big roof traverse out right on jugs. Bust out of the roof and onto a stunning face that is protected by bolts. Ascend thin, pumpy, and totally fun 5.13- to a shitty hanging belay just bellow a huge roof.

P10. Pull around the roof and traverse hard right on 5.12- terrain. Look for a two bolt anchor with a good foot ledge, this is the best place to belay for the crux pitch.

P11. The money pitch! There are three very different crux sections on this pitch. All of the hardest moves are well-protected by bolts. The last 30 feet is the hardest and very condition dependent. If you catch this pitch while it's in the shade or on a cloudy day, it makes a HUGE difference. Belay at small stance on bolts, 5.13b/c.

P12. Ascend very steep, 5.12- R climbing past a roof to some run-out 5.10 climbing. Belay on bolts on a good ledge.

P13. Finish with horrible, 5.10 R groveling to the top.


Single set from #00 - #4, set of wires and 25 draws. You end of clipping so much fixed gear that you need lots of draws.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

One of the many fixed heads on the H-Wall.<br>
Andrew Burr photo.
[Hide Photo] One of the many fixed heads on the H-Wall. Andrew Burr photo.
Nik Berry styles pitch 12.<br>
Andrew Burr photo.
[Hide Photo] Nik Berry styles pitch 12. Andrew Burr photo.
Nik Berry on pitch 6.<br>
Andrew Burr photo.
[Hide Photo] Nik Berry on pitch 6. Andrew Burr photo.
Steep climbing on the start of the crux pitch.<br>
Andrew Burr photo.
[Hide Photo] Steep climbing on the start of the crux pitch. Andrew Burr photo.
Nearing the top of pitch 7.<br>
Andrew Burr photo.
[Hide Photo] Nearing the top of pitch 7. Andrew Burr photo.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Thanks for the great description, HK. Congrats on your recent weekend of crushing in the Black! Jun 14, 2014
[Hide Comment] Thanks, Hayden, for posting up. This route has witnessed some really interesting stylistic evolution since the FA. Kudos on your sends. Jun 17, 2014
Jay 1975
Bonedale, CO
[Hide Comment] Nice one down there! Also "Tague" soo fast! Simuled, I assume? Jun 19, 2014
Salt Lake
[Hide Comment] Nik Berry and Hayden Kennedy's one day ascent: Feb 5, 2015
[Hide Comment] That is a incredible video and a remarkable achievement. I encourage folks to watch it.

Big Kudos to the camera men. Excellent angles and transitions. Hands were sweaty just watching. Mar 4, 2015
moab, utah
[Hide Comment] I just climbed the Hallucinogen by aid and was blown away at the prospect of free climbing this route. Much respect for anyone with the mind control and ability to pull it off. Apr 30, 2015
[Hide Comment] This is probably my favorite route in the Black, HK is not exaggerating when he says it's MEGA! Hopefully someone will do a ground-up free ascent soon, as it would certainly be very cool and not outrageous for someone with strong fingers and a good head.

Even though this is a historic aid climb, I would encourage aid climbers to seek out other lines in the Canyon, or at least do the direct variant between Fantasy Island and Happy Trails. There are many fragile edges, especially on pitches six and seven, that are critical for free climbing. It would be a shame if hooking eventually ruins the route.

Also, there are a few things that would make the route a much better free climb. Perhaps someone will eventually make these upgrades. It would vastly improve the route and make the entire thing feel like a proper free climb.

First: an additional anchor halfway into pitch 7 (on the nice little ledge at the end of a rightward traverse). This (with a LOT! of draws), would eliminate the "shitty" hanging belay HK mentions at the top of pitch 6.

Second: replace the head driven into a bolt hole on pitch 8. It would make the route safer, because this is probably the only truly dangerous fall on "hard" climbing on the route if the head rips. As is, it feels like very silly, contrived danger; a suspect head in a hole that could easily be filled with a bolt.

Third: adding a free belay approximately 12 feet below the roof on pitch 9 at a small stance. This would eliminate another hanging belay, that feels misplaced on a free climb. There is already a bolt here, so it would involve adding one more bolt.

Here's some more beta-tube for would be suitors. Oct 6, 2015
Ken Duncan
Ft Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Enormocast interview with Hansjorg Auer who did the FFA. Headed up the wall with five cams and draws!… Jul 8, 2017
Innsbruck, AT
[Hide Comment] "Hopefully someone will do a ground-up, free ascent soon, as it would certainly be very cool and not outrageous for someone with strong fingers and a good head." The FFA was done ground-up. Hansjörg Auer and I climbed the route mostly free from the bottom over three days, working everything on lead. A week or so later Hansjörg free climbed the route in about 8.5 hours.

It's indeed a very good route. Apr 13, 2018
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Hansjörg, who freed the Hallucinogen Wall ground up and in impeccable style, is missing in an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies. Apr 18, 2019