Type: Trad, 700 ft (212 m), 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Derek Field, Giselle Field, Zak Smith, Larry DeAngelo & Bill Thiry (early 21st century)
Page Views: 996 total · 17/month
Shared By: Derek Field on Mar 21, 2019
Admins: Justin Johnsen, Luke EF, Larry DeAngelo, Aaron Mc

You & This Route

3 Opinions
Your To-Do List: Add To-Do ·
Your Star Rating:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty Rating:
-none- Change
Your Ticks:Add New Tick
Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.
Warning Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

This was an accidental diversion from Middle Earth that turned out to have some decent climbing. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody has stumbled upon this before. We can recommend it as a variation if you've already done Middle Earth and want to mix it up on the second go.

The story is that on our first trip up Middle Earth, we missed the namesake tunnel and accidentally climbed the corner to the right. We couldn't get back into the chimney so we improvised our way to the top of the buttress. The next day we met with Larry to give him the story and show him some photos of where we went. His told us we should've trusted our Wimpstincts. By that he meant we were supposed to instinctively burrow into the secure tunnel instead of venturing up the scary-looking crack to the right. Oops. We had a good laugh about it. Our mistake carried a silver lining in that we stumbled into a very good wide crack pitch (Pitch 6) that is worth doing in itself. The rest of the climbing is mediocre at best. The route description follows:

(Larry DeAngelo adds:)

Derek has started a story above; allow me to add another chapter.  When we first climbed Middle Earth, the primary motivation was to gain access to the slanting jam crack to the left of Frigid Air Buttress's fourth pitch.  While we were up there, we were also drawn to the big corner/chimney even further to the left.  But climbing that would bypass the slanting jam, so we chose our original route.  As it turned out, the original Middle Earth route worked pretty well and seemed to have taken over the obvious finish, so we didn't get around to climbing the corner.

Then, years later Derek and Giselle climbed Tookish Instincts and it seemed like a natural continuation for the corner.  Zak Smith, Bill Thiry and I climbed this "direct start" and found it to be excellent climbing.  This results in a route almost completely independent of Middle Earth except for a very short section halfway up.  I have taken the liberty of adding this as the standard route, but of course the upper section could still be accessed via Middle Earth as originally done.

The (updated) route description follows:

Pitch 1: Climb cracks straight up to a good ledge at the base of the large left-facing corner.

Pitch 2: Go straight up the chimney to an obvious ledge on the right.

Pitch 3: Move to the back right corner of the ledge and climb a varnished corner, then go left and belay among broken rocks in the main gully system. This is the same as P4 of Middle Earth.

Pitch 4 (100 feet): Instead of burrowing into the tunnel, climb the exfoliating left-facing corner just to the right.  The climbing is burly and sustained. The rock quality is a bit suspect at times (we did not clean it at all) but I'd say overall it climbs better than it looks. Above the corner, climb straight up the knobby face (5.5 R) up to a ledge guarded by thick bushes

Wrestle past the bushes to the base of a hidden, straight-in offwidth crack and set a new belay.

Pitch 5 (5.7, 110 feet): Climb the super-fun featured offwidth. Bump that trusty 6" cam as you cruise up the amazing jugs and flakes. Follow the crack as it widens to a chimney and slants to the right. This pitch ends at a wide ledge shared with Frigid Air Buttress (below that route's 8th-pitch headwall).

At this point, you can finish on the Frigid Air Buttress headwall pitch if desired. Tookish Instincts continues left:

Pitch 6 (4th class, 60 feet): Scramble up and left to the top of the pillar. Walk 40 feet left to the opposite end of the ledge and set a belay in the floor crack.

Pitch 7 (5.8, 110 feet): Step down and left off the pillar, traversing 10 feet left on crimp rails into a hand-fist crack. This traverse is fine for the leader but pretty dicey for the follower unless the leader resists placing gear until higher up the crack. The rock quality deteriorates and after a tricky bulge it becomes an easy scramble to the top of the buttress.

Descent: As for the original Frigid Air Buttress route.

Location Suggest change

This route starts in the same place as Middle Earth.  Reach it by scrambling about a hundred yards to the left of Frigid Air Buttress where  a rounded whitish apron leans against the lower wall. Scramble up ledges on its left side for a few hundred feet to a rope-up point where the rock steepens.

Protection Suggest change

Double set of cams to 3" + full set of nuts + one 6" cam.

At least 70m rope for the descent.