Type: Trad, 700 ft (212 m), 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: FRA: Derek & Giselle Field (2018)
Page Views: 582 total · 20/month
Shared By: Derek Field on Mar 21, 2019
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Aaron Mc, Justin Johnsen

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


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:

Pitches 1-4 (320 feet): As for Middle Earth. First pitch 5.9 offwidth; second pitch 5.8 left-leaning handcrack; third pitch move the belay; fourth pitch 5.7 dihedral and traverse back left into main chimney system. Linking P2+3 is recommended.

Pitch 5 (5.8, 100 feet): Instead of burrowing into the tunnel, climb the exfoliating left-facing corner just to the right. 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.

Pitch 6 (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 7 (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 8 (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.


Branches off from Middle Earth roughly halfway up the buttress.


Double set of cams to 3" + full set of nuts + one 6" cam
Two 60m ropes for the descent