Type: Trad, 800 ft (242 m), 4 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 551 total · 28/month
Shared By: kenr on Jun 5, 2019
Admins: Justin Johnsen, Larry DeAngelo, Aaron Mc

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

Description

This route has the most "narrow exposed arete" climbing of the SW + South ridges of Calico Peak -- plus some other interesting situations, like crossing chasms. It takes the middle of the three ridges, and (unlike before August 2019) the climbing on it is pretty well worked-out from bottom to top.

Protection is the critical deficiency. The bottom wide ridge lacks belay anchors (and perhaps could use some directionals to protect the followers from side-swing impact), and while the lower part of the main narrow ridge has anchors, the upper part of the main narrow ridge lacks belay anchors - (then the connection to the Calico Viewcap summit does have some anchors).

So until someone works out some clever careful ways to construct more trad-gear or natural anchors, or (more likely) a team puts in some labor hours and expense to install fixed-bolt-hardware anchors, most of this route must be regarded as interesting Free Solo.

context: There are three South ridges for Calico Peak [see Photo]. The most prominent from the Red Rock Scenic Loop road is the left (W) one [see the route SouthWest Ridge], which goes up directly to the south ViewCap (N36.1585 W115.4380) - (which is not the highest summit) - and it requires more difficult climbing to get onto it near its bottom. The right (E) one [see the route Stone Sweet Ridge] aims more at the two highest summits of Calico Peak, but has some ups and downs along the way. There is also this middle ridge between those two with some rather interesting climbing + scrambling, which higher up connects with Stone Sweet Ridge to reach the Viewcap summit.

equipment: Tight-fitting technical rock-climbing shoes are not needed, because very few moves depend on stepping on small edges. But many moves stepping on slopy footholds, so a sticky-rubber rock-climbing style sole on a well-designed climbing-oriented approach shoe is valuable.

Using Trad gear to "fill in" the long runout sections is mostly unknown. Many climbers with lots of outdoor experience are well-capable of solo-ing this route in approach shoes (except for the risk of a hold breaking).

Hiking poles (collapsable) useful for approach and descent.

Effort: to the south ViewCap +935 ft uphill over 0.6 mile. Additional +130 ft uphill on return to Parking.

warning: Many loose rocks and weak breakable hand- and foot-holds on and around this route - (even when the rock is plenty dry). The rock becomes especially weak for a couple of days after significant rain or snow, so holds are even more likely to break off.

Location

The middle one of the three SW + S ridges going up to the South Viewcap of Calico Peak.

Base of the low Wide ridge is around (N36.1558 W115.4370)
. . . Top of low Wide ridge is around (N36.1566 W115.4369)
Base of Main narrow ridge is around (N36.1572 W115.4371)
. . . Top of main narrow ridge is around (N36.1584 W115.4376)
Viewcap is around (N36.1585 W115.4380)

Photos to be added soon.

parking: 2nd Pull-Out parking (GPS latitude longitude approx N36.1518 W115.4374) on the Red Rock Scenic Loop road is small for the amount of climbers and hikers. Spot the three SW + S ridges of Calico, and especially note the middle one for Red Slippers.

approach: Starting 2PO, hike about 300 ft N on trail descending, then at junction sharp Right down 130 ft E into wash. Next about 500 ft N without obvious trail, a bit above left (W) side from the wash.
. . . Variation: in very dry conditions instead of flirting with that hill, can just go 300 ft close along left side of wash, then NNE 250ft downward into center of wash (N36.1549 W115.4365).

Then in the midst of an uphill around the left side of a hill, at (N36.1549 W115.4371) turn sharp Right (E) and traverse 120 ft around right side of hill, and down into the bottom of the wash (N36.1551 W115.4367).
Next bear Left (NW) off the main track up rough about 150 ft into the bottom of a rocky gully, which is the normal approach to the Stone Wall sport crag.

Route

. . . (This description of a long + complicated route is rather new, has not had much experience or feedback from a range of climbers. So likely it contains info that's confusing or misleading to some -- or just plain wrong for anybody. So at this point it's really intended only for parties who can make their own judgments about where and what and how. And the way this description will get better is when climbers send improvements and corrections for this page -- so please do that).

low wide ridge
. . . This ridge lies between the narrower Stone Wall gully (below West) and the wider Sweet Pain gully (below East).

. . . (Since there are so far as of 2019 no known definite reliable belay anchors in this "low wide range" part. the division of the climbing into pitches is not meaningful for climbers so far -- but it is included as hints for hardware installers).

pitch 1a (5.4): Start with some thoughtful scrambling up the Stone Wall gully like 80-100 ft. In the right wall, see a narrow slopy ramp exiting the gully up diagonal right - [see Photo] - (if reach a wide gentler ramp, went too far - see Photo). Up that ramp (finding some positive handholds), then near its top turn up steep left to reach gentle ground.

pitch 1b (5.3): Walk a short ways trending right to reach wide (but not deep) gap. Scramble down Right (SE) into it, then face its left (NE) wall, and immediately find a narrow slopy ramp exiting the gully up diagonal right - [see Photo]. Up that ramp to gentle ground.

pitch 2a (4th class): Walk NE like 30-50 ft to reach tiny greenish "tank" (puddle often dry). Cross the chasm just NE from it.

pitch 2b (5.2) Walk N like 80-100 ft to another chasm. Cross E over that and immediatly turn Left up steep to reach flat top.
. . . Variation: Could avoid this and the next two chasms by instead staying left gentle.

pitch 3 (5.3): Walk / scramble roughly NE and cross down over another chasm (intimidating, and needs thought to find easiest way). Then another chasm. Finally NNE to the upper end of this wide ridge, and only gentle ground around (N36.1567 W115.4369).

. . . This point could also be reached more simply by going up the Stone Wall gully - (some of the most interesting gully scrambling anywhere) under the white chalk marks of the Stone Wall sport-climbing crag (N36.1560 W115.4370), followed by some zig-zagging to find a way thru the steep upper end.
. . . Or this point could be reached by scrambling up the wider gully under the white chalk marks of the "Sweet Pain" sport-climbing crag (N36.1560 W115.4366), which is helpful for learning the easier descent route.

Next scramble / hike up some open talus N about 150 ft toward the base of the Right-hand ridge (Stone Sweet). But well before reaching that, turn Left (W) and traverse about 65 ft to the steep base of the Middle ridge (Red Slippers), around (N36.1572 W115.4371). Find a small flat section below a small easy slab below steeper dark varnish rock on right half of the steep bottom of ridge.
- - > see Photo

main narrow ridge

pitch 4 (5.5): Up the short easy slab then somehow get onto the dark varnish face (crux, perhaps protect with BD #9 stopper?). Soon traverse right about twenty feet to reach the arete which is the right edge of the ridge bottom face. Up the arete (low-5th class) to two-bolt anchor (90-130 ft).

pitch 5 (3rd-4th class): Up the slab to two-bolt anchor on platform (N36.1573 W115.43715) under steep rock -- great situation with morning shade and big view (90-130 ft).

. . . Note that P1 + P2 could be combined with a 60-meter rope.

. . . Some climbers might feel just reaching here for a snack is sufficient reward for the day.

. . . Escape: Top of P2 is at the same level as the bottom of P1 of the route Stone Sweet Ridge. Easy scramble traverse to join that route or to descend the normal Middle Pass hike/scramble route down past the Sweep Pain sport crag.

pitch 6a (low-5th class): Get up onto face on right side of steep rock. Immediately traverse horizontal right to arete which forms the right edge of the face. Up the arete to two-bolt anchor (less than 100 ft).

. . . Protection for Follower? Would really be better if had some intermediate protection to prevent the Follower from swinging left across the face in case of a fall while on the arete. Also for the Leader in case a rock breaks on the arete.

. . . Escape : Possible rappel off R side of ridge from this top two-bolt anchor (but must sacrifice gear for that, since anchor as of 2019 is set only for belay, not rappel).

pitch 6b (3rd-4th class): Up non-steep ridge into gentle sheltered corner (N36.1576 W115.4372). Anchor with rope about rock and/or gear into obvious corner crack (even a carabiner or knot might hold in that crack).
- - > see Photo

. . . note: The single bolt on L face of corner which might be used to supplement other anchors in this corner -- or to protect the Follower from getting pulled off the ledge if Leader were to fall on the next (unknown) pitch. But as of 2019 although that bolt looks solid, it will rotate in its hole of turned with a wrench -- so needs to be replaced long-term.

. . . Escape: Tricky short 3rd-4th class down-climb into thorny bushes to reach easier scramble down gully between this ridge and the Stone Sweet Ridge. Leader could below (or lower?) followers from P3b anchor, then down-climb solo. (If a rappel is preferred, better from top of Pitch 4a).

. . . (Since there are so far as of 2019 no known definite reliable belay anchors from here above to the top of the main narrow ridge, the division of the following climbing into three pitches is not meaningful for climbers so far -- but it is included as hints for hardware installers).

pitch 7 (5.2): Diagonal left up non-steep past bolt to reach next section of the ridge - [see Photo]. Up that to reach a mini-cave - [see Photo] - (? possible to thread sling or cord thru hole in rock for belay ?).

pitch 8 (5.3): Around left side of mini-cave to another mini-cave. Another 50 ft or so to reach the knife-edge section - [see Photo] (N36.1579 W115.4375) - (if only this were longer). Then some additional interesting moves along left side of some higher rock, and reach a platform in left side of ridge.

pitch 9 (4th class): Up the ridge another 60 ft or so to a steep obstacle
. . . (escape possible down off right, but why?).
Up through weakness in its left side. Finish with about 50 ft of slopy scrambling to reach platform at top of this middle ridge.
. . . which is below left from platform at top of the Right ridge ("Stone Sweet").

Viewcap of Calico Peak
Very worthwhile to reach this big view over all Red Rock canyon (with optional more interesting climbing along the way).

pitch 10 = pitch 8 of the route "Stone Sweet Ridge"

pitch 11 = pitch 9 of the route "Stone Sweet Ridge"

For more climbing still higher on Calico Peak, consider the optional "South High Groove" finish to the route "Stone Sweet Ridge".

Descent 
Finding the SouthEast Gully route works nicely to get back down to Frostie Shack Pass and then out to 2nd Pull-Out parking.
. . . Note that the SE gully is the _second_ gully NorthEast from the Viewcap. Its top is around (N36.1592 W115.4376). Not to be confused with the first (more difficult) SSE gully.

. . . Lots of thoughtful scrambling on this descent, so unless everyone in your party is an experienced confident down-scrambler, allow two hours for getting back to Parking.

Protection

Each anchor in pitches 4 through 6 is two bolts with hangers, but so far in 2019 no connecting chain or rappel rings or quick-links.

So far in 2019, No intermediate bolts for protecting the Leader or directionals for protecting Followers against side-swing.

. . . All hardware is 304 Stainless Steel.
. . . The bolts of the P4 + P5 + P6 belay anchors are 4 x 0.375 inch Powers five-piece sleeve bolts.

Using Trad gear to "fill in" the long runout sections is mostly unknown.

Photos

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