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Lower Canyon

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Lower Canyon Rock Climbing 


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Location: 35.71486, -114.92569 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: DesertDan on Aug 21, 2015
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Description 

The Lower Canyon has the highest concentration of climbs at Keyhole, with routes ranging from 5.0 to 5.13 and boulder problems up to V10. The rock throughout Keyhole Canyon is quartz monzonite with a lot of desert varnish on the faces outside the wash. It has the feel and flavor of the small-grained, heavily varnished areas of J-Tree, including the serious nature. Climbing has been done here regularly since the 60s, with the earliest known technical climbers being the Sierra Club.

Most of the petroglyphs at Keyhole reside in the Lower Canyon also. Some excellent pictographs can be found in the Indian cave under the boulders at the mouth of the canyon, and an eclipse on the backside of the fin rock to the right of the stairs under the big boulder choking the wash. BLM lists Keyhole as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), and requires climbing to be 100' from rock art here. Any routes described inside of this restricted area are for historical purposes only and every climber should respect rock art by staying off and not touching it in any way.

There are no sport climbs anywhere at Keyhole. The area is steeped in traditional climbing with old-school grading, and the handful of routes that protect entirely with bolts tend to be run out and committing. The routes that protect naturally or are mixed also tend to be run out and committing. Finding gear here can be tricky, with many obscure or technical placements. Bolts are used sparingly on lead and even less so for anchors. Only a couple of climbs have fixed anchors at the top, and those only because no natural gear was available. Please do not add top anchors or bolts to climbs.

Leading with a nut tool to clean out clogged seams can be useful as well as extra micro cams, and brass and ball nuts. That being said, Keyhole still has a bunch of climbs that are beginner-friendly and protect in a straightforward manner. AND everything can be top roped.

If you're looking for convenience, there's none to be found here. It's 25 miles from the nearest town, full of sharp plants, poisonous critters, and is hot six months out of the year (which only accentuates the balancy, slippery, insecure feeling known as Keyhole Weirdness). If you do make the effort to come here, you'll be rewarded with super fun climbing in an awesome, uncrowded, and remote setting.

Getting There 

The Lower Canyon is the first part of Keyhole you'll get to, and runs from the fenced mouth up to the top of the first waterfall.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 17.2 miles from here

55 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',19],['2 Stars',27],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',7],['5.7',3],['5.8',9],['5.9',7],['5.10',18],['5.11',7],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',1],['V2-3',1],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',1],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Lower Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Lower Canyon:
Demonstrator   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   80 Foot Wall
Red Shoes   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Front Slabs
Born Talking   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Front Slabs
Shoshone Tears   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   Front Slabs
I Did It My Way   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Front Slabs
Chicken Leg   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Chicken Leg
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Lower Canyon

Featured Route For Lower Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: George Smith on TR. Courtesy of Adam Pierce photo ...

Rats-n-Bees 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Nevada : Keyhole Canyon : ... : Waterfall Area
Start on the low angle shoulder, angle up and right under a small roof to a small stance/ledge under a bolt. Go straight up past the bolt to a two-bolt anchor. A top rope can be set up on this by climbing the flowstone to the low-angle ramp on the left that leads straight to the anchors....[more]   Browse More Classics in Nevada

Photos of Lower Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jon DeBoer performing tyrolean shenanigans.
Jon DeBoer performing tyrolean shenanigans.
Rock Climbing Photo: Routes on Lower Canyon south side. Photo: George S...
Routes on Lower Canyon south side. Photo: George S...
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo: George Smith. Left to right: Chuckwalla Cou...
Photo: George Smith. Left to right: Chuckwalla Cou...
Rock Climbing Photo: Joel Adams setting up the tyroly for the 2007 Clas...
Joel Adams setting up the tyroly for the 2007 Clas...
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting Keyhole Classic bonfire 2007.
Starting Keyhole Classic bonfire 2007.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking across the canyon from the top of the tyro...
Looking across the canyon from the top of the tyro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Luna Harbour about to cross the tyrolean.
Luna Harbour about to cross the tyrolean.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking across at the top of Snake Eyes and Demons...
Looking across at the top of Snake Eyes and Demons...
Rock Climbing Photo: Creative rock stack.
BETA PHOTO: Creative rock stack.

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