Round Rock (S E Side)
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Round Rock on the right, Chinle Spire on the left....
Round Rock S E corner route does have "moki" steep carved into the rock;...for awys too;...but then it turns into loose chinmey and crack climbing;.....at about 5.8. From Eric's description in Desert Rock, he says there are moki steps AND protection bolts added by climbers. We saw the Moki steps, and , I believe , some belay anchors, but there was moderate 5th class climbing, and we were surprized;...(Them Anasazi were good climbers, no doubt.)
This route is located on the squat , large Mesa called round rock.. The formation is next to the awesome Chinle Spire, and just west of the settlement of Round Rock. Dirt Roads take you right to it. Snoop around until you find the Moki steps. Rap the route.
Bring at least a rack of cams, some slings,...modern gear to protect a 5.8 multi-pitch lead on sandstone.
Moki Steps at the start of the Round Rock Climb. ...
Dave Evans on Round Rock. Photo; Todd Gordon.
The rebar anchor. Photo; Todd Gordon
Round Rock sunset. Photo by Todd Gordon.
By toddgordon Gordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
May 14, 2007
I was always curious about this climb. Eric's Desert Rock didn't have much to say, except rating unknown. We thought to ourselves, if Anasazi did this route a thousand years ago, it should be "cake" for us with some token gear and rock shoes. We were wrong. We took a very small rack;..it was insuficient;...very insuficient. We had a few cams, some slings and biners, and a few pins, and one hammer;...only to place the pins if need be;..no extra hammer to remove them and replace them for protection up higher. We went up the moki steps, then it turned to real climbing;.....we had to climb with little or no protection, and the pins got used early in the climb, and then we had only one left which we ended up using to back up our top anchor. The climbing was loose, sketchy, dicey, scary, but not too hard;.....we made it to the summit. On the summit, there was no summit rap anchors;.....I have no idea if climbers had ever made it to the top;....if they did, How did they get down? Someone HAD been up to the summit, and I'm not sure it was Anasazi either. From what I have heard, treasure seekers (Moki robbers) flew around in Helicopters in the 60's on the Res to get to "difficult" places where there was artifacts....this was one of the places. I also believe the summit was reached by helicopter for commercial use;....advertisement;...whatever. We found steel rebar on the summit;......but no anchor....left behind by someone. We did have a hammer and a drill with us, and we drilled some holes and stuck the rebar in the holes and tied them off with slings and we had SOMETHING to rap off of. ......I don't know what we would have done without this.....It was a bizarre climb and bizarre situation. We had fun. It was a cold, windy day too;.....to add to the "magic.". When I lived in Lukachukai on the Res , which is the next town south from Round Rock, rumor had it that skinwalkers (evil medicine men) hung out at Round Rock; it was there meeting place and hauting grounds.....that sort of scared me. It's a beautiful place to experience and explore. I did this climb with Dave Evans, Brian Povolny, Cyndie Bransford, and Margy Floyd in April of 1992. This area is seldom visited.