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The Rainbow Wall

Routes Sorted
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Birdhunter Buttress T 
Brown Recluse T 
Desert Solitaire T 
Original Route, The T 
Paiute Pillar T 
Sergeant Slaughter T 

The Rainbow Wall Rock Climbing 


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Location: 36.11139, -115.49615 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 36,698
Administrators: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Mar 4, 2004
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Bivy site at Over the Rainbow ledge.

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Next to Mount Wilson, The Rainbow Wall is one of the most prominent natural features of the Red Rocks area. Visible all the way from the campground, it is also the location of most of the big wall routes in Red Rocks. The classic Original Route (5.12) was pushed up the center of the wall by Red Rocks pioneers Joe Herbst and Larry Hamilton back in 1973 and remains one of the most sought-after routes in the canyon today.

The wall is relatively north-facing and remains shady most of the year. It is also guarded by a bit of a hike... but hey, you can still usually get cell phone reception up there and in case your headlamp dies, the Luxor should serve you fine.

Historical note by Larry DeAngelo: The Rainbow Wall occupies an impressive historical niche. When Joe Herbst and Larry Hamilton climbed the wall in 1973, it was before almost every other serious route in the area. In fact, it was before most of the small routes too! At a time when NOBODY WAS EVEN CONSIDERING IT, these guys went out, committed, and completed the ascent. In the ensuing years, the route saw many attempts, but it was well into the next decade before anyone was successful. The original route was sufficiently challenging that three other routes were climbed (in 1983 and 1984) before the Herbst/Hamilton route yielded a second ascent.

Getting There 

The Rainbow Wall can be approached via either the Pine Creek or Oak Creek parking areas. If you are planning on hiking out down Oak Creek after your climb, the Oak Creek Lot is your best bet, but I usually approach via Pine Creek. Either way, hike into the guts of Juniper Canyon, working your way left to find a drainage that comes down from The Rainbow Wall. There is usually some sort of fixed rope (and maybe some water) coming down this chute. From here, hump up what Swain calls "600 lung-searing yards" of slabs to the base of the wall and your intended route. Overnight stays require a bivy permit.

Climbing Season



Weather station 3.1 miles from here

6 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in The Rainbow Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Rainbow Wall:
Birdhunter Buttress   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 9 pitches, 1000'   
The Original Route   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 14 pitches, 1000'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Rainbow Wall

Featured Route For The Rainbow Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 5 on Desert Solitaire Photo by Dan Krauss

Desert Solitaire 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A3+  NV : Red Rock : ... : The Rainbow Wall
The crux of this route seems to be the sixth pitch, moving past a small cactus on thin (equalized - in my case) gear - you really don't want to fall here. The first ascent of this route was done by Nick Nordblom, and he did it solo - way cool! I couldn't think of a better way to do the 2nd ascent, so I attempted to do it solo as well. After running out of rope on the first pitch (I set my belay too low..) in a thunderstorm, replete with lightning strikes in the canyon below, I decided I needed a...[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of The Rainbow Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A police helicopter buzzes a climber on Rainbow Wa...
A police helicopter buzzes a climber on Rainbow Wa...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow Wall on a sunny day
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall on a sunny day
Rock Climbing Photo: The approach to Rainbow Wall involves a lot of low...
The approach to Rainbow Wall involves a lot of low...
Rock Climbing Photo: One of a pair of peregrines, hunting below the Rai...
One of a pair of peregrines, hunting below the Rai...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow Wall. Photo by Blitzo.
Rainbow Wall. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow Wall Right Side - Sauron's Eye (V, 5.10d R...
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall Right Side - Sauron's Eye (V, 5.10d R...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow Wall Center  - Battle Royal is just right ...
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall Center - Battle Royal is just right ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Big Payback (V, 5.10, A3) goes up the obvious ...
BETA PHOTO: The Big Payback (V, 5.10, A3) goes up the obvious ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow Wall Overview
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall Overview

Comments on The Rainbow Wall Add Comment
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By Harlan Stockman
Feb 23, 2015
From a non-climber: These days, there is usually NO fixed rope at the base, when cutting left from Pine Creek. Fix: as one faces the obvious slick chute, go up the slab at left to reach a thin, almost horizontal ledge that heads left (east), then at the top cut up a small chute, then back right. Folks in rock shoes may go directly up the sides of the chute.
Rock Climbing Photo: view east at 3rd class approach
view east at 3rd class approach