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Yellow Brick Road 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Original:  YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
Page Views: 788
Submitted By: Aaron Hobson on Aug 15, 2006

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Robert Machina looking down on the 2nd pitch belay...


This climb has two worthy challenges: puzzling route-finding and variations for the first pitch, high exposure and some commiting moves up the second pitch.

The R&I topo shows the first pitch starting somewhere up on the low angled scramble beneath the descent gully. It depicts 5.5 climbing traversing in from the left on ledges. More direct variations work as well, but the protection can be tricky. There are many shallow corners with tight seams that can be followed, all of them relatively low-angled, but not always easily protectable. Aim for an old 1/4" bolt (which can be backed-up) which is shared by Wizard of Ooze. While that route traverses left here, this route tends right towards an obvious break in the roof above with a large block in front of it. Belay on top, or behind this block.

The second pitch takes a nice corner system up to the summit, and has some great exposure.


Starts on the low-angle scrable beneath the descent gully. Head for the obvious break on the right side of the upper headwall. Descend as for Wizard of Ooze.


A standard rack will suffice, with an emphasis on tiny wires if you want to protect the thin seams on variations to the first pitch. A large fixed piton is passed 15 ft beneath the belay for the 2nd pitch. This could be used as an alternative belay for this route or Wizard of Ooze.

Photos of Yellow Brick Road Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: View up Pitch 1.
BETA PHOTO: View up Pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: The three-star version. Original photo Aaron Hobso...
BETA PHOTO: The three-star version. Original photo Aaron Hobso...

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By Forrest Wilcox
From: Las Cruces, NM
Aug 12, 2012
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

One of the rappel stations in the descent gully can be reached by traversing right from the top of Pitch 2, if you need to bail. Just thought I'd post this, because it sure came in handy for me in the middle of the night.
By Karl Kiser
Dec 9, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

There is an alternate start to this route. One can climb Not in Kansas to the first anchor and belay. The second pitch is a traverse, from right to left, which finishes at the big block. It isn't too hard, but the protection placements are few (do not pass up opportunities).
By Marta Reece
From: Las Cruces, NM
Jul 28, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

"Wizard Road" - starting with Wizard of Ooze and continuing on Yellow Brick Road. A quality route (and according to Pat Geoannini the way the Yellow Brick Road had been climbed back in the day).

P1: (130 ft) Start from a ledge under dead sotol, up a corner. As the corner ends, under a 5-foot spike of rock, there is a piton in a horizontal crack. It would be nice to back it up (it’s been there for over 35 years), but it’s not that easy. Step right into another corner, this time protectable. It steepens, even overhangs on the right, but it can be laybacked, and there are great holds on top of the right side. Continue a bit to the right over a slab to catch the next corner up. It’s dirty, with a couple of bushes (mercifully out of your way) and leads all the way to the top of the Wizard pinnacle and a single, but great, bolt.

P2: (120 ft) Take the ledge heading right and continue right over the small buttress-like structure. Go past the 1/4-inch bolt and continue up on the featured terrain to its right. Take the corner leaning a bit to the left and then head up again. You can stay in the trough as far as the aluminum piton and then back off a bit to get past the bulge, or go over it, or head to the right to begin with. In any case, go through the gap between the large boulder/buttress and the mildly overhanging head wall. Build an anchor in what you can find on the other side. The cracks are mostly between smallish rocks, so one needs to be picky.

P3: (110 ft) Get up on the boulder left of the belay and step over to the face above. Head left to the leftmost break in the head wall, the one with nothing besides bulging stuff to the right of it, not sharp breaks. It looks a lot worse than it is. Once there, you can protect the moves before committing to them. Also, once you step out and stem the thing, it’s not that bad. The holds and the placements are all there. Once up, you take the slab to your left and follow it, go up and follow it some more. When there is an opening allowing you to go straight up take it, all the way to the top.

The scramble from there will include the pile of rocks to the east of you. You may rope up for it, or not. Head east, through an old dead tree, continue traversing behind a live one and around the one right after it, and then go down just short of the cactus. Stick to the rock on the west side of the gully. The two-bolt rap anchor is on it. It’s a two-rope rap. There is an intermediate something, but I have not used it and it looks old. Ending your rappel right under the last vertical wall will provide you with an overhang protection from loose rocks as your partner raps down. From there, scramble down and to the west before going down again. Traverse west to the start of the route.
By Ian Harris
From: Las Cruces NM
Oct 5, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Marta is right about the combination of Wizard and Yellow Brick Road. It makes for a good route, 5.7+ with some committing moves. Stepping across the chimney from the 2nd pitch boulder is an exciting experience.
By Marta Reece
From: Las Cruces, NM
Jan 1, 2014
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

We have tried to follow the topo for Yellow Brick Road. The first pitch is basically a dirty fourth class, maybe with a move or two here and there, but definitely with low angle with bushes and cactus etc. Pitch 1 belay is not actually on the topo, but I assume it would have been just below the overhangs or so.

Start of Pitch 2 goes over the bulge. It's overhanging and the rock does not inspire confidence. We bailed left to the normal way of reaching the ledge above the Wizard.

The way I see it, the link-up we have been climbing and calling Yellow Brick Road, and ticking as Yellow Brick Road, IS Yellow Brick Road. Pat Geoannini says that back in the day they climbed it that way exclusively, after the one time when he tried to stay on the right and ended up pulling out a chunk the size of a microwave damn near onto himself. Karl Kiser also said he climbed it this way.

It's a good line, a three-star line. It's what brings people to the Lambda Wall. It's what motivated us to put in a trail and clip all the catclaw on it.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Nov 10, 2014

Yesterday, we followed Marta's description for Wizard Road (it is in a comment above). What a great route! I think it deserves it's own 'route' page - even if that consisted of words to just 'glue together' the first pitch of Wizard of Ooze and the last pitch of Yellow Brick Road. That way, folks can rate it, tick it, etc.. It shouldn't be buried in a comment! :-)

Also, I believe the 1/4 inch bolt has been upgraded - nice work!

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