Red Rock Day 4 – Willow Spring

Day 4 was Willow Spring – a neighbor to yesterday’s Ice Box Canyon, and as cold!

We showed up an hour earlier than usual – booked for 9 am park entry. Since the Willow Spring is around mile 7 of the loop road, it meant that we were at the car park around 9.20am.

We headed out for Hidden Falls Wall area, mostly because it was quite close.

The entire area was covered in shade, and we kind of knew it, so we brought extra layers, but as it later turned out, it wasn’t enough. It was around 12 or 13C, with rather strong cold winds through the days…

The first route we encountered – we climbed. It was a gnarly looking crack with an offwidth in the middle – called Black Track, that runs at 5.9 (or Around HVS 5a in our money).

Paul Leading Black Track.

Bolted belay at the top was a nice addition to the route, allowing us to get down efficiently.

Directly right of if was another route of interest: Sole Slasher AKA Big food –

This was totally different type – face climbing with 4 bolts. I wouldnt exactly call it sports – as it has massive runout at the top (8 or so meters), and what’s worse, the first bolt was probably 8m off the ground too (albeit if someone really wanted they could put a cam on the way to it).

This route has a 5.10a grade, Around French 6a+ (if anyone is wondering).

Below Paul at the upper section of Sole Slasher/Bigfoot

Paul on Foot Slasher.

Those two gave us a good warmup (albeit it was still quite cold!), so after a brief nap, we moved to a different sector.

Below: sleeping Slate Dragon no3.

Sleeping Slate Dargon number 3.

We got out of the shadows to the main path and move along the walls towards area known as Ragged Edges.

This is where some awesomenes lives: a ton of routes of different character and difficulties.

The section we focused on had these 3 routes we climbed:

Ragged Edges ( – 5.8 (around) Vs4c, 2 pitches – Mega classic crack smack in the middle of the wall – I did the P1, Paul did the 2nd. Top tip – bring big cams, #4-#6 (we didn’t) or you are running 20m out). The route itself is fantastic. Not too steep, but also not too easy either. The first pitch has more interesting moves, but I think overall they are easier than P2. P2 has harder crux, but its short lived (just off the belay) – then its just the battle with the exposure and lack of big cams for 40 meters.

Paul follwing p1 of ragged edges.

Above Paul following P1 of Ragged Edges.

Below Paul and half the gear placed on P2 of the same route (the middle cam is stuck there for a while- Jason – mission for you for next year to free it!)

Next was – Chicken Eruptus – – This is another classic of the wall – super exposed, super runout, 50m of continous super fun. 5.10b – (Paul thinks its around E2/3 5c). Clare and Calvin did it last time they were in this area 5 years ago. She thinks its more of an E3.

I got the pleasure to second it, and I can only say its the type of thing I’m certain I would never be able to lead. The route starts ok, very similar to neighbouring Ragged Edges, but higher you go, the holds thin out and the gear becomes more sparse and once you get to the hand traverse around 1/3 up(see pic at the top) – the game is on. The 2 bolts that protect the semi-blank section are super spaced out, tiny crimps are only visible due to residue of chalk of previous ascents, but they keep comming. Hats off to those who know how to beat this. Totally worth all the effort.

Above: Paul looking at the upper, exposed section of Chicken Eruptus . Its really hard to describe what it’s like being there. Page 246 of the guidebook has a fantastic picture, which I’m pasting below, just to show (as its impossible to photograph it while climbing).

After we were done with this one (both routes share the walk off descent to the right), we decided to do 1 more route – left of Ragged Edges crack, called Plan F –

This is actually a first pitch of a much harder multipitch – but since its easily accesible and mutch easier than the top section, often done alone. This 5.10a ran at about E1 5b, with the crux just below the bolted anchors. Paul lead it and I cleaned it on TR. While the route looks like a nice finger crack, you can actually just use the small features around it (ableit it’s totally possible to just stay in the crack).

Below: Paul at the mid section of Plan F.

While we were at all of this, Calvin and Clare were exploring other crags of the same areas. It was even colder further up (they parked at the 2nd car park of the Willow Springs). It was a good reserch so we know not to go there on a colder day! 🙂

Next update in a couple of days.

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