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Brownstone Wall
Routes Sorted
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Armatron T 
Arms Reduction T 
Birthday Cake T 
Black Dagger T 
Cat Scratch Fever T 
High Anxiety T 
Hourglass Diversion T 
Hueco Thanks T 
J + J Swerve T 
Mayday Malefactor T 
Nightcrawler, The T,S 
Peanut Brittle T 
Pegg Leg T 
Pro Choice T 
Pro Life T 
Requiem for a Tadpole T 
Sand Castle T 
Sweet Thin T,S 
Ten Minute Shift T,S 
Three Choclateers T 
Time's Up T 


YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Geoff Conley, Jimmy Newberry, Joanne and George Urioste, Jeffre Johnson
Page Views: 22,263
Submitted By: Anthony Anagnostou on Mar 24, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: Armatron

Climbing in Red Rocks after heavy rain can permanently damage the rock! MORE INFO >>>


Armatron is excellent. Pitch three will become a red rocks super-classic when the word gets out. The others are merely fun climbing on good rock.

P1: Mosey up and left past 5 bolts before traversing left on plates to a belay station in the scoop visible from the ground (below a crack). ~95', 5.8ish.

P2: Climb the finger crack up and step right to the second crack when convenient (25 or 30'). Go up this crack until the angle slacks off into a sandy slab to the bottom of a large left-facing corner. Do not go up the corner. Step out onto the featured face on the right, where you will find a bolt after a couple yards. Keep heading up to another station in an unvarnished patch at the base of the beautiful chocolate pitch. ~165', 5.9.

P3: The money pitch. Step right, then head straight up on varnished plates forever. Load up the cracks with nuts and enjoy a rope length of perfect rock. ~160', sustained 5.6.

P4: Trend left off the belay, then follow the varnish up until stepping right on a ledge to another station. ~95', 5.6.

Descent: Rap the route. P4 raps with a single 60, and P1 probably does, although we didn't try.

I believe the route name comes from a robotic toy popular in the 80's. They were a lot of fun. So is this climb.


The route is on the brownstone wall, on the more broken right side. A major cleft up the middle of the wall divides the steeper left side from the aforementioned broken right side. On the right side, there are prominent patches of dark varnish near the base of the wall. The leftmost patch is on a pillar. Then there is a double patch further right, just above a slabby low-angle sandy apron of light-colored rock. Above the start of the climb, you can easily pick out the big stretch of perfect black rock with rectilinear (better word, anyone?) plating.

To get to the route, approach brownstone as for black dagger (up the talus, easy slabs) then follow cairns up and right until you can step onto the apron at the base of the route.

The route has 5 bolts on the first pitch, the first only a few feet off the slab, so you'll find it when you're close.


This route is heavy on the nuts. Most of your pro is slotting wires between excellent plates, so a double set of small and medium nuts is the basic rack, with a few big ones and a few tiny ones. Cams from blue alien to #2 camalot are nice, but you'd be hard pressed to use more than a single set. If you want to sew it up, consider yet more tiny, small, and medium nuts. If you happen to own them, small loweballs would make pro opportunities where nuts won't go, but you sure don't need 'em. And bring a ton of slings.

Photos of Armatron Slideshow Add Photo
Jorge Urioste leading third pitch, Armitron
Jorge Urioste leading third pitch, Armitron
Greg Barnes leading the stellar third pitch on Arm...
Greg Barnes leading the stellar third pitch on Arm...
Summit shot of Dad and I.
Summit shot of Dad and I.
Matt coming up the amazing 3rd pitch of Armatron, ...
Matt coming up the amazing 3rd pitch of Armatron, ...
Allison Mazzon cruising.  Photo S. Cox
Allison Mazzon cruising. Photo S. Cox
Gigi cruises the money pitch on Armatron.
Gigi cruises the money pitch on Armatron.
The Armatron route from a distance. Also shown eif...
BETA PHOTO: The Armatron route from a distance. Also shown eif...
Councilman Costello on top of the small summit of ...
Councilman Costello on top of the small summit of ...
Bighorn stopping at the base of Armatron to check ...
Bighorn stopping at the base of Armatron to check ...
Looking down the 3rd pitch from the middle of the ...
Looking down the 3rd pitch from the middle of the ...
Jascha on P4
Jascha on P4
Coming up the stellar third pitch. November 2009.
Coming up the stellar third pitch. November 2009.
The approach slabs and northern section of the Bro...
The approach slabs and northern section of the Bro...
Top of pitch one.  Interesting rock.
Top of pitch one. Interesting rock.
View of 'Armatron' from the Juniper Canyon drainag...
BETA PHOTO: View of 'Armatron' from the Juniper Canyon drainag...
Pitch 2, 5.9 finger crack section.
Pitch 2, 5.9 finger crack section.
Climbers reaching the belay at the base of pitch 3...
Climbers reaching the belay at the base of pitch 3...
Racing the sunset on "Armatron," 20 Marc...
Racing the sunset on "Armatron," 20 Marc...
The upper climber is leading the varnished third p...
The upper climber is leading the varnished third p...
Todd on P3
Todd on P3
The upper pitches of Armatron. A river of varnish.
BETA PHOTO: The upper pitches of Armatron. A river of varnish.
Jesse and Matthew
Jesse and Matthew
rapping from the anchors to the left that i spoke ...
BETA PHOTO: rapping from the anchors to the left that i spoke ...
J. Connell Leading Pitch 2, just beyond the initia...
J. Connell Leading Pitch 2, just beyond the initia...

Show All 40 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 27, 2014
By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 5, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a


The most chalked varnish hold directly above the bolt on P2 (the crux moves) is on it's way out. I'm a big guy and the hold flexed when I started pulling on it. It's fairly easy to grab some varnish on your left and skip that block. Pulling it off would send it right towards your belayer. If you look at the yellow sandstone holding it onto the wall you'll see the decay happening.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 29, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This climb is not in any guidebook. It's amazing what good stuff is still all over the place at Red Rocks!

Does anybody know where this route is relative to High Anxiety and The Nightcrawler (in Swain)? I assume it is right of them? Can you alternatively descend left and down the Gunsight, as with High Anxiety? I suppose it might be a long walk compared to 4 raps. Also, I assume you cannot rap the route with one 60m rope?
By Greg Barnes
Apr 10, 2006

George, Armatron is WAY right of Nightcrawler, probably a quarter mile or so - see the photo on this site. You need 2 ropes to rap (kind of a shame, since the first and 4th pitches are 90' and this is a great combo with MysterZ or Rose Hips or Aquarium).

We added a new left variation to the first pitch of Armatron, fun climbing, around 5.9 R. Start in the gentle "scoop" about 40' left of the bolted start (about 2/3 of the way to the big crack/corner), slab climb up 5.7/8 to a nut placement about 30' up, then climb right along the horizontal crack to the most prominent thin crack (a big loose flake is a few feet to the right). Up that until it pinches off, then crux thin face moving up and right to the anchor (clip the 5th bolt on Armatron). All you need is thin nuts (include RPs) and a couple small cams (I used a #1 TCU and a green alien), although there was a great 3.5" hole along the horizontal crack (just a bit too big for a #3 Camalot). Most people will want to TR, but it's a fun lead if you're comfortable at the grade. The small nut placements didn't have the micro-scraping that indicated prior use, but of course someone could have led this before and just run it out more. If not, FA of the left variation is Greg Barnes, Karin Wuhrmann 4/06.
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 10, 2006

Great route, we climbed this today after linking it with MysterZ. You could also meet up with this route by climbing to the top of Geronimo and then climb two more pitches to the top (5.8+). I especially liked the knotted sling left on the 5.9 pitch of Armatron as fixed pro or bail gear. We considered climbing past the fourth pitch to the top of the Wall - looked scenic.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 11, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Thanks, Greg and Anthony for answering my questions.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 26, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Did the route last week and found it excellent. The top two pitches are fantastic and almost monotonous in their regularity! I would like to hear a geologist's explanation of how this strange rectilinear plating was formed. They are completely covered with desert varnish, which seems odd.

We didn't try it but it appears that if you go over the top you can walk down to the right (NE). We also rapped p1 & p4 with a single 60m. I'd recommend this due to all the knobs which snag the ropes. It's good to use as little rope as possible.
By Todd Lane
From: LV, NV
Nov 11, 2006

Great Route! Mike McGlynn and I made the approach in about 1 hr 25 min - coming back took about 1 hour and 40 min. A great, full day. Awesome views eveywhere. If this climb were closer to the road - you'd surely wait in line to get on it! One small bit of beta - there is what looks like an fantastic block right in the middle of the traverse on pitch two as you move from the left crack to the right crack. It is about 1 foot square and 6 inches thick, black face with white sandstone surrounding it - its days are numbered! I knocked on it and it is definitely waiting for the wrong load to break it free. If and when it comes off, it will head straight down to the belay. You don't need it to get through the traverse. There was another party behind us - one of the climbers is a long time Red Rocks climber with years of experience who agreed with my assessment - your call - just be safe.
By rex parker
From: las vegas n.v
Nov 27, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Ok Armatron was good, but Greg that variation to the left are you sure, that is new, I think, (don't know for sure) but is that maybe the climb called The Birthday Cake? Now me and my buddy carried a 70 and a sixty meter rope, up you can rap the 4th pitch with a 70 meter rope, you can go from the 3rd pitch with a 70 meter rope and rap to the left of the black arete and about a 3rd of the way down your rope on you left will see a two bolt anchor in a standing left facing corner, (maybee the second pitch of Birthday Cake? From there you can rap down, staying left of the slotted dark brown corner, over white rock to a standing corner with two bolted anchors, from their you follow the natural line over a small roof, a 70 meter will get you 10 feet off the ground on angled 5th class, but you're in a crack that you can down climb, so the route can be done with a single 70 meter this way, if you want to go light 'cause it's a small journey back there. The routes in the sun this time of the year till about 3:30, cheers, rex
By Anthony Anagnostou
From: nyc
Apr 15, 2007

Re: Rex Parker's comment. I don't have my guidebooks nearby, but I'm pretty sure Birthday Cake is way right on the wall. I believe it is a low-angle route that wanders up the obvious weaknesses, not a steep(er) face route on the main face. I believe Bday Cake is the farthest right route on the Brownstone East formation.

Regarding your picture of the rap, I didn't see exactly where you are rapping from, but if it is where I think it is- the face just left of Armatron, right off the slab, that is a separate route out left of Armatron that presumably continues up. That rap station is on a small ledge in a corner just right of the big, hanging face.
By smassey
From: CO
Mar 24, 2009

Re: continuing past the fourth pitch. 5th pitch is maybe 5.4 (not 5.7 as in the Handren guide), three bolts, gear anchor on Humerus Ledge. Either thrash through the cl4 holly up to the right, or do the 6th pitch up Humerus Tower. This is 5.5, two bolts (maybe three?) to a bolt anchor. A short cl3 downclimb leads one to an exposed cl3/4 scramble to the top of Brownstone Wall. Enjoy the view, then walk off to the north, via a cairned trail (some slab slithering required near the bottom).
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Nov 16, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Definitely an enjoyable route on some great rock up higher. I'd highly recommend topping out and signing the summit register. The view from the summit of the peak is astounding and the walk off goes quickly. Rapping down through some of that featured rock seems like it could easily result in a stuck rope anyway.

5.9 leaders should not be worried about the rating of this line. If there was any 5.9 climbing on this route I didn't notice it and the protection is great. The rest of the climbing is easier than 5.9 and super fun.
By Andrew Carson
From: Wilson, WY
Mar 10, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Now, having done the route a couple of times, I'd say that the easiest line on the first pitch does not coincide with the bolts. No biggie, it is fun climbing with options, but don't get hung up on staying close to the bolts -- good pro available if you wander.
By Floridaputz
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Mar 23, 2010

I found this route to be good fun. All the pitches are excellent. My first impression was that the rap would be a horror show with this highly featured face. However I was pleasantly suprised that it is not as bad as it looks. From P4 to P3 do a single rope rap. This is the most highly featured face. a 60m will do this with room to spare. then, 3 douple rap's. The anchors are well placed to avoid trouble.
By Lynn S
Mar 26, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

We approached this by doing MysterZ on Jackrabbit, easy link up. Topped out on the peak with a little scrambling, signed the register and scrambled easily down to the E on a well marked trail right back to our packs.

Excellent route, the first 4 pitches are the best, the last two are okay and the views from the top of the peak are outstanding. The 5.6 plate pitch is simply a blast.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
May 2, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great route- linked with Myster Z (a single rack to 2" and a set and a half of nuts was perfect for this). We were climbing in the sun all day, but still near freezing with the gusts up to 30mph or more on route- felt sorry for the two dudes on Crimson!

Well worth doing, and the third pitch alone is worth the hike- incredible. Also worth topping out on- the casualness of the descent was pretty awesome, incredibly tame by RR standards and saves you the trouble of lugging a second rope up there- all in all the descent from summit to base took probably 15 minutes, maybe 20.
By Tom Fralich
From: Fort Collins, CO
Dec 6, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Fun climb, but surely this must be the easiest 5.9 in Red Rocks. I found it easier than Black Dagger, Dark Shadows, and most of the 5.8's I've done. Good for the new 5.8 leader as most of the climbing is 5.6.
By Jeff Stephens
From: Carbondale, CO
Oct 13, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed this Oct 7 and found it to be a fun way to the top of Juniper Peak. Great views all day of Rainbow Wall. Casual, well-protected face-climbing all the way up. I found the crux to be the last move of the third-class exit above the climb. An exposed step while humping a thorny oak shrub with my rope and slings snagged behind me on tenacious branches had me laughing.

Do not make the mistake of thinking you can just walk off to the north. From the descriptions I had read I was expecting a more northerly descent gully and I led us into the wrong gully (broad and brushy at the top but cliffs out) which had clearly seen some passages by other wayward climbers. The proper descent begins at a large tree just on the north side of the small summit plateau. From there the route goes eastward off the peak, down a cleft, becoming the typical RR miracle walk-off connecting little ramps and ledges and grooves and gullies and slabs right back to your stuff.
By Peter Franzen
From: Phoenix, AZ
Nov 21, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great route. I did it in late November and we were in the sun all day; we left the Pine Creek lot at around 7am, took an hour and a half each way on the walk in/out, and were back at the car at 4:30pm. It was astonishingly windy at the top of the peak with gusts in the 40mph range, so the walk-off seemed like a better option than rappelling.

A few thoughts:

1. You could do the entire route on a double set of nuts and a bunch of slings & quickdraws. I had a single set of cams up to a #2 camalot, but I only used a few of them in horizontal placements with tons of good nut opportunities nearby.

2. Don't get suckered into the corner at the top of Pitch 2. It's not a big deal, but you have to move the belay over to the correct spot on the face after your second comes up.

3. We topped out, and did the whole route on a single 70m rope. We went to the top of Pitch 5 and then started scrambling up the gully. The first section of gully was no problem, but we found 2 extremely exposed sections towards the top where a fall would result in certain death. We were pretty ok with it, but I would be nervous with a complete beginner up there.

4. The walk-off was easy to find and well marked with cairns, and it took ~20 minutes or so to get back down to the base.

5. It was fun basking in the sun all day while watching parties climb in the shade for literally the entire day on Crimson Chrysalis. :)
By Patrick Mulligan
Nov 22, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

We did this route last Friday. Great route, but I would say that the 5.9 rating is uncharacteristic of Red Rock. It felt more like a couple of moves of 5.8 to me, although the crux moves are steep. That said its a great time and deserving of classic status. It got very windy high on the route, with huge gusts that made communication and even standing at belays challenging. The hike in took us 1:06, but I was following a friend who's a bit of a billy goat and I knew where we were going. The hike out was about the same.

Peter - I'm wondering if we were behind you. The party who was in front of us got suckered into the belay at the base of the corner at the top of pitch two forcing us to follow suit as they moved their belay to the correct anchor. They then totally disappeared after pitch 5. We continued up the arete to the top and found that to be pleasant and easy but very exposed to the high winds.
By Peter Franzen
From: Phoenix, AZ
Nov 29, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Patrick-- Yep, it sounds like we were the party in front of you; sorry if we held you up at that belay! We only stayed on the summit for a minute or two due to the wind.

The exposed class 3/4 section was at the very top, after the little downclimb that one would do from the top of the P6 tower. While we were making our way up it I was wondering if we took a wrong turn somewhere, but it did look like more than a few people had thrashed through the same shrubs that we were moving through. We kept heading up and West/climber's left until we hit the ridge.
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Dec 27, 2011

Route saw a lot of sun on this warm December Day. It took us just under 9 hours CTC with average hiking speed (from the Oak Creek dirt parking lot in the loop), linking the upper pitches to the summit of Juniper Peak, and breaks for breakfast, and an afternoon snack on the summit. : ).

The descent (walk-off) down the proper gully is quick and mellow by Red Rock standards. The 3rd pitch was one of the best pitches for it's grade in Red Rock, IMO. Would do this route again- beautiful!
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Dec 28, 2011

We did not use anything bigger than a 0.75 Camalot. With a 60 meter rope, we were able to link pitches 4 and 5 to Humerus Ledge. We were on route from about 11am to 3pm and we were in the sun the entire time, not bad for December 27, with the sun just about as low in the sky as it gets all year.
By Patrick Mulligan
Mar 29, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Peter - just noticed you replied. No worries man - it was a nice day out in the hills!

We were a little confused about where to go after downclimbing the tower as well. We went straight back and up the gully for about 10 feet then took a sharp right on a ledge with a tree and a shrub. There was some exposed stepping around the bush and a decent amount of sand, but it was apparent that the route was traveled and the ledge brought us almost directly to the summit of Juniper Peak.
By Vince Neil
Apr 23, 2012

At the top of the 5.9 hand crack there is an obvious toaster oven sized 'Thank God' type hold which I happily yarded on until I felt it creak, groan, and flex considerably...thankfully it did not come off because there was a large group of hikers at the base and it woul'dve been a massacre. Although soft for 5.9 the handcrack was fun and the varnished plate pitches were very unique....Recommend going to the summit its worth it. Despite all those bolts it was a good outing overall.
By DaveF
From: Durango, CO
Feb 26, 2013

I loved this route. Classic RR climbing. Not quite sure of the grade but that's always up for debate. The route description says rap the route. We topped out and and then traversed right all the way around the formation to an easily accessible and mellow down climb. Could have done it in flip flops. It takes you directly to the large rock ramp/ledge that forms the platform for the start of the first pitch.

We linked Myster Z to this route for a long and enjoyable day. Myster Z's a solo for the most part and tops out at the base of Armitron. Climbed it in December and I had my shirt off tanning at Armitron's base. Gotta say that was a super sweet sunny day.
By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Apr 10, 2013

Anyone know anything about top pitch or climbs to left and right? From top of pitch 3 you can get down in 2 60m raps if you use station in corner midway up p2.
By matt matera
Apr 23, 2013

This climb is now in the Handren guidebook. And for those who choose to rap, you are missing three more incredible pitches. the last pitch to the summit is from the humerus ledge and is the last pitch of Requiem for a Tadpole. I loved these three pitches, two of which are on an arete. Plus the views from the top of the Brownston wall are great and the descent is very easy, 30 minutes. And I have seen multiple parties gettheir ropes stuck on the rap. You choose but the top out is great.
By ACassebeer
From: Mojave, CA
Sep 6, 2013

A link to our Trip Report:

Trip Report: Armatron, 5.9, Red Rocks
By Ksween
From: Wakefield, RI
Oct 23, 2013

Anyone ever traverse out right from the top of the 3rd pitch out to a bolted arete? Is this on another route? Maybe requiem for a tadpole? Seemed to make the route a bit more consistent with rock quality and difficulty.
By Scott H.
From: Sandy, UT
Dec 16, 2013

We finished at the Humerous ledge using the bolts on requiem for a tadpole IIRC then scrambled to the summit and walked off. Pitch 5 was almost an entire 70m rope length. One of the anchors at the top of pitch 3 was a bit loose.
By G. Vesp
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
Feb 17, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Fantastic day on a fantastic route. Feb. 17th in the mid 70's, almost no winds and a view of the Rainbow Wall all day! IMHO this is a great route for the moderate leaders. I generally lead 5.6 - 5.7 trad and found this route to be well within my comfort zone. All the belays are bolted, and the route takes gear whenever you feel like stopping to place it. A double rack of nuts and single cams to a #2 is all you will need. I think I placed four cams on the entire route with all the other placements being nuts. This is a super fun, super safe route that I think is a most do. Have Fun!!!
By Steve123
May 11, 2014

Two reasonably fit climbers, who were familiar with the hike to Juniper Canyon from the Pine Creek parking area (but only as far as Geronimo/Myster Z), completed the approach in 2 hours 20 minutes.

The crux of the route is a short section of finger crack on pitch 2. If you do not feel like climbing that section, the face to the right of it goes at maybe 5.8 or so. The rest of the climb is much easier.

The entire climb all the way to the summit is easily protectable with just a double set of nuts. I used a .5 (purple) and .75 (green) Camalot when building my anchor on the Humerus ledge, but they were not necessary, just convenient, and I wanted to use them since I had hauled them up the route.

The scramble to the summit from the top of the route is not trivial. It involves a sandy, brushy, narrow ramp leading up and left. There are parts where a fall would be fatal. However, it is easier and more secure than it looks like from the vantage of the anchors at the top of the route.

While standing at the summit, there is an easy-to-see trail of cairns that leads you AWAY from the proper descent, apparently towards Pine Creek Canyon. Do not follow these cairns. Instead, turn so that the Brownstone Wall and Las Vegas are to your right, and continue forward over a white secondary summit, until you find a second set of cairns that leads to the easy descent. Early in the descent, you come across a slab/shield of white rock with cairns visible below but no obvious way down. To skiers left there is a treacherous downclimb involving brush and brittle flakes of rock. Do not go this way. To skiers right there is a downclimb through a hole/tunnel - this is the right way to go. The rest of the descent to the base of the route is easy hiking with some sections of loose rubble.
By mousebob
Nov 27, 2014

Great climb. Long approach

Single set of cams to 2" plus 1 set of nuts is sufficient. Smallest cam I brought was a blue alien and I did not place this.

Definitely consider topping this out. The last 2 pitches are super easy. Second to last pitch is 5.5 like other users have commented - not 5.7.

The walk off from the top is very casual.
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