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Rabbit Ears Slabs
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Bucky Blue 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
Page Views: 801
Submitted By: Aaron Hobson on Jan 30, 2008

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This route is great: beginner climbing, solid protection all over, fun moves over clean rock, and relatively straight-forward route-finding. To top it all, it is in the shade in the summer until after noon.

Pitch 1 (100 ft): Climb directly up to a small lichen-covered block next to a small (8 ft) juniper tree. Make a traverse move to the right (5.7) to above the tree. Continue along the crack in the slab above or in the corner to the left of it to a belay on a narrow ledge with a prominent prickly pear on the right.

Pitch 2 (120 ft): Go straight up to to a horizontal crack, traverse left using the crack for feet and continue up at a flake to an easy ground. Alternative way of going right is less straightforward but works also. Neither way is particularly protectable and both lead to an easy scramble above. Either climb the large, right-facing corner (5.7) and belay from above the point where it turns left, or take an easier crack system to the right of it, to gain a large ledge next to a huge dead juniper.

Pitch 3 (100 ft): Continue in the corner up through a nice layback section (5.6) to a ridge line. Belay from a gear anchor on the ridge.


This route follows varied features starting on the right-hand slab of Rabbit Ears Slabs. To find the route, look for a small trapezoid roof covered in bright green lichen, just left of a small juniper tree. The tree and roof are about 60 ft high above the bottom of the slab. The route than continues up a large right-facing corner left of a large juniper.

Rappel: There is a rap station just left of the end of the corner in a pinch between two boulders. The big tree serves as a second rap station. Rapping down from it to the ground works with two 70m ropes. I am dubious about two 60m's. Anybody with info on that, please comment.

Walk-off: It is possible to scramble down on the other side of the ridge into a gully leading to the right. The gully is dirty at first, but soon becomes merely boulders and okay. When it turns into a slab, exit to the right and traverse the slab to the start of Bucky Blue.


The first juniper (60 ft high) is small and in poor shape and should not be used for protection or as an anchor. The route protects well with small to mid-sized pieces.

Photos of Bucky Blue Slideshow Add Photo
On approach, turn right and leave the bottom of Rabbit Ears Canyon just before the large tree dominating this image. The dead tree and the sotol (yucca) on top of the large boulder make good landmarks.
BETA PHOTO: On approach, turn right and leave the bottom of Ra...
The tree at the start of Pitch 1.
BETA PHOTO: The tree at the start of Pitch 1.
View of the climb from below
BETA PHOTO: View of the climb from below
Second half of Pitch 2 is in the large, right-facing corner to a belay above the tree, if your are ambitious. Or it goes up the crack on the right to the large tree if you are more conservative.
BETA PHOTO: Second half of Pitch 2 is in the large, right-faci...
Amy Harvey coming up Pitch 1. The small tree just below her and little to her left is weak and should be avoided as an anchor.
BETA PHOTO: Amy Harvey coming up Pitch 1. The small tree just ...
View up the start of Pitch 3 from the large tree. The climb stays a bit to the right of the corner at first, to avoid some vegetation, but returns to the corner for the remainder of the climb.
BETA PHOTO: View up the start of Pitch 3 from the large tree. ...
Pitch 1 belay is just to the right of the roof. Below the big tree in this image.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 1 belay is just to the right of the roof. Be...
Comments on Bucky Blue Add Comment
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By Aaron Hobson
From: Las Cruces, NM
Jan 30, 2008

There is an old 1/4" bolt on a slab to the left of the route after the first "crux". This looks like it leads to a weakness in the headwall to the left of the large right-facing corner, but probably is a grade or two harder.

This wall lends itself well to meandering. One can take off in different directions and still be on 5.6 climbing with good pro.

The name of this route is one I've heard from other climbers, when referring to this area, and I hope I've properly identified it.

Karl Kiser informs me that this route is also called Barb's Buttress, which I mistakenly thought was the name of the entire wall.

By jcardon
From: Las Cruces, NM
Apr 26, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This certainly is a great beginner trad lead for those who are comfortable with the grade. There is a descent out using the canyon on your right as seen from the top ridge. This canyon faces west toward town. This descent is quite smooth and straight forward.

By Marta Reece
From: Las Cruces, NM
Jul 29, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

If you are into restriction games, Pitch 3, which is fun in any case, makes for an interesting and hard "slab" climb. The idea is to avoid the use of any cracks and associated features but stay close to the corner.

If you wish to continue climbing after topping out, you can string in Bucky's Twin or the Keyhole Ridge.