|Upper Oak Creek Canyon
Pitch 1: Climb up and past the first three bolts on the smooth face, then a couple of moves up right through a more featured area, clip another bolt and climb up to a petite horizontal roof break below a smooth, featureless face. Clip a bolt, and then climb up slightly left, then back up to the right, following weaknesses. Clip the last bolt on the pitch and climb up to a shallow right facing corner left of a small ledge with a boulder (and a dubious faded rappel sling). Belay stance takes small cams to #1 camalot. 5.9 past the first three bolts and fifth bolt. ~30m pitch.
Pitch 2: Proceed straight up off the belay, or from the ledge slightly below to the right, climb up using a small ramp in the dark rock, past a very shallow right facing corner (pro: small cams) to lower angle featured rock above, leading to a bolt. Clip bolt, and then follow face straight up past three more bolts passing several shallow overlaps en route to a two bolt belay anchor. 5.7 lower angle face climbing for ~50m.
Pitch 3: Climb straight up for around 70 feet, noting a short, fatter crooked left facing corner and smooth shield of dark rock right and above said corner. Pass the left facing corner to the right, angling to the right up the smoother dark rock, passing a couple bolts and gaining a shallow belay ledge with another two bolt belay. From the belay, a short pedestal is to the right. 5.8 at/above the bolts on the smooth shield. Pitch might be considered as “R” rated, however the run out sections are on easier terrain than in the area of the bolts. ~50m.
Pitch 4: Traverse straight right, and then slightly up, gaining the summit of the short pedestal. Clip the bolt on the smooth face above, then down climb the exposed right side of the pedestal for around 15 feet. Take care on the whiter, softer rock whilst using the knobby hand and foot holds and minimizing use of the poor rock in the right facing corner. At the bottom of the pillar, make an improbable traverse to the right, to a shallow left facing corner, clip the bolt, and milk the face and corner straight up past two more bolts to a belay ledge with a two bolt anchor below a steeper face. 5.8R (a second rope deployed directly from the top of the pitch would provide much better top rope protection for the following climber). Long slings on the first two bolts help with rope drag. ~40m.
Pitch 5: Traverse left on ramp, then head straight up to large belay ledge, noting the escape traverse to the left on the fat-to-skinny ledge. 5.4 for the initial moves off the ramp. Fourth class as the slab becomes more featured and lower angled. ~35m.
Pitch 6: Traverse straight left, past some cactus and a bulge, towards the lower angle ridge crest. 4th class with some exposure.
Start of route: Note the ski tracks and the location of Catwalk on the right side of the Celebration Wall. Proceed to the upper end of the canyon to a beautiful (possibly dry) waterfall location in a smooth wide bowl, at a point where the steep climbing terrain above on the Celebration Wall peters out to the left, but, there is still lower angle face leading to a steep and overhung area above. There is a series of horizontal roofs that break the continuity of the lower cliff face to the left of The Easter Egg, Underhanging Overhang and Catwalk. Right to left, the right overhang appears as a high arching eyebrow. There is a slanting shallow roof to the left of that, then a short gap between roofs, then another horizontal roof area which starts at the short gap tapering to a bigger roof that abruptly ends on its left (at a slabby area near the top of the bowl waterfall area). The very short break between these two left-hand horizontal roofs is where the route Coltrane starts with the first three bolts barely visible on the smooth face below and between the overhangs. Note the bushy rising point of land, which is more easily accessible by the 3rd class traverse from left to right near the top of the waterfall bowl, rather than a scratchy bushwhack. Traverse in from the left, staying low on shallow ramps, and scramble to the top most portion of the bushy point of land. The route starts by climbing up a block leaning against the cliff face, stepping on a shallow see-through ramp, then stepping up and clipping the first of three bolts which protect the smooth face climbing leading to more featured climbing.
Descent: Follow the social trail across the ridge crest then down to the low angle slick rock. Continue down weaknesses in the slabs to the canyon bottom and then down canyon. Should only take around 15 minutes to get back to the base of the 3rd class traverse area. Easy off to be sure.
This is a great climb following a neat approach hike into the upper end of the beautiful Oak Creek drainage. The route is mostly south facing, and would see sun for most of the day except maybe late afternoon/early evening.
The Urioste “red book” guidebook provides the most accurate photo of the climbing line as it shows the down climb of the pedestal, the straight up line of the end of that pitch and the due left traverse of the last pitch. Bolt count is spot on in the description as well.
This would be a candidate for bolt replacement (HINT HINT Greg!).
Some bolt protection. Pitches 2-4 have 2 bolted belay anchors.
Rack: standard rack with small cams up to a #3 Camalot. We didn’t place any stoppers and used cams down to a 0 TCU. Several long slings will reduce rope drag on some of the traverses.
Notes: The bolts on this climb are all the original ¼” Rawl studs with SMC hangers, with the exception of two of the belays which have a single 3/8” stud and SMC hanger (in combo with a ¼” bolt/hanger). While all bolts seem secure (none were loose), they are old and care should be taken to avoid shock loading any of them, and using protection opportunities nearby as back up. Given no fixed anchor at the end of the first pitch (and the dubious nature of the faded sling on the coffee table sized boulder on the ledge to the right of the shallow right facing corner), retreat from the route may prove to be difficult without sacrificing some gear. Take care to place a solid gear anchor at the end of the first pitch and place protection as soon as practical off the belay as the rock in this area seems a bit soft. A direct belay with a second rope from the top of the 4th pitch would protect the second from the fall potential of down climbing the pedestal and traversing to the next bolt (which is well below the bolt at the top of the pedestal).
|By susan peplow|
From: Joshua Tree
Mar 26, 2007
Geeez Brian, whacha do...go up there with a dictation device or something? That's some description.
I can't remember what routes I did just a few days ago, let along the specifics! Must be a guy thing.
|By Brian in SLC|
Mar 28, 2007
Nah, two guidebook descriptions and a camera. The only way I really remember stuff is to take a ton of pics. Easy to write a route description of a climb when you have 60 pictures of it... Cheers!
|By Andrew Carson|
From: Wilson, WY
Mar 29, 2009
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
We found this route to be almost totally dependent on bolts, both for the leader and at belays. One fatter bolt at the belays was marginally comforting, along with the usual quarter incher. They are not easy to spot and in fact on the third pitch our leader missed one -- easy to do. Given the age of the bolts and the fact that they are quarter inchers, I considered an X rating for pro.... A few are loose; all are 30 years old. The rock is also often hollow and flakey.
The best part of the day is the approach up beautiful and wild Oak Creek. Given the anchors, the climbing is a little unnerving, although the moves are fun. We had spectacular views of parties on the Eagle Wall.
|By John Wilder|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 31, 2009
keep in mind that those 3/8" bolts are likely just as bad as the 1/4" bolts- george and joanne's 3/8" bolts are grade II steel, making them not so good....
|By Rob Fielding|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 25, 2012
Thought this route was great, reminds me of a tuolumne style slab climb w/ some pretty spaced bolts. Be prepared for a long hike out for the first time, as the approach is confusing.
For a rack, i'd suggest single rack to 2", an efficient party could go w/ much less, the emphasis is really on bringing the smaller gear to supplement the bolts on the first two pitches.... ya don't need much. I'd also suggest bringing half/double ropes for the last pitch.
The 1st pitch is the crux, after clipping the 3rd bolt, be prepared for a 5.9++ move, felt more like 5.10-
The 2nd pitch is a little heads up w/ spaced bolts on 5.7 slab.
The 3rd pitch is pretty mellow, w/ a few 5.8 moves right where the crux is. After clipping the 1st bolt at 60-80 ft, head diagonally right where there is now 3 bolts to the anchor. I added another bolt to this pitch when I noticed the stub of an original sheared off quarter incher.
4th pitch is where i'd recommend doubles, for the leader and follower. You have to traverse right placing a #0.75, 1, or 2 in the crack then continue up to a white pillar to a bolt. Then, you have to down climb 20ft, traverse right 5 to 10 ft, and then continue back up to the bolts. It's a little funky and i had horrible rope drag even w/ slinging everything long.
|By Darren in Vegas|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jan 23, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
on the fourth pitch, I decided to skip the bolt that comes after the traverse, this kept rope drag down and made the rope line better for the second. It requires that you are solid on 5.8 terrain.