BETA PHOTO: Fire Hydrant on the left, Donald Duck on the right...
This is the subsidiary summit off of the northwest side of the Donald Duck formation. The two crags are separated by a deep notch. The Fire Hydrant, along with Donald Duck, is featured on the cover of Kline's old guidebook.
From the Crest, hike down the La Luz Trail. After the tight switchbacks in the Estrellita/Hole-in-the-Wall vicinity, you pass by the Fin on the right (north), as illustrated in this Photo. Continue west a couple dozen yards and the Donald Duck/Fire Hydrant crag lies just above the trail to the left (south), although the off-trail approach is obscured through the trees.
This route is described by Kline (1970:30) and Hill (1993:154-155), although no topo is provided in either guidebook.Start at the northern foot of the crag, and climb the blocky start to a right-facing dihedral. This leads to a fun splitter crack (which goes at about easy 5.7). About halfway up the crag, this crack pinches out and you are left to wander up to the top. I kept to the right (trying to stay on the "NW face"), but that involved some licheny 5.8-ish moves over loose-looking stacked...[more]Browse More Classics in NM
The Fire Hydrant is a plug of a pillar that sits just off the La Luz trail. Beware its siren charms. Itís rated 5.6, only 5.6 (but old school 5.6Ö). As you flake your rope at the base you can admire the clean looking rock with abundant holds. Yes solid rock, with plenty of holds. But itís a suckerís game, this climb; as ChrisW found out recently. Iíd tethered myself to the tree and was listening to him climb. All of the sudden he falls silent and the steady upward progress of the rope slowed down. Finally he put me on belay and I started climbing.
Please -- for the sake of hikers on the trail, when youíre done with a handhold, put it back where you find it. The second half gets rather loose, rather quickly. The small summit platform is strewn with plenty of babyheads, fist-sized and larger (but all loose!) rock. The old bolt in the largest block (small steamer trunk sized) is quaint and of historical interest, but in no circumstances would it be part of a sane rappel anchor. Unlike the neighboring pillar (Donald Duck) the Fire Hydrant is all washed up.