|Angel Food Wall
"Purblind" starts at the obvious crack system about 80 feet west and slightly up from the beginning of "Healy's Haunted House". Approach as for both "Group Therapy" and "Healy's".
Pitch 1 (5.7): Begin climbing the easy crack/corner system for about 20 feet to a ledge with trees and shrubs. Pass the vegetation on the right and continue up the stellar crack system until you reach the end of the crack at a sling belay (190 ft.)
Pitch 2 (5.8) From the sling belay head up and right along a crack/flake line below an overhang. When the crack diminishes, move right on white, slabby face to a bolt. From the bolt move out right on rounded holds to cross over a shoulder to easier ground. Scamper directly up for a few feet to a flat ledge below another crack system and the belay--takes 1-1.75 cams (85 ft.)
Pitch 3 (5.7) From the pitch 2 belay move directly right about 20 feet along a ledge to a water groove/crack system. Do not climb the crack/chimney system directly above the pitch two belay unless you plan on doing the 5.9 variation*. After traversing out right you will encounter a water groove/crack system. Climb this for another 30 feet or so and then traverse directly right onto the obvious brown face (a bolt protects the move out of the groove). Continue to traverse straight right--after clipping the bolt--on excellent holds until you reach the water groove/crack system that borders the right side of the brown face. Climb up this for a short distance and then traverse up and right a bit to a spacious ledge area below an obvious vertical crack system (150 ft.)
Pitch 4 (5.7) From the spacious ledge climb the obvious crack system to its end. The crack is very wide in places, but adequate protection can be had. When the crack ends, trend along a ledge system overlooking a large, brushy chasm/gully on your left. At the end of the ledge you will find a bolted belay anchor in white rock. This ledge is very comfortable for up to 4 people (180 ft.)
Pitch 5 (5.8): From the bolted belay head up the micro-crack system on white rock (a single bolt protects the moves off of the belay). Continue up the crack system and then traverse directly right up easy ground to another excellent ledge area below an impressive left-facing dihedral (120 ft.)
Pitch 6 (5.7-): From the large ledge head up to the base of the large dihedral. From the belay you will see a large patch of shrubbery blocking the entrance to a menacing off-width. Head towards the bush, but when feasible veer left to the face just left of the off-width. You will see a bolt at the base of the face, clip this and climb up over excellent 5.6 terrain to another bolt, from here traverse right into the crack (the bush remains inviolate!) and head up to a class four ramp that ends at the top (195 ft.).
- 5.9 variation: instead of traversing right from the pitch 2 belay, go straight up the crack system directly above the pitch 2 belay. This pitch ends at a bolted belay anchor (80 ft.). From the anchor traverse right on easy holds to a water groove. Climb the groove up until just below a patch of diabolical scrub-oak (50 feet). Belay in the groove using a couple of large cams in pockets in the base of the groove itself. The next pitch ascends the obvious broad corner to the right of the water groove/now gully, with the small crack in its right side. A bolt protects the initial moves into the crack. Although this 5.9 pitch is good, initially it is somewhat friable, and not easy to protect. A Wild country Z3 cam (gray) protects the move above the bolt. After a few moves the crack widens to accept .33 to .5 cams. This is a technical pitch. Upon reaching the top of the corner and the end of the crack, traverse right around an improbable shoulder (strange mud-colored rock) and then up easy ground to end at the normal route pitch 4 bolted belay.
"Purblind Pillar" ascends a natural line to the highest vertical point on the Angel Food Wall. From just below the start of "Tunnel Vision" follow the climbers' trail that traverses right along the base of the wall. When you reach the massive, cavernous chimney that is "Healy's Chimney", the start of "Purblind" is just a bit further right and slightly up.
I spied this line years ago, while guiding-- I thought that it would make a nice alternative to the likes of "Tunnel Vision." In fact, in some ways this route is the premier line on the cliff, since it reaches the highest point, every pitch is good, and pitches 1,2,4,6 are stellar while the 5.8 sections are short but interesting. Upon completing the first ascent, both Joanne Urioste and myself were amazed that this line remained undiscovered for so many years-- hence the route's name!
The descent is easy: from the top, go south and slightly uphill through some lovely pine trees to the obvious gully/chasm that head down and east. Eventually you will intersect the "Tunnel Vision" descent (watch for cairns). Follow the cairns...
Standard rack: nothing larger than a 3-inch cam is needed. Paradoxically, a medium slider nut (gold color) is useful for protecting the start of the wide crack bit on pitch 4-- but a small cam will also work (look for a small horizontal fissure!). The 8,9,10 hexes are also useful. A 60-meter rope is mandatory. The route can be rappelled from pitch 1 with two 60-meter ropes. Retreating from pitch 3 or higher would not be advisable.
|Comments on Purblind Pillar
|By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?|
May 26, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
Thanks to Karl and Joanne for putting up this amazing route!
I'm sad to say, I liked it better than Tunnel Vision, and Group Therapy.
The views from this climb are beautiful, and all of the pitches were a blast! The descent is straightforward, and makes for a nice, but somewhat long walk off. You may want to bring your approach shoes up.
Note: With a morning start, we were in direct sunlight for the entire climb. My tongue was hanging out by the time I reached my pack. The route gets shaded in the afternoon, so a later start would be better this time of year if you are desperate to do this 4 star route on a hot day.
|By Mike McGlynn|
From: Henderson, NV.
May 30, 2006
This is really a wonderful route! The climbing has a lot of variation with hardly a foot of it that is boring. The views are spectacular. I absolutely agree with Gigette about the water on this route. I had 3 liters in my Camelback, and, even though I thought i was conserving it, managed to go through all of it by the end of the fourth pitch. It made for a very dry finish and walk off.
Just one note I would add to the description: On the sixth pitch, when the beta says to go up towards the bush and then clip a bolt to the left, the bolt is at least 2-3' below the bush and quite a ways, 8-10', to the left of the crack. I knew it was supposed to be there, and, even though I was looking for it, almost missed it because I wasn't looking nearly far enough left and was looking for something directly in line with the base of the bush.
This deserves to be a real Red Rocks classic climb. In my mind it has it all over Tunnel Vision any day of the week. Thanks Karl and Joanne.
|By Matt McMurray|
From: Castle Rock, CO
Nov 13, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
I climbed this in a 3-man party last weekend and had a great time. A very fun route with some great climbing. A couple suggestions I noticed compared to the route description:
P2- The flat ledge seemed much closer than 85 ft. This led our group to climb higher to determine if the ledge was further up.
P4- I found it hard to protect the wide crack, which led to some long runouts. I missed the horizontal fissure, obviously.
P5- I believe that it was this pitch... there is a small roof as you near the end of the crack system that provides an option of going right or left. The chalk led me to the right, which eventually rejoined the crack line but resulted in A LOT of rope drag. Our third climber was ascending a fixed rope and took the left variation. We agreed that both variations seemed of equal difficulty, but going left resulted in less drag.
This is a wonderful line, and the descent was also very straightforward and enjoyable. Follow the cairns, and bring your hiking shoes!
Jan 5, 2007
I enjoyed this route for the beautiful exposure and the solid rock at the moderate rating. I thought pitch 3 was only about 100 ft. no where near the 150 ft stated to the belay. Also you could easily use up to a # 4 Camalot on picth 4. It took three of us 9 hours car to car. Over all I'd say it is probably the best climb on the Angle Food Wall:)
|By John Wilder|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 21, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c R
A good route- especially if Tunnel and Group are packed.
Couple of notes:
Bring a #4 Camalot- its good to have. We didnt have it and i certainly could have used it, esp on the 4th pitch.
The route is run-out in many places, so be prepared for that. The climbing is not necessarily difficult, but the route is new, so the rock is still a bit sandy in places.
The second pitch is 50', not 85'.
The crux of the fifth pitch could get harder over time as the footholds are somewhat suspect. I tried it by just smearing and found it to be decently hard for 5.8.
We completely missed the last pitch because we forgot to turn right and instead climbed a beautiful varnished crack on the headwall to the left of the dihedral- it was quite fun and after a few ascents will clean up nicely- it's probably 5.8 or 5.9, although its a bit loose in places right now.
|By Greg Barnes|
Mar 21, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c R
Fun route! Needs a bit of traffic but generally pretty clean. As John said, we missed the last pitch but the crack on the black headwall at the top is great fun (I was hoping he would decline the lead but he cruised it instead!).
Notes: pitch 3 is 80 feet, not 150. I ended up about where one of the climbers is in one of the photos (about 50' up the next pitch just below the overhang) before realizing that the pitch length was way off and I had better set an anchor where I had any pro at all.
The sling anchor on top of pitch 1 is pretty good, but not super bomber. I didn't find any really good backup pro either.
After doing the traverse around the corner on pitch 3 (after clipping the bolt), you gain the groove and go up it a few feet, and then there's another bolt back over left that is easy to traverse to. It protects a fun steep move or two before stepping back right to the flat ledge.
Good route, I liked it more than Group Therapy, but I think Tunnel Vision is higher quality.
I thought the start of pitch 5 after the bolt was pretty hard and spicy for 5.8! Before the bolt I didn't dare use several knobs out of concern that I'd snap them off. But I've been climbing a lot of granite lately so maybe I'm just paranoid about sandstone!
|By Brandt Allen|
From: Joshua Tree, Cal
Mar 23, 2007
Just did this route yesterday; my third route on Angel Food Wall and by far the best.
I agree the anchor at the top of pitch 1 is less than inspiring; bolts would be nice. I backed it up with a #3 Camalot in a slot just above the slings.
The friction crux at the bolt on pitch 2 was, for a Joshua Tree slab climber, barely 5.7. Perhaps because I wasn't fully warmed up yet, I thought the first pitch was harder.
I got lost on pitch 3 (my fault). The 5.9 variation goes up from the left side of the ledge. I went up the crack/gully off the right side of the ledge, then thought I was on the 5.9 variation, came down, went right some more, realized I was wrong, broke a foothold coming back, then my partner spotted the bolt and all went well after that. I too wondered about the second bolt on that pitch.
On pitch 4, yes a #4 Camalot would be very nice. I had used our #3.5 at the belay and #3 in a pocket low on the pitch. A couple of hexes kept it from being a complete solo!
On pitch 5 I used the knobs (the bigger ones) for footholds and thought the crux was one 5.8- high step move from the position of the climber in photo #16 above.
The climbing between the bolts on pitch 6 was easy but absolutely spectacular! A great finish to a great route!
|By Chris Owen|
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Apr 17, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
A classic route which I enjoyed tremendously. Part of its appeal is that it has a couple of traversing sections. My favorite pitch was probably the 2nd, which I suppose is the crux pitch - a smeary traverve above a huge amount of exposure. I put a #4 Camalot to good use on several of the pitches, and for a belay on P2.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
May 1, 2007
I found this route fun with no bad pitches. But I still think Group Therapy is the best climb on this formation.
The third pitch now seems to have two bolts. There is a second bolt 10 feet above and to the right of the first. It is easy to climb past it on the right and miss it. You can move back left and clip it, but it is in a strange place. The fifth pitch involves stepping on some large knobs which seem about to bust off, but I suppose they are solid. It is easy to belay too high at the end of this pitch and miss the sixth pitch. You need to move right immediately after reaching the first large ledge (after 100 feet).
From our fifth belay, we couldn't see the notorious shrubbery, but moving down and right it soon came into view. The first bolt on this pitch can't be seen until it is in your face as it is right above an overhang. This bolt was actually about 20' directly above the belay, but not visible. The second bolt is about 20' above the first. This last pitch is pretty cool and the walk off is easy.
If you start early, this route is in the sun all the way. A later start would be shadier ...
|By Josh Audrey|
From: LAS VEGAS
May 25, 2007
don't want to sound like the black sheep of comments, but i think you could get by just fine with a doubles rack to #3 camalot. really want to do the two variation next time for sure.
From: las vegas, nv
Oct 4, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
This route takes a great line up the Angel food wall and was a lot of fun. The two cruxes are both face moves that required a little bit of thinking but nothing exceptional. Careful leaving the 4th belay, the knobs are sketchy and if you break one off before reaching the bolt you will most likely land on your belayer. I agree that there were a few run-out sections so keep that in mind as well.
From: Durango, CO
Nov 25, 2007
The first pitch is great. The 5.9 variation was good, not the best rock though. We toped out on the fun crack to left of the actual route and a large boulder filled corner.
|By Debbie Vischer|
Mar 10, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
Great route. We started at 11:30 and had NO sun all day. It's pretty north-east facing, so don't expect much this time of year. Although pretty protected from wind.
All the pitches were fun and had their unique challenges, from chimneys to cracks. Definitely some runout in P6 (think I placed 2 pieces of pro only!).
We topped out in the dark (nice views of Vegas!). I'm sorry, but who ever said the walk-off was easy is WRONG!! Talk about scary. Very sketchy and very steep. Never did find the rap bolts. Took just under 2 hours to get back to the car. Only thing that saved our butts was the cairns. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those wonderful people that placed those.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 10, 2008
"Easy descent" in daylight does not imply "easy descent" at night, especially if you've never done it before. Any descent can get much harder in the dark and/or when you are off route. The descent is easy in the daylight by RR standards, anyway. We didn't do any rappels.
From: Las Vegas
Mar 23, 2008
Debbie-It's a walkoff, what rap bolts do you speak of?
|By Brian in SLC|
Mar 24, 2008
"Debbie-It's a walkoff, what rap bolts do you speak of?"
I think the guidebook mentions a bolted rappel and my bet is that its the rappel off the big ledge to the looker's left (climber's right) part way down the "walk off". Its the big ledge marked with cairns (and you walk across and around to the left on, to an airy location with a rap anchor, one I'd noticed on a prior climb). Not sure what the rappel leads to. As mentioned, its a fairly easy and straightforward descent, and one I'd not care to do in the dark (!).
I think its a grade II route (not a III as mentioned in the description). The cruxes are short and not sustained for the grade and the climbing goes very quickly, with little route finding. This is really a "less than half day" type route. Most capable climbers should be able to knock this out, car-to-car, in under 6 hours.
We also backed up P1's sling wad with a #3 camalot. Rack: I'd suggest a single rack from 00 TCU through #3 camalot. We took and placed the #4 (once, on p4, just to justify using it) but its not really required. Missed the first bolt on P3, and didn't bother clipping the second (no need as a good cam to the right in the crack protects that area and it would have added rope drag unless a long sling was used). On the P3 traverse, found good horizontals for small TCU's (00 and 0 I seem to recall). The P6 first bolt is just visible from the flat ledge belay in profile over a bulge. Knowing to head left from the corner when it gets steep helps (Handren guide nailed the description for this pitch).
Strange, given the comments above, but, I thought the P2 crux was kinda thin and at least 5.8 (sandy soft rock too), and, the P5 crux 5.8 pretty light (ie, more like 5.7).
Great route. Every pitch was fun and memorable.
|By Lynn S|
Apr 6, 2009
Fabulous route for the grade, I enjoyed each pitch, a must do. For a relatively new route I thought the rock was great, just use common sense with some of the inviting looking flakes. Nice stances/ledges for each belay.
Pitch 2, very different character from the other pitches, friction traversing right on the softer white rock. There is a cool looking hourglass feature just left and below of the bolt on the pitch. Do not pull out on the feature, just pinch the lower portion of the hourglass, move your feet right and clip the bolt. I think if the hourglass gets yarded on, it will snap and change the rating/character of that pitch completely.
The crack system on pitch 5 looks a bit intimidating from below but it is actually pretty easy, great holds everywhere you need them.
Doing this line allows you to watch the masses on Group Therapy and Tunnel Vision, while enjoying the solitude of Purblind.
Apr 27, 2009
did this climb again on Sunday 26 April. The slings at the top of Pitch 1 have been removed. It's very easy to build an anchor here though. There used to be cairns starting at the top which guided the descent--however, from the top to about 1/3 of the way down these have been knocked over, so the top part of the descent is a little tricky (for me, even though I'd done it once before). Go down where there is a dead tree spanning a short ~ 15 foot drop. Trend to your right thereafter. After about 10 minutes of down climbing, there is a green sling with a rap ring marked by a cairn. A one 60 m rope repel (watch as this barely reaches) gets you down to much easier terrain. Cairns mark the descent thereafter which is fairly easy.
|By meghan c.|
From: san antonio, tx
Jan 11, 2010
Most excellent and varied climbing, but just one question: Can someone explain the logic behind the "Your F#cked" sticker found on the first bolt of the 5th pitch. The bolt was solid and the moves were safe and pleasant. Banditos? Not sure why, but I felt the need to gnaw it off with my teeth - even more the reason I wish to know its intended purpose.
|By Neal Douglass|
From: Lubbock, TX
Mar 24, 2010
Climbed this route with Jason Martin. This was a fun route, great views and quality climbing. We finished the route And found an additional 3 pitches above the exit ramp.
May 17, 2010
It is quite easy to set up the p1 belay at the little rooflet about 20' below the "sling belay", thus skipping hanging from an uninspiring block. the stance is small, but adequate, and can be set up with a #2,3 camalot and a blue alien, or some combination thereof. As long as you are extending your placements properly, it doesn't add any significant rope drag to p2.
|By Sherri Lewis|
From: Sequim, WA
Oct 26, 2010
Since this is the first route I have climbed on Angel Food Wall, I don't know how it measures up to its neighbors but I can say that it was a worthwhile, quality climb. Something interesting on every pitch; struck me as sort of like the 5.8 version of Birdland.
The slopey, slab traverse on P2 was exciting. It's all there, but the blank look of the face definitely makes you think and move carefully.
On P3, there are two bolts on the face after traversing over the water groove. (route description mentions only one). We only clipped the lower of the two before continuing the traverse to climber's right to follow a short crack to belay ledge. The second bolt seemed to be in a strange place to be of much use.
We did this route on a windy day in October and found it to be sheltered and comfortable.
For the descent, make sure you trend up and towards climbers left to catch the descent gully. We mistakenly followed a line of cairns which led us quite a ways along the headwall to the right before realizing our mistake and having to backtrack.
We didn't leave packs at the base. Easier to hike straight to car from bottom of gully.
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 13, 2011
what a great route! obviously everyone solid at the grade is happy on 4th pitch OW running it out a little, so ignore this unless you are, like myself, a beginning trad leader. but if you are tentative at the grade, a #4 AND an even larger piece would be great on P4. after i downclimbed to get the 4, so i could walk up with it, dropped it, downclimbed to the last piece to get it, and then climbed a good 20 feet off that piece, i learned the 4 was too small above the original spot i placed it. at that point, i'm not gonna lie, i was wishing i brought my #6. i know every competent leader at the grade will say this is insane, i'm a wuss, etc etc. that's fine, just ignore this. but just in case you, like me, are wanting to make the climb as cozy as possible, bring your 4 and something bigger.
|By Justin York|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Mar 21, 2011
GREAT route! Every pitch was so much fun. Highly recommended.
The only thing I would mention is that P3 seemed shorter than the description above. Thinking it was 150 feet, I kept going beyond the big ledge beneath the vertical crack system and ended up at a much less comfy belay. I would say 100 feet for P3, giving a P4 of about 180 feet as mentioned.
|By SexPanther aka Kiedis|
Aug 21, 2011
Yeah, bring a wide piece if you don't want to solo the wide pitch. Probably a single 4-6 would make it reasonable. Pretty fun. Saw this one getting put up a few years ago from Tunnel--anyone that thinks that hand drilling is less noise pollution than a ten second Bosch whirr needs to hear DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK DINK for most of a six or seven hundred foot route. My ears are still ringing. Worthwhile, interesting route-crosses so much terrain, I'd call it contrived, but you won't have a bad time on this one.
Dec 8, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
felt the crux was the sandy traverse on P2. The rest of the climb was uneventful. I probably wouldn't go back to climb it again.
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Apr 9, 2013
Purblind Pillar is another great Red Rocks gem. This takes a proud line up the higest point on the Angelfood Wall. I liked the mixture of crack, chimney and face climbing. Considering all the white rock it's cleaned up quite nicely and is pretty solid. It takes a little route finding skill and that adds to the adventure. I really liked pitch 2, this has to be the best on the climb. The bolt on pitch 3 actually makes you think that you should go straight up instead of continuing a rightward traverse. I loved P4, a couple of very nice chimneys and a full rope in length. The crux of 5 was also pretty cool. As Mr Bell says above, I was a little confused finding the start of P6, It's hidden from view when you hit the ledge, go right. The 5.6 face climbing on the last pitch is really fun. You are front and center on the Angelfood wall looking down from the highest point, just awesome. I will keep going to RR if I can keep finding climbs like this one.