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Rainbow Canyon

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
A Quarter and a Half 
Air Farce One 
Angelo's Ashes 
Back Bumper 
Barfing Bone Balls 
Basalt Shaker 
big fearfull chimney 
Broken Boy 
Cheap Motel 
Come and Get It 
Disco Inferno 
Double Naught Spy 
Druce Crack 
Flash for Cash 
Grey Cat 
Lightning Strikin' Again 
Loco Motive 
long classic corner 
micro corner 
Mormon Meat Machine 
On the Road 
Owl Be All Right 
Plant Meets Pillar 
Poke on Sunday 
Richard's Crack 
right out crack 
Saweet two pitch 
Schwing Time 
sexual basalt 
Soak on Saturday 
Stink Bug 
the route I climbed 
Two Mints in One 
Union Atlantic 
Unknown 5.8 
Unknown 5.8 Road Area 3 
Unknown 5.9 
Unsorted Routes:

Rainbow Canyon 

Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 4,000'
Lat, Long: 37.3123, -114.57 Map Incorrect?
Page Views: 14,763
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Francis Baker (fran) on Aug 14, 2006
Good Page?1 person likes this page. Your opinion:   

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What's New
  Print a Mini-Guide with routes

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Roadside cliffs near Caliente, NV


An obvious wall of clean basalt lies 17 miles south of Caliente on SR317. The cliffs are just off the road. The road is graded dirt and can get washed out. The climbing is both sport and trad. There are beautiful corners and clean, blank face climbs with bolts. The rock is similar to Crawdad Canyon UT. and/or Paradise Forks AZ. This is a remote area with no facilities. There is no guidebook and photos of the area are very rare. Climbing can be had year round although winters can be cold and summer gets hot! Watch the weather as the road can get washed out anytime of year.

Getting There 

Find your way to Caliente, NV and head south on SR 317 for 17 miles. There is also a dirt road heading NE off of 93 (Kane Springs Rd.) that will take you to Elgin and SR 317; from there a short drive N will get you to the cliff. I recommend at least a 4x2 with some ground clearance. The latter route is shorter but can take just as long and there are no services (bring a gas can). The GPS location is a guess based on the map.

42 Total Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',19],['1 Star',10],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rainbow Canyon:
A Quarter and a Half   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Druce Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
long classic corner   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   
the route I climbed   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
sexual basalt   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Come and Get It   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   
Air Farce One   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Browse More Classics in Rainbow Canyon

Featured Route For Rainbow Canyon
Stephen King getting techy

Air Farce One 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c  NV : Rainbow Canyon
AF1 takes the nice curving arete-feature just left of the long right-facing corner crack in the center of Rainbow Canyon. Begin up that climb and then bust left to the first bolt and balance and reach your way up a series of thin edges on nice rock. The position on this one is great....[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of Rainbow Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
The center of the main wall with many fine cracks and sport climbs.
BETA PHOTO: The center of the main wall with many fine cracks ...
looking North from atop one of the shorter routes.
BETA PHOTO: looking North from atop one of the shorter routes.
Looking South from middle of the wall.
BETA PHOTO: Looking South from middle of the wall.
The best part of the wall. Middle to south section.
BETA PHOTO: The best part of the wall. Middle to south section...
Kershaw-Ryan campground, a couple of minutes from the climbing crags in Caliente. As you can see, on a weekday in July, it sees very little traffic. The elevation is 4395 feet which makes for tolerable summer temps, especially in the morning, and evenings. This campground/state park was recently opened to camping in March 2009. Has modern bathrooms (flush toilets), water, showers, a wading pool, kids play area, and a volleyball net. Not a bad place to stay if you're checking out the climbing in the area, or just passing through- especially good for kids/climbing families. <br /> <br />Taken July 5th, 2010.
Kershaw-Ryan campground, a couple of minutes from ...
Rainbow canyon in fall color. See the climber at the top of a route in the upper right of photo?
Rainbow canyon in fall color. See the climber at t...
Matt's having a good time at Rainbow Canyon.
Matt's having a good time at Rainbow Canyon.
Comments on Rainbow Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 11, 2013
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Nov 1, 2006

Fran, thanks for posting this area! Freakin awesome! Jonny and I drove out there yesterday, and checked it out. Some of the paved road (by the routes) has been damaged (washed out) by floods; was still okay to drive on though. Loved the dirt road through the beautiful desert, and Caliente had a cool little market to get provisions.

By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Nov 9, 2006

A nice area with some spectacular cracks. Lots of bolted anchors are nice. There are also a ton of sport routes mainly in the hard 10 and up range.

If anyone knows the correct names and grades of these routes, I would like to know.

By Michelle Locatelli
Apr 16, 2007

I must say I was surprised to find a mini guide to Rainbow Canyon. Strange names for some mighty familiar routes. About 65% of the routes were put by me and Richard Harrison, 30% by Gary Fike, and the remaining 5% by others, including Bob Finlay and John Middendorf, two of the area "pioneers". Much assistance was given by Gary's wife Tanya and Richard's daughter Lisa.

All the routes are named and each has a great story to go with its first ascent. We put much sweat and money into the project, hoping to create a peaceful area for locals. So we resisted putting out a guide book. The area was also a sensitive riparian corridor before the big flood and we thought it best to keep it low key. We have had problems with plagiarism (some just trying to make a buck), false info and taking of credit where it wasn't due by some visitors to the cliffs. So at long last we have decided to put together a correct guide for Rainbow. The area is very special; a great mixture of cracks and chimneys, superb technical face climbing and awesome aretes. Please enjoy the routes, keep the place clean and spend some money in nearby Caliente while you're there.

By Jorge Calhoun
Sep 3, 2007

Thanks Michelle and everyone else that found this spot.

Stellar crag

By Michelle Locatelli
Jul 22, 2008

The new guidebook is nearly complete and should be available in Sept.08. I will most likely sell it via the internet. There are 110 routes at Rainbow !

By Michelle Locatelli
Mar 11, 2009

The Rainbow Canyon guidebook is completed and ready to print. I should have copies available in a week. Since it is a first edition, I am running just a limited amount.I'm hoping for useful feed back(rating consensus,missing info) so I can refine the next edition.If you are interested in buying one, let me know and we can set that up.

By Brig J.
Mar 21, 2009

Week's over, pay up. Waaaaaaant that book, just name the price. Hope you have beta on all the trad stuff.

On one hand, I'm sorry to see this piece of paradise go public, it's been a well kept little secret. On the other hand those that developed it deserve recognition and the rest of us want BETA! Thanks Michelle for busting ass for the few that do now climb here.

By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Mar 22, 2009

Michelle, I'll take one. : ) G

By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Apr 24, 2009

This place looks awesome! Is that guidebook available?! I'll pay top dollar! I've got some unborn children to offer up if money's not your fancy, LOL...

By Michelle Locatelli
May 1, 2009

The guidebook is finished and available for purchase. If you're interested in one, please e-mail via this site or go to www.shop.wildnevadaclimbing.com

By deniseb
Nov 23, 2009

Hi Michelle,

Is your guide book sold anywhere locally? We would like to see rainbow canyon over thanksgiving weekend but I'm worried that if I order it online today, it wont come in time.


By sqwirll
From: Las Vegas
Sep 6, 2010

The dirt road is in really good shape right now. Any passenger car will have no problems.

Also, Michelle's guidebook is sweet. The hand drawn pictures are amazing.

By sam123456789
Apr 12, 2011

Neat new area-crack and face climbin' right together, who'd a thunk! Routes feel very mixed, interesting. Good pro- still some minor loose rock here and there, but nothing a few more ascents won't fix- belay with a helmet and you won't even have to pay attention at all!

By Kurt Howes
Nov 11, 2013

We really enjoyed this wall. Some super high quality lines! Better suited for the intermediate to advanced climber. East facing. Grades are on save a couple sandbags, perhaps because a 1980's 11.a feels like 2013 12.a. An acquaintance said he climbed here in the 80's. The trains are a treat. Road is quite good now. Thanks Michelle et al.