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The Rainbow Wall

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The Rainbow Wall  

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Location: 36.11139, -115.49615 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 137,972
Administrators: Larry DeAngelo, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Mar 4, 2004
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Next to Mount Wilson, The Rainbow Wall is one of the most prominent natural features of the Red Rocks area. Visible all the way from the campground, it is also the location of most of the big wall routes in Red Rocks. The classic Original Route (5.12) was pushed up the center of the wall by Red Rocks pioneers Joe Herbst and Larry Hamilton back in 1973 and remains one of the most sought-after routes in the canyon today.

The wall is relatively north-facing and remains shady most of the year. It is also guarded by a bit of a hike... but hey, you can still usually get cell phone reception up there and in case your headlamp dies, the Luxor should serve you fine.

Historical note by Larry DeAngelo: The Rainbow Wall occupies an impressive historical niche. When Joe Herbst and Larry Hamilton climbed the wall in 1973, it was before almost every other serious route in the area. In fact, it was before most of the small routes too! At a time when NOBODY WAS EVEN CONSIDERING IT, these guys went out, committed, and completed the ascent. In the ensuing years, the route saw many attempts, but it was well into the next decade before anyone was successful. The original route was sufficiently challenging that three other routes were climbed (in 1983 and 1984) before the Herbst/Hamilton route yielded a second ascent.

Getting There 

The Rainbow Wall can be approached via either the Pine Creek or Oak Creek parking areas. If you are planning on hiking out down Oak Creek after your climb, the Oak Creek Lot is your best bet, but I usually approach via Pine Creek. Either way, hike into the guts of Juniper Canyon, working your way left to find a drainage that comes down from The Rainbow Wall. There is usually some sort of fixed rope (and maybe some water) coming down this chute. From here, hump up what Swain calls "600 lung-searing yards" of slabs to the base of the wall and your intended route. Overnight stays require a bivy permit.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.1 miles from here

5 Total Routes

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

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Rainbow Wall:
Birdhunter Buttress   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 9 pitches, 1000'   
The Original Route   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 14 pitches, 1000'   
Browse More Classics in The Rainbow Wall

Featured Route For The Rainbow Wall
Joe Herbst on pitch 13, first ascent of the Rainbow Wall.

The Original Route 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b  NV : Red Rock : ... : The Rainbow Wall
The Original Route on the Rainbow Wall is perhaps Red Rocks’ finest route. It is certainly a crown jewel in terms of achievement: Once you’ve climbed it, things like Levitation 29 and Cloud Tower seem like cragging routes. On a personal note, I made two separate trips to Red Rocks (before I lived there) specifically to climb this route (both times being thwarted by weather), and after breaking my legs in a fall in January of ’06, I wondered if I’d ever climb it. But after a successful rehabil...[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of The Rainbow Wall Slideshow Add Photo
A police helicopter buzzes a climber on Rainbow Wall. Photo taken March 25, 2009.
A police helicopter buzzes a climber on Rainbow Wa...
Rainbow Wall on a sunny day
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall on a sunny day
Rainbow Wall Overview
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall Overview
The Big Payback (V, 5.10, A3) goes up the obvious dihedral and under the big arch.  A spectacular looking line!
BETA PHOTO: The Big Payback (V, 5.10, A3) goes up the obvious ...
Rainbow Wall Center  <br />- Battle Royal is just right of the two large black streaks <br />- Desert Solitare is the crack system splitting the face <br />-Rainbow Country follows the crack system in the corner on the right
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall Center - Battle Royal is just right ...
One of a pair of peregrines, hunting below the Rainbow Wall in March 2008.
One of a pair of peregrines, hunting below the Rai...
Rainbow Wall Right Side <br />- Sauron's Eye (V, 5.10d R, A4) goes up the left side of the prominent arch and out the big roofs to the top.
BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Wall Right Side - Sauron's Eye (V, 5.10d R...
The approach to Rainbow Wall involves a lot of low-angle slab, after slab, after slab, after slab. <br /> <br />10/21/09
The approach to Rainbow Wall involves a lot of low...
Rainbow Wall. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Rainbow Wall. Photo by Blitzo.
Sergeant Slaughter Topo.
BETA PHOTO: Sergeant Slaughter Topo.

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