BETA PHOTO: the painted bowls, from the shoulder with the big ...
sunny area with similar aspect to the eagle wall. as the name would suggest, the main face is decorated with wild colored sandstone that looks as if someone painted the wall. it is quite secluded, the approach being even further than the eagle wall and the climbs less classic. most of it's traffic is probably people descending the old single-rope descent from the top of Black Orpheus.
There are many ways to get there. It is generally a 2-3 hours approach, and possibly more if you have never been to the area or have no idea where you are going.
There are several options to approach the upper painted bowl. You can go all the way up the canyon to the eagle wall ramp and drop down. You could climb black orpheus, walk up to the base of the next tier, and descend the slippery ramps to the base of the upper painted bowl (this was the old black orpheus descent). from the ground, i prefer to do the fast-track approach to the eagle/painted bowls, or finally- you can reverse the Black Orpheus descent. i posted the beta for the fastest lower painted bowl approach in the comments section of the eagle wall page.
if coming from the drainage (by whatever method) when you gain a shoulder with a prominent rounded boulder (the 'ibm' boulder in swain's guide), then head up the arete to your left, towards the eagle wall. you are now in the lower painted bowl.
you could continue up the arete to the eagle wall because you are tired from the approach and don't want to do adventure climbs, OR, strike right and up in the lower painted bowl to the far right side of the bowl where broken low angle cracks and chimneys rise from slabs to the upper painted bowl.
if you have done the original black orpheus single-rope descent (along the upper painted wall, above black orpheus), follow that rap line. scramble a hard 4th class step (well-maintained rap anchor at top if you're on route), head up for a dozen yards of broken rock and bushes, and then get to the base of a large flare-chimney thing.
this is a good place to leave your pack, i find, as doing the chimney with a pack on is annoying, and the route is only a 100 yards above you. scramble up the chimney (or rope it. its probably un-exposed 5.7 or so) until at a ledge, scramble up and right and jog back left under a boulder, and now you're in the upper painted bowl. you'll see a rap anchor atop an overhanging boulder above the chimney you just climbed. it's hidden from the descent, so take note because you'll use it on the way down.
finally, scramble up slabs and a few bushes for a couple minutes to get to the base of the bowl.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Upper Painted Bowl:
Chicken Lips is a good route. It has friction, thin face, hand crack, layback, and chimney climbing spread over a logical line up a very cool piece of rock. However, it is solidly in the 'adventure-climb' category and will stay there until it gets re-bolted. If your experience on a climb is tarnished (or inflated) by poor protection and face climbing on hollow flakes, you may adjust the quality rating of this climb accordingly. There are a lot of bolts on this route, most of which are rusty 26 y...[more]Browse More Classics in NV