Page Type: Custom Object
United States, North America
30.24372°N / 97.80227°W
Created/Edited: Sep 25, 2006 / Sep 22, 2016
Object ID: 228918
Page Score: 89.01%
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Badlands Peak *
Dead Cats Wall
The Dude Wall
Cheap Beer Wall
Religion is a mental disease, often confused with spirituality. --pjs-1965
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Austin, probably the best place in the state of Texas to spot one of its most critically endangered species-- a Texas Democrat-- is now the 11th largest city in the country and the 4th-largest in Texas. Considering that, one probably would not think of Austin, a city far from any real mountains, as a place with climbing, whitewater kayaking, and mountain biking, yet it has those and more. Welcome to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a semi-wilderness mostly within the Austin city limits.
Since this ostensibly is a climbing site, this page will focus mostly on the climbing.
Limestone is the rock here. A lot of it is highly polished by generations of climbers, but there are spots that still tear your hands up.
Almost all the routes are bolted, and most of those have sport anchors. There are some toprope routes, some of which can be done off sport anchors and some of which have to be set up from above, and there even are a handful of trad routes.
There are several climbing crags here. From north to south as you follow Barton Creek, they are as follows:
- Random Wall
- New Wall
- The Terrace
- The Great Wall
- Gus Fruh-- there all four walls here: Gus Fruh proper, Kingdom of Ging, Rubber Wall (routes put up in 2014), and Guides Wall.
- Urban Assault Wall
- 5.8 Sanctuary
- Seismic Wall
- Beehive Wall
There are several access points for the Greenbelt; this site
covers them all.
The most popular climbing areas seem to be New Wall, Great Wall, Gus Fruh, and Seismic Wall.
To reach the New Wall and Great Wall, exit Mopac at Barton Skyway and go southeast until the intersection with Spyglass Drive.
For Gus Fruh, take Barton Skyway from Lamar Boulevard and turn onto Barton Hills. Drive the the well-marked trailhead.
If you want to go to Seismic Wall, turn off 360 into the business park just south of the bridge over Barton Creek. Turn left and drive to a marked parking area.
What I really wanted to do was climb Mount Cowen. Said to be one of the best scrambling routes in Greater Yellowstone, going at Class 4 overall with a 5.4 summit block, it sounded perfect for me.
But there were two problems. One was the long hike in, involving a steep descent before climbing to the logical campsite. I hate giving up elevation in order to gain it. The other problem involved time and energy. Climbing Cowen is really best done as a two-nighter; you grunt the 8-9 miles to Elbow Lake and make camp, you climb the peak the next day, and then you hike out the following day.
When you're solo and you can't stand down time and you have to meet your wife the next day, this just doesn't work. In retrospect, given that the weather was perfect, I could have hiked in early, rested a bit, climbed, and then hiked out the next day, but I couldn't have predicted that perfect weather, right?
To be honest, my main reason for bailing on the plan was that I didn't want the long slog up and down, in and out, both ways, for I hate backpacking as well even though I will bear that cross to reach certain places.
So I made a different plan. Crow Mountain was supposed to be Class 3 (easy but still tough enough to make it appealing), and the hike in was supposed to be fairly short and easy. 4 miles and about 1000' of elevation gain to trail's end and camp-- no problem!