The Uriostes had been recommending that I go climb Burlesque for the past year. They know I love off-width and anticipated I would enjoy the crux pitch on Burlesque. I was not disappointed as it offered a cool squeeze chimney, albeit short. We made a good circuit of Icebox Canyon, one I recommend for the aspiring 5.9 trad leader. Our day included: Black Magic Panties and Sensuous Mortician on Necromancer Wall; then we skirted the walls (relatively new climbers trail-2015) all the way over to Burlesque, climb and rap it; then we descended down to Icebox Canyon proper and hiked back to the waterfall and climbed Quiggle’s Wiggle which allows you to rap the waterfall itself (free air, wet rappel). These are not my favorite routes in Icebox by any means (i.e. Weenie Juice and Unfinished Symphony), but this circuit makes for a fun day of easy to moderate climbing with a bit of canyoneering (the waterfall rap) thrown in to boot.
Competent parties can solo the first brush laden pitch of Burlesque to the base of an easy left facing corner which is right below a major corner system (slung tree). Rope up and climb two stacked corners to the base of the tall/main corner above and move the belay to the left below the large off-width/chimney flake. The third pitch is by far the crux. Climb the off-width left facing corner pass one modern (2015) bolt and enter the squeeze chimney above. One C4# 6 and the bolt offer the main protection up the corner. Once in the chimney, if you are not comfortable running out a squeeze chimney, look for at least one small gear placement out left before the real grunting begins. The squeeze chimney is a squeeze, larger climbers will have a difficult if not impossible time getting through. My second was too large and climbed the outside edge no worries, but you would not want to try and lead the outside edge. Birth out the top and continue straight up to a ledge. Finish this pitch straight up into the bushy corner above trending right on suspect rock to a large ledge. We climbed a cool chimney pitch for the 4th pitch, but there is all kind of variations including traversing left and starting the rap back down.
Park at the Icebox Canyon trail head. Hike into Icebox Canyon as you would for Frigid Air Buttress. Ascend the left fork up large boulders to the base of the common rap route for Frigid Air Buttress routes. The first pitch is nondescript and we soloed it to a slung tree below a decent left facing corner and started the route there.
Route DescriptionBurlesque, 500+/-, 5.9
1st Pitch- 100’- 5.7/ Climb/scramble from left to right up intermittent ledges to just below a left facing corner of varnished rock.
2nd Pitch- 100’- 5.8/ Climb relatively easy stacked left facing corners to the very base of the tall corner/dihedral above. Traverse a ledge left to below the next corner to the left that leads to an obvious wide flake. Belay below this left facing corner. C4#6 for the belay.
3rd Pitch- 180’- 5.9/ Enter the off-width and climb pass a bolt. You can punch a C4#6 all the way up until you enter the squeeze chimney. Leave it behind and enter the squeeze (removing your helmet is helpful). Face the wall and squeeze up the chimney. A left sided chicken wing is there when you want to employ it. There are features behind you for your feet. Eventually pull out on top with jugs on the wall behind you. I placed one decent small off-set cam out left before I really started the squeeze. It is run out, but not atypical for a squeeze chimney. A competent leader will feel secure on lead regardless of pro (your body serves as a chock). From the top of the squeeze, continue up to a ledge, move slightly right and climb a varnished crack straight up then move left into the flaring corner above (chossy rock and large bush). Climb the suspect rock up and right on easy angled face to a large ledge. C4#5 fits in the floor for the belay.
4th Pitch- 100’- 5.8/ Venture deep into the cool chimney and stem and chimney up until you can commit to the left wall and pull a bulge. Atop the chimney, a short, steep and juggy C4#4 crack leads to the top of the wall.