OverviewChallenger is the namesake route on the Challenger Wall. It was put up in 1983 by Jay Smith and Randall Grandstaff. The route is 4 pitches long but the addition of the last 2 pitches of Jupiter II make for a 6 pitch outing on beautiful rock.
Getting ThereChallenger Wall, although on Juniper Peak, is accessed by the Pine Creek Canyon trailhead. The approach follows the standard approach into the canyon and toward the Mescalito. Once at the base of the Mescalito and the confluence of the north and south forks of the creek, hang a left (south) and enter the south fork wash. Follow this wash and periodically there will be a trail on either side of the creek. Keep following this scrambling and boulder hopping where necessary. Follow the creek until a large "honeycombed" boulder appears. Soon after this honeycombed boulder it's possible to head up the slabs to the west to the base of Adventure Punks and the Challenger Wall.
Adventure Punks is an obvious left facing corner system. If you can identify this, go to it. Follow the base of the wall left (west) and you will pass the routes Enterprise and X-15. After passing these two prominent routes an amphitheater will appear. This is the Challenger Wall. Challenger is easily identified by a prominent roof 85 feet up.
Route DescriptionThis route is bold and should not be taken lightly. Be solid at the grade or suffer the consequences.
Although relatively short, Challenger presents multiple elements of difficulty. There is burly, technical, run-out and thin climbing all involved in one route- making for a fantastic outing on the route.
Pitch 1, 5.10d 90 ft. Begin under the prominent roof. A water grooved crack system leads up under this roof. Scarce protection for about 30 feet on 5.7 terrain. Negotiate your way under the roof placing bomber protection where possible. Use all sorts of body English to move out to the lip of the roof. There is a key foothold somewhere but I'll leave that to you to find. Once you pull the roof a bolted anchor on a decent ledge will follow. Bolted anchor.
Pitch 2, 5.10d 90 ft. This pitch begins off the belay up a strange flare. Move up the flare and around a corner into a left facing corner system. This corner system is thin but the pro is all there albeit spaced out. Contemplate how you're going to manage the thin tips corner... and you will. 5.10- climbing leads up the remainder of the corner to a hanging belay. Bolted anchor.
Pitch 3, 5.10c 75 ft. This is a bold pitch. Once again off the belay begin up a flare. This can be avoided if you face climb but the lack of protection forces you into the wideness for that added security. Eventually move right into an adjacent crack system and follow this where decent protection can be found. Eventually the crack fades out and a flare with a thin crack in the back is found. Follow this placing OK pro where you can. Some funky climbing leads up to a large roof. Place pro high in the roof, extend it and downclimb a bit. Use the arete and a good hold on the roof to pull some airy and bold moves. More 5.9 face moves with bad protection lead to a good stance. Bolted anchor.
Pitch 4, 5.10c 75 ft. A great pitch up a beautiful and technical left facing corner. Move up the corner finding protection where you can. Offset stoppers work well as do small cams (green C3) to get into a decent stance. Good protection can be found 20 feet off the belay in the obvious finger crack. Pull some technical crimping, stemming and use the features on the arete to gain a good ledge. After a series of interesting and delicate moves above OK gear, move right across some vegetated rock to a stance atop a pillar. Bolted anchor.
From here two more pitches (5.8 and 5.10d respectively) can be tacked on to create a nice long day. The 5.10d corner of Jupiter II looks awesome.
Descent Rap the route with 1 60m rope. Knot the ends. 4 Raps.
Essential Gear60m Rope
Single Rack to 3", RP's
TCU's or C3's
Double cams 1"-1.75" (Purple to Red Camalot)
1 Set Cajones (literally and figuratively)