On a cold day in December, we searched for an objective with pure southern exposure. Kraft Crags situated in the middle of the south face of Kraft Mountain on the east side of Calico Basin fit the bill. The only established or worthy multi pitch route on Kraft Mountain is the Classic Crack of Calico. Kraft is a non-distinct mountain hemming in the bizarre collection of homes located in the basin to the east. Kraft is what basically separates these rural homes from the stark contrast known as Las Vegas.
Although published as a two pitch route in Handren’s book, Classic Crack of Calico is actually required to be climbed via three pitches unless you are simul climbing the first pitch. I advise against that as the crux of the whole route (5.9+) is at or over 60m (we used a 70m rope). The first pitch is comprised of average sandstone at its best and a bit chossy at its worst. But the real climbing is located in a solid left facing corner as you traverse left below a large roof to reach a stellar varnished right facing corner. The small roof pull to gain this corner is the crux of the climb and best reserved for the start of the short second pitch as it is at a full 60m-70m to a stance below this roof. The pull is easily protected with large gear and the beautiful corner goes much easier after you get through the first couple of off width moves. The last pitch is a fantastic 100’+ of 5.8-5.9 corner and crack climbing on solid varnish to the top of this attached pillar. The descent is a walk off.
Park at the end of the residential area. There is a gravel road climbers are encouraged to park along that goes left out of the last cul de sac. Walk back to the paved cul de sac and head east along a deserted home (2009) and down a steep embankment. Cross the wash and follow a trail that heads for the popular bouldering area at the base of Kraft Mountain. There is no established trail up the large scree to the base of the route itself. Take the beta photo provided with you showing the distinct line which skirts one pillar to the right and ascends a crack to the top of another. Head up to the base of the route on easy ground.
Route Description350’, 3 Pitches, 5.9+
1st Pitch- 200’- 5.9/ Climb up the chossy gully directly below a large roof with a left facing corner below it and a large heavily varnished right facing corner above it and out left. Sticking to the right crack in the gully is truer to grade, but you can easily bypass this skeptical rock out left. Take the solid corner below the roof and traverse left to exit it. Continue to traverse left until below the small roof that gains access to the big black right facing wall above. Climb to the very base of this corner below the roof and set up a comfortable gear belay.
2nd Pitch- 45’- 5.9+/ Place a large piece (4"-5") in the roof to help avoid a deck fall. Under cling and heave yourself up into the off width above. Knee bar your way up to a decent finger jug and pull the roof. Follow the beautiful corner to the large ledge above. Move diagonally over to the base of the crack splitting the face above (tree in the way). Set up a gear belay in the crack.
3rd Pitch- 105’- 5.9/ Climb the obvious crack and corner system above on stellar rock to the top of the attached pillar placing gear at will. Some smaller gear will help set a belay on top.