On the northeast corner of Rainbow Mountain, at the entrance to Juniper Canyon, lies the Wall of Cracks (Crimson Chrysalis and Cloud Tower). Immediately to the southeast of this juncture in Juniper Canyon is Ginger Buttress (white tower attached to the east face of Rainbow Mountain). Ginger Buttress consists of a collection of mostly moderate routes the most popular of which are Ginger Cracks (5.9) and Unimpeachable Groping (5.10b). The buttress forms a triangular tower of sorts with a few stepped faces nearing its summit which forms a cool notch between it and an adjacent taller wall to the west. Only two routes reach this notch, Ginger Cracks and Unimpeachable Groping thus why they are the most popular routes on the buttress. Unimpeachable is actually a rare (by Red Rocks standards) multi pitch sport climb and Ginger Cracks is a trad climb with mostly fixed stations. Neither are overly long thus these routes make for decent winter ascents as long as the temps are reasonable. Any routes on the right side (north) of the buttress (i.e. Ginger Cracks) do not see sun during the short winter days.
The approach for this buttress, as for other routes in Juniper Canyon, can start either at the Pine Canyon trail head or Oak Creek trail head off the Red Rocks loop road. For Ginger Buttress, I prefer the Oak Creek trail head version. Oak Creek is the last trail head option on the Red Rocks Loop Road. Drive down a long gravel drive to the parking area. Use the trail heading out of the corralled parking lot to the north aiming for Juniper Canyon. Follow the trail as it meanders northwest towards Rainbow Mountain. There are a variety of options, but it is more direct to not cross the Juniper Canyon wash, but rather turn left at some point and head for the bushy ramp that leads to Cloud Tower. Once on the ramp gaining elevation and almost to the col, turn left on a faint trail heading up to the north end of Ginger Buttress.
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as if you Circumvent the Buttress
- Fist or Flips- 120’- 5.10c/
- Power Failure- 450’- 5.10b/ Power Failure is an east facing route. If climbing this route in mid winter as I did, I advice getting an early start. Once you lose the sun, it can get pretty damn cold. The same can be said for Unimpeachable Groping. Huge difference on both routes in the dead of winter when you lose that morning sun. The middle pitch is the crux pitch for sure with quite a few bolts helping you make the transition from a thin seam to a prominent corner. The first pitch traverses right quite a bit and the last pitch follows the corner back left to the upper rappel station used to descend this wall via three double rope rappels. I do this rap in two very long double 60m rope rappels, but that requires a bit of down climbing towards the end. The Urioste’s put this route in with a bunch of other folks in ‘98. Jorge put the classic Unimpeachable Groping up just one year later. Dow
- Somewhere over the Rainbow- 1100’- 5.11d/ Extension of Power Failure that is not actually on Ginger Buttress but rather proceeds up Rainbow Mountain.
- All You Can Eat- 430’- 5.10d/
- Unimpeachable Groping- 700’- 5.10b/ Jorge Urioste and Mike Clifford made the Unimpeachable Groping line in 1999. Unlike Prince of Darkness (six pitches through 700’), Unimpeachable Groping truly requires no supplemental gear in my opinion (although some guidebooks call for it). I was a little surprised Jorge did not bolt Unimpeachable in the same fashion as Prince of Darkness as I did observe several lines of bolts right next to protectable terrain. In any regard, it still offers a fantastic climb in a great setting up the middle east face of Ginger Buttress on the east side of Rainbow Mountain at Red Rocks. At least one guide book calls this route 5.10d, however many of us consider it closer to 5.10a. I would say there is a smattering of 5.10c moves that kind of confuse the grade, but for the most part, the moves are 5.10- for sure. Dow
- Ginger Cracks- 930’- 5.9/ As always, Radek's notes (the link) are spot on and complete with great beta photos. Ginger Cracks is comprised of pleasant rock and can make for a fun short day at Red Rocks. I did not see any 5.9 moves on it. Mostly 5.7-5.8, but plenty of interesting features. The second pitch is the most unique featuring a small chimney. There is not much to the "crux" pitch (4th), except that it should not have been bolted as there is a decent crack running most the length of it. The last pitch (7th) is worth doing for sure, interesting climbing involved all the way to the notch which is in a pretty spectacular position on Rainbow Mountain. The descent off of the back end (south) and down Power Failure and return to the base is quick and easy. This route sees no sun during the short winter days. Dow
- Spice- 300’- 5.9/
- Sugar- 225’- 5.10a/
- Cayenne Corners- 690’- 5.10d/
- Waterstreak Chimney- 230’- 5.8/
- After Hours- 245’- 5.10b/
- Sweet Honey Pumpkin- 335’- 5.10c/
- It’s a Boy! It’s a Girl!- 495’- 5.10d/
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM
- Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association