OverviewJubilant Song route climbs the sunny south face of Windy Peak in the far northern reaches of Nevada’s Red Rocks. The line was first put up by Joe Herbst and Terry Shultz in 1971. It was however the second ascent of the line by John Long and Richard Harrison that offers a great story of adventure and survival. For details seek Larry DeAngelo’s (excellent!) Red Rock Odyssey (ISBN 0-9753074-0-1) book which devotes an entire chapter to this route including dead-on accurate description and beta. This is a fun trad outing with good old school ratings on some of the pitches. A total of one bolt was encountered on the line (not sure if that belongs there or not either). In addition to DeAngelo’s book, three other Red Rocks climbing guidebooks have route descriptions for this one including: Swain (description + accurate topo), Urioste (description + photo with overlay), and Brock (description, no topo).
Follow the driving approach described on the main Windy Peak page. We’ve been to this TH a few times and got our rental sedan stuck at least once on various variations of the drive in. Keep in mind that best drive in approach is attained by taking the second right after the Black Velvet turn off from NV 160. BV turn off is 4.7 miles from NV 159 & NV 160 junction and Windy Peak turn off you’re looking for is 1 mile further (pass one intermediate turn off with a cattle guard).
From the indicated trailhead, pick up one of the mountain bike trails (clear) and follow it down into a shallow wash. After about 10 minutes of meandering, you’ll come across a fenced off (research?) area near some large, weird looking brown boulders and another wash. The trail follows this wash on its right side and eventually dips into the wash for part of the way. It’s easy to lose the trail here but the general idea is to keep traversing the open desert slope beneath the east/southeast face of Windy Peak. Your goal is an improbably steep looking vegetated dirt slope just right of some reddish band of cliffs. Just before reaching this slope, you’ll cross another brushy wash. Pick up a clear climbers’ trail at base of slope and slog few hundred feet up the slope to a flat area called the Football Field. Follow cairns across field heading up and right. A final rock band ramp beneath Windy Peak is crossed on good ledges and you soon arrive at base of rock. Approach time reportedly is 1.5 hrs but it took us 2 hrs (I have a sprained ankle).
Note that there are various ways to break up this route – it’s pretty ledgy, but generally speaking we followed the scheme in the DeAngelo book (at least on lower 2/3rds).
Pitch 1: 5.7, 90 feet. Climb the easy crack in a shallow, right facing dihedral. Pull a bulge (5.7) and belay on large ledge with shrubbery.
Pitch 2: 5.7, 160 feet. Move up the wide but low angle and well-featured crack (don’t need big gear – things taper down often and in back). Pull onto ledges with much loose stuff on them. Belay on ledge of choice – generally speaking, there should be an easy chimney just above you.
Pitch 3: 5.5, 70 feet. Move up the easy chimney and pull onto low angle face above moving up and slightly right. Belay when convenient – there’s a good ledge not too high on the pitch.
Pitch 4: 5.5-5.7, 120 feet. This is the classic pitch on the route – a fun traverse beneath the huge roof you saw from far away. With the exception of DeAngelo’s book (calls it 5.7), other guidebooks give this a 5.5 rating. That’s a big sandbag as you’ll find out. Climb up and right to the roof. Traverse right just below the roof. Good pro and fun moves! Belay at right edge of the huge roof and under a small roof in a short (~6 foot tall), left-facing dihedral (hanging gear belay).
Pitch 5: 5.7, 100 feet. Move up the dihedral, pull the roof and climb short face to easy and ledgy terrain above. Move through a low angle squeeze chimney and belay not too high on one of many ledges on left. Pitch feels easy compared to pitch 4 though most guidebooks give it a 5.8 rating…go figure. Reportedly there’s a 5.5 face variation to be found by traversing out right from hanging belay and then up.
Pitch 6: 5.7, 100 feet. Move up and angle gently right to the base of a grayish water streak. There’s a bolt at its base (I’m guessing it’s not part of FA?). Move up the slabby water streak. Move left onto dirty ledges not too far up.
Pitch 7: 5.8, 100 feet. Move back right back into the water streak. Pull the cruxy, slab move and continue up the lower angle slab terrain above (there was a piece of tat hanging up above) – which I found out I could not do with my stiff ankle. Alternatively, move up the juggy and steep (but easier) terrain just left of streak. Belay beneath another roof.
Pitch 8: low 5th, 160 feet. Move up and pass the roof via a steep but juggy wall on left. Follow slabby terrain up and left to a tree in a gully. Move up gully to slabs.
Hike the ridge slabs west to an obvious saddle with trees in it. There were many cairns.
From saddle, drop down the standard Red Rocks brush gully left/south. Hike down gully a couple hundred feet and look for an obvious large notch on the left of the gully (large cairn there when we did it).
Hike left (east) out of gully into notch. Drop down left (east) from notch another 2 or 3 hundred feet to base of route.
Essential GearDouble cams from yellow Alien to #3 Camalot. Single blue Alien (optional) and single #3.5 and possibly (not sure) #4 Camalot. Very light set of nuts.
External Links(1) Nice TR by Bill Wright is here.
(2) Jubilant Song page on mountainproject.
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