During a six day period in mid February 2011, in an attempt by me to tick off the remaining routes on the Brownstone Walls, I climbed Mayday Malefactor, Sand Castle (5.10c), Ten Minute Shift (5.11b) and Time’s Up (5.11d). Mayday Malefactor was the first in this series for me to complete and by far the tamest of these four. I knew from climbing Sweet Thin (5.9) that the crux pitch on Mayday would be a pretty good pitch and it was. The routes intersect each other at the base of each one's crux pitch. Like Sweet Thin, the crux moves on Mayday Malefactor are bolted due to the glossy nature of some of the cleanest and blank varnish in all of Red Rock. No FA credit is given in Handren’s book, nor did any internet beta exist on Mayday Malefactor before we climbed it.
I had climbed the last pitch (5th-5.9+) before as a variation finish to either Requiem for a Tadpole (5.9+), Armatron (5.9) or Sweet Thin. The crux pitch (3rd-5.10c) is mostly 5.10- with one real thin move, almost 5.11, but truly just one move right above a bolt to a hand ledge. The entire third pitch is fun and varied with several nice cracks as well as heavily varnished face moves. The second pitch (5.9) is long and a bit run out as it parallels Sweet Thin to the left on exceptional varnished rock. The first pitch (5.7) is poorly written up in Handren’s book and is much easier to start and follow via my description below. It is a long and fun pitch as well making for a fairly solid route overall. You can walk off as you do for most of the routes on North Brownstone Wall.
I spent four days up at the Brownstone Walls in a stretch of six. Seven big horn ewes were feasting on the bushes at the base of the walls and a pair of (competing or breeding) peregrine falcons made tremendous racquet during mid February as well.
The north Brownstone Wall is lit up as it mostly angles east and Rainbow Wall does not cut the sun off as early as it does for South Brownstone Wall. The approach up to the two Brownstone Walls deters many climbing tourists, thus on most occasions, particularly mid-week, you are likely to have either of the entire walls to yourself. You can climb Myster Z or Rose Hips to the summit of Jackrabbit Buttress to access the Brownstone Wall climbs which make for a nice long day of climbing. However, you can hike up Juniper Canyon as well. I prefer to park at the Oak Creek trail head (versus Pine Creek) and head north out of the parking area for the Juniper Canyon access on the north side of the wash. Either hike all the way up canyon on a decent trail and head for the right side of the north Brownstone Wall or climb Myster Z or Rose Hips to the summit of Jackrabbit Buttress and traverse left over to the base of the north wall. Requiem for a Tadpole is located on the far right side of the north wall in a whitish crack. A major cleft up the middle of the north Brownstone Wall divides the steeper left side from the broken right side. On the right side, there are prominent patches of dark varnish among a sea of lighter colored rock. The start to Armatron and Sweet Thin climbs the middle portion of this varnish and can be easily identified via a mostly bolted first pitch. Mayday Malefactor is on the far left side of this eastern portion of the wall. There is a small flat area in which to belay. There is a huge roof above and Mayday runs up a shallow corner, then traverses right to take the very right side of this roof via a hand crack through a bulge.
Route Description700’+/-, 5 Pitches, 5.10c
1st Pitch- 170’- 5.7/I found Handren’s collected beta a bit confusing on this first pitch and had to down climb and move back left into an obvious left facing corner to find proper protection. The varnish up and right looks appealing enough to solo up to the roof, but I broke loose a concrete block sized piece of varnish before I backed off down and left to protectable ground. Follow the obvious corner up into decent varnish and then traverse right on good rock and hand jam through the white bulge above. Continue to a comfortable (but shady and cool in winter) stance and fixed belay.
2nd Pitch- 200’- 5.9/Handren calls this pitch 175’, but it was closer to 200’. Continue for a few meters up the corner above and then move right across a bolt and continue to trend right as you aim up and through heavily varnished plated ground through a few more bolts, protecting with wires and/or cams in horizontals. This ground is a bit run out, but via easy climbing for the grade. You land on the large ledge shared with Sweet Thin at a fixed belay below two sparsely bolted lines above.
3rd Pitch- 140’- 5.10c/The route offers a left hand variation here, but the right hand (original line) is much more appealing. Traverse out right via thin reachy edges past a few bolts until you are below a crack/shallow right facing corner. Very similar to Sweet Thin (which intersects Malefactor at this point), climbing this corner/flake could be the most enjoyable climbing of the day. Toward the end of the crack, make a balance move at the grade to clip a lone bolt on the slick face above. Make one or two delicate/thin moves for the grade to reach a real positive hand rail. Mount this feature and follow good cracks up and slightly right to a comfortable (significant ledge) fixed belay.
4th Pitch- 100’- 5.7R/ Climb up and left on obvious 5.7 ground (face climbing) up to the left side of Humerus Ledge which is shared with many routes on North Brownstone.
5th Pitch- 130’- 5.9+/You can finish anyway you want. I had done all these finishes before and stuck with the guide book for this route. Move right until below a finger crack on the varnished wall above. Follow this crack up protecting with a couple of wires and/or micro cams until it peters out. Then traverse right on thin edges and continue up the arête to the top of the wall.