Badlands Peak *
Religion is a mental disease, often confused with spirituality. --pjs-1965
If Red Rock is too busy, time is limited and you need a super-short approach, or if you're just looking for a change of rock type, the Gun Club is going to make you happy. Unless you hate bleeding, that is, for the rock is a sharp limestone. Even if you don't bang a knee or elbow and rip it open, your fingers are going to hate you after a few climbs here, and if you're going to climb here often, don't use your favorite shoes unless you like replacing them monthly.
Although there are a few lines that look leadable (with suspect rock quality), it's strictly sport climbing here, with most routes nicely bolted, meaning you usually don't have to go in terror until clipping the first bolt.
Many of the anchors are dual cold shunts or a pair of something looking like a fat, non-locking biner (I'm sure there's a name, but I don't know it), making lowering and rappelling easy.
Routes tend to be about 40'.
I get the sense that despite the easy access and the good bolting that seems to be the norm, this place doesn't get too crowded. During spring break, I visited this spot three separate times and never saw another climber.
From I-215 on the west side of Vegas, take the West Cheyenne/Cliff Shadows Parkway exit and head west. The road quickly bends north. Before its intersection with Alexander Rd., turn left onto a dirt road and drive for a few seconds to a parking area. Take an obvious trail leading into a canyon with two parallel walls. Once in the canyon, you can head along a trail following either wall, and you'll soon start seeing bolted lines.
The North Wall (faces south) has a few more lines and more moderates. The South Wall (facing north) is harder overall, though both walls have at least one 5.8 and at least one 5.12. The route lists come from comments on Mountain Project
by a local climber; he admits that the names in quotes are ones he just made up. Routes in bold are ones I have climbed.
I only led up to a 10a out here, but the lines I led all seemed a little easy for the grade. However, that could have been due to the fact that most of them were well-bolted and had good clipping stances beneath the harder moves.
From right to left as you walk along the crag from the parking area:
- "A Traverse" 5.7-- Very awkward with the bolt placements, and very difficult to clean on rappel after solo-leading it. What looked like a fun and easy way to end the day turned out to be a real pain in the ass.
- Staring Down the Barrel 5.11c
- Friendly Fire 5.11d
- Clay Pigeon 5.11a
- Under Cover 5.11b
- "Retro-Bolted Corner" 5.9
- "Bolt Gun" 5.12a
- #17 5.11d
- Muzzle Loader 5.12a
- Rock Salt 5.11c
- Point Blank 5.11b
- Ricochet 5.11b
- Pistol Whipped 5.10a
- Misfire 5.9
- Quick Draw 5.8
- Bushmaster 5.8
- Trigger Happy 5.6
- FN Five-seveN 5.7
- Twin Weapons of Mass Distraction 5.10a-- The only 5.10 move is pulling the overhang at the top, but the clip is easy to do. The first bolt is a bit high compared to most other routes here, but the climbing to it is easy, maybe 5.6ish.
- Mini-Gun 5.6
From left to right as you walk along the crag from the parking area:
- "Unknown Face" 5.11b
- Marksman 5.12b
- Skeet Surfin' 5.10c
- Gun Shy 5.11b
- Sharpshooter 5.11b
- Sharkstooth 5.11b
- Under Fire 5.10a
- Bolting Without A Permit 5.10c
- "7" 5.10d
- "Unknown Corner" 5.10a
- "Unknown Face2" 5.11c/d
- Slingblade 5.12b
- Pot Shot 5.11d
- High Caliber 5.12a
- Small Arms 5.8+
- Sharpest Shot 5.9-- very sharp rock!
- Young Guns 5.10b
What I really wanted to do was climb Mount Cowen. Said to be one of the best scrambling routes in Greater Yellowstone, going at Class 4 overall with a 5.4 summit block, it sounded perfect for me.
But there were two problems. One was the long hike in, involving a steep descent before climbing to the logical campsite. I hate giving up elevation in order to gain it. The other problem involved time and energy. Climbing Cowen is really best done as a two-nighter; you grunt the 8-9 miles to Elbow Lake and make camp, you climb the peak the next day, and then you hike out the following day.
When you're solo and you can't stand down time and you have to meet your wife the next day, this just doesn't work. In retrospect, given that the weather was perfect, I could have hiked in early, rested a bit, climbed, and then hiked out the next day, but I couldn't have predicted that perfect weather, right?
To be honest, my main reason for bailing on the plan was that I didn't want the long slog up and down, in and out, both ways, for I hate backpacking as well even though I will bear that cross to reach certain places.
So I made a different plan. Crow Mountain was supposed to be Class 3 (easy but still tough enough to make it appealing), and the hike in was supposed to be fairly short and easy. 4 miles and about 1000' of elevation gain to trail's end and camp-- no problem!