Power Failure is one of the few routes I got up close and personal with several times before I ever climbed it. The route runs just north of the rappel line that serves Ginger Buttress’ routes, the most prominent of which are Ginger Cracks and Unimpeachable Groping. There is a huge prominent black water streak to the south of Ginger Buttress that can be seen from either trail head (Oak Creek or Pine Creek). Power Failure is a three pitch route that lines up just to the right of that significant landmark.
Power Failure is an east facing route. If climbing this route in mid winter as I did, I advise 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.
Make no mistake, the approach is a hump for a three pitch route. If the weather is with you, it would be worth combining Power Failure with a fantastic single pitch crack named Fist or Flips that Van Betten and Mike Ward snuffed out way back in ’84.
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 and surrounding routes, 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 hike up the wash when you reach it, despite no trail at first, and hook into the regular Crimson Chrysalis trail by turning left at some point and heading 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. Continue around the buttress scrambling up the narrow shaded gully to a large pine tree practically leaning against the middle of the buttress. Unimpeachable Groping starts here. Continue up the gully until you are almost at the water streak. A bolt marks a short lower wall that must be ascended to access a ledge below the actual wall that Power Failure is on.
Route Description450’+/-, 3 Pitches, 5.10b
1st Pitch- 130’- 5.8+/ Climb up the short wall with huge pockets past a bolt to a broad ledge. Continue up a natural seam past a few supplemental bolts and traverse out right well before the seam/crack ends. There is a small ledge up and right below a much smaller seam you are looking to reach (still way left of the corner). The traverse is on easy ground for the grade. It would be easy to follow the nice crack too far up before starting your traverse, so look for it.
2nd Pitch- 160’- 5.10b/ I led this pitch and it is definitely the crux pitch of the route. It is a very enjoyable pitch that shows you a bit of everything. Start up the thin varnished seam above. Eventually it peters out into blank sandy slab. Follow a few bolts as you make the difficult slab moves that lands you up into the left facing corner to the right. Mantle up into the corner and climb much easier ground to the fixed station. This station and small stance is hidden from view up and left from the corner. Pass a medium sized ledge on your right. This is will be your 2nd rap as well.
3rd Pitch- 160’- 5.10a/ This is a much easier pitch for the grade than that middle one. Continue up the corner as the rock gets better (varnished) placing gear at will. Angle up and left as it continues to ease off to the top of the bowl and the upper rappel anchor for this wall.