Spider at North Shore
Most of Texas was once beneath a sea. Many would argue it still should be, but the reality is that today, it is mostly well above the ocean and there is a lot of exposed limestone. Much of it is absolute garbage or on privately owned land, but there are places where the rock is good and the public is welcome, albeit usually at a price. And so we have Reimers.
Officially called Milton Reimers Ranch Park, the park is known to most climbers simply as Reimers. According to what I have read, there was a time that Milton and Joy Reimers welcomed visitors, often in person, and charged a nominal fee. At some point, they sold the land to Travis County, which added to the protected area through a purchase from another private landowner. Public land is pretty scarce in Texas, large as the state is, so despite the money-grubbing policies of Travis County (see Red Tape), it's still nice to have a place like Reimers.
When you mention going to climb at Reimers, someone might ask whether you mean Reimers Main, Old Reimers, North Reimers, the North Shore, or some other moniker. Although the two distinct climbing areas are in the same park, because about a couple miles separate them, climbers consider the two to be entirely separate areas. This page covers the northern section.
Trivia bit: the land that is today called "North Shore" was not part of Milton and Joy Reimers' property. It was privately owned by someone else, and the author of the Austin area's climbing guidebook was key in purchasing the land and then seeing through the process of the county buying the land and adding it to the existing park.
Consequently, the routes at North Shore were developed more recently than most of those at "Reimers Main
" were, and the rock is thus sharper and stickier, and it's way sharper than most of the rock in the Barton Creek Greenbelt
. Also, with a few notable exceptions, North Shore does not seem to get anywhere close to the traffic that Reimers Main and the Greenbelt do.
The North Shore has two principal sections, separated by the drainage most hike down to access the crags. Most of the crags are north of the drainage, but three are south of it. One of those three is primarily a bouldering location.
Pedernales River Sunset
Some Texas climbers give "world-class" status to the climbing at Reimers, but I'm not so sure about that. Yes, there are some really hard lines, and the rock is beautiful in places, resembling an outdoor cavern and with some of the coolest holds I have ever seen, but it's single-pitch sport here, and if there is any non-traverse route longer than about 40', I haven't seen it yet. So I question the "world-class" designation, but the climbing here is fun, and physical, nevertheless. In fact, although my sport experience is currently limited to a handful of sites around the country and right now my lead limit is 5.10b, I have to agree with the reputation Reimers has as being stiff for the grade. Most of the routes are steep to overhanging.
Cool Limestone Hold
A somewhat-odd feature at North Shore that is less prevalent at the main area of Reimers is the "mud ledge"; at most of the walls, there is a ledge 8-10' off the ground (sometimes there is a bolt to protect the moves onto the ledge, sometimes not), followed by an overhang pull that frequently is the crux of the route.
The Mud Ledge
The walls here face northwest, which means they get little sun except later on summer afternoons. This makes North Shore good for summer climbing, but it also means that walls can take several days to dry out after a good rain.
Austin Climbing: Sport Routes & Deep Water Solos by John Hogge is the best beta source, in print or online, for this area. It also tells the history of the park and its route development.
Cottonmouth at North Shore
Horse Nettle at North Shore
Morning Glory at North Shore
Trail Split-- go right for all but Matrix, Dude, and Unleashed
Reimers Ranch is located off Hamilton Pool Road about 6 miles west of its intersection with Ranch Road 12. It is about 45 minutes west from downtown Austin.
Once through the entrance station, drive to the end of the road (around 4 miles from the entrance station), following signs for "North Bank."
The main access trail starts by the trash bins. By the disabled spots there is a trail that provides access to locations from which to rappel to Unleashed Wall or The Dude Wall.
Morning Glories at North Shore
South from the access trail:
- The Matrix (bouldering)
- The Dude Wall-- nice collection of moderates.
- Unleashed Wall-- more moderates.
North from the access trail:
- Philosophy Wall (toprope routes, with anchors)
- Dreamer's Wall
- Insanity Wall
- Huking Buttress
- Middle Earth Wall-- very popular, lots of moderates.
- Mossy Wall
- Gypsy Wall
- Blues Wall
- Cheech & Chong Wall
- Bee Wall
- Undead Cats Wall
- Buzzards Roof
- Little Guide's Wall
- Awesome Roof Wall-- great if you love traverses.
- Holladay Wall
- Cheap Beer Wall
Tribute to Kirk Holladay (1969-2009)
Tribute to Kirk Holladay (1969-2009)
The daily entry fee is currently $10. Annual passes are $100 and well worth it if you climb here a lot. I bought an annual pass in August and by October had come out more than 10 times. Plus, the annual pass is good for all Travis County parks. Unfortunately, the pass is a windshield decal, not a card. If you want a duplicate pass for a second vehicle, you get to pay $50 for it. Nice racket they have going there.
Opening and closing times vary by the season. Check the park website
Climbers in Central Texas are well acquainted with the biting ants all over the place. Watch where you stand and where you step.
This part of Texas is also home to all four types of venomous North American snakes-- copperheads, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and coral snakes. Again, watch out, especially for the coral snakes. They are shy and bites are very rare, but their venom is highly potent and can be fatal. Also, it is my understanding that antivenin for coral snakes is in very short supply and highly expensive due to the fact that bites are so rare.
Cottonmouth at North Shore
None inside the park.
About 7 miles east on Hamilton Pool Road is Rock Dog
, owned and operated by local climbers. I've never been there but have heard the owners are awesome climbers and awesome people. I also hear that the rich neighbors hate the place, so if you don't live locally, stay there and do your part to give the middle finger to the snobs.
All year. Most of the walls face northwest and get good shade for much or all of the day. Since it is usually 90-100+ F out here May through September, it obviously makes sense to climb in the morning during summer. It's rarely too cold to climb here, but in winter, waiting until afternoon is a good bet.
If you have the flexibility, climb on weekdays. This place, and even most of Reimers proper, is virtually deserted then except during spring and winter breaks.