During a period in February 2011, in an attempt by me to tick off the remaining routes on the Brownstone Walls, I climbed Mayday Malefactor (5.10c), Sand Castle (5.10c), Ten Minute Shift and Time’s Up (5.11d). Ten Minute Shift caught our eye when we were rapping Sand Castle. It is a mixed route (fixed and trad pro) up the left side of a protruding half height buttress on the north Brownstone Wall that allows for three routes (Hueco Thanks, Sand Castle and Ten Minute Shift) to share the same top out ledge and thus same rap descent. This feature is left of the Armatron wall.
No one was credited with the FA in Handren’s book and no beta existed on-line prior to our climbing it in 2011, but Ten Minute Shift is a fantastic five pitch route by Red Rock standards. The first two pitches are almost completely bolted, but the final three are all trad. The crux pitch (second pitch-5.11b) is full on at the grade. It is sustained with the crux move coming at the end as you leave your last bolt and make an aggressive and prolonged under-cling to overcome a bulge with a trad placement or two above in a small crack. The first pitch is well bolted and resembles a sport pitch at the grade (5.10b). The third pitch is a fun flaring chimney (5.10a) that eases way up as you exit it left and up to the base of a beautiful 5.9+ heavily varnished corner. The last pitch goes fast at 5.8 up two more short corners. All the belays/raps were fixed and in decent shape as of 2011. With a “true” 70m rope, you can skip the third pitch belay on your rap descent. Like all of the routes on the North Brownstone Wall, this is a sunny route during the winter months.
I spent four days up at 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 southeast 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. Hike up the canyon on a well traveled trail. Ten Minute Shift runs up the left side of a half height buttress (attached tower) well left of the Armatron Wall and its more popular 5.9 objectives. Three Choclateers starts in the same place, but moves left into the obvious large corner/chimney. Ten Minute Shift follows the bolt line above a bush/cactus laden pod.
Route Description400’+/-, 5 Pitches, 5.11b
1st Pitch- 80’- 5.10b/ After a slight bushwhack and loose start (placing a single piece of pro) follow the bolts up through fun edges and side pulls. Twice when I have climbed this pitch, once on lead, once on second, I was drawn a bit far right following nice feet and ended up having to down climb a move or two. Instead, stay directly below the bolts or if anything stay left and use the corner with your left hand to advance. At the top is a hand rail below a block, use this to mantel up to the fixed belay ledge. You can go up a ramp out left, but this last move is more in line with the grade and intent of the line no doubt.
2nd Pitch- 80’- 5.11b/ This is a sustained pitch at the grade but well protected. The first ¾’s of the pitch involves quite a few balancing moves. Right from the belay you must mantle up onto a curving ramp. A good finger ledge shows up after almost any hard move to help you advance up the pitch. Continue up this series of curving foot ledges until below the roof above. The roof offers a meter wide under-cling with nothing on top. Move left with the under-cling as you stem your feet until you can make the crux move of the route, a high reach into a finger crack. Place a piece of gear and make for the fixed belay at the base of the flaring chimney up and right.
3rd Pitch- 50’- 5.10a/This is a flaring and heavily varnished chimney. It is a fun pitch. My approach was to put my back against the right wall and chimney up the flare placing small gear in the corner until I could move up and left on large holds. Traverse left and up on jugs to the base of a heavily varnished black corner and fixed belay on a comfortable ledge.
4th Pitch- 70’- 5.9+/Run up the fantastic rock in the corner to another comfortable belay.
5th Pitch- 80’- 5.8/Continue up a couple of short corners at the grade to a tree and bolt at the edge of a large ledge.