I chose to combine Three Chocolatiers with the Black Pearl. That turned out to be a good fit. They are both challenging 5.9+ routes by Red Rock Standard and I had a 5.9 follower with me. Three Chocolatiers was the last climb I had to tick off on either Brownstone Wall and no doubt is the most obscure published climb up there. Handren’s guide calls the 5th pitch 5.10a and the others 5.9+ but gives the route a 5.10b. I can only assume that my strategy of climbing the 5.10b first pitch of Ten Minute Shift and then traversing left is the idea behind the discrepancy. I also believe the guide and/or the FAer’s simply misspelled Chocolatiers (Choclateers).
The 1st pitch is the sustained lead on the climb, but the 4th pitch is the mental exposed crux on suspect rock. The 2nd pitch is mostly made up of pure black varnish and really sells the route. The 3rd and 5th pitches are inconsequential. Chocolatiers goes well with Ten Minute shift for a full day of climbing. Is as good as most routes on Brownstone North, but rarely climbed.
Park at the Oak Creek Canyon trail head. Hike out on the northeast corner trail. Follow cairned climbers trails left into Juniper Canyon as you would from Crimson Chrysalis or any other route in this area. Head up canyon to the base of the North Brownstone Wall. Three Chocolatiers is on the left side of the wall (furthest left). It is easily identifiable by the tall right facing hanging corner. Ten Minute Shift’s first pitch bolts are easy to locate as well. There is a nasty cactus at the base of Ten Minute. Simply scramble up to the blocky ledge below the bolt line to avoid the cacti. This is where you will want to pull your rope as well if rapping, to avoid same.
Route DescriptionThree Chocolatiers, 750'+/-, 5.10b
1st Pitch- 180’- 5.10b/By Red Rock standards these first two pitches are stout 5.9’s. The FAer’s called them 5.9+ and I concur. The first pitch is much enhanced by climbing through all the pro bolts on Ten Minute Shift’s first pitch (5.10b), then traversing left via well protected finger seams on much better rock than the “scary dishes” referred to by the FAers. Pull into the flaring chimney above. The crux move of the first pitch (as challenging as any of the 5.10 moves on the first pitch of Ten Minute) is protecting with a micro cam or RP and chimneying up via an insecure flaring hand jam, maybe 5 meters after entering the chimney. Rope drag can start to be an issue at this juncture as well. You reach a sloped stance at about 180’ that takes C4#.75’s (semi-hanging).
2nd Pitch- 180’- 5.9+/Another long pitch that takes loads of gear. Save some finger pieces for the gear belay on a comfy ledge. I had an 80m rope and by-passed the nice ledge and tried to combine pitches 2 and 3, but did not make it. Not as cruxy as the first pitch and much better stone: of the dark varnished variety found on Brownstone Walls. The only real crux is when you reach an intermittent (real chossy overhang out right) ledge. Stem the fun finger corner and pull the small roof on great black rock. But a mature bush has grown into the crack which is difficult for the leader to clean making room for gear and/or holds (my 2nd did not clean it). Once through this, more outstanding rock leads to a comfy ledge out right (finger gear belay).
3rd Pitch- 100’- 5th/You are just about even with the top of Ten Minute Shift via some easy but run out climbing out right (pine tree with bolt). Instead move back left into the crack system you have been following and climb to the large cactus laden ledge below the final head wall.
4th Pitch- 120’- 5.10a/The FAer’s notes are a bit confusing on this pitch. Straight ahead on the upper head-wall is a small tree. There is a diagonal crack, left to right, that starts at the tree and heads right to the arête. This initial crack is the crux and the rock is not ideal. Place several finger pieces whilst pulling suspect rock. Traverse right and find decent larger gear placements. Continue to move right again and then up. Move back left to a solid tree belay. A crappy pitch compared to the first two.
5th Pitch- 150’- 5th/You can rap from this tree and scramble down east to the top of Ten Minute Shift to rap it or continue to the top via heavily vegetated 5th class. Move up and right into the large right facing corner. Then walk off of North Juniper Peak to the east.