Adventure Punks is a soon to be classic Red Rock route gaining in popularity. When I climbed Adventure Punks in June, 2011, Robert Fielding and a friend were completing a retrofit to the rap stations. What lends Adventure Punks to potential classic status at Red Rock is the pure trad line it follows for 550’ on solid and sustained ground. However, I found two modern (2011) bolts that had been added to the crux off width pitch. Like many Red Rock routes, there is a chance Adventure Punks could be bolted to oblivion, but as it stands in 2011, it is a great alpine style climb for the area. The approach utilizes one of the richer canyons in Red Rock, the south fork of Pine Creek. The water in June was running plentiful among the large boulders and mature trees. This is the same fork of Pine Creek Canyon shared with Cat in the Hat, but few ever venture beyond the Cat in the Hat area on Mescalito which serves as the entrance to this canyon. There are two adjoining walls that offer steep well varnished climbing, the Challenger wall and the Adventure Punks wall.
The Adventure Punks route was established by Harrison, Mamusla and Van Betten in 1983, three years before most of the routes on Challenger Wall were put in. Little to any development has occurred on either wall since 1986.
Adventure Punks follows a massive and obvious left curving arch/corner and ends before the pinnacle of the arch itself. The first pitch gets labeled “scary with no protection” in Handren’s guide book and is located off the deck. However, if you climb up an easy, but mossy, corner to the left, you reach a perfect .75” cam pod. From there I down climbed and traversed right almost to the ground and was essentially top roped for the slab section, albeit on a pendulum. Once into the flake, the climbing was quite varied and fun. There was never much strenuous lay backing necessary on the multiple flakes and loads of rest spots in between the moves. One topo suggests that the crux move on the pitch would be a traverse right to another flake/corner, however this ground appeared easy relative to the rest of the pitch. The second pitch is the least interesting one of the bunch. It starts out with one point of fixed pro which gets you into the arcing corner you will follow for the remainder of the climb. The third and fourth pitches are full on sustained 5.10 pitches and it could be debated which is the better lead. The third one stays with the corner whilst the fourth pitch runs up a finger crack out left. The fifth pitch is the business of this route, a 5.10d sustained off width crack. The width of the crack is not necessarily as sustained as the climbing itself. This pitch is quite varied and thus you will value your .3” and .4” pieces as much as your 5” and 6” pieces. The guidebook calls for double 4” to 7” for this last pitch, but I suggest double #4 C4’s” with a single #5 and #6 being adequate considering there are now two bolts (2011) on this pitch at the wider sections. I took a large big bro and did not feel the need to place it and had an extra #5 and #6 still left on my harness at the end of the fifth pitch as well.
Park at the Pine Creek Trailhead on the Red Rock loop road. Follow the main trail to Mescalito and cross into the canyon floor before you get to Mescalito and follow it up and into the left fork of Pine Creek, looking for a well-traveled trail up and right out of the drainage heading for Cat in the Hat. Follow this trail and drop into the left fork again at the juncture for the Cat in the Hat approach trail. Continue up a very pleasant canyon full of water and mature trees (2011) until you come to another fork in the canyon. Take this left fork and pass a unique honeycomb wall and continue beyond the route itself (huge left leaning arch above). Cut back left on a large rock shelf and cut up right following cairns to the base of the route. Start below the flake on the run out slab or follow my suggestion to protect this section first by starting left and then down climbing back to the slab section.
1st Pitch- 120’- 5.10b/ This is a fun pitch with a tall flake system that calls for a few lay back moves and plenty of rest spots. The 5.9 slab start is referenced as “scary with no protection” in the guidebook. I concur and in my wise old age realize a broken limb is not worth it if there are options. In this case I found a great one. Climb the mossy corner to the left to its end. There you will find a bomber .75” cam pod. Then down climb the arête to your right and traverse right into the slab section below the first flake. You will pendulum if you fall, but the consequences would be minimal in comparison. Make several slab moves until you reach a very positive hand at the base of the first flake. Follow the flake system up, placing gear at will and make a few lay back moves when necessary. You will come to a wide crack/flake. Ascend it and traverse right to the base of another. One topo referenced this traverse as the crux of the pitch, but it did not feel that way to me. Run up this last flake until you can make easy face moves on varnished rock out left to reach the fixe (new in 2011) belay (semi-hanging).
2nd Pitch- 110’- 5.10b/ This is perhaps the easiest and least interesting pitch of the day. Run up and left past a fixed point of pro (2011) via a few slab moves and into the corner that contains the rest of the route. Follow grooves up this corner until you reach a fixed belay (chains-2011).
3rd Pitch- 80’- 5.10a/ Although labeled 5.10a in Handren’s book, this pitch is far more sustained for the grade than the first two pitches (5.10b). Many summit logs reflect this to be the best pitch of the climb, but I believe pitch 4 is every bit as good. Run up the corner, stemming, finger and hand jamming your way to a passive fixed gear belay (2011) (semi-hanging) that can easily be backed up with a C4 #1.
4th Pitch- 90’- 5.10b/ No doubt in my mind that this is the second most technical pitch of the route, 2nd to the off width pitch above. Move up and right into the corner for a short distance on easy ground. Then follow a shallow groove up and left via a crux move or two until into a finger crack above. Follow this finger crack up the steep black arête like face until it lets up for the last few meters. Move back right to a comfortable fixed belay below the off width. A variation allows you to stay in the corner proper at a lessor grade (5.9) to the same belay.
5th Pitch- 140’- 5.10d/ This is the crux pitch of Adventure Punks. Start in the off width, leaving your first piece, a bomber #3 C4, at the neck above. Bounce out left and up into more off width. I advise removing your helmet before you start this pitch because of this second off width section. I “chicken winged” and “heal to toe” my way up this section bumping both a C4 #5 and #6 leaving them each at opportune moments. Once you survive this crux section, the off width closes down and gives you a few facial features on the slick dark varnished left wall to continue up the corner via some lay back. As it widens to fingers (.3-.4) the arched roof above starts to grow in size and gives you positive holds as well to maneuver the rest of the route. I placed one point of gear into a bomber crack in the roof itself. The last couple meters let up to the fixed belay (2011).
With double ropes, rap back to the base of the fifth pitch. Then make a full 200’ rap back to the base of the third pitch. Another rap to the base of the second pitch and a final rap to the ground. My ropes pulled real clean on this route.