Pureblind Pillar, 5.8-9
Angel Food Wall is home to some of the easier and thus popular trad routes at Red Rocks
, most notably Tunnel Vision (5.7+)
, Healy’s Haunted House (5.8)
and Group Therapy (5.7)
. In terms of development, Joanne Uiroste added a new route to this wall as late as 2006, Pureblind Pillar
Angel Food Wall is split top to bottom by several continous crack systems on the lower northeast face of White Rock Peak
. Therefore it is a decent spring and summer objective in the afternoon but normally a bit chilly for winter climbing.
The rock is pale in color meaning lesser quality than more varnished routes further south. There are a dozen published routes (2008) on Angel Food Wall, none over seven pitches or a 1000’ in height. There is a descent gully to the east of the routes. Although there is rappel tat here and there, it is possible to scramble your way back to the base of the wall. When in doubt, keep moving skiers right to descend via no rappels.
Park at the end of the gravel White Rock Springs road located almost 6 miles into the loop. From the parking area, head for White Rock Springs Peak to the southwest. Descend from the trailhead down a wide trail and turn left on an old road bed that angles directly for the peak. Look for a cairn on the right that marks a single track trail that descends a small wash and runs up the other side. Descend again into a drainage of large boulders. This is a good spot to rack up and leave your bags since you can walk off the top of the route via the gully to the left of Angel Food Wall and therefore could avoid having to return to the base of any of the climbs that top out.
Continue up to the base of Angel Food Wall, then tolerate a little bushwhacking to reach your preferred route.
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall
- Psychomania- 500’- 5.10d/
- Sandy Hole- 600’- 5.6/
- Eigerwand- 700’- 5.9/
- Tunnel Vision- 750’- 5.7+/ Some folks don’t like the looks of the run out stem moves on pitch three and opt for a two pitch bolted variation out left. I did not see that as an issue. We experienced a total traditional climb except for the one station at the top of pitch two which could have been left trad as well. Pitch three is run out if you stay true to the line. Instead of any big bros as recommended in the guidebook, I just took my #5 camelot and it came in handy. Little disappointed in the tunnel feature, thought it was going to be more dramatic than it turned out. All fun though. The roof pull at the top was good. Dow
- Stilgar’s Wild Ride- 750’- 5.8/ Stilgar’s Wild Ride shares its first pitch with Tunnel Vision (ask to pass the others, because you will exit the route at the first belay and there is plenty of room there). The beta available in Handren’s book and via other web sites can be confusing, but to clear it up, you simply climb to the top of the first pitch of Tunnel Vision before moving right and climbing a parallel line to Tunnel Vision for the rest of the day. The 2nd pitch follows good rock in a wide and easy crack to another slung boulder if in fact you wanted to extend the first pitch to move by any log jam on Tunnel Vision. Then you enter a fantastic chimney for the grade. Two pitches worth of real solid rock, requiring true chimney technique at times. When you exit the chimney, one short traverse pitch puts you on a shared ledge with Tunnel Vision at the entrance to the tunnel. And then two really nice and long pitches follow a corner, the first of which is the crux of the climb, to the top just meters from where Tunnel Vision tops out on Angel Food Wall. Dow
- Rude Rocks- 220’- 5.10a/
- Group Therapy- 755’- 5.7/ ”The route climbs next to Tunnel Vision and reaches the same 3rd class gully/ledge system midway up the face of the wall. Despite the advertised (in Supertopo and Swain) OW nature of climbing on this route, much of the climbing actually happens on the well-featured face outside the OW (which itself is fairly low angle). There might be a total of one or two "mandatory" arm bars on the entire route. The run outs on .7 terrain are avoidable with large gear (like #4.5, 5 Camalots or Big Bros). The run outs on easier terrain (.5 and .6 faces) are pretty much unavoidable.” (Radek)
- Gobies for Gumbies- 150’- 5.11a/
- Healy’s Haunted House- 645’- 5.8/ Better than Tunnel Vision, but not near as good as Stilgar's Wild Ride or Pureblind Pillar. The honeycomb chimney (1st pitch) is unique rock, easy for the grade. 2nd pitch has a small amount of true chimney which is fun. A decent 3rd pitch up a corner/crack. Long easy 4th pitch. Fun pull, but on suspect rock, at the end if you take the direct finish for the 5th pitch. Can scramble off to the left and finish up Stilgars if you would rather not. Dow
- Pureblind Pillar- 950’- 5.8/ Pureblind Pillar is a recent addition to Red Rocks climbing put in by Joanne Urioste and company in 2006. The line climbs two adjoining pillars of sorts to the right of Angel Food Wall. I can’t say it was a must climb by any stretch and is still quite dirty and loose. The two cruxes are the traverse via suspect rock on the second pitch and the variation we (along with others before us) added to the last pitch. Some sources have this last pitch variation rated as 5.9, although I still felt it was in line with the 5.8 route rating. Keep in mind though that it was difficult if not impossible to protect the lower one third portion of this final variation pitch.
- Echolalia- 600’- 5.9/
- Lean Lady- 600’- 5.6/ These are all trad lines with an assortment of fixed pro here and there. They all will require an assortment of gear as spelled out in Jerry’s Handren’s “Red Rocks, A Climbers Guide”. Most routes can be descended down the eastern gully without rappelling thus a single 60m rope for the ascent would be adequate. Better spring-summer wall due to its NE position. Dress accordingly for fall and winter climbing at Angel Food Wall.
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM
- Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association
- DowClimbing.Com Red Rocks