Blade Runner is a relatively new (2015) bolted route established above the popular Unimpeachable Groping (5.10b) and Ginger Cracks (5.9) routes atop Ginger Buttress. It can be used as an alternative finish to either of these routes. Ginger Buttress is located in the same area as the old Red Rock classics, Cloud Tower (5.12a) and Crimson Chrysalis (5.8) routes in Juniper Canyon. For some reason, MP.com has Blade Runner as PG 13 although I found it relatively well bolted. I also found it a bit soft for the grade vs the “demanding” comment by the FAer. Steep exposure yes, but not demanding in terms of technical climbing at the grade. The middle of the three pitches is rated 5.10b by the FAer but the holds are 5.9-5.10a at most. What would make it an intimidating route for the hordes of sport climbers who congregate on Unimpeachable Groping is its exposure. You climb an arete on the second pitch with grand relief below which makes this a much better finish to either of the before mentioned routes it sits above.
If combining Blade Runner with Ginger Cracks, climb the first five pitches of Ginger to a large bushy ledge near the top of the formation. Straight up and right is the reddish arete of Blade Runner. The first pitch runs through six bolts of 5.8 climbing with optional gear placements. That 100’ lands you at a fixed station atop a small whitish ledge on the very edge of the arete. The middle pitch offers spectacular exposure via positive but steep holds moving left and right across the arete through 9 bolts. The last 30’ or so of the terrain eases way off. The last pitch meanders up and right finding a hand crack that leads back left to a ledge. Traverse up and left to the top of this arete feature at a fixed rap. Six bolts protect this varied final pitch with optional cam placements. The FAer called this last pitch 5.9 but it leans more 5.8 at most compared to the 5.8 climbing on Ginger Cracks below.
Park at the Oak Creek trailhead. Head for Juniper Canyon (Brownstone Walls, Crimson Chrysalis, etc) on a well-marked trail heading out of the northeast corner of the parking area. Turn left at smaller cairned trails twice as you meander up the slopes as you would for Crimson or Cloud Tower. Split off left and cross the top of a gully for Ginger Buttress before reaching the base of Cloud Tower. If climbing Ginger Buttress, hook into Blade Runner at the top of its 5th pitch.
1st Pitch- 100’-5.8/ The FAer discusses “fragile” holds and a “huge, overhanging block”. I found neither to be the case for typical remote Red Rock climbing. The rock on the entire arete was better than I anticipated and there was no block that gave me concern or pause. The first pitch runs up easy ground right from the bushy top of the 5th pitch of Ginger Cracks. Dark vanish face leads to yellowish rock below the fixed belay. A crux move at the pitch grade up less positive holds reaches a small platform directly on the arete. I placed no gear, but there are options to supplement the six bolts.
2nd Pitch- 120’-5.10b/ This pitch felt closer to 5.10a or 5.9 for the most part. No distinctive crux as much as great, well protected, exposure via crisscrossing the arete. Edge and face climbing through 9 bolts. Out of sight above, the steepness abates to a comfortable belay ledge.
3rd Pitch- 120’-5.9/ Move up and right to find a slanting crack on the right side of the arete. Hand jam up this crack to pull onto the left side of the arete. Keep trending left and up passing a final bolt enroute to the fixed rap atop this arete feature. If I placed one piece of gear on this entire route, it would be a medium piece in that hand crack.
Take two single 60m rope raps off of bolts (2019) down Blade Runner to the notch to the east. Then a full 60m rope rap from the notch off of slings (2019) down south to the bowl above Power Failure and All You Can Eat. If you can find the top of All You Can Eat, you can rap that route with a single 70m comfortably and a single 60m works. The easiest and quickest rap is the double rope rap down the water streaks to the south of Power Failure to a ledge and then a single rope rap down to the gully, all off of bolts. This section of the wall is very clean for pulling ropes and you are more likely to stay out of the way of climbers. To reach the start of this rap from the bottom of the notch on the south side, just hike down the gully to the bottom where the top of this rap is quite visible on your left.
Single 70m or double 60m ropes depending on which rap route you choose. If you are climbing Ginger Buttress, you will no doubt have a single rack to #3 and therefore possess any gear you could possibly need to supplement the 9 slings or draws needed for Blade Runner. If adding Blade Runner to Unimpeachable Groping and you are a typical sport climber type, you might want a few misc cams to supplement the bolts on Blade Runner.