Joanne Urioste 2nding the 2nd pitch traverse, 5.9***
The Boxtop Traverse (5.9***)
is one of the finer if not more interesting moderate multi pitch climbs in the entire City of Rocks and Castle Rocks area. It is not the Balcony Route
on the North Twin, but since that route is now illegal (2017), I would put the Boxtop Traverse up there as one of the best multi pitch trad leads at the City. You are forced to split it up into three leads, albeit short ones. All three pitches are excellent and the first two are all gear as well as their belays. On the second pitch you get an incredible traverse under a massive roof with spectacular views. It also delivers a tower summit experience. Even the rap was free air as I recall. A must do climb for the competent 5.9 trad leader. By doing the Boxtop Traverse, you will have already done Corridor Crack (5.8***),
which is the first pitch of the Traverse route. Another three star route, according to the local guide, is Land of the Lost (5.10a***)
which starts on the opposite side of the formation. There are two more three star routes on Boxtop named Routine Expedition (5.11b***) and Master Mechanic (5.11b***).
For one feature to offer up five three star routes in the local guidebook is unusual outside of the larger but more crowded formations near the main road.
There is actually a trail named Boxtop that originates out of campsite #10.
However, there is no trail-head sign or signage pointing you out of the parking area (2017) and yes, you hike right past several camp sites, but it is an official trail and there is ample parking. Follow the trail out of the east end of the parking area as it descends towards the lush meadows that make up the inner reaches of the National Reserve. In fact you follow a fence line (cows 2017) for some distance. Cross South Creek (first creek you cross) and Boxtop will be the next formation on your right which is easy to spot with its squared summit block. Look for a trail that takes off up and right at the south end of the formation. It cuts back left on a few switch backs. Follow it through a short cave and to the base of the west face (hugging the very south end). The Boxtop Traverse’s first pitch and Corridor Crack are one and the same. They start in a deep chimney
at the south end of the formation. A separate wall forms a corridor (the chimney) with the south face of Boxtop proper. Slide in there to find the obvious splitter on the left wall that is Corridor Crack.
Climbing Sequence for the Boxtop Traverse
Route Description (s) Southeast Face, Routes Listed Left to Right
Corridor Crack- 50’-5.8*** see below
Boxtop Traverse- 3 Pitches-5.9***/ This is definitely one of the more interesting climbs in the City of Rocks. The “mondo chimney” as the guide references is at the SW end. The first pitch is the 5.8 route named Corridor Crack which is a good finger crack in the middle of the chimney. You cannot lay eyes on this crack unless you are in the bird shit laden chimney itself. Stem and climb the finger crack on great rock to chains (50’). Bring the 2nd up and on the second pitch traverse right directly under the improbable roof! You can place almost every size piece of a single rack cam that you desire as you traverse right avoiding minden and bird shit again. The hands are always positive. Sometimes you can almost chimney against the roof wall. At the end, a hand jam helps you mantle a ledge and then crawl out to a larger ledge. Sling a boulder for the belay. The third pitch goes through three bolts on the right side arête to the summit and rap chains. This face climbing is at the grade and offers a fun finish on vertical patina jugs. Single rack from C4 #.3 to #3 is perfect for this route. I placed no wires. Take shoulder length slings for the traverse. 70m (maybe 60m, we had doubles) rope raps right back to your bags. Dow
Nickel Crack- 60’-5.10a*/
Boxtop Crack- 50’-5.7*/
Lonely Are the Brave- 80’-5.9/
North Face, Routes Listed Left to Right
Tony’s Kind of Off-Width- 100’-5.11c/
Land of the Lost- 70’-5.10a***/
Routine Expedition- 70’-5.11b***/
Master Mechanic- 50’-5.11b***/
Gravy on the Cake- 30’-5.10**/