Bracksiek’s Pillar, 5.7-5.12a

Bracksiek’s Pillar, 5.7-5.12a

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 42.13700°N / 113.67°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 6500 ft / 1981 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Class Crack, 5.10a and Oatmeal Stout, 5.12a

Class Crack, 5.10a

The two best formations for pure crack climbing in Castle Rocks State park are Bracksiek’s Pillar and Comp Wall, located side by side in what Bingham’s local guidebook calls the South Hills area. Comp Wall has its dihedral section of routes along with some stellar cracks on its main wall (southwest). Bracksiek’s better crack climbs are located on its southwestern wall as well making this whole area a cold weather destination at the greater City of Rocks area.

Class Crack, 5.10a


Bingham states of Bracksiek’s southwest wall: “This sizable face offers some of the best crack climbing in the park.” I whole-heartedly concur. There are only three established routes in his guide on this face as of 2013, a 5.10, 5.11 and 5.12. Class Crack is the moderate lead, going at a stout 5.10- in two pitches. The position and exposure start of its second pitch, a 5.8/9 splitter, makes it a classic to be sure. For some reason Bingham only gives Class Crack two stars in his guide, but Class Crack is as good as any three star route I have climbed at Castle Rocks.

The east wall offers more moderate climbing and thus is where you will find more people.    Alpinista Sista is a popular two pitch 5.9 with a fun and exposed (but well protected) mantel on its second pitch. Several other 5.8’s and 5.9’s litter the east wall. The north wall is popular in its own right with several long climbs that lead straight to Bracksieck’s true summit. Penny’s Lane offers a stout (5.10) but short off-width finish that leads directly to the “window/hole” feature directly on the summit named the "eye".    Eye-Full Tower is a 5.9 bolted line on the north face that leads to the same feature and fixed rap.

You can make the approach to Bracksiek’s tower from either parking trailhead at Castle Rocks State Park in about 30 minutes. If parked at the further in trailhead, follow the main trail (road) to the right heading for the South Hills area. Pass the sign for True Grit and keep your eye open for the signed Bracksiek’s trail on your left. This trail circles the pillar. We have seen snakes on this trail.

Route Description(s)

    East Face

    Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall

  • Mano Izquierda- 5.10a**/

  • B-Bro- 5.9a**/

  • L’il Buckeroo- 5.8**/

  • Alpinista Sista- 5.9***/
  • Advertised as a three pitch climb, but it is best done in two. Says mixed, but turns out to be almost all bolted. This route does not deserve three stars by any stretch, but it is a decent warm up for some of the better routes on Bracksieck’s. The first pitch offers one or two trad placements if you need them, but it is mostly bolted. It starts right in the alcove on the lower east face, left of a bolted arête that is not in Bingham’s book (2013). Follow the bolts to a comfortable belay on a ledge with rap rings. The second and third pitches should be combined. The second is just a short 5th class section that I avoided placing any pro on to avoid potential rope drag. Go up and past the next fixed station, then on to the fun feature on this climb, an exposed full mantle over a small roof. Follow bolts to the top anchor via nice jugs. With double 60m ropes, I made it all the way to the ground in one rap. Dow

  • Lucy in the Sky- 5.10d**/

  • Coo Coo Cachoo- 5.8**/

  • Walrus- 5.9*/

  • North Face

    Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall

  • Penny’s Lane- 5.10a*/
  • This route actually still starts on the east face right before you turn the corner for the north face This is a tall single pitch to the very summit of Bracksieck. The first 2/3rd does not offer much. It is not climbing at the grade (more like 5.7-8) and is quite dirty. The final off-width pitch is stellar if you like off-widths. C4 #4’s seemed to work fine as I recall. Knowing me (always seeking out wide cracks), I probably had a #5 along as well. It was kind of a heel-toe and arm bar thing. The summit offered a cool vista for belaying. There is a window hole (the “Eye”) you could sling for your belay if you trusted it, otherwise build a belay in the floor with large gear. Rap Eye-Full Tower which is just a meter or two out of sight, climbers right,  at top of the north wall. Dow

  • Eye-Gear Sanction- 5.10a*/

  • Mid-Eye Collision- 5.10b*/

  • Rhonda’s End- 5.10a*/

  • Eye-Full Tower- 5.9**/

  • High Center- 5.7**/

  • Pre-Emptive Strike- 5.10b**/

  • Twilight Years- 5.11b*/

  • Southwest Face

    Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall

  • Cool Crack- 5.11***/

  • Class Crack- 5.10a**/
  • Although Bingham gives this route two stars out of three in his local guide, it is definitely one of the best routes at the grade in his book and in Castle Rocks State Park and/or the entire City of Rocks area for that matter. Crack Class is a must do two pitch extravaganza. The first pitch runs up an aesthetic right curving crack. As the bomber fingers and hands give way to a larger crack, you have to stem (crux) out right over a blank face to catch a huge jug in the beautiful hands crack/corner above and right. Run up the hands crack to a comfortable gear belay. The thin crack directly above is Oatmeal Stout (5.12a). The second pitch  of Class Crack takes the the mid-5th run out chimney to the left which tops out on a detached pillar (no pro). Walk to the far left end of this flat top pillar and step over and climb an exposed unprotected face for several 5.8 slab moves until you can enter the incredible 5.8-9 splitter to the left. The way I protected that run out slab climbing (serious consequences there), was to first stem across and place several medium pieces in the crack, down low. I am 5’11”. Not everyone will safely be able to get this gear in due to the span and reach. Follow this last stellar crack to the lower southern summit of Bracksieck. Look for a fixed rap down the west face as soon as it levels off.  Dow

  • Oatmeal Stout- 5.12a**/