Cannibal Crag/Boulder

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.14866°N / 115.42271°W
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 3700 ft / 1128 m
Sign the Climber's Log


West Face

There may be some confusion about the exact name of this rock, but I prefer to call it Cannibal Crag.

Cannibal Crag is the name of a formation in the Calico Basin area of Red Rocks near the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

If you have ever been stuck inside the scenic one-way loop drive of Calico Basin, you know the frustration that one can feel. There are numerous short formations offering fun sport routes on the right side of the road. These rocks attract hundreds of climbers and sight-seers alike, and that means there is a perpetual shortage of parking spaces. There is, however, a great option to avoid the hustle and bustle of the one-way loop drive. Don't even enter the loop; instead go to the east side of Calico Basin and climb on Cannibal Crag or a number of neighboring formations. Cannibal Crag sits high up on a steep hillside, and that alone keeps the spectators away. There is a huge parking lot a short distance down the road, or you can park by the side of the dirt road.

Select Routes

select routes, South FaceSouth Face
Caustic, 11a
South Face, right side
select routes, East FaceEast Face

Cannibal Crag is actually a huge boulder more than seventy feet high with three climbable sides. There are no real cracks leaving the rock with three bolted faces. The largest concentration of easier routes, 5.8s to 10a, is located on the right side of the east face, although you will find two routes in the 5.11 range on the left side. One of the best and picturesque routes is on the arete between the south and east faces.

The front face of Cannibal Crag is visible from the road and has the same beautiful mixture of tan, red and brown coloration that is typical to the Red Rocks of Nevada. Except one 5.8 route, the rest of the routes on the south face are fairly difficult and range from 10d to 12a. One of the oldest routes on this face, and still one of the most popular, is "Base Boy," rated 10d. In the more recent years a direct start to this route has been established and goes as 11a.

Caution: The bolted face to the left of the prominent crack has the makings of an accident waiting to happen. Although the lower part of the route is safely bolted, the upper two thirds of the route is absolutely unprotected and a fall can result in severe injury or death. I did one of the earliest ascents of this route and ran into a great deal of loose and dirty holds on the lower part, and thought that it would have been nice to have at least one bolt on the upper part before reaching the anchor.

The west face of this huge boulder is entirely overhanging. This face is well-featured and the bolted routes are pretty difficult, all in the 5.12 range.

To approach the top, for setting up top-rope for any of the route on the south face or the east face, scramble up boulders on the northwest corner of the rock. There are many places to set up anchor to reach the edge of the cliff and the main route anchors. The west face is overhanging and it's best to be led from the bottom.

List of select routes

select routes of Cannibal Crag
ABase Boy, 10d, bolts, anchor
BBase Boy Direct, 11a, bolts, share anchor with Base Boy
CPickled, 11c, bolts, anchor
DCaustic, 11a,bolts, anchor
EWhat's Eating You, 5.9+, bolts, anchor
FA Man In Every Pot, 5.8+, bolts, anchor
GMac And Ronnie In Cheese, 10a, bolts, anchor

Getting There

South Face as seen from...
West FaceWest Face
East FaceEast Face

Calico Basin is located at the end of Charleston Boulevard. From the cilty of Las Vegas, Nevada, drive up Charleston Boulevard, or take the loop road. Turn right onto Calico Basin Road and drive one mile to Calico Road. After .1 mile go left on Assini Canyon. Park at next curve on the road, Sandstone Drive. Cannibal Crag is up a hill across the wash in front of you.

External Links