Found on the Back Side of Enchanted Rock, Devil's Slide and its neighbor Cheap Wine Wall are home to most of Enchanted Rock's multi-pitch routes and, hence, its longest routes.
For the most part, the routes here are on granite slab with bolts for protection, though some pitches have flakes of rock quality from questionable to poor, and some pitches have no protection at all. Even the bolted pitches can come with R ratings; there's one 5.6 pitch of close to 140' that has just 4 bolts. Most of the time, the harder moves are protected, but not always.
This is all part of the spice of multi-pitch at Enchanted Rock.
Pitches range from two to five (the latter is a traverse, though).
You can lead any pitch here with a 50m rope, but unless you plan to top out on the dome and walk off, you will need at least two 50s to rap back down; a single 70 will not get you back down safely, nor will a 40 be enough to get up some pitches.
But if you go out here informed and with your run-out head, you will love this wall, and your only complaint will be that it isn't at least twice as long.
The photo below, linked from Mountain Project, is an excellent representation of the routes in this area of the dome.
Set out on the Summit Trail and then take the Echo Canyon Trail. When that trail reaches a board with lots of information posted, head right on a good trail that follows the Backside and has several spur trails to various walls. Look for the Yellow Trail and take it to the base of the dome. Devil's Slide is to the left. Easier Than It Looks starts up a slab next to a massive boulder leaning against the slab. With the picture below, you should have no trouble finding the routes.
Slab and Boulder at Start of ETIL
From left to right:
- Walk in the High Country, 5.8 PG13-- Sport, 5 pitches, high traverse after the first pitch.
- Close to the Top, 5.8+-- Sport/Trad, 2 pitches.
- Knuckle Duster, 5.9-- Sport, 1 pitch.
- Easier Than It looks, 5.5R-- Trad, 3 pitches.
- Harder Than It Looks, 5.6R-- Sport/Trad, 3 pitches.
- Mark of the Beast, 5.8+-- Sport, 3 pitches.
Every first pitch here is from 120-140'; you cannot rely on a single 70 or anything shorter to get back down.
There is a $7 daily entrance fee; an annual Texas State Parks pass is $70.
Climbers and rappelers are required to sign in. You are not required to pay a fee, get a permit, or list where you will be climbing; but you have to name the members of your party, note your climbing dates, and sign a waiver.
Periodically, the park closes for permitted hunts. Check the park website (final section below) for these and other possible closure periods.
On weekends and holidays and during school breaks, the parking lots often fill by as early as 10 or even 9 A.M. When that happens, the park closes for up to three hours at a time. Signs on major access roads will announce these closures, but that doesn't help if you're not local, so you might want to call before leaving. From the park's website: "Flashing signs on approaching roads will also alert you if the park is closed. One sign is north of Fredericksburg on R.R. 965; the other is on Hwy. 16 near the R.R. 965 intersection."
I saw this situation myself on Thanksgiving Day 2016 (fortunately, I had come in two days before and was camping), and I have seen it a few other times as well, so it is no joke.
When to Climb
All year, but if you climb here in the summer, you probably want to be done by 11 before the sun comes and bakes you into the granite.
The park has a campground and also allows primitive camping (backpacking) in designated zones. Reservations are strongly recommended. See the park website.
External LinksEnchanted Rock SNA website