Windy Peak’s east face along with its much taller south face offer some of best unobstructed winter sun at Red Rocks. The east face makes for one of the better bad weather objectives at Red Rocks due to decent protection from westerly winds as well, something the south face would not offer you. It also sits at a much lower elevation and has a less involved approach. My reason for visiting the east face would be when suspect weather is upon Red Rocks. The best route on the east face hands down would have to be Diet Delight, 5.9, 4 pitches. The best pitch one the face is the crux (3rd) pitch of Action by Knight, 5.10b. A great route for trad lead learning is Jackass Flats, 5.6, 2 pitches. Two great single pitch trad leads are the Free Crack, 5.9+, and the Aid Crack, 5.10+.
Catch Highway 160 off of I-15 south of Vegas and travel west towards Pahrump. After several lights, you will pass the Highway 159 junction on your right, which leads to the Red Rocks Loop Road. There are several dirt roads on the right that will get you to the base of Windy Canyon. I used the direct approach which requires a high clearance vehicle. There is a dirt road on the right that runs right below a large cliff wall to its right that emerges from the desert floor. Turn right off of the main highway, curve left and then take the right fork as it descends via a dip. Follow this somewhat treacherous road as it leads due north. Turn left at the dead end and pull off at the 2nd right pullout. This is the preferred trailhead for the Windy Peak routes. You will be facing the east face. The 1000’ south face is quite a ways up canyon. Descend from the trail head looking to gain a trail that eventually circumvents the obvious large pile of brown and red rocks to the right. Descend into a wash from there and attempt to pick up any number of faint trials, not that there really is an established one beyond wild burro trails, that lead up to the base of the east face. Diet Delight starts mostly center of the face up a short pillar to a thin crack in the middle of the largest clean face as seen on approach. To get to the base of Jackass Flats, you need to follow a bushy ramp from the base of Diet Delight as it gains 3rd class ground left. Don’t be sucked up too high on this scramble. Eventually you descend to the base of the chimney.
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall
Bockade Runner- 100’- 5.8/
The Free Crack- 80’- 5.9+/Handren has this route at 5.8 busting out left (his latest edition-2018). But that version avoids the best climbing (5.9) at the top of this corner, a stem out right below the arching crack. Start by climbing up the short left facing corner and traverse left and up to the base of the left crack (right facing corner). I don’t place gear until this point, but if you do, extend it. Climb the tips corner crack. When you think you are forced into a tough tips lay back, something positive shows up above for your fingers. You can place as much small gear to C4#.4 as you want in this crack. Continue up twin splitters in the varnished rock. Pass a small ledge following the arching corner crack above with some fun stemming moves. At the top hand traverse right and up to easier ground. These last moves are as fun at the grade as the tips corner. Multiple small gear to C4#.5. A single #1 or #2 at top. Shared fixed rap up at the top, on the left wall. Dow
The Aid Crack- 80’- 5.10+/Shares the same start as Free Crack. Once in the base of the right facing corner, reach up right to a flake that leads to a left facing corner (right crack). Climb the finger corner/crack through one short crux at the grade. The true crux is an awkward mantel at the grade up and over (left) a small roof and out of the crack. All hands and arms on the blind mantle, but well protected on excellent rock. Multiple pieces through #.5. Shares the same fixed rap as Free Crack. Dow
Jackass Flats- 200’- 5.6/The route basically follows a large chimney-like crack at the bottom of the east face as it curves sharply left and tops out right below the huge distinct roof on Windy Peak’s east face. It is a fun and sustained two pitch route for the grade, easily combined with other east face routes for a full day of climbing. Based on the bushy approach, it does not get climbed often. Joe Herbst and Matt McMackin put it up in 1973 and got their ropes stuck resulting in the name, “We felt like real jackasses!”. I originally thought the route got the name because Windy Canyon is home to wild burros. Dow
Action by Knight- 300’- 5.10b/Unfortunately the first pitch is a junker, but the second pitch offers a fun 5.8 arête/crack lead on dark varnish. Handren has it broken down differently length wise, but you definitely want to extend those first two pitches to cover a full 70m rope length to set up the crux lead just meters below the roof to alleviate potential rope drag. Dow
Diet Delight- 380’- 5.9/The 2nd pitch showcases the crux move of the route, but the fist pitch is more sustained for the grade. The crux move of the route is protected by a relatively new bolt (only fixed gear on Diet Delight in 2007). The last pitch is fun, but short lived and easy for the grade. Dow
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