Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 36.11640°N / 115.4933°W
Additional Information Route Type: Technical Rock Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.6-5.7
Sign the Climber's Log


Follow the directions on the main Juniper Peak page to reach the Pine Creek trailhead off of the scenic loop road. From the trailhead parking lot hike down on the main trail heading towards Mescalito. Hike past the Fire Ecology Trail (two junctions within 100 yards of each other) on the left and past a dead end left trail "offshoot" (lined with stones like the main trail). Stay on the Mescalito-bound main trail for longer than you might think - specifically till you arrive at a marked junction (approx. 20 minutes from the trailhead) indicating the Arnight/Knoll Trail. Take a left here and cross the creek/wash (200 yards from the junction). Go right following the creek for about 100 yards till you see a well beaten trail heading sharply left and uphill (gentle grade). Hike on this trail till it leaves the wash and veer right heading towards the prominent Cloud Tower on Rainbow Mountain. At this point, the base of Juniper Peak is to your right. First prominent trail on the right is the descent from top of Rose Tower (Olive Oil); the second is the approach to the base of Olive Oil. Stay on the main (left forks) trail. Few hundred yards further (and several "social trail" junctions later...these are all pretty minor/faint) the main trail splits with the left fork heading for the Cloud Tower and the right fork heading up towards the mouth of Juniper Canyon. Take this right fork and hike towards the mouth of the canyon. The trail joins and exits the canyon wash several times. As you near the mouth of the canyon, you will see a semi-well defined trail heading uphill and right. This is the approach to Geronimo. The climb starts at the mouth of a brushy gully heading off leftwards from the mouth of Juniper Canyon. See Geronimo photos here on SP to find the exact start of the climb. Note that this route is relatively new (c. 1992) and can have some loose holds.

Information from the new edition of the Red Rocks Supertopos was used here supplemented with first hand experience.

An alternative approach (we thought a better choice) is to go in as if you were going for Olive Oil. Before entering the gully to reach the base of Olive Oil (gully is between Jackrabbit Buttress on left and Rose Tower on right), find a trail heading off left following the base of Jackrabbit Buttress. This trail avoids some of the confusing (up/down and in/out of wash) sections of the approach trail but is probably a better choice only if you're familiar with the Olive Oil approach.

Route Description

The route reaches the top of Jackrabbit Buttress (a formation that is part of the Juniper Peak) in four or five pitches. The reason for the given rating range is the discrepancy in the published information on this route. T. Swain's guidebook gives the route a rating of 5.7 and describes it as consisting of 5 pitches. The new edition of Red Rocks Supertopos calls this route a 5.6 and breaks it up into four pitches only. We have done the route in four pitches (as per ST's description) with a 60 meter rope and found this to be a logical and a convenient way.

Pitch 1: 5.6 (5.7 according to Swain), 160 feet. Climb the steep but very well featured crack from the base of the route (in the brushy gully) to a large ledge system). Belay from a small tree and some gear (lots of space up here).

Pitch 2: 5.6, 190 feet. Move the belay closer to the rock face above the terrace where pitch one terminated. Climb up a steep but again very well featured crack directly in front of your pitch one belay. When the crack runs out, move left around the corner and follow the easy, well featured (but somewhat poorly protected) arete to another large terrace above. Use long slings on your gear or you'll be coming up short in the rope department (50 meter rope will not reach but there are a few spots where you can conveniently break up this pitch - see T. Swain's book for a description geared for 50m rope).

Pitch 3: 5.6 (5.7 according to Swain), 160 feet. Again, start by moving your belay closer to the rock face on the far side of the belay terrace at the base of a prominent, steep crack (unexposed 3rd class). Climb the steep 60 foot crack (big easy jugs once again) to a nice large ledge with some boulders. Move left onto a well featured face (plates) and climb up and left heading for the arete on the left side (to bypass the small roofs directly above). Finish the pitch where the arete crests (there will be a sloping, 2 foot wide ledge about 6 feet above and to your right). This is a gear belay on a small but secure ledge that takes 0.75, 1, and 3 inch cams very well.

Pitch 4: 5.5 (5.6 according to Swain), 90 feet. From the belay stance move up 6 feet and right onto a sloping ledge. Traverse ledge right for 5 feet and climb straight up a nicely exposed (and poorly protected but EASY) arete to the top of the route. Belay from double bolts at the top.

This is the crux of this climb. The descent is a rope eater and much of the strategy here (mostly taken from the SuperTopo recommendation) is designed to allow you to always have a spare rope. Note that the descent line is right (when looking from the base of the climb, i.e. "climber's right") of the climb.

Do a double rope rap from the bolts (160 feet according to Supertopo) to the large terrace atop pitch 2. We ended up doing a double rope rap to some trees located to the left (that's "rapeller's left") of the rap bolts (a single rope MIGHT reach this intermediate rap station but we have not tested this). If you rap to the intermediate tree station, do a single rope rap to reach the large terrace atop pitch 2. Here's where the crappy descent begins. All raps from here onwards are single rope since as Supertopo puts it, you should keep your second rope for releading in case the rap line gets stuck (highly likely). From the double bolts on the terrace rap down and slightly left to the top of a large (4 foot wide) chockstone wedged in a chimney (slings around chockstone). Rap from this chockstone to a significant ledge with a few large/medium sized trees on it. The next rappel requires you to pull up (and possibly reinforce - we left a piece of 9.5mm rope here on 01/03/04) the 20 feet of anchor rope, set up your rap rope, lower yourself to the edge using the 20 foot anchor rope and being the rappel here. The last rappel (only 40 or so feet) is off of slings around a large block and brings you to the class 3 gully about 100 feet above the base of the route. Scramble down and right following the base of the cliff to the start of Geronimo. This is not a good rappel to do in the dark for the first time.

Essential Gear

One 60m rope to do the route in four pitches as described here. Second rap line. Many LONG slings or rap webbings to reinforce existing anchors if needed (many will require 10+ feet of webbing). Helmets. Standard rack with emphasis on cams rather than nuts.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Mar 21, 2019 8:51 pm - Hasn't voted


My son and I climbed this two days ago, using two 60m half ropes. I was nervous about the descent after reading many bad accounts of it, but I availed myself of some good advice I came across in the process. Here is what we did: From the top, a 2-rope rap to the top of P2. There are now rap bolts there, and I anchored myself there, as far away from the face as I could get, and pulled from there to prevent the knot from getting stuck. Then, as the rope was about to pass through, I yanked as high and hard as I could, and the rope came down clean. We repeated this from P2 to the P1 ledge. That time, the loose side did hang on a flake, but it pulled easily and then came down clean. Same story for the last rap. Maybe we got lucky, but it seems others pulling from far back also had little or no trouble. One thing I didn't do but do recommend is saddlebagging the rope. Because i didn't, I spent a lot of time on the second and third raps freeing the strands from numerous flakes and chickenheads.

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