Not far away from popular Middle Earth Wall, Gypsy Wall has a small collection of moderates that are great alternatives to Middle Earth's when they are busy. There are six bolted routes on limestone here, and a couple of them have at least one variation. One of the routes, Gypsy's Magic (5.7), is a crack route and was the first bolted route at North Shore (2005). Because it is a crack, you might be tempted to try leading it on gear, but the rock quality is suspect, especially if you use cams.
The routes here went up in 2005 and 2009. Developers were Dave Phillips, Jan Salinas, Louie Graham, and Roger Werner.
Gypsy Wall is at a ledge that itself is about 10' up from the ground below. The first three climbs begin at the edge of that ledge, and there are belay bolts there. Use them.
By far, the best source for this wall and others here, whether online or in print, is John Hogge's Austin Climbing: Sport Routes and Deep Water Solos.
Trail Split-- go right for all but Matrix, Dude, and Unleashed
Reimers Ranch is located off Hamilton Pool Road about 6 miles west of its intersection with Ranch Road 12. It is about 45 minutes west from downtown Austin.
Once through the entrance station, drive to the end of the road (around 4 miles from the entrance station), following signs for "North Bank."
The main access trail starts by the trash bins. By the disabled spots there is a trail that provides access to locations from which to rappel to Unleashed Wall or The Dude Wall.
Take the main trail down and then bear right, crossing the stream, at the junction shown above. Gypsy Wall is about a 10-minute walk from parking.
Look for the sign below; it "appeared" sometime during the fall of 2016. If it is not there, look for this setting. There will be a trail going to the cliffs. That trail goes directly to Cheech and Chong Wall, but look for a branch to the right along the base of the cliffs. Go through a "slot" and then scramble up to the ledge where the routes begin.
From Middle Earth Wall, you can reach Gypsy by traversing over on use trails and with some scrambling instead of going back to the main trail.
The Slot Leading to Gypsy Wall
From left to right as you face the crag:
- Carnival (5.10d PG)-- The crux involves a big swing if you miss and comes before the last bolt, which you cannot reach before pushing through the crux.
- Living on the Edge (5.10b)-- Pumpier than Carnival but not as technical.
- Love Potion No. 9 (5.9)-- Fun, sustained climbing. Well-bolted. The crux is the move to the anchors. It looks easy from below, but it isn't.
- Rock Gypsy (5.7)-- Well-bolted. Feels a little harder than Gypsy's Magic, I think.
- Hexed (5.9/5.10a PG)-- Height-dependent grade. Crux is getting to the anchors, and a fall probably means hitting a ledge, hence the PG rating. There are two 5.8 variations of this route.
- Gypsy's Magic (5.7)-- The local guidebook and some sites call this a PG route, and that is due to a dead tree one might hit during a fall. That dead tree has crashed, so the route is not PG anymore.
The daily entry fee is currently $10. Annual passes are $100 and well worth it if you climb here a lot. I bought an annual pass in August and by October had come out more than 10 times. Plus, the annual pass is good for all Travis County parks. Unfortunately, the pass is a windshield decal, not a card. If you want a duplicate pass for a second vehicle, you get to pay $50 for it. Nice racket they have going there.
Opening and closing times vary by the season. Check the park website
Climbers in Central Texas are well acquainted with the biting ants all over the place. Watch where you stand and where you step.
This part of Texas is also home to all four types of venomous North American snakes-- copperheads, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and coral snakes. Again, watch out, especially for the coral snakes. They are shy and bites are very rare, but their venom is highly potent and can be fatal. Also, it is my understanding that antivenin for coral snakes is in very short supply and highly expensive due to the fact that bites are so rare.
When to Climb
All year. Most of the walls face northwest and get good shade for much or all of the day. Since it is usually 90-100+ F out here May through September, it obviously makes sense to climb in the morning during summer. It's rarely too cold to climb here, but in winter, waiting until afternoon is a good bet. This wall gets just about no sun in winter.
If you have the flexibility, climb on weekdays. This place, and even most of Reimers proper, is virtually deserted then except during spring and winter breaks.
None inside the park.
About 7 miles east on Hamilton Pool Road is Rock Dog
, owned and operated by local climbers. I've never been there but have heard the owners are awesome climbers and awesome people. I also hear that the rich neighbors hate the place, so if you don't live locally, stay there and do your part to give the middle finger to the snobs.