High Anxiety is a solid alternative to Nightcrawler, four pitches, 5.10c,
if you have ascended up to Brownstone Wall south
on a cold day at Red Rocks
. Where Nighcrawler’s corner faces north and provides shade on most of its route, High Anxiety’s corner is the mirror image offering a sunny route
to ascend from early morning until mid-late afternoon in the spring. High Anxiety, like many of the routes on Brownstone Wall south, was put in by Jorge and Joanne Urioste in the late 70’s.
The corner covering the 3rd and 4th pitches, the crux climbing of the route, offers incredibly solid rock that Brownstone Wall is famous for, what I consider the best quality rock in all of Red Rocks. The last loose and bush laden pitch, by consensus, is to be avoided and a double 60m rope rappel line has been established (2009) at the top of the 5th pitch, to allow you to descend back to the base of Brownstone Wall, down the center of the blank wall between High Anxiety’s corner and Nightcrawler’s corner.
The approach up to the two Brownstone Walls deters many climbing tourists, thus on most occasions, particularly mid week, you are likely to have either of the entire walls to yourself. I prefer to climb Myster Z
or Rose Hips to the summit of Jackrabbit Buttress to access the Brownstone Wall climbs which make for a nice long day of climbing. However, you can hike up Juniper Canyon as well. I prefer to park at the Oak Creek trail head and head north out of the parking area for the Juniper Canyon access on the north side of the wash. Either hike all the way up canyon on a decent trail and head for the right side of the south Brownstone Wall or climb Myster Z or Rose Hips to the summit of Jackrabbit Buttress and traverse left over to the base of the south wall. High Anxiety is located on the right side of the south Brownstone Wall. Locate a significant roof on the lower 1/3 of the right edge of the south wall. A deep left facing corner rises above that roof. The middle of that corner is High Anxiety’s crux pitch.
Route Description1st Pitch- 185’- 5.6/
Similar to Nightcrawler or any route on the south Brownstone Wall, you have to ascend some low angled whitish rock to access the stellar brown rock above. High Anxiety starts to the right and below of a large roof below the major left facing corner that makes up the crux pitches of the route. This corner is the mirror reflection of Nightcrawler's corner and is thus sunny versus shaded. Angle up and left to a sloping ledge on easy terrain. Then up a short brownish corner to a small scoop and comfortable belay right below a bolt up and left which turns the roof above as the 2nd pitch of High Anxiety. This first pitch is longer than Handren has it.
2nd Pitch- 140’- 5.7+/
This is a fun pitch, not quite as long as Handren has it. Head up left from the belay following two bolts over large steep jugs. Then follow discontinuous cracks to the base of the main corner (large left facing) of the route to a large comfortable ledge.
3rd Pitch- 80’- 5.8+/
Although you can climb straight up the corner, the holds are a bit crumbly there. Best to move left and climb the nice varnished flake which protects well. Make an awkward mantle above the flake onto several reachy face moves past two bolts that lead back into the corner onto a nice belay ledge below the crux pitch of the route.
4th Pitch- 80’- 5.10c/
Straight forward crux pitch
on High Anxiety. Follow the corner above, which goes from fingers to hands to off width
to a ledge. The finger and hand jams are pretty bomber as you struggle with sparse feet. Then you get a solid rest before tackling the stout off width moves
which result in a mantle at the end onto a solid ledge. Gear is all good except for that very last section, it gets a little wide
for any cam placements.
5th Pitch- 150’- 5.8/
Kind of a weird burly pitch
for the grade. Climb the corner above for a short distance, then traverse left to a tree-bush. I chose to avoid protection on the traverse as I did not want the rope drag, but if you fall, it would be an ankle buster
on the belay ledge. Curious why this route did not continue to follow the corner as it did not look any more difficult than 5.10c. Make the hairy traverse (which you can protect with a 4" right before the bush) left onto the bush, fight the bush on through to a short chimney slot. Chimney up this section to an off width corner with plenty of foot rests. Climb this fun corner up to just below a huge roof with a bunch of bushes and trees. Look out right for a chained rap station
and make a hanging belay here if you want to descend the route at this point versus bushwhacking to the top.
6th Pitch- 165'+- 5.7+/
Climb, scramble and bushwhack your way to the top of Brownstone Wall south or step right at the top of the 5th pitch and rappel with double 60m ropes.
Either climb/scramble to the top of south Brownstone Wall and turn left and descend Gunsight Notch or rappel with double 60m ropes from the top of the 5th pitch of High Anxiety. Three double rope raps to the ground.
Double 60m ropes for the preferred descent. Single .3 to 4”, double .5” to 2”, full set of wires, maybe a smaller C3 or two to help with the crux versus setting nuts if you would rather. Half a dozen shoulder length slings, half a dozen draws. You could take a 6” if you wanted to haul it to help with the short off width section on the crux pitch. There is no water up here. Although south Brownstone Wall tends to be protected from the winds, it gets way more shade than north Brownstone and can be cold in the spring if shaded.
External LinksRed Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM
Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association