Lower First Pitch
Blood Wall is one of the better hot weather trad climbing destinations at Red Rock
. As long as you can tic off the canyon approach (Oak Creek) early in the morning, the elevation gain part of the approach and the climbing itself is almost fully shaded no matter the month. From the viewpoint of Eagle Wall
or upper Solar Slab
, Blood Wall looks to have some of the better varnished rock in the park. However once you are into it, unlike the Brownstone Walls,
even though you are climbing a lot of brown and red rock, it is covered in quite a bit of north facing moss which results in weakened sandstone. Blood Wall has two clean walls, left and right, with an unattractive section in between.
Lower 3rd Pitch (crux of the route)
That being said, the length of the splitters on this wall is quite impressive by Red Rock standards. Seppuku (5.11)
is an excellent route, Impulse (5.10)
a decent outing and Transfusion (5.10)
not so good. These three routes are stretched out across the upper “blood” colored walls on Cactus Flower Tower’s north face.
This area was one of the last to receive any development at Red Rock with these three routes established in 2006
. A new route is being developed (this might be an abandoned rope at this point) to the left of Seppuku as of 2014. Bob Goodwin and Rob Dezonia established Impulse in 2006.
The first pitch is a fun corner climb with one slightly run out (with complimentary ledge below)
section. The second pitch starts off of a comfortable ledge and takes on a left leaning splitter that leads to a corner. The nature of the rock along with the splitters length and sustained nature make this one of the better pitches for its grade in Red Rock.
The third pitch definitely offers the crux moves of the climb off the deck, but is not as sustained as the second pitch. The last pitch is a junker to the top.
I scoured beta for the approach from on line sources as well as Handren’s guide but little of it there was, it was not very accurate or helpful. I can say I have now tried several options and believe the best option to also be the most technical therefore avoiding some of the heavy bush. Hike almost to the junction in Oak Creek canyon
(right goes to Eagle Wall, left is the preferred descent off of Mount Wilson and Cactus Flower Tower). Angle back left (east) as you gain slabs above the canyon floor. Keep angling up at all times. The first technical slab I crossed had a lot of chicken heads, maybe class 4, low 5th. That slab lead to a tall corner up and left. The mossy corner goes at about the same grade but with less exposure. Continue to traverse back east and up any easy features you see to avoid the brush. If you are heading for Impulse, you are aiming for a shoulder on the very west side of the right blood wall. From below you might worry that it cliffs out because you have no vision beyond it, but it gently lands you into a gully directly below the right blood wall. The last section to gain the shoulder involves a short bit of low 5th class. From this col, traverse left into the gully and hike it up to the right side and the base of Impulse well marked with a fallen tree leaning up against the first pitch. This is not necessarily the best approach for all the routes, i.e. Transfusion. These routes do not interconnect well from the base of the wall.
You might wonder why not just gain this upper gully from directly below the wall and scramble up from there, however, this gully cliffs out below from where I intersected it. There is a fixed rope on the steep water worn slab below but it is not in usable condition as of 2014, rappelling or ascending. If doing Impulse, you are best to walk off the back of Cactus Flower Tower for your descent anyway.
Route DescriptionImpulse, 700’+/-, 5.10b
1st Pitch- 170’- 5.9/
Climb up the pleasant right facing corner (past dead tree) with a few short run out sections (closed corner) but with no real crux move. There is one ledge about three quarters of the way up the corner that has some blank climbing above it. Stem and use the featured wall out left to climb past this section. Turn left at the top and follow easy ground to a bushy ledge and fixed rap (one of two passive pro raps en route-2014).
2nd Pitch- 175’- 5.10a/
This is by far the best pitch of the climb and one of the better 5.9+/5.10a trad pitches in Red Rock. Climb up the off balance splitter in the varnished wall to your right (not the obvious corner straight above the ledge but rather the short left facing corner to the right that turns into a leaning splitter). This pitch looks harder from below than it climbs. Positive holds show up when needed to stay with the leaning splitter which offers ample pro. The start of the pitch offers hero climbing on huge jugs. Soon you pull over to the right wall and follow it up to when it eventually turns into a right facing corner. Climb another 10m or so to a belay stance below a very thin section. A passive pro rap is in the middle of this pitch. There were no other existing rap stations in 2014 and there are no bolts on this route.
3rd Pitch- 230’- 5.10b/
Continue up the left facing corner. The crux of the route is shortly off the deck with suspect pro as the corner closes. I placed a micro piece in the left wall and then committed back to the corner using a slight ramp feature on the left wall to chimney/backwards-stem up to the next placement pod (.5-.75). Off set cams and/or off set nuts would be helpful on this whole climb and this crux section of the route was no exception. You get more conventional stemming/fingers for the rest of the pitch. Eventually you come to where you diverge right up a small finger splitter (2nd crux of the climb). The best protection for this exposed climbing is to climb up and left and place a medium piece on the left side of the arête, extend with multiple slings, down climb a bit, traverse right and attack the short finger crux. Continue up easier, but loose and bushy ground to a large ledge, a full 70m rope length. Belay off of a short tree.
4th Pitch- 110’- 5.8/
This is an uneventful finish. Follow up the loose ground into the large left facing corner and follow it to the top of the summit ridge on Cactus Flower Tower. There is a 5.11d variation above the ledge at the top of the 3rd pitch: an overhanging roof crack.
There are no raps required on the westward descent off of Cactus Flower Tower despite multiple reports saying there are
including in the guide book. Follow the ridge proper west for a few meters picking up a well cairned (2014) trail that leads down and west. After a few 4th class down climbing sections you eventually cut back east to reach the main drainage. If you start to circumvent Cactus Flower Tower to the north, you have gone too far. Head back east and down to the bottom of the drainage. Follow it all the way back to your packs in the Oak Creek Canyon bottom just after the fork merges.
Handren’s guide calls for single to 3”, double wires and small cams and rps. I took a single from #00 to C4#3 and double from C4#.3 to #1 and a set of off-set finger pieces, no wires. Take more slings than draws. Helmets a must as the rock is dirty and mossy, my 2nd pulled off some rock following up the crux pitch. Single 70m helps make that 3rd pitch go to a nice ledge. Blood Wall receives little to any sun. It was ideal in late October. Haul approach shoes for the walk off.