Jackass Flats is an ideal objective during suspect (read cold and windy)
winter days at Red Rocks, NV. It is featured on Chris’s SuperTopo site but not in the Red Rocks Falcon Guide. Along with Diet Delight
and a few other short routes, Jackass Flats is located on the shorter (than the upper south wall) east face of Windy Peak at the entrance to Windy Canyon. The advantage of the shorter approach as well as the east face being more protected from the prevailing winds in Windy Canyon make for less committing climbs than the classic routes on Windy Peak, namely Hot Fudge Thursday
and Jubilant Song
We had the east face of Windy Peak as well as the south face the next day completely to ourselves in December (2007). Windy Peak is named such for a reason, the upper face is south facing and the prevailing winds from west to east do enter the head space of leaders en route. I found the east face much more protected during the windy days I was climbing.
The descent for Jackass Flats consists of a one rope (95’) rappel into the same walk off descent gully used for Diet Delight. 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.
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 Mountain 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.
Route Description300’, 2 Pitches, 5.6
This is a true trad route, requiring you to build your own stations.
1st Pitch- 75’- 5.6/
After gaining 100’ on the scramble up, you should find a nice flat spot in which to belay below a large crack/small chimney. The route starts in the chimney and becomes more of a 5.6 face pitch than anything else. The belay takes .6”, .75” and 1.5” and is a decent comfortable ledge.
2nd Pitch- 120’- 5.5/
Easy climbing while slanting left up a corner to a steeper one above. Fun stemming from there with good medium to large pro gets you up to a large ledge just below the big roof to your right. Do not continue up to the top even though it is tempting. Exit out left via some easy 4th class to a rap station right there that only takes one rope to reach the gully versus two if you went any higher. I advise backing up this station for the first rap. It is one of those weird feature set ups. If that was St. George sandstone, we would not trust it for a rap. But it is the hardened Red Rock variety.
Rappel down into the broad gully and exit as you would for Diet Delight to get back to the base of the east face, or if you have your gear with you, you can return to the trail head.
Double set of camelots from #.6 to #3 C4, full set of nuts. Several 120 cm slings and a dozen shoulder length slings (60 cm). Biner your trail shoes to your harness for the descent gully.
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