On a cold day in December, we searched for objectives with pure southern exposure.
Kraft Crags situated in the middle of the south face of Kraft Mountain on the east side of Calico Basin fit the bill. The only established or worthy multi pitch route on Kraft Mountain is the Classic Crack of Calico
. The rest of the routes are long single trad pitches. Kraft is a non-distinct mountain hemming in the bizarre collection of homes located in the basin to the east. Kraft is what basically separates these rural homes from the stark contrast known as Las Vegas.
Kraft Crags is a collection of eleven published routes, all of them involving trad
gear. Paul Van Betten
was involved in developing most of the routes in the mid 80’s..
To reach Kraft Mountain, turn right on the paved Calico Basin road which is one right prior to the Red Rocks loop road. This whole area involves a mix of private and public land use. Park at the end of the residential area. There is a gravel road climbers are encouraged to park along that goes left out of the last cul de sac. Walk back to the paved cul de sac and head east along a deserted home and down a steep embankment. Cross the wash and follow a trail that heads for the popular bouldering area at the base of Kraft Mountain.
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the South Wall of Kraft Mountain
- California Reverse- 150’- 5.11b/
- High Roller- 160’- 5.11d/
- Shark Vegas- 140’- 5.11c/
- Viva Las Vegas- 140’- 5.11b/
- Vegas Girls- 140’- 5.11b/
- Porch Pirate- 160’- 5.11b/
- Weasel Yeast- 100’- 5.10c/
- Weasel Cheese- 100’- 5.11a/
- Bendylegs- 150’- 5.10c/
- Classic Crack of Calico-350’- 5.9+/ Although published as a two pitch route in Handren’s book, Classic Crack of Calico is actually required to be climbed via three pitches unless you are simul climbing the first pitch. I advise against that as the crux of the whole route (5.9+) is at or over 60m (we used a 70m rope). The first pitch is comprised of average sandstone at its best and a bit chossy at its worst. But the real climbing is located in a solid left facing corner as you traverse left below a large roof to reach a stellar varnished right facing corner. The small roof pull to gain this corner is the crux of the climb and best reserved for the start of the short second pitch as it is at a full 60m-70m to a stance below this roof. The pull is easily protected with large gear and the beautiful corner goes much easier after you get through the first couple of off width moves. The last pitch is a fantastic 100’+ of 5.8-5.9 corner and crack climbing on solid varnish to the top of this attached pillar. The descent is a walk off. Dow
- Last Calico- 110’- 5.10b/
70m rope would be preferable for most routes although you can walk off of most of them. These are all trad routes. You should definitely grab Jerry Handren’s book, “Red Rocks, A Climber’s Guide”, for more info if you are going to hit the crag. Purely south facing and warm for us on a cold December day.
External LinksRed Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM
Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association