Edge of the Sun, 5.10d
Magic Mountain is often an overlooked destination at Red Rocks but its north face has 21 published routes as of 2008, the most popular of which is no doubt Community Pillar. Community Pillar and Honeycomb Chimney both run up the gut of the north face of Magic Mountain, almost a 1000’. The majority of the other lines are much shorter.
Chocolate Flakes, 5.10d
agic Mountain is the inconspicuous piece of rock on the left side of Pine Creek Canyon before you reach the mouth of the canyon as it exits from Mescalito. On the back side (southwest) of Magic Mountain is the Crabby Appleton area on the lower reaches of Juniper Peak. Once on the summit of Magic Mountain, that would be a great opportunity to scout out the Crabby Appleton wall. Because all of the climbing on Magic Mountain is on its north face, these objectives make for much better spring-summer-fall objectives versus winter ones. The chimneys that make up the Honeycomb and Community Pillar routes are some of the cooler climbing opportunities at Red Rocks when the temps are hot.
The descent for the routes that reach the summit ridge of Magic Mountain are unique in that you can use the same walk off descent that is used for the Rose Tower routes. After reaching the summit, descend south to the Rose Tower and Magic Mountain col and walk down the east facing gully to Oak Creek Trail. You park at the Pine Creek trail head which can be reached off of the Red Rocks Loop Road. Hike towards the canyon, venturing left at the “old home site”. Follow the trail on the left side of the creek, but avoid climbing back left towards the Oak Creek Trail. Continue heading into the canyon and work to identify which objective you are after from this view point. Angle up the hill, via no trail to speak of, towards your route of choice. The brush is too thick for you to circumvent the wall at the base of Magic Mountain, so head for a spot right below what you are climbing.
Route Description(s) The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall
- Dog Police- 170'-5.10c*/ Although listed as two pitches, I recommend leading Dog Police as one sustained pitch. The first pitch begins below grade through a wide pod to enter the long finger crack. The crux is about half way up the first pitch via fingers in whitish sandstone with edges for your feet vanishing for several meters. Pro is optimum on Dog Police as you can plug gear where ever you choose on this entire route. After the crux, you jog right to another crack and continue to a ledge. From the ledge is the crux of the second pitch which is not as sustained as the first pitch crux. There are those who signed in on MP.com who disagree. I tend to agree with Handren’s guide that the first pitch crux is full on 5.10c and the second pitch crux is closer to 5.10-. After several meters off the deck of the second pitch ledge, the remaining climbing eases off. This is a full 160’ pitch if not more, therefore a healthy gear call if you are going to lead it as one as I recommend. The fixed nut rap in 2019 was in decent shape. You need double ropes to descend. The approach is a pain for one pitch, but finger cracks of this length are not that common at Red Rock. This route is not “one of the better” crack lines in the park as suggested at MP.com by several sign ins. These folks have just not seen all of Red Rock yet. But it is worth the trouble. If I was fresh and new to the area, I would combine it with the before mention routes of the same grade for a full day of 5.10+ climbing on Magic Mountain. Dog is lit up in the morning although the base might remain shaded. True east facing wall. Dow
- Honeycomb Chimney- 900’- 5.9/ Honeycomb is one of Larry DeAngelo’s routes and although listed as eight pitches in Handren’s “Red Rocks, A Climbers Guide”, it is really only made up of six pitches of real climbing. You won’t find Honeycomb Chimney in Swain’s book or at Supertopo. Two of the eight pitches are simply scrambling grade to move the belay. The crux pitch is excellent full on 5.9 trad climbing up a corner that tightens (7th pitch). The 2nd most difficult pitch is a 5.8 squeeze chimney (5th pitch) that is difficult to protect, but does not involve overly difficult moves. Pitch 4 is the reason for the route’s name and is a fun pitch. The route is completely and totally bolt free as well as stations are quick and easy to make via comfortable belays. Dow
- Birthday Party- 800’- 5.10a/ Birthday Party follows three relatively mundane pitches to a worthwhile full rope length fourth pitch that utilizes the best rock Community Pillar (the pillar, not the route) has to offer, a solid varnished face climbed on its left side by intermittent cracks. The good rock runs out however at the top of the fourth pitch and to truly make the trip up Magic Mountain worthwhile, I as well as the FAers advise finishing off the route on the fantastic upper corner pitch of Honeycomb Chimney. It takes a 4th-5th class connecting pitch to make that happen. The FAers give Birthday Party an “R” rating, but if you take the Honeycomb finish, you will avoid any run out climbing on this route. Dow
- Community Pillar- 790’- 5.8+/ One of the last 5.8's I had to yet to complete at Red Rocks. Mostly because I had done Honeycomb Chimney and considered it a better route from what I read. Community was actually a better climb than I thought. The first pitch squeeze was a blast, I like that kind of stuff. The back in the chimney climb with a squeeze at top was also a unique setting. I thought the most important beta that could be handed out is to pass the knot below the lip of that full double rope rap, following the descent we used. Did not have time to study much of the descents as it was raining, but by using Radeks notes, I could see a lot of noobs getting their ropes stuck on that double rope rap. Classic rope snag situation in waiting. Dow
- Cartwright Corner- 625’- 5.10b/
- Saucerful of Secrets- 230’- 5.11d/
- Chocolate Flakes- 160’- 5.10d/ The first two pitches are the shared approach pitches for four different routes. The first pitch is uneventful. The second pitch runs up a delicate (for pro) whitish flake at 5.9. You then reach a large ledge below the four routes and Chocolate Flakes’ fixed belay is visible from below, up and left to the right of the impressive arête (Saucerful of Secrets). Cartwright Corner (5.10b) goes far left and Dark and Long (5.11c) goes straight up (on the right side of the other three routes). The third pitch of Chocolate is the crux of the route via tips lay back protected by small cams in a varnished right facing corner. The fourth pitch is just as interesting, adding in a short bit of off-width. I would not hesitate to combine these two pitches. Dow
- Dark and Long- 140’- 5.11c/
- Dukes of Hazard- 150’- 5.9/
- In the Red- 90’- 5.11d/
- Five and Dime- 90’- 5.10d/
- Small Purchase- 90’- 5.10a/ A great single trad pitch by RR standards at the grade. Once you rap the Community Pillar descent (good for most of the long routes in this area), just pull your rope down in the chimney (left side) and you will have it stacked for this pitch. Definitely will get warm and fuzzy with your C3's. A bit of lie backing in the middle. Bit of a reach towards the top. Good stuff. Dow
- The Magic Triangle- 750’- 5.9/
- Masquerade- 800’- 5.10c/
- Midnight Oil- 165’- 5.11a/
- Bro’s Before Holes- 70’- 5.10c/
- Bottle Bill- 350’- 5.9/
- Clone Babies- 160’- 5.10d/
- Five Pack- 390’- 5.10b/ Five Pack sports two good pitches and two below average pitches. The second and fourth pitches consist of the best leads. There is a bit of bushwhacking along the entire base of this wall, but Five Pack is just around the corner (left) of Edge of the Sun. You start up a non-distinct chock stone chimney pitch that has a decent 30’ chimney section higher up. The 2nd pitch is a fantastic 5.8 stem chimney that converts to a varnished hand crack high above. The 3rd pitch goes up just a short distance and pulls an airy roof to the left before traversing far right into the prize of the route, the final 5.10d corner-roof. Proceed up 30’-40’ to a comfortable pod in which to belay directly below the arcing corner. Follow the corner and right face up and make the crux moves into the wide arch crack (4”-5” gear). The bolted line out right is the final 5.10d pitch on Edge of the Sun. Dow
- Texas Longneck- 390’- 5.8/
- Edge of the Sun- 350’- 5.10d/ I advise combining Edge of the Sun with Five Pack and/or Lunar Eclipse to make for a full day of climbing. All three pitches on Edge of the Sun make for a pretty damn good route by Red Rocks standards. The last pitch offers great exposure and positioning before it tracks up a bolted varnished face just to the right of the good corner pitch on Five Pack. The rap descent for all three routes is the same, a three double rope rap down the “easier to pull” west face of the Bottle. Avoid rapping Edge of the Sun although it is set up for a rappel. Just rap to the top of its 2nd pitch and diverge from there (right) onto the better west face rappel. Dow
- Lunar Escape- 350’- 5.11a/
These are all trad lines with an assortment of fixed pro here and there. They all will require an assortment of gear as spelled out in Jerry’s Handren’s “Red Rocks, A Climbers Guide”. The routes that reach the summit can be walked off via the Magic Mountain-Rose Tower col thus a single 60m rope for the ascent would be adequate. Many of the other routes require double rope rappels. Magic Mountain is a better spring-summer-fall destination versus winter due to all the climbing being on the north face. Dress accordingly.