Myster Z is an ugly cousin to the much more popular and easy Red Rocks routes Geronimo and Olive Oil. However, it is the best option for climbing your way back to the Brownstone Walls, Brownstone Wall North and Brownstone Wall South, where there is some of the best rock and remote climbing in all of Red Rocks.
Another option is to of course hike your way back to the Brownstone Walls, but climbing Myster Z was a pleasure and can be done quite fast via competent climbers.
Myster Z is a relatively new route or it would probably be as popular of Olive Oil and Geronimo. Jimmy Newberry and Phil Broscovak put it up in 2003. It runs to the top of Jackrabbit Buttress and then you can traverse the summit of Jackrabbit on the south side to reach the Brownstone Walls. We simul-climbed the last three pitches. The 5th pitch has the only climbing resembling Red Rocks 5.7 and it is short lived (couple of moves up an exposed crack).
The first pitch is probably the most exciting overall as a long (160’) 5.6 pitch following a wide crack up into a chimney. The 4th pitch was good climbing at the grade (5.6) as well. These are all long, but fast, pitches.
On most of the route you are treated to the view of climbers on Crimson Chrysalis. From this vantage point it makes Crimson Chrysalis look like a much grander route than it really is. On a quiet day you can hear them and they can hear you. I have been on both routes.
Park at the Pine Creek trailhead. There are two approaches to Juniper Canyon. Either hike down the main Pine Creek trail and traverse around the old home site to intersect Oak Creek Trail, or locate a more indistinct trail at the Fire Ecology Loop. They both require crossing Pine Creek ascending up to the south bank. In any regard, you hook into the Oak Creek trail and leave it at any number of trails that make their way towards the right hand corner of Jackrabbit Buttress. Leave the trail and go up to the gully to the right of the buttress for several hundred feet and bushwhack left over to an obvious heavily varnished crack/chimney. Belay at a small cave and tree.
Route Description1100’+/-, 6-8 Pitches, 5.7
1st Pitch- 160’- 5.6/ I will claim this is the best pitch of the route.
Climb the wide crack on its right side protecting at will. You eventually come up to a steeper section where the chimney deepens forming a roof of sorts.
You can go up the chimney at probably a grade higher or dog leg left slinging a few horns up easier ground and return to the chimney for a comfortable gear belay.
2nd Pitch- 145’- 5.6/
Exit the chimney by stemming straight up and following a crack up and west. You can stop at a variety of places and build a gear belay or plan ahead of time to simul-climb the 3rd pitch which takes you to the base of another wall. Once the leader is out 60m out he/she is on pretty solid ground. The climbing is fairly easy here with no real crux for the grade.
3rd Pitch- 190’- 3rd Class/
Continue up to the base of the large wall. Crimson Chrysalis comes into full view to the south and you can easily hear folks climbing on that route from this position. Move left and set up a belay at the base of a corner that runs to the top of this wall.
4th Pitch- 170’- 5.6/
You can start climbing about 10m to the right of the corner and angle your way in. It is cleaner than starting in the corner.
Follow the corner to the top of a pillar and set up a gear belay here. A nice straight forward pitch.
5th Pitch- 170’- 5.7/ The crux move of the route is on this pitch towards the top.
Stem up the crack as it angles right and steepens. You end up below a significant overhang. Make an exposed, but easy, traverse right (double or triple sling any pro prior to this traverse).
Climb the varnished crack at the right end of the ledge. This is the best climbing of the day. It is easy to protect and offers exposure and challenge for the grade.
Once you pull over this section of straight vertical crack, set up a gear belay in a small alcove of sorts on the left.
6th-8th Pitches- 300’- 5.6/
We simul-climbed at this point. You can put in gear in a floor crack if you want from time to time. Easy ground takes you somewhat left up to the top of this section of Jackrabbit Buttress. We un-roped at a broad false summit bench and then traversed left along the southern edge of Jackrabbit to access Brownstone Wall. We were heading towards South Brownstone. If your objective is North Brownstone, you are probably better served to scramble to the very top of Jackrabbit Buttress and descend to the col.
I climb Myster Z in order to access Brownstone Wall climbs. However, if you are done for the day, simply traverse around to the left along the southern shoulder of Jackrabbit Buttress (not going too low) and descend into the bowl below Brownstone Wall. Scramble down to the bushy bottom where you can pick up a decent trail that exits Juniper Canyon.
60m rope. Single Rack to 3” with a set of nuts. A dozen shoulder length runners. East facing route, so could be cold in the fall and winter afternoons. Gets a lot of morning sun all year round. Will want to carry your gear with you so you don’t have to re-ascend to the start of the climb when hiking out Juniper Canyon, therefore pack accordingly.
External LinksRed Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM
Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association