News Wall Multi-Pitch-- 5.4-5.7, Two Pitches

News Wall Multi-Pitch-- 5.4-5.7, Two Pitches

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 30.50800°N / 98.82°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.7 (YDS)
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.4-5.7
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 2
Sign the Climber's Log


News Wall is primarily known for its easy and moderate single-pitch sport and trad routes, but there is a short multi-pitch option there. Depending on how you do it, as there are three different P1 options and at least two for P2, the grade can range from 5.4 to 5.7.
If you don't have a lot of time but want to plug in some gear, do a little multi-pitch so you can feel you really climbed something, and then walk off back to the car, this is a nice way to spend a few hours on the pretty pink granite of Enchanted Rock.
Near the end of P2 are some rappel bolts in a chute. One of my climbing partners loves multi-pitch but has only led sport, not trad. These rappel bolts enable a happy compromise wherein I get some trad leading in and then we head over to some of the bolted multi-pitch lines out here so she can be happy, too.

Getting There

From any parking area, get to the Summit Trail and follow it. After it gets pretty steep, look left for a sign diverting hikers to Echo Canyon. Take that fork, go over a divide, and then descend to a large board with all kinds of regulations and other information posted. 
Now bear right on a prominent hiking trail; this is the Backside Trail, not the Loop Trail, though it can be part of a loop around the dome. Hike on it until you see the blue climbers trail, which leads uphill to the base of the wall. It puts you almost right at the base of Sweat, probably the most recognizable route on the wall. Sweat (5.7) is also the best trad route on the wall, arguably the best 5.7 trad route in the park, and one of the best routes overall. 

Route Description

For the first pitch, climb either Walter Funkite (5.4), No Sweat (5.5), or Sweat (5.7).
Walter Funkite traverses up and right along a big crack to a set of bolted anchors. This will be your P1 belay no matter how you do P1.
No Sweat, in my opinion, is easier than its grade and a better route for newer leaders than WF is because it does not traverse as much and does not require large gear. It ends at bolted anchors for Sweat; clip the left anchor and then climb run-out but easy ground to the WF anchors.
If you can lead the grade, Sweat is by far the best of these three, and it is one of the nicest moderate crack routes, going from hands to fingers, that you will find anywhere, with the only rap being that it is too short. At the start, if you want to avoid run-out, you need a BD #4 or equivalent; or one of the DMM, Wild Country, or Trango cams that fall between a 3 and a 4. In the picture below, the route really is not as sewn up as it could be because I did not have those larger cams with me that day; believe me that I felt a lot happier at the start on the day I did have them. At the top of the pitch, clip the left anchor and climb to the WF anchors.
Walter Funkite, 5.4 Walter Funkite, 5.4
No Sweat, 5.5 No Sweat, 5.5
Sweat (5.7) Sewn Up Sweat (5.7) Sewn Up
For the second pitch, climb an easy seam (5.4?) to a broad ledge. Options now are to build an anchor and belay here, and then walk off or rap back down; belay from nearby anchor bolts on the headwall to the left (might cause a lot of drag); or walk left a little less and then climb a short crack (5.6?) and belay and walk off from up there (you will need to build an anchor in this case, too).
News Wall Multi-Pitch, P2 News Wall Multi-Pitch, P2
News Wall Multi-Pitch, P2 News Wall Multi-Pitch, P2

Essential Gear

Unless you're making Walter Funkite the first pitch, you can lead this with a set of stoppers and a set of small/medium cams as long as you're okay with the run-out start on Sweat (see above). But if WF is the first pitch, have at least one #4 C4 and maybe a #5.
Have enough cord or longer slings for the bolted anchors after P1 and the gear or tree/boulder anchors after P2.
If you plan to walk off, you can go light and use a 30m rope if you want, but if you plan to rap down and do other routes, you will need at least a 60.