Dow soloing Get Rad, 5.8***
Above photo: Dow leading Dark Arts, 5.9
I took the time to climb Azkaban Jam, 5.9*
years ago when descending the gully behind Whisky Peak after climbing Ixtlan
. I remember liking the route and the rock. I finally returned with the Urioste family making Rad Cliff our destination for a day. They climbed Chamber of Secrets, 5.7**
, while I soled Get Rad, 5.8***
. Get Rad ends at the start of the 2nd pitch of Chamber. Those two pitches together, Get Rad to Chamber of Secrets, make for outstanding climbing at the grade. All nine routes on this left side of Rad Cliff are served by the same slung tree rappel down the route named Dementor.
Dow leading Cadillac Crack, 5.9*
Moving to the right side (west) of Rad Cliff you have to descend the slope and re-ascend to the base of a different grouping of routes further up canyon. This wall is home to no doubt the most popular route on the expansive Rad Cliff, Cadillac Crack, 5.9*.
Cadillac closely resembles Weenie Juice
over in Icebox Canyon except it is quite a bit easier, but with the same arching style with wide climbing. Dark Arts, 5.9
, is a must if you are climbing Cadillac and they both finish to the same fixed anchor. We used double ropes to make the rap for these two routes. But they both curve quite a bit, so a 70m might make it.
Hike up from the trail head for Black Velvet Canyon and head up the switch back trail to the base of Whiskey Peak
as you would for any of the Whiskey Peak routes. Turn left on the main trail circumventing Whiskey Peak and hike up the descent gully behind it for a few meters before traversing left across the gully (Rad Cliff is located on the south side of the gully equating to mostly shade)
depending on which routes you want to climb. The photos highlight the can’t miss features. For the left side that would be Get Rad which is a wide right leaning splitter in a fat right facing corner.
Cadillac Crack and Dark Arts are located in a dark varnished arch further up the gully.
Route Description(s)Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
Fright of the Phoenix- 160’-5.7*/
Azkaban Jam- 140’-5.9*/ Entertaining pitch for the grade. 360 degree chimney move about half way up is the crux. Single rack to C4#4 was adequate. Maybe double up on a 2" and 3" for your gear station. Traverse far right along the ledge to the same tree rap system used for the Chamber and Get Rad (atop Dementor). Two single 60m rope raps to the ground. Dow
Rita Skeeter- 120’-5.9/
Moaning Myrtle- 120’-5.9/
Basilisk Fang- 150’-5.7/
Get Rad- 100’-5.8***/ Get Rad is not in Handren’s guide (1st edition) but I have offered a can't miss photo of the route. I on sight soloed this off-width and consider it straight forward for folks capable of soloing off-width at this grade. If you want to protect it, a Valley Giant (or Big Bros of course) for sure would do that and maybe you could use a C4#6 in a spot or two. It is the same movement all the way up. Left chicken wing and left knee, right hand many times on the arete. Near the end, you are exposed a bit as you pull out of the chimney and up on softer rock via hand jams and large holds. You end up above the “chamber” of Chamber of Secrets. From there you can climb or solo Chamber’s 2nd pitch to the top. A single 60m gets you down via two raps on trees about 20’ or so climbers left (on the other side of the buttress that forms the route). Combining this route with the 2nd pitch of Chamber of Secrets secures the best combination of interesting climbing in this area. Dow
Chamber of Secrets- 180’-5.7**/ Chamber of Secrets is in the Handren guide. It is listed as a two pitch route, but with proper extension, it can be easily led as one. The Chamber is best found by locating Get Rad which is an obvious right leaning off-width crack in a well shaded corner. Chamber climbs the corner itself. The first pitch leads into a chamber of sorts (chimney). Stem to the top of this chimney and continue up the nicely varnished corner, mostly hand jams but a bit of stemming as well. There is a solid tree to belay off of at the top. It has a slung rap, but the tree to climbers left offers two single rope raps vs a double rope rap if you rap the route. It drops you on the left hand side of the buttress, with a two minute walk back to the base. Dow
Cadillac Crack- 140’-5.9*/ Cadillac is given a star in Handren’s guide (but deserves more) and is spectacular and would get more attention if the kiddos did not have to burn calories to reach Rad Cliff. Looks like Weenie Juice (5.10a), but not near as sustained. A shaded obvious right facing corner that eventually widens to off-width. You have to lay back a short section of the off-width which is protected with a bolt (2017). Notes on Mountain Project talk about bringing a lot of large gear, particularly C4#4’s. I think I placed one. The bolt protects the widest section and the crux move. Once beyond that, easy climbing through fun stacked roofs leads to a comfortable ledge with a fixed rap. You need double ropes to rap the route. Standard mid-sized rack with a #4 and/or #5. Dow
Dark Arts- 140’-5.9/ Just to the right of the classic corner climb Cadillac Crack is a short white tower with a bolt on the varnished wall atop it. Clip this bolt and start traversing left. The easier way is to stay low, however I believe the intent is to make the crux move up to a hand rail with minimal feet. Traverse left again, clipping a bolt and aim for a shallow left facing corner just a few meters to the right of Cadillac’s corner. The pro is micro here (think rps) but the climbing is below the grade. Eventually just blend into Cadillac and pull the same roofs to the same ledge with a two rope fixed rap. Handren does not give this route a star in his guide but it deserves at least one and is a must if you are on Cadillac Crack anyway. Dow
Diagon Alley- 130’-5.7/