Ragged Edges Area, 5.5-5.12d

Ragged Edges Area, 5.5-5.12d

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.15800°N / 115.499°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


The Ragged Edges area (with includes the Graduate Cliff and Hard Case Wall for my visits) in Willow Springs at Red Rock NCA is a non-committal climbing area that offers some decent trad climbing options. By non-committal, I mean mostly single pitch routes with quick access. Most of the Ragged Edges area faces north/northeast, but sits realtively low in an open valley, so is still a climbable area in winter. The most popular routes at Ragged Edges are of course its namesake, Ragged Edges, 5.8, and Chicken Eruptus, 5.10b. Handren devotes a full page photo to Chicken Eruptus in his guide. Both routes are on a heavily varnished section of the wall that stretches 200’ tall. Both of these routes garner three stars in Handren’s guide and they are both worthy of climbing if you get to this area. However the best route in this neighborhood, in my opinion, is the Graduate (5.10b) which is on what Handren labels the Graduate Cliff located directly above Ragged Edges Wall. The Graduate is a stout overhanging hand crack with an exposed arête move.   Another great crack pitch, Hard Case (5.9), is located on Case Face way over the right on this 2nd level.   Sheep Trail (5.10a) located to the right of Chicken Eruptus is the better climb on the main wall.  A rare Red Rock Bachar route, it is much more challenging than Chicken Eruptus.  Kemosabe, 5.10a, is another decent route to add to the mix.   You can park at the first parking trailhead on Rocky Gap Road which is a right turn off from the Loop Road after you pass White Rock Springs and descend a hill. Or continue down the road a bit and park at a picnic area which is more directly across from the wall. There are several braided climbers trails. In any regard, look for a 200’ tall wall that is heavily varnished on the south side of the road. There is a vertical arch to the left, from bottom to top (Kemosabe) that is also a solid landmark. It takes maybe 10 minutes to reach the base of the crag. Any of the routes can be quickly walked off to the right.

 Route Descriptions: Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall

Chicken Eruptus, 5.10b***
Dow leading Chicken Eruptus, 5.10b***

Left Side

  • Crooked Crack- 5.6/
  • Diplomatic Immunity- 5.5/
  • Revoked- 5.5/
  • Lethal Weapon- 5.8+/
  • Midnight- 5.7+/
  • Go Ahead and Jump- 5.6*/
  • Ok Ok Ok- 5.6*/
  • Dense Dunce- 5.8/
  • Kemosabe- 100’-5.10a*/This is a below average route, but a good one to use in combination with the Graduate which is the best route at Willow Springs (wall above Ragged Edges wall). Kemosabe is definitely more of a 5.9 climb than 5.10a. A few fun moves up a seam that ramps right. Then straight up some good edges on slab. Tree above is slung for a rap versus walk off if you would rather. Dow
  • Tonto- 5.5**/
  • The Lone Ranger- 5.9/
  • Theme Book- 5.9/
  • Main Wall

  • Vision Quest- 5.12d/
  • Bodiddly- 5.10d*/
  • Plan F- 5.11a**/
  • Ragged Edges- 200’-5.8***/ I consider this short two pitch varnished crack the quintessential starter lead for the grade at Red Rocks. Joe Herbst and Jeff Lansing established this obvious line during the awakening decade at Red Rocks, the 70’s. Ragged Edges is a fantastic crack running the full height of the wall at Willow Springs. It is just to the left of another classic in this area, Chicken Eruptus. Dow
  • Chicken Eruptus- 200’-5.10b***/ Fun pitch on great rock. The best pitch of this group however is The Graduate (same grade) on the wall above, so make this a two pitcher by hitting that route as well. Chicken is a one move wonder at the grade, right at the first bolt you come to at about half way. Step down and right before reaching for the jug by the old pin. Good pro via mostly horizontal placements. Make sure to extend that pin.  A regular draw will cause serious rope drag on it.  Dow
  • Akido Gun Boy- 5.11d*/
  • Sheep Trail- 5.10a*/ I have led this route several times and consider it more interesting and much stouter than Chicken Eruptus. It starts out getting your attention by traversing in from the left on a slightly overhanging horizontal before you get your first pro, a C4#3. Then meanders right, back left and eventually back right to a seam. The pro is mostly solid horizontal cam placements. The crux is not always having vision of where they are as you make your moves, but they are there. Pumpy from bottom to top and not to be missed as there are not many John Bachar routes at Red Rock.Standard Rack. Dow
    • Dense Pack- 5.10c*/ Poor protected contrived short corner route on chossy rock.  Dow
    • Why Left- 5.11b/
    • Why Right- 5.11b/
    • Sheep Dip- 5.11a/
    • Graduate Cliff

    • Walk to School- 5.7/
    • The Graduate- 100’-5.10b***/One of the better single crack pitches for the grade at RR and definitely the best climb at Willow Springs. I would prefer 3- C4#3's next time...where the crack overhangs the hand crack gets large=fist. This overhang was just a short straight in section for me, but many would need to layback it. A C4 #2 or #3 protects the exposed traverse left below the roof. Huge jugs await, exposed, but easy last moves. Dow
    • Acid Jacks- 5.11c/
    • Circle of Jerks- 5.11d/

      Case Face

    • Territorial Imperative- 5.10c/
    • Just in Case- 5.5/
    • Space Case- 5.7/
    • Head Case- 5.9/
    • Hard Case- 85’-5.9*/ Like the Graduate, this is an outstanding crack pitch that is easily accessed from climbing any of the lower pitches on Ragged Edges wall. Move to the right of the descent gully on the right side of Ragged Edges wall. On the second level is an aesthetic splitter in the middle of Case Wall, both from a location perspective (great views away from the folks) as well as the crack itself. The crux is pulling the roof down low but it is well protected and fun for the grade. A few deep hand jams and physical body work get you up to the easy hand crack which leads to its own slung rap or you can angle left to a fixed rap on Head Case. Standard rack. Dow



    Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.