Unfinished Symphony, 5.11d
Refrigerator Wall, located in Icebox Canyon on the lower northern flank of Bridge Mountain, is named such for a reason. The impressive wall is on the south side of the canyon, just in from Frigid Air Buttress
, and thus faces north. It is one of the cooler temperature climbing opportunities at Red Rocks, NV.
Therefore, it is best to plan any of the wall’s objectives from Spring to Fall.
There are 14 published routes on Refrigerator Wall. The most notable of this collection is La Cierta Edad (5.10c)
due to its moderate climbing nature and solid varnished rock. La Cierta Edad is yet another Urioste
classic at Red Rocks. The rappel of La Cierta Edad runs over perhaps the second most popular route on the wall, Unfinished Symphony (5.11d)
. However, some of the routes on this wall leave a lot to be desired, i.e. Grape Nuts (5.10c) and Amazing Grace (5.9) are both single pitch routes covering sandy mossy sandstone via bad run out fixed pro (2010). Greased Lightning (5.10a),
a 200’ crack system, redeems this left section of Refrigerator Wall offering a solid and inspiring trad lead.
Park at the Icebox Canyon trailhead. Proceed west towards the canyon on the well-marked trail. Stay north (right) of the wash on a well traveled trail as you pass Frigid Air Buttress on the left. Continue until right across from Refrigerator Wall which is well marked by a large pine tree dead center of a recessed area at the base of Refrigerator Wall. Greased Lightning is the left most route, with La Cierta Edad running up a buttress to the right of the pine tree. Unfinished Symphony starts in the gully to the right of said buttress.
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall
- Greased Lightning- 200’- 5.10a/ Observed some fellow Canmore climbers enjoy this discontinuous crack system. Looks to be a good route. Dow
- Swing Shift- 750’- 5.10c/ The first and last pitches are inconsequential. The 2nd pitch by far offers the best rock on the route (5.9). The 3rd pitch is the mental crux of the route via an exposed traverse (5.9+). The 4th pitch is quite soft for the grade (5.10b) but offers good climbing in a flared crack. The 5th pitch is the technical crux (5.10c) which is short lived on black rock in a stem corner. Micro cams and/or nuts protect the moves well. The sixth pitch is full of trees and poorly described in Handren’s guide and his photo topo is inaccurate as well. The upper raps were rotted and laying on the ground. We have re-established the raps with passive gear (2016). Dow
- Grape Nuts- 100’- 5.10c/I was not impressed with how dirty and full of moss the roof was as well as the old fixed pro. I backed off below the roof, moving a piece of existing bail sling one more bolt up the run out slab from where I found it. Dow
- Amazing Grace- 120’- 5.9+/Outstanding moderate grade pitch utilizing several climbing disciplines with a mix of sport and trad. You can rap it with a 70m rope. Was retro-bolted in 2014 or would have been much more popular by now. Intricate slab climbing past three bolts. Traverse right to the base of the obvious left leaning corner. Stem and lay back up terrific rock by Red Rock standards placing a varied amount of small to medium pro until the anchor out left. Sustained pitch for the grade. Despite looking like it takes larger gear, I did not place anything larger than #2. Dow
- Kisses Don’t Lie- 290’- 5.12a-b/
- Earth Juice- 150’- 5.10d/
- Break Away- 240’- 5.10d/
- La Cierta Edad- 560’- 5.10c/ Radek's notes exceptional as always. I am in the camp that I thought the short 5.10c move warranted the grade. Unusual for me at Red Rocks to go that direction on grade and I am a fairly decent off width guy, but thought it was a bit wide for the knee, side pull was a bit thin (wore a bit maybe) and the move is right off the belay on top of your partner. It was a grunt move in my opinion then the rest of that pitch was cruiser. Three nice pitches here by RR standards, the fun chimney-roof pull on #2, the stem box on #3 and the cruiser varnished corner on #5. Dow
- Unfinished Symphony- 550’- 5.11d/ The first pitch of Unfinished Symphony is quite chossy and full of brush. The final three pitches however follow the same crack/corner system in solid black varnish and easily make up for the first. Start up the left side of the chimney system via sandy and bushy short corners (5.9). Traverse right, below an overhang, onto a sloping slab. Continue up and right to find a decent crack on better rock. Follow this crack up to a small treed ledge to the right protecting with medium gear for the first belay or you can continue for a few more meters over a well varnished bulge to a fixed belay (bolt and tree-2012). The second pitch (5.8) follows the wide black varnished corner/crack (with multiple face features on the right wall) to a large sandy alcove breaking up the tall corner. The third pitch (5.10a) requires true off-width technique deeper in the corner to a fixed semi hanging belay out right. The forth pitch (5.8) is just more wide stuff with jugs out left to assist and lands you at the base of the overhanging crux pitch. The fifth pitch (5.11d) is made up by a corner within a corner and presents an interesting (chicken wing and/or arm bar) off-width challenge. The first 20’ is quick and easy, then 20’-40’ of cranking on blank walls, then back to pleasant, but steep, 5.9-5.10 climbing. All of this pitch is easily and well protected with gear. The three bolts on this pitch are suspect (2012) and best just relied on if you are aiding the pitch. Dow
- Music to My Fears- 300’- 5.10c/
- Weenie Juice- 140’- 5.10a/In 2015 there is a decent trail leading up from the wash directly below the obvious arch that makes up Weenie Juice. When you get to the wall, either scramble up 5th class to another ledge or go ahead and rope up and start the pitch at the base of the wall. We scrambled up right and it involved unnecessary bushwhack. On-line resources and Handren's guide call for tripple #5's and #6's. I on sighted the route no worries and in my opinion it is actually safer lead it with a single rack from C4#.3 to C4#6. Punching the larger gear up and keeping it away from your feet is safer then stepping on your gear or getting it in the way. You start out on easy ground going up and right from the base of the flake, traversing back in from the right and then climbing the flake from the bottom to below a roof (arch) and traversing right at the end to a fixed anchor. At the start there are plenty of hands and fingers. When it goes wide, I use a lot of heal toe and a few features on the outer edge of the flake itself. You can use hand and fist stacks as well. You get a few knees and arm bars, but little in the way of chicken wings. There are several well deserved rests via features on the right wall. Eventually it pinches down to hands for a few meters, then fingers for a few more as the arch starts to overhang. One more medium piece protects before you traverse right under the roof (C4#.4) on solid edges to the modern (2015) fixed rap. Double ropes get you all the way back to the climbers trail. Dow
- Quiggle's Wiggle- 300’- 5.9/ Competent parties can solo the first pitch of Quiggle’s (I did), but there are consequences if you fall. There really isn’t much pro on the first pitch and the description in Handren’s guide is way off. “Follow the corner to the left side of a large ledge. Swing off the left side of the ledge and belay on another ledge.” Perhaps someone was having an acid trip, but there is no “swinging” and the obvious corner ends at the right end of an obvious ledge, not the left. In any regard, outside of the short corner with a tree in it, the first pitch is rather nondescript. From the pool below, head straight up to easy slab to where you can traverse left to the base of the corner. Climb the corner through the tree and cut left at the top onto a large ledge. The second pitch in Handren’s guide references moving the belay left 80’ via 3rd class to the base of the next corner. There is no 3rd class, it is a walk on a very flat and large ledge and it is not 80’ but more like 40’. There are two old pitons set up with rap rings (2015) in the floor below the chimney above. The next pitch meanders right and involves the crux climbing (still not 5.9 in my opinion). No matter where you end it, keep moving up and right to the right side of a large mossy left facing corner to position yourself right above the waterfall where you will find a slung tree. A single 70m rope rap off of this tree sets you up for a fun and wet double rope rap down the waterfall. Dow
- Roraima- 700’- 5.11d/
- Blitzkrieg- 800’- 5.10/