Rhetorick Wall is just to the climber's left of Dead Cats Wall
and seems more like an extension of the latter than a truly separate wall, but I was not part of the climbing development at Reimers Ranch.
The climbing here is mostly hard, with four 5.12 routes and one 5.13, but there is an excellent moderate, 5.8 Talk It Up, that might be open if you show up at Dead Cats on a weekend afternoon and find all the moderates taken, which is a good possibility. Talk It Up is the left-most route on the wall, is by some oak trees, and is easily recognizable by a huge flake that looks remarkably like the shape of Texas.
By far, the best resource for this area is Austin Climbing: Sport Routes and Deep Water Solos by John Hogge.
I do not know if the misspelling in the wall's name was intentional.
Reimers Ranch is located off Hamilton Pool Road about 6 miles west of its intersection with Ranch Road 12. It is about 45 minutes west from downtown Austin.
Once through the entrance station, drive about 1.8 mi and turn left into a large parking area signed for a pavilion and for climbing access. A sign points the way to "Climbers Canyon." Hike the trail and then drop into the top of the "canyon" where a spring creates a stream that soon empties into the Pedernales River. This stream includes a waterfall and some deep pools that are great places to cool off after climbing on a hot day.
Hike by or through the stream until a trail becomes apparent. The trail through Sex Canyon, which is what climbers call the canyon (very slick in some spots) splits a number of times. Stay on the main path, not crossing the stream, until you reach a spot where a large fallen tree crosses the trail. Step over that tree and continue.
After a short uphill stretch, you will see a spur leading to Serpent's Wall. Keep going. In a minute or two, you will reach the Dead Cats area. Keep going past the huge oak that marks the left end of Dead Cats. The bolted lines left of that oak are on Rhetorick Wall. The wall ends just past Talk It Up; the end is easy to spot because there is a drop-off there and the wall turns a corner and becomes overhanging.
From left to right:
- Talk It Up (5.8)-- Very fun route, a little chossy at the start, a little scary after the second bolt until you find the "Aha!" hold. Also makes a good rope-solo climb because the trees at the base are bomber anchors. 40', and with 5 bolts, very well-protected. One of the best 5.8 routes at Reimers.
- Schizophrenic Calisthenics (5.12d R)
- The Quest for Zest (5.12c)-- has a .13a variation.
- Rhetorick (5.12a)
- Punctuation Mark (5.12a)
The daily entry fee is currently $10. Annual passes are $100 and well worth it if you climb here a lot. I bought an annual pass in August and by October had come out more than 10 times. Plus, the annual pass is good for all Travis County parks. Unfortunately, the pass is a windshield decal, not a card. If you want a duplicate pass for a second vehicle, you get to pay $50 for it. Nice racket they have going there.
Opening and closing times vary by the season. Check the park website
Climbers in Central Texas are well acquainted with the biting ants all over the place. Watch where you stand and where you step.
This part of Texas is also home to all four types of venomous North American snakes-- copperheads, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and coral snakes. Again, watch out, especially for the coral snakes. They are shy and bites are very rare, but their venom is highly potent and can be fatal. Also, it is my understanding that antivenin for coral snakes is in very short supply and highly expensive due to the fact that bites are so rare.
When to Climb
All year. Most of the Reimers walls face west, this one included.
In the very hot summer, climb here in the early morning. The wall gets good shade but will still be hot on summer afternoons.
None inside the park.
About 7 miles east on Hamilton Pool Road is Rock Dog
, owned and operated by local climbers. I've never been there but have heard the owners are awesome climbers and awesome people. I also hear that the rich neighbors hate the place, so if you don't live locally, stay there and do your part to give the middle finger to the snobs.