The first west-facing wall on the south side of Reimers, Shortcake Wall, aka Oblivion Wall, offers a handful of short but nice routes and is often open when nearby Prototype Wall has people on its popular routes. Although the routes are short (like 30', no more than 3 bolts to a route plus anchors), they are of good quality. Despite being quick to access and not being obscure, the routes are not as polished as the moderates at Dead Cats and Prototype Walls are. First bolts tend to be a little high, and starts can be tricky, so many people stick clip the first bolts.
Because of the position and surrounding trees, the wall does not get sun until well into the afternoon, especially in winter, when routes on this wall can stay wet for several days after a decent rain.
These routes are on limestone.
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 (very slick in some spots) splits a number of times. You want the first split that takes you left across the creek (see picture).
Spur to Cross the Stream
After crossing the stream, hike uphill and right, past a large boulder, and to a spur heading up to the cliffs. This spur takes you to Prototype Wall. Walk left along this wall, passing Dr. Suess Wall, and continue past a boulder pile. After that, you will be at the base of Shortcake Wall.
There actually is an earlier spur leading more directly to the wall, but it is a little harder to spot.
Names and grades come from Austin Climbing: Sport Routes & Deep Water Solos by John Hogge.
From left to right as you face the wall:
- Got a Dollar? (5.7)-- Quick and fun, good beginner lead, the obvious warm-up for the wall.
- Crack Ate the Pipe (5.8)-- Some polish and reachy moves make this a little spicy for the grade, especially getting to the second bolt. A fall before Bolt 2 will be a ground fall.
- Karen Carpenter (5.11a)-- I haven't done this one but watched a guy work it one day. He felt the crux was getting to and past the second bolt.
- Gut Punch the Buddha (5.9)-- Fun and pumpy. Don't cheat and use the tree as a hold.
- Fat Chicks Tryin' To Be Sexy (5.10a)-- Best of the routes I've done on the wall so far. Direct start feels harder than the grade, with a small crimp and a big reach. I've done a sequence starting almost on Hat Dance and working over. After the start, the crux is getting from a bomber undercling to the wide ledge above.
- Hat Dance (5.9)-- Fun, pumpy and technical start; awkward run-out moves from the second bolt to the third.
- Access Solo (5.6)-- Not actually 5.6 in my opinion, more a "technical scramble." Useful for accessing anchors to set topropes, though it is brushy up top with lots of cactus.
Fat Chicks Tryin' To Be Sexy (5.10a) and Hat Dance (5.9)
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. In the very hot summer, climb here in the early morning.
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.