During the winter months of January-February, there can be days where Calico Hills will be quite inviting compared to its larger brethren to the southwest. Stratocaster Wall is one of the more spread out areas (800 yards)
covering several different walls at the west end of Calico Hills. The hike/scramble up to Stratocaster is one of the pleasant aspects of this location in that it definitely weans out the crowds as well as gives you a good peek at many of the other objectives as in the more popular Gallery Area. These walls are directly south to southwest facing making them some of the warmest climbing in all of Red Rocks. Great winter destinations, not so good for summer ones
, or even spring or fall. The climbing is quite varied and includes trad and sport lines, single and multi pitch.
Several climbers developed much of the area in the early nineties, several of note, Dan McQuade and Paul Van Betten.
From the parking area for the 2nd pullout, descend the main trail taking a right at the first opportunity. Take the first left (50yds) and continue your descent down into the wash. Head west in the wash passing the Observatory Wall on your right and then start scrambling rightward up a long rock ramp below the Gallery Area. When you top out on this ramp, scramble up low angled rock terrain on your right (to the left and above the Gallery)
zig sagging your way to a very large ledge system above. Follow this ledge west as you approach the different walls that make up Stratocaster.
The Routes are Listed Right to Left as you Face the Walls
- Telecaster- 100’- 5.11c/
- Bristler- 100’- 5.12a/
- Purple Haze- 50’- 5.12c/ (more than one of these at Calico)
- Beyond Reason- 45’- 5.13b/
- Stratocaster- 180’- 5.11d/
- Stratocaster Direct- 30’- 5.12b/
- Marshall Amp- 130’- 5.11b/
- Deluxe- 100’- 5.11d/
- When the Shit Hits the Fan- 200’- 5.11d/
- Choad Warrior- 70’- 5.12c/
- Choad Hard- 60’- 5.12c/
- Party Down- 25’- 5.12b/
- Party Line- 180’- 5.10d/
- Flying V- 50’- 5.11b/
- Footloose- 60’- 5.11b/
- One Eyed Jacks- 40’- 5.11a/
- Cut Loose- 50’- 5.10d/ (photo)
- Pablo Diablo- 35’- 5.12d/
- Pablo Diablo Direct Extension- 60’- 5.13a/
- Titan Rocket- 90’- 5.11c/
- Tier of the Titans- 120’- 5.12b/
- Swedish Erotica- 120- 5.10a/ (photos) This is a
nasty trad route put up in the late 80’s. From what I could tell it rarely sees traffic and for good reason. Swedish Erotica runs up face holds, run out, past two bolts to a curved crack above. The crack has a huge water mark on it and the sandstone is mostly rotten in nature. There is a bail sling and biner on the second bolt which comes in handy. Once you get to the crack and place a piece or two, you don’t feel very warm and fuzzy inside.
- Spikes and Twine- 280’- 5.10c/ (photos) This two pitch trad route is not a whole lot better then Swedish Erotica, but doable. The first pitch follows an easy crack up the face and then bends left across a very delicate and hollow flake. Continue up the varnished crack weary of poor holds, but plenty of opportunity for pro to a fixed belay (two nuts) at 120’. Go over the bulge at a bolt and move left to a right slanting crack to the top. You need double ropes for the rappel.
- Supernova- 270’- 5.10d/
- Nevada Book- 300’- 5.8/
- Split Lip- 100’- 5.10c/
- Split Infinitive- 80’- 5.9/ (photos) Nice route for the grade. Scramble up to the top of the boulder to the left of the wall to reach the following routes. Split Infinitive and Split Ends share the same start through one bolt. Split Infinitive goes out right on fun ground to chains.
- Split Ends- 100’- 5.10a/ (photos) Somebody has extended this route from its origin. About ten bolts leads up real sporty 5.10a slab ground to chains. The crux is about half way up off of a small ledge, some minor lie backing gets you over it. The extension through several more bolts was a nice addition making for a nice single pitch sport route.
- Split Crack- 500’- 5.7/ 1973! Sounds like a fun adventure for scramblers looking to get to the top of Calico Hills.Tons of routes here, some trad, some sport, you definitely need to plan your day from the parking area. At least one 60m rope and a dozen draws. For climbing at Calico Hills, you should definitely grab Jerry Handren’s book, “Red Rocks, A Climber’s Guide”. Very well done guide book.
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM
- Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association
- DowClimbing.Com Red Rocks