The Kracken (5.8, 2 Pitches)

The Kracken (5.8, 2 Pitches)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 30.50900°N / 98.818°W
Additional Information Route Type: Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)
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Emilie Raps Down Kracken P1
Emilie Raps Down Kracken P1

On the "Backside" of Enchanted Rock are some tall, slabby walls home to a few pure trad routes and a few mixed routes but many more bolted routes. Many of these routes are infamous among Central Texas climbers for their long run-out sections (often 30' or more between bolts, and sometimes no protection at all on a pitch).

The Kracken is one of the routes on Cheap Wine Wall.

According to the Mountain Project page for this route, the name refers to James Crump's Internet moniker. Crump's name is all over E-Rock as a route developer and FAist. Chris Keistler and Kirk Holladay were the first to climb this route.

At two all-bolted pitches and around 250', making it one of the longest climbs at Enchanted Rock (it can actually be more than 300' if you extend the last pitch to the top of the dome and build an anchor up there), this is a popular climb. That it is well-bolted for an Enchanted Rock route, and the fact that most Texas climbers are sport, not trad, climbers, also make it popular.

Getting There

Set out on the Summit Trail and then take the Echo Canyon Trail. When that trail reaches a board with lots of information posted, head right on a good trail that follows the Backside and has several spur trails to various walls. Look for the Yellow Trail and take it to the base of the dome. The trail ends at a slab beneath an overlap some 40' up. Two routes begin here. Boston (5.7) heads up to the notch in the overlap. The Kracken begins to its right; look for a bolt about halfway up the slab and another just above the overlap.

The photo below, linked from Mountain Project, is an excellent representation of the routes in this area of the dome, though there are a few minor errors. Those errors will not affect your ability to find or follow this climb, though.


Route Description

P1-- 125', 5.8, 6 bolts. Head up the slab. Clip the bolt above the overlap and then pull the overlap (crux of the pitch). This is a leader-must-not-fall move and is likely to be a heady one even for very strong climbers. After this, the climbing is much easier up to a pair of hangars above a wide ledge with a couple small trees on it.

P2-- 125', 5.8, 6 bolts. From the ledge, two bolted lines take off. Both share the same first bolt. You want to take the line on the right; the one to the left is a route called Newark. The crux of this pitch is getting through the first two or three bolts; it is easier to use the large crack and corner on the right, but that is technically part of Boston. After the crux, climb easy ground to another pair of hangars; belay here or continue up Class 4 slab until the angle eases and you can build a gear anchor using some questionable horizontal flakes.

Kracken P1
Kracken P1

Kracken P2
Kracken P2

To descend, there are some options:
  • Walk off from the top of the dome back to the parking lot.
  • Walk skier's left to the News Wall anchors if you know where they are and rappel. A single 60 will get you down, and then you can hike along the base back to the start and your other gear. I do not know if a single 50 will get you down.
  • Rappel. A single 70 will not get you down either pitch. You will need two ropes at least 50m.

Essential Gear

At least six draws, gear for bolt anchors, possibly gear for a trad anchor. If you plan to walk off the top, a 50m rope will work, but if you plan to rappel the route, you will need doubles in 50 or longer, or a 60 to use the News Wall anchors.