Dow Leading Couldn't be Schmooter, 5.9
The quality of rock in Red Rock does not get finer than the pure black varnish on Winter Heat Wall.
I had climbed most all of the multi-pitch trad routes through 5.11 in Red Rock NCA before I ever got around to visiting many of its crags. There are several worthy routes to hunt in and around the backside of Kraft Mountain. For the trad climber, Couldn’t be Schmooter (5.9) and High Class Hoe (5.10a)
top the list. Schmooter is one of only three trad routes in the whole park that Handren gave three stars to in his first edition guide. It climbs a beautiful, if not improbable looking, finger crack to a fixed anchor. Most of the climbing is via positive huecos vs climbing the crack itself. Hoe is stiff for its respective grade and in my opinion is the better of these two routes. It offers incredible variety for one pitch: a perfect finger splitter to a crux no feet roof pull finishing on an intricate stem corner.
To the left of these stellar trad climbs are two very good sport climbs in the same grade range, Judy’s Route (5.10d) and Reign of Swain (5.10c).
Both are stout for their respective grade by Red Rock standards but are well bolted. The namesake route on the wall, Winter Heat (5.11b)
, is yet another three star route in Handren’s guide. The wall faces northeast and gets morning sun in April.
Park at the dead end parking area in Calico Basin which is the Kraft Mountain trail head
. Head northeast on a trail that circumvents Kraft Mountain to the left (north)
. Once you reach the pass, descend into the wash circumventing the northeast side of the mountain known as the Gateway Canyon trail.
Descend the wash and keep your eyes open for a climbers trail that ascends the right side aiming for a pure black wall, the only black varnished section on either side of the wash.
On return, it is easier to continue descending the Gateway Canyon trail thus completely circumventing Kraft Mountain back to the parking area. I have included a photo of Schmooter. It and Hoe are easy to find.
Route Description(s)Routes Listed Right to Left (west to east) as you Face the Wall
Hole in the Pants- 190’-5.7/
High Class Hoe- 90’-5.10a**/Handren gives the Hoe one less star than Schmooter, but I think it is even better at its respective grade. And if anything it is a bit sandbagged by Red Rock standards. The climbing is incredibly varied. Begin at the apex of the ledge on the right side. Start up the perfect finger/ring lock splitter with bomber gear. Two small hand jams help you finish it off. Then traverse easy ground to the left and pull the roof (crux). You can protect with wire or micro cams in pods before making an aggressive and exposed dyno (for the grade) to surmount the roof. The finish is up a cool left leaning corner placing thoughtful gear and stemming out to the arête. Finish by moving left to a fixed rap. The 2nd will have to clean the route or you will have to climb it twice as the fixed rap is way left. Dow
Seasonal Controversies- 80’-5.11d/
Winter Heat- 80’-5.11b***/
Autumnal Frost- 80’-5.11d/
Couldn’t Be Schmooter- 80’-5.9***/At 3 stars, Couldn’t Be Schmooter is one of the highest suggested climbs in Handren’s guide, albeit only a cragging pitch. It is a spectacular lead for the budding 5.9 climber. Start at what looks like an improbable seam for the grade, but it goes smoothly via huecos and other features on both sides of the crack. A pocket C4#3 protects the start where the seam is closed. As the crack starts to appear, it takes solid wires and/or micro cams/off-sets. There is no real crux and all the moves are well within the 5.9 grade. Mostly nice and physical mantels and the like. Fixed rap anchor (2016) on top. Dow
Nuttin Could be Finer- 70’-5.7/
Mo Hotta, Mo Betta- 70’-5.8/
Judy’s Route- 90’-5.10d*/As sport climbs go, these two routes are as good as anything in Calico Hills. Ramp in from the right and climb through the right side of the first bolts. The crux is pure steep terrain at about bolt 5 with nothing but crimps and a bit of dyno action. Several meters of cruxy moves reach a roof pull. Easy ground above the pull to cold shuts (2016). Both of these sport climbs go easier for the taller climber. Dow
The Reign of Swain- 80’-5.10c*/One distinct crux move vs several on Judy’s route. Climb through the first couple bolts moving left into a shallow corner/flake. Fun lay back moves help get you over the corner. Then you are faced with a matching side pull to dyno up (crux) and reach a very reachy feature to pull up to easier terrain and more cold shuts (2016). Dow