by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
La Madre Mountain
Rock Climbing Inventory
|Nevada Pocket Maps|
La Madre Wilderness Area Rock Climbing Inventory Statistics: Area: Walls Routes Bolts Anchors La Madre North 3 24 136 22 Kraft Mt./Gateway Canyon 18 102 312 57 White Rock Springs 4 23 15 7 Willow Springs East 3 11 13 1 The Promised Land 3 24 129 14 31 184 605 101 TOTAL: 167/184 routes field verified – 90% 7 new routes not found in literature Route information and locations were identified based upon information gathered from www.climbingredrocks.com and all six guidebooks: Islands in the Sky, Las Vegas Limestone, Red Rock Canyon: A Climbing Guide, Rock Climbing: Red Rocks, Red Rocks Climbing, and Red Rock Odyssey. Six new routes were discovered that were not mentioned in the literature review. This included one fixed line that provided access to the Upper Ledge of The Promised Land. The climbs at the Angel Food Wall (White Rock Springs) and at White Rock Springs Peak were not field verifiable for bolt and anchor counts. Also, hardware data for two routes at Kraft Rocks Upper Tier and The Cave (The Promised Land) was not able to be field verified from the ground. Hardware data was collected and verified by field observations for all of the remaining climbs in the La Madre Wilderness Area. LaMadre North Rock climbing inventory statistics: Wall: Test Site Area 51 Dreamland TOTAL: # of Routes 11 10 3 # of Bolts # of Anchors 56 63 17 24 136 24/24 routes field verified – 100% 1 new route not found in literature. 10 9 3 22 Route information and locations were identified based upon information gathered from the Islands in the Sky (pgs. 101-105) climbing guide. Exact bolt and anchor counts were obtained for all routes by field survey. La Madre North Access: To reach the climbing areas at La Madre North a four-wheel drive vehicle with good clearance is recommended. Drive down Hwy. 157 approximately 7 miles until you reach a left turn just past Scottie Street on the right. Take this dirt road until it turns into a 4x4 road that parallels a wash. Continue on the 4x4 road until a steep track leads you down into the wash. Follow the wash to the northeast for about 2 miles to a narrow section next to another wash that branches out to the south. This is the access to the Test Site. Reach the crag by hiking up the wash and meandering over desert terrain to the prominent cliff band to the southeast. Approximately 0.25 miles past this point is another side gully (fig. 1) leading to the south. Follow this branch up and into a series of canyons to reach Area 51. Finally, 0.5 miles further down the main wash is a pair of gullies that allow access to Dreamland. Hike up the gully on the right a short ways before scrambling up and onto flat desert terrain. Head for the cave set back into the hillside to the south. Fig. 1 (left): Side gully accessing Area 51. The climbing is found by hiking up the wash in the foreground to the lowest branch of the canyon seen in the middle of the picture. Fig. 2 (right): Access to Dreamland is up the gully to the right. The steeper gully to the right turns into a box canyon. Dreamland is the dark cave in the center of the picture between the two gullies. La Madre North Test Site: Fig. 1 (below): This long wall can be seen in the distance from the wash where you park. Hike up a gully from the main wash and then continue across desert terrain until you reach the wall. Routes Bolts Anchors 11 56 10 100% field verified 1 new route not found in literature Test Site Boulder: Fig. 2 (left): This boulder has one route on it and is located just below the main Test Site wall at the far southwest end. La Madre North Area 51: Fig. 1 (below): This large area is found in a series of canyons that can be viewed from the main wash to the northeast of Test Site. More climbs can be found around and up to the right of this picture. A raptor nest was discovered at this crag. Routes Bolts Anchors 10 63 9 100% field verified Dreamland: Fig. 2 (below/left): This cave is the last crag at the northeast end of the La Madre North area and can just barely be seen from the main wash. Routes Bolts Anchors 3 17 3 100% field verified Kraft Mountain and Gateway Canyon Rock Climbing Inventory Statistics: Wall: # of Routes # of Bolts # of Anchors Kraft Rocks Lower Tier 5 1 0 Kraft Rocks Upper Tier 6 2 1 Kraft Rocks Unknown Wall 4 2 0 The Mall (The Playground) 16 44 9 Conundrum Crag 4 15 3 Family Crag 4 20 3 The Garbled Mass (Swirly Cliff) 1 0 0 Cop Crag (Swirly Cliff) 4 21 4 Cannabis Crag 10 53 12 Cannabis Crag West 2 0 0 Winter Heat Wall 14 27 6 Sunny and Steep Wall 16 101 14 Golden Nugget Boulder 2 7 2 Judgment Day Crag 4 10 2 Chunder Bolt Wall 1 9 1 Atman Crag East 3 0 0 Atman Crag West 4 0 0 Meyers Cracks 2 0 0 102 312 57 TOTAL: 100/102 routes field verified – 98% 4 new routes not found in literature Route information and locations were identified based upon information gathered from Red Rock Canyon: A Climbing Guide (pgs. 45-61), and Rock Climbing: Red Rocks (pgs. 39-55). Exact bolt and anchor counts were verified for all routes with the exception of the Kraft Rocks upper tier anchor on routes Weasel Yeast and Weasel Cheese. Kraft Mountain and Gateway Canyon Areas Access: Kraft Mountain and Gateway canyon are located on the northeast side of Calico Basin. Drive west from Las Vegas on Charleston Blvd, which turns into State Highway 159, and turn right on Calico Basin Road about 2 miles before the access to the Scenic Loop Road. Follow this road as it winds around to the left and then right up to a parking lot about 1.1 miles from the highway. The parking area is at a cul-de-sac at the end of Sandstone Drive. You will see an empty, fenced-in lot on the left and a fenced-in field behind a house on your right. Hike down the trail dividing the empty lot and the field until you cross a large wash. Keep your eyes peeled for trails heading east or west around Kraft Mountain. Follow these trails to access the climbs on Kraft Mountain and Gateway Canyon. Kraft Mountain Kraft Rocks – Lower Tier: Fig. 1 (right): The Lower Tier of Kraft Rocks is directly in front of you as you hike towards Kraft Mountain from the parking area. The climbs are above the split boulder (Plumber’s Crack Boulder) shown in the foreground. Routes Bolts Anchors 5 1 0 100% field verified Kraft Rocks – Upper Tier: Fig. 2 (below/right): The Upper Tier of Kraft Rocks is located up and to the right of the Lower Tier as you move East along Kraft Mountain. Routes Bolts Anchors 6 2 1 66% field verified Kraft Mountain Routes Bolts Anchors 4 2 0 100% field verified 4 new routes not found in literature Kraft Rocks – Unknown Wall: Fig. 1 (above): These climbs are further to the East along Kraft Mountain from the Upper Tier. The wall pictured above is South facing and hold two unknown mixed routes. Fig. 2 (right): Another part of the Unknown Wall at Kraft Rocks. This left facing corner holds two unknown trad routes. Kraft Mountain The Mall: Fig. 1 (above): Also known as the Playground, this wall is located at the far East end of Kraft Mountain. Climbs are located on both the upper ledge and at ground level. Conundrum Crag: Fig. 2 (right): The Conundrum crag, with several sport and mixed routes, is located on the back (North) side of Kraft Mountain. Hike around from The Mall until just before entering Gateway Canyon. Routes Bolts Anchors 4 15 3 100% field verified Routes Bolts Anchors 16 44 9 100% field verified Kraft Mountain Family Crag: Fig. 1 (right): The Family Crag is just north of Conundrum Crag on the back side of Kraft Mountain. Routes Bolts Anchors 4 20 3 100% field verified Fig. 2 (right): From the Family Crag one must use this trail to access the east entrance of Gateway Canyon. The Garbled Mass is just visible in the middle of the scene. Gateway Canyon The Garbled Mass: Fig. 1 (above): The Garbled Mass is the first crag you come to as you travel west through Gateway Canyon. It is on the north side, to the right as you approach, and makes up the east end of the Swirly Cliff area. Cop Crag: Fig. 2 (right): The Cop Crag (central Swirly Cliff area) is just to the west of the Garbled Mass as you move deeper into Gateway Canyon. Routes Bolts Anchors 4 21 4 100% field verified Routes Bolts Anchors 1 0 0 100% field verified Gateway Canyon Cannabis Crag: Fig. 1 (left/below): The Cannabis Crag, with 10 sport routes, is past the Cop Crag on the north side of Gateway Canyon as you move further west. Routes Bolts Anchors 10 53 12 100% field verified Cannabis Crag West: Fig. 2 (right): Cannabis Crag West is located on the south side of Gateway Canyon directly across from the Cannabis Crag. It is difficult to find having only two traditional routes. Routes Bolts Anchors 2 0 0 100% field verified Gateway Canyon Northwest Winter Heat Wall: Fig. 1 (above): As you continue into Gateway Canyon from the east it narrows and becomes choked off by scrub oak and boulders. Past this, when the canyon opens up again, you will find the Winter Heat Wall on the south side of the canyon. Sunny and Steep Wall: Fig. 2 (right): Sunny and Steep Wall is located just west of Winter Heat Wall on the north side of the canyon. It has 16 sport routes of all difficulties. Routes Bolts Anchors 16 101 14 100% field verified Routes Bolts Anchors 14 27 6 100% field verified Gateway Canyon Northwest Golden Nugget Boulder: Routes Bolts Anchors Fig. 1 (above): This feature is to the west of Sunny and 2 7 2 Steep Wall at approximately the same level above the canyon floor. It is possible to access both areas from the wash or 100% field verified traverse between them along easy slabs and ledges. Judgment Day Crag: Fig. 2 (right): Judgment Day Crag is on the south side of Gateway Canyon to the west and across from the Golden Nugget Boulder. Scramble up slabs to reach the climbs. Routes Bolts Anchors 4 10 2 100% field verified Gateway Canyon Northwest Chunder Bolt Wall: Fig. 1 (right): This wall has one sport route and is located at the west end of Gateway Canyon as it opens up behind Kraft Mountain. It rises over the floor of the wash on the north side of the canyon. Routes Bolts Anchors 1 9 1 100% field verified Fig. 2 (left): At the west end of Gateway Canyon this trail enters the wash from above. This trail accesses climbs along Kraft Mountain’s west end and eventually loops around to the parking area. It’s a bit of a drop to the floor of the wash, but the trail is more moderate as you move up and around Kraft Mountain. Gateway Canyon Northwest Atman Crag East: Fig. 1 (right): The east side of Atman Crag has routes climbing these smooth faces and cracks. This climber is at the top of Ying Yang Crack. Climbs are accessed by hiking up from Gateway Canyon below or circling around from the Kraft Mountain Trail to the West. Routes Bolts Anchors 3 0 0 100% field verified Routes Bolts Anchors 4 0 0 100% field verified Atman Crag West: Fig. 2 (right): Atman Crag West is at the west end of Kraft Mountain and is easily accessible from the Kraft Mountain Trail as you pass by before going down into Gateway Canyon. Gateway Canyon Northwest Meyer’s Crack: Fig. 1 (above): The Meyer’s Cracks are two lesser known traditional climbs on the north side of Gateway Canyon, at the very west end past Kraft Mountain. The canyon continues west and north as it becomes less defined. The climbs are just before the canyon opens up and veers to the north. Routes Bolts Anchors 2 0 0 100% field verified White Rock Springs Rock Climbing Inventory Statistics: Wall: # of Routes # of Bolts # of Anchors Angel Food Wall 12 10 4 White Rock Springs Peak 1 0 0 Sheep Skull Crag 8 5 3 The Ledger Crags 2 0 0 23 15 7 TOTAL: 10/23 routes field verified – 43% 2 new routes not found in literature Route information and locations were identified based upon information gathered from Red Rock Canyon: A Climbing Guide (pgs. 164-171), Rock Climbing: Red Rocks (pgs. 162166), Red Rocks Climbing (pgs. 136-138), Red Rock Odyssey (pgs. 78-93) and www.climbingredrocks.com. Exact bolt and anchor counts were verified for all routes on the Sheep Skull and Ledger Crags. However, the Angel Food Wall and White Rock Springs Peak climbs were not entirely visible from the ground. Therefore, an accurate hardware count was not possible. White Rock Springs Access: Take the Scenic Loop Road from the BLM Visitor’s Center for approximately 5.8 miles until you see a right hand turn for White Rock Springs. Follow the gravel road to the end and park. The Angel Food Wall will be to your left and is the dominant feature on the escarpment in front of you. It looks like tall pillars of white cake-like rock. The picture below shows the best trail to access the Angel Food Wall. Sheep Skull Crags and Ledger Crags are further to the south along the cliff and are reached by hiking along the Willow Springs Trail toward Willow Springs. White Rock Springs Routes Bolts Anchors 12 10 4 0% field verified Angel Food Wall: Fig. 1 (above): White Rock Springs main attraction is the Angel food Wall pictured above. To access this wall hike west from the parking area to reach the Willow Springs Trail. Turn left (south) and continue until you see the trail pictured on the previous page. This trail will take you straight to the wall after some light scrambling up the approach slope. White Rock Springs Peak: Fig. 2 (right): This peak is visible to the west from the parking area. Take a bearing and start hiking. The approach is up a moderate slope and takes a little over an hour. Routes Bolts Anchors 1 0 0 0% field verified White Rock Springs Routes Bolts Anchors 8 5 3 100% field verified 2 new routes not found in literature Sheep Skull Crags: Fig. 1 (above): Continue south on the Willow Springs Trail about 20 minutes past the access trail for the Angel Food Wall. Look for this east facing wall to your right just past a gully separating Sheep Skull Crags from the Ledger Crags. Take a faint path up to the base of the wall. Ledger Crags: Fig. 2 (right): The Ledger Crags are across the gully to the north from Sheep Skull Crags. There are two good, but relatively overlooked, traditional routes here. Routes Bolts Anchors 2 0 0 100% field verified Willow Springs East Rock climbing inventory statistics: Wall: Upper Outhouse Wall Lower Outhouse Wall The Dark Thumb TOTAL: # of Routes 3 6 2 # of Bolts # of Anchors 0 0 13 11 13 11/11 routes field verified – 100% 0 0 1 1 Route information and locations were identified based upon information gathered from Red Rock Canyon: A Climbing Guide (pgs. 173-176). Exact bolt and anchor counts were verified for all routes in Willow Springs East. Access: Take the Scenic Loop Road from the BLM Visitor’s Center for approximately 7.3 miles until you see a right hand turn for Willow Springs. Take the road to a picnic area at the end and park. The Outhouse Walls are directly behind the picnic/spring area and are easily accessible by a short walk from the car. The Lower Wall is at ground level directly behind the bathroom and picnic tables. The Upper Wall requires a short walk north past the picnic area to a spot where you can scramble up to the ledges above. Traverse back along the ledges until you reach the climbs. The Dark Thumb is accessed by hiking the Willow Springs Trail east from the Hidden Falls/Lost Creek parking area. Once the red dirt trail turns to brown branch off the main trail and head up to the distinct pillar known as the Owl. From the Owl head straight north up the slope to reach the Dark Thumb. Willow Springs East Outhouse Walls: Fig. 1 (above): The Upper and Lower Outhouse Walls are located directly behind and above the picnic/spring area seen here. The lower band of huecoed rock behind the trees make up the Lower Outhouse Wall. The three climbs of the Upper Outhouse Wall can be found in the whitish rock in the upper portion of the photo. Routes Bolts Anchors 9 0 0 100% field verified The Dark Thumb: Fig. 2 (right): This feature can be accessed from the Willow Springs Trail. Head southeast from the parking area uphill until the red dirt trail turns to brown. Turn off of the main trail and head up toward a distinct pillar known as the Owl. From there turn left (north) to scramble up the final approach. Routes Bolts Anchors 2 13 100% field verified 1 The Promised Land Rock climbing inventory statistics: Wall: The Cave Upper Ledge Lower Ledge TOTAL: # of Routes 9 7 8 # of Bolts # of Anchors 53 33 43 24 129 22/24 routes field verified – 91% 4 2 8 14 Route information and locations were identified based upon information gathered from Islands in the Sky (pgs. 121-123) and Las Vegas Limestone (pgs. 58-61) climbing guides. Exact bolt and anchor counts were obtained for all routes by field survey with the exception of two unknown projects that did not appear to have bolts within visible range. This inventory includes a fixed rope that accesses the Upper Ledge from the Lower Ledge. It also includes 3 bolts at the base of the ledge that appear to be used as belay anchors for the climbs on Upper Ledge. The Promised Land Access: The Promised Land is accessed by driving up the Rocky Gap Road until you see an old 4x4 road split off to the right past some boulders and signs identifying the land beyond as wilderness area (fig. 1). Hike up the old 4x4 road until it veers sharply left and up a slope. Take the trail that splits off to the right (fig. 2) until you find yourself down in a wash. Hike up the wash approximately 1 km to the base of The Promised Land. Fig. 1 (left): The old 4x4 road starts at signs for the Wilderness Area boundary from the Rocky Gap Road. Fig. 2 (right): Trail branching off from the old 4x4 road. Start between the two dead trees and continue down into the wash that accesses The Promised Land. The Promised Land Fig. 1 (above): The Promised Land is made up by The Cave to the left and the Upper and Lower Ledges to the right. Routes Bolts Anchors 24 129 14 91% field verified Fig. 2 (right): Fixed rope allowing access from the Lower Ledge to the Upper Ledge.