Trip Report
Catwalk, Oak Creek Canyon, Red Rocks, NV

by Roxy
Monday April 25, 2011 11:32pm
Catwalk, 5.6+, Celebration Wall (in the back of Oak Creek Canyon)
the approach
the approach
Credit: Roxy

Spring is one of the better times to drive through the desert. Moderate temperatures and light bending colors made the day long drive enjoyable. As expected the Red Rocks campground was full. Luckily we found a walk-in site late in the afternoon where we could sit, eat and rack.

racking up
racking up
Credit: Roxy

Basic eavesdropping reassured that we were going to be alone up in Oak Creek. “Froglands will be bunged up tomorrow.” laughed Steve as he made PB&Js for our approach.

calories
calories
Credit: Roxy

We were up and on the trail by a quarter to five. The approach was magical. Weather perfect as a poem, flowers blooming everywhere, tree branches swaying in the gentle breeze, babbling creek as white noise, and not a soul around. This was the wilderness experience we were looking for.

Mt. Wilson
Mt. Wilson
Credit: Roxy

We paused and basked in the moment watching the sun ignite the canyon walls.

sunrise in Red Rocks
sunrise in Red Rocks
Credit: Roxy

Now it was either the Urioste ('84) or the Swain ('95) guide that said the approach was about two hours. That's wrong. I mean unless one is Uli Steck best to plan on a four hour approach. [Note: SuperTopo RR guide doesn't mention Celebration Wall].

up and up and up Oak Creek Canyon
up and up and up Oak Creek Canyon
Credit: Roxy

Then through the trees we see our line for the first time.

I spy the route
I spy the route
Credit: Roxy

"The left leaning crack across black ski tracks."

Catwalk, FA Margo Young and Joe Frani, Feb 1975
Catwalk, FA Margo Young and Joe Frani, Feb 1975
Credit: Roxy

“The climb starts somewhere up those slabs.” Steve noted. We filled our water jug and stashed our packs under the pine. “Like the guide says-” I said, beginning to laugh, “scramble up as far as you dare, then belay from there.”

at a belay a few rope lengths above where we “dared” to start
at a belay a few rope lengths above where we “dared” to start
Credit: Roxy

The rock quality was excellent despite the route seeming so obscure. Couple loose rocks here and there and only one bonafide 'death block' but you Factor that into a 1000 foot route and you get a four star adventure.

p5 I believe
p5 I believe
Credit: Roxy

And with not one bolt on the whole thing it kept our experience feeling back country wild.

p6 on the topo
p6 on the topo
Credit: Roxy

The belay (seen below) for the penultimate pitch, as described in the Swain guide: “pussyfoot up the steep, black finger and hand crack above.” was without a doubt our crux. After the steep crack one traverses across a very exposed ledge – presumably the catwalk – to then make two hefty mantles, after which there is a wonderfully frightening stretch about fifteen feet or so of sandy peeling sandstone flakes.

first belay that was out of the wind
first belay that was out of the wind
Credit: Roxy

Everything is exposed and the gear isn't good enough to be stoked for a fall. It's a thought provoking part of the route indeed, the good news is that it ends on a huge ledge. By ST guide standards the ledge would make a “good bivy for four”.

the large ledge post pussyfoot pitch
the large ledge post pussyfoot pitch
Credit: Roxy

We dared to finish as we had started, opting to solo the last pitch, turned out to be a good call on account of the cactus that appeared near the top. So we kept the needles out of our cord and continued to pussyfoot our way to the summit of Celebration Wall.

We were back to our bags in less than thirty minutes where we ate and hydrated and cooled off for a few before the long hike out the canyon.

cooling off in the creek
cooling off in the creek
Credit: Roxy

Some 12 hours later we were back at the car quaffing cold beers and building burritos the size of a burro and still beaming about our day in the desert.

approaches appear closer than they really are
approaches appear closer than they really are
Credit: Roxy

Tomorrow we are going to explore the "First and Second Pullouts"...

man how I love climbing trips and bad 'that's what she said' jokes.


good times at night
good times at night
Credit: Roxy











  Trip Report Views: 2,576
Roxy
About the Author
Roxy is a trad climber from CA Central Coast.

Comments
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drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Apr 26, 2011 - 12:48am PT
Killer tr.
I've been wanting to do something like that.

Is that approach longer than the old Oak Creek approach?

Looks like so much fun, thanks!
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
  Apr 26, 2011 - 01:13am PT
Awesome TR roxy. red rocks is so bitchen. I love those rocks.
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  Apr 26, 2011 - 01:18am PT
Sweet.
Sherri

Trad climber
WA
  Apr 26, 2011 - 01:40pm PT
Beautifully written up and photographed! Thank you for letting us share your magical day. Love me some Red Rocks.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Author's Reply  Apr 26, 2011 - 08:50am PT
Is that approach longer than the old Oak Creek approach?

not sure what is old vs. new but we parked off rte 159 to avoid the cost / restrictions of the scenic loop. Prolly added 30 minutes, not bad.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Apr 26, 2011 - 11:06am PT
Catwalk...great route! Nice TR, thanks!
Mikemcee

Social climber
Mill Valley, CA
  Apr 26, 2011 - 11:29am PT
Nice! Adventure is sweet.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Apr 26, 2011 - 12:38pm PT
Very very nice!

Wish I could have been there.....

Anytime you have a wall to yourself, the hike was worth it.
seth kovar

climber
Reno, NV
  Apr 26, 2011 - 12:46pm PT
very cool... tfpu
this just in

climber
north fork
  Apr 26, 2011 - 12:58pm PT
Great day of climbing and hiking. I agree a wall to yourself makes the hike worth every minute of pain. Keep it up.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 27, 2011 - 01:24pm PT
Awesome, good on Y'all!
Loves me some red rocks!
Karen

Trad climber
So Cal urban sprawl Hell
  Apr 27, 2011 - 09:37pm PT
Love the pic with your head in the stream:) Thanks for posting!
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Apr 28, 2011 - 12:28am PT
Yeah, the big easy rocks at Vegas rule. Seriously.
Great fun.
eKat

Trad climber
  Apr 28, 2011 - 10:16am PT
BEAUTIFUL!

TFPU!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Apr 28, 2011 - 11:31am PT
Nice! Thanks!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Apr 28, 2011 - 01:15pm PT
Sounds like an excellent day out climbing!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Author's Reply  Jun 5, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
I can't believe I've only posted one TR....

weak


philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Jun 5, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
I only saw this now for the first time. Phuntastic outing. Good on you for eschewing the herd and going "wild". Because as a wise man once posted;
Anytime you have a wall to yourself, the hike was worth it.

I also really dug the head dunking pic.
Speaks volumes it does.
So TFPU.
and
BBST (There you go Donini I'm in)
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 5, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
Mighty fine pics, thank you.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Author's Reply  Jun 5, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
yes I agree, Survival said it best


Anytime you have a wall to yourself, the hike was worth it.



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