Reimer's Ranch North Shore Route Recommendations, June 3, 2012

I previously wrote that I had visited the new climbing area at Reimer's Ranch known as "North Shore" on January 14th. That area, which was closed to the public, has officially been open to the public since April.

Today, I'm writing about some of my route recommendations for the area. I have a copy of the John Hogge guidebook that was published just this year and it's a big improvement over the old guidebook, having topos with full color photographs.

Right now, I project up to about 5.12a, so bear that in mind as you read what I have to say.

First of all, in regards to North Shore climbing, be aware that the routes are new, and limestone is subject to breakage. I would recommend a helmet for the belayer. Also, you will find the rock to be rougher in texture than the rock at Reimer's Ranch classic.

If you follow the trail from the North Shore parking lot all the way to the north end, ignoring all the cut-offs that go up to the wall, you will arrive at the large roof in the middle of "Undead Cats Wall". The first route I ever tried on this wall is "The Pontuficator" (5.10d), which is a four-bolt route that begins a little ways to the right of the roof on an obvious nose-shaped tufa. I have found it to be an outstanding route in the grade, especially considering how short it is. "Pie in the Sky" (5.11a), to the left, has a great start, but becomes easy at the top. These are the only two routes I've sent so far on this wall, but many others look promising.

If you go back south a ways, you'll find a great section of orange and gray rock overhanging empty space. This is called "Gypsy Wall". It may be easiest to access from "Mossy Wall", further south. There are several short routes, but the feature attraction is "Carnival" (5.10d), a wild traversing route. This is still a great route for less experienced climbers because it would be at most 5.9 without a single move at the very end. The route is photographed in my previous post. If you will be here just one day, put this route on your list.

Further south from "Gypsy Wall" is "Mossy Wall". It is distinguished by the presence of an odd-shaped cave at the top-center of the wall. The route the ascends this cave is "Mossatopia" (5.11c). The line directly to the left is "Katrina" (5.12a), featuring a prominent double-tufa formation. Katrina is the second 5.12 I've cleanly lead on quick-draws. Both routes are absolute classics. Other routes on the wall look very promising, too. I've tried "The Stain" (5.11c) and "Deceptive Warmup" (5.11a), but I prefer the previous two routes. I expect that any solid 5.11 climber will love Mossy Wall.

Further south is the prominent "Middle Earth Wall". It prominently features "Middle Earth Cave" (5.6), an odd cave that reaches from the bottom to just shy of the top of the wall. It looks like there is some sort of petrified wood inside the cave. This wall is similar to the Reimer's Ranch classic "Dead Cats Wall" in terms of height and route difficulty. It features many easy routes. There are a few challenging routes that are marked by climbing up to a platform and then pulling up over a gap. For me, these routes are not the most fun. I think of Middle Earth Wall as being primarily a place to take inexperienced climbers. There is one route I really like listed in the guidebook as the southern-most route on Middle Earth Wall: "Beyond the Sea" (5.11b/c). This route asends a prominent boulder and then a pocketed, overhanging face. It has six bolts and a perma-draw. It traverses to the right and goes up a bit higher than the surrounding routes - highly recommended.

The next section to the south is known as "Insanity Wall". On the left side of this wall, you'll find a pocketed roof with two routes ascending it, both with a permadraw under the roof. I've climbed the one on the left "Huking Big Chicken" (5.11a). I believe that the grade is stiff, but the route is totally classic. The one on the right is "Lithium" (5.11d). I haven't tried it, yet. Further south, there is a large alcove featuring lots of crazy-shaped features. The route the ascends the left-hand side of the alcove is "Illusionary Mentor" (5.9); this route is a classic for the style of climbing it offers; it's actually my favorite route in this small area. The other routes under the alcove are various 5.10s, and they have the feature where you must pull up over a gap from a ledge.

Further south, there is an odd formation that looks sort of like an arete with many big pockets behind it; one of the most prominent features in the park. The line that ascends it is "Insane Tree Hugger" (5.11a), named for the climber who swung into a tree while bolting it. The route is as cool as it looks, so climb it. Another line I've enjoyed is "Imaginary Friend" (5.11c). This route starts on a boulder stack with two bolts and three perma-draws. The route features a fun dyno from perma-draw 2 to perma-draw 3. From there, it's fun climbing with heel-hooks and pockets to the anchors. There are many big features; the challenge is finding the best ones. While projecting this route, my climbing partner and I both whipped onto perma-draw three from the anchors. Those were fun times!

When you head out to North Shore in the summertime, be sure to take a swim in the Pedernales River afterwards. Also, here's a little secret: close to the far side of the river from the Middle Earth Wall is a boulder sticking out of the water. Although it isn't big, it has a few fun moves worth trying on it. Even when the water is very shallow, you will find that there is a small area next to the boulder where the water is deep. Climb and jump in!

As you can see, I've barely scratched the surface of the awesome climbs that await at Reimer's Ranch North Shore, but it is my hope that you'll find this information useful, especially if it's your first time here. There is a good video of climbing at North Shore here.