Author: Larry Earley
Earley and Don Taylor
Holy Water Wall is a small climbing
area on the Cottonwood Pass Road (306) about 13 miles west of Buena
Vista. It is about a mile west of the popular Denny Creek
Trailhead. About 200 yards past the cliff uphill is a parking
area. The approach trail is on the east side of the cliff.
It is an easy 10 minute walk and about 100 foot ascent through a
nice aspen grove. There is only a bit of information on
Mountain Project and
rockclimbing.com. The now out of print Arkansas Valley Climbing
Guide also has some information. The approach trail continues to the
top where easy top rope setups can be found with bolted anchors.
The cliff is about 60 feet tall. This
little cliff is a hidden gem that should not be missed. It is
very hard clean granite in a beautiful alpine setting around 10,000
feet. There are six bolted lines and several top rope anchors for
other climbs. These climbs start right off the deck with sustained
moves all the way to the anchors. Most routes are in the 10a
range. There is a scary 11c route with three roofs on the far right.
The far left route looks unfinished with three lower bolts only but
above is three nice cam cracks for small cams less than 0.5 inch.
Don and I both thought the quality of
rock and routes might be the best anywhere for 5.10 thin face
climbing. These routes remind me of Brain Dead at Hueco Tanks (10+)
but in granite. These routes are thin. The angle varies a
little but sits around 75-80 degrees. It is not friction
climbing but tiny edge climbing. There are a few nice slopers mixed
in to give some variety. Most edges are 1/8 inch. Did I
mention this is the best thin face climbing crag anywhere for thin
5.10 face climbing. Your fingertips and toes will be screaming when
you leave this crag. These thin sustained routes probably will
require a solid 10c leader. The 10a leader will be wetting his or
The first bolts are not low so a stick
clip is suggested. The first climb of the day will get you thinking
when you are three feet off the deck and the first bolt is ten more
feet up. We found that after a couple climbs we trusted the
feet a little more. All routes were three stars. If you don't
like thin face climbing you will not like the Holy Water Wall.
It is also not like Tres Piedras. This crag is a crimp test on super