I've been interested in checking out Devil's Punchbowl for a while after hearing that it is a conglomerate area. I lived about 20 minutes away from Maple Canyon in UT for about a year and absolutely loved climbing the coblestone there, so I was hoping that Devil's Punchbowl would be somewhat similar. The one deterent was that I had also heard that it is part of the same formation as Mormon Rocks which is absolutely horrible as far as rock quality goes. I had Friday the 17th off work, so we decided to head out and check it out.
From what I had read I thought that the trail was an interperative nature walk that took you all the way down to the rocks so we decided to take the stroller to push the kids in. The trail did start out as an interperative nature walk, but that soon ended and the trail got a little bit worse, but it still wasn't too bad so we kept on going. Unfortunately, the trail kept getting worse and worse, and by the time we realized that we shouldn't have brought the stroler we had gone far enough that we didn't want to turn around so we just continued on with the stroller.
We were using Troy Mayr's Southern California Sport Climbing book and wanted to climb at the attitude wall so we were trying to follow the map in the book. I found the Little Attitude Wall, and the map made it look like the Attitude Wall was just north of the Little Attitude Wall, so we ditched the stroller at Little Attitude, and headed up to what we hoped was the Attitude Wall. When we got to where we figured it should be there were only 2 routes on the rock instead of the 15 or so that we were expecting, and there wasn't any other rock nearby that could have been the Attitude Wall so we just decided to try one of the routes on the wall we were at.
The route climbed vertical cobbles through 5 bolts and looked awesome, but unfortunately, the rock quality was horrible. I made it to the 4th bolt without any problems, but every cobble felt like it was going to pull out as I climbed and after the 4th bolt the rock quality got even worse with a pretty big runout to get to the fifth bolt, so I decided to bail since I didn't even really trust the 3/8" bolts in the bad rock. I left the draws in and Amy TR'd the route up to the 4th bolt then we decided to find something else to climb. The other route on the wall that we were at looked a bit hard, and since we didn't like the rock quality we decided to head to another wall.
Blacklisted - 5.11b
As we had hiked past the Little Attitude wall I had noticed a route that looked really fun so we decided to try it. The route was called "Blacklisted" and is rated 5.11a in the book, it is crazy overhung, and looked like it would be tons of fun. Amy fed the kids some lunch while I scoped out all the moves. I was most worried about the moves between the 3rd and 4th bolts because it looked pretty blank with the only option being a big move out to what looked like a slopey ledge, but the rest of the route didn't look to bad.
After the kids had finished eating, Amy came over to belay me up the route. The moves were easy up to the first bolt, but then some of the things that looked like they would work for holds between the first and second bolt turned out to be nothing, so after a few falls, I ended up just dynoing to a huge jug just below the second bolt (don't worry, It took a few tries to stick the dyno as well). After clipping the second bolt, Amy couldn't get the camera to work, so since I didn't have to worry about blowing the onsight or anything, I went in direct to the bolt while Amy went to try and fix the camera, unfortunately, she couldn't figure out what was wrong, so she just left it, but she did get a couple of photos of me hanging on the bolt.
Hanging out while Amy messed with the camera
When she was done fiddling with the camera, I started climbing again, and fired all the way from the second to the fourth bolt without any problems. I did have to hang at the fourth bolt to figure out the moves between it and the anchors since you couldn't really see that section from the ground, but overall the route went pretty well, and now I want to go back and redpoint it. After I lowered off, Danny wanted to go swinging, so we hoisted him up and let him swing around which is one of his favorite things to do when we go climbing. Amy didn't want to do anymore climbing, so we packed up and headed out, but just before we left I had an idea about where the Attitude wall was, so I checked it out, and sure enough, I found where it really is, so next time we head out to Devil's Punchbowl, we'll have to check it out.
Danny on his aid ascent