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Black Orpheus Amphitheater

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There and Back Again T 
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Black Orpheus Amphitheater  

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Location: 36.10256, -115.49045 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Larry DeAngelo, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Larry DeAngelo on Oct 13, 2007
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Climbing in Red Rocks after heavy rain can permanently damage the rock! MORE INFO >>>


Immediately upstream from the Solar Slab is the Black Orpheus Amphitheater. This huge bowl faces generally south and is separated from the main part of the Solar Slab Buttress by the lengthy Sunspot Ridge. The amphitheater itself can be divided into three sub-areas. The tall central section is the site of the Black Orpheus route. This reaches the very top of the Solar Slab Buttress and follows the descent routes described in that section.

The left side of the amphitheater is the Black Arch Wall. The routes here are shorter and end in the Painted Bowl. Most of these routes are best approached from near the upstream end of the Amphitheater, just before the first fork of Oak Creek. Although it would be possible to descend by walking down the Painted Bowl, or continuing up to link with one of the higher routes, the most common descent uses two double rope rappels starting at a bolted anchor right at the top of Plate of Fate. If approaching this anchor from above, go to the area of vegetation at the easternmost part of the Painted Bowl. You need to scramble down for fifteen feet of third class before you can see the bolts.

The right (downstream) side of the Black Orpheus Amphitheater is a southwest-facing alcove with several medium-length routes. These are best approached by starting out of the streambed as for Black Orpheus, then quickly traversing right to a steep gully. The routes end in a low-angle broken area just to the west of the notch on Sunspot Ridge. The obvious descent is to scramble right (east) to the notch, downclimb fifteen feet, rappel from a small bush to ledges at the top of Solar Slab's second pitch, then continue down the Solar Slab rappels. Alternatively, one could climb the last pitches of Sunspot Ridge or work west to the slabby middle section of Black Orpheus and ascend that route.

Getting There 

Follow the Oak Creek Trail. Shortly after passing beneath Solar Slab, the continues west and drops into the streambed. Scramble over the boulders until a weakness in cliff bands allows ascent to the walls several hundred feet up.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.5 miles from here

10 Total Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Black Orpheus Amphitheater:
There and Back Again   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 540'   
Plate of Fate   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   
Black Orpheus   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 8 pitches, 1500'   
The Secret World of Arrietty   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   
Howl's Moving Castle   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   
Browse More Classics in Black Orpheus Amphitheater

Featured Route For Black Orpheus Amphitheater
The Black Widow.  Photo credit: John Hegyes

The Black Widow 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b  NV : Red Rock : ... : Black Orpheus Amphitheater
The Black Widow is a route that offers difficult, technical climbing on the first pitch, a wild, fun roof on the second pitch, and an awesome, extended boulder problem crux followed by exposed glory climbing on the third pitch. This rig is sure to be sunny, is crowd-free, and is a totally rad rock climb. Just goes to show that amazing FAs in Red Rocks are still out there!Up and right from the top of the approach gully is a pleasant area adorned with sizable, flat boulders. This is beneath a ...[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of Black Orpheus Amphitheater Slideshow Add Photo
Black Orpheus Amphitheater
BETA PHOTO: Black Orpheus Amphitheater
Modified photo showing Black Arch Wall routes.
BETA PHOTO: Modified photo showing Black Arch Wall routes.

Comments on Black Orpheus Amphitheater Add Comment
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By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Oct 17, 2008
WARNING: Plate of Fate Descent out of Painted Bowl is Dangerous! As mentioned in the description "the most common descent uses two double rope rappels starting at a bolted anchor right at the top of Plate of Fate"this rap was the fast was out of Painted Bowl instead of the long walk out. There has recently been some large geological shifting happening above the "Plate of Fate". If you happened to dislodge one of these loose section either trying to get to the rappel or when pulling your rope you could send hundreds of large 200+ pound boulders down on top of you. It is sad to see the fast descent out of this bowl become so dangerous, but better to be safe than sorry.
By Stone Nude
Dec 4, 2011
Descent down this route is fine, though as always there's some looseness in the area between the summit tree and the rap bolts. A trundle party wouldn't be a terrible idea on a rainy day for a helpful soul, but we rapped it today and weren't worried about geology at any point. Single 70 works perfect, all cord solid on 12/11, not a bad idea to bring a chunk as backup as per usual in Red Rock.
By Ben Townsend
Nov 18, 2014
As of November 2014, the rappels down Plate of Fate were set up with three two-bolt stations with rings, allowing for three one-rope rappels. The top station is lower than some people expect, judging by the tat left on the tree.
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