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Black Velvet Canyon

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Black Velvet Canyon Bouldering 
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Black Velvet Canyon  


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Location: 36.0358, -115.4662 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,771,493
Administrators: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M.Morley on Feb 16, 2004
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Sunrise over Red Rocks taken from the drive-in app...

Climbing in Red Rocks after heavy rain can permanently damage the rock! MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Black Velvet Canyon could well be called the crown jewel of Red Rocks. The black, varnished rock is of the highest quality and its walls host a high concentration of excellent and longer trade routes. With walls over 2,000 feet high, the canyon receives little sunlight and as such can be quite a bit cooler than other areas. Area classics include Epinephrine (V 5.9, 12-18 pitches), Prince of Darkness (5.10c), Frogland (5.8), Triassic Sands (5.10c), Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a), Yellow Brick Road (5.10a), Refried Brains (5.9) and many others that I haven't yet climbed. As expected, the classics tend to be crowded (especially Frogland, Prince of Darkness, and Epinephrine). It is recommended to have an alternative in mind should there be a queue for your desired route.

Many routes require two ropes to rappel.

Camping is NOT permitted at the trailhead (parking area) and violators will be ticketed. Legal camping can be found 2 miles east of the Visitor Center on Hwy 159 for $10 per night per site.

IMPORTANT: Waste bags are provided by the Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council in order to reduce human waste issues at the crags and boulders. Please feel free to take one, use as directed, and dispose of in any trash receptacle. Please do not leave them lying around, and do not throw them in the toilets at the parking areas. The project was funded primarily by the American Alpine Club's Cornerstone Conservation Grant, with additional funding from the Access Fund and Mountain Gear. Please do your part to be a good steward of this amazing climbing area.

Getting There 

Unlike much of the Red Rocks area, Black Velvet Canyon is NOT accessed via the Scenic Loop Road. Instead, from the Red Rock Canyon Campground (a.k.a. "13 Mile Campground"), drive southeast on Hwy 159. At the intersection with Hwy 160 (gas station w/ good beer selection), turn right (west) for approximately 4.5 miles towards Pahrump. Be on the lookout for a pullout and road on the right-hand (north) side. There is a paved parking lot here (called the "Latenight Trailhead" by the mountain bike set) with rest rooms. Follow the dirt road north from the parking area. After a mile or two the road makes a left turn (west) at a usually closed gate and ends at a parking area near the mouth of the canyon. Although fairly bumpy, 2WD vehicles **should** be okay on this road. Park and follow the well-defined trail from here. Count on a half hour to 1 hour for approach.


Climbing Season



Weather station 3.4 miles from here

105 Total Routes

['4 Stars',22],['3 Stars',44],['2 Stars',25],['1 Star',13],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',8],['5.8',8],['5.9',14],['5.10',42],['5.11',20],['5.12',8],['5.13',2],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Black Velvet Canyon:
Frogland   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 6 pitches, 700'   Whiskey Peak
Epinephrine   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 13 pitches, 1600'   Black Velvet Wall
Cadillac Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   The Rad Cliff
Dream of Wild Turkeys   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 7 pitches, 700'   Black Velvet Wall
Sour Mash   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 6 pitches, 600'   Black Velvet Wall
Wholesome Fullback   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 210'   Whiskey Peak
Rock Warrior   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R     Trad, 6 pitches   Black Velvet Wall
Our Father   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Whiskey Peak
Triassic Sands   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 6 pitches, 700'   Whiskey Peak
Prince of Darkness   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 6 pitches, 700'   Black Velvet Wall
Fiddler on the Roof   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, Sport, 7 pitches, 500'   Black Velvet Wall
The Schwa   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 190'   The Schwa Area
The Delicate Sound of Thunder   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Whiskey Peak
Cutting Edge   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 125'   Black Velvet Wall
Texas Hold 'Em   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 9 pitches, 1100'   Black Velvet Wall
Ixtlan   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 200'   Whiskey Peak
Seduction Line   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 85'   The Monument
The Velvet Tongue   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, 6 pitches, 600'   Black Velvet Wall
Texas Tower Direct   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad, 6 pitches, 500'   Black Velvet Wall
Desert Gold   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 150'   The Monument
Browse More Classics in Black Velvet Canyon

Featured Route For Black Velvet Canyon
Karsten making it look hard. . . no it wasn't real...

Rock Warrior 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b NV : Red Rock : ... : Black Velvet Wall
Pitch 1: Climb up easy white rock until you reach the obvious, rightward traverse at a slab. This is not to hard but very runout. Traverse much farther than you'd think until directly below the obvious(and good) bolts leading to the bolted anchor. 5.10R. Pitch 2: continue up varnished rock passing the occasional bolt. You will get occasional gear to supplement the bolts, but you must be crafty and attentive.Following the bolts is your best bet for locating the proper route(this goes fro all pitc...[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of Black Velvet Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Anthony fiddles above the crux moves on the 4th pi...
Anthony fiddles above the crux moves on the 4th pi...
Black Velvet Canyon
Black Velvet Canyon
An early morning moon over Black Velvet Canyon.
An early morning moon over Black Velvet Canyon.
Even when the lights are too low and funky to see ...
Even when the lights are too low and funky to see ...
Sunrise in Black Velvet Canyon.
Sunrise in Black Velvet Canyon.
Utah Penstemon-Black Velvet Canyon.. Photo by Blit...
Utah Penstemon-Black Velvet Canyon.. Photo by Blit...
A local checking out what all the noise is about
A local checking out what all the noise is about
Desert Mariposa-Black Velvet Canyon. Photo by Blit...
Desert Mariposa-Black Velvet Canyon. Photo by Blit...
A busy day chasing the shade in Black Velvet Canyo...
A busy day chasing the shade in Black Velvet Canyo...
Early start for Epinephrine
Early start for Epinephrine
Black Velvet Canyon. Photo by Blitzo.
Black Velvet Canyon. Photo by Blitzo.
The good, the bad, and the ugly after 6 days of cl...
The good, the bad, and the ugly after 6 days of cl...
Black Velvet Overview
BETA PHOTO: Black Velvet Overview
The early morning coil.  Everyone who has climbed ...
The early morning coil. Everyone who has climbed ...
Waste Bag Dispenser on the BVC trail 1-9-12 thanks...
Waste Bag Dispenser on the BVC trail 1-9-12 thanks...
Sween sunrise from the trailhead to Black Velvet.
Sween sunrise from the trailhead to Black Velvet.
Climbers on Sour Mash, I believe. Photo taken Oct ...
Climbers on Sour Mash, I believe. Photo taken Oct ...
Black Velvet from the nearest telephone.
BETA PHOTO: Black Velvet from the nearest telephone.
Black Velvet Elder
Black Velvet Elder
On the approach trail to Black Velvet.
On the approach trail to Black Velvet.
Nice panoramic view on the approach to the Black V...
Nice panoramic view on the approach to the Black V...

Comments on Black Velvet Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
By TBD
Mar 22, 2004
There are 2 dirt roads in close proximity. If you reach mile marker 16, you have gone to far, it's the previous dirt road.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 3, 2005
Well, someone finally got around to paving the Black Velvet turnoff. When you get out there on 160, just look for the nicely paved right hand turn that turns into a dirt road after about 150 feet....
By rgold
From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 15, 2009
The turn-off and the dirt road in can be seen quite clearly in Google Earth, which is even capable of rendering a few cliff details (worth a look if you will be descending Black Velvet Peak and also Windy Peak, for example).

The turn-off is at (36 deg 00 min 35.5 sec) North, (115 deg 25 min 55.55 sec) West.
By JohnE
Apr 30, 2009
The last time I was visiting Black Velvet canyon, the entrance was still being re-paved. Is the roadwork now complete and is the original access to BV canyon now open? Last Spring I had to take a 4WD detour to get back there...thanks in advance. JE
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2009
The roadwork is finished, all is back to normal ... back to the usual program of seeing how far your rental car can get.
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Nov 3, 2009
The dirt road is fine. We did it in 20 miuntes in a tiny economy rental car in October 2009. Just go slow.
By Ken Chase
Dec 23, 2014
comments on the parking lot here are older than my last visit by far. was there 2010,11,12 all feb/mar/arp so a bit out of date but useful:

We did the dirt road to parking in a front wheel drive rental and one time on a rear donut (lol, long story). Required getting out of the car to move some midsized rocks by hands, and occasionally needed a spotter for clearance in front of car, and came out in the dark each time, but was fine, unless new beta says washed out or deeper ruts. There's 2 parking lot sections, the upper one (which brings you a whole 100 yards closer..) was inaccessible without high clearance but not a big deal.
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