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The Monument
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Chinese Handcuffs T 
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West Edge Lane S 

Desert Gold 

YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c PG13

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 150'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c [details]
FA: Stephan Glowacz
Page Views: 9,398
Submitted By: Cunning Linguist on Mar 23, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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5.8 crack to get into Desert Gold

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


An inspired linkup of Scumby 5.8, Desert Crack 5.12D, and Desert Reality 11c. Classic route with a spectrum of desert climbing situations: chossy sugar cookie face and crack leads to a bolt protecting a circuitous traverse into a steep splitter defined by an overhanging ringlock crux to a 14-foot widening perfect hand crack roof. If it gets any better than this, I wanna know where!


The Monument is the triangular buttress comprising the right entrance to Black Velvet Canyon. Desert Gold is the striking cobra-shaped scar with a prominent roof crack. The route often appears orangish-gold to cream colored and contrasts the rock around it. Two gullies border the route on either side. Approach via faint trail that crosses multiple washes-few cairns, tread lightly please!


5.8 varied: Std rack, 12D splitter:1 QD, 1-2 .4 camalot, 1.5 Friend for crux, red/black metolius above (#1 camalot is a little too big where you need it), 11c splitter: #2 & #3 Camalot. Slung top anchor, 1 bolt to lower off top of 12D crack, and chain anchor above 5.8 pitch. Most clean by downclimbing the roof crack and lowering to chains from bolt above 12D pitch.

Photos of Desert Gold Slideshow Add Photo
Dustin sends Desert Gold
Dustin sends Desert Gold
Desert Gold (5.13) Red Rocks. We were told we made...
Desert Gold (5.13) Red Rocks. We were told we made...
Desert Gold (5.13) Red Rocks (1989)
Desert Gold (5.13) Red Rocks (1989)
Looking down the 5.12 crack from the start of the ...
Looking down the 5.12 crack from the start of the ...

Comments on Desert Gold Add Comment
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By Cunning Linguist
Mar 23, 2007

Some might enjoy this random fact-Richard Harrison told me that Yaniro soloed this thing with the aid of a circus net for a video project. The story goes, Yaniro was helped by R. Grandstaff & co. to throw in a couple of bolts both to the left and right so the net could be secured. Hard to believe, but while resting at the stance before traversing into the business, I spotted a couple of old chopped bolts right where they were supposed to be. Wacky. Also, if you head up to do this route and are wondering about the two old homemade bolts on the left just under the roof-those were used to approach the roof pitch for the FA-which was completed independently before the finger crack.
By David Shiembob
From: slc, ut
Oct 4, 2007

Just out of curiosity, is there a way to approach Desert Reality without doing the .12d pitch?
By juancho
Apr 6, 2009

Yes but it's kind of a pain. Aiding the finger crack is probably easier
I don't understand the recommendation to downlead the roof crack. You can walk off the top, there is a rap anchor up there a ways.
By steve edwards
From: SLC, UT
Oct 6, 2010

Yaniro soloed it for an IMAX film. They didn't go through all that for free.
By Cunning Linguist
Feb 3, 2012

People down-lead the roof when their second isn't following free-a pretty common occurrance. I bought the Yaniro vid-he's "soloing" by swinging around a lot while clipped into a cam or two. Bold, yes. Sketchy, yes. Soloing? ehhh....
By Christopher Barlow
Feb 25, 2012

Are most free ascents done as one pitch from the base or from a belay on top of the 5.8?
By Cunning Linguist
Feb 25, 2012

The first pitch is trivial. Linking the top 2 is the business, and I'd imagine most people do it that way since the stance below P2 is decent. Avoiding superfluous rope drag and having your belayer close enough to keep you tight-ish on the steeps seem like good calls, as well.
By Muff
Jan 5, 2014

The 5.8 pitch is actually not trivial; the entire formation is less than solid. The entire 5.8 pitch is harmonic and most holds: flakes, blocks, etc make a lot of noise. It is apparent that rock comes off the first pitch regularly as there is a lot of scarring and compacted dirt where holds used to be. I highly recommend to keep all of your gear away from the fall zone of this pitch. We stashed all of our packs off far climbers right which proved to be very wise. Back up the summit anchor with a few cams as well. I used a BD .75 and a BD #4 but could have used a #3 or smaller as well. A bolted rappel is back and left of the summit anchor.
By Sean Nelb
From: Estes Park, CO
Nov 30, 2014

I took a rack with a slightly smaller cam (.3 camalot) than the recommended gear above and was glad to have it. A blue metolius would work as well. I didn't think the rock on the 5.8 pitch was all that bad until the last 15 ft. The traverse left off the belay and then back to the .12d crack was truly exciting, since nothing seems solid and you have to climb a bit above the bolt before getting in any good pro near the crack.
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