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Keyhole Canyon

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Keyhole Canyon Bouldering 
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Keyhole Canyon Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 2,870'
Location: 35.7156, -114.9264 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 16,657
Administrators: Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John Hegyes on Apr 5, 2007  with updates from DesertDan

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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: The most prominent wall in the lower canyon.


Riddled with rock art, this remote climbing destination located between Boulder City and Searchlight is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

Keyhole Canyon is primarily a traditional climbing area; sport routes are few. The local ethics are such that retro-bolts and bolts added on rappel are typically removed pretty quickly.

Getting There 

To get to Keyhole Canyon from Las Vegas, take Hwy US 95 south through Henderson toward Boulder City. From the junction of Hwys 93 and 95, head south on 95 toward Searchlight for almost 16 miles. At an intersection, take a left (east) on to a dirt road. Follow this dirt road for just over 2 miles to a series of power lines. Take a right (south) on the SECOND power line road, travel almost 2 miles to the Keyhole Cutoff. Take a left (east) and head less than a half mile to the mouth of the canyon. The crags are about a 1-minute hike from the car.

There is a map in the back of Swain's Rock Climbing Red Rocks book.

We made this approach in a front-wheel-drive passenger car and found the dirt roads to be passable.

On your way out, once on the power line road again, you can retrace your path or for a change of scenery, head south for 2.25 miles and you'll come across another dirt road that will take you out to the highway.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 17.2 miles from here

44 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',16],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Keyhole Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Keyhole Canyon:
I Did It My Way   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Lower Canyon : South Front Slabs
Shoshone Tears   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   Lower Canyon : South Front Slabs
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Keyhole Canyon

Featured Route For Keyhole Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: George Smith on TR. Courtesy of Adam Pierce photo ...

Rats-n-Bees 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c NV : Keyhole Canyon : ... : Waterfall Area
Start on the low angle shoulder, angle up and right under a small roof to a small stance/ledge under a bolt. Go straight up past the bolt to a two-bolt anchor. A top rope can be set up on this by climbing the flowstone to the low-angle ramp on the left that leads straight to the anchors....[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of Keyhole Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A couple dusty Keyhole varmints! . . Photo by Jasm...
A couple dusty Keyhole varmints! . . Photo by Jasm...
Rock Climbing Photo: Key Hole Canyon, NV. Photo by Blitzo.
Key Hole Canyon, NV. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Indian Legacy . . Photo by Jasmyn Smith.
Indian Legacy . . Photo by Jasmyn Smith.
Rock Climbing Photo: Keyhole rock art
Keyhole rock art
Rock Climbing Photo: Charlotte's Web  maybe 5.7+ and 140 ft.  Take smal...
BETA PHOTO: Charlotte's Web maybe 5.7+ and 140 ft. Take smal...
Rock Climbing Photo: Keyhole Canyon
Keyhole Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: Entrance to Keyhole Canyon with bullet pocks on th...
Entrance to Keyhole Canyon with bullet pocks on th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Keyhole rock art
Keyhole rock art
Rock Climbing Photo: Keyhole Canyon, north wall
BETA PHOTO: Keyhole Canyon, north wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Charlotte's Web at the Keyhole
BETA PHOTO: Charlotte's Web at the Keyhole
Rock Climbing Photo: Keyhole Canyon
BETA PHOTO: Keyhole Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: Approach to Keyhole Canyon, NV
BETA PHOTO: Approach to Keyhole Canyon, NV
Rock Climbing Photo: Native rock art in Keyhole Canyon, NV
Native rock art in Keyhole Canyon, NV
Rock Climbing Photo: Jim Lybarger
Jim Lybarger
Rock Climbing Photo: Wall of Charlotte's Web
BETA PHOTO: Wall of Charlotte's Web
Rock Climbing Photo: Brian on Charlotte's Web, 5.7 at Keyhole slabs, ri...
BETA PHOTO: Brian on Charlotte's Web, 5.7 at Keyhole slabs, ri...
Rock Climbing Photo: "Shoshone Tears" climbs the face left of...
BETA PHOTO: "Shoshone Tears" climbs the face left of...
Rock Climbing Photo: "Shoshone Tears" - Climb face and cracks...
BETA PHOTO: "Shoshone Tears" - Climb face and cracks...
Rock Climbing Photo: Petroglyphs. Photo by Blitzo.
Petroglyphs. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beginning an unknown 5.6 crack climb on Keyhole sl...
Beginning an unknown 5.6 crack climb on Keyhole sl...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jim's soon to be published guide.
Jim's soon to be published guide.
Rock Climbing Photo: From Keyhole Canyon a localized snow storm moving ...
From Keyhole Canyon a localized snow storm moving ...

Comments on Keyhole Canyon Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 25, 2015
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 5, 2007
If anyone has some beta on routes here, please post it. We saw several bolts but it seems like most routes are either run-out or missing bolts.
By ......
Apr 8, 2007
The routes are mixed and mostly an adventure. Most can be set up on TR via scrambling to the top. The grades in the wash (left side) were supposedly 5.10 at some point, but have become a little harder due to wash outs (like v3ish to boulder up to the 5.10 part)Good landings, though.
By Thomas Beck
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dec 26, 2008
John, we tried a corner and one of the splitter cracks - about 5.8, good gear, solid rock. See picture of the buttress (North Wall) in photo collection. Someone has bolted a couple of the easy slab routes across the scree gully from that photo. About 5.6-5.7

Also looking for more information on the area.
By Unassigned User
Feb 10, 2010
Some routes here were put up by the hard men/women of the Sierra Club so you will find mixed and runout routes being the standard of the time. I have most all F.A. info on the area. Minus a couple. email me for info. If you want your route in the book let me know. Plus I would like to know who's putting up the routes I am climbing on!
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Feb 26, 2010
I'm shocked no one has posted better approach beta than is listed here- the mileage above takes you nowhere near Keyhole Canyon, as we discovered today- the road at the 16 mile mark leads essentially nowhere and has some pretty rough sections.

From the 93/95 junction, head south for about 13-14 miles- taking your first left after the Nelson turnoff.

Two miles down this road, take a right at the SECOND powerline road (where the road dead ends)- and follow it until more or less 300 yards from Keyhole Canyon. On your left is a semi-obvious road with an orange marker (as of Feb 2010), take this and follow the road to the parking lot.
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 1, 2010
John, why so shocked?? This is not exactly a popular destination. And when you say "the mileage above takes you nowhere near Keyhole Canyon..." - that's totally untrue. Directions as listed are accurate. Mabye you got lost or something?? I'll concede that the road might be rough; conditions may have changed since I wrote this. But I'll point out that we drove there in my scrappy 1993 Subaru two-wheel drive car and while not recommended, we did fine. Did you take your little hybrid out there or something???

If your powerline road is a better way to go, just say so. There's usually more than one route on which to travel in the desert... Rather than quibbling over the approach, why don't you post some route beta?
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 1, 2010

the mileage is wrong, not the directions. your directions are accurate, but they miss some key beta- the mileage and which powerline road (there are two- one at 2.1 miles, the other at 2.4- the first one has no access to keyhole and is nasty rough as well). the mileage you list takes you down the next dirt road, which is two or three miles south of keyhole. this is what i was trying to correct with my post.

the road was fine- 40mph in my truck was no big deal, but the road we took the first time made me VERY happy to have my truck, as it had washed out in several hills and would be impassable for a car- even with all wheel drive.

at any rate, i would post route beta, but we only climbed one route due to the fact that we spent the morning exploring a different area we found near by when our first attempt at finding keyhole failed.

on one other note- im shocked because there are several comments on this page that make it obvious people are going out there, but they didnt bother to correct the mileage listed above. maybe they knew where it was prior, though...
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 1, 2010
Yes indeed, when following the directions I posted, you do want to take the second powerline road, I will change the description to reflect that. Here's a Google Earth capture with an overlay added...
This is essentially the same as listed in the back of Todd Swain's "Rock Climbing Red Rocks".

Rock Climbing Photo: Approach to Keyhole Canyon, NV
Approach to Keyhole Canyon, NV
By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Mar 3, 2010
Replying to being shocked about lack of information I can say that I was initially overwhelmed when I found the place via the old islands in the sky book (oh, the old swain rr book has good directions too): i'd gone to boulder there, then saw all the routes... we went several weekends in a row, did all the routes, made a great guide, and planned to disseminate to the world.

then we realized this place is best left to those with the spirit to find it. i vote to keep it private through personal emails, adding this step to obtaining the info may keep keyhole a bit more pristine for a bit more time...(just an opinion)

beautiful spot, great in the rain, solid as heck granite...

By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Mar 3, 2010
p.s. google earth shows that the canyon continues with what appears to be high walls for QUITE awhile once you surmount the old waterfall. anyone taken that walk yet? the satellite images appear very promising ;-)
By Michelle Locatelli
Mar 4, 2010
The map that John supplied is the correct way in. This area has been climbed on for years by the likes of Henry Barber, Lynn Hill and Joe Herbst. A group of Boulder City climbers (Jim and Fred Lybarger,Tom Ray, George Smith, Dan Briley and friends) did most of the first ascents there and would know the names of most of the routes. I'm thinking about the ol' Keyhole Classic climbing comp that those guys held each year, and they had a top rope up on about everything that was climbable.
By Xavier Wasiak
From: Las Vegas, NV
Nov 6, 2011
Teresa and I were doing a bit of exploring on a rainy day and decided to drive by Keyhole Canyon to see the art and walls. I admit that after 16 years of climbing it was the first time I'd been there and was curious. The really cool thing was that I saw Jim Lybarger and apparently the Keyhole Crew still host the Keyhole Classic every first weekend in November. There were quite a few climbers there and they set up a tyrolean across the canyon and everything. Jim is close to publishing a guide for the area. I told him I'd share info as he gave it to me. I'm posting some pics too. I could tell Jim was excited about sharing what info he could.
By Jared R
Mar 20, 2012
There is so much potential for really easy, Mountaineering style trad routes here. I was amazed at the route possibilities that abound in this little area. Great little area to climb and a cool place to be when Red Rocks gets too crowded.
By George Smith
Jun 22, 2012
The lack of route info about Keyhole Canyon seems to have lead to others renaming and/or adding bolts to previously climbed and named routes. That prompted me to create the Keyhole Canyon, NV - Lower Canyon, North Wall route topo and others like it for every cliff or outcrop of rock there. I'll post the others as I finish them.
By DesertDan
From: Arvada, Co
Jun 26, 2012
Being a climber of 25 years at Keyhole and since finding Mountain Project with new activity here thought it would be good to share some history.

The climbing at Keyhole has been of a traditional style since myself or anyone I know can remember. The rock is very featured and offers natural gear placements on every cliff, especially if you're creative. Although there are perhaps six routes total at Keyhole that rely solely on bolts, none would be considered a sport climb based on the run outs between bolts and lack of fixed anchors at the top. Most climbs use all natural gear or are mixed with bolts placed only when necessary, that is only when there is no reliable gear (or at least somewhat reliable). Although the routes at Keyhole are predominately safe, because of the run outs and sometimes tricky gear placements the area has the committing flavor of Joshua Tree or Tahquitz.

Ethics and style at Keyhole are like those from these long time traditional climbing areas. Climbs are established ground up, natural gear is used whenever possible, bolts are placed sparingly from stances or hooks, chipping has never been done. This style of climbing has served Keyhole well by helping keep route development slow and preserving the spicy flavor of the area. More importantly it reduces the impact on the limited resources here.

As climbers, having a low impact at Keyhole and keeping the visual signs of climbing to a minimum is very important to maintaining our privilege of climbing there. As beautiful and fun as climbing is at Keyhole, it is a secondary resource. The primary resource is the archeology and the rich heritage of petroglyphs and pictographs left by thousands of years of habitation by Native Americans. From the perspective of BLM, Keyhole is the crown jewel of Native American rock art in Southern Nevada. It is important that we respect this. If climbing at Keyhole were to be perceived by BLM as a threat to the rock art, climbing would cease or be severely limited. Not a single bolt has been placed in the Lower Canyon without BLM noticing it.

Many local climbers nowadays consider themselves among the caretakers of Keyhole. Picking up trash, removing fire rings inside the fence line, repairing the fence, educating visitors of the area etc. and preserving the character and tradition of climbing at Keyhole. To this end rappel placed bolts and retro bolting has never been condoned and will never be accepted. Occasionally over the years both have happened. Recently retro bolting and rappel placed bolts have been installed prolifically. The general consensus of local climbers is that this is bad for the long term privilege and character of climbing at Keyhole.

As an example of heavy handed bolting, 62 bolts were placed on four routes, including belays, on the South Keyhole Slabs. Approximately half of these bolts were placed within arms reach of natural protection. In the five+ decades of climbing prior to the arrival of the first ascent parties of these four routes, only about 50 bolts total had been placed in all of Keyhole Canyon including everything down to White Dream. The current estimation is that there are approximately 120-130 routes at Keyhole and those four rappel bolted routes alone more than doubled the number of bolts here.

The overall feeling of many of the locals is that all retro and rappel placed bolts should be removed and that it should be done in an effort to preserve the ethical and traditional style of climbing at Keyhole. And again, more importantly to preserve the privilege of climbing at Keyhole in the sense of trying to prevent a conflict between climbing and archeology.

As such, beginning with the South Keyhole Slabs this effort has commenced and all bolts from the routes Born Talking, Charlotte's Web, Red Shoes, and Shoshone Tears have been removed. The belay bolts were removed as well. All of these climbs are well established top ropes that use natural gear for anchors. The issue with these climbs is not the transition of a top rope to a lead. It is with the way they were established; on rappel, placing bolts in contrived locations from unnatural stances, bolts placed extremely close together (sometimes only 2-3ft apart), and next to natural gear placements.

Prior to pulling the bolts on these climbs we led them and were able to skip about half or more of the bolts on each route by using natural gear or walking past them. In one instance on Charlotte's Web, only clipping one of three bolts within reach of a single stance. Red Shoes was led entirely on natural gear in a PG fashion.

These are otherwise good routes, that if established ground up, using the available natural gear and without bolted top rope anchors, would be a welcome addition to Keyhole Climbing.

Keyhole has so far been free of the homogenization that sport and gym climbing has brought to many areas (Calico Hills, Mt. Charleston). It provides diversity and a facet of climbing that if not preserved will undoubtedly disappear. This is a big wide world with many lifetimes of first ascents still available. Within a 100 mile radius of Las Vegas are thousands of virgin cliffs with quality rock that can be developed from scratch in any style (Prim, Arrow Canyon). With so much available, there is room for everyone and every style. Please respect the long standing climbing style and ethics of Keyhole by not rap bolting, retro bolting, or over bolting. Less is more!

Dan Briley
By vernon phinney
From: pocatello, idaho
Jan 31, 2014
Glad to see information on Key Hole Canyon. It was a great place for myself and friends to go and climb/party back in 1974-1977. I loved Keyhole, as it was remote and no interference from anyone! Wish there were some better pictures of the keyhole/waterfall area. Not a serious place like Red Rocks with the big wall committments! Had a friend, Sandy, part owner of the Boulder airstrip at the time, who flew into Keyhole canyon one day when he knew we were there climbing. Came in with plane in a vertical bank and dropped plane inside the walls - crazy guy! I remember a particularly good mantle move on the south side - you had to twist you body to the right as you mantled and stay squat or you would seriously bang your head on an overhanging section of the rock. Fun place! Area would be best kept secret with the art work, etc. Some organization will soon push to have climbing removed due to rock damage! At least the Park Rangers should not shoot the bolt hangers off the cliff faces (Valley of Fire). Vernon Phinney
By Robin Foubister
From: Rossland, British Columbia
May 18, 2014
Went to check this place out on an off day from Red Rocks. I wont get into the ethical/style debate since as a visitor i dont know the history of the area enough to have a valid argument. The elitism of removing bolts, in this case, may be justified to keep an archaelogically significant area accessible to climbers. Anyway shit i started getting into the debate, sorry.

The point I was going to make is, someone needs to update the mountain project status of these routes. IE nothing is sport anymore. We skimmed the mountain project descriptions, saw sport, and went out with only sport gear. So obviously we got skunked without a rack. Would have been nice to have the updated info about bolts no longer existing. Really cool area to scramble and explore regardless. Directions were easy to follow and spot on. Just need some updated route classification/description.
By LV Climbers Liaison Council
Nov 4, 2014
27th Annual Keyhole Classic November 7-9th

Don't forget to go out to a Southern Nevada Classic!

The Keyhole Classic held at Keyhole Canyon, just SE of Las Vegas, is happening this weekend the 7th, 8th and 9th.

- Free Camping
- 440' tyrolean traverse
- Chili & Food
- T-Shirts
- Bouldering Comp Saturday
- Top ropes

Come out and have a great time climbing or just meeting up with locals or visiting climbers.

Guidebooks for the area will also be available!

Hope you can make it!
By bio
From: mesa, az
Mar 5, 2015
I did a beautiful finger crack around the corner left from the north wall, probably 5.7/8 on my first trip there recently. Accessing the crack requires @ 25 feet of easy juggy crack below it. Not sure the name. There are many cracks/corners along that wall I'd like to get on during my next trip. I like the area and its ethic.
By Thomas Beck
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
5 days ago
Dan Briley's un-edited private message to me:

The following message was sent from Mountain Project user DesertDan to Thomas Beck using the MP "Contact User" feature.
Hello Thomas!

It's been awhile since we last spoke and I hope all is well with you.

Russ said he recently met with you to discuss new bolts showing up at Keyhole and I also saw that you posted bolts missing on White Dream Slab. Bolt removal is part of the continuing effort to clean up Keyhole. Please know that this is done without animosity and we're all bummed that we didn't run into each other when you first came out. Maybe we could've avoided this whole scenario.

You're not the only one who has gotten shit for bolting at Keyhole. It's not personal, just upholding the standards that keep Keyhole, Keyhole. Several members of Team Keyhole have felt that same scrutiny at one time or another and have had to remove their own bolts, including me.

We find pulling bolts to be distasteful and don't like doing it but rap bolting or bolting by gear placements at Keyhole is more distasteful and adding bolts to existing climbs is the most distasteful. So, when faced with a choice among these three, the first option is the one we go with.

I'd be happy to make sure that you get all the hardware collected if you join us in the cleanup effort and they of course go to you if you pull them first. If not, collected hardware will be donated to people replacing old/bad bolts on routes in Red Rock and beyond.

All of the routes on the South Front Slabs were existing long before the bolts were added, so those bolts had to be removed. Climbers have been setting top ropes up from the ledge where the chains were added since before the 70s so those had to go, but the TRs can still be set up. All a person needs is a rope and a rack.

Most of the climbs at White Dream were existing as well so those are in the process of removal. There are some bolts that are not on a known route. They look rapped in, but if they were established on lead then there's no reason for us to do anything with them. Without more info, we have to make our best guess on which climbs were rap bolted.

You clearly care for Keyhole and have spent so much time and energy there. Again, this is not personal, and I wish we would've met earlier.

Speaking of time and energy, I made it out to the Highlands wall and saw all of the work that you've put into there. That's an awesome dike and the area has tremendous potential. I'm working on a guidebook for Keyhole and surrounding crags, including the Highlands. I know you put routes up there and would like to include your climbs in our book. I would appreciate any information that you could share on this area, climbs, rating, dates, FA party, etc. For the record, only Keyhole and Knob Hill are held to the Keyhole standard and ethics, so please don't feel like this would lead to the pulling of your bolts. The purpose for asking is for posterity, to record history, and to share this great place with other climbers.

On anther note, I saw that you posted the Universal Wall and that you're still working on the page. I did a couple climbs there a long while ago and would like to post them. Do you have a plan to post areas besides Sesame Street on the wall? There weren't any other established climbs on the wall when we climbed there so I don't know what the other areas are called. We climbed the gray swath between the rotten looking white roofs on the left half of the wall. If this needs to go in a specific area, please let me know. If not I'll just put them up on the main Universal Wall page.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hope that we can have some future conversations. It would be nice to move forward amicably. If not, C'est la vie! Tomorrow we climb!

Dan Briley
An Open Letter to Dan Briley

In response to your latest message, which took a morally superior and condescending tone demanding contrition, Dan, I am afraid you will have to be disappointed. At best, we can agree to disagree.

With an active climbing career spanning 45 years, there is nothing, I feel I need to justify to you.

Late 1970's, I began new routing and some of my lines are in guidebooks; I never sought the limelight. I was there, climbing, in Yosemite, Taquitz and Joshua Tree during the bolt wars and have friendships with climbers on both sides of the conflicts.

Now, I have neither the time, energy or interest in another bolt war or endless debate about style and ethics. It's likely this posting will stir up a shit storm. However, what was done by you, Dan Briley at Keyhole Canyon was and is wrong and unjustifiable.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not personally attacking you; only your actions and proposed actions in this singular particular instance. I think integrity, style and ethics are important, cause my training is old school. Climbers should never cease to revisit these issues. And we, as a climbing community, should never forget or rewrite our common history as we move forward on the shoulder's of our predecessors. But I believe, we should also recognize our sport or avocation or art is constantly evolving and embrace that evolution.
Dan Briley has committed an egregious act against the climbing community. Focused on a small and trivial area of sport development at an obscure crag, he has removed easy access to documented beginner climbs. He has knowingly and deliberately destroyed established easier routes and created an environment where a less experienced climber could find themselves committed beyond their ability.

Now, as you see in his message to me, he intends to continue to destroy access to established and documented 5.7 and 5.8 multi-pitch routes and partially completed projects. Furthermore his threatened actions, if carried out, as he has already begun to do, have the potential to create a much more serious climbing environment and could result in a much more serious injuries for an unprepared climbing party.

The Keyhole slabs have zero or minimal foot access and were newby user friendly. The routes at the White Dream Area are an easy short approach. Now the potential exists for a beginning climber who has previously climbed these routes or read the descriptions but not the comments to go there and find themselves on an erstwhile sport crag or multi-pitch mixed line, suddenly led out with only down-climbing as an exit option.

This might not be too serious on a 90 ft. crag with some scrambling down-climbing descent on either side. However 90 ft up over an overhang or 2 pitches up around a corner where you can't see the belay and you find Dan Briley has removed the bolted belay anchor??? that is more serious.

This is why I need to speak out publicly.

Here is a link to one thread:

You'll see that people come down of various sides of the issue. I am far from suggesting the ground up ethic should be discarded and rap bolting, top down or sport climbing rules become an acceptable new standard at the Keyhole. If you search the term retro-bolt on MP or Supertopo there are many pages of discussion.

What I am pointing out, concerning only these 5 easy routes (made for wet behind the ears climbers), regardless of your ethics, is a now potentially dangerous zone has been created for inexperienced climbers. Now Dan wants to repeat his actions on three easy mixed multi-pitch climbs at White Dream area.

Back in 2012 Dan Briley (Desert Dan on MP) removed all the fixed protection and chain anchors from Charlotte's Web, Red Shoes, I Did It My Way (a top rope route), Born Talking, Shoshone Tears. Dan Briley did contact me privately at that time, accusing me of rap bolting and demanding I defend my actions. I told him he had no idea what I could bolt on lead and I had no intention of submitting to his inquisition. Subsequently, in August, the hottest month of the year in Southern Nevada, Dan removed the bolts on these five sport lines.. Dan did return my hangers and studs from the 5 part Rawls to me by dropping them off at Desert Rock Sport, Las Vegas. Though I did not condone his actions, I was willing to let the matter lie. From witness experience I know how these things play out.

When confronted by the climbing community on Mountain Project Dan Briley changed his reasoning, his story and deleted his posts several times. Even now, his attempts to rewrite history have not gone unnoticed.

Subsequently on Mountain Project, Dan Briley has written of some concerns. He objected to the Las Vegas Climber Meetup members congregating below 5 adjacent easy climbs. First off, in terms of visitor impact....the place is not so easy to find and you can tear up your car getting there. But if you have interest there's minimal information in 2 guidebooks and the government prints several brochures and has data on government websites to get you to Keyhole.
Those front slabs are outside and away from the fencing erected by the BLM; you don't drive off established roads to get there and the approach is “belay of the bumper” short. Because of the topography you could enter the canyon proper and never realize a group of climbers were nearby...unless they were very noisy. The area has no petroglyphs, unlike some of the bolted lines inside the canyon. The damage on those slabs is spalling from bullets and evidence of some core drilling.
Trash, fire rings and crushed vegetation at the Keyhole is ubiquitous and it's impact varies from year to year.

Most climbers would agree, one of worst ethical sins is to bolt over somebody's established route. So I was bothered and questioned myself when Dan Briley accused me of bolting over established top-ropes. Apparently he assumed I would not undertake due diligence. I had already looked at the terrain, searching for old pin scars, evidence of scuffing, flake break back, lichen removal, lack of exfoliation...anything which would indicate a prior ascent; nothing. If you do a directed search for Keyhole climbs there are no search results prior to 2007. If you do a casual search nothing shows prior to descriptions and photos going up on Mountain Project.

Those sport climbs Dan took the bolts off of were established several years before I posted on MP. Claiming “everyone” knew this was a top rope area or claiming you soloed something after the fact is like blaming someone for stealing your flat screen TV cause “everyone knew when you left your front door wide open while grocery shopping” your stuff was to be left alone.
If you don't document it somewhere public it certainly doesn't exist in today's culture and that practice of documenting first ascents, even top rope routes, has been respected in every climbing area for more years than I can count back to. However if you don't document it where it can be found, then you risk someone going over your work.

In 2004 or 2005 I got curious enough to find my way into the Keyhole.
We walked back to check things out and saw several nice lines, those north facing dihedrals and found some bolts. It was pretty cold and shady inside; we came back out and I led a 3 bolt wonder where a climber had just spray painted the rock to camouflage his hangers. If he knew anything about the Keyhole, guess he didn't like our flavor because he didn't spend any time with us.

After that my partner and I began to look at the slabs to the south. I led an easy 5.6 crack and found a piece of static line around an erratic on top. That's when the potential of this very small area became apparent. It's completely separate and isolated from the harder, more serious routes and bouldering inside the canyon. It's really a great beginner area, a great instruction area, a good spot to take your family and friends, church group or the boy scouts. There was little chance of a proliferated grid bolted wall because the terrain sloped to low angle on both perimeters and there we established lines with rusty old Leepers left and right. With the exception of Charlotte's Web (a mixed line) and Red Shoes (which crosses some horizontals and one potential placement higher) none of these five removed routes touched or came near a protect-able crack; if you touched a crack you are off route.

With friends from Las Vegas Climbing and Bouldering Meet Up, I began to develop the routes Dan removed. As Dan admits, the terrain nowhere is more difficult than 5.8. At the time, none of these climbers owned a rack of wires and cams and none could climb more than 5.9 on a good day. That was the caliber of the protection.

While developing, we were there many weekends and some weekdays during the season for two years. Then we climbed there during the season on and off for the next 3 years. These routes didn't just become routes in a few days. They were developed slowly. Other parties were in that area occasionally, invited to lead or follow the lines and uniform consensus was the development was good. I never saw Dan Briley or any of his colleagues there that introduced themselves to me. He has never seen me bolt so he doesn't know what I can stance from.

But that is not really my point. The point is Dan Briley has created a dangerous condition, destroyed beginning climber access and is immune to reasoning on the issue in the manner of any Luke 4:5...i.e. “Who is God going to hate today?”

Now, as he has stated, he intends to remove bolts on established multi-pitch routes which he determines are rap bolted. These routes at the White Dream area were done ground up. I've found it is just not possible to reason with someone who embraces and justifies destruction for righteousness.

What's gonna happen? It is easier to destroy than create.

All I ask is Dan Briley (Desert Dan) take responsibility for his actions and post his name, address, email and phone number and the contact addresses, names and phone numbers of Team Keyhole on his Mountain Project profile so any motivated liability attorney will be able to find him.

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