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Lotta Balls Wall
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Lotta Balls 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 420', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Herbst, Grandstaff, Kaufman '77
Page Views: 19,964
Submitted By: Peter Gram on Feb 17, 2004

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RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


Lotta Balls is a very unique route. Although not that long as far as Red Rocks trad routes go, it has very good climbing. Do the 45 minute approach to the Lotta Balls wall from the First Creek Trailhead.

P1) Climb up horizontal crack features on the huge leaning boulder. Once on top of the boulder, climb the left facing corner and up a flake system to a fixed anchor on a small ledge (bolted anchor). (5.6)

P2) Climb up the namesake section of the rock. There is no crack here, only a lotta balls. Two bolts are in place for protection. Pinch and edge on the really cool ball shaped holds for about 25 feet. This section can be a bit spicy. Then follow a corner to a large ledge. (5.8)

P3) Climb up the corner above the ledge, then traverse left and climb a crack to the top. This pitch is a full rope length.

Descent: Descend down the gully to the left side. Do 3 rappels from trees and scramble the rest. This descent is pretty quick and straight-forward.


Standard Rack, 2 bolts

Photos of Lotta Balls Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Trish is working on the 3-points-off Sylvester Sta...
Trish is working on the 3-points-off Sylvester Sta...
Rock Climbing Photo: Even the raps off this route are gorgeous!
Even the raps off this route are gorgeous!
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at the balls.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the balls.
Rock Climbing Photo: 3rd pitch
3rd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Calder Lane following up the first pitch of Lotta ...
Calder Lane following up the first pitch of Lotta ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lotta Balls 2nd pitch thin section (pinching balls...
Lotta Balls 2nd pitch thin section (pinching balls...
Rock Climbing Photo: Topping out on the 2nd pitch.
Topping out on the 2nd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Andrei Dorenbaum nearing the p1 belay.
Andrei Dorenbaum nearing the p1 belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at p1 (climbers at the belay).
Looking up at p1 (climbers at the belay).
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch
2nd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Heading up pitch 3
Heading up pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber at the first belay.  Photo taken O...
Unknown climber at the first belay. Photo taken O...
Rock Climbing Photo: Andrei Dorenbaum finishing up p2.
Andrei Dorenbaum finishing up p2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Trish working her magic on the jammy whiteness of ...
Trish working her magic on the jammy whiteness of ...
Rock Climbing Photo: A climber starts up the corner on pitch 3 of Lotta...
A climber starts up the corner on pitch 3 of Lotta...
Rock Climbing Photo: Andrei Dorenbaum starting up p3.
Andrei Dorenbaum starting up p3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the top of the flake on the first pitch.
Nearing the top of the flake on the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Angie takes the good pitch
Angie takes the good pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: The Hebrew Hammer.
The Hebrew Hammer.
Rock Climbing Photo: I know... its a butt shot but its a good one!
I know... its a butt shot but its a good one!

Comments on Lotta Balls Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 4, 2015
By Jake Wyatt
From: Longmont, CO
Feb 17, 2004

The variety of climbing on this route is great! An overhang, the pebble pinching, a wide corner, and a nice dihedral. The pro in the top half of p2 (above the "balls") seemed suspect in places, so take care.
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Feb 18, 2004

The crux protection bolt and one bolt at the first pitch belay anchor were replaced in March 2002 by the American Safe Climbing Association. To date, the ASCA has replaced over 350 bolts in Red Rocks. Consider supporting the cause by making a donation at the ASCA website
By Matt Faust
Feb 25, 2004
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

What a great route! There are bolts on top of the 2nd pitch if you want to rap from there, but why would you? From the top of the third pitch you do need to scramble up another 50 feet or so (4th class) before dropping left into an easy gully. Three short raps and you should be down in 20 minutes or so.
By Edward Jenner
Mar 29, 2005

Climbing the 'balls' certainly made the route worthwhile. I was giggling through that section.
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Sep 23, 2005
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Climbed in the shade today.I'm aware the face climbing section on pitch two can be considered a bit runout ( 2 bolts in like 40? feet), but I felt there were enough features ie; A Lotta Balls, in my face and at my feet,on this section to put my mind at ease on lead.In my opinion, if you're a trad leader who has experience leading 5.8 P.G. -like sport climbs, especially in Red Rock, it's a comfortable lead. The crack after climbing on "the balls" was pure fun and well protected. Pitch one and three were a blast too! A very worthwhile climb if you haven't done it already! Note:There's a bolted anchor at the top of pitch two (semi-hanging, as you will be standing on the rightmost corner of the comfy ledge)

By Floridaputz
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Aug 30, 2006

A great 3 pitch climb. It's a good lazy half day adventure. It's about an hour hike each way. P1 is an easy overhang to a large flake ending at a belay with bolts. P2 is the Lotta Balls Face. Nice slabby moves takes you past two bolts to the crux. Make a few moves on some really tiny balls and you are to a crack for some more pro. It stays hard to protect for a while as you wonder back and forth then climbing up to the top of a pillar with a bolted anchor. (you can rap from here with 2 ropes) P3 From here follow the inside corner and turn it to the left entering a wide crack to a tree. It's a squeeze past the tree to the top, then head East to 3 single rope rappels. One rope is really all you need. The nature of the rappel is not straightforward, so it's actually not worth trying to use two ropes here.
By Danny Inman
From: Arvada
Nov 27, 2006

Fun stuff. P3, in the Barnes guide said 200ft-I think it is more like 230 ft to the tree from which you can belay.
By dcohn
Mar 7, 2007

I have never climbed RR before, but I am going to make a visit soon. Can someone make a more specific rack recommendation for this route or at least say what is the biggest piece needed? The last pitch seems very long. Is a 70 meter rope necessary?
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Mar 7, 2007
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Stays cold even when other routes are not- windy up there too. Best for a warmer day. Also, it gets wet a the crux and in such a state it felt hard at its grade to me (in January).
For what it is worth, you don't NEED a 70M , but I was happy to have on on the route and on the raps I ended up on (which were apparently the wrong ones)
By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 7, 2007

Here are my notes from an ascent in October 2002:

Pro: Standard rack to #4 Camalot; no brass, no ball nuts. One 60m rope. Bring webbing and rings to back up rap anchors.

The first pitch goes up stacked blocks, up a corner, then right up a flake to a belay stance at a bolt anchor.

The second pitch goes up the "lotta balls" face, past two bolts. This is exciting face climbing on marble-sized knobs. The pitch continues up a long corner to a ledge with a two-bolt anchor.

The third pitch goes up a corner, then left at a roof, and up a long easy crack almost to the top. This pitch is about 190'.

A final short scramble (30'-40') takes you to the top.

With a 70m rope, you could run the third pitch all the way to the top.

The descent goes down a gully to the left, with three short rappels (not two rappels as stated in the guidebook) from trees. I beefed up two of the rap anchors with new webbing and put a new rap ring on one of the anchors. A short scramble down and around leads back to the base of the climb.
By harmonydoc
Mar 26, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This is the coolest route I have ever led! Great variety, the balls are a trip!

Warning: careful if rapping the route from the first or second belay ... the crack on the first pitch eats ropes. I saw at least 4 rope fragments jammed in there (in fact I cut the rope of the previous party that got their rope jammed on rappel at their request so they could retrieve part of it).
By 46and2
From: Las Vegas, NV
May 15, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This climb is supreme FUN and a must do!! All of the pitches take great gear (understatement). Pitch one is all the way fun especially when hearing the hollow sound of the huge flake. Pitch 2 is awesome on the "balls" if you will, a little spicy (underline the word 'little') but not as bad as most make you think; while pitch 3 is just super cruiser and possibly the best, at least the first half is until the move under the roof. If anybody is chasing shade, this climb does NOT go into complete shade until close to 2:30 in the afternoon (at least in May), so prepare to be warm before this time if arriving early and bring some tanning lotion!!
PS: The anchors at the top of pitch 2 are completely unnessecary IMHO; perfect crack right there on top of the pillar but oh well, have fun!!
By Matt McMurray
From: Castle Rock, CO
Aug 27, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Ron's notes will serve you well on this climb... Fun moderate, with the first two pitches being excellent.
By Johan Grahnen
From: Palo Alto, CA
Mar 22, 2008

It's possible to ignore the flake on p1 and just climb the dihedral until it and the crack in it peters out -- at that point, the anchors should be just 10-20' to the right. The traverse felt more like 5.8 friction than 5.6 crack climbing, though.
By saxfiend
From: Decatur, GA
Apr 7, 2008
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Fantastic climbing! Leading P2 definitely goes on the highlight reel for my first trip to Red Rock. Climbing the "balls" face isn't overly difficult but requires precise movement and concentration -- no lunging for holds on this pitch. On P3, we did a short simulclimb to reach the top to avoid the scramble at the end. The descent is an unpleasant pain in the ass, but was worth it for the quality of the route. Don't miss this one!
By Chasem
Dec 28, 2009

Great climb! Each pitch is fun and unique.

We used a 70m rope and on pitch 3 ran it to the very end to gain the top belay. The climbing at that point is very mellow, however, and the last portion of the P3 could be simulclimbed if you don't have a 70m.

Climbed it on Dec 22 (warm day) and it never got too cold. Enjoy!
From: Wherever we park!
Mar 29, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

By Top Rope Hero
From: Was Estes Park, now homeless
Mar 31, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

OK...what? Climbed this a week ago. Good times, but I hardly think this rates as a 4-star, uber-ultra-mega-stupendous-fantastic-super-neat classic. It was good. Funky. NOT run out if you're solid at 5.8. A bit chilly in the spring. Memorable...but I probably wouldn't go back and do this again--which for me is THE mark between 3 and 4 stars. This I give 2.

So? Do it. But don't expect to see the face 'a god.

Flash it out and then run up Black Magic for a great but casual and low-commitment 1000ft day.

Photographer's Note: Bring a quality zoom and have yer friends flash Black Magic, 100 ft to the right of this line. From the top of P2, look up and right. BM climbers stepping across the void on the airy opening moves on P3 would make for a magazine-quality shoot.
By Mostafa
From: Alameda, CA
Jan 28, 2012

I don't think there is any left leaning boulder to start this route. My friend and I jumped on trihardral (thinking it was lotta balls) because that is the route that has a leaning boulder.
By Cunning Linguist
Jan 29, 2012

It's there, you guys didn't match up the guidebook picture, most likely. It's more of a huge flake/right facing corner, the boulder's right under Black Magic, and that IS a boulder, you can scramble under it.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 31, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Phenomenal face sequence - one of the best slad section I have done here. You can do this in 2 pitches with a 70 meter rope - Pitch 1 plus 2 are almost exactly 70 meters.
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
May 21, 2012
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Just did Lotta Balls for the first time last week---after 8 visits to RR over the last 20 years. (No idea why I waited so long!) Here's a fun variation on the last pitch: go up the long right-facing corner above the "balls" pitch, turn the roof on the left (as per the usual finish), and continue up about 40 feet to a belay (semi-hanging) from cams (2" to 3.5") at the obvious traingular roof 5 feet right of the upper chimney. Then climb out right for another 5 feet and up the easy face (5.4) with good gear all the way to the very top of the formation (about another 100-120 feet). Dead-easy climbing in a beautiful position.
By Canon
Dec 3, 2012
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

P1 is pretty fun, and has a real interesting fixed U-stem...camalot(?) with a spike driven through the lobes just below the anchor. Never seen that before. On P2, you'd better have good ball fondling abilities. P3 is pretty cruiser, but loooong.
By Steve123
Mar 31, 2013

Edited Monday April 01 2013, in an attempt to remove inaccuracies:

In March 2013, the descent shared by this and other nearby routes was involved in a bolting disagreement. Bolted rappel anchors have been added, removed, and replaced. As of the end of March, the second rappel anchor is the tree again, while the third rappel anchor is bolted.

If you climb any of the routes that use this descent, be aware that the status of the rappel anchors might be in flux. It would be a good idea to bring extra slings, webbing, cord, rings, etc. to rebuild or reinforce the anchors if necessary.

Further information added Monday April 01 2013:
On the afternoon of Wednesday March 27 2013, the descent anchors were:
Rappel 1) A collection of webbing and cord around a large tree, with multiple rings. (This anchor was fine)
Rappel 2) A single sewn sling around a small tree, with a single non-locking carabiner. (We left some gear behind to enhance this anchor)
Rappel 3) Two bolts with chains and rings. (This anchor was fine)
By Cunning Linguist
Apr 1, 2013

^^^^^^Wrong, wrong, wrong again, and also, wrong. Don't pay any attention to the previous post, which is about as far off from reality as possible. Don't hesitate to bring webbing to back up the existing stuff on trees, this is good policy in many parts of Red Rock, not just this descent. I'm not taking time to pick apart all of the inaccuracies, just making a statement of erroneousness and moving on.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Apr 11, 2013

Also stretched a 70m on P3 to the summit, just long enough.

Pro to 3" (one blue Camalot), as in the recommended #4 not really needed.

P1 and P2 anchors are both bolted.

The descent no longer seems to consist of 3 short raps. Encountered only two tree slings on the raps down. The last of the two is long and doesn't quite reach the final landing ledge using one 70 (about 10 ft short), but does reach a downclimbable pillar block with solid handjams. There's a solid tree that could serve as intermediate rap anchor on this last of two raps, about 2/3 of the way down; saw no rap slings on that nor bolted rap anchor nearby, but must've somehow missed seeing them.

Route entirely into shade by 10:30 AM now, in Apr. Lotta Balls Wall and adjacent Alcohol Wall are the first of this stretch of cliff to go into shade.
By Steve123
Apr 14, 2013

Sean, it is possible that the third rap station bolts have been pulled again, but you also could have just missed them. Even though I knew generally where they should be, I completely missed them on my way down, went past the tree, saw that my rope would not make it all the way down, scrambled back up, and then found the bolts on a face to the left of the tree.

Edited May 11 2014:
I was just on this descent again last week. The first and second rap stations are still slings around trees. The third rap station bolts are still there. They are to climber's left of the tree. It is possible to stand on the rock with one hand touching the bolts and the other touching the tree, so if you are at the tree, look left.
By Rich T
Oct 10, 2013

Climbed Lotta Balls on Monday and there are shiny bolts for the third rappel now. Hard to miss.
By Barrett Stetson
Oct 24, 2014

This was probably my favorite climb of this trip. Good variety and interesting moves I thought. Almost bailed looking up to first bolt on the balls pitch, but the climbing wasn't that bad to get to it. After clipping I was much happier rest of the way up and grabbing the flake exiting was some relief. On the 2nd rap in the gully went right by bolted anchors only to end up almost to the knots at the end of the rope with 15' to go. Had to "up-rappel" and then saw them on climbers left on ledge. Did this on a Sunday and no one else showed up while we were there while Romper Room area had a huge top rope group.
By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Nov 12, 2014

Thanks for the new bolts ASCA - thought for a minute I might have to use one! A fun alternate start is to use the left-facing corner to the right of the normal start (Brujas) and traverse left under the roof (being careful to avoid rope drag). For an easy and scenic last pitch leave the final corner to the right just before it starts widening. There is plenty of pro and fun climbing all the way to the top (70 meters plus a little simul-climbing).
By M Bageant
From: Cambridge, MA
Apr 2, 2015

I just wanted to note for those who may inadvertently end up in my confused shoes: the Handren guide suggests 40' of easy climbing to the top after the end of the third pitch (on a sloping ledge), which I found to be a gross misestimation.

As I went up the third pitch I broke to the right because it seemed more fun, and though I climbed about the right distance (160-180') there wasn't much of a ledge there. I think maybe if I had stayed left in the groove I might have found this ledge, but who knows.

At any rate after that pitch I climbed to the top. It was more like 140' instead of 40' to get from where I ended pitch 3 to the top of the pillar, where an easy scramble back through a tunnel of bushes takes you to a rappel tree. I broke left at the top of the pillar, back to the groove that the intended line followed, and had a nice comfy spot to build an anchor off a tree and a big cam.

If you do climb the white ridged face to the right of the groove, it's easy and has cool exposure but if you're not comfortable running put easy climbing a little, the pro may not make you happy.
By Matt Skorina
Oct 7, 2015

Climbed in October 2015. Really stellar climb! Started drizzling halfway up the second pitch, and really raining on the third pitch. Bailed off two nuts halfway up the third pitch. Two 70s got to the ground from the bolts on top of the second pitch.
By Paul Simon
Nov 3, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Extremely fun first pitch, the little roof is way easier than it looks. The second pitch did ruin the climb for me, since it looked very dangerous and difficult for the grade. Don't understand why the slab is left so runout, with just two bolts for almost 20 meters. It seems unnecessary, even one extra bolt would bring the exposure of this section more in line with the overall character of the route. A shame - full stars for the first pitch but zero for the second.
By Adventure Chumps
Nov 4, 2015

So you looked at the 2nd pitch, got scurred and decided to down rate the climb without climbing it? The balls section is only 40' long, so your 20m is a significant over exaggeration. The reality of the situation is there's 15' of easy climbing off the belay to the 1st bolt, then another 10'-15' to the second, followed by 10'-15' of easy climbing up to the corner for gear.

All in favor of retrobolting Lotta Balls so Garfunkel can make it up the route, say aye.

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