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Looking at sour mash from the start. Right of fid...
Sour Mash sits there smashed in between the fascination with Epinepherine and the bolt ridden Prince Of Darkness, yet features some of the best selection of moderate climbing in the canyon. It also features a mix of styles, between traditionally protected and well bolted pitches. The bolts tend to show up when the climbing is at it's toughest on the first and crux fifth pitch. That fifth pitch is some really fun and intricate climbing that is bound to make you smile. Most parties these days do six pitches and then rappel. You need to veer to the east onto the rappel for Fiddler On The Roof, including a heart-stopping drop over the big roof the route is named for. See Swain for topo and more info.
Buncha draws, good collection of gear from small to #3 Camalot. This is no sport route!
Rapping off sourmash over fiddler on the roof.
Georg climbs through the .10a first pitch crux
Georg pulls on crack and face hold crux moves on ...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the awesome pitch 4 lead by Paul Fos...
Looking down from pitch four
Coming up pitch 5 beautiful climbing
Pitch 6 where the climb takes on a sportish nature...
Very ascetic climbing throughout the length of the...
BETA PHOTO: A view down sour mash from a top of pitch 6
Vaino Kodas, cruising the p6 crux
BETA PHOTO: annotated route (photo by Jascha)
thin crack on P1 (photo by Jascha)
thin traverse on P1 (photo by Jascha)
passing through the small roof at the start of P2 ...
P3 (photo by Jascha)
Jascha on P1
Jascha on P2
Jascha on P4
Jascha on P5
Jascha cursing P6
Jascha approaching the final belay
Right when all the fun begins! Top of P2. Fall 201...
P1 Anchor by the tree. Fall 2010
Photo Matt Kuehl
Avoid ending up here. Rap from lowest possible anc...
The goodness near the top of pitch six.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at pitch two, from the top of P1. It's...
Looking down from P4 belay--a super well protected...
Following P6 on Sour Mash. This pitch is sprayed ...
Donini on Sour Mash...
From: Sacramento, CA
Mar 5, 2004
26 bolts on the route were replaced October 2001.
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Mar 8, 2004
Red Rocks 10a- maybe would have been easier in other climbing areas. Maximum stars for certain. Having done about 20 routes back in Black velvet in the 1990's, I feel that I got a good sampling of what is there. I didn't get to this route on my first few trips, as none of the books I had or people who talked the area up had it high on the list of routes or had said it was a must do. But now, almost a decade after doing a lot of the routes there this one is still a standout. I've forgotten some of the details of the climb by now, but certainly remember the overall feeling of great climbing on good stone. This is certainly one of the better routes in the area.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 8, 2004
I enjoyed this climb a lot more than the nearby Prince of Darkness, I guess because there is a lot more variety to the moves.
|By Max Schon|
May 13, 2004
Swain's guide mentions something about big gear (#3 Friend) for the belay after the first pitch. Not! There is much better smaller gear to make a belay. Nothing bigger then a single gold camalot is needed.
|By Ryan Deppen|
Jan 19, 2005
As for the Gear beta, i was glad to have the #3 camalot. There is a great spot for it at the top of pitch 4. The pic below shows the placement right before the anchors, it is bomber. Great route, every pitch is memorable.
|By John Wilder|
From: Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2006
good route, lots of varied climbing, good exposure, and the best part is that it hardly sees any traffic, so you dont have to worry about crowds.
rack to #2 is sufficient if you're a 5.10 leader...a #3 is just excess weight. If you're pushing it, a #3 is handy in a few spots...but all of the tough stuff is tightly bolted (sometimes too tightly...).
Thanks to the ASCA for the new bolts- they're nice to have. This is a great route and while it doesnt deserve to be overlooked, i'm glad it is because it keeps it open for those looking for a quiet day in an otherwise crowded canyon.
|By Chief Rocker|
Oct 2, 2006
Great route! More varied than its neighbors to the far left. I used the Super Topo Guide and found that if using that route description you can combine pitches 2 & 3 or 3 & 4. Those pitches are all really short and you can save some time. I would suggest the combining of pitches 2 & 3 to give you a nice ledge to belay and eliminate some hanging belays. Also, the final pitch after the 10a lie back/ bolted crack pitch is a good pitch to finish. Don't end your day after the 10a lie back/ bolted crack pitch.
Good route! Get on it!
|By Guy H.|
From: Fort Collins CO
Oct 29, 2006
A beautiful line with great rock. Leave the #3 on the ground, if 5.9 is not your limit. I think combining pitch 3 and 4 was the best pitch on the route. (~195ft)
It is too bad there are so many bolts right next to bomber gear placements. It takes a little of the adventure out of the route.
|By John Wilder|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Aug 3, 2008
great route, did it again yesterday.
Couple of thoughts for linking pitches.
if you have a 70m, you can do this route in 4 pitches (link 2/3, 4/5, 6/7). If you have a 60m, you can do it in 5 (link 2/3, 6/7).
if you link 6/7, bring lots of draws, and backclean bolts and gear when possible, otherwise you might come up short at the top of 7.
|By Bobby Alvarez|
From: Riverside, CA
Mar 30, 2009
I agree with everyone that a #3 is not needed, I took doubles from #1 down to green alien. I would recommend taking a couple small TCU's, there are lots of placement opportunities for them where nothing else will plug properly.
Super fun route, a definite must do!!
|By Jon O'Brien|
Apr 21, 2009
I agree, too tightly bolted... especially next to bomber prospective placements.
From: Boise, ID
Apr 27, 2009
Really fun route! We brought the #3 and placed it a couple times, but probably would have been fine without it. There are lots of bolts, and where there aren't, the route eats up as many small cams and nuts as you can throw at it. Seemed a tad harder than Dream of Wild Turkeys.
|By Andy Laakmann|
From: Bend, OR
Oct 5, 2009
Repeated this route after a decade, and it remains my favorite on the wall. I brought the #3 camalot and placed it twice... including at the top of the long 5.9 pitch. The protection is generally excellent... the only caveat being the opening 5.8+ move. I managed to get a good HB offset, but it took some playing around and normal nuts didn't work so well. Perhaps a purple C3 would have worked, but I didn't have one. The long 5.9 pitch is the best on the route IMO. The gear is excellent, but increasingly thoughtful as you climb higher. The upper 5.10- pitches are fun and pretty chill.
The raps go quickly. We combined the last two pitches into a single rap (Supertopo breaks them up for some reason, but with twin 60s was fine). There is a bomber anchor now on the ledge below the long overhanging rap.
Mar 24, 2010
Noted comments re: too many bolts or close to pro placements. My advice is skip the bolt & put in your own pro if you feel strongly about it. Nobody's holding a gun to your head and forcing you to clip a bolt just because it's there. Let's get control of our egos and climb for ourselves and leave others to do the same and enjoy the beauty of the route. This is a magnificent route with varied climbing and one of the first to have modern bolted rap anchors in the canyon making for fast, safe belay stations and raps. Thanks to those wise ones for the time, money and effort. A spectacular route!
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 3, 2010
I didn't use anything above a #1 Camalot. Handren recommends doubles from 0.5" to 1.25", also an overkill. Fun route on great rock (among the best at RR).
|By tobin sanson|
From: Carbondale, CO
Oct 10, 2010
Incredible route. Stellar climbing throughout. A word of caution: there's a sort of death pillar/flake on the first pitch just before you begin up the "A" shaped corner. The thing freakin' shakes when holding on to the top. Please be careful! It's about 4'x8' and could easily take out a belayer or two, while sending you hurtling back to a ledge. That thing will NOT last long. I'd avoid it at all costs. I think you can sneak around the right side of it. Just try not to climb straight up the thing.
From: Tempe, Arizona
Dec 11, 2010
Great route. Did it and Prince of Darkness late Oct 2010 with Ben Boyd. Strangely/Sadly enough my original Phoenix climbing partner, long time friend and poker buddy, John Rosholt was discovered(remains) atop a ledge about 100'+ feet above the top of this route. His remains were found about two weeks after our visit. He had been missing for five years. The last we all saw him was our weekly poker game at my house in Tempe, AZ; just before the Christmas holidays. He was off to Vegas for a short trip. Previous to my last recent visit, I had not been to Black Velvet Canyon for about eight years! It's all very sad. In the least, we can all have some closure. Rest In Peace John!! Keep on Climbing. We should all thank him for his huge climbing(routes..) contributions not only in this area, but many others over the course of his prolific 35+? year climbing career.
|By Arch Richardson|
May 7, 2011
Crucial placements for me were .4 to .6 inch cams on the 5.9 pitch. These are more useful (and much lighter) than 3" cams. Smallish wires also useful. (Rock climbing doesn't get any better than this...)
From: Oakridge, OR
Mar 25, 2012
What is UP with the bolts?
I skipped nearly all of them. The exception was the bolt on the arete and a couple I clipped right of the finger crack, mainly to save time.
Am I alone in saying this would be a better route without the bolts (except the one)?
|By Broseph L|
From: Provo Canyon, UT
Apr 3, 2012
Definitely overbolted. Don't even bring your cams for the 6th pitch!
From: Oakridge, OR
Apr 22, 2012
Better yet, bring your pro and don't clip
|By Patrick Mulligan|
Apr 22, 2012
Am I the only one that thought leading through the first 10 feet of the 5.8 layback at the start was the mental crux of the route? Finally got on this and what a classic. Excellent.
|By Peter Lewis|
From: Bridgton, Maine
May 21, 2012
I agree with Patrick about the first pitch--slippery and insecure (I backed off it). The first two pitches are short and can be combined. The third pitch is long and it wanders (past a bolted station at its midpoint), so sling things accordingly. The upper hard pitches are more tecnhical and sustained than the upper pitches of Dream of Wild Turkeys. When we rapped we stopped at the weird intermediate bolted station halfway up the third pitch, then did a double-rope rappel from there straight down to a bush-and-tat anchor near the top of the white buttress below, and from there a single rap to the ground. This is way more straightforward than rapping all the way down P. 3 (which angles wildly) and then trying (and most likely failing) to pull your ropes from there. Astoundingly great route.
|By Patrick Mulligan|
Sep 7, 2012
Peter - I think the best way to rap this is to rap down the line of Fiddler On The Roof. The pulls are much cleaner and you have the pleasure of a 150' free hanging rappell off the roof.
|By Mark Kroese|
From: Clyde Hill, WA
Nov 12, 2012
I did Sour Mash last week and would concur with most of what is written. A double set of cames from #1 Camalot down to .3 is great, with singles of really small stuff, and one Gold (#2) Camalot. If you bring a #3, you'll only use it once, to exit pitch 5. Not worth it IMHO. We combined pitches 1 and 2 into one, long 55 meter pitch. It's a good way to go. I thought the combined pitch 1-2 was the most challenging pitch, perhaps because I was not warmed up. The rest of the climb is very straightforward. Pitch six is steeper and a bit harder, but has many bolts and great gear. Pitch 7 is nice too. In fact, they are all nice. Best to rap straight down (not down and rappeller's right) and drop over the big roof. Excellent route. I thought it was easier than DOWT, although some disagree. Bottom line is that it's a must do!
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 3, 2013
Completed the route in 4 sweet pitches with a 70 meter rope. Can rap the route in 3 long raps with 2 70m ropes. You will have to scramble down a bit on the last rap but not bad. Don't bring a #3.
|By Dusty Cams|
Apr 29, 2013
On Sat April 27 my partner and I rapped from pitch 5 all the way down to the anchor for Fiddlers at the top of the roof. When pulling our ropes, our tag line snagged in the crack somewhere on pitch 5 and we were unable to get it free. Injuries and plane flights prevented us from retrieving it on Sunday. If you do this route and free the rope, please contact me as it was a fairly new tagline. Thanks