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Black Velvet Wall
Routes Sorted
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American Flesh Dance (Combination of The Flesh plus American Ghost Dance) T 
Ancient Futures T 
Cutting Edge T 
Dream of Wild Turkeys T 
Epinephrine T 
Fiddler on the Roof T,S 
Gobbler, The T 
I'm Not Worthy T 
Johnny Come Lately S 
Lone Star T 
My Little Pony T 
Overhanging Hangover T 
Prince of Darkness T,S 
Refried Brains T 
Rock Warrior T 
Sandstone Samurai T 
Smooth as Silk T 
Sour Mash T 
Spark Plug T 
Steel Monkey T 
Texanephrine T 
Texas Hold 'Em T 
Texas Tower Direct T 
Velveeta T 
Velvet Tongue, The T 
Yellow Brick Road T,S 

Sour Mash 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 600'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Joanne and Jorge Urioste, July 1980
Page Views: 19,772
Submitted By: Orphaned on May 3, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (170)
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Looking at sour mash from the start. Right of fid...

Description 

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.


Protection 

Buncha draws, good collection of gear from small to #3 Camalot. This is no sport route!



Photos of Sour Mash Slideshow Add Photo
Georg climbs through the .10a first pitch crux
Georg climbs through the .10a first pitch crux
Georg pulls on crack and face hold  crux moves on the 5th pitch
Georg pulls on crack and face hold crux moves on ...
Looking down the best pitch of the route!
Looking down the best pitch of the route!
The goodness near the top of pitch six.
The goodness near the top of pitch six.
Following P6 on Sour Mash.  This pitch is sprayed with bolts and soft for 10a.  But the climbing is excellent. <br />
Following P6 on Sour Mash. This pitch is sprayed ...
Looking up at pitch two, from the top of P1.  It's good to combine P1 and P2, about 190 feet.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at pitch two, from the top of P1. It's...
annotated route (photo by Jascha)
BETA PHOTO: annotated route (photo by Jascha)
Donini on Sour Mash...
Donini on Sour Mash...
A view down sour mash from a top of pitch 6
BETA PHOTO: A view down sour mash from a top of pitch 6
Vaino Kodas, cruising the p6 crux
Vaino Kodas, cruising the p6 crux
Pitch 6 where the climb takes on a sportish nature
Pitch 6 where the climb takes on a sportish nature...
Rapping off sourmash over fiddler on the roof.
Rapping off sourmash over fiddler on the roof.
Looking up at the awesome pitch 4 lead by Paul Foster.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the awesome pitch 4 lead by Paul Fos...
Looking down from P4 belay--a super well protected climb.
Looking down from P4 belay--a super well protected...
Coming up pitch 5 beautiful climbing
Coming up pitch 5 beautiful climbing
Very ascetic climbing throughout the length of the climb
Very ascetic climbing throughout the length of the...
thin crack on P1 (photo by Jascha)
thin crack on P1 (photo by Jascha)
Jascha approaching the final belay
Jascha approaching the final belay
P1 Anchor by the tree. Fall 2010 <br /> <br />Photo Matt Kuehl
P1 Anchor by the tree. Fall 2010

Photo Matt Kuehl
thin traverse on P1 (photo by Jascha)
thin traverse on P1 (photo by Jascha)
Jascha on P2
Jascha on P2
Right when all the fun begins! Top of P2. Fall 2010 <br /> <br />Photo Matt Kuehl
Right when all the fun begins! Top of P2. Fall 201...
Jascha on P4
Jascha on P4
Avoid ending up here. Rap from lowest possible anchor above roof. Fall 2010 <br /> <br />Photo Matt Kuehl
Avoid ending up here. Rap from lowest possible anc...
Jascha on P5
Jascha on P5
Looking down from pitch four
Looking down from pitch four
Jascha cursing P6
Jascha cursing P6
Jascha on P1
Jascha on P1
passing through the small roof at the start of P2 (photo by Jascha)
passing through the small roof at the start of P2 ...
P3 (photo by Jascha)
P3 (photo by Jascha)
Comments on Sour Mash Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 25, 2014
By M.Morley
Administrator
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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
From: Nevada
Apr 21, 2009

I agree, too tightly bolted... especially next to bomber prospective placements.

By Cory
From: Boise, ID
Apr 27, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Oct 5, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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.

By Hearne
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!

By fossana
From: Bishop, CA
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.

Tobin

By Fitz
From: Carbondale, CO
Dec 11, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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...)

By Ball
From: Oakridge, OR
Mar 25, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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!

By Ball
From: Oakridge, OR
Apr 22, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Better yet, bring your pro and don't clip

By Patrick Mulligan
Apr 22, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

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
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

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!

By JimmyK
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

By Dan Birman
From: Berlin, Germany
Jan 25, 2014

You can link Sour Mash into four pitches with 60m, climb to the tree, then climb to the excellent ledge (bolt anchor), then climb the center crack + left diagonal crack (bolt anchor), finish with both the 10a and 9+ (instead of bringing extra draws, just place gear, both pitches take gear and you can skip bolts easily).