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Swine Tasting T 

The Black Pearl 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 170'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: FRA Larry DeAngelo, Karsten Duncan - March 31, 2008
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 4,157
Submitted By: Karsten on Apr 3, 2008

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The beginning of a long and intimate friendship wi...

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


In this unassuming little nook lies one of the best cracks you'll find in the park. The Black Pearl is a classic old-school style testpiece. Superb ebony rock plus a variety of interesting moves and sizes make this one of the best single pitch routes you'll find. I would give it 6 stars if I could.

There are 2 crux sections but the climbing is fairly consistent the entire way. While much of the climbing is wider, the occasional face hold or foot makes the climb more elegant and varied but still a physical endeavor.


The climb lies almost directly across the canyon from the Cloud Tower route. Approach up trails as you would to access the brownstone or rainbow wall. As you enter the canyon there is a red-dirt trail that leads out of the wash going up the center of the canyon. Continue on this trail until you pass a large fallen pine on your right. Just after this pine cut rightward off the trail. Go down a grassy slope into a wash. Cross the wash and make your way into a dark recess. The Pearl is on the lefthand side of the recess.

From the top of the route you can traverse back (left) to a clump of bushes with a long rope extending over the edge. A double rope rap gets you down.


1/2 set of nuts
Singles of small cams to #.75 camalot
Doubles from #1-#4 camalot
Optional #5 and #6 camalot

Natural belay anchors at top takes either a large cam or some finesse with nuts.

There is typically a long sling or rope that extends over the lip to allow for a smooth rappel over the edge. Notice comments below however that this area seems to be prone to rapid disentigration of webbing. Plan accordingly.

Photos of The Black Pearl Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Karsten, Larry, and the bottom of "Black Pear...
Karsten, Larry, and the bottom of "Black Pear...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Black Pearl
BETA PHOTO: The Black Pearl
Rock Climbing Photo: DeAngelo heads for the top.
DeAngelo heads for the top.
Rock Climbing Photo: Coming to grips with the bulge.
Coming to grips with the bulge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper portion of "Black Pearl"
Upper portion of "Black Pearl"
Rock Climbing Photo: A short finger crack to open the ball.
A short finger crack to open the ball.
Rock Climbing Photo: Showing a little more of the route's context.
BETA PHOTO: Showing a little more of the route's context.
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the bulge of the upper crux section.
Approaching the bulge of the upper crux section.
Rock Climbing Photo: Karsten starts up the magnificently varnished Blac...
Karsten starts up the magnificently varnished Blac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Established in the Black Pearl's upper crack.  Jus...
Established in the Black Pearl's upper crack. Jus...

Comments on The Black Pearl Add Comment
Show which comments
By Larry DeAngelo
From: Las Vegas, NV
May 11, 2008

I was just up here again and noticed the rappel anchor was already showing some signs of sun bleaching. It wouldn't be a bad idea for the next folks up here to reinforce the anchor. This needs about 30 feet or so of webbing or rope. If you are willing to do a little easy downclimbing, you could descend with just a single 60-meter rope.

On a down note, I noticed that somebody has been up here real recently with a saw or pruning shears. The result was unsightly, unnecessary, and illegal.
By meo
Oct 17, 2008

5.9 ????
I found the squeeze chimney impassable today. I need to be related to Mr. Herbst to make this climb feel like 5.9 or I must be just a wimp. What a beautiful looking route. This one goes on my Revenge Tick List.
Okay got revenge today. I don't know if it was intended but was able to skip the squeeze chimney by climbing out on the face and following a set of huecos for about 25 feet or so. Stayed in the crack chimney the rest the way. I could give it 5.9 now. But you need 5. effort to get this one.
Backed up the faded rope rappel with nice new cord and a rap ring.
By Susan Ruff
Apr 24, 2014

What a fun climb! Tests out the climber's ability on a range of crack sizes. :) Our first time on the belay ledge (this January), we backed up the anchor with a nut I found hanging in the belay ledge's bush.

A fun continuation is to take Swine Tasting Party pitch 2 and The Minerva to the top of the buttress.
By Sean Stoops
From: Henderson, NV
Nov 24, 2014

Take up a 20ft+ piece of webbing for the rap anchor anytime you climb this. We got up there to find two very brittle cords for the anchor. You could literally break them in half by a little bit of flexing! We made a new anchor with rope, but it's very exposed and thus weathers quickly.

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