Type: Trad, 420 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Herbst, Grandstaff, Kaufman '77
Page Views: 29,067 total · 157/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on Feb 17, 2004
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


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


Jake Wyatt
Longmont, CO
Jake Wyatt   Longmont, CO
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. Feb 17, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
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 Feb 18, 2004
Matt Faust
Matt Faust  
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. Feb 25, 2004
Climbing the 'balls' certainly made the route worthwhile. I was giggling through that section. Mar 29, 2005
Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
  5.8+ PG13
Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?   Vegas
  5.8+ 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)

Sep 23, 2005
Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
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. Aug 30, 2006
Danny Inman
Danny Inman   Arvada
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. Nov 27, 2006
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? Mar 7, 2007
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
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) Mar 7, 2007
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
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. Mar 7, 2007
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). Mar 26, 2007
Salt Lake City, Utah
46and2   Salt Lake City, Utah
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!! May 15, 2007
Matt McMurray
Castle Rock, CO
Matt McMurray   Castle Rock, CO
Ron's notes will serve you well on this climb... Fun moderate, with the first two pitches being excellent. Aug 27, 2007
Johan Grahnen
Palo Alto, CA
Johan Grahnen   Palo Alto, CA
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. Mar 22, 2008
Decatur, GA
  5.8+ PG13
saxfiend   Decatur, GA  
  5.8+ 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! Apr 7, 2008
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! Dec 28, 2009
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
stellar! Mar 29, 2010
Top Rope Hero
Was Estes Park, now homeless
Top Rope Hero   Was Estes Park, now homeless
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. Mar 31, 2010
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. Jan 28, 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. Jan 29, 2012
Tim Wolfe
Salt Lake City, UT
Tim Wolfe   Salt Lake City, UT  
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. Mar 31, 2012
Peter Lewis
Bridgton, ME
Peter Lewis   Bridgton, ME
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. May 21, 2012
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. Dec 3, 2012
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) Mar 31, 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. Apr 1, 2013
Oak Park, CA
Sean   Oak Park, CA
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. Apr 11, 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. Apr 14, 2013
Rich T
Rich T  
Climbed Lotta Balls on Monday and there are shiny bolts for the third rappel now. Hard to miss. Oct 10, 2013
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. Oct 24, 2014
Stan Pitcher
Stan Pitcher   SLC, UT
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). Nov 12, 2014
M Bageant
Los Angeles, CA
M Bageant   Los Angeles, CA
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. Apr 2, 2015
Matt Skorina
Bend, OR
Matt Skorina   Bend, OR
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. Oct 7, 2015
Paul Simon
  5.8 R
Paul Simon  
  5.8 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. Nov 3, 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. Nov 4, 2015
5.8 balls is a little spicy, so would not recommend to a new leader, but should be fine if you just concentrate and focus on your feet. Route is totally do-able with a full 60m, but if you have a cut rope, you might not even make it to the second anchor station [I had about 10 feet left]. Second half of 3rd pitch of 5.FUN has an excellent ledge with huge cam opportunities about 20 feet shy of the trees if you stretch it with about 5 feet left in the rope. You can choose to solo the finish from there or lead a super quick pitch if your follower isn't comfortable. Rap would be different with a 60, might take 4 raps instead of 3, as using the full length of a 70m rope setup for the first rappel from the massive tree gets you right to the next rap station, whereas the 60 would drop you off in the middle of a chasm if you're not careful. Might be down-climbable..? Apr 4, 2016
artem Vasilyev
New York, NY
artem Vasilyev   New York, NY
Stellar 2nd pitch. 2 bolts for 40 ish feet, tiny bit of spice but nothing crazy. Felt closer to 5.9 slab to me, but it's impossible to tell with the lower grades. Definitely pretty technical, fun climbing. Jan 12, 2018
Edgar Klein  
Weather: sunny / cloudy (26C / 78.8F)
Approach: 53 minutes -- and we were decently fast (at least we were sweaty)
- Black Diamond: single rack to no 4
- Black Diamond: doubled .75, 1, and 2
- some micro cams
- some cams of sizes between the single rack
- full set of nuts
- 2 single 70m ropes
One leader and two followers.

P1: retrofitted anchor (2 new bolts and 1 old bolt)

P2: 2 good bolts on a very comfortable ledge

P3: topped out -- 70 m rope is just a few yards too short to reach the top of the scramble. Hence, we symo climb a few yards, threw two long slings around a big bolder and there was a good anchor.

I won't describe the pitches because the guide book and the description here are good. The climb is beautiful, located in a breathtaking scenery and definitely worth the hike. We started rappelling from the tree which has a really good sling around it -- just a bit higher than the top of the scramble. One 70m rope was enough but pretty tight -- 60m might be enough according to other descriptions but then you might want to downclimb to another smaller tree instead and rappel from that one -- looks less solid. The next two rappels are much shorter. Apr 6, 2018
Las Vegas
Raz   Las Vegas
While climbing the first pitch, it may be a good idea to continue climbing past the first belay station and clip the 2 bolts on the P2, then return to the belay anchors. This way you eliminate the risk of a factor 2 fall on the second pitch.

Careful climbing will get you over the balls section without much trouble and without much risk. The crux seems to be just above the second bolt. Above the balls, and before the corner, you get on very comfortable and positive holds from which you can place adequate protection. Apr 7, 2018
Cleveland, OH
DavidTighe   Cleveland, OH
If you climb this in the near future take a look in the crack after you pull over the roof on p3. I dropped my jacket in there from the belay above but didn't have enough daylight left to go fetch it.

It's a red Patagonia Houdini bundled up into it's own pocket. If you find it I'll give a prize and pay for shipping. Apr 12, 2018
I've uploaded the GPX file for the approach to Alltrails.com. You can download it and put it into any GPS device and save yourself some time getting to the climb. Message me if you can't find it. May 2, 2018
John Pan
Los Angeles, California
John Pan   Los Angeles, California
Warning: At top of pitch 3, the first small anchor tree at the end of the crack has a few large 250+ lb boulders that move and will very likely tumble down the route in the near future.

The party behind shiftrd it and it took two
men to hold it in place and then short it to prevent it from falling.

Becareful where you step and grab near that tree.

Climbed on 4/20/19.

Climbed 4/20. Apr 21, 2019 · Temporary Report