Type: Trad, Sport, 500 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Dave and Jennifer Wonderly 1990
Page Views: 36,948 total · 218/month
Shared By: AJ on Dec 31, 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


This fine route climbs up and along the lip of a huge roof on the right side of Black Velvet wall. Sustained climbing on excellent varnish. Every pitch is classic.

P1) 5.9. Start at some scoopy dishes 50' right of Prince of Darkness. Climb up past 3 bolts, then traverse right along horizontal features past 2 more bolts. Very nice rock and moves. A couple cams can be used in an easy crack at the top of the pitch. Bolted rap anchor.

P2) 5.9. Climb a low angle crack into a chimney. Good rock, bolted rap anchor. This pitch is 60' or so and ends on a small but flat ledge. (These first two pitches are shared with The Gobbler.)

P3) 5.10- PG. Climb up to a bolt, then traverse right around a small right facing dihedral. Clip another bolt and continue right. There may be another bolt on this pitch (memory lapse), but at any rate, there are good gear placements. You basically traverse right along the lip of the huge roof on positive holds. It is exciting for both leader and follower, but not dangerous. If you fell though, you could go over the roof and would need to climb the rope to get back on. This pitch is 120' or so and ends at a bolted anchor. Sweet.

P4) 5.10+. The crux pitch climbs straight up on immaculate varnish. There are two bolts low on the pitch, which can be supplemented by wires and TCUs. The first crux is a little further on and is protected by thin gear. There is also a tricky move up higher at the third and final bolt. Another classic pitch. 150' to hanging belay with rap anchor.

P5) 5.10. This pitch climbs straight up past bolts. No gear placements to speak of, so the bolts are a little closer together. 150' to rap anchors.

P6) More face climbing, more bolts.

P7) a shorter bolted pitch ends on Turkey Ledge.

Rappel the route with 2 ropes. Make sure to stay left of the huge roof on pitch 3.


mostly thin, to 2". Quickdraws.
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
3 bolts were replaced by the ASCA in October 2001, one at each of the first three anchors above the roof. Feb 18, 2004
Most people will probably find this a sandbag at 10+ with one pitch of PG. We felt that all subsequent pitches were about as hairy as P3. In at least one of his guides, Swain rates FOTR 10+ PG/R. Think Prince of Darkness with at best half as many bolts. That said, I found FOTR far more engrossing and satisfying than POD. Feb 27, 2004
Max Schon
Max Schon  
Did this route on 3/12/04. Without a doubt, the best route on Black Velvet Wall, though I haven't done Rock Warrior. Anyways, compared to the other routes on the Black Velvet Wall, this one is very solid for the grade. While its not dangerous, I do think it warrants a "R" rating, if only for the fact that you're looking a factor two fall off of the third and fourth belay. Granted, the climbing isn't very hard getting to the first bolt on the third pitch nor the first bolt on the fourth pitch, but nonetheless, if you blew it, you'd take a factor two fall. Having said that, the route is awesome! I saw some topos that made it seem like one should got up to a bolt on the traverse pitch. I don't think the line goes up to the bolt, but rather directly to the right out to a lone bolt near the lip of the roof. It looks a little improbable and scary, but I think that is the proper line. The fourth pitch has some 15 foot runouts between small stoppers, but the climbing is easy 5.10. The crux is definitely .10+, but there is a bolt about seven feet below, so its not scary. Mar 16, 2004
Bill Gibbs
Wichita, Ks.
Bill Gibbs   Wichita, Ks.
Did this route April 2003, and loved it even though I took a 30+ foot whipper on the 6th pitch lead when a huge hold broke. My partner and I both agreed that the scary pitch wasn't the 3rd pitch traverse, (which by the way protected just fine), but rather the upper part of the 6th pitch where it is run out over bad gear and out of sight from the belayer after traversing left from the third bolt...all over solid .10 climbing. I also felt the crux fouth pitch was a little hairy over marginal gear to the first bolt, but after that it protected just fine with the crux moves being right after the third bolt. The first two pitches can be run together easily with a 60m rope. Awesome route!!! Better than POD by far. PG for sure but not R. Double/Half ropes are a good choice if you have them. Mar 27, 2004
Scott Nelson
Scott Nelson  
Awesome route! 3rd pitch is not that scary, the crux is probably halfway across as you toe across the very lip of the roof. P4 is sustained and difficult. You are climbing up on these thin horizontal breaks on polished varnish. P5 & P6 are easier, but still sporty. We simul rapped the wall and got down in maybe 30 mins. A very satisfying day. Apr 1, 2004
I attempted this route on May 16th, and have a question, and a comment...

First the question: There looks to be three lines/routes leading up from the Gobbler's 2nd pitch belay, the left line of bolts being the Gobbler's 3rd pitch, the lone bolt way out right (horizontally) being the Fiddler, so what's the middle line of bolts? You can see a line of up to 5 bolts leading up, in a rightward trend, from the belay. One could certainly clip the first bolt, in this line, to help protect the traverse over to the Fiddler's 1st bolt, but I would agree with one of the previous posts that the "inspirational" way to start the Fiddler would be to ignore these (I'm assuming) "technically" off-route (i.e., non-original) bolts. Regardless, I'm curious... said route doesn't seem to be mentioned in any of the guides? Does anyone have any name/pitch count/beta for this line/route? It would seem that ultimately it would have to run into the Fiddler higher up?

Thanks in advance for any beta.

Second the comment: I say I "attempted" this route because my partner drew the 3rd pitch traverse, and took a fall from around 50ft out, one move before getting to some big chalked holds? A green Alien held the approximate 12 footer. While one/we would assume that a fall from the traverse would be clean, being over a roof and all, his definitely was not... he ended up slamming into the edge of the roof, and hurting his ass/hip pretty good in the process... contrary to "reputation", he COULD get back on, and didn't need prussiks, although he had some, as conventional wisdom/local beta had suggested. I guess it depends from where at in the traverse you fall? Anyway, thought some might find this anecdote amusing, and was wondering if anyone else had any "fall stories" from off of the arch?

As for my partner, he appreciates a good "fall story", even at his own expense... I won't brag on him, because that WOULD piss him off, but suffice to say that he's had some seriously outrageous days on the Velvet Wall! Pitching off of a 5.9 traverse was simply Mother Nature's way of collecting her due.

While my partner field checked his injury, I led up the 3rd pitch of the Gobbler, rendered aid to a team rapping Turkeys who had got their ropes infinitely stuck in the 4th pitch crack (a knife sometimes comes in handy), then rapped down and cleaned our gear from off of the traverse... I guess in a way, we all rapped down somewhat defeated... can't wait for a rematch. May 27, 2004
Max Schon
Max Schon  

Other people have told me the bolt line that goes straight up from the Gobbler belay is an 5.10+/.11- variation that connects back with DOWT. Oct 15, 2004
Chad Umbel
Las Vegas, NV
Chad Umbel   Las Vegas, NV
My brother and I climbed the pitch directly above the gobbler belay and also thought it was at least 5.10+. Very sustained climbing on small holds. Jan 1, 2006
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
  5.10c/d PG13
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
  5.10c/d PG13
This is a great route with an appropriate number of bolts. Definately not a Urioste route.

A few details. I found the route engaging but safe and of high quality. I beleive the correct rack would include a set of nuts and a double set of cams up to .75 camalot with one #1 and one #2 camalots. No brass nuts are necessary. The traversing 3rd pitch only has one section where there is a danger of falling off the The 6th and 7th pitches require only long draws but no traditional pro. Expect longer runnouts on easier ground but bolts protecting the harder sections and cruxes of the route. Watch for the rope snagging on the second pitch of the gobbler. May 14, 2006
ha! i will be the anti-karsten. i climbed as a second party right behind him, and as the token pansy of the team, have these comments to make:

i got in several decent trad pieces on the upper pitches which made things a bit less hairy. a bit. there are big runouts off many belays, and many big-swing fall potentials. the third (roof traverse) pitch is scarier for the second. i would not consider the route 'safe', but then- if you aren't up to the climbing on the upper scary stuff, you'll probably get shut down early and figure things out. if you felt ok on the traverse, you'll be fine for the rest of the climb. i think the lead on p6 is the scariest, uh, i mean, 'engaging'. stuff a sling into the pinching crack on p2 and save yourself an epic on lead (ive seen it!). May 15, 2006
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
A little over a decade ago, I caught a partner who pealed of on the roof traverse. After the 60+ foot fall, a small (#1?) DMM wallnut caught him, though he had a good tricam right below that too. This ended in a broken wrist, a mini-rescue (We did it ourselves) and then surgery and physical rehab.
John had just lead Yakk Crack a few days before and also followed Ixtalan the day before- he had 'confidence' in sending this. But faced with the mental challenges of the route, melted down, then melted off.
Moral of the story is to get your head straight or get hurt. This route is not 'casual.' May 15, 2006
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
  5.10c/d PG13
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
  5.10c/d PG13
Yes, there is potential for injury on this route as with almost any route. Tony, I never like hearing about accidents. While I am glad your friend is ok I believe his "confidence" was ill-placed. TRing a 5.11 and leading a 40ft notoriously soft sport climb are not adequate preparation for a route like this. I would recommend leading several single pitch 5.10 trad and mixed routes before climbing a route like this. While the cruxes of Fiddler are not too bad the overall climbing stays consistent until the top. It is not a beginner route or even a route to push your grades. The gear and bolts are enough to keep you from serious injury. That being said you must come in with a competance of climbing and a mastery of gear placing skills.

Too often people these days feel that routes are not "safe" unless you can fall at any point and be assured that absolutely nothing will happen to you. On this route for example if you are able to lead .10d moves you'll have no trouble pulling through the more runnout but easier .8 and .9 sections. The roof has one section of tricky footwork on small slippery holds and up higher on the route there is easier terrain where if you fell at the wrong spot you could take a clean but fairly big 50-60ft ride.

I believe the fun moves, great rock, and spice that this route provides makes it a noteworthy and proud climb. It's not a bolt pulling hangdogfest like the sport routes to its left. Jun 25, 2006
There seems to be a lot of confusion put forth on this page as to the origin of the bolt line between P3 of the Gobbler and the traversing pitch on Fiddler. Anyone check the most recent guidebook? It's right there, but I'll save some time: "18 Year MacAllen" is guidebook 5.11d, three pitches, 1st two shared with the Gobbler. Mostly bolts, some small gear, put up by Randy Marsh and Pier Locatelli. I won't comment on the grade as I've only climbed the first half of this one by accident, thinking I was on the Gobbler-the traverse out to the other route made for some serious rope drag. Mar 27, 2007
Danny Inman
  5.10d R
Danny Inman   Arvada
  5.10d R
Compared to other routes of similar grade on BV, the Fiddler is more solid, more sustained, and more exposed. I thought this climb was outstanding for many reasons. After the first two pitches of the Gobbler, the climbing feels pretty bold, partly due to the position and partey due to the spacing of gear. I gave the route an R for the traverse pitch, the other pitches are PG-pretty safe with some big air potential. There may be some confusion from the guidebooks on the number of bolts on the traverse pitch-two books indicated 4 bolts, one book indicated 2. We found two: one shortly after entering the R-facing corner and one about 20 feet from the belay (after the crux); however, good gear can be had just before the meat of the traverse. Apr 24, 2008
Brian Weinstein
  5.10d R
Brian Weinstein  
  5.10d R
Definitely runout at the roof. This route is incredible because it seems so improbable. Pitch 4 is up there as the single best pitch of face climbing I have ever done. Apr 25, 2008
Best route that I have ever done. BOLD< SCARY< AIRY< AWESOME MOVES< GREAT STONE.

Pitch 3 was my lead and lived up to the name and reputation. Jun 22, 2008
Sandy, UT
notmyname   Sandy, UT
One of the best routes in Red Rocks with little yawm potential (ok maybe p.1). I think that pitch 6 was the scariest, the last bolt and the journey from there to the anchor required some mental fortitude. Good warm-up for more serious climbs. I never felt any "cruxes" as I was more focused on getting in gear or to the next bolt. It could have been 5.6 or 5.11 Oct 29, 2008
soooooooo goooooood! Mar 16, 2009
Tim Wolfe
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.10+ PG13
Tim Wolfe   Salt Lake City, UT  
  5.10+ PG13
Sporty - fair distance between bolts so keeps you very focused. Pitch 4 is the crux. Pitch 6 you can sneak around the blankness to the left and reach right for the clip. Probably the best route on the main Black Velvet wall. Jan 20, 2010
jacktheburro   Denver
I've never done this route, but I have a story to add for those thinking about climbing it. Several years ago, a close friend and I were on DOWT, and as we finished the third pitch, a guy on Fiddler's peeled off, whipped around the roof and cracked his head open on the wall. Cracked his head OPEN.

We had to do a tension traverse to get him back to his partner, since he was barely conscious and hanging in open air. Blood everywhere, had to call flight-for-life, the whole nine yards. He wound up with brain damage. (He wasn't wearing a helmet; I bought my first brain bucket the very next day.)

Since I've never climbed the route, I have no idea exactly how safe it is or how unsafe it is. All I know is that he took a 60-footer and split his head open. Moral of the story is be careful to not go off route (if there is good gear) and don't climb it unless you're a solid 5.10 leader. Mar 16, 2010
John Wilder
Las Vegas, NV
  5.10c/d PG13
John Wilder   Las Vegas, NV
  5.10c/d PG13
One of the best routes in Red Rock, imho- the crux fourth pitch is likely the best pitch of 5.10 face climbing i've done in the park- and its certainly not run-out.

The only significant run-outs on this route are on the traverse pitch and the 6th and 7th pitches as noted above- the traverse protects, but marginally at times. The potential for big falls onto anchor exists on all pitches.

Rock quality is a concern on the 6th and 7th pitches, so be mindful. Also be mindful of the aging bolts on this route. They are all big stud bolts, but are rusting and need to be replaced in the not too distant future.

All in all an outstanding route that is sure to engage the 5.10 leader fully and reward him/her with some of the best climbing in the park. May 4, 2010
Tavis Ricksecker  
P4 is amazing! Mar 14, 2011
Cpn Dunsel  
One of the more serious climbs this mortal fool has done in this grade, anywhere. Fantastic climbing, but far from a 'safe outing' for the typical fakebadass 5.10 leader like myself.... Mar 21, 2011
harihari   VANCOUVER
This superb route is either run-out or hard, but generally not both at the same time. You want to be solid on 5.11- to do this: while the route maxes at 10+, it is heady, and falling is not an option in a few places, and then there is the insane position on the traverse pitch.

The first time I did it, my second whipped off the roof. It's a safe fall (there is bomber gear in the middle of the traverse). But the second MUST have prussiks/tiblocs etc, cos the only way out is to climb up the rope. And wear a helmet!

Addendum: i climbed this in 2005 and 5 days ago. It's getting harder...there are more broken holds, smoothet edges, etc. Great route tho. Oct 29, 2011
Disclaimer: The following is in regards only to the end of pitch 4. We bailed after that.


After reading the comments here, I expected this route to be much harder / scarier than it actually was.

Pitch #1 is a 5.9 slab climb of Yosemite caliber (minus the runouts).

Pitch #2 has a CRAZY move off a small ledge to gain the chimney (perfectly protected by the bolt). If, like me, you have big fat fingers, and a less than 72" wingspan, it's going to seem a little desperate. Take off any backpack you're wearing, and move that and all your gear to a sling on whatever side you plan to have facing out (neither of which I actually did).

The roof traverse pitch is, IMO totally chill, with the exception of the crux move around the arete under the small roof you encounter before moving up a crack and then traversing over the giant roof. Don't go up too high before starting to move to the right. The bolt under the little roof should be at eye level. If you crane your neck and look around the arete below the small roof, you will see a slab with chalked up solution pockets (and teeny smear ramp and dishes for feet). This is what you are shooting for.

Once you pass that, the movement is, IMO, pretty easy and there is plenty of places for gear. If the second is in danger of falling below the roof lip, then IMO, the leader should be flogged with a cat-o-nine tails with leeper hooks at the ends.

Pitch #4 is pure bliss. There's a long distance to the first bolt, but the climbing is barely 5.9 and there's a good placement in a horizontal well before you get there which will keep you from pasting your belayer.

After that comes crux #1, which is about 5.10b but is well protected by a multitude of small wires / lowe balls in horizontals.

The actual crux (which I whipped off of at the exit) is protected by bolt #3 which is about 8 - 10 feet to your right and down slightly. The key to this crux is to go slightly left of the bolt, then up past a left facing slopey(ish) side pull, into small horizontals, then left some more with the final reach being left and *up* to a good ear, then swing your left foot around the corner. It's a bit of a stretch with your feet on some pretty small edges and your right hand locked off. I am 5'9" and I was at nearly full extension.

^^^ Do *not* reach directly left for the chalked up sloper. This thing is slick as hell. It's what I was trying to use when I fell off. There's a good sidepull / ear about 1-2 feet above it. Use that.

Pitch 4 is one of the best less than vertical faces I have ever been on. This is a pure footwork climb. If your arms are getting tired, but your feet and calves are not, you are doing something very wrong because there are no hands / barely holding on one hand rests everywhere (but your calves WILL be working hard).

Pitch 4 is NOT like any of the other face routes on BV wall in that you cannot just pick any of a dozen hand and footholds at any given time. You must use some very specific sequences to make progress through thin sections, where you will then be rewarded with a good rest and good gear. The good holds are often horizontals that you cannot see until you pull up to them. The rock quality on p4 is absolutely immaculate.

If your edging skills and footwork are up to snuff, you'll have fun pretty much the whole way, and should only feel tense while pulling the one crux on p3 and the 2 cruxes on p4. If you don't trust small gear and are not great at standing on your feet, you might have a stressful time through all of it.

With the exception of the one crux move on pitch 4, good stiff shoes and strong calves mean you can hang out all day on 95% of the route. Again, your arms should not be getting very tired at all.

This route gets 7 thumbs up! Mar 20, 2013
Mojave, CA
  5.10+ PG13
ACassebeer   Mojave, CA
  5.10+ PG13
I recommend using half ropes if you have them. The gear is solid, but spaced. Pitch 6 & 7 belays have rap slings, but no rap rings like the other lower belays. Of the two, Pitch 7 slings need the most attention... Or just bring some quick links with you (I should have).

Most importantly, I was consistently amazed and happy with how the first ascentionists followed their line. Gear shows up at the most random times in very sequential places. And the lack of bolts is a nice contrast to the other routes on the wall. A proud line. This one is special.

-Aaron Mar 25, 2013
David Champion
Centennial, CO
David Champion   Centennial, CO
All this blather about how pitch 3, 4 and 5 are [insert hyperbolic adjective here], and not a word—not a freaking word!—about pitch 6? Even the route description couldn't be more anti-climactic about pitch 6: “More face climbing, more bolts.” Ho-f*cking-hum. As if! Did the route submitter even climb pitch 6? Did everyone else rap after 4, or 5? Holy $hit! Jun 14, 2013
Aaron Miller
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Miller   Santa Fe, NM
Super good climbing. Sustained, great movement, often heady, sometimes quite runout. Some rock on upper pitches is questionable but through pitch 4 is solid. Most of bolts are rusted through after pitch 2, but you are still happy to clip each one. Classic!
Lots of hanging belays, If the 5th belay had been 10 feet lower it could have provided a nice comfy scoop to stand in???? Sep 29, 2013
Las Vegas, NV
Fearless1   Las Vegas, NV
So... My friend Justin and I just climbed this thing and feel that we got a real dose of what it means to "Be In The Zone". I want to go right to the pitch after the crux because I think this is where the route becomes difficult. Mainly because of the gear and bolt spacing. There are some fairly large run-outs, 15'-20'. Granted the gear is good and the bolts appear to be solid, but after the 10d pitch you want to be heads up and in the "Zone". For me, the crux came on pitch 6 when I had to clip a bolt on a blank face with only foot holds to stand on. this was more mental than physical but still warrants a comment. After clipping this lone bolt, I had to traverse left with very interesting thumb catch holds that required a lot of opposition and great footwork. I really enjoyed the final 5.9 pitch but, thought the protection was very marginal. I am starting to understand the rock here in Red Rocks and have begun to trust the friction on its many slabs. This is definitely a climb where you want your stickiest rubber and most precise footwork. So don't be fooled by the early comments that leave out pitch 6. It is for real. BTW, bring a brush for the crux hold on the 5.10 traverse pitch 3. It is way over-chalked! Jan 24, 2014
clint helander
anchorage, alaska
clint helander   anchorage, alaska
Finally worked up the stones to climb this thing a few days back. An absolutely wonderful route with tons of exposure, holds just where you need them, and ample protection when needed.

My buddy took the dreaded whip while seconding the roof pitch and was left dangling in space. Frazzled, but cool, he then onsighted the crux pitch moments afterwards. I couldn't help laughing while he prussiked up the rope, cursing himself.

Good times, hell of a route. Definitely a different kind of route from the heavily (over)bolted routes of Prince of Darkness and DOWT. Can't wait to tackle Rock Warrior next time! Jan 30, 2014
Columbia, SC
rock-fencer   Columbia, SC
a few things about this route:

1) what is the deal with P6? we climbed past three bolts like the description and found a fourth bolt but no anchor and just lowered off a biner not wanting to do some BS traverse to the left.

2) Does anyone know the length of the bolts - because there was like 1.5-2 inch of threads past the nut on some of them?

3) Engaging climbing definitely requiring one to stay in the zone. There is a horizontal with a very thin flexing flake somewhere on the early part of P4 thats about to go. I was going to clean it but there were three parties at the base of the route. I thought pushing the route to the left at bolt 3 & 4 was un-natural. Not to mention the belay could have been placed twenty feet lower on that nice sloping ledge instead of a hanging stance.

4) there were two pieces of grey tat/slings on the traverse pitch so keep an eye out.

I enjoyed this route immensly despite the four hours of sleep and raging fire in my feet. A very worthy route, and impressive FA if it was drilled from stances Mar 13, 2014
70m Rap Beta if you top out: Rap Prince of Darkness, a stone's throw to the left. A couple raps are super close to 35m

70m Rap beta from atop P4: We bailed easily from atop P4 by rapping rightish to join Sour Mash (30m Rap), then made 3-4 raps straight down to the ground. Apr 1, 2014
Chris Sepic
Bend, OR
Chris Sepic   Bend, OR
Heads up off the belay at the start of P6. My foot blew off a polished smear resulting in a fall onto the anchor. I was only 3' above the anchor so it wasn't a big deal, but make sure you have a draw clipped on the anchor bolt! Apr 8, 2014
Cha Tate
Saint George, UT
Cha Tate   Saint George, UT
Fantastic route start to finish. In answer to rock_fencer's question, pitch six has an anchor past the fourth bolt. The span between requires either a hands free left traverse on a thin ledge, or down climb, traverse followed by a climb up and left to the anchors. A heady pitch but not serious.

Does anyone know what pitch/anchors are on the headwall above pitch seven. It is not in guidebooks but there is an old anchor there with tat. The climbing was protectable but on loose and friable rock. Would not recommend it given loose 100+ pound stones. Apr 25, 2014
John C
John C   Moab
So I attempted this route the other day. I say "attempted", because after an incident, we bailed after the third pitch.

While I agree with all the previous comments about the gear being good, though a bit spaced on the roof traverse, my partner did actually take the big one below the roof following that pitch. He was totally fine, however my rope was not so lucky. The swing on this pitch is oriented such that if you fall there, you will do a number on the sheath of your rope as it saws back and forth while hanging/prusiking back to the lip of the roof. You really don't want to fall there, either leading or seconding. While my rope just took some damage, it seems totally possible to me that another person could actually cut a rope there. Oct 1, 2014
I had a great time climbing this route last week and have a few comments:

The pitch 3 traverse can be protected. If both climbers take their time and climb patiently, no one should be falling over the roof! While I don't want to give it away, there is a choice RP and a small cam that can be placed just after the crux, but you have to climb up to the placements and then back down to continue on.

IMO pitch 5 may be the most challenging lead. The bolts have plenty of room between them and there's a bit of loose rock here and there. It might feel a little better if the bolts were shiny and new, but as others have pointed out they're getting on in years. The description above says that a rack is not needed, but you can in fact place some good gear. Bring the small cams and RPs.

While pitch 6 isn't a clip up (just like pitch 5), there are more bolts than mentioned in any of the description I read. My partner lead this pitch, but I remember there being 6 or 7. I'm wondering if some bolts have been added to the pitch?

All in all a great route! This is probably not the right choice for "breaking in" to 5.10. We climbed Drifting a few days before, and pitch 5 felt a little more spicy to me than any of the pitches I lead on Drifting.

Have fun!
Nov 12, 2014
Simon W
Nowhere Land
Simon W   Nowhere Land
Running laps on Jungle Wall (& Emerald Forrest) would kind of be good training for this, except being able to see the next bolt on those climbs makes it hard to compare. On Fiddler you never know exactly what you're going to get every time you stand up, in terms of pro and holds.

Bring the A-team and plan to have sore feet at the end of the day!

Side note: I'm not the one to do it, but the route description here needs some serious revision considering what a classic line this is. For starters the route is 800' not 500, pretty big difference when you consider the type of climbing, sustained nature and protection options. If you traversed the roof on P3 all the way on "positive holds" it would be 5.8. P5 is really when things start to get serious imo. P6 & P7 descriptions are needed. Sep 14, 2015
Canada Mofuga
hanshan   Canada Mofuga
There's a lot of comments on this climb and as always you gotta believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. I clImbed this yesterday so it's fresh in my mind. p3 can be protected well if you look around, p4 is totally kickass and safe though you climb away from your gear, p5 is runout but safe. Pitches 6 and 7 are definitely R rated though the cruxes are close to bolts a fall during the easier run outs would be real bad. They are NOT clean falls, p6 runout is low angle and above a ledge, p7 is off the belay and you'd probably land on your belayer. I think fotr is scarier than rock warrior because these falls would be bad and while the climbing is easier in the runouts face holds are always breaking on this rock. Awesome climb but I won't be doing p6 and 7 again Nov 20, 2015
greg t
Chevy, Silverado
greg t   Chevy, Silverado
Just like.. my opinion man.. but this route isn't that great. The quality of climbing doesn't really justify the runouts, nor is it that quality to begin with. If you like to run it out a bit, I think Risky Business is a much better route. Dec 17, 2015
Jorge Jordan
  5.10+ R
Jorge Jordan  
  5.10+ R
My follower fell below the roof on this not once, but twice. Be careful guys, bring your good ropes, and carry prusiks!

My partner 1st came off early, somewhere after you traverse under the small roof, before traversing over the main roof. The 2nd time he came off down and to the left of where there is a bolt (the third) a little ways above the lip of the roof maybe mid way across. Again, dangling in space.

I had used at least 10 pieces of pro on this traverse (3 nuts, 3 bolts, a slung flake, 2 small cams, a .75...), but contrary to what others have said, with rope stretch, depending on where they come off, your partner can and will swing below the roof.

The rope was none the worse for wear after the first fall which wasn't as directly over the roof, but the 2nd fall was direct and perpendicular to the roof, and rubbed back and forth menacingly a few times. No core shot, but the sheath got messed up enough that it must be chopped.

Wear good shoes, and be super duper confident leading 10+ (and serious) trad and you'll be fine. Sep 23, 2016
Derek West Newman
Salt Lake City, Utah
  5.10+ PG13
Derek West Newman   Salt Lake City, Utah
  5.10+ PG13
Fantastic route with amazing climbing at every pitch. I believe the third pitch warrants a PG13, but I only found one bolt on the entire traverse. I am very curious to know where the other two or three bolts are. Oct 24, 2016
Michael Dom  
Heads up and awesome! Go get on this climb! Jan 2, 2017

PITCH 3 BETA: The Roof Traverse

I got fiddled today and here is my only beta. We rapped off third pitch after the long traverse. Great Rap, super fun.

After the first two bolts STAY LOW-- how low can you go? This is the question you must ask yourself on this route. If you feel like you're pulling a hard move--you're probably off route. Don't let the fiddle take you to other places. I went high, turned this route into high 11, freaked out, then went low it turned out well.

STAY LOW ON THE LIP OF THE TRAVERSE!! There is one spicy move 10-15ft before the third bolt. This is a scary route if you are not used to exposure. Mar 20, 2017
So I onsighted Cloud Tower then got on this a couple days later and was almost scared out of my wits. Serious, committing, and the further away I get from it, the better I think it was. Mar 20, 2017
Mark SLC
Salt Lake City, UT
Mark SLC   Salt Lake City, UT
Did this in April in a full windstorm with 50 mph+ gusts. Suffice it to say it was full value waiting for gusts to wind down between moves to the next pro. So worth it though.
That aside, some comments about the route.

Pitch one is straightforward. Pitch two - stay in the corner which is safer but a little insecure or head out right onto the arete for easy unprotected face climbing with some consequences if you fall before moving back left.
Pitch three traverse has plenty of gear options both for the leader, and if you look around there is sufficient gear to easily and safely protect your follower as well. We thought this was a great pitch but not scary or dangerous at all. Just amazing position. If you struggle here you probably shouldn't go further. After the traverse it's pretty on. Healthy runouts at times for the remainder pitches on thin climbing. Often immaculate varnish.
The bolting is in places certainly PG, maybe R - especially when factoring in the old bolts.
I would say the bolting when placed was very well done, but the bolts and anchors with the passage of time need to be replaced/upgraded. Many are showing signs of age and healthy runouts in sandstone are fine, but a bit sketchy with such old bolts. We thought we were off route a few times as there are places where the runouts are long enough and bolts old enough for such a classic line that it seemed that way.

This is one of the best routes out there in Red Rock, but probably not for the 10+ aspiring trad leader. For a nice long mixed route jump on levitation or cloud tower - though harder they are much less committing- be on your A game for this one. It's worth it! Aug 25, 2017
John Wilder
Las Vegas, NV
  5.10c/d PG13
John Wilder   Las Vegas, NV
  5.10c/d PG13
On September 15th, 2017, the ASCA replaced the following bolts on Fiddler:

Pitch 3 (end of traverse)- first pro bolt by anchor on the right and removed two old bolts. New stainless link and ring on left hand anchor bolt.

Pitch 4 (top) - left hand anchor bolt and first pro bolt by anchor.

Pitch 5 (top) - right hand anchor bolt and first pro bolt by anchor.

All new bolts are 2.75" x 1/2" stainless 5-piece. Sep 15, 2017
Sam Fearer
Torrance, CA
Sam Fearer   Torrance, CA
Rapping from the route's top anchor to the P6 anchors is possible with two 70's, but probably not recommended. The ropes pass the P6 rap rings with little to spare... knot the ends! Feb 7, 2018
Andrew Schrader
Helena, MT
Andrew Schrader   Helena, MT
Fun, engaging, and sustained climbing the whole climb. Pretty spicy in a few locations. 5.10+ R, doubles from 0.1 to 0.5, singles 0.75 to #2s. Decent set of nuts. Apr 5, 2018
Cres Simpson
Cambridge, MA
Cres Simpson   Cambridge, MA
Climbed this one on 4/15 as a newbie to RR climbing and my first Black Velvet climb.

Pitches 2-4 were great. The movement was awesome and even P2, though easy, had some cool dihedral moves which took some puzzling out. I agree with other posters here that P3 didn't feel as spicy as some have indicated. There is certainly adequate (if not plentiful gear) and really only one spot where I felt like I would pitch off the roof if I fell. That said, the leader and follower should both be solid at the grade. P4 was harder than expected - perhaps I took a bad sequence or just my unfamiliarity w/ the rock but I had to try harder than I thought I would for 10+.

Leading P5 was a head game and not all that much fun, imho. Several areas of rotten rock that were necessary to move through and big runouts over what felt to me to be questionable bolts (lots of rust). I basically treated the whole pitch as no-fall terrain. We bailed after P5 but it sounds like P6-7 are the same. If I were to do this again I'd climb through P4 and then rap off unless you enjoy medium-long runouts over questionable bolts. Apr 17, 2018
Rapped this entire route from the ledge. Seems like all hardware and belays have been updated. May 19, 2018