Type: Trad, 1000 ft, 9 pitches, Grade III
FA: Uriostes, 10/79
Page Views: 104,721 total · 570/month
Shared By: M. Morley on Feb 19, 2004 with updates from bruce lella and 1 other
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

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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 super classic of Red Rock Canyon NCA has a little bit of everything; cracks, face, big pro, small pro and is nine pitches long. The route is at the mouth of Juniper Canyon. The access is the same for Olive Oil, but Crimson is located on the Cloud Tower, which can be identified by a pinkish tower capped by a red top. The Cloud Tower is located on the north facing side of Juniper Canyon. As you approach the mouth of Juniper you'll see a bushy ramp that angles up and right (west) to the base of the route. Follow the climber trail up the ramp to the route's beginning.

P1 - Straight up the crack / right corner to a bolt belay 5.7 (130 ft).

P2 - Pitch 2 continues to climb the same crack / corner until you reach a recess with another 2 bolt belay. 5.8 four bolts (90 ft).

P3 - You can link pitches 2 and 3 with a 60 meter rope. Nice jams on this pitch. Continue up past a steep section to a 2 bolt hanging belay. 5.8+ (65 ft).

P4 - Enjoy the chimney above and continue on into the small cracks to a nice ledge to belay. 5.8 (90 ft).

P5 - Continue up the small-to-hand cracks past a bolt for 90 feet to another small ledge 5.8+ (90 ft).

P6 - Up another 90 feet angling right following 5 bolts. 5.6 (90 ft).

P7- A nice long face pitch clipping 9 bolts that will end in the red rock. 5.6 (110 ft).

P8 - Continue up the RR to a ramp with a bolt. Then traverse directly to your right, remember your follower, and then up the left ramp. Finish the pitch up the varnished face clipping 3 bolts. 5.7 (75 ft).

P9 - Up and right clipping 4 bolts over a small roof to the top. 5.8 (80 ft).

[Reprinted with permission from Jed Botsford, Climbing Ranger - RRCNCA].


Many bolts, 12-15 draws (more if linking pitches), plus single rack to 3" (doubles in the smaller range if you really want to sew it up).


Rap the route with a single 70m (barely) or two shorter ropes.

Pro Tips

  • This is one of the most popular moderate multi-pitch routes in Red Rocks. Plan on crowds. Consider a nearby alternative such as Ginger Cracks, Power Failure, Unimpeachable Groping, Test Tube, or Spare Rib if multiple parties are on route or waiting in line at the base.
  • The route is almost entirely in the shade the majority of the year. It is often windy as well. Plan accordingly.
  • The route can be climbed in as few as 5 pitches if linking. Bring extra draws.
  • All belays are hanging.
  • It is common to have ropes snag on rappel.
  • If in doubt, bring a headlamp (never a bad idea).


M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
As Kevin correctly points out, this route is immensely popular. It is not uncommon to have a party on every pitch. Since the only descent is by rapping the route, the belays can get crowded and rope management as well as good communication with other parties is essential. Allow plenty of time for the descent, count on getting your rope stuck at least once, and bring a headlamp. Feb 21, 2004
Note to all you aspiring Vegas Climbers:

You don't HAVE to do Crimson Chrysalis. Really. It's not manditory. It's not really any better than a lot of other Vegas routes. Ginger Cracks is more fun. Black Dagger is a hoot. Everything in Black Velvet is great. But Crimson Crysalis is nearly always plastered with endless gumbies that just have to do this one route.

While the line is classic the climbing isn't particularly notable. I can barely remember any of the pitches anymore - they all blend together. Lots of hanging belays. Serious problems with ropes getting stuck on the way down. People everywhere. You can't pass slow parties.

Before you do CC, stop by the Pine Creek pullout at dusk and count the headlamps. I've seen 3 or 4 parties rapping in the darkness on many occasions. It's not fun. You'll get ticketed if you don't tell the rangers you're staying late. Your ropes will get stuck. You'll stagger through the cactus and get lost on the myriad of trails leading down from CC in the dark.

If you still have to do CC, start early. Really early. Be the first party there. Be prepared to do something else if there's a crowd ahead of you. Start rapping if it's getting late and come back another day.

There. You've been warned.


Mar 8, 2004
Max Schon
Max Schon  
Yes, this route is crowed. Yes, your ropes will get stuck rapping. Yes, you should still do this route. The only downside to this route, is the unnecessary bolts on the first couple pitches. The route would be a lot more stimulating if you had to bring some big gear. We didn't bring anything bigger then a gold Camalot. Mar 16, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Back in the "good ol' days" we used to drive the loop road backwards to get a jump on everyone for this route. Now, with the severe tire damage in place, the field is leveled and parties jocky for position as the entrance gate opens. The best thing to look for in a partner is good aerobic conditioning for the race up to the base. I had fun on this route, but then again we did win the race that day...

I'd take a #3 Camalot as otherwise the first pitch is runout (see the first photo). But you don't need it higher up. Mar 18, 2004
Scott Conner
Lyons, CO
Scott Conner   Lyons, CO
Wow, John P. What a buzz kill. This route is a one star and Cat in the Hat is a must do? Huh. I like your Vegas page, though...

The other option for getting a jump on other parties, since you can't drive the loop road backwards anymore, is to hike in from the end of the loop road. There's a large parking area there and if you're willing to hike an extra mile or so (each way) you can start as early as you want and finish as late as you want. Mar 18, 2004
A few years ago I climbed this route with a bevy of aging hardmen (guys up to 62, at 34 I was the youngest by 11 years). By registering the day before we were given the combination for the loop road gate to start early. We started hiking by about 6:00am and 7 of us were on top at 1:00pm. The descent for all 7 of us took about 2 hours. No stuck ropes and two parties came up behind us with no problems. Several of these guys had backgrounds in guiding, rescue and rigging. This was one of the greatest climbing experiences I've had. By being thoughtful and keeping your wits about you you can avoid the common problems of stuck ropes and belay cluster#&*@s that can occurr on this route. Climb it! Mar 20, 2004
OK - maybe I was a little harsh. The line of CC is absolutely classic. I'm sure a lot of people have had really good experiences there - my first trip up it was excellent. The thing that gets to me is that so many people come to Vegas and ignore tons of good routes just to join the conga line on CC. If I can scare some of those guys onto other quality routes I've done my job.

Tradgirl was up there last week and found something like 6 parties patiently waiting their turn at the base. At least she had sense enough to go climb a different route.

That said, if it's not the busy season or if you're willing to get the early start you'll have a blast.

John Mar 23, 2004
the rap anchor on the top needs a little TLC. the top bolt is loose (spinner hanger, you can wiggle the bolt with your fingers)

anthony Apr 27, 2004
I think this is a cool route simply because it is long and for 5.8 pretty dang steep. But, you gotta admit, it's the same move over and over and over again. Reach up for incut crimp, bring feetup, stand up and repeat. I think I did one hand jam on this route just for the hell of it even though I didn't really need to. I think my experience was also diminished on this route because the crux isn't the climbing nor the length of the route, but it's getting to the base before the hordes. Aug 10, 2004
We did this route on 11/10 and didn't see another soul. I can't believe that people will b#$ch about this route. Same move over and over, ropes get stuck, extra bolts (here's an idea, don't clip em)other people on the route, too many trails to choose from and hanging belays to boot. Hush whiners, this climb is great, period. Can't really beat 9 pitches of well protected, exposed, super positive 5.8 climbing. (Except maybe next door on unimpeachable)Get there early and watch your ropes. Nov 18, 2004
All experience is subjective 5.10b4me. No crowds would have made the day for me. But that wasn't the case when I did it. It was a clusterfu#@ of humanity up there. Nov 19, 2004
Legs Magillicutty
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
Best moderate I've ever done! Apr 6, 2005
John Hegyes
Las Vegas, NV
John Hegyes   Las Vegas, NV
Climbed this route today, May 20. It was 100 degrees in town; the route was windy and moderately hot. We were surprised to be in the sun for most of the climb. Plan on linking pitches 9 + 8 and 3 + 2 on rappel. The bolts on the final pitch could use replacing. May 20, 2005
Just in case any girls are wondering,(because I sure was) there's a small, semi-comfortable (as when compared to the hanging belays) "picnic" ledge on the summit of C.C. and one nice sized chunk of rock to duck behind if you had to pee really bad; Not like I had to ,but I noticed it was there. The boys can stretch their legs and rest their aching feet up there too, but you will have to be careful, as you will be climbing a little past the last set of anchors . The views are absolutely beautiful from up top. Loved following this climb (Jonny led;Hey...did I ever thank you baby? ) Not sure how soon I'd be ready to do it again. Maybe next year. Whew!! Aug 7, 2005
Portland, OR
rpc   Portland, OR
Best 5.8 I've ever been on. Think it's consistently 5.8 (no plus) on almost every pitch IMHO. Feb 1, 2006
Aimee Rose
Bend, or
Aimee Rose   Bend, or
When I did this route, we were lucky enough to be the only people on it. Now I realize what a rarity that was! It is an amazing line, but very crowded. We hiked up there yesterday to do Cloud Tower and by the time we got to the top of the 3rd pitch a party that was there before we arrived, finally go their turn on CC. My advice would be to bring the guidebook when you head up there to do it and if it's super crowded, get on one of the other classics nearby. I've heard great things about Spare Rib, Ginger Cracks, and Test Tube. Mar 28, 2006
Just climbed this route on a Blitzkrieg trip from Flagstaff, we drove in thursday, climbed friday, drove back friday night. It was well worth the commute. Fantastic Route with great climbing. We brought a double set to #3, a 3.5 and a 4 camalot and 10 slings. If we were to do it again I'd bring only a single set to #3, the 4 maybe and 15 slings and thats it! Stellar stellar route, cold throughout the day though and a little snow at the top of the 8th pitch. Notes on the Rappel, pitch 8 and 9 can be combined and so can 2 and 3. No problems with ropes in the cracks but could see where some of the plates could snag a line. Again sweet route. Apr 1, 2006
Ian Wolfe
Fayetteville, NC
Ian Wolfe   Fayetteville, NC
If you want an interesting perspective on the route, climb The Black Dagger or Bird Hunter Buttress, you can see the climbers on Crimson Chrysalis in profile. On that note, be careful what you shout from Crimson Chysalis, as us climbers on the Brownstone and Rainbow Walls can hear you perfectly! Apr 28, 2006
Nate Furman
Salt Lake City, Utah
Nate Furman   Salt Lake City, Utah
There's a lot of poorly buried (or not at all) human feces next to the base of this route. Please be a little more LNT disposing of your waste and taking care of Red Rocks. Consider buying a couple wag bags and just sticking them in your climbing pack, or at least digging a deeper hole.

Nate Oct 12, 2006
Calgary, AB
Sandro   Calgary, AB
This was my 1st long route at Red Rock and I was sorely disappointed by it. I cannot understand why it so popular. I found the bolts to be often unnecessary and placed in such a way as to disrupt the flow of the climb. I often found myself wondering why a belay station had been placed where it was when there was a perfectly good ledge within eyesight. I also felt that the 8+ rating was pretty soft. That said, the upper pitches were spectacular and I'm glad to have climbed it, but there are soo many better routes out there without the zoo. Dec 4, 2006
I didn't think this route was that good either. There were a ton of bolts on it often times when there was a perfectly good crack within reach. Also, we didn't think any of the moves warranted 5.9 or 5.8+ rating. It was kind of a straightforward climb and not very committing seeing as there are rap anchors at every belay. Feb 11, 2007
Matt McMurray
Castle Rock, CO
Matt McMurray   Castle Rock, CO
I don't consider CC a 'Four-Star Classic,' maybe three-minus and here's why:
1) The approach hike is heinous, especially if you have the 'heavy' pack.
2) Several of the belay stances are awkward or hanging, which makes for sore ankles and a generally unpleasant belay. I too question some of the belay locations... why not place the pitch 4 belay on the huge ledge about 15 feet lower?
3) Rapping through the parties below can be time consuming and frustrating depending on their comfort and organization at the belay stations (I shared the p#7 hanging belay with a group of three that was following our party, and then shared the p#5 belay with another group of two). I am totally impressed with Crusty's account of their time up and down. My story was much different...
4) Even if you are careful, your ropes are bound to get caught on the chickenheads as you pull them. Fortunately, we were able to free them each time (they got stuck on every rap except the first pitch's).

The climbing is fun, but I don't plan on climbing CC again for the reasons stated above. There are SEVERAL other routes of equal or better quality without all these drawbacks.

Here are some other points on the climb:
1) Be the first group... don't leave this to chance, or a foot race. Park at the end of the loop road and hike in...early!
2) Link pitches 2 & 3, and 8 & 9 when climbing with a 60m rope. My partner and I also linked 5 & 6, but this required us to simulclimb about 15 feet of 5.6 terrain.
3) If you have some stretched-out ropes, you could probably combine the rappels for pitches 5 & 6. They are both just over 100' (not 90' as the route description says). As I rapped from P6 anchor I was at the half way mark on my rope when I hit the P5 anchor. Same situation for the P5 rappel. With the ropes hanging straight it would seem you could make it. Anyone else tried this?
4) Bring a windbreaker, as even if the weather is sunny and nice the winds pick-up the higher you climb.

MM Mar 12, 2007
John Hegyes
Las Vegas, NV
John Hegyes   Las Vegas, NV
Matt, I totally respect your opinion that this route is overrated but I'd point out that the approach and the hanging belays deserve more credit than you give them and add to the overall flavor of the route.

Could you imagine if this route was next to the road? It's crowded now, but it would be a sea of people if access were any easier. And the hanging belays, while uncomfortable, do testify to the greatness of this climb - how many routes out there at this grade and this length are completely void of ledges?

The rap situation is regrettable, I agree. This route would definitely benefit from a separate rappel route. Mar 12, 2007
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
4 stars on a weekday if you get through with the hike before it is hot out and and lead each pitch quickly so as not to hang in belays for long.
2 stars on a weekend if you sleep in and start when it is hot out and then have to have to wait in the conga line at the belays. Mar 12, 2007
And a....

If you're PMS'ing,and climbing with a significant other ,in cold brutal winds all day,and into the night after a rat had chewed and drained your water bladder before you even started the climb, as you were delayed by other parties ahead of you all bailing off the first pitch, and then you have your ropes stuck on every rappel, after bailing in the dark 6 pitches up, dehydrated, and starving, and finally getting back to your car at midnight with a 150.00 ticket on your windshield on your epic date on CC. Wait a minute, that epic's a 4 star for me! I love epics when it's all said, and done (genetic problem). Mar 12, 2007
I did the climb three years ago. We were there during the Red Rock Rondevous(not planned) We climbed it on a Saturday and there was only one other party on the route. I guess all the Rendevous people were busy crowding the sport crags. Anyway I thought that the climbing was fun an relaxed. The belays were a bit uncomfortable, but added to the "biggness" of the route. As far as the approach goes, reasoning that the tough approach takes away from the star value of a climb is pretty silly. With that type of reasoning then Eagle Dance, Levitation, Cloud Tower, anything on Mt. Wilson and many more Red Rock classic routes are lesser routes due to the effort required to reach them. I acutally think that the contrary is true. The harder that you have to work to get to a route, the more you appreciate the whole experience and more goes into earning the ascent. Either way I thought that Crimson was an excellent route and alot of fun. Mar 13, 2007
I actually love the hike up to CC, but that's probably because I was a power hiker/scrambler in RR for years, before I was a climber. It's a beautiful hike but can be considered a pain with a heavy pack on, with a foot race to the base. My first time it was an epic, the second time we did CC, it went as smooth as butter; beautiful day, and no problem with rope snags. It's a great classic route! Mar 13, 2007
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
Personally, I loved the route. Great fun even when it's cold. From our little jaunt...


~Susan Mar 14, 2007
Wow....!!! Just "shows to go you" that people have different perspectives. Although there were a few too many bolts, and the belays are not necessarily in the best locations (and many of them are not comfortable), I found: 1) the approach, while long, was not unpleasant, 2) that there were a few (perhaps two or three) 5.9 moves, 3) the exposure awesome, 4) no problems with pulling the ropes on the raps, and 5) the climbing fun and unique. Cold weather kept us (fun day with jodie and Marcy; thanks ladies!) from finishing the climb, though. I will definitely return to CC! Mar 26, 2007
Matt McMurray
Castle Rock, CO
Matt McMurray   Castle Rock, CO
Regarding my whining post about the approach... okay, I admit that a climb's approach shouldn't influence it's rating. I was tired, frustrated by the other groups we had to rap through, and by the hike out in the dark. The climbing itself was great. I could see the belay stations as not being as bad as I described if you didn't have to stay there long (it was my partner's third multi-pitch, and thus slow climbing and transitions). The exposure is awesome, and the summit rewarding. Okay, fine... it's a classic! I just wish my day had been better. =)

MM Apr 9, 2007
Meredith DB
Boulder, CO
Meredith DB   Boulder, CO
In my opinion, Chrimson Chrysalis is fun but not the best route ever. If you go in expecting a fun climb, you will probably enjoy it. If you go in expecting the best classic of all time, you will probably be disappointed. Apr 26, 2007
Another vote for absolutely classic. You don't get 1000 foot tall 5.8's any steeper than this. And surprisingly mellow for a nine pitch climb. Just make sure you're first in the long line, but isn't that the case with almost every absolute classic 5.8 in the country? Now, for all you player haters out there... you want to get away from lines just hop on the Cloud Tower instead! :) Jun 29, 2007
Las Vegas
sqwirll   Las Vegas
I enjoyed this route, but I don't think it was as great as everyone makes it out to be. The formation and line are sweet, but the climbing is a little too repititive for my taste. Unbelievably, when we showed up on a Saturday only 1 other party was there. We followed them for a couple pitches, then they were cool enough to let us pass. Thanks guys. Some of those belays are poorly placed as mentioned before. I can't imagine hanging out at some of those belays with other parties. Anyone have any idea why they were put there - ease of rope pull, using 50m ropes at the time? Oct 30, 2007
Mike   Phoenix
While this is a great climb, you have to wonder: why all the bolts??? Seriously, they are everywhere, right next to excellent placements.

IF you are really solid at the grade then you don't really even need a rack. Maybe a set of nuts or some Tricams at most. We did it in 5 long pitches with a 70m rope and a tiny bit of simul-climbing, placing only 2 pieces of pro. This, like many Red Rocks moderates, is a great climb to just cruise on. If parties are ahead of you, there are some variations to pass without disturbing them. Nov 14, 2007
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
Hey Mike,

I agree about the bolts but I guess this is a perfect example of don't clip them if you don't want to. Or.........skip the rack. Read our TR a few comments up..... no gear was placed.

Any way you do it, it's a nice line with fun bomber rock. Enjoy!

Susan Nov 14, 2007
phil Sabet
phil Sabet  
My brother and I had a great experience on this climb...perhaps do to the fact that we had the rare and pristine 1st party experience. I personally liked the third pitch the most, although, toward the end of the first pitch, if you avoid easy moves up the shallow right corner and climb a vertical hand bar feature with a sequence of about three moves (hands and foot smears) directly to the anchors, it's actually quite spicy...making the 1st pitch significantly harder than 5.7 climbing. I recommend this variation if you want to put some zest in the easy breakfast pitch. There are a lot of bolts and bomber features on the route, so I recommend a single rack up to #3 Camelot with maybe some doubles in the smaller pieces. I don't think we placed a single nut...but bring a nut tool...it came in handy as one of our ropes got snagged on the descent. It wasn't a bad descent, but our ropes were new and one of them developed a random kink in the wrong spot, as we've all experienced. Salute. Mar 30, 2008
OKClimber   Folsom
Quality route, not as "overbolted" as some previous comments may suggest, except in one location on one of the upper pitches. I am a sold 5.10 trad climber and placed at least a couple pieces on most of the pitches. I only mention this because I dont want other climbers to be lured into a false sense that they can leave their racks at home!
As for the popularity of this one goes, I dont know what all the fuss is about. It was a three star, maybe three and a half star, route, but not four. It appears this routes popularity is keeping parties away. Ive been in Juniper Canyon four times in the last 6 weeks and never saw more than 2 parties on this climb. Sunday when I climbed it, there was only one other party on the route...and it was a beautiful day. Apr 29, 2008
PDF Fusco  
To all climbers inspiring to climb CC.

Bring a HEAD LAMP, there is a high probability of having rope issues on the rappel if you are inexperienced with quality rope management. The are lots of cracks and chicken heads to get your rope stuck on not to mention that the route is very exposed to wind.

New climbers, brush up on your rope management skills as well as learn the techniques to retrieve a rope that is stuck safely.

Fun route, but I cant give it a classic rating because of the contrived bolting.

For the 5.8 leader, bring lots of quick draws, and .3-3 inch rack. double #1,#2 BD or equivalent

Stronger parties can make due with a a couple of smallish pieces and a 1,2,3 BD with out excessive run outs.

For the people recommending to leave the rack at home, not very smart, it is one thing to solo, it is another thing to run a route out 40+ feet over a sand stone anchor and take a fall killing both you and your partner, and maybe other parties on the route.
Save your showboating for 8a.nu Oct 8, 2008
Sierra Vista, AZ
Meghan   Sierra Vista, AZ
There was a post a while back, but as an update, as of 3/9/09 one of the two bolts for the anchor on the last pitch is still a spinner and the bolt is loose in the wall. Really fun route-- we didn't see anybody else all day (of course, it was so cold that everybody else was probably smart enough to climb something sunny... but nonetheless, it was deserted...)

:-) Mar 10, 2009
Robert MacKinnon  
A fantastic, albeit over-crowded, route. Long, sustained, and steep for the grade!

Has anybody rapped the entire route with a single 70m rope? It looked close on the 7th pitch so we used a second rope to be cautious, but I'm pretty sure that all the other pitches can be rapped with a single 70m (we did most of them this way including the 1st pitch so it must not really be 130ft). The route doesn't wander much nor have a lot of loose rock making double or twin ropes less important. It would be nice to only bring one rope as it would not only be lighter on the ascent but, in my opinion, less likely to get stuck on the descent. Even better would be if a separate rappel line were put in at 30m intervals off to side to avoid rapping through other parties. Mar 22, 2009
eric whewell
Longmont, CO
eric whewell   Longmont, CO
This route really deserves a seperate rappel route due its popularity. May 19, 2009
don vincent
Salt Lake City, Utah
don vincent   Salt Lake City, Utah
Watch your packs! There's a vile, evil, nasty critter that tore a 4-inch hole in the top of my pack to eat my food. The same critter, or maybe one of his hommies, tore a similar hole in a climber's pack the previous day. Unfortunately, I only found out this vital information too late to save my pack and my tuna snack. Jun 1, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
that little bastard is still there, eh? he chewed a hole in the lid of my brand new Bora 40 years ago my first time up the route just to get at my sammich! 'course, its probably his kids these days, as that was a while back.... Jun 3, 2009
Pete Hickman
Tacoma, WA
Pete Hickman   Tacoma, WA
I was with the other climber who fell victim to vicious robotic pack chewing marmots on the 29th of May, 2009. My partner's pack was even hung by a nut three feet off of the ground yet they made very short work of it and the pbjs which we had stashed in there. If you value your pack you should hire an armed guard to watch it. Or, maybe if you are lucky the "conga line" will keep them away... Jun 3, 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada
raygay   Las Vegas, Nevada
Moderate and relatively inexperienced climbers should take seriously all the difficulties mentioned above. In addition, I don't think any of the pitches should be rated 5.6. I thought both of the 5.6 rated pitches had some hard 5.7 moves, tempered only by the good quality of the protection. The continuously steep character of the route also augments the rating difficulty because your arms, calves, and your mind never get a good rest. That said, if you are physically and mentally prepared and if you happen to hit the route on an uncrowded day, it will be a great climb. Jun 7, 2009
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
It is possible to rap the route with a single 70m (Mammut 9.5mm) The only rap that is close is the 7th pitch and you need to down climb 2-3ft on the last rap. You should consider extending your rap device with a 2ft sling on the 7th pitch rap, and knot your rope ends.

Of course if your rope is cut short or you don't weigh enough to stretch a wet noodle, all bets are off. I would think it would be a total nightmare to rap the entire route with 2 ropes, especially on a windy day. Oct 26, 2009
Bryan G
Bryan G   Yosemite
Tried this route on a weekday in spring thinking it wouldn't be crowded. Boy were we wrong. I think we were party #5 out of 6 on the wall. We maybe averaged a climbing:waiting ratio of 1:3, that's counting belaying as climbing time of course. The worst came when the party of 2 ahead of us passed the party of 3 ahead of them. Total clusterfuck ensued and me and my partner sat in our harnesses for over an hour before they got moving again. When the first party to the top began their rappel down on the other 5 parties, we bailed ahead of them so they could unsnag our rope if we got an unlucky pull. We got as far as the top of p6.

Fun climbing, obnoxious hanging belays which I'm assuming were put where they are to make pulling the rope easier on the rappels. I know it's kind of an elitist thing to say, but I wish this climb had a fraction of the bolts and a R rating to keep the crowds down. Or maybe if there was a convenient rap route (i know there's the Rainbow Wall drainage descent, but no one uses it) off to the side it would keep things flowing and the belay stations could be at the ledges instead of hanging 20 feet above the ledges. Nov 23, 2009
daniel c
San Francisco, CA
daniel c   San Francisco, CA
1) Rope stuckage - consider the EDK over the double fisherman's. We had no stuckage problems with the raps using the EDK
2) Efficiency - link P2-3 and P8-9 both on the way up (60M) and down (60Mx2)
3) Hanging belays - they are not bad at all. Don't listen to the sissies who complain about them
4) Freezing - this climb is entirely in the shade in the winter. Bring extra layers Dec 21, 2009
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Like Guy H. states above, you can rap the route with a 70m rope. We used a Beal 10.2mm rope and didn't extend the belay device and made all the raps fine without downclimbing. Definitely tie knots in the ends for P7 and P1 but we had a couple feet of rope left on each one thanks to stretch (I weigh 180 lbs.) This means more raps but less rope to deal and no knot-snagging with which is very nice--especially if it were a crowded day up there.

And yes, this route is pretty chilly in late December/early January (but not crowded!) Jan 1, 2010
Joe Cayer
Mesa, Az
Joe Cayer   Mesa, Az
Can anyone confirm the route beta? Is it correct on mountain project? There seem to be a lot a varied beta on the length of pitches. Mar 31, 2010
Doug Foust
Henderson, Nevada
Doug Foust   Henderson, Nevada
Great line straight up for 1000 feet. We were at gate at 6am, still had 2 parties beat us to the base. One was super fast, the other SUPER SLOW! If I ever repeat, walking in early from the road, you really want to be first on this route.

I can see why it gets so much traffic, the first 7 pitches felt like a gym climb. Apr 11, 2010
Kurt Arend
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Kurt Arend   Angelus Oaks, Ca
Just got off the route today and with only a single 70m. The raps on pitch 7 I think does not reach. I was about 2 feet short had to flip upside down to clip the daisy and down climb. I was using a new 9.2 70m so plenty of stretch still not a good idea unless you are comfortable, but a 70m was nice linked many pitches making the route go faster.
Kurt "Burt" Arend Sep 18, 2010
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Kurt Burt wrote:Just got off the route today and with only a single 70m. The raps on pitch 7 I think does not reach. I was about 2 feet short had to flip upside down to clip the daisy and down climb. I was using a new 9.2 70m so plenty of stretch still not a good idea unless you are comfortable, but a 70m was nice linked many pitches making the route go faster.
I'm beginning to wonder if my 70m rope is cut a little longer than most. Our 10.2mmx70m rope always had a couple feet to spare on the raps. P7 and the final rap to the ground was close but we still had rope left. Good to know your experience. Tie knots in the ends for sure! Sep 27, 2010
Greg Gavin
Greg Gavin   SLC, UT
just climbed that route yesterday, and was the only party on it all day! thus making a classic a super classic!!!! Jan 18, 2011
steven sadler
steven sadler   SLC, UT
Did this climb on march 15. we were at the gate waiting for it to open and were still the 3rd party but it was well worth the wait. The climb is run out but it just makes it that much more interesting. The hanging belays weren't enjoyable but they really aren't as bad as some people make them out. Definitely a classic. Mar 17, 2011
Cpn Dunsel  
Great route and not to be missed. I have always been lucky to be the first party of the day getting on it by walking in from the road at 4:20 am instead of waiting for the gate to be opened and then racing around the loop road competing with the others to get to the parking lot first. Another great trick is to recconoiter it first one day by hiking in and stashing packs and gear near the base and then doing the hike in the next morning mostly unemcumbered and getting a good early start with more energy from not humping the gear.

Don't let the over popularity of the route turn you off to doing it. It is one of the classic, moderate long lines in all of US rock climbing, full of great history, great moves, and great positions. Just time it right and enjoy. Mar 20, 2011
Joe Cayer
Mesa, Az
Joe Cayer   Mesa, Az
Had a great day on this climb! We parked outside the gate and made the hike in from the road at 5:00am. We were the first party on the route and I'm so glad we got there early. 5 parties ( including us ) and one of the parties was 3. We started climbing about 7:00 am and topped out at 1:00 pm.
We started rapping down on one 70M at 1:30, had to rap past all 4 parties below us, made it down and started hiking out at 3:30 pm.

Our 70M was a little short for pitch 7 and pitch 1, not a major issue. With rope stretch, I was able to clip the anchors for pitch 7 and downclimb a couple of moves to the belay. Pitch 1 was short by about 10 feet, but downclimbing was easy. Fast and light with the 70M, I probably wouldn't change a thing. Great day of climbing on a great route! Mar 31, 2011
Ross Keller
Parker, CO
Ross Keller   Parker, CO

You should have gone straight up at that point. The old bolts that trend right are kinda off the best line. May 16, 2011
Greg Malloure
Prescott Az
Greg Malloure   Prescott Az
I have the Brock/Mcmillen guidebook and the pitch lengths dont match up to the ones listed on mountain project. For example, the forth pitch according to my book is 160 feet while project says it is only 90 feet. Has everone one found mountain project descriptions to be accurate? Jan 10, 2012
smassey   CO
it is widely acknowledged that the Brock book sucks ass, at least in terms of useful information. I'd trust the MP descriptions, or just buy Jerry Handren's guidebook. Just sayin'... Jan 10, 2012
Kyle Jackson
Las Vegas, nv
Kyle Jackson   Las Vegas, nv
Fun route. did it on a 100 degree day the route was in the shade from 1130 on and was 15 degrees cooler. Ginger cracks is just as good. May 16, 2012
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
Just did this route with Ben Quinones(met him here on MP) on Thursday and boy was it freaking cold. Our hands were numb the entire way up. It was totally worth it though because we were the only climbers on the entire tower and the entire canyon!

Route can be definitely done/rapped with a 70 meter rope and you definitely do not need a double rack and for sure not a #4. Leave those two 60's at home or back in the car and that extra gear! We probably used half a rack, set of nuts and 15 draws so leave all that extra gear at home.

Info on linking pitch 3/4 and 8/9 are correct on what MP says and what other info I've read on summitpost. But with a 70 meter rope you can definitely link 5/6 together which I did and you can probably link 1/2 together with a 70m.

Ben did pitch 1, I did 2, he linked 3/4, then I linked 5/6 and he linked 7/8/9, but we simul climbed while he was leading pitch 9. If you are comfortably at the grade and leading 5.10 or even 5.9 I would definitely recommend doing it the way we did, but also linking 1/2 together with a 70meter. You can get this route done quick. Jan 19, 2013
John Hayes
Bend, OR
John Hayes   Bend, OR
A number of years ago, Dave Jones and I did this route in one day from Tucson. We started at o'dark-thirty, flew a little plane up to Vegas, headed out to RR in a rental car, ran up the route, rapped off, had dinner and took off after dark. We were back home by about midnight. It was nuts but crazy fun. Somehow we avoided the crowd on the way up though I recall having to work around a lot of parties still climbing while we were rapping. Mar 9, 2013
Climbed CC on May 13th. With the Beta from the previous posts and with a forecasted high of around 100 degrees, we elected to hike in from the loop road starting at 4:00 am. We got to the base just around sunrise and started climbing about 6:00. We had two 70m Petzl Dragonflys half ropes. Linked pitches 2 & 3, 5 & 6, and 8 & 9 for a total of 6 pitches. I'm not the fastest lead but we topped out around 12:30. Probably because of the heat and a Monday, had the route to ourselves.

Rapping down with a EDK knot, we got a rope stuck below us coming down to the #4 "nice" belay ledge. Rope was stuck about 60 feet below. Elected to rap down on single 70 M Dragonfly to unstick. After multiple attempts to get unstuck, ended up cutting about 6 feet off. Luckily partner packed a knife on a whim. I'll never leave home without one from now on. Rapped remainder (#4 through #1) with single 70m rope but with only about 10-15 feet to spare on #4 and #1. Very glad to have had two ropes for it made cutting stuck rope that much easier but not as emotional painful.

I've been wanting to lead the route for about 10 years. My partner and I agreed that the most difficult was the approach. Some of the bolts are a bit runout but all of the holds are there.

Go up! May 21, 2013
I'm starting to think this route is a practical joke. An arduous approach leads to the base. As you climb the natural line, bolts appear. Usually I’m happy to see a bolt and I was at first too, but as I kept climbing I found the bolts pulled you away from the natural line and onto the face (in cut crimp, high step and repeat). The belay stations (again usually happy to see) seemed to be placed in awkward and at times improbable places forcing the hanging belay’s upon you. The climbing I found awkward but generally good. It is very apparent this route sees lots of traffic, around pitch 4 or 5 I looked down and saw several parties either starting the climb or just arriving and waiting in line to climb. It wasn’t fun rappelling though the trailing parties either. I will never climb this route again but I can confirm with a 9.2 Sterling 70M rope a competent party can get up and rap back down. You will be dependent on rope stretch so your experience may vary based on your weight. Also as far as gear goes….I brought a minimal rack (BD X4’s set of nuts, #1 & #2 Linkcam and 15 draws) and it worked BUT I wish I would have brought bigger gear, kept to the natural line and build my own anchors in less awkward positions. I know I could have done all that but I packed lite because of the hike, 5.8 isn’t “pushing my limit”, and I took some advice noted in the comments above.

As far as “classic” status, I couldn’t tell you if it is or isn’t and I don’t feel I am an authority on the subject. I thought Dark Shadows was a much much better climb on better rock, same goes for Frogland ,and I would even add Healy’s Haunted House in because it’s a fun an varied climb (although the rock isn’t as good). All much better 5.8’s (my opinion). Good luck out there. Sep 23, 2013
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
Everything everyone says about this route is totally true. Oct 14, 2013
Austin Baird
SLC, Utah
Austin Baird   SLC, Utah
Sorry naysayers - this route is awesome. You're climbing juggy 5.7-5.8 straight up for 900 feet with awesome views (and yes...kinda miserable belays. Deal with it.)

Definitely park outside the loop and hike in the Oak Creek approach (good map HERE and beta HERE )

We pulled into the parking lot at 5 A.M. to find two other people just starting the approach as well. We hiked in together and then flipped a coin at the base. We got lucky and were the first ones on the route all day! I don't think you need anything bigger than a #2. The only place you could really use a #3 would be on the first pitch and we didn't place any gear on the first 3 pitches (and we're certainly not badasses). We took a green, gray, and yellow alien, .5-2 Camalot, set of nuts and some smaller hexes and that was perfect. Take a single 70 and you can link 2+3, 5+6, and 8+9 and a single 70 will get you down just fine (although we simul-rapped the 7th pitch to make the rope stretch get us to the anchor). One of the best days of climbing I've had. Nov 10, 2013
Climbed the route a couple of weeks ago in late October, middle of week. We got to Pine Creek parking lot at about 6:15 and we were just beat to the base of the climb. The party in front of us rapped after the second pitch so we had no one ahead the rest of the day. One group below us that we rapped by later on. Pretty nice day. We were extremely careful rapping the route and had no problems. It did take an hour and 45 minutes to rap and from what I've heard that's about average or even a little quicker then average. Got back to car a little before 5pm.

On a side note, I spent the next two weekends climbing in Juniper canyon with good views of Chrimson. NO ONE was on the route on both of those Sundays! Pretty funny, my explanation was that everyone assumed it would be mobbed so no one even went to it. Just a heads up if someone wants to try and sneak a weekend climb on it...you just may have it to yourself! Nov 11, 2013
Great route, only ran into one other fairly quick party of 2 last week. The last pitch is the best, so I had to give it 5 stars! Nov 26, 2013
^^^^That^^^^ makes me feel good. Glad the route finally follows George's original vision. I went back and climbed this again a while ago and thought the finish is a much more pleasant pitch with all the hardware replaced and the last few feet straightened out. The traverse away from the good steep rock over to licheny 'meh'-ness with two crap ancient bolts and more traversing to get back over to the anchor always soured the last few feet for me. If you liked the route, donate to the ASCA. Nov 26, 2013
North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
If any route needs a separate rappel route from the climbing route this is the route. It would speed things up considerably and eliminate cluster fuchs at the belays with multiple parties going up and going down. Turn this into a two-lane highway and it will be more enjoyable for everyone. Apr 22, 2014
Andrew Yasso
Las Vegas, NV
Andrew Yasso   Las Vegas, NV
Thanks for the input Brian. This route is in the Wilderness area and as of right now no new bolting is allowed, so a separate bolt line isn't going to happen. In the future things may be different, and it would be interesting to see if the local community would support such a thing. Apr 22, 2014
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
This route could totally be made more convenient.

Being able to rap the route itself is hardly considered a convenience in this day and age! A separate, bolted rap line would just be pleasant. And more bolts on the climb would speed things up, so we didn't have to wait for bumbly trad leaders. Not to mention the convenience of not having to carry all that trad gear.

Snark off: this is a tremendous route that is worth suffering a little inconvenience for. Apr 23, 2014
Daniel Nelson
Jackson, WY
Daniel Nelson   Jackson, WY
Got this one in end of April mostly because it was on a friends bucket list. The climbing was spectacular on EVERY pitch.

That said, you need to be willing to suffer through 9 hanging belays and 9 subsequent rappels from hanging stations expecting to have 2-3 people at each station due to always having multiple groups on route. Your rope WILL get stuck on the way down. Also, dress warm even in the spring/summer as you're in the shade/wind almost the whole route. Was fun, but painful due to the above and likely won't do it again. There's equal quality with less crowds elsewhere in the canyon from what I hear. May 28, 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
Likeasummerthursday   Las Vegas, Nevada
Did this route on Friday, September 19th. We worked with much of the beta we found here. Here is my two cents on what we found most helpful (for us), what we did, what we would do if we did it again and general thoughts on the nature of this 'super-classic' climb.

We started hiking from the gate at the loop road exit at 4:50am. We had never done the approach before and arrived at the base at 6:45. It took us about 6 hours up and an hour down, rapping from each station. We didn't race up it, but we were pretty efficient. There was one fast party behind us that topped out about 10 minutes behind us. They also rapped right behind us, which we were happy about, as there are indeed a sea of edges to snag the rope and the wind tened to blow our line way out climber's right. That said, we didn't get our rope stuck. The enire route was in the shade until the summit. We drank 2.5 liters together and we're not even close to thirsty. From p4 to the top it was windy. I was glad to have brought a long-sleeve layer.

All the belays are hanging with bomber bolts. The 'ledge' atop p4 is a hanging belay, too. You don't really need beta for this route. Just follow the bolts straight up. I don't mean to say its a total bolt-ladder, but the bolts definitely guide the way, especially when the crack starts petering out above p5.

We took my partner's 9 mil, 80 meter rope--usually a cluster-mess for rope-management but perfectly appropriate for this route. This route is very straight-up, except for p7 and p8. P7 banks right and p8 tends left. We linked 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8. We planned to link 9 with 7/8 or simul the last bit but it was hard to sling gear long enough to not have really bad rope drag heading into the belay atop p8, even back-cleaning. We also thought that the last 15 feet on p8 was some of the hardest albeit on perhaps the most bullet-proof rock on the route.

Linking pitches, we would bring 20 slings, all tripled with no quickdraws. The aesthetics/'necessity' aside, there are indeed plenty of bolts. If anything, they make for quicker climbing. Done again, linking pitches, we would bring a single set from 00 to #2 and a set of nuts. We took a #3 and the ONLY place we were happy to have it was the first piece 20 feet off the deck. Next time we would just run it out. If you take it, I would recommend back cleaning it and leaving it on the ground. The climbing is not hard here, though. Anything bigger would be used in the first 3.5 pitches and is either not big enough or unnecessary.

As far as the quality and nature of the climbing, these are my thoughts:

There are a lot of bolts and the ones on the first half of the route, especially, will draw you away from the crack.

The comment above about the same move over and over--reach high to incut edge, high-step, repeat--seemed pretty right on. There are some good jams...that you don't need to use. The heavily-bolted p7/p8 is mostly friction slabby.

The approach is long, but definitely not heinous. If you can hike for 2 hours with a pack and can sweat out 30 minutes uphill, it's nothing to write home about. This is not Mt. Wilson.

It would be a real bummer to get stuck behind a slower party. Get there early. The approach from the exit on Oak Creek is a good idea.

The climbing is generally very sustained at the grade. Impressively vertical for the grade.

Nothing feels run-out, unless you want it to be.

The rock is high-quality, not really a single pitch with poor rock.

If I could try to sum up why this's route is so classic, this is what I've got:

In a sentence, it's got all the makings of above-average in a lot of ways while being spectacular in few. If I traveled far to do this route, I might feel like I somehow accomplished something big without quite rememebring what it was because for 9-pitch these qualities don't really add up to anything particularly dangerous, painful, committing or scary. I don't mean 'average' like mediocre, but rather I felt that with the beta we had, any given pitch was hard to remember and when back at the car, I felt like things went incredibly smoothly and that almost seemed like the only way.

Here are the qualities that seem to make it 'classic' to me:

The route is both very steep and quite sustained for 1,000 feet of 5.8.
It takes you to a summit with a great view.
The belays are all hanging, which seems to add to a feeling of exposure.
The rock quality is high for the whole route.
There is some amount of most climbing movement and rock feature--cracks of all sizes, chimney, overhang, high-angle slab, stemming, face-climbing.
The approach feels like you're 'working for it'.
You get to rap a vertical 1,000 feet.
The views are great.
There is copious, quality pro from bomber stances.

Here are reasons I feel like these qualities left me wondering why I didn't think it was spectacular, why I couldn't exactly remember one pitch from another and why I wouldn't hurry to do it again unless a friend really wanted to do it...even though I'm glad I climbed it:

For something so tall, it's not particularly committing, as you can rap from any pitch.

For something so tall, the adventure factor is high, but thoughtful route-finding is pretty much nonexistent.

In a sense, it doesn't really matter what gear you brought, because the crack probably eats any of it and there are bolts where it won't.

While the the rock features vary some, in the end it's pretty much all face climbing on a sea of edges.

While the approach is long (and you probably got up early to do it), it's not particularly hard or confusing, and since you're likely to see other folks, it doesn't exactly feel like you engaged in some special adventure that weeds out those you thought were softer than you.

You may get your ropes stuck (and that always feels 'committing'), but you probably won't and if you do, there is probably a party below and/or above you that would not really mind helping you out.

It's never run-out even though it's vertical enough to somehow feel like it is. In other words, the falls are almost invariably clean and the pro/bolts are bomber, so exposure and standing over gear might feeeel scary, but it's not very risky.

In sum, there are a lot of very good things combined in this route, yet none of them alone is over-the-top amazing.

If I were to do it again, here is the number one thing I would do everything I could to make happen: Be The First Party There! Sep 21, 2014
Took my wife on it the other week. Honestly a fun route, but there is nothing special about it, there are several routes of similar quality at the grade. Probably removing (totally unnecessary) bolts on first 3 pitches would cut down on traffic. Ginger Cracks, Power Failure, Bourbon Street are far less popular and equally good. Ginger Crack is just a short distance, and a better route over all.
We were up early and were the first party on the route, then a party of 3 and a party of 2 showed. Lucky us, they were pretty competent climbers, so raping though their belays was OK. But I can see how your day can turn into a complete nightmare cluster f… if you have to rap through a bunch of newbs, and people who lack rope management skills. Nov 5, 2014
mark felber
Wheat Ridge, CO
mark felber   Wheat Ridge, CO
Did this yesterday, and loved it. A 70 meter rope will let you do this in 5 pitches (we did it in 6), and with care and good rope handling skills a single 70 will get you down. Hiking in from the Scenic Loop exit can get you to the climb ahead of the crowds, or most of the crowds. It's hard to think of a route this long, steep and clean at the 5.8 level. Nov 23, 2014
Mike Kim
Hermosa Beach, CA
Mike Kim   Hermosa Beach, CA
Did this route 2/19/15. We had the whole route to ourselves. Fun route, with uncomfortable hanging belays. It would've been super uncomfortable if their were other parties on the wall. Couldn't imagine sharing those hanging belays with another party. Feb 23, 2015
Fink Fink
Jackson, WY & Bozeman, MT
Fink Fink   Jackson, WY & Bozeman, MT
Climbed this yesterday and confirmed that you can do all the rappels with a single 70m rope--hooray for not dragging a tag line.

Most were pretty casual with a 70, with the exception of...
1) p7 the long "slabby" pitch. Definitely tie knots. With rope stretch, there was just enough rope to clip the next anchor. On the way up, the middle mark will land between the 1st and second bolts. Be prepared to improvise if need be.

2) The final rap to the ground is close as well. Unweighting the rope leaves the ends 3 to 4 feet off the ground. Not a big deal, just be aware. Mar 9, 2015
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Alone on Memorial Day on this climb. Can link raps w/twin 70's for a very short descent... May 29, 2015
Bob Johnson
Philadelphia, PA
Bob Johnson   Philadelphia, PA
I did this route on 10/9/2015 and based my logistics on a lot of great beta I received from this discussion and others. I figured I'd throw in my $0.02 as well to pay it forward a little.

The route is pretty amazing! Beautiful rock, steep, sustained, 1000 feet! Not sure where else you could do a route like this at the grade. Do it!

The route is long and the belays are a little uncomfortable (but there aren't many ledges, kind of a cool feature of the route, so what can you do?). Here's what we did that seemed to lead to a great experience on the route:

Early approach - We parked at the loop road exit and started the approach at 5:15am. I actually was in the area the day before my partner and used that day to scope out the approach and even stashed the rack near the base of the climb. This made the early approach the next day that much easier. We were the only ones on the route until about 8am when 2 other parties showed up. By then we were already on the third pitch. These other parties were lined up at the loop road and entered at 6am and they were amazed that someone else beat them to the climb. Apparently, a lot of people don't read Mountain Project for advice on the approach!

Anchors - Since all anchors are bolted, we used two pre-made quads (each climber had one). This enabled us to clip/dismantle the anchor in about 10 seconds.

Swung leads - I climbed this with a very capable partner and we swung leads on each pitch. This made rope and gear management so much easier.

Pack - I hate leading with a pack on. We took a single 16L BD Bullet pack up that the follower wore. We had 2L of water, extra ATC, Clif bars, a windbreaker and a few other small items in there and it seemed to be just enough gear without extraneous things that would weigh us down. The route is in the shade so you can go light on water.

Rope - We brought a single 70m Mammut Infinity 9.5mm rope. Unless you have some good rope management (I don't), a second rope as a tag line seems like a giant PITA.

Rappelling - As numerous others have stated, a single 70m will get you down and we can attest to that. The pitch 7 rappel JUST makes it. With rope stretch, the knots in the end of the rope were level with the anchor. Knot your rope ends and extend your rappel! The pitch 1 rappel comes up a little short - the rope ends are maybe 4 ft off the ground, but the down climb is easy. If you're worried about coming up short, you can try this out: climbing.com/skill/long-rap…

We also used those pre-made quads to clip into while rappelling. We staged the rappels and the first person down took the quad with him. We had to rap through 3 parties below us and this helped a lot since bolted real estate is limited.

I was really happy with how the day went. We put a lot of planning into the climb and I think it really paid off. I think you'll be fine if you take the route seriously. It is quite "sporty" with the bolts, but it certainly is still a trad climb at heart. Oct 12, 2015
Dan Mathews
Dan Mathews  
Fabulous climb that was worth the crowds, etc. Where else can you find a 1,000+ foot 5.8? It was 92 degrees in Vegas but quite comfortable on the climb. The approach was in the sun, but the climb was in the shade all day in October. While there are many bolts, only the 7th pitch (and perhaps the last) felt like a sport climb. The other pitches have bolts but they are pretty far apart. Oct 19, 2015
Robert Shortt
San Francisco, CA
Robert Shortt   San Francisco, CA
TR and some advice 10/30/15:
-40 mph wind gusts
-No sun, all day (think: keep extremities warm)
-No other parties on route all day (probably due to first bullet)
-Rappelling this route sucks gorilla butt (probably due to first bullet).
-Consider bringing a double rack and more draws to link more pitches (or just run it out if you're confident).
-Don't start late or wait in a huge line unless you're a fit climber & hiker (not me, apparently). Know when to back down.
-The trail back is approximately ten times longer and more strenuous in the dark and after 1000' of climbing.
-Call the hotline to tell them not to ticket your car.
-I highly recommend some pho in Chinatown as a post-epic day meal.

Oh, and the climbing itself is fun and not too hard. Isn't that why I went in the first place? Nov 2, 2015
Joe Crawford
June Lake, California
Joe Crawford   June Lake, California
Good route, but not the mega-classic you'd expect from the crowds. Climbed it on a Monday or Tuesday and was one of 5 parties, which takes away from the enjoyment for me. Linked 2/3 and 8/9. Could also link 5/6 with a 70m. Considering all the belays are bolted, I thought that the placement of most all of the belays was really poor. The route bypasses several decent ledges and stances in favor of keeping the route near the crack, pretty frustrating to be stuck at a hanging bolted belay that is 15-20' above or below a ledge. If there are people on it, just go do Ginger Cracks. Nov 7, 2015
l rs
l rs  
After reading all the comments I was expecting an epic, but saw no other parties, had perfect temperatures, no issues with stuck ropes on rappel.( we used a single 80m) I will say pitch 8 seemed as hard as the crux pitches. I found a nice variety of climbing on this route, a bit of repetitive high stepping in some places, but also plenty of jamming, stemming, and pinching/laybacking to make the route interesting. In addition, I would forgo bringing a #2 or #3 and would personally have opted for a #4 in their place. Oct 8, 2016
l rs
l rs  
"This gets my vote for the most idiotic thing I've ever heard" I am fairly sure you violated rule #1. I dont see that you've actually climbed/led this route. IF you had, you'd know that the holds around the bolts are very deceptive. Climbing the crack was straight forward route finding...it's a CRACK. Climbing the bolt line meant meandering in search of the easier 5.8 line. Oct 9, 2016
Tatiana Cottam
Oakland, CA
Tatiana Cottam   Oakland, CA
Partner and I climbed this last week. Climb was in the shade all day. The pitch lengths listed on MP are long -- you can link any of the two pitches with a 70m rope (we did the climb in 5 pitches). You can also rap with a 70 meter and reach the ground just fine. Oct 30, 2016
Preston Havill
Redstone, CO
Preston Havill   Redstone, CO
In case you are digging through the comments for better beta:

1. Yes, just a single rack, even if you are intimidated by this route somehow. You couldn't place doubles if you tried. I placed zero nuts. Lots of bolts. Bring at least 12, maybe 15 alpine draws, maybe 18 if you want to link pitches.

2. Yes, single 70m rope. Tie knots, be careful on the 3rd and last rappel. On the 3rd rap (the "sport pitch") I had to clip my daisy into the bolts below me and untie my knots, then re-tie knots for my partner. I think somehow my rope came from the factory as 69 meters. On the last rap you will safely downclimb the last 5-10 feet.

3. No, there is no sun, not even a little. Good or bad news, depending on the season

4. Yes, critters at the base, don't leave snacks in your pack!

5. Building your anchor by clipping into the bolts or chains, not the rap rings, will facilitate easy passing, whether you are climbing or rapping the route

Awesome route! Dec 8, 2016
Don Ferris III
Eldorado Springs
Don Ferris III   Eldorado Springs
Why in sweet Jesus is this considered a trad climb? If I were to ever climb it again my rack would consist of the following:

70m rope
15-20 draws

Key beta would be to link pitches and belay from every other station.

If you're worried about needing gear between bolts, bring a set of nuts. Mar 20, 2017
Sean Cooney  
Climbed on 3/27/17 completely by headlamp and made it to the top for the sunrise. Mild breeze and low-to-mid 40s F for the entire climb, but mid-weight top for climbing, puffy and gloves for belays, and Schoeller pants made it comfortable. Linked pitches 2+3, 5+6, and 8+9. This was my second time to the top.

A few comments:
  • Yes, the rock was dry.
  • On pitches 8+9, if you can stomach the run out, do not clip the first bolt and wait to put gear in until you are above (or a little bit climber's-left) of the belay. This will spare you the horrid rope drag.
  • A single 70m rope (mine is a Mammut Tusk 9.8mm x 70m) is sufficient to rappel the entire route. On the rappel of pitch 7, my ropes ended two feet past the anchors and on pitch 1 they ended two feet above the ground. Not having a knot where the ropes are tied together helps avoid getting the rope stuck.
  • When rappelling, be mindful of where you throw your ropes as this will also help keep your rope out of the cracks.
  • IMHO, comments to the effect of "why even bring a rack, blah blah blah" without real details are dangerous because it could lull some into a false sense of security. For example, without trad gear there is a 25-foot+ ground-fall before the first bolt, the second half of pitch 4 has a 60-foot+ run out, and the first half of pitch 5 is close to that. Other climbers deserve to know they are looking at 100+ foot falls if they leave the trad rack at home.
  • Please, please, please do not take a piss in the cracks. When starting pitch 5, I was almost overwhelmed by the nasty smell coming from the crack. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, please do your #1's on the rock face so it can dry quickly and be broken down by the sun. Of course make sure no one is below you. ;-)

And on a random note: when we finished rappelling, we met three parties all on their way to Cloud Tower. It's an odd day when Cloud Tower sees more traffic than Crimson Chrysalis, especially on a beautiful March day! Mar 27, 2017
Michael L
Boulder, CO
Michael L   Boulder, CO
Please ignore the comments about not needing gear Other comments:

-a 70 m alone will work for the rappels
-Single rack with double from 0.5 - 3 should be fine
-Definitely worth doing, excellent quality rock and very exposed. Great route!
-linking 5+6 might be a stretch (literally) - be ready for a bit of simul if you plan to do this. Mar 30, 2017
M Bageant
Los Angeles, CA
M Bageant   Los Angeles, CA
Done on a cold, windy day in March. This route doesn't warm up---no sun all day and exposed to the wind. We shared the route with just one other party.

The climbing is excellent, every pitch is awesome and continuous but with variety ranging from face climbing to chimneying, and you get to top out on the summit of a cool pillar feature to boot!

Bring many draws and a single rack. Double in fingers to maybe #2 if you are worried. Nuts aren't very useful. Note also that this route would be a lot to chew if 5.8 is your limit.

Be careful pulling your rope on this one, the chickenheads are hungry and will want to "take a bight." The last rappeller should carefully guide the line on the way down. Rapping with cowboy coils is also recommended especially on a windy day or with parties below. We felt lucky to have no issues, though we were careful. It took our party of three about 2ish hours to rappel with no other people on the route.

IMO the hanging belays are brutal (and as other commenters have observed, cruelly avoid most of the few natural ledges). Here is beta on the few places where there are ledges:

  • At the P1 belay, you could go up and left of the bolts and build an anchor in the crack, which would allow you to stand on a sloping alcove in the crack. This might require wide gear. Personally I don't think it's worth it for this belay.
  • The belay for P4 is a pretty nice ledge with a little alcove you can kind of sit in. Comfortable for 3-4 people. Don't get used to it.
  • The P5 belay is more of a "stance" than a ledge.
  • There is a 1' deep ledge that runs off to the left mid-pitch in one of the yellow rock pitches before you get to the red band (P6 maybe, I can't remember exactly). No gear or bolts there...but, my fellow ladies, you can traverse left off-route and pee in relative comfort there.
  • About 25' or so into P8, where you reach the bottom of the left-leaning ramp, there is a nice ledge (3' x 3' or so) and a crack that will take finger sized cams. If your rope is long enough you could climb past the P7 anchors to this ledge and avoid the P7 hanging belay.
Apr 10, 2017
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
I have updated the route description to incorporate several of the tips and suggestions discussed in the lengthy comments section. Apr 14, 2017
Columbia, SC
rock-fencer   Columbia, SC
This might be one of the worst - best routes in RR. Its a fun climb with awkward bolting and stance belays that avoid the obvious ledges around it. It is a face climb primarily with little to no crack - given the bolts take you away from the crack. I personally would not recommend this route unless you just HAVE to do it. Dark shadows and Frogland are much better climbing, as is just about any of the other lines i've done there. May 14, 2017
Bryan Bornholdt
Las Vegas, NV
Bryan Bornholdt   Las Vegas, NV
Just to confirm: This is a trad climb and a single rack of cams is strongly advised.

You can link pitches in pairs (1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8) with a 70 m rope. A single set of cams is still ample due to the bolts along the way but gear other than quick draws is essential IMHO.

The route gets sun in the summer but not directly so the temps are very nice. Just start early and get the approach done before things heat up. Once the sun breaks the horizon, the temperature jumps noticeably.

Nonetheless, this is a great route even in the summer and there are no crowds this time of year plus you have plenty of daylight. Just bring plenty of water.

A word of caution: Rapping can be a serious matter. All of those wonderful holds and features we use going up can be a pain on the way down ESPECIALLY if it is windy (which is typical). If your ropes blow around the side out of sight and zigzag, you could be screwed. I suggest that you not toss ropes down but hang them and pay them out as you rap. This is particularly good if there are other parties below. Aug 21, 2017
Matt Pesce
moab, ut.
Matt Pesce   moab, ut.
Here are a few tips and some constructive advice to minimize the epic factor ...
1: Be a team player....on your way up, consider pre-rigging a sliding x anchor which you DONT CLIP TO THE RAP RINGS. This will minimize hassles for rapping parties and give everyone a place to clip in.
2: Consider lowering and counterweight rapping with saddlebags to reduce rope tossing...learning this process will save tons of time once you are competent.
3: Simul-rapping with saddlebags and Gri-Gri means each member only needs to manage 1/2 of the rap line.
4: Use other parties to help keep your ropes from getting stuck...How ?
Be a team player...sharing in the rappels exposes fewer ropes to snagging...this isn't always feasible but it is sometimes possible to double rope past other parties to a station which is unoccupied.
5: Communicate....other parties can tell you what is going on above or below you. This can allow you to plan accordingly.
6: Consider leaving gear behind to backclip on rappel...think about it...sometimes a cleverly placed QD can keep the rope above/away from potential snaggs...again, communication helps. Other parties can return your gear to you later...

Have a toolbox...use what works...on crowded routes like this, being a pro-active team player goes a long way towards minimizing the Epic Epidemic Jan 4, 2018
Climbed on 1.3.2018. The rope was over 2ft short of the anchors on the second rappel (p8). I have a 70m mammut 9.8mm dry rope. I was able to spin around clip into the anchors then I had to unweight the rope and down climb around 5ft to get level with the anchors. Be safe! Knot the ends of your rope! Last rappel (p1)is also 7ft short but that was already know that you need to down climb that. Jan 7, 2018
Sergey Shelukhin
Seattle, WA
Sergey Shelukhin   Seattle, WA
From 2 radically different approach (and return) experiences, a note for the geographically challenged... the key to the approach is that you are following the established trails for most of it. There are tons of marginal trails and forks that match the description that we've "explored" the first time around that are not what you want.
E.g. don't just "turn left past the homestead" on the crappy climbers path into the wash - turn left towards Knoll Trail on a marked junction; same for "going left out of the wash", and all the way to and past the last marked junction to Knoll Trail and Oak Creek lot that you encounter after crossing another small wash.
If you only get off Knoll trail at the very obvious fat juniper tree/bush (with lots of boot tracks going right) you'd be GTG.

We found two unmarked forks before that point, each had a dead tree in the middle. IIRC if you go right, one eventually rejoins the same trail, and another takes a slightly shorter, but crappier, trail to the ramp. So, going left on both is a safe bet.

Great route too, just come early :) Apr 15, 2018
William Thiry
Las Vegas
William Thiry   Las Vegas
At nearly 1,000 feet and 9 pitches, Cloud Tower is twice as tall as Castleton Tower in Utah - one of the '50 Classics'. Add to that Crimson's unrelenting steepness and very fun / varied and sustained 5.8 climbing - along with an outstanding summit that has stunning views - easily makes Crimson Chysalis an Ultra-Classic must-do climb.

The approach is hard, the crowds are problematic, the hanging belays strain your body, the rappelling down the route is just plain stupid, there is a high probability of getting the rope stuck on rappel, and the wind will cause chill and other issues on the upper pitches. None of these should detract from the awesome nature of the climb. May 2, 2018
Las Vegas, NV
E IV   Las Vegas, NV
Climbed on September 1st, 2018 (Labor Day weekend, Saturday). Approach is warm (about 85 degrees) but tolerable - the climb itself is entirely in the shade, which was perfect. We left the car at 10 am, approached casually with a couple of stops in the shade, and started climbing at noon. We had the entire canyon to ourselves. We agreed that some of the belays make no sense (nearby ledges would be more comfy). Also agree some of the bolting is odd. Simul-rapping on Grigri's with shoulder coils made the descent "not terrible" with only 1 stuck rope when pulling (re-led and down climbed easily). Summer daylight meant plenty of time to climb, descend, and hike all but the last 15 minutes without turning on our headlamps. We used one 80m x 9.4 rope and had no shenanigans. Sep 3, 2018
Chris Cass
Las Vegas, NV
Chris Cass   Las Vegas, NV
Sent it during what I now call 'locals season' in September, only one other party on the wall all day on a Sunday.
70M easily works.
Second half of climb turns into sport and isn't as great, but the exposure and feature makes it an awesome climb.
Pitch 6 of 9 is not a 5.6; it's easy enough sport but has run out bolts with no placement. It's like they're mocking us with the super heavy bolting of pitch 7!
Our group of 3 climbed in 7 hrs, rapped in 2. 13 hour car to car so you must bring a headlamp in darker seasons. Sep 18, 2018
Hson P
Hson P  
My 70m rope was not quite long enough for the 2nd rappel. I was about 5 ft above the anchor at the very end of my rope. Had to do a sketchy downclimb in the dark. Consider doing a biner block or simul rapping this pitch to get that extra rope stretch. Feb 16, 2019