Type: Trad, 1000 ft (303 m), 9 pitches, Grade III
FA: Uriostes, 10/79
Page Views: 148,727 total · 606/month
Shared By: Mike Morley on Feb 19, 2004 · Updates
Admins: Luke EF, Larry DeAngelo, Aaron Mc, Justin Johnsen

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

Description Suggest change

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].

Protection Suggest change

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).

Descent Suggest change

9 rappels with a single 70M rope. The rappel route only shares the top anchor of the the climbing route. All the other rappel anchors are 10-20' climbers left of the climbing route. From Crimson P9 top anchor, rappel down and climber's left to a rappel anchor at the base of a corner on a large ledge, 20-30' below and left of the Crimson P8 top anchor. From this anchor down you are independent of the climbing route. Most of the rappel stations are two bolts connected with a single chain and rap ring and most are 30-34M in height. For the last two raps (they are shorter), use an intermediate anchor from Hook Line and Wimper (left of the rap line) so you don't have to downclimb. Look for chains left on a ledge as you rap towards the ground.

Revise to delete the last two sentences as new anchors have been installed to get you to ground.  We used this last week to descend.  Using the Hook Line & Wimper anchors no longer needed.  See Jeff Deutsch's March 29, 2023 comments which are noted below.

Note on the new rappels: The fifth rappel is very short (15 or 20 meters, not 35 like most of the others). It is significantly off to the right, and it goes to horizontally placed bolts (all the others go to vertical bolts connected by a chain). From here return to the normal pattern (go straight down 35m to two vertically offset bolts connected by a chain) do not use any of the lone titanium glue-ins. We added the optional final rappel from the large triangular white ledge that is guaranteed to reach the ground.

Pro Tips Suggest change

  • 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, except for the top of pitch 4 where there is a small but comfortable ledge.
  • It is common to have ropes snag on rappel.  
  • All rappels can be done with a single 70-meter rope, which reduces weight and the chance of a snag.  Make sure your rope is a full 70m (i.e. you haven't trimmed the ends for some reason).  Tie knots in the rope-end, use an auto-bloc/prussik, and a rappel extension, as a couple rappels are *very* close.
  • If in doubt, bring a headlamp (never a bad idea).
  • While knots in the end of the rope may be important to rappel safety, remember that they also increase the likelihood of ropes snagging. Snagging can occur both above and below the station. Freeing snagged ropes can be very risky.