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Running Man

5.11c, Sport, 120 ft (36 m),  Avg: 3.9 from 279 votes
FA: Paul Van Betten, Sal Mamusia, Mike Ward 1987
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Red Rocks > (05) Sandstone… > Parking Lot Area > Running Man Wall
Warning Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. DetailsDrop down


One of my favorite single-pitch climbs in the country. It is comparable to other masculine enduro-classics such as Quarter of a Man and Mister Clean. Running Man features slightly overhanging Red Rocks crimping. Start with a cruxy move by the first bolt (harder, if short), followed by a long stretch of 5.10 climbing with no real rests and ends with a semi-cruxy move just below the anchors.

The start of the climb is easy to find with the Swain guide. This climb is in the sun almost the entire day.


This pitch has about 10 bolts, which some of us consider insufficient for a climb of this length, difficulty and continuousness. The bolts can be easily supplemented with a few nuts in the #1-4 Rock range and a couple of cams in the narrow-to-rattly-finger range. A #2.5 Friend is handy at the start.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

One way to do this climb.
[Hide Photo] One way to do this climb.
Dan Montague on Running Man - January 10th, 2014.
[Hide Photo] Dan Montague on Running Man - January 10th, 2014.
Running Man!
[Hide Photo] Running Man!
Doing the Running Man
[Hide Photo] Doing the Running Man
Roberto De La Riva on Running Man. Mar '09
[Hide Photo] Roberto De La Riva on Running Man. Mar '09
Bob McGowen in 1987, shortly after this route was put up.
[Hide Photo] Bob McGowen in 1987, shortly after this route was put up.
Working on the Running Man onsight
[Hide Photo] Working on the Running Man onsight
Ethel high up on Running Man
[Hide Photo] Ethel high up on Running Man
At about bolt 5.  Above the slabby start.
[Hide Photo] At about bolt 5. Above the slabby start.
SteveZ on Running Man
[Hide Photo] SteveZ on Running Man
Running Man shot looking east
[Hide Photo] Running Man shot looking east
Margot running it out on running man
[Hide Photo] Margot running it out on running man

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

George Bell
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] This is a very photogenic route. I used up an entire roll of film on it in 1987, shortly after the route was put up. Mar 1, 2004
[Hide Comment] indeed, one of my favorite single pitches anywhere.

does anyone else think it is sporty between bolts at the bottom?

b armstrong Mar 8, 2004
electric lady land
[Hide Comment] I could see it from the road and I had to go do it. One of the best! Jan 26, 2006
[Hide Comment] Agreed! Apr 20, 2006
Paul Hunnicutt
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I watched Peter Croft solo this climb a few years back. I'm not big into soloing, but amazing to watch nonetheless. Feb 20, 2008
Arden Hills, MN
[Hide Comment] Really one of the best pitches around. Worth all the hype. The bolts are placed well for the majority of this climb, with one run-out on relatively easy terrain (between the 2nd and 3rd bolt?). It would be easy to protect this section with a nut or TCU, but if you are attempting this grade it shouldn't be a problem. I remember bringing gear but not bothering to place it because the climbing in the run-out was easy.

However, Peter Croft thought a rope was unnecessary, so I guess it's all personal preference. :)

It can also be difficult to clip the first bolt if you are short. Jan 16, 2009
Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
[Hide Comment] This climb is more like a 105ft tall. A 60 Will get you down with about nothing to spare if you swing a little right. KNOT YOUR ENDS!!! Feb 26, 2009
[Hide Comment] Onsighted this route in 1997 - IIRC the guide back then called it 11d. Definitely not that hard now (despite the fact that I can't do it these days). Maybe 11b/c.

Tricky start (especially if you are short - a #2 cam will protect you before bolt #1) with a long reach from good undercling flake to small crimps / horizontals, then a delicate and technical slab crux at bolt 2 -3. After that, it's a matter of climbing efficiently on the endless 5.10 moves to the top.

Possible heartbreaker move near the end if you don't manage your pump effectively. Lots of places to semi-rest, especially the locker hand/fist jam at 1/2 height. Look around for not-very-chalked holds off the center line of the seam (especially to the left), that make some of the sequences easier.

A 60 meter rope will NOT make it to the ground. You can lower into the corridor on the right and down climb if need be.

A classic. Tied with Mr Choad's Wild Ride for best 5.11 sport pitch in RR. Nov 19, 2013
Hyrum j. C
St george, ut
[Hide Comment] Dont know why this is listed as trad. It is bolted all the way up and not even run out. One of the best lines anywhere. I loved every second on this climb! Jan 21, 2016
zach cook
Boise, ID
[Hide Comment] No need for supplemental gear on this one...I was told that the FA party (Paul) did this solely on gear, exciting! 11 bolts total from what I remember. This thing climbs super well, nice edges all the way with the the hardest moves in the first 20'. Do this route if your in the quarry! Feb 2, 2016
Jonathan Falcetti
Holyoke, MA
[Hide Comment] The most beautiful line I have ever had the privilege of leading. Dec 12, 2016
Sean Godwin
Vancouver, BC
[Hide Comment] This route felt perfectly bolted to me. The bolts are reasonably well spaced, but they’re consistent, well placed, and the falls are great.

This is an absurdly good route. Definitely hit it in the early morning because it bakes in the sun. Jan 13, 2018
Kevin Doiron
San Francisco, CA
[Hide Comment] Holy what a fantastic climb!! Bolts are spaced out but totally safe - feels like a climb at Smith Rocks! There are 2 bolts midway up that are a little more spaced than others - you can place a .4 X4 nicely in one and a red Camalot in the other - these aren't necessary but can make it less stressful. Bottom crux is not a big deal if you are 5'10 and up - likely the crux for shorter climbers. Dec 18, 2018
Christopher Chu
San Francisco, CA
[Hide Comment] +1 this is a sport route. no need for any trad gear unless you want extra weight on your harness. Apr 10, 2019
[Hide Comment] It can be a sports route if you feel comfortable climbing this grade. The first bolt is the crux especially for short people. Dec 31, 2019
Kevin Dahlstrom
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] This is as good as face climbing gets. It's mostly 5.10 climbing with a lower slab crux to establish yourself on the wall and another high on the route guarding the anchors. This route is all about pump management - if you milk every rest it can feel casual, but if you get pumped it can feel very hard. The bolts are a little spacey but no trad gear is needed. Also, the route to the right, Graveyard Waltz, is almost as good and just a touch harder. Jan 13, 2020
Japhy Dhungana
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Stunning route. No height restrictions on this one.

  • *****. Short person BETA ALERT. Read on only if you want it ******

At 5'5", negative 1 ape index, the undercling jug rail at Bolt 1 is way too far to reach the horizontal crimp rail just above the bolt. Instead, choke up the undercling/sidepull further out right with a high right foot on white rock out to the right while statically reaching for the jug rail with the left hand. Then crimp traverse out left on small foot chips mid-slab. It is 3-4 extra hand motions to get to the same place as the tall person beta. With this beta, one can be shorter and still make the moves. All while being super well protected by Bolt 1. Nov 26, 2020
[Hide Comment] 70 m gets you down with rope to spare. No need for gear. Easy to stick clip first bolt. Dec 7, 2020
Victor Dods
[Hide Comment] Favorite route of all time.

Video of slow sending (gotta fight the pump!):

Interesting parts are the cruxes at 5:00 and 10:10 into the vid. This was filmed from 2/3 of the way up Graveyard Waltz, so you can actually see the beta I use for the upper half of the climb. The vid starts after the lower slab section. Enjoy ;-) Jan 19, 2021
[Hide Comment] We were laughing at all the hype in the comments, but move after move I had the growing realization that I was on a near perfect route. After transcending to enlightenment near the chains and returning to this mundane reality I repented.

Seriously though, it's one of the most consistent high-quality sport routes following a single distinct feature for the grade. Enjoy. Apr 20, 2021
Jenna Kwon
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] I can be a scaredy cat but the bolts felt perfectly spaced / safe to me - I think more would just make the climb more pumpy without additional safety. Don't let the comments about this climb being "run out" scare you!

Climbing around bolt 1 was just fine at 5"5 when traversing in from the right. Jan 2, 2024
Garrett Weekley
Huntsville, AL
[Hide Comment] Even with 21 comments, a great deal of them spouting similar musings about the quality of this route, I still feel compelled to add to the echoes of the excellence of this route. The quality exceeds the hype - it is simply incredible. Do not miss this one if you are in red rock. Mar 19, 2024