Avg: 3.9 from 722 votes
|Type:||Trad, 1600 ft, 13 pitches, Grade IV|
|FA:||Jorge Urioste, Joanne Urioste, Joe Herbst, 1978|
|Page Views:||189,293 total · 983/month|
|Shared By:||John Peterson on Mar 31, 2002|
|Admins:||Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen|
RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Details
Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN RED ROCKS during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. ***** HUMAN WASTE ***** Human waste is one of the major issues plaguing Red Rocks. The Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council identified this problem years ago and has worked to provide "wag bags" free of charge in several locations (Black Velvet, First Pullout, Kraft Mtn/Bouldering, The Gallery, and The Black Corridor). These bags are designed so that you can pack your waste out - consider bringing one to be part of your kit (just like your rope and shoes and lunch) no matter where you go. Once used, please dispose of them properly (do not throw them in the toilets at the parking areas). This project was funded primarily by the American Alpine Club
DescriptionThis is it. THE classic red rocks route. And it's just as good as everyone says it is.
Approach as for the Black Velvet wall. After climbing around the chockstone, return to the stream bed and walk another minute or two upstream. The bolts on the first pitch will be easily spotted on the left.
This route has lost some of the original seriousness now that bolted anchors have been placed all the way up. This speeds things up considerably and provides an easy retreat if needed. You'll need two ropes if you intend to rap the route.
The original description had 18 pitches. If you use the bolted belay anchors you can climb Epinephrine in 11 or 12 pitches. This description will assume that you use the bolted belays. It's hard to remember precisely how long (or how many!) pitches are on this route but I'll do my best.
Pitch 1: climb out of the creekbed past bolts to a big ledge (5.8). Continue on past a couple more bolts to a bushy ledge. (165 feet, 5.8)
Pitch 2: work up and left into a chimney, then pull out the right side and work up easier rock to the base of the big chimney that forms the right side of the Black Tower.(165 feet?, 5.7). May need some rope stretch here.
Pitch 3: The main event: chimney up a wide crack with good pro to a ledge on the right wall with bolts. (140', 5.9)
Pitch 4: Chimney up and swing left as the crack narrows. Climb easier rock to a good ledge. Belay or continue on up into a narrower chimney with a fixed nut at the base and then two bolts. The bolts can be hard to spot - you need to work away from the back of the chimney to find them. If you have enough rope you can belay at the top of the Black Tower. Otherwise belay at the top of the chimney and do a short easy pitch to the tower's top. You can avoid the lower part of the chimney on the right. (165', 5.9)
Pitch 5: Climb the face above the top of the tower, passing an overhang, aiming at a brushy ledge. (150', 5.8)
Pitch 6: Traverse easily right to the Elephant's Trunk. Ascend this to a ledge at its top. (80', 5.6)
Pitch 7: Climb up the crack system (some bolts) to a bolted belay at a ledge. (90', 5.8+) (can be combined with Pitch 6). The rap route goes straight down from here, avoiding pitches 5 and 6.
Pitches 8 - 10: Continue up the same crack system, stopping at the bolted belays. A short traverse right (bolt) is found on pitch 10. (400', 5.8+)
Pitch 11: Either rap the route of continue to the top of the crack. There is no rap anchor at the top of the pitch, though you'll see some chopped bolts where there used to be an anchor.
Route exit: You've finished the 5th class climbing, but you're not done yet. There is about 600 feet of 4th class/5.2 slab that you need to climb. If you feel bold, you may choose to unrope and free-solo, or you and your partner can simulclimb the rest of the way up. Otherwise, you can build anchors and place a little gear as you go.
Follow the right leaning ramp all the way to the very top. It ends just after turning into a very well defined right-facing dihedral, where you might find yourself mantling on the face behind you as you climb. If you are doing this part of the climb at night, you'll want to keep an eye out for an "exit" to the right, after passing through the dihedral section. You'll arrive at a large ledge at the top of the dihedral. If you try to keep going straight up, you'll encounter a 12 foot sandy/sometimes-wet "wall". Don't climb that wall.
You'll step right 30 feet, and make a few moves to turn a corner.
Keep in mind that for this entire ramp section, you will not be able to see the famous pine tree or 4th class exit-pitch. Just keep trending up and right.
Once you round the corner, you'll come to a very large sandy ledge protected by a roof. Proceed along the ledge, take the rightward facing ramp that's plainly visible ahead, and congratulate you and your partner for a job well done.
Descent: follow cairns along the ridge leading east from the summit. There are a lot of cairns - if you miss them backtrack until you get back on the right trail. The route will eventually drop left towards Whiskey Peak at the top of Frogland.
Protection: You don't need anything bigger than a #4 camalot in the chimney pitches. A 3, 3.5, and 4 camalot and perhaps a #11 hex, combined with the existing fixed gear, should get you up the chimney without much mental stress.
Logistics: Getting a pack through the chimney pitches is a pain - go light and bring a long sling to trail the pack when needed. The route gets almost no sun so you can go fairly light on water. Get an early start and move fast! Most of the climbing is 5.7 - 5.8. If you can avoid wasting time at the belays you should be able to get up in a day without too much effort. A competent party can easily get up in 8 hours. Figure on about 1 - 1.5 hours in descent. Don't leave gear at the base of the route if you chose to walk down - it's a long way out of the way to go back there.
If the chimney pitches were in Yosemite they would be 5.7. This isn't Steck-Salathe! 5.9 is consistent with other Vegas ratings though.
Here's the step by step descent by Jon P (thanks!)
1. Head up to the summit of Black Velvet peak by rounding the big lone pine tree at the top of the route and scrambling which quickly eases into hiking. Enjoy the view of Vegas.
2. When looking out at Las Vegas from Black Velvet peak, turn to face your 4:00 (right and slightly behind you), seeing another very large peak connected by a ridge and saddle. Follow this ridge, dropping down the saddle, and make your way up to the top of the large peak.
3. Once at the summit of the 2nd tall peak, look to your 8:00 (left and slightly behind) to see another ridge heading toward hwy 160.
4. Scramble down the large peak to obtain this next ridge. Stay as high as safely possible as you follow the ridge which is sporadically marked with cairns.
5. Connect the dots along the ridge, hitting 3 or 4 more peaks as you follow the ridge. Only one of the peaks does not have a cairn on it but continue high on the ridge heading to the top of each peak.
6. You will know when you are at the final peak because it has 4 or 5 very stout cairns on it closely spaced. It is obvious! If you are unsure then you are not there yet!
7. Once on top of the peak with the 4 or 5 big cairns, head left and down following the many cairns along the way. If you head down and do not see cairns, you are going the wrong way.
8. Get dumped into the whisky peak gully decent (turn right when you come to the fork) and continue down behind Frogland, following trails and cairns which are heading in the direction of hwy 160. There are multiple trails going down this decent and they all seem to meet up eventually.
9. Upon exiting the gully, curve around whisky peak following the trail that curves left.
10. The decent trail back to the parking lot is several hundred feet before Frogland, marked with a large cairn sitting on top of a large boulder.