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Only the Good Die Young

5.11b/c, Trad, 750 ft, 5 pitches,  Avg: 3.3 from 71 votes
FA: Uriostes, year unknown
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Red Rock > 16-Black Velvet… > Whiskey Peak > N Face
Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


Kudos, again, the the ASCA folks who rebolted this climb, taking from an obscure, old-rusty-bolts-that-will-snap scarefest to a super-safe, super-classic climb. Don't let the 5.11 grade scare you off, the cruxs are very well bolted with big, fat, new, shiny ASCA hangers. This climb is so well bolted, the cruxes could easily be yarded through (A0 style).

Anyhow, get to the route by first finding Wholesome Fullback. After you find this climb, hike climber's right for roughly 300 feet. As you go ascend slightly, you will be heading up into the mouth of a narrow canyon that splits Whiskey Peak and Black Velvet Wall. Keep your eyes peeled up for a bolt 10-15 feet off the deck; this will be the give away for the route's start, and will be on the same wall as Wholesome Fullback, that has now become the left side of the narrow canyon you are heading up. Again, the route will be between 300 and 500 feet climber's right of Wholesome Fullback. As you look up at the super-shiny new hanger, you will see several (3-4) other bolts about 40 feet up, twisting around a corner. Here you are looking at the second pitch, to give you a good idea of how short the pitches really are. So now you have found the climb.

The first pitch goes in Supertopo as 10d, but I felt it was more 10bish, a one-move wonder. Place some cams, and go up to the first set of anchors.

Pitch 2 is the business at 5.11 plus, with bolts right there the whole time. This is a super-steep, super-fun portion of this climb; a few of the holds are climbing gym-esque. As you reach the second anchor, you will already be getting psyched for the great-looking third pitch.

Begin this pitch with easy slab moves, progressing into several 5.10 moves to the belay. As the pitch continues, so does the difficulty. Thank goodness for those incuts...Here we go, this is the crux.

Pitch 4, you can see the three shiny traverse bolts, where the climbing is the most difficult right at the beginning of the traverse, and eases as you get the overhang, which are really jugs. Use long runners on the first and last traverse bolts, or suffer the consequences of severe rope drag. Also notice the original Urioste bolt...don't both clipping it, I talked to the dude who rebolted this and he said they barely hold body weight. After the overhang, do some .10 slab moves, and then, belay if you want, or just launch into the 5.6 (at most) patina haul to the top.

The descent isn't pretty. You need to scramble back down the canyon that the climb started in (via some 4th-classing climber's right from the summit), the one dividing Black Velvet and Whiskey Peak, but be wary as the canyon forks, as we found out. You will need to do one short rap of like 70 feet once you get close to your packs. Thanks again to the ASCA, they are really doing climbers a service.


Bolts protect the cruxes, and the anchors are new as well, but don't roll up with just a rack of draws and a rope -- no, no, no, you will also need a single set of cams to #2 Camalot (I am not sure what SuperTopo says to bring, but that is what we had, and were fine). Only one rope is necessary, and a 50-meter rope would work fine -- the pitches are all super short. The only reason a longer rope might be desirable would be if you wanted to run the last few pitches together, not a problem as after the route's crux, the difficulty eases way back to 5.6 patina pulling. Backing off this route would be easy.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Deanna sending the 3rd pitch right before she onsighted the crux fourth pitch.
[Hide Photo] Deanna sending the 3rd pitch right before she onsighted the crux fourth pitch.
Rico at the crux.  Photo by Darshan Ahluwalia.
[Hide Photo] Rico at the crux. Photo by Darshan Ahluwalia.
Me leading up the 10b pitch
[Hide Photo] Me leading up the 10b pitch
Jay Smith on Only the Good Die Young (5.11c), Red Rock<br>
Photo by Paul Obanhein
[Hide Photo] Jay Smith on Only the Good Die Young (5.11c), Red Rock Photo by Paul Obanhein
Elated to be just past the crux
[Hide Photo] Elated to be just past the crux
P3 is stunning
[Hide Photo] P3 is stunning
Erik climbing after the P2 crux
[Hide Photo] Erik climbing after the P2 crux
The way down ... stay on the right on the gully to get back at the base of the route.
[Hide Photo] The way down ... stay on the right on the gully to get back at the base of the route.
Spectacular view down from pitch 2.
[Hide Photo] Spectacular view down from pitch 2.
Pitch 3
[Hide Photo] Pitch 3
Austin after the crux on P2
[Hide Photo] Austin after the crux on P2
Mike following pitch 1
[Hide Photo] Mike following pitch 1

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] This was a great route. First pitch a bit akward to start. All the cruxes we're protected very well. Oct 21, 2007
Aaron S
[Hide Comment] The description here is spot on. Despite reading it here I neglected to put a long runner on the last bolt of the pitch 4 traverse and paid the price. A shoulder length sling would have made a world of difference. I highly recommend running the last two pitches together as there is really no reason to stop on the mediocre ledge.

The descent sucks balls. Despite paying pretty close attention we missed the fork coming down the canyon and had to back track up to get over to the base. Lots of bushwhacking and crappy scrambling.

There was one spot where I was happy to have a #3 camalot. If you are solid on 5.11 (I’m not) then you will be fine without it. Every pitch has stellar climbing and it’s a good one to push yourself on as it’s very well protected. May 22, 2008
Chad Kuhlman
Fort Collins
[Hide Comment] Good Route! The crux is a one move wonder off a small crimp. You really want to climb this on a cooler day for that move.
I found the descent to be easy with little to no bushwhacking. Cut down and to the right on slabs early on the descent. Then you will have one small rap off a tree to get in the gully with a little down climbing to the base of the route. Jul 30, 2008
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] absolutely amazing line- really good route. for folks unfamiliar with the geography of the gully or new to red rocks: when you get ready to make the rappel, look down. you'll see a white fin of rock separating the gully- you want to be on the right (east) side of it when going down. the other trick here is that once you get down, about 30' along the trail, step right toward the main wall rather than down and left.

not too bad other than that. thanks to the ASCA for the FAT bolts on the route- man, i cant imagine making that traverse on ye olde 1/4" urioste bolts! yowsers! Aug 24, 2008
rex parker
las vegas n.v
[Hide Comment] really fun worth going out to climb the exposure on the second or third pitch were it angled down to the left is sweet Sep 4, 2009
Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
[Hide Comment] I noticed all the pitches are short (less then 100') Does the route traverse too much to rap back down it??
Thoughts? Sep 18, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] you could rap from the top of 3 if you wanted to- but you cant rap from above that- i seem to recall that there isnt a bolted belay at the top of 4 or 5.

the walkoff isnt that bad, maybe 10-15 minutes. Sep 19, 2009
Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
[Hide Comment] Thanks for the info Sep 19, 2009
[Hide Comment] This route is varied and interesting-much more variety of movement than most of the Velvet Wall crimp-ladders. Short, fun cruxes, good rock-the last pitch finish is forgettable but the rest is a blast. Don't miss this one. Oct 16, 2011
Tim Wolfe
Salt Lake City, UT
[Hide Comment] Wonderful line on perfect rock. Short pitches that are all fun and a few pretty stout moves that are super well protected (bolt ladders). The descent is actually very easy and fast if you don't go off route. Once on top traverse a very short distance on the obvious ledge then look down for a lower ledge that leads down towards the gully (do not walk all the way back on the first ledge). Carefully down climb to this second ledge, traverse and down climb to a ledge with trees - one has a rap set up. At the bottom of the rap drop down only a few feet and then traverse straight along the wall you just climbed (do not drop over the ridge). A quick descent down along this wall takes you right to your gear in about 5 minutes. Piece of cake. Mar 16, 2012
[Hide Comment] Really fun route with a good variety. Every pitch is different,but all are fun and extremely well protected. The second pitch crux is a little burly while the fourth pitch crux is a crimp move. Definitely happy that we got on this route on our last day in Red Rocks. A nice way to end a week of climbing. The descent is fast and easy, just be careful up on that white sloping ledge when moving to the rap as there is a bunch of loose rocks and a slip would not be good. May 2, 2012
Chris DuRoss
Salt Lake City, UT
[Hide Comment] Great route, even though the pitches are short. P2 felt like the business. The crux moves on P4 are not that bad - maybe 5.11a/b. Follow Tim's direction for the descent, which we managed to do without rapping. May 4, 2012
Las Vegas
[Hide Comment] Pitch 2 crux seemed harder than pitch 4. The left bolt at the pitch 3 anchor is loose and should be tightened. Oct 1, 2012
[Hide Comment] As of 11/1/2012, the left-hand bolt at the belay atop P3 is loose. A couple microcams (red and yellow C3s) backed it up decently. You could also probably bring the first bolt of P4 into the anchor with a cordelette.

Otherwise, fun climbing. P2 definitely felt like the business as opposed to P4 per the Handren guidebook. I recommend skipping the 3rd bolt on P2 as it is unnecessary and difficult to clip. Nov 2, 2012
[Hide Comment] The anchor bolts atop pitch 2 and 3 both have one loose bolt that can almost slide out of the wall. This is as of 11/28/14. Dec 1, 2014
Dave Meyer
[Hide Comment] Absolutely incredible movement throughout the first four pitches. I enjoyed this one more than most of the other classics I've done in Black Velvet. Feb 17, 2015
Weston L
[Hide Comment] Great climb, wonderful variety and brilliant movement. Very easily doable on a summer morning, as the route faces West.

That being said, there are two anchor bolt issues:

Anchor atop P2, right hand bolt is significantly loose in the hole.

Anchor atop P3, left hand bolt is significantly loose in the hole and protruding a touch.

RE: the descent...not too terrible, some brush and loose rock. The supertopo topo for this was spot on. Slings on the rappel tree were good as of 7/3/15. Jul 8, 2015
[Hide Comment] Did this one last week. It's an excellent route.

A few comments to add:

P1 - Thuggy move at base - 10d
P2 - The crux fro sure. 11b tricky traverse right. Top bolt is hard to clip / unclip and should probably be skipped
P3 - Fun 10b
P4 - 11b - One move wonder to jug rail - nice position. gear belay at horizontal after bolts.
P5 - Up and off - 5.7 Apr 27, 2016
North Las Vegas
[Hide Comment] Pitch 3 anchor is tightened down, as is the first bolt on the pitch 4 traverse. I didn't look at the pitch 2 anchor, but if you're worried about it, bring a wrench. All of the other bolts seemed bomber. Sep 24, 2017
James Donigan
[Hide Comment] fun climb! being 6'3" i think made p2 the harder crux and p4 easier but whatever. descent was crappy in climbing shoes. best info i can give for the descent would be to traverse up canyon the ledge you finish on until a safe scramble down into the gully can be made. then stay as right and high as you can being mindful not to get cliffed out. some trails will be obvious, sometimes just follow the gully and path of least resistance. we never found the rap station but you will eventually end up looking at the p1 anchor/p2 and a 4th class down climb can be made beneath what looks like a huge chockstone right against the cliff. it is pretty short and leads directly back to your bags at the base. hope that helps those that miss the rap! Apr 5, 2018
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
[Hide Comment] Pretty good route. 2nd pitch felt more like 11b/c than the 4th pitch. Single rack to 2" plus 8-10 quick/alpine draws.

Descent is straightforward. The bottom of the descent is loose and any debris/rock that gets knocked loose will inevitably move towards the base of the route. If you're gearing up at the base of the route it may be wise to wear a helmet and exercise caution on your way down. Difficult to be out of the line of fire while at the base of this one. Apr 18, 2018
[Hide Comment] I think the correct descent was quite illusive; at least it was for us when we came down in the dark. We found the rappel station and updated it with some new, bright orange cord. It's not easy to find. FWIW, if you find yourself too far down the wrong gully (if you did a second rappel for instance), it is possible to go over the ridge skier's right and get back into the gully from which you started. Not all paths over the ridge go safely, but it's possible if you find the right spot to cross over. I think what makes the start hard to find is that it is obscured by a large roof from above.

Personally, I think for as many bolts there are on this route, there should be a bolted rap station at the top and an intermediate right below it to get you down. It wouldn't alter the character of the route or the area and would make the route much more enjoyable and time worthy. Mar 31, 2019
Alex Shainman
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] I would not personally call this route “super classic”… It’s just OK, worth doing once for sure. But I do have a little hate to drop regarding the rebolting job. I have rebolted routes and at a variety of different areas and in different states. Rebolting is A LOT of work and there needs to be a lot of respect that should be given to people who do such endeavors. On the flip side, it’s also a major bummer to see snapped off studs next to new holes drilled. Shit happens I know, but there are different kinds of excellent techniques to pull out old compression bolts and expansion bolts leaving a clean hole which can be drilled larger...and that was done on occasion on this route but there are WAY too many sections where there is now an old snapped stud next to a new bolt. Now, with all that said there’s something else I want to add. Regarding the anchor on top of the second that where the original 2-bolt anchor was? Would be better to add one bolt to the third pitch’s first bolt and make that the anchor. That anchor stance sucks. Where the anchor is, could be just one protection bolt to make a move into an excellent stance. That’s a legitimate call to make to “add” a hole/bolt. Okay, sorry there’s one more thing...the 3rd bolt on P2 is fucked and is very backed’s also really not necessary and could just be removed, especially since the key hold to clip off of is loose and in the middle of the crux anyways. Worse is that BOTH bolts for the anchor on top of P2 are loose. Given the newness of these bolts, one to three things happened… The hole was not cleaned out properly of drill dust, the hole was drilled at an off angle and/or the bolts were not torque-tightened properly. The next party up definitely needs to bring a wrench. I’m really not trying to be a hater here, but when I see things like this in my current local area or anywhere else for that matter it sucks. As a whole it can negatively affect our sport. Again, I am in 100% understanding that shit happens but please, please, please try as best as you can to do it right the first time. Thanks! May 28, 2019