Type: Trad, 250 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Logerquist, Williamson, 1971
Page Views: 62,077 total · 301/month
Shared By: Scott Conner on Feb 1, 2002
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 is a great route and the site of the rappelling error that led to the fate of renowned Red Rock climber and guide Randal Grandstaff.

The location of this climb is obvious. It more or less climbs the giant left facing dihedral, aka The Great Red Book...

P1 (5.8): Climb up past a few vegetated ledges and work over into the corner proper for about 10-15 ft. When the crack becomes too thin, head back out onto the face and up to the bolted anchor where a memorial for Randall has been scratched into the rock (technically this is a chipped route :)

P2 (5.8 PG): Climb up the face on small edges past 2 bolts and lieback around the OW in the corner. Shoot for the top via the face or chimney.

Descend by heading left and working your way down and back around the wall.


Full rack to 4".


Unfortunately somebody has made a half-assed attempt to scratch out the memorial markings at the first belay. The engraving is still visible, but light scratches have been cut into the rock on top of it.

Randal gave a lot to Red Rock and it irks me -- as I'm sure it irks others -- that someone made a number of uninformed assumptions and took it upon themselves to do something about those assumptions.

Jason Nov 22, 2005
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Here is a little more on Randal Grandstaff, who fell to his death on the Great Red Book in June 2002:

Thursday, June 06, 2002
Copyright C Las Vegas Review-Journal

Legendary climber plummets to death at Red Rock


Randal Grandstaff, a mountaineer who scaled peaks across the globe and ran the Las Vegas Valley's oldest and most successful climbing school, died Wednesday in an apparent accident at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. He was 44.

A legend in climbing circles, Grandstaff plummeted about 150 feet to his death shortly after helping a tourist rappel down a rock face. Police believe the fall was accidental, but the 12:40 p.m. incident remains under investigation.

"At this point, we don't know what went wrong," said Sgt. Clint Bassett of the Metropolitan Police Department's Search and Rescue unit. "There's a dozen things that could've happened. There's equipment, human error, and then there's rock, and it could be any combination of those factors."

Police did not release the identity of the victim, but word of the Las Vegas native's death spread quickly Wednesday among the valley's tight-knit climbing community. Colleagues and an employee at Sky's the Limit, Grandstaff's climbing school, confirmed the identity of the victim.

"If you're a climber, Randal was the man," said Brandon Arens, a climber who worked for Grandstaff. "He was extremely impressive. Anyone serious about climbing Red Rock knows his name."

Fred Frazzetta, an employee at Desert Rock Sports, a climbing supply
store on West Charleston Boulevard, said Grandstaff was widely known by climbers because he had recorded so many first ascents at Red Rock, meaning he was the first person to perform a climb there.

"His name does appear in the Red Rock guidebook a lot," said Frazzetta, who knew Grandstaff for 12 years. "This guy had a pretty big reputation, and he had clients he guided from all over the world."

After he was introduced to climbing as a Boy Scout, Grandstaff began logging serious time at Red Rock as an adolescent and continued throughout his teen-age years.

The 1976 graduate of Bishop Gorman High School once got into trouble for scaling the brick tower in front of the school. Described as colorful by three people who knew him, Grandstaff also once gathered notoriety among climbers for scaling the Flashlight sculpture on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

After a short stint in college, he became a heavily experienced mountaineer in both alpine and ice climbing.

He spent time on some of the most intimidating ridges on five continents, including Mount Everest and other peaks in the Himalayas, the snowy crests of the French Alps, and Alaska's Mount McKinley.

But it was the giant pile of sandstone west of Las Vegas that Grandstaff spent most of his life mastering.

"When there were only like 10 people climbing out at Red Rock, he was one of them," Frazzetta said.

Of the more than 1,500 rated climbs at Red Rock, Grandstaff could claim first ascent on about 800.

He bought a home close to the climbing area and launched Sky's the Limit in the mid-1980s. Colleagues said he enjoyed slowly building his business into a success centered on his love for the sport.

On Wednesday, police said he was leading a female tourist on a climb called the Great Red Book, a route up a rock face at the second turnoff on Red Rock's scenic loop.

The pair finished the climb, and the woman rappelled down on ropes first, Bassett said.

"She doesn't know what happened, because the next thing she knew, he just fell from the top," said Bassett, the police sergeant. "He was about to rappel, but just fell."

Police found the equipment the pair used to scale the rock at the bottom of the climbing area near the man's body. Apr 26, 2006
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Thanks for posting this article on Randal's death, Mike! What a terrible trajedy. But, having completed this route last week, the article raises more questions than it answers.

1) If the pair did reach the top of the route, then you'd need to do two raps to get down (the first pitch is 130', the second 120', according to Roxanna). However it is easy to walk off, and the top anchor is not set up for rapping. There are 2 bolts, but they are in a flat spot quite far from the edge. There are no chains for rapping (although maybe there were in 2002). Even so, there would be considerable rope drag pulling your ropes. Also, wouldn't the surviving woman have ended up at the first belay, rather than the ground? Perhaps he lowered her on a single line all the way down?

2) If they were at the first belay, after either completing the first pitch, or after somehow doing the first rappel, then the woman would have rapped normally and then somehow Randal fell from here.

Either way it doesn't really make sense. Has this been resolved? Where exactly was the rope when the rescue team arrived?

The incident did not make it into Accidents in North American Mountaineering, as near as I can tell. I checked the 2003-2005 editions and did not see it.

-George Apr 26, 2006
Here's what I know: Randy had lowered his client from the top of the first pitch (bolted anchor). The rope, the belay device, and some cord were all attached to Randy. There appear to be two theories as to what actually happened. Randy sometimes used to use a knotted cord to rappel that was retreivable (leave no trace) from the ground by pulling on one strand of the rope (the knot would pop and the cord and rope would come down). I don't know how to tie the knot that he used, but others have said that you have to be vigilant when using it because it can come undone mid-rappel if you are not careful. Something about both strands of the rope needing to pass through the belay devive at the same rate.
Some folks think that Randy simply screwed-up the knot (not tied correctly) and it popped soon after he began his descent. The other theory has to do with the fact that Randy had some health issues that were causing him to have the occasional black-out. He may have begun to rap and simply blacked-out. Either way, shortly after he began his rappel, the knot popped. Apr 26, 2006
I had heard something about either RB's or some kind of "retrieval" system being the cause.

Anyways, this route is great and has a bit of everything. I remember climbing into the slot you can see in some of the photos but I guess you could do this route in a number of ways.

You will probably want to walk off, when we did it it was not really set up for rappel (this may have changed). Mar 19, 2007
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
One of the best routes I've done anywhere. Great gear, the bolts are far enough apart to keep things exciting and the 2 liebacking sections are amazing. Do yourself a favor and go straight up the face at the end of P2, no point getting in the chimney. The view from the top is priceless and even the walk off is scenic. Go do it. Now. Nov 26, 2007
Do the belay stations have bolts? If so are they rap bolts or will I have to leave webbing if I don't want to walk down? Feb 21, 2008
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
Yes, double bolts on both pitches. I am pretty sure you would need to leave webbing, if memory serves (it's been a few years). The walk off is kind of charming... When we did it there had been rain the week before and it was all green with pools of water. Feb 22, 2008
Las Vegas, NV
  5.8 PG13
J W   Las Vegas, NV
  5.8 PG13
it would take longer to rappel this route than to walk off of it.

also, i would suspect the rope pull on the first rappel would be brutal.

also, i never carry anything bigger than a red camalot on this route- but you might be able to make a case for a yellow... Mar 3, 2008
Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
This is one of my lazy day favorites. I love to spend half a day in the black corridor then go up to do red book. The layback on the first pitch is exciting, but the second Pitch is really the best. Beautiful face climbing off the belay back to the corner and a tricky layback to easier climbing. I always pay my quiet respects to RG when doing this route. Oct 17, 2008
Ron Graham  
Folks who haven't done a lot of liebacks on slippery sandstone on lead might want to bring a #5 Camalot for use in the crack at the base of the lieback on the second pitch. The angle for that lieback is a bit more awkward than the one for the first pitch. There is, however, a great hand/foothold on the face about 4 feet straight out from the lieback that can help you get past this crux in about 2 moves if you have the arm/leg length to effectively use it.

If you bring a full rack of cams, you can easily protect this route without needing to use any stoppers. Some extra long runners would be handy on the first pitch to reduce rope drag.

I give this route 4 stars because of the great variety it offers in a multi-pitch route over a short distance: face, crack, slab, lieback, bolts and free climbing pro. Anyone who does this route will likely enjoy the many sport routes on the wall to the right of the Book as well. Feb 23, 2009
las vegas
billdlee   las vegas
I always thought that this was a very good/classic 5.8 climb because the second pitch had a nice little slab section and a very fun lay-back. But what made it a classic 5.8 is the first pitch. Instead of moving out on the face like you normally would, try staying in the dihedral all the way up until you are even with the bolts at the top of the pitch. This was so much more fun than the second pitch. Both pitches makes this a really fun climb. A great trad climb. Apr 29, 2009
Doug Lintz
Kearney, NE
Doug Lintz   Kearney, NE
Great route! The walk off is easy and this route takes everything from .3 to #3 Camalots (no need for stoppers). You could find #4 and #5 cam placements but they're not really necessary. Jun 4, 2009
Paul Dovydaitis
Chicago, IL
Paul Dovydaitis   Chicago, IL
Don't bother trying to rap off this route, we tried this on 11/7 and the first rap did not pull. Might have been OK if I had a rap ring with me instead of just trying to go through webbing, but even so the bolts on the top are way far back there, so there is a ton of friction. The walk off is much easier. Nov 9, 2010
anthony509 Excelsior
las vegas nv
anthony509 Excelsior   las vegas nv
Rapped off yesterday, 2 ropes. Could not pull rope through single rap ring at top. Climbed back up to see nothing preventing rope pull--friction on small ring??? Moved knot a bunch down from there while rappeling again. Almost would not pull again but managed it. Recommend finding walk off. Glad the views and climb were worth the hassle. Dec 25, 2010
Marcy -
Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Marcy -   Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Great fun! Don't pass this one up if you're in the area and looking for an outstanding gear route. I'd recommend doing the walk off. May 20, 2011
Sara Ann
Sunnyvale, CA
Sara Ann   Sunnyvale, CA
Stay in the crack on the first pitch for exquisite 5.8 climbing on good pro (but watch for friction if your rope runs up the crack as you round a corner to the right... long slings here!), or do the two-star 5.7 face. The second pitch lie-back was yummy fer sure. A little bit of everything on beautiful rock makes it classic. The scramble down the gully was fun and easy. Mar 6, 2012
Jonathan Simonton   Chandler
I felt like the end of pitch 1, if you stay in the crack was harder than .8+. Scary route for me, and my first .8 lead. Wouldn't recomend for first .8 lead. Mar 23, 2012
Albuquerque, NM
farkas.time   Albuquerque, NM
Very fun. Excellent and varied climbing on an awesome landscape feature.

I found pro a bit difficult on p1, so it felt harder than 5.7. Good coverage around 1" is recommended.

Pro on p2 is excellent and with variable size, and felt easier than 5.8. The slab at the top is very run out, but 5.4 or 5.5. I think this would be a good beginner intro to the grade, as long as the runout slab isn't horribly intimidating. Apr 5, 2012
Rob Donnelly
Riverside, CA
Rob Donnelly   Riverside, CA
I didn't think to lieback the OW on the 2nd pitch. I face climbed it instead and it felt 5.9+ this way.

Don't rap unless you just love to rap. It is more hassle than it is worth. Nov 21, 2012
Andrew Yasso
Las Vegas, NV
Andrew Yasso   Las Vegas, NV
The walk off descent is mellow and quick, and is in the NORTH direction. The description says "left," meaning when you get to the base of the climb the gully is on your left that you will be descending (climbers left), but once you are at the top left is mildly subjective. Just walk off North and you shouldn't have a hard time getting back to your pack.

Very fun and quick route. Feb 16, 2013
Ty Morrison-Heath
Bozeman, MT
Ty Morrison-Heath   Bozeman, MT
Fantastic route with a bit of every type of climbing. I brought doubles of .3-#3 Camalots and wished I would of had one smaller piece for the crack (A yellow c3 would of been great!) before you traverse out onto the face on the first pitch. Not recommended for beginner leaders due to the large runout at the top. Easy descent as well! Mar 13, 2013
Nate Flink
Minneapolis, MN
Nate Flink   Minneapolis, MN
Thoroughly enjoyable route. I felt the climbing was true to the grade on par with Dark Shadows or Frogland's crux pitches. PG in a few spots Mar 29, 2013
El Segundo, Ca
  5.8 R
Mtnfly   El Segundo, Ca
  5.8 R
Followed this route. Loose bolt on off width LB on pitch 2. Very loose. I'm sure that bolt has seen its fair share of falls. I'm glad I didn't have t lead te runout slab to face prior to pitch 1 anchors. Then from 1st belay anchor to bolts is 15-20 feet and is pretty stout 5.8 slab/thin face. You can place some shitty gear but nothing you feel great about off the belay. Runout at top felt secure. Apr 10, 2013
Edward Pyune
Las Vegas, NV
Edward Pyune   Las Vegas, NV
I thought this route was SUPER fun and pro felt great from a yellow C3 to a #4 C4, with doubles from #.5 to #3. Staying in the crack on the first pitch is highly recommended and felt like 5.8+, not quite 5.9, and definitely watch out for rope drag protecting it. Little run out in the 5.5 section up top. Also, the view from up top is great Apr 5, 2014
Nate Young
Nate Young   Phoenix
Lead both pitches on this route and thought it was a great deal of fun.

Some route / gear beta.

Route Beta:

The first bolt off of the mid-belay is kind of up there. The climbing is easy and holds are solid, but if you are sketched out, about 10 feet up there is a great BD #.3 blue horizontal cam placement. I'm not sure how large a fall it would truly protect before the rock around the cam goes, but it's great for a mental crutch!

The 40+ foot run-out at the top next to the chimney isn't a big deal. At first the beta sounded intimidating and the top section of the second pitch was what I dreaded about the climb the most. After getting through the 5.8 wide section and hitting the chimney, the top was a breeze. I stayed in the chimney for maybe 10 feet, letting the chimney supplement some meh foot holds at times. Then there is a GREAT ledge to step out left on and from then on it is a jug fest on low angled terrain.

If you REALLY don't want to run the top out. Once you get to the chimney, just keep walking through the chimney to the right. There is a nice horizontal crack where you can build a gear belay with #1-#4 pieces depending on what you have left over. THEN, if you want to summit, there is a small ramp to your left that will take you to the top where the anchors are.

Gear Beta:

I brought doubles from BD C4 #.3-4, didn't need half of it. I sewed most of the cracks up and didn't need the second set from #1-4 at all. I only placed one nut on the first pitch, but it truly wasn't needed at all.

My Recommended Rack for Great Red Book:

BD C4 #.2-4 single set with doubles from .4-.75
Don't bother with the nuts at all unless you are very good at slotting behind flakes.

Single 70m rope will get you to the ground off of the first belay stance, but it won't get you off the top. DO THE WALK OFF since it is pretty beautiful! Nov 9, 2015
Chase D
Chase D  
Excellent route with fun liebacking. Protects well with a single rack up to a #3 cam. I agree that the walk-off descent is the way to go. Rapping would take twice as long with twice the effort. Jan 7, 2016
Barndawg TheFirst
Barndawg TheFirst   London
if you want to go oldschool - there are bomber nut placements all the way up p1. i placed a #1 Camelot somewhere quite low, and a #2 before the move out left to the bolts, and i wouldn't have needed either to if I'd brought my chocks. a #5 protects the move out of the offwidth on p2, if you like... Apr 15, 2016
This route was outstanding. Has everything from slab, to jams, to liebacking, to thin face, and you even get to top it off with a chimney at the top. If you're at all comfortable with leading 5.8, this route should be a problem.

Next time, my rack will consist of a #0.3-1 C4 with an extra #1 and blue and red TCUs. The blue TCU is perfect for slotting in the horizontal ten feet up on the second pitch, but I used it at the top of the first pitch as well. The top is super chill and didn't feel at all scary.

The lefthand bolt at the first belay station is loose. Someone take a wrench up with you.

The walkoff is super chill, but I will say that you have to go down to the climber's right first and then cut back left to get into the descent gully. After that it's just an easy stroll down around the west side of the formation.

Definitely took too long to do this route! Sep 1, 2016
If anyone recovers two cams, (blue #3 and ???) from 11/7/16 part way up the first pitch I will gladly pay for shipping. There are some runners also.

The route is great, if you are climbing 5.8 leading this 5.7 can be a challenge (and was too much for me). On P1 after the second lieback I stayed in the crack went up too high. I did not move out onto the face soon enough...


Mark Nov 8, 2016
After the little layback sequence on p1, I went left out into the face and it was easy climbing. It looked harder to stay in the crack. Although, the rock didn't feel very solid on the face imo. It's probably just me, though. First time climbing on this type of sandstone.

I think the hardest part for me was after the second bolt at the start of p2. Holds were small and I was def not trusting my feet sticking to the varnished face. I finally made a tall man move to get past it, but I was hanging at one spot for a while. I thought the layback on p2 was fine, but was pretty glad I had a #5 for it. I used a #4 once at some point, too.

The runout at the top was fine as well. Didn't use the wall behind me to chimney, though. Dec 5, 2016
Chad Elliott
Las Vegas
Chad Elliott   Las Vegas
Awesome route! Totally worth the hike. I enjoyed having a #4 for the top of p2,but I brought too much gear overall. Only placed 2 pieces on last pitch. May 22, 2017
Alex Fletcher
Anaheim, CA
Alex Fletcher   Anaheim, CA
I placed a yellow black diamond (#6? .75 equivalent) hex about 30 feet up pitch one that my partner couldn’t retrieve nor the party following us up. If someone gets it out, i’d really love it back. I am just a dirtbag climber after all. 479-616-6442 I’m in the area for a couple months.

There’s also a fixed oldschool BD #1 just below the block jutting out on pitch 2. It’s fully stuck in my opinion, and would need a hacksaw to remove.

As far as the route goes, absolutely excellent climbing. Pitch two has enough bolts to almost warrant not bringing any gear. Certainly not big stuff if you are confident. I placed a 4 and walked it two moves but one more move up I could have placed a 3. If you’re even mildly confident, you certainly don’t need a 5. Getting to the 1st bolt of pitch 2 is not bad but one small piece can be placed before reaching it. Jan 4, 2018
Andrew Smith
Dallas, TX
Andrew Smith   Dallas, TX
Highly recommend NOT rappelling, we had two 70s and still was a nightmare. Me and some rando people attempted it due to leaving bags at the base thinking it would be easier, WRONG, lots of friction up top on bolts and rock. Dude I was climbing with aided up to get it unstuck and left two of my biners to make it more smooth, didn't matter. Please leave the biners there as a route donation, or put them somewhere else in the park that needs them. In spite of all of this, fun freaking route. Jan 19, 2018
Alex Fletcher
Anaheim, CA
Alex Fletcher   Anaheim, CA
WARNING As of January 22nd, 2018, the anchor bolts on pitch one are in serious need of tightening. The bottom left bolt was hanging half way out upon arrival. The older SMC hangar on the right has dug into the sandstone and made itself probably into a permanent spinner: not such a big deal, but the bolt itself can be wiggled very slightly also.

The community, I’m sure, would appreciate someone that knows what they are doing going up there and fixing them up to spec and maybe adding some loctight? Jan 24, 2018
Ted Pinson
Chicago, IL
Ted Pinson   Chicago, IL
So this might be one of the best climbs I’ve done so far...both pitches were very solid, but I thought pitch 2 was incredible (and scary as hell!). Definitely heads up if you’re near your limit, I found it stout for the grade. The opening moves from the first belay aren’t bad, but they’re definitely not trivial and very committing, especially for the gear options you have, and the layback crux was super awkward and insecure for me.

Gear beta: whatever you do, DON’T place the #4 at the first opportunity. It isn’t needed there. It’s for halfway through the layback, where you’re finally to a somewhat secure spot and praying to whatever gods will listen. A #3 will work if you get it deep in there, but a #4 would be MUCH easier to place and much more confidence inspiring. Feb 19, 2018
Safty Third
San Diego, CA
Safty Third   San Diego, CA
We chose this climb because it was low commitment with heavy winds coming in fast. It turned out to be the dark horse of the trip, and one of the most enjoyable jaunts I've done in the area. No rap rings at the top, there are 3 bolts at the belay: 2 spinners and 1 bomber (I thought nothing of it). Just go climb it, and take whatever rack will make you feel confident. I didn't place a #4, and if I remember right all I placed on pitch two was a .75 to keep the rope out of the crack. Feb 22, 2018
Steve Golebiewski
Portland, OR
Steve Golebiewski   Portland, OR
WARNING: There's a giant 2ft x 3ft loose block on P2. Right after the second bolt when you head for what appears to be a broken overhang, that entire block is loose. I didn't realize it until placing a piece and trying to take it out and re-place it - the whole block moved about half an inch. It seems secure but if you pull on it just right while trying to pull over that crux you could pull it loose. Be careful! You can see this block clearly in Lauren Di Scipio's picture (3rd photo in the album, called '1st Pitch Belay, ode to rg') - the leader is holding the block in this photo. Apr 9, 2018
Walter Galli
Las vegas
Walter Galli   Las vegas
Very nice route.. before the first pitch there is a move under a small roof chimney that make the route more interesting, good lay back crack moves... a must to do if you are in the area. Apr 17, 2018
Somebody placed a bolt in the middle of the off-width/lie-back section of P2...Let the controversy begin. Oct 19, 2018
Nick B
Anchorage, AK
Nick B   Anchorage, AK
Awesome climb. The second pitch in particular was a blast. The last 30-40 feet is run out on easy face climbing in what basically amount to a chimney. Maybe there is gear up a different line... But none up the route I took. Nov 22, 2018
Crag Hag  
Me and my partner lucked out because no parties were on the route nor was there a line. Belay stations are bolted; no rap rings that I can recall? The first station had one bomber and one spinner (wasn't too concerning but could be tightened). The climbing itself was pretty fun; nothing too technical or strenuous. The slab isn't super run-out (in comparison to Yosemite or alike) but I can see why it could be heady for some. Very well protected nonetheless. My partner did the layback on pitch 2, whereas I did the face variation because... why not.

We did note the "loose block" as the comment below mentioned and proceeded with caution. It didn't appear to be in the stage of blowing out, but it is loose...so that's something to be aware and mindful of.

Don't rappel. The walk-off is a cruiser. Drink a well-deserved beer on the way down and enjoy the views. Dec 20, 2018
This was one of my favorite routes on my first trip to Red Rock. We climbed the route at 3pm just as the sunlight moved into the corner, which was a perfect way to end a winter day. Interesting mix of face and crack climbing, and the liebacks were definitely my highlight. I found the #4 camalot useful for the wide lieback on pitch 2. The face climbing at the start of pitch 2 was headier than I expected, but still pretty cruiser once you trust the feet. The hike off is super easy and fun, rappelling would be unnecessary. I highly recommend this route, fun climbing on a gorgeous feature! Jan 1, 2019