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Risky Business

5.10c R, Trad, 400 ft, 4 pitches,  Avg: 3.8 from 151 votes
FA: Greg Meyers, Mike Tupper 1985
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Red Rock > 10-Pine Creek C… > Mescalito > Dark Shadows Wall
Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


Risky Business climbs some of the best rock in Red Rock. It is an EXTREMELY good climb and shouldn't be missed by anyone leading at the grade. However it is a bit runout so make sure you're very solid at the grade.

The route starts approximately 50ft to the left of Dark Shadows on a small "island" in the creek.

Pitch 1- start up a short left facing flake, then climb the face above aiming for the first of 2 bolts. After clipping the 2nd bolt climb up and slightly right to gain a shallow right facing corner. Climb this corner until it's possible to traverse left to reach the obvious ledge and anchor(5.10-, R-).

Pitch 2- climb the obvious corner up and slightly left of the belay; there is a bolt near the bottom of the corner. At the top of the corner follow thin, discontinous cracks aiming for another bolt. Face climb past this bolt, until you find more discontiuous cracks, follow these to the anchor, which is directly below a large bulge(5.10, R-).

Pitch 3- climb straight left, then up to reach a bolt. After clipping the bolt climb straight up until it is possible to traverse right to gain a thin crack system (the traverse is about 20ft). Climb up the thin cracks until it is possible to traverse back left towards a fixed pin in the bottom of a shallow right facing corner. Climb the corner to reach a hanging belay(5.10+, R).

Pitch 4- Climb straight up, off the belay past 4 bolts. After clipping the 4th bolt traverse right to a white ledge/large stance and the final anchor.

To descend rappel with 2 ropes.


Rack: 1 set of nuts extras in the small size's, 1 set of cams Green alien to #1 camalot.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Pitch 3 of Risky Business photo by Dan Krauss
[Hide Photo] Pitch 3 of Risky Business photo by Dan Krauss
AJ the boss.
[Hide Photo] AJ the boss.
The final stretch of pitch 3. 4/17.
[Hide Photo] The final stretch of pitch 3. 4/17.
Matthew Lawry rockin it
[Hide Photo] Matthew Lawry rockin it
Risky Business: topo overlay. Belay/rap anchors indicated by red dots.
[Hide Photo] Risky Business: topo overlay. Belay/rap anchors indicated by red dots.
Approaching the 5.8 traverse on pitch 3. 4/17.
[Hide Photo] Approaching the 5.8 traverse on pitch 3. 4/17.
Risky Business -- first pitch. 4/17.
[Hide Photo] Risky Business -- first pitch. 4/17.
Nick heading up pitch 3
[Hide Photo] Nick heading up pitch 3
Picture of Risky Business from Dark Shadows. Promised climber that we'd post great picts of him on it, posted this one to facebook and then dropped phone into stream at base. Sorry dude!
[Hide Photo] Picture of Risky Business from Dark Shadows. Promised climber that we'd post great picts of him on it, posted this one to facebook and then dropped phone into stream at base. Sorry dude!
Tom on the first pitch.
[Hide Photo] Tom on the first pitch.
Near the top of the third pitch
[Hide Photo] Near the top of the third pitch
climbers on last pitch of Risky Business.  Other climbers are at top of P4 of Dark Shadows.
[Hide Photo] climbers on last pitch of Risky Business. Other climbers are at top of P4 of Dark Shadows.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Olympia, WA
[Hide Comment] We did first two pitches in may '04. Started on a 3-4 foot block about 60 feet left of Dark Shadows. P1 is committing, P2 protected well. Ran out of daylight :( Nov 29, 2004
J. Thompson
denver, co
[Hide Comment] Couple of addition's.In the diescription for pitch 2 it should read- at the top of the CORNER follow the... On pitch 3 instead of doing the traverse back left to the fixed pin it is possible to climb straight up to the anchor on Excellent adventure. If you do this you'll have to do a leftward traverse to get back on the route following the belay. Both varitation's are the same difficulty but you can avoid some rope drag by using the EV anchor.On the descent, 1 60M rope will not work. Pitch 3 is the problem. pitch;s 1 and2 can be rapped with a single 60. When rappelling with 2 ropes- from the pitch 2 anchor you can reach the ground and keep your ropes dry. You'll want to head left of the start aiming for a white block. You will pass the anchor for the route short circuit.

This is probably my favorite route in RR!! May 7, 2005
J. Thompson
denver, co
[Hide Comment] One more thing!!! All anchors and protection bolts are good as of 5-5-2005. Thanks too Greg Barnes and the ASCA. May 7, 2005
[Hide Comment] This is a spectacular route - not too scary and every pitch is well worth the time. Bring a knife and a couple of quick links or a some webbing for the last belay if you get on it. As of 5/15/05 the last belay had a wonderful new bolt/ring and an old bolt with some rather uninspiring moldy cord tied through a rap ring. May 16, 2005
J. Thompson
denver, co
[Hide Comment] OOPS!! I meant to mention that last anchor.We didn't have any quick links when we were replacing it. Someone please take a couple up there..this is the final touch needed to make every anchor perfect!!Thanks for the reminder blackfly!! Glad you had as much fun as I did on this awesome route!! May 16, 2005
J. Thompson
denver, co
[Hide Comment] So I was looking at this again the other day and I saw the consensus rating had the route down to 5.10b/c. Then I looked closer and realised that this was because the person who grade it 5.10b hadn't climbed the crux pitch! Folks that third pitch is BOTH 5.10c AND R rated. But it's classic! Mar 16, 2007
Aaron S
[Hide Comment] Every pitch is classic on this one!

And if you are as lazy as I am and hate carrying a second rope, the route can easily be rapped with a single 70m. Oct 15, 2007
Las Vegas, NV
  5.10c R
[Hide Comment] amazing route- found a bail loop on the first bolt of the crux pitch- and what a pitch! wow!

definitely rap with a 70m, easier than using 2 lines.

while all the pitches have run-outs on them, the third is the most heady and committing- but well worth it! Sep 1, 2008
Tim Wolfe
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.10c R
[Hide Comment] Stunning. Pitch 3 is the money pitch right off the bolt. Jan 20, 2010
Petaluma California
[Hide Comment] excellent adventure. however, in my experience at RR, most of the pro on the first pitch would not hold a fall. I thought there was ground fall potential above the second bolt. The huge flake at the start of the second pitch is hollow. A cam placed under it would pull it off in a fall, creaming your partner. Apr 3, 2010
Wasatch Back, UT
[Hide Comment] Great heads-up climbing. Deserves the R rating for sure. I was surprised that the Handren guidebook does not offer a seriousness grade for this route (or Excellent Adventure). Dec 15, 2010
[Hide Comment] Great route. One of my favorites in Pine Creek....not to be missed by a confident 5.10 leader and hardly ever a wait during peak times.... Mar 19, 2011
[Hide Comment] 1/3 of the way up p2 there's a large squared-off jug that is loose and gonna rip on someone. Just above this, the thin L-facing flake is flexy enough that any gear behind it can be cleaned by just expanding the flake with a nut tool and watching the hardware fall out. Mar 31, 2011
[Hide Comment] went left in pitch No.3 after the first bolt and was lost in the middle of nowhere.... My fault....
2nd pitch is extremely nice but not too good protection, I would call it some kind of Runout.... Apr 27, 2011
Rob DeZonia
  5.10c R
[Hide Comment] One of my top three favorite routes in Red Rocks! A must do! Sep 4, 2011
Brian Prince
morro bay, ca
  5.10 R
[Hide Comment] Such great climbing and rad corner features. There are definitely some scary (or, spare me, risky) sections though. That square block that Blake Herrington mentioned is the real deal, and what stands out in my mind as the crux of the route was moving past this thing. Although any of the other holds are just as likely to break I suppose. The only runout part that Handren specifically mentions (P3 5.8 traverse) is a cake walk compared to everything else. And by that time, you'll be so used to it all. The climbing is great and is mostly all on positive holds.

I didn't have any RPs or equivalent and I don't think they would have helped too much anyway. Oct 18, 2012
  5.10c R
[Hide Comment] The route descriptions in both the Stiles and Handren Guide seemed way off. All pitches are slightly to fully runout, with the exception of the second.
P1 is quite runout on solid 5.9/5.10 slab. P2 felt to be the hardest pitch, although well protected. P3 seemed neither sustained nor committing. P4 was super fun, with good spacing between bolts on super positive holds. Mar 17, 2013
[Hide Comment] Folks,

I just returned to the UK from a 10 day trip with my wife who doesn't climb. My friend told me that Risky Business is a "must do", so mid trip I managed to be first in the day on this. My wife normally uses a gri-gri, but in order to get most bang for buck I decided to use the Brit system of two ropes: a single light weight 70M and a half rope 8mm. This way I could do P1 and P2 in one run. Wearing my comfortable floppy boots I set off, and found the crux above the second bolt, racing for the flake line. Here there are a couple of rocks 3 or 4 that are good, given the nature of sandstone. The thought did occur to me that the bolts have been aged by freeze/ thaw action and I also wondered how far they were drilled into the rock. This, combined with my wife's new exposure to handling dual ropes and chatting with other parties became a little distracting. However, I refused to be tempted by the dark side and completed P1. P2 two was a breeze in comparison and rappelling the two pitches in one go didn't get my ropes wet. Back home it would get UK E3/4 5C.

My other recommendation is not to eat refried beans the night before. .......
I put my harness back on and also enjoyed slot machine (UK E25c) Oct 20, 2014
The Gunks
[Hide Comment] P1 felt the most committing and serious, thin moves with potential groundfall above the second bolt. I'd call P3 runout, but not R - a lead fall would be big in spots, but the gear is good where you can get it and falls wouldn't result in serious injury. It's possible to get gear shortly after the belay preventing a factor fall.

Fun route - heady. Nov 9, 2014
Drew Marshall
  5.10c PG13
[Hide Comment] Rapped with a single 60 - just barely (Knots!!) Apr 20, 2015
Cha Tate
Saint George, UT
  5.10c R
[Hide Comment] Hard to believe anyone gives this route less than 4 stars. It is spectacular nomatter how many times you have adventured up it. Spicy. Do yourself a favor and take a 70m rope for the rap.. Apr 22, 2015
Simon W
Nowhere Land
[Hide Comment] Spectacular! Every pitch is good, and every pitch involves runouts, so come prepared. I did and it was still scary, haha.

The first pitch is the most serious. Don't blow clipping the first bolt, or getting to the flake/ramp above the second bolt. Falling there would result in sliding down the slab for 40+ feet and then hitting the ground. (Unless your belayer is Usain Bolt)

The third pitch has the biggest runouts but I found the climbing more secure and the comfort of big air vs ground fall encouraging. This pitch will make you think more though. Apr 30, 2015
Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
[Hide Comment] Wasn't super psyched on how old the bolt seems at the start of P3, also this pitch was made for double ropes; if you have them you could avoid the hanging belay and link it with P4 pretty easily I think. Feb 21, 2016
Eric D
[Hide Comment] Great route. Though I don't think that any of it is R except for maybe some 5.6 moves high on pitch 1. Solid lead falls are possible on the other pitches but the risk of injury is very unlikely.

5.10 PG-13 is what I would give this route. Overall not too bad at all. Feb 22, 2016
Kevin Dahlstrom
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] If you're hesitant to get on this route due to the runouts, don't be. As others have pointed out, the protection is reasonable and the runouts are manageable. In fact, this is one of the few routes where I'd say that the spice adds to the character of the route. If you're solid at Red Rocks 5.10 and skilled at placing gear then you won't have a problem.

Here's the straight scoop on protection:

P1: I thought this was by far the spiciest pitch and the only one that's a bit scary. Getting to the first bolt is easy. Getting to the second bolt involves one or two 5.9/10- moves but isn't bad. The big runout is from the second bolt to the first decent placement in the flake (the bottom of the flake doesn't offer good pro). The good news is that the hardest moves on this pitch are just above the second bolt. Once you reach the flake it's 5.8 or easier to a good cam. But by that point you are probably 20 feet above the bolt.

P2: Really fun and well protected. Not runout at all. I placed at least 8 pieces plus the bolt.

P3: This is supposed to be the crux pitch although I didn't think the climbing itself was any harder than P2. There is one short punchy section but it's well protected. The pitch starts with a short runout to the first bolt on easy-ish terrain. Above the bolt you climb straight up about 15 feet to a horizontal crack where you can place a bomber cam before moving right. This section feels spicy and airy but a fall would be clean. The leftward traverse higher on the route is also runout and a fall would result in a gnarly pendulum, BUT it's only a few moves of 5.8 or easier on big crimps so it didn't feel scary at all. Again, I placed 8 or more pieces plus the bolt.

P4: After the first 3 pitches this one feels cruisy. It's mostly 5.8/9 with maybe a move or two of 10-. There are only 4 bolts but they are very well placed and you can supplement with a gear - especially higher on the pitch.

As for rack, I think the perfect setup is a single set of cams from purple C3 to red (#1) C4, a set of small stoppers (leave the bigger ones in your pack), and 6 slings/draws. So nice to climb with a light rack! Have fun. Nov 16, 2016
David Bruneau
St. John
  5.10a R
[Hide Comment] Ditto on basically everything Kevin said. Runouts on P1 and 3 but you're contending with the ground on P1. P2 may have the nicest climbing but its all amazing. P3 runouts are all quite secure, at least for someone who's 6'.

80 km/hour wind made things a little bit exciting! Nov 16, 2016
Tim Heid
  5.10c R
[Hide Comment] Kevin's comments are right on; but I found many places that I would have really liked having the medium to large nuts. I'd definitely take them next time. Mar 16, 2017
Falmouth (MA)
  5.10b PG13
[Hide Comment] With a 60m rope this can be climbed in 2 awesome pitches (1+2 and 3+4). Not R IMHO. First pitch is a bit heady but it's easy away from pros. Apr 25, 2017
Daniel Evans
Phoenix, AZ
  5.10c R
[Hide Comment] As a new 5.10 leader, I decided to lead the even pitches based off of some of the comments here. While there are gear opportunities on pitch 2, 70% of these placements would likely blow in the event of a fall as the rock you are placing it behind is thin, hollow, and flex under the slightest pull test. Not what I would call "well protected." There was a decent 30 ft section of sustained climbing getting to the 2nd bolt where I had 3 pieces or so that were all what I'd consider to be mental velcro. The rock quality of the holds you use to actually pull the moves though is solid. Didn't see the lose jug near the top of P2 everyone has mentioned either, so maybe it got pulled off. There's also a decent 30 ft runout between the 3rd and 4th bolt on the 4th pitch but the climbing is much easier than the previous pitches on positive edges. Rad climb. Can't wait to go back and lead the odd pitches. Jan 5, 2018
Peter J
Ford E-150, wherever
[Hide Comment] Awesome climb!! Mar 31, 2018
[Hide Comment] Only did the first two pitches, but I have a few comments.

Joe Herbst would likely call this route 5.9 - at least based on having climbed the P5 5.9 finger- and hand-crack on Community Pillar. While CP was more protectable, the climbing was much harder on CP than on P1 or P2 of Risky Business.

As to the run-out: On pitch 1, by the time you can get gear into the seam, you'd 100% hit the ground from 40ish feet up. The gear you can get in is pretty awful, so even though the rest of the pitch is easy, you have to climb very carefully.

I also concur with much of what Dan Evans wrote. A good 30 foot section with very shaky gear between the two bolts, so I think this climb easily earns its "R" rating.

Anyway, looking forward to going back to finish the climb. May 21, 2018
[Hide Comment] This route has new bolts. Sep 14, 2018
dave Hause
carrboro, nc
  5.10d R
[Hide Comment] Probably not ground fall on first pitch but you may want to put a locker on that 2nd bolt. Mar 11, 2019