Avg: 3.8 from 9 votes
|Type:||Trad, 150 ft, 2 pitches|
|FA:||Stefan Glowacz - 1987 (with credit to Paul Van Betten, Richard Harrison, and Sal Mamusia)|
|Page Views:||14,721 total · 111/month|
|Shared By:||Josh Janes on Mar 22, 2007|
|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
DescriptionDesert Gold is perhaps the most striking, photogenic pitch in all of Red Rocks. Classic pictures of the likes of Paul Van Betten, Peter Croft, Brian McCray, Roxana Brock, Katie Brown and many others have adorned the pages of guidebooks and magazines for years. And there's a reason for this: The line features an unbelievable dead horizontal splitter roof crack; climbers are pictured hanging underneath this beast from jams, completely inverted - it's a mind-boggling sight.
The first ascent of the roof was completed in 1984 by PVB and Richard Harrison. Paul apparently had a shrine in his home dedicated to the amazing Separate Reality in Yosemite and was ecstatic when he discovered this likeness, here at his home crag of Red Rocks. Choosing to avoid the intimidating overhanging fingercrack splitter that led up to the roof, they aided in on two bolts (since consolidated to one) and climbed the roof only from an uncomfortable hanging belay. They rated it the same as Separate Reality: 5.11d which is a major sandbag unless you have massive mitts.
Three years later PVB returned with Sal Mamusia to finish what he started (or start what he finished rather) by climbing the finger crack directly up to the roof at 5.12c. This was named "Desert Crack".
A month later the great Stefan Glowacz made the obvious linkup by climbing this whole thing in one pitch. Really this should be considered the true first ascent and is now the way the route is climbed: Desert Gold, 5.13a.
Begin by climbing an approach pitch (5.9 PG13) on the left wall below the massive roof. This is actually quite enjoyable. Traverse right on a thin foot ledge towards loose blocks, or continue up a massive hollow flake and then move right. This leads to a bolted belay at a sloping stance. 90'. Alternatively, climb Clipper (best option) or West Edge Lane to this same belay.
Clip a bolt off the belay with a long runner and step left around the arete into a junky corner. Up this a few moves and then back onto the arete. Stretch right to the crack, place pro, and commit to the short but surprisingly steep finger crack. There is basically one move of each size - tips through hands - on the way to the roof, so no matter your hand size, there's a crux for you! Under the roof, cop a pumpy rest and avoid clipping the lowering bolt; instead launch outwards. #2 Camalots quickly widen to #3 Camalots at the lip where a jug awaits for pulling over to the top. For many this "11d" section proves to be the crux.
Upon finishing, most will down aid back across the roof to the lowering bolt. This bolt is a 5/8", 6" long monster and is absolutely bomber. From here lower back to the belay and rap.
South facing, but because of the roof it gets shade after 2 PM in the winter.