Type: Trad, 180 ft (55 m)
FA: Bruce Holthouse
Page Views: 2,503 total · 15/month
Shared By: George Perkins on Sep 23, 2007
Admins: Mike Howard, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Some rocks in this area are on private property. Be respectful when crossing private land. Details
Access Issue: Access Issue for Areas in BLM Taos Field Office Lands Details


Quintessential TP climbing with the crux moves above your gear make "Better Red Than Dead" a bit intimidating. My first time I was a bit spooked, a couple more recent times, it didn't seem as bad. One of the more rewarding 5.10s here.

Face climb up to right-angling crack. Step onto the slab above to clip the 1st bolt, slab up and right to the 2nd bolt. From here, sneak up 5.10 slab/face straight up to a seam (no pro there), then a thank-god left-angling finger crack. You probably don't want to fall in that section. After you reach the finger crack and get some gear in, pull an interesting bulge and rest at a good ledge.
From here, there are a few options:
(1) Find the bolt up and a little to the right. Go to that, traverse right (5.10 airy), and ramble up to reach the 2-bolt anchor above Serpentine Crack. You can rappel from here with a 60m rope (100' rappel).
(2) Go generally straight up staying with the rightmost giant chickenheads and knobs (5.9, shown this way in Taos Rock guide) and continue up through progressively easier ground to set a belay and walk off.
(3) You could probably escape left to the big chicken heads and easier climbing.


This is the 2nd bolted climb to the left of Serpentine Crack.
Rappel from the Serpentine Crack 2-bolt anchor (100' rappel, watch the ends with a 60m rope); or, if you top out, walk off to the east.


Light rack of nuts, cams, RPs, and long runners. 2 bolts on route (and 1 bolt up high maybe on route).