Type: Trad, 700 ft, 6 pitches
FA: Michael King, John Liles, Larry DeAngelo
Page Views: 11,641 total · 86/month
Shared By: Larry DeAngelo on Apr 7, 2008
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

You & This Route

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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 surprisingly good route that goes up a subtle line on the buttress to the left of Kick in the Balls. Because it starts at the base of the buttress, it is longer: about six pitches. The key feature is an aesthetic, left-facing, curvy corner with an alarmingly perched block halfway up.

Start at an easy slab directly below this corner, and climb to a good ledge with a large bush on it. You could probably bypass this pitch with scrambling around to the left, but the climbing here provides a pleasant warmup. Pitch 2 goes up the clean corner above. Use care when passing the perched block. We were all too timid to touch it, so it might be more secure than it looks; however, the costs of being wrong about this are likely to be extreme. Above the block, continue up the corner on perfect hand jams, and belay at a semi-hanging stance when the crack ends (small, finger-size cams). Pitch 3 continues up the improbable face with surprisingly adequate protection in intermittent cracks (more finger-size cams and wires).

Pitch 4 follows easier cracks to a smooth, flared chimney. An odd exit move to the right allows you to avoid the ominous convergence at the top of the chimney. Continue up the water-polished rock to a belay alcove just right of a not-quite-thriving bush. The next pitch starts by climbing back into the crack and going up the smooth, left-arching chimney above the bush. When the arch ends, climb the long, right-facing dihedral, which begins as a hand crack but soon widens to offwidth size. If you have wisely retained a large cam, this upper crack can even be protected. The sixth pitch starts with a few fifth-class moves, but the climbing quickly becomes easier as the angle leans back and the rock becomes more broken. Another hundred or two feet of fourth class take you to the top of the buttress. This is also the spot where Kick in the Balls tops out.

Descent: The obvious descent is to rappel into the gully immediately west of the buttress. Two or three rappels (they can be done with one 60-meter rope) bring you to easy ground. This is a gully you will have visited as part of the approach if you have climbed Kick in the Balls. Scramble down for 50 or so yards until you can exit to skier's left (west), and downclimb easy rock to the notch at the top of the Lotta Balls Wall. Be aware that the last moves to the notch are a traverse straight west on frictiony ledges and NOT down the steep dropoff.

I vaguely recall having once descended to the east from the top of buttress, but my mostly suppressed memories seem to center on a frighteningly loose chimney that I have minimal interest in re-engaging. If you go that way, it becomes more civilized once you reach the wide slabby area. This is descended with some downclimbing and a rappel or two.


Standard rack to number 4 (or bigger cam); extra cams in the finger sizes.
Decatur, GA
saxfiend   Decatur, GA  
What a great experience being on the FA! Watching Larry lead the crux P3 was inspiring. P2 is particularly aesthetic and fun climbing, nice lead by Michael on that pitch. Lots of fun from start to finish! Apr 7, 2008
Craig Martin
Craig Martin  
Climbed this route the other day before the big rain. We really enjoyed the route, easily as good as most of the routes on the Lotta Balls wall, IMO.

The descent was a little confusing. The 1st rappel off of Kick in the Balls (3 fixed nuts) is short and traverses to climbers right to a small tree that is easy to miss. The exposed scrambling to get to Lotta Balls descent was also pretty exciting. Oct 16, 2012
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
Great route! Pitches 2 & 3 are stunning, and the rest was very nice as well!

We pulled down (but not out) on the block. Apr 2, 2013
Oak Park, CA
Sean   Oak Park, CA
excellent route, with many stretches of amazing climbing and exposure.

we skipped the intended P1 belay on the bushy ledge at the base of the first dihedral. that ledge looked overgrown. instead continued halfway up that first dihedral to belay in a notch just below the perched block, to fully enjoy looking up at that perched dodgeball, for a ~200 ft first pitch. our P2 went up past the perched block, onto the long stretch of splitter hands, then up the improbable face, setting P2 anchor at the start of a flaring crack. had enough rope and could've gone higher, but didn't initially see (or think of) the wild and exposed step across left onto a protruding arete pillar that could've led up to a more comfortable ledge. our P3 followed the mentioned exposed step across left, which led higher to a blocky ledge with another exposed highstep across back right. did not climb back into the left-veering lichen-covered wide crack, but instead did another exposed step across left yet again (what's another after two wild steps across already), onto juggy arete and up, belaying at a convenient horizontal, for a ~210 ft third pitch. our P4 went up the long stretch of traveled but still lichen-covered face above. good holds, but abundant lichen. stretched our 70 for a 215 ft pitch to reach the finish of the Dodgeball route, onto a huge reddish blocky ledge. stepped to climber's right past a giant cubic boulder and went up the finish of adjacent Kick In The Balls that led ~125 ft up to the top of the buttress, for our finishing P5, to find a rap tree hidden just behind and below the summit, which looked down the wide descent gully to the west. easy downclimb to get to that rap tree.

that 1st rap off of the formation summit is a 100 ft [typo corrected thanks to thedogfather's catch below] drop down the right side of the gully (skier's right), leading to the next rap tree anchor with a long rectangular block sitting on the narrow ledge next to the tree. another nearby tree anchor (which we didn't use) could be seen a little below and more toward the middle of the gully; not sure if reachable by our 70; possibly there just for a short rap to get more toward the center of the gully. our 2nd rap from the tree anchor with the long loose-sitting rectangular block took us ~150 ft down and across to another rap tree on the other side of the gully (skier's left). after our 3rd rap from that (~160 ft), we scrambled down a faint trail that switchbacked first to the right side (skier's right) of the gully and then back to skier's left, then hugging that left side down to a scoot-n-downclimb of a squeeze chimney section, down to the somewhat exposed traverse to skier's left around a ledgy bulge to arrive at the first rap tree for the Lotta Balls descent. btw, if familiar with the Lotta Balls topout, that wide shoulder terrace with stacked boulder blocks could be seen along the upper pitches and along the raps down May 7, 2013
Tom Fralich
Fort Collins, CO
Tom Fralich   Fort Collins, CO
This route has some great climbing, especially on pitches 2-4. I thought the face on pitch 3 was pretty bold. There's gear right off the belay and some more when it starts getting thin, but after a decent runout. Mar 28, 2014
Larry Graham
Boulder, CO
Larry Graham   Boulder, CO
We climbed this route on Apr 16, 2014. Here are a few comments that we think potential climbers might want to consider.

The first pitch is an easy but good warm-up for what is to follow. The second and third pitches (as we did them) were superb. I was leading and stopped where the hand crack/layback flake ended. There was a decent stance although it was a bit hanging as well. This would be 15 feet or so below where the description above has it. Then the third pitch is all in one character: wall with small cracks and creative pro possibilities. The second pitch is all of one type too: dihedral cracks, stemming lay backing or straight in jamming. I ended the third pitch (about 175 feet) by stepping easily to left onto a pillar of whitish rock and finished up that about 30 feet to a perfect belay alcove. I can't imagine belaying anywhere else. It was perfect. From there is the short move or two right as shown on the topo picture.

The upper pitches were much as described: up to the right of a bush, then up the curving crack, and up an exit pitch to easy ground. This is still well below the real summit of the formation. There was a fair size cairn at the final belay and from there it was an easy stroll straight west to the new rap anchor atop Kick in the Balls. We had two 60 m ropes and just had enough to get to scramble down territory in one long rap. We didn't see any intermediate rap stations.

For sure, these upper pitches were 1 star at best while the 2nd and 3rd were 4 or 5 stars. If some way were set up to rap just these pitches this would become a classic, possibly rivaling Lotta Balls for a stellar moderate climb. Apr 18, 2014
Larry DeAngelo
Las Vegas, NV
Larry DeAngelo   Las Vegas, NV  
A note on the rating. . . Some people have said this was harder than 5.7. I recently climbed it again and can offer the observation that this difference might be height-dependent. At a point or two I found myself stretching for hold and glad I had the reach. Anyway, if you're not tall, the 5.8 rating may be more appropriate. Apr 18, 2014
Richard Dower
Overland Park, KS
Richard Dower   Overland Park, KS
To get to the start, go up as if you are going to Lotta Balls and continue up the normal down climb for that route (after the rappels). There is an obvious escape left at a big ledge and a cairn where you can access the start.

Pitch 2 - if I do it again I will have 3 #2 cams (I only had 1).
Pitch 5 - a #4 is too small for most of the wide crack. I would bring at least a #5 if you want to protect and don't use your #3 on the belay.

Descent: As mentioned in a previous comment (that I missed and went way too high), stop at the cairn at the top of the last pitch and go climbers right to the rap anchors. We only had a 70 so were scared off by the previous comment about having two 60's and didn't see an intermediate rap. So, we climbed up to a tree and rapped down to another tree with slings that almost certainly would have been easy to reach from the rap anchors. We did 3 raps to the traverse over to Lotta Balls descent. fyi: the final 20 feet to the rap tree is super sketchy and we actually roped up for it. Call us wimps but the result of a slip on the slopey feet with no positive hand holds would be disastrous.

Two comments above were what threw us off "That 1st rap is a 200 ft drop down the right side of the gully" I assume he meant 100 feet. Then the comment about using double 60's and not seeing any intermediate rap points also worried us. There were multiple options of trees with webbing and we were using a single 70meter rope.
Pitch 2 and 3 were worth the trip but I would say the rating is a bit sandbagged and would not recommend to a 5.8 leader. Nov 14, 2014
Ben Townsend  
Loved the climb, hated the brushy descent gully (our rope hung up twice). Thought the 5.7 rating was right on the mark. Nov 14, 2014
G. Vesp
Las Vegas, Nevada
G. Vesp   Las Vegas, Nevada
Did this route today for the first time. Found it interesting and thought pitches 2 and 3 really made the route.

I consider myself a 5.6 - 5.7 trade leader and led the entire route, but found it at times to be at the top end of my comfort limit. I give the route 5.8 and definitely feel that there were sections of 5.8 on both pitches 2 and 3.

With that said, I felt that the gear was good through the crux sections, but not always obvious, particularly on some of the slab section of Pitch 3.

On the upper pitches the rock was pretty sandy and somewhat brittle. We actually had some rock break off on the upper pitch,but we did have rain two days earlier and the rock still seemed moist.

Reference the "block" on pitch 2, IMHO it looked and felt solid. If it came down, it could definitely create a severe outcome, but it looked to me that someone would need to work to get it off its perch. In short, I would not avoid the climb for fear of the block. Again, that is just my opinion.

The descent I found to be no fun at all. Tons of bush whacking and pulling ropes through trees and bushes. We also roped up for the short traverse that lead to the first rap on Lotta Balls. Although the moves across are straight forward, a slip would not end well.

Overall fun climb!!.......exhausting descent! We used a single 70 meter rope and made all the rappells with no issue. Mar 6, 2015
I can confirm that the ledge at the top of pitch 1 is accessible by hiking.
We bailed after climbing pitch 1 because of bad weather, and we were able to easily hike down from the left side of this ledge. Mar 14, 2016
We bailed somewhere up the layback section, when it narrows down to nothing. We weren't sure what to do, the route looked like it disappeared and thinned out into something that wasn't protect-able. Feeling already at our limit on the "5.7" layback we figured best to bail while there was gear as it was getting a bit late for what lay ahead and what we read was an "adventurous" decent. Mar 16, 2016
N California
grabski   N California
P2 and P3 are good fun. I agree that P3 is bold in places. The pro is there, but there are times when you're making 5.8 moves with a marginal piece below your feet. The top of P4 and most of P5 had a lot of lichen and loose pieces, so keep your wits about.

Additional small wires, and additional finger to small-hands pieces would be beneficial. A #5 is useful on P5, but it's not necessary if you're comfortable on 5.6 low-angle wide crack. One 70m is fine for the raps. Nov 29, 2016
l rs
  5.9 PG13
l rs  
  5.9 PG13
This is quite an adventure climb and. Pitch 2 and 3 are sustained climbing and are IMHO sandbagged at 5.7 and 5.8 respectively. Pitch 2 is burly and thoughtful while pitch 3 is spicy crispy friction climbing. We bailed climber's right after getting to a lichen covered chossy "5.5" wall that looked unappealing to climb. The lotta balls descent gully is easy to spot skier's left: it's a rounded ledge with a large pile of flat rocks on it with a pine tree 100 feet or so above it. That tree marks the first rappel of the lotta balls gully. Mar 25, 2017
Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
I got to climb this with a friend from Vegas, and was thrilled by this climb. The first Pitch is not much, but P2 is stellar. I would go so far as to say that this is the best layback pitch for the grade I have done in RR. From the chockstone, the next 50-60 feet are perfect laybacking. However you will need to build a belay somewhere along this. Who would think the next pitch is every bit as good. What a pitch. Perfect Red Rock face climbing at about 5.8+, but thin and crispy as Jersey Girl said. She is little but a foot broke on her (no fall) P4 is OK but the quality of the route goes down hill. I think if it gets climbed and cleans up a bit that part will be good someday. I guess this is a Larry D route and it reminded me of Hot Flash where the last pitches are not that great but bring you to the top of the tower. Same here, the finishing spot would be great. You can bail into the descent from top of P 4 and connect with the lotta balls raps. Mar 29, 2017
Cleveland, OH
DavidTighe   Cleveland, OH
Pitch 2 was my favorite. The crux layback/handcrack comes at the very end and and takes c4 #2. If you're a noob like me you'll want to bring at least three #2 sized pieces and save two for the crux. I ended up with none, got sketched and whipped after hesitating too long on crappy feet. I don't recommend that :)

Pitch 3 was fun but pretty bold for a new 5.8 leader. The gear is spaced, not very obvious, and sometimes marginal. Though not very difficult the climbing is insecure. Really nice rock though, and a cool belay on top of a block.

The chimney starting pitch four has a couple grunty moves without great protection. After the traverse it's easy.

Everything else on the climb is easy and not very remarkable. Watch for loose and friable rock. I busted at least two holds.

As for the descent, we roped up for the traverse to the Lotta Balls rap tree as well. It's easy terrain but pretty sandy and exposed.

Overall it was a great adventure. Apr 3, 2017
Mike Esparza
Westminster, CA
Mike Esparza   Westminster, CA
This climb is bad ass! 2nd and 3rd pitch super classic. Climbed on 12/2/2017 hardly any humans around. Rap Descent pretty adventurous as well. Woohoo... Jan 8, 2018
Matt Kuehl
Las Vegas
Matt Kuehl   Las Vegas
Surprisingly fun moderate, would recommend diverging into Kick in the Balls for the finish. Apr 16, 2018
This route has two good pitches (2 and 3). The upper pitches become increasingly non-aesthetic
If I ever climb this route again, I would probably skip the upper pitches by bailing over to Kick in the Balls.

Pitch 1: This is a wide face with many options of where to climb. We climbed near the crack on the left half of the face.
This crack has a couple piles of loose rocks in it that are ready to rain down on the belayer with the slightest provocation.
This pitch ends on a large ledge with some trees in the corner.

Pitch 2: Squeeze through the trees and head up the corner.
The Loose block seemed pretty stable and would take a deliberate effort to dislodge it.
I saved a couple of yellow #2 C4 Camalots for the lieback/hand jam section.
It was not clear where to end this pitch. I stopped just past the lieback section where the crack narrows down to green(.75) and purple(.5) C4 Camalot size, and there are some face features to make a semi-hanging belay stance.
I could have gone a little bit higher where the crack was even narrower, but I wanted to save my small gear for the next pitch.

Pitch 3: This pitch includes some delicate finger-and-toe-tip climbing on small crispy features.
There is sparse/occasional pro, mostly small wired nuts in shallow cracks in suspect rock.
This might be a little spicy for new 5.8 leaders.
It was not clear where to end. I traversed over to a small ledge on the white column to the left of the face.
I could also have built a hanging belay on the face a little bit higher than the ledge, or I might have had enough rope to make it all the way up to the ledge that is just under the pitch 4 chimney.

Pitch 4: I traversed right back onto the face, and climbed up to the ledge at the start of the chimney.
Up the chimney, escaped right, then right and up, ending at a ledge just to the right of the start of the arching crack of pitch 5.
It looks like you could exit the route here and traverse over to Kick in the Balls.

Pitch 5: Up the crack, past the tree. Follow the crack as it arches to the left into a dihedral.
The description calls the arching crack a chimney, but you never need to be inside it doing chimney moves.
Follow the dihedral up through easy climbing on brittle suspect rock until you reach a large sloping ledge that is piled with loose rock.
A number of holds broke off on this pitch.

Pitch 6: Exit the ledge to the left, then walk/scramble up ledges and boulders, between some scrub oaks, until you eventually can head to the right towards the summit block.
One comment mentions a cairn, but I did not see any.
Scramble up the left edge of the black varnished summit block and build an anchor in a horizontal crack just over the top.
This is also the top of the route Kick in the Balls.

The descent can be accomplished with a single 70-meter rope

While standing on the black varnished summit block of Kick in the Balls, there is a tree with rappel slings that is visible behind, below, and to the right of the summit.
A bolted anchor station has been mentioned, but I did not see it. However, I stopped looking for anything else as soon as I saw the tree.
Starting from this first tree, rap down past a tree with a rappel station (probably set for a 60-meter rope) all the way to another tree with a rap station that you reach just as you run out of rope.
From this station, rap to the end of your rope again, at which point you are at the scramble section.
I passed another rap station on the climber's right side of the gully, which looks like it is for a third rappel if you are using a 60-meter rope.

Scramble down the trail, trending to skiers left.
You will eventually reach a downclimb section on white rock with horizontal features. You can downclimb this, but a slip could be fatal.
A little ways uphill from the start of this downclimb there is another rap station on a tree. Start here, walk down to the downclimb and rap down until it ends at the large horizontal oak tree.
At this oak tree you have a choice. You could head climber's right to do the sketchy friction ledge traverse and then drop down to the normal Lotta Balls first rap station at the large pine tree,
Or you can use the rap station that is set up on the oak tree as an alternate start to the Lotta Balls first rap, and skip the friction traverse.
The Oak tree rap can be done with a 70-meter rope. I don't know if a 60 is long enough. You end up at the same place where the normal pine tree rap ends.
The second Lotta Balls rap station is slings on a couple of bushes/small trees.
The third is a bolted station to climber's left of a pine tree.
After this last rap, some down-scrambling gets you back to the trail.

Some of the rap stations on this descent might be old, worn, or otherwise not up to standards.
It would be a good idea to bring some extra webbing, slings, biners, and/or quicklinks that you intend on leaving behind to reinforce these stations before trusting your life to them. Jun 29, 2018