Type: Trad, 1100 ft, 9 pitches
FA: John Rosholt & Bob Conz - June, 1997
Page Views: 15,448 total · 116/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Apr 30, 2008 with improvements by Bob Conz AKA Waterman (I will have to explain later) robertconz@earthlink.net
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


An engaging, awesome route. Each pitch is progressively better making this one of the best climbs in Black Velvet.

Begin 100' right of the start of Epinephrine.

P1, P2, P3: Scramble 50' up and left across 5.0 ledges just left of a huge, hanging left-facing dihedral high above. Optional Belay on a large ledge with lots of bushes, otherwise: scramble left through the bushes to a small left-facing corner, up this and then traverse back right across a slab to a higher, small, left-facing corner/arete. Up this, passing a bolt, and continue more easily to a great belay ledge with bolted anchor. 130' to this point and a good place to stop and belay. From here, continue up the slab above, then diagonal rightwards across the slab (#2 or #3 Camalots in horizontals, and higher a thread) until reaching the previously mentioned huge, hanging left-facing dihedral just above a tree. Climb this to near it's top where there is a bolt up and left and another one up and right (the righthand one is situated above a shelf. Either way goes, but I find the righthand variation both easier and more direct. Belay just above at a good ledge with a bolted anchor. 260' to this point. Continue up the left-facing corner right of the belay to a huge, bushy terrace. Cut right through the bushes and belay on gear below a water-polished groove/crack feature at the right end of the terrace. 400' to this point and most of the climbing on these pitches checks in at 5.8.

P4: Follow the groove up and left, taking either a slot or a handcrack and passing (or stopping at) a couple bolted anchors, to a gear belay on a good ledge. 150', 5.8.

P5: Climb up through the roof with a few wide-hands moves to a stance, then continue up the spectacular, exposed crack system past 3 bolts to a bolted belay on a big ledge just below the top of Texas Tower. 180', 5.10.

P6: There are two left-trending crack systems above. Begin up the right of the two, then traverse to the left crack about 50' up. Follow this to a bolted belay way left of the line. You can link this into the next pitch but the rope drag through the crux is heinous. 100', 5.9. Alternatively, you can stay in the right-hand crack at awesome 5.12 with one move of aid past a small roof midway up. This variation has several bolts and joins up with the following pitch near the end. 140', 5.12.

P7: Perform a bouldery move off the belay, then climb up an easy corner to a bolt. Hand traverse right to a pumpy clip and stand up on a sloping ledge. Follow this up to a small roof (bolt over the roof) and climb up into the left-facing corner above, clipping a couple bolts along the way to a bolted belay below an obvious V-slot. 100', 5.11c.

P8: Climb the V-slot (two bolts protect) to a cruxy traverse/downclimb at a bolt, then more V-slot action up to a bolted belay at a stance. 100', 5.11b.

P9: I won't spoil it all by giving away the last pitch, but from here the route is obvious. If you're rapping, make sure to fix your tag line to the previous belay or you will be dangling in space. Otherwise, continue on with Lone Star. 140', 5.10.

Rappel the route with two ropes.


Single 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 Camalots, Double 0.75, #1, #2, and #3 Camalots (the second #2 and #3's are optional for confident Creek climbers). Wires. A dozen draws/slings. Two ropes.
If you rap this route and need to fix the tag line to the 2nd to last belay, does that mean if you are climbing with double you should fix one of them to that belay and have the second follow the last pitch on only one rope? May 2, 2008
Sure Hold ‘em is the most popular poker! As you stated in your words, hold ‘em is still not that easy to master, perhaps it will take quite a long time, 10 years? Or life time?

Visit : Raibet Sep 24, 2008
Darren in Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
Darren in Vegas   Las Vegas, NV
According to local lore, the pitch 6 "variation" (12b, AO) was the original route put up by Conz and Rosholt. Even after repeated attempts it would not go free for them. Apparently other local hardmen have tried to free this pitch, to no avail. Conz reportedly does not know who is responsible for the pitch 7 (5.11c) variation. This variation to the route, which is now the more commonly attempted way, is accessed by climbing a pitch of the Texas Tower connection, which is pitch 6 in the description above. Nov 22, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
After reading the route description above, I thought I'd do a little clarifying on the first three pitches.

Start a ways right of Epi's bolted start (actually, start at the 4th class start for Epi if you're familiar with it) just left of a massive dihedral.

Pitch 1: Climb up and right into the dihedral, following it to the roof- just after the roof, traverse left through some bushes to a bolted belay. 120', 5.8ish

Pitch 2: Climb straight up the face, following the path of least resistance, aiming for the dihedral above. Follow the dihedral up for about 50' before clipping a bolt on the right wall of the dihedral, then traversing right through a weakness, then climb straight up to a bolted belay. 160', 5.9ish

Pitch 3: Traverse right to the obvious (and short) blocky dihedral, ascend to the top, then traverse right about 100' to the base of a varnished dihedral and belay. 125', 5.8ish.

From here, you'll be below the right side of the Texas Flake and can ascend almost any of the several routes above- although I believe the other routes may have separate starts. Jan 13, 2010
Brady Robinson
Boulder, CO
Brady Robinson   Boulder, CO
There is a loose hold at the top of the 7th pitch. It is a good bucket straight down but don't pull out on it or you'll send a rock the size of a large grapefruit to the bottom of the canyon. Great route by the way! Mar 20, 2010
Brady's loose hold is gone now, trundled by surprise... Apr 2, 2011
Sol Wertkin
Leavenworth, Washington
Sol Wertkin   Leavenworth, Washington
Trip Report-3/28/11 Apr 15, 2011
Sick TR+photos, Sol. Nice work, boys! Oct 31, 2011
Sandbagged for the grade. Texas hold'em last pitch was hard for 10d and the 10a and 10b pitches on Lonestar above felt much harder than 10-. Maybe I was having a bad day but I TR sent the 11c final pitch on Cloud Tower the next day but could not come close to even attempting to sen the 10d Texas Hold'em pitch. Lonestar was a great linkup. Oct 9, 2012
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
Pretty damn classic route! Josh's rack is right on but I definitely though having the 2nd #2 and #3 Camalots was beneficial. The cruxes, the two 5.11 pitches, are surprisingly deceptive and well protected by fat bolts.

Pitch Breakdown:
P1, 120' 5.8
P2, 150' 5.9
P3, 120' 5.6
P4, 160' 5.8
P5, 180' 5.10d
P6, 100' 5.10a
P7, 100' 5.11b
P8, 90' 5.11c
P9, 110' 5.11a

A fantastic route up an intimidatingly steep wall! A RR classic! Apr 7, 2013
Did this route last week and it was the highlight of our 3 days in Red Rocks. The 5th 10d pitch was one of the best I've ever done - all sizes, continuous and long. I thought the last P8 was hardddd as it turns to red cams at the top and my hands don't fit. It was our fifth day climbing in a row and the top of that pitch slapped me around pretty good. All other ratings above seem right on. Mar 15, 2015
Amir Erez
Boulder, CO
Amir Erez   Boulder, CO
This is an amazing route…one of the better lines in Red Rocks. Just a few more pieces of beta for those interested. A #4 Camelot is certainly not required, but it could be placed a number of places. It adds piece of mind particularly at the beginning of the 10+ pitch. We rappelled directly down Texas tower just climbers right of velvet tongue, not down the route and found it worked very well. Get on this thing and enjoy. Mar 17, 2015
Question here for any folks who have linked this route into Lone Star: when continuing to the top, at which pitch on Lone Star does Texas Held 'Em end? Suggestions for gear if linking? Thanks! Mar 26, 2015
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
Patrick Vernon   Estes Park, CO
Incredible route, one of the best I have ever done. The climbing is varied and excellent. The first four pitches go pretty quickly. For the first pitch I wandered up ledgy terrain left of the mentioned dihedral and right of the bushes eventually meeting a beefy bolt on some 5.8 terrain. The rest of the pitches were pretty straight forward route finding wise.

The 9th pitch felt hard for the grade, even harder than the North Face on Castleton which I did several days prior. This is probably because of the dorky crack gloves I had on, but I could barely get my hands in in the last 10 feet and almost pumped out. Amazing pitch. There is still a fixed link cam at the end of this pitch. Larger hands beware. Save a long sling for after the beached whale move, you need a directional for your second and the rope drag was horrible without one.

Rappelling was pretty straight forward, we fixed a line on the last pitch and had no issues. From the top of the 8th pitch we were barely able to make it back to the top of the Texas Tower with a 70 and 65 meter tag line. From the tower, rap down the harder routes on the face (multiple different anchors) until on the ledgy first pitches.

Can't recommend this route enough. Oct 25, 2015
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
Phenomenal route, one of my favorites in Red Rock or anywhere for that matter. Makes cloud tower look like a pile ;-)

The first 2 pitches can be linked with a 70 m rope and about 30 feet of simul-climbing. However, the leader will need to place minimal gear and put runners on everything as the pitches wander. Linking 3-4 would be very difficult. Those first 4 pitches go very fast, but also bake in the sun in April until noon'ish. Once at the base of p5 you're mostly shaded by the right facing corners, but will hit sun again for p6 and p7. Best to get a later start if it's going to be hot, as the whole wall mostly gets full shade by 1 pm. May 2, 2016
dameeser   denver
The .12 A0 pitch should go free at mid .13. It's a really good and wild pitch. The sad thing is, besides the lack of a right foot, is that a key right hand is going to break off the next time someone try's to free it. Nov 29, 2016
Tim Heid
Tim Heid   AZ
Link with Lone Star FTW! That made for a big day and LS had more great 5.10 climbing than I had anticipated. LS portion was adventurous, but felt pretty chill with big belay ledges and limited exposure (for how high up there you are) for most of it.

We simul'd the first 3 pitches of Hold Em' without any trouble. Then I was able to link from there to the top of pitch 5 (linking 4&5) with a 70m and good use of runners and minimal gear in the easy beginning. WOW pitch 5 was f*cking incredible! Seriously, make sure you get that one, even if you trade it for the two crux pitches (which are also great).

P6 was easy, but you can do a totally heroic, entirely contrived, but hilariously fun dyno 700' up the wall at the traverse. Just do it and giggle at the position.

Pitch 7-9 are stellar, but definitely beat the crap out of ya!

There's a great pitch breakdown of how to link everything over on the Lone Star page.

Oh, and tape is not a bad idea for the pitch 9. It's a bit abrasive in there! Maybe what Incredible Hand Crack felt like early on.. May 23, 2017
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
Make sure to look at this mountainproject.com/photo/1… first pitch photo before embarking. We didn't and got to enjoy some routefinding cruxes at the beginning of our day as a result. The upper money pitches had bird droppings on all of the holds and throughout the handcrack. They might be a little cleaner after our ascent.
It is recommended to climb with only one rope and continue to the top via Lone Star for a proper day out. Nov 27, 2017
Eugene Kwan 1
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Eugene Kwan 1   Cambridge, Massachusetts
Truly an excellent climb. Did it up to P7 today and will go back to finish the rest another time. I thought the "fist" crack on P5 was definitely more like sinker hands and didn't find it as bad as people said. The P6 traverse is no big deal. P7 kicked the crap out of me. I blew the move off the anchor and took a nasty high-impact-factor fall. I wish there were a bolt for that first move! The rest of the pitch is hard too. I ended up having to do a weird sideways deadpoint off a tiny round flake to get to the jug next to the roof. I felt the crux for me was moving off the sloper rail onto the ramp after the traverse (but my partner disagreed). I am just breaking into 5.11 trad, so this climb was right at my limit.

I agree that doubles to #3 and a single #4 is sufficient, even for a weenie like me. P7 requires only a yellow metolius and red camalot--everything else is bolts.

Rap with two ropes down Velvet Tongue or other climbs that go straight down the face. We only had two 60 m ropes, but I think things would have been made faster by two 70 m ropes. Apr 1, 2019
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
I did this for the 3rd time yesterday and am surprised no one has mentioned how height dependent the P7 crux is. I'm 5.8ish w/a neutral wingspan and can barely reach a key jug that makes the easier finishing climbing easy. Yesterday my partner couldn't reach it (he's 5.7ish) and we both figured it was probably 12- for him entirely due to that move. Also, I'm pretty sure you could rap this whole route with a 70. (it would require some creativity on the last pitch) 7 days ago