Type: Trad, 540 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Jay Smith, Paul Van Betten. 1986
Page Views: 1,328 total · 11/month
Shared By: J. Thompson on Mar 25, 2009
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


The following Is the basic pitch by pitch description. I will make some personal comments below. Please read them.

Pitch #1: Begin on a flat ledge and climb the easy chimney above where the huge dihedral reachs the ledge. Climb up the chimney past a large white chockstone, there is some bad rock. Step left around the top of the chockstone and continue climbing the dihedral above. The crack pinches down and the crux is encountered. Continue up the dihedral to a very nice ledge and belay. 5.10d, 175ft.

Pitch #2: A very unique pitch. The dihedral continue's above and has become thin and red. Find some very interestingly eroded holds for both your hands and feet. Use the huecos on the right hand wall for upwarded movement. Pass several small ledge's and belay on the highest one with a nice little bush. You will stop directly below an Offwidth. Save a #1 and #2 Camalot for the belay. 5.10b, 130ft.

Pitch #3: Start up the short lived offwidth. A #4 camalot protects well. After exiting the OW do a thin move(crux) then continue up the corner to a Very small stance, directly below the thin 4th pitch. There is currently a fixed anchor here. 5.10d, 70ft.

Pitch #4: Buckle up buttercup! Nest a couple of RP's off the belay and then begin climbing the thin corner. You can get a small RP above you before commiting to the thin moves. After the intial thin moves get a couple of very good piece's and a rest. Climb up the corner using the bottom of the huge hanging flake...be careful! There is a good #2 camalot in the crack on the right. Climb up to the roof and place an RP or 2. Next step down and left. Undercling the bottom of the flake and smear, traversing left. The flake pinch's to nothing, all foot holds disappear, lichen grows on the wall, and the hold and gear you need are 5 ft away. After using some kind of Ninja power, place gear at the lip of the roof. Continue traversing left on white, lichen covered rock aiming for a bolt above. Clip the Quarter incher, then pull over the bulge and onto easier climbing leading to the belay on the left. Whew! 5.11a R, 80ft

Descent: Rappel with 2X 60M ropes off to the left down the steep wall. Pass the first (and bad) anchor you see. Find a bomber 2 bolt anchor on a good ledge. From this anchor a single double rope rappel leads to the ground.
It may be possible to rap with a single 70M rope if you use the poor anchor between the rappels mentioned and another intermediate below the 2nd rap anchor mentioned above. No promise's!


Located on the Challenger wall, X-15 is the extremely obvious and huge dihedral making up the western edge of the Challenger wall Ampitheather.


Nuts:1.5 sets.
RP's/HB's: 1 full set.
Aliens: 1 green, 2 yellow and red.
Camalots: 2 each #.75 to #3, 1x #4.
Maybe and additional #1and #2.


J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
I'm somewhat conflicted about this route.
On one hand I enjoyed it but on the other it's far from classic.
Both Challenger and Adventure Punks are MUCH better routes.

In his guidebook Jerry Handren states "X15 is probably the least climbed classic in Red Rocks".
This and the spectacular looking line were the reason's for me wanting to climb it.
What we found was not what you would expect from a classic.

The climbing on the first 3 pitch's was good and the grade was right on. However there was quite a bit of rotten rock. Some of it will clean up, some won't.

Pitch 4 was very interesting. This pitch involves delicate and runout climbing on some good rock and some bad. RP's protect a fair bit of the climbing and there is a funky hanging loose flake thing that must be negotiated.
I did not free this pitch, but took a couple of big falls onto thin gear trying. I would agree with the 5.11a rating however it's one of those pitchs that if you get it free, you might not do it again.
Be warned.
This route might be best done as 3 pitchs then rap from the fixed anchor. Your mileage may vary.

Have fun!

josh Mar 25, 2009
John Wilder
Las Vegas, NV
  5.11a R
John Wilder   Las Vegas, NV
  5.11a R
I'm with josh on this one- I'm glad we did the route, but was not that excited about the 4th pitch, both before and after doing it.

A note on the descent: Either rappel from the top of Pitch 3 in two long rappels back down the route, or if you do the fourth pitch, do two LONG rappels down and rappellers left (south- toward Challenger). Skip the first station that has some spooky bolts and continue to the shiny new one 200' down. Two ropes are required either way you do it. Mar 25, 2009
Josh Janes    
The lone pro bolt high on this route was replaced courtesy of the ASCA with 1/2" stainless hardware in 2012. If you use and appreciate updated bolts in Red Rocks, consider a donation to the ASCA atsafeclimbing.org.

Unfortunately I did not have the tools to remove the existing pro bolt. I smashed the hanger flat to discourage clipping or use of this as an anchor station until it can be properly pulled/patched.

There are no fixed anchors on X-15 except at the very top. From there it is possible, stopping at every station, to rap diagonally down the wall with a single 70 meter rope. Mar 25, 2012
Thanks for your effort on the replacement, Josh. Mar 26, 2012