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The Black Widow

5.12, Trad, 500 ft (152 m), 4 pitches,  Avg: 3 from 10 votes
FA: FA (Pitch 1 & 2): T. Cecil - 1995; FFA (Complete Line): Joshua Janes & Darren Snipes (w/ thanks to Anna Pfaff) - March, 2012
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Red Rocks > (12) Oak Creek… > Black Orpheus Amphith…
Warning Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. DetailsDrop down


The Black Widow is a route that offers difficult, technical climbing on the first pitch, a fun roof on the second pitch, and an extended boulder problem crux followed by exposed glory climbing on the third pitch. This rig is sure to be sunny, is crowd-free, and is a totally rad rock climb. Just goes to show that great FA’'s in Red Rocks are still out there.

Up and right from the top of the approach gully is a pleasant area adorned with sizable, flat boulders. This is beneath a large, black, scoop-like cavity in the wall; begin climbing at the toe of a slabby buttress just left of this cavity.

P1 (5.11b, 135'’): Climb up a low angle crack to a ledge beneath the steep, black wall above. Clip the first of several bolts and climb up and right into a water groove/crack system. Follow this past a thin face climbing crux and continue to a bolted anchor at a small hole.

P2 (5.10d, 120’'): Face climb directly above the anchor with spaced protection to a body-length, horizontal roof. A bolt at the lip protects pulling the roof, but this can be very difficult to clip for those of shorter stature. Kick the feet free and heel hook over the lip, stand up, and continue up the face above to another bolted anchor at a tiny ledge.

P3 (5.12, 120’'): Face climb directly above the anchor on fragile rock to the steep underbelly of the arch. Twenty feet of well-protected, but intense, dynamic, and improbable climbing leads to better holds and a chance for a shake. Note that there is one small flake here that would probably rip right off if you pulled too hard on it - I used it gently in order to get a shake, so for that reason I elected not to clean it. A few more tricky moves get you out from underneath the arch and up onto the exposed upper headwall. Follow a beautiful, steep crack system for 90’' to a belay stance on white rock.

P4 (5.7, 125’'): Romp up the lower angle slab (unprotected), or slightly left along a nice finger crack, and then work back right to a final vertical, varnished face. Climb one of several cracks up this to a belay stance 100' from the IBM Boulder.

Rap the route with an 80m (a 70 is just not quite adequate) or two ropes, or walk over and rap Plate of Fate, or walk off via the Painted Bowl descent.


Single set from 00 TCU/black Alien to #2 Camalot, wires, enough rope.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The Black Widow.  Photo credit: John Hegyes
[Hide Photo] The Black Widow. Photo credit: John Hegyes
Josh on the 1st pitch of Black Widow.
[Hide Photo] Josh on the 1st pitch of Black Widow.
Josh 1st pitch Black Widow.
[Hide Photo] Josh 1st pitch Black Widow.