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The Dragon

5.11a, Trad, 460 ft (139 m), 5 pitches,  Avg: 3.6 from 9 votes
FA: unknown
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Red Rock > 16-Black Velvet… > Mustang Wall
Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details

Description

The Dragon is a fantastic climb up the massive corner system on the left side of the Mustang Wall. Unusual for Red Rocks, this route features sections of physical crack climbing on every pitch and excellent rock. It is consistent in difficulty, with the exception of a brief slab crux (the higher traverse following bolts with black hangers). This crux can be avoided by taking a natural but circuitous variation (the lower traverse following bolts with tan hangers): at 5.10-, it is easier but can create rope drag (intermediate belay on the Pegasus ledge recommended).

Sure to be a classic; the tedious approach through the desert from the Black Velvet parking lot is all that keeps this thing from having lines on it like the other great routes in Red Rocks.

Begin just above a spindly, twisted pine tree just up and left from the black crack that marks the start of Pegasus. A landmark is the curving, right-facing white flake halfway up the first pitch. Do not start below a lone, low bolt in a right facing corner - this is an off-route bolt and is much too far left.

P1 (5.10-, 100’): Follow a shallow, right facing corner (tricky pro) up until level with the white flake. Protect high in the corner, then step down and left to move over to the flake (0.5 Camalot in a slot protects this traverse for leader and follower), then follow the flake (bolt) to a belay on a chockstone.

P2 (5.10-, 90’): Up the wide corner (bolt), then carefully negotiate a loose section (bolt), finishing with a steep crack to an awesome belay ledge.

P3 (5.10-, 70’): Continue up the nice corner which concludes with a physical struggle past two bolts to a belay at a good stance.

You have a choice for P4:

P4a (5.11a, 120’): The line of the FA heads up past some pockets to a thin slab crux passing four bolts with black hangers. From here tiptoe up the teetering Jenga flake and then reach wildly up and left to good holds on the steep wall above (appears unprotected but there is solid, hidden gear). Continue into the Green Corner to a good belay ledge. This is the better and more direct line but is significantly harder than anything else on the route.

P4b (5.10, 120’): Climb up and then move right on a curving ramp passing three bolts with tan hangers to the long Pegasus belay ledge. I strongly recommend belaying here to minimize rope drag. From the ledge, move straight left past a black bolt to reach the teetering Jenga flake, cross the flake and tiptoe up, then reach wildly up and left to good holds on the steep wall above (appears unprotected but there is solid, hidden gear). Continue into the Green Corner to a good belay ledge. This is an easier and perhaps more natural path, but it is wandering and probably best done with an intermediate belay on the Pegasus ledge (if you intend to do this, it would make sense to link P3 into the first half of P4b to the intermediate belay).

P5 (5.10-, 80’): Climb the steep, varnished lieback (#4 Camalots) to a wedged block, then follow the splitter handcrack up the right face to the top.

Rap with a single 70m rope using anchors on both Pegasus and the Dragon (see topo).

Protection

1x small to 0.75 Camalot. 2x #1 to #4 Camalot. Optional wired stoppers. 70m rope.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Mili Bar
[Hide Photo] Mili Bar
Mama Jo Crackin It Up
[Hide Photo] Mama Jo Crackin It Up
Mustang Wall (Left Side) Topo
[Hide Photo] Mustang Wall (Left Side) Topo
Killis Killing It
[Hide Photo] Killis Killing It
The start. This photo shows the first pitch - where to start and the general path of the climbing. Photo credit Rprops.
[Hide Photo] The start. This photo shows the first pitch - where to start and the general path of the climbing. Photo credit Rprops.
The start. This photo shows my partner on the 1st pitch of Pegasus. The Dragon begins from the low ledge just visible in the foreground on the lower left of the photo. Follow shallow corners then traverse straight left to the high white flake. Tricky pro.
[Hide Photo] The start. This photo shows my partner on the 1st pitch of Pegasus. The Dragon begins from the low ledge just visible in the foreground on the lower left of the photo. Follow shallow corners then t…
The Dragon
[Hide Photo] The Dragon
Oskar cruising the p2 off-width squeeze.
[Hide Photo] Oskar cruising the p2 off-width squeeze.
Corner System
[Hide Photo] Corner System
Not sure which pitch but it is fun;)
[Hide Photo] Not sure which pitch but it is fun;)

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Rprops
Nevada
[Hide Comment] We started too far left because we found a low bolt in a right facing corner. Don't climb that choss! Move riight 25' to start.
Fun crack cllimbing with a lot more chimneying and wideness than my partner desired.. Don't be dissuaded by the 11a, this route is softly graded with a safe, easily aided crux. Dec 14, 2018
Nathan Collins
Portland, OR
 
[Hide Comment] Also started too far left and climbed thru the low bolt on p1. Rock was a little crumbly off the ground on p1. We used a #6 cam on p2 and p3 and liked having it. Pitches 1 and 2 seemed more like 5.9, but again, we went left on p1. Like Rprops said, 11a part is one move that's easy to French free on a bolt, so overall it's a good 5.10 gear route. Great belays too. Apr 20, 2019
Sam Fearer
Santa Barbara, CA
 
[Hide Comment] Varied route, with some fun climbing along a cool feature.

My partner and I both felt that the bolting in places took away from the experience. At one point on the slab (11 variation), I could almost clip two bolts at once. The 10b variation looked to be the more natural line. The most elegant feature on the route was the tiger-striped arete hovering over P3, so we felt that the placement of shiny silver bolts along its edge detracted a bit from the experience...

Beautiful and quiet area. Pack it out if you visit. Feb 19, 2020
Josh Janes

  5.11a
[Hide Comment] Sam, I completely agree. Unfortunately that slab was bolted as an aid ladder. When it became clear that section could go free, a different party moved one aid bolt to better protect the free climbing, but the remaining three bolts were still not really ideal. It would be best, aesthetically and pragmatically, if that stretch of climbing had just three bolts in different spots altogether, but ultimately it would have made more of a mess to chop them and attempt to camouflage the holes (which doesn't work very well on that smooth rock) so the decision was made to move the one bolt and leave the rest.

As far as the other (unpainted) bolts, yeah, it would have been nice if they were camouflaged. I did not place those bolts but perhaps I can swap the hangers out for camo'd ones at some point.

Fortunately at the end of the day this remains a beautiful wall with a handful of absolutely excellent routes to enjoy. Without the hubbub of Bonnie Springs, I'm guessing it is also quite peaceful up there (until the construction on the housing development commences that is). Feb 19, 2020