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Black Velvet 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
Page Views: 2,697
Submitted By: Aaron Hobson on Jan 23, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: The large dead oak was taken out by recent rockfal...


Start at a dead gnarly oak on a ledge 20 ft up the cliff, under a large left facing crack system. A huge roof caps off the final pitch and makes an excellent landmark.

Pitch 1 goes right up a fourth class corner onto a large ledge (unless you scramble this part) and then climbs the corner/crack system up to a small belay stance just below a hand traverse left.

Pitch 2 (crux) goes out the hand traverse and up a steep layback for a ways. Yucca plants make pulling out of the crack system sticky. Go up one more step to the next level of the broad, walkable ramp and belay underneath the huge roof.

Pitch 3 traverses underneath the roof, some spectacular and exposed 5.7 climbing. After turning the side of the roof, follow a short crack system to the summit.

To descend, scramble east down past a yucca and oak to a chain anchor at the top of Five Easy Steps. 165' to the ground. A mid-point rap-anchor allows one to descend with a single 60m rope. Keep an eye out for these bolts to your left, on a nice ledge.


Standard rack. The belay ledge under the roof has a single bolt.

Photos of Black Velvet Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down Pitch 2. Photo Chad Namolik.
BETA PHOTO: Looking down Pitch 2. Photo Chad Namolik.
Rock Climbing Photo: Just before battle of the bush Black Velvet (5.9)
Just before battle of the bush Black Velvet (5.9)
Rock Climbing Photo: Last pitch
Last pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber at the crux section
Unknown climber at the crux section

Comments on Black Velvet Add Comment
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By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Feb 11, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The K.Kiser bolted face variation for pitch 3, left of the left-angling roof traverse, is fun, and about 5.9. One of the 2 bolts had a modern one (right next to the old one), the other had just the original 1/4" bolt.
By Aaron Miller
From: Santa Fe, NM
Jan 21, 2013

Start the first pitch right of the oak, face climbing up the bulge/arete. There is surprisingly good gear(including a magic purple camalot pocket!) and the 5.8 moves are fun. The corner looked loose and dirty. A new bolt provides a good anchor at 2nd belay.

Overall, a much better climb than it looked from the ground. The crux corner is brilliant and the finishing traverse under the roof is actually spectacular. Bring a camera.
By Daniel Rossi 1
May 15, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Fun rout with great protection the whole way. Climbing directly up the slab at the top (one bolt and thin gear) was a great alternative to finish, however decently more challenging though.
By Kevin Enriquez
From: AK visiting EP
Sep 5, 2016

Great approach, not too long. The climb itself is good, but the shelf traverse before the "final pitch" (refer to Last Pitch photo added on the climb) makes the climb a lot more interesting as you hit a much more exposed area. I'd recommend giving this climb a go if you're in the area looking for a shorter day.
By Ian Harris
From: Las Cruces NM
Nov 8, 2016

Pitch 3: Bring some small gear to protect the moves after the bolt and before reaching the roof. I found a good placement for a BD .3 cam directly above the bolt and part of the roof.

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