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The Great Red Book Area
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Bury the Hatchet T 
Chips ahoy T 
Dangling Participles S 
Elementary Primer S 
Great Red Book T 
Ground up Vocabulary T 
Liner, The T 
Seams Novel T 
See Spot Run S 
Stone Hammer T 
Subject-Verb Agreement S 
Tomato Amnesia T 

Great Red Book 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 250'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Logerquist, Williamson, 1971
Page Views: 55,377
Submitted By: Scott Conner on Feb 2, 2002

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What a nice surprise after a fun climb.

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


This is a great route and the site of the rappelling error that led to the fate of renowned RR climber and guide Randal Grandstaff.

The location of this climb is obvious. It more or less climbs the giant left facing dihedral, aka The Great Red Book...

P1 (5.8): Climb up past a few vegetated ledges and work over into the corner proper for about 10-15 ft. When the crack becomes too thin, head back out onto the face and up to the bolted anchor where a memorial for Randall has been scratched into the rock (technically this is a chipped route :)

P2 (5.8 PG): Climb up the face on small edges past 2 or 3 bolts and lieback around the OW in the corner. Shoot for the top via the face or chimney.

Descend by heading left and working your way down and back around the wall.


Full rack to 4".

Photos of Great Red Book Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Great Red Book from a distance.
The Great Red Book from a distance.
Rock Climbing Photo: Calder Lane following on the first pitch with his ...
Calder Lane following on the first pitch with his ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading the first pitch.  The man to the left is a...
Leading the first pitch. The man to the left is a...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Great Red Book.  What a route!  02-14-2007
The Great Red Book. What a route! 02-14-2007
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down p2 in the middle of the lead after th...
Looking down p2 in the middle of the lead after th...
Rock Climbing Photo: S. Matz belays while J. Urioste looks on and rests...
S. Matz belays while J. Urioste looks on and rests...
Rock Climbing Photo: Preserve this memorial and piece of climbing histo...
BETA PHOTO: Preserve this memorial and piece of climbing histo...
Rock Climbing Photo: The final easy moves to the summit.
The final easy moves to the summit.
Rock Climbing Photo: p1
Rock Climbing Photo: Great Red Book
BETA PHOTO: Great Red Book
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch belay, ode to rg
1st pitch belay, ode to rg
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back at P1 belay
Looking back at P1 belay
Rock Climbing Photo: Karen and I after completing the Great Red Book. W...
Karen and I after completing the Great Red Book. W...
Rock Climbing Photo: top of p1. woohoo!
top of p1. woohoo!
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading the Book
Leading the Book
Rock Climbing Photo: Joanne Urioste on the GRB - May 2005
BETA PHOTO: Joanne Urioste on the GRB - May 2005
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack right before anchors! Mucho fun
Crack right before anchors! Mucho fun
Rock Climbing Photo: The Great Red Book from the approach
BETA PHOTO: The Great Red Book from the approach
Rock Climbing Photo: Jay on the second pitch of the GRB.  Fun climb.
Jay on the second pitch of the GRB. Fun climb.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beta photo of the Great Red Book.  Great climb.  C...
BETA PHOTO: Beta photo of the Great Red Book. Great climb. C...
Rock Climbing Photo: the first pitch
the first pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: cranking around the layback on pitch 1
cranking around the layback on pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: the "easiest" way up is to step left ont...
the "easiest" way up is to step left ont...

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By Jason D. Martin
Nov 22, 2005

Unfortunately somebody has made a half-assed attempt to scratch out the memorial markings at the first belay. The engraving is still visible, but light scratches have been cut into the rock on top of it.

Randal gave a lot to Red Rock and it irks me -- as I'm sure it irks others -- that someone made a number of uninformed assumptions and took it upon themselves to do something about those assumptions.

By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 26, 2006

Here is a little more on Randal Grandstaff, who fell to his death on the Great Red Book in June 2002:

Thursday, June 06, 2002
Copyright C Las Vegas Review-Journal

Legendary climber plummets to death at Red Rock


Randal Grandstaff, a mountaineer who scaled peaks across the globe and ran the Las Vegas Valley's oldest and most successful climbing school, died Wednesday in an apparent accident at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. He was 44.

A legend in climbing circles, Grandstaff plummeted about 150 feet to his death shortly after helping a tourist rappel down a rock face. Police believe the fall was accidental, but the 12:40 p.m. incident remains under investigation.

"At this point, we don't know what went wrong," said Sgt. Clint Bassett of the Metropolitan Police Department's Search and Rescue unit. "There's a dozen things that could've happened. There's equipment, human error, and then there's rock, and it could be any combination of those factors."

Police did not release the identity of the victim, but word of the Las Vegas native's death spread quickly Wednesday among the valley's tight-knit climbing community. Colleagues and an employee at Sky's the Limit, Grandstaff's climbing school, confirmed the identity of the victim.

"If you're a climber, Randal was the man," said Brandon Arens, a climber who worked for Grandstaff. "He was extremely impressive. Anyone serious about climbing Red Rock knows his name."

Fred Frazzetta, an employee at Desert Rock Sports, a climbing supply
store on West Charleston Boulevard, said Grandstaff was widely known by climbers because he had recorded so many first ascents at Red Rock, meaning he was the first person to perform a climb there.

"His name does appear in the Red Rock guidebook a lot," said Frazzetta, who knew Grandstaff for 12 years. "This guy had a pretty big reputation, and he had clients he guided from all over the world."

After he was introduced to climbing as a Boy Scout, Grandstaff began logging serious time at Red Rock as an adolescent and continued throughout his teen-age years.

The 1976 graduate of Bishop Gorman High School once got into trouble for scaling the brick tower in front of the school. Described as colorful by three people who knew him, Grandstaff also once gathered notoriety among climbers for scaling the Flashlight sculpture on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

After a short stint in college, he became a heavily experienced mountaineer in both alpine and ice climbing.

He spent time on some of the most intimidating ridges on five continents, including Mount Everest and other peaks in the Himalayas, the snowy crests of the French Alps, and Alaska's Mount McKinley.

But it was the giant pile of sandstone west of Las Vegas that Grandstaff spent most of his life mastering.

"When there were only like 10 people climbing out at Red Rock, he was one of them," Frazzetta said.

Of the more than 1,500 rated climbs at Red Rock, Grandstaff could claim first ascent on about 800.

He bought a home close to the climbing area and launched Sky's the Limit in the mid-1980s. Colleagues said he enjoyed slowly building his business into a success centered on his love for the sport.

On Wednesday, police said he was leading a female tourist on a climb called the Great Red Book, a route up a rock face at the second turnoff on Red Rock's scenic loop.

The pair finished the climb, and the woman rappelled down on ropes first, Bassett said.

"She doesn't know what happened, because the next thing she knew, he just fell from the top," said Bassett, the police sergeant. "He was about to rappel, but just fell."

Police found the equipment the pair used to scale the rock at the bottom of the climbing area near the man's body.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 26, 2006

Thanks for posting this article on Randal's death, Mike! What a terrible trajedy. But, having completed this route last week, the article raises more questions than it answers.

1) If the pair did reach the top of the route, then you'd need to do two raps to get down (the first pitch is 130', the second 120', according to Roxanna). However it is easy to walk off, and the top anchor is not set up for rapping. There are 2 bolts, but they are in a flat spot quite far from the edge. There are no chains for rapping (although maybe there were in 2002). Even so, there would be considerable rope drag pulling your ropes. Also, wouldn't the surviving woman have ended up at the first belay, rather than the ground? Perhaps he lowered her on a single line all the way down?

2) If they were at the first belay, after either completing the first pitch, or after somehow doing the first rappel, then the woman would have rapped normally and then somehow Randal fell from here.

Either way it doesn't really make sense. Has this been resolved? Where exactly was the rope when the rescue team arrived?

The incident did not make it into Accidents in North American Mountaineering, as near as I can tell. I checked the 2003-2005 editions and did not see it.

By Chris Burton
Apr 26, 2006

Here's what I know: Randy had lowered his client from the top of the first pitch (bolted anchor). The rope, the belay device, and some cord were all attached to Randy. There appear to be two theories as to what actually happened. Randy sometimes used to use a knotted cord to rappel that was retreivable (leave no trace) from the ground by pulling on one strand of the rope (the knot would pop and the cord and rope would come down). I don't know how to tie the knot that he used, but others have said that you have to be vigilant when using it because it can come undone mid-rappel if you are not careful. Something about both strands of the rope needing to pass through the belay devive at the same rate.
Some folks think that Randy simply screwed-up the knot (not tied correctly) and it popped soon after he began his descent. The other theory has to do with the fact that Randy had some health issues that were causing him to have the occasional black-out. He may have begun to rap and simply blacked-out. Either way, shortly after he began his rappel, the knot popped.
By 426
Mar 19, 2007

I had heard something about either RB's or some kind of "retrieval" system being the cause.

Anyways, this route is great and has a bit of everything. I remember climbing into the slot you can see in some of the photos but I guess you could do this route in a number of ways.

You will probably want to walk off, when we did it it was not really set up for rappel (this may have changed).
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Nov 26, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

One of the best routes I've done anywhere. Great gear, the bolts are far enough apart to keep things exciting and the 2 liebacking sections are amazing. Do yourself a favor and go straight up the face at the end of P2, no point getting in the chimney. The view from the top is priceless and even the walk off is scenic. Go do it. Now.
By CalebSimpson
Feb 21, 2008

Do the belay stations have bolts? If so are they rap bolts or will I have to leave webbing if I don't want to walk down?
By Chris treggE
From: Madison, WI
Feb 22, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Yes, double bolts on both pitches. I am pretty sure you would need to leave webbing, if memory serves (it's been a few years). The walk off is kind of charming... When we did it there had been rain the week before and it was all green with pools of water.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 3, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

it would take longer to rappel this route than to walk off of it.

also, i would suspect the rope pull on the first rappel would be brutal.

also, i never carry anything bigger than a red camalot on this route- but you might be able to make a case for a yellow...
By Floridaputz
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Oct 17, 2008

This is one of my lazy day favorites. I love to spend half a day in the black corridor then go up to do red book. The layback on the first pitch is exciting, but the second Pitch is really the best. Beautiful face climbing off the belay back to the corner and a tricky layback to easier climbing. I always pay my quiet respects to RG when doing this route.
By Ron Graham
Feb 23, 2009

Folks who haven't done a lot of liebacks on slippery sandstone on lead might want to bring a #5 Camalot for use in the crack at the base of the lieback on the second pitch. The angle for that lieback is a bit more awkward than the one for the first pitch. There is, however, a great hand/foothold on the face about 4 feet straight out from the lieback that can help you get past this crux in about 2 moves if you have the arm/leg length to effectively use it.

If you bring a full rack of cams, you can easily protect this route without needing to use any stoppers. Some extra long runners would be handy on the first pitch to reduce rope drag.

I give this route 4 stars because of the great variety it offers in a multi-pitch route over a short distance: face, crack, slab, lieback, bolts and free climbing pro. Anyone who does this route will likely enjoy the many sport routes on the wall to the right of the Book as well.
By billdlee
From: las vegas
Apr 29, 2009

I always thought that this was a very good/classic 5.8 climb because the second pitch had a nice little slab section and a very fun lay-back. But what made it a classic 5.8 is the first pitch. Instead of moving out on the face like you normally would, try staying in the dihedral all the way up until you are even with the bolts at the top of the pitch. This was so much more fun than the second pitch. Both pitches makes this a really fun climb. A great trad climb.
By Doug Lintz
From: Kearney, NE
Jun 4, 2009

Great route! The walk off is easy and this route takes everything from .3 to #3 Camalots (no need for stoppers). You could find #4 and #5 cam placements but they're not really necessary.
By Paul Dovydaitis
From: Chicago, IL
Nov 9, 2010

Don't bother trying to rap off this route, we tried this on 11/7 and the first rap did not pull. Might have been OK if I had a rap ring with me instead of just trying to go through webbing, but even so the bolts on the top are way far back there, so there is a ton of friction. The walk off is much easier.
By anthony509
From: las vegas nv
Dec 25, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Rapped off yesterday, 2 ropes. Could not pull rope through single rap ring at top. Climbed back up to see nothing preventing rope pull--friction on small ring??? Moved knot a bunch down from there while rappeling again. Almost would not pull again but managed it. Recommend finding walk off. Glad the views and climb were worth the hassle.
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
May 20, 2011

Great fun! Don't pass this one up if you're in the area and looking for an outstanding gear route. I'd recommend doing the walk off.
By Sara Ann
From: Sunnyvale, CA
Mar 6, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Stay in the crack on the first pitch for exquisite 5.8 climbing on good pro (but watch for friction if your rope runs up the crack as you round a corner to the right... long slings here!), or do the two-star 5.7 face. The second pitch lie-back was yummy fer sure. A little bit of everything on beautiful rock makes it classic. The scramble down the gully was fun and easy.
By Jonathan Simonton
From: Chandler
Mar 23, 2012

I felt like the end of pitch 1, if you stay in the crack was harder than .8+. Scary route for me, and my first .8 lead. Wouldn't recomend for first .8 lead.
By farkas.time
From: Storrs, CT
Apr 5, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Very fun. Excellent and varied climbing on an awesome landscape feature.

I found pro a bit difficult on p1, so it felt harder than 5.7. Good coverage around 1" is recommended.

Pro on p2 is excellent and with variable size, and felt easier than 5.8. The slab at the top is very run out, but 5.4 or 5.5. I think this would be a good beginner intro to the grade, as long as the runout slab isn't horribly intimidating.
By Rob Donnelly
From: Riverside, CA
Nov 21, 2012

I didn't think to lieback the OW on the 2nd pitch. I face climbed it instead and it felt 5.9+ this way.

Don't rap unless you just love to rap. It is more hassle than it is worth.
By Andrew Yasso
From: Las Vegas, NV
Feb 16, 2013

The walk off descent is mellow and quick, and is in the NORTH direction. The description says "left," meaning when you get to the base of the climb the gully is on your left that you will be descending (climbers left), but once you are at the top left is mildly subjective. Just walk off North and you shouldn't have a hard time getting back to your pack.

Very fun and quick route.
By Ty Morrison-Heath
From: Bozeman, MT
Mar 13, 2013

Fantastic route with a bit of every type of climbing. I brought doubles of .3-#3 Camalots and wished I would of had one smaller piece for the crack (A yellow c3 would of been great!) before you traverse out onto the face on the first pitch. Not recommended for beginner leaders due to the large runout at the top. Easy descent as well!
By Nate Flink
From: Minneapolis, MN
Mar 29, 2013

Thoroughly enjoyable route. I felt the climbing was true to the grade on par with Dark Shadows or Frogland's crux pitches. PG in a few spots
By Mtnfly
From: El Segundo, Ca
Apr 10, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Followed this route. Loose bolt on off width LB on pitch 2. Very loose. I'm sure that bolt has seen its fair share of falls. I'm glad I didn't have t lead te runout slab to face prior to pitch 1 anchors. Then from 1st belay anchor to bolts is 15-20 feet and is pretty stout 5.8 slab/thin face. You can place some shitty gear but nothing you feel great about off the belay. Runout at top felt secure.
By Edward Pyune
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 5, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I thought this route was SUPER fun and pro felt great from a yellow C3 to a #4 C4, with doubles from #.5 to #3. Staying in the crack on the first pitch is highly recommended and felt like 5.8+, not quite 5.9, and definitely watch out for rope drag protecting it. Little run out in the 5.5 section up top. Also, the view from up top is great
By Nate Young
From: Phoenix
Nov 9, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Lead both pitches on this route and thought it was a great deal of fun.

Some route / gear beta.

Route Beta:

The first bolt off of the mid-belay is kind of up there. The climbing is easy and holds are solid, but if you are sketched out, about 10 feet up there is a great BD #.3 blue horizontal cam placement. I'm not sure how large a fall it would truly protect before the rock around the cam goes, but it's great for a mental crutch!

The 40+ foot run-out at the top next to the chimney isn't a big deal. At first the beta sounded intimidating and the top section of the second pitch was what I dreaded about the climb the most. After getting through the 5.8 wide section and hitting the chimney, the top was a breeze. I stayed in the chimney for maybe 10 feet, letting the chimney supplement some meh foot holds at times. Then there is a GREAT ledge to step out left on and from then on it is a jug fest on low angled terrain.

If you REALLY don't want to run the top out. Once you get to the chimney, just keep walking through the chimney to the right. There is a nice horizontal crack where you can build a gear belay with #1-#4 pieces depending on what you have left over. THEN, if you want to summit, there is a small ramp to your left that will take you to the top where the anchors are.

Gear Beta:

I brought doubles from BD C4 #.3-4, didn't need half of it. I sewed most of the cracks up and didn't need the second set from #1-4 at all. I only placed one nut on the first pitch, but it truly wasn't needed at all.

My Recommended Rack for Great Red Book:

BD C4 #.2-4 single set with doubles from .4-.75
Don't bother with the nuts at all unless you are very good at slotting behind flakes.

Single 70m rope will get you to the ground off of the first belay stance, but it won't get you off the top. DO THE WALK OFF since it is pretty beautiful!
By Chase D
Jan 7, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Excellent route with fun liebacking. Protects well with a single rack up to a #3 cam. I agree that the walk-off descent is the way to go. Rapping would take twice as long with twice the effort.
By Barndawg TheFirst
From: London
Apr 15, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

if you want to go oldschool - there are bomber nut placements all the way up p1. i placed a #1 Camelot somewhere quite low, and a #2 before the move out left to the bolts, and i wouldn't have needed either to if I'd brought my chocks. a #5 protects the move out of the offwidth on p2, if you like...
By Justin Streit
Sep 1, 2016

This route was outstanding. Has everything from slab, to jams, to liebacking, to thin face, and you even get to top it off with a chimney at the top. If you're at all comfortable with leading 5.8, this route should be a problem.

Next time, my rack will consist of a #0.3-1 C4 with an extra #1 and blue and red TCUs. The blue TCU is perfect for slotting in the horizontal ten feet up on the second pitch, but I used it at the top of the first pitch as well. The top is super chill and didn't feel at all scary.

The lefthand bolt at the first belay station is loose. Someone take a wrench up with you.

The walkoff is super chill, but I will say that you have to go down to the climber's right first and then cut back left to get into the descent gully. After that it's just an easy stroll down around the west side of the formation.

Definitely took too long to do this route!
By shakeit
Nov 8, 2016

If anyone recovers two cams, (blue #3 and ???) from 11/7/16 part way up the first pitch I will gladly pay for shipping. There are some runners also.

The route is great, if you are climbing 5.8 leading this 5.7 can be a challenge (and was too much for me). On P1 after the second lieback I stayed in the crack went up too high. I did not move out onto the face soon enough...


By WillK
Dec 5, 2016

After the little layback sequence on p1, I went left out into the face and it was easy climbing. It looked harder to stay in the crack. Although, the rock didn't feel very solid on the face imo. It's probably just me, though. First time climbing on this type of sandstone.

I think the hardest part for me was after the second bolt at the start of p2. Holds were small and I was def not trusting my feet sticking to the varnished face. I finally made a tall man move to get past it, but I was hanging at one spot for a while. I thought the layback on p2 was fine, but was pretty glad I had a #5 for it. I used a #4 once at some point, too.

The runout at the top was fine as well. Didn't use the wall behind me to chimney, though.

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