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Only the Good Die Young 

YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 750'
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Uriostes, year unknown
Page Views: 9,156
Submitted By: Jake Martin on Mar 20, 2004

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Deanna sending the 3rd pitch right before she onsi...

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


Kudos, again, the the ASCA folks who rebolted this climb, taking from an obscure, old-rusty-bolts-that-will-snap scarefest to a super-safe, super-classic climb. Don't let the 5.11 grade scare you off, the cruxs are very well bolted with big, fat, new, shiny ASCA hangers. This climb is so well bolted, the cruxes could easily be yarded through (A0 style).

Anyhow, get to the route by first finding Wholesome Fullback. After you find this climb, hike climber's right for roughly 300 feet. As you go ascend slightly, you will be heading up into the mouth of a narrow canyon that splits Whiskey Peak and Black Velvet Wall. Keep your eyes peeled up for a bolt 10-15 feet off the deck; this will be the give away for the route's start, and will be on the same wall as Wholesome Fullback, that has now become the left side of the narrow canyon you are heading up. Again, the route will be between 300 and 500 feet climber's right of Wholesome Fullback. As you look up at the super-shiny new hanger, you will see several (3-4) other bolts about 40 feet up, twisting around a corner. Here you are looking at the second pitch, to give you a good idea of how short the pitches really are. So now you have found the climb.

The first pitch goes in Supertopo as 10d, but I felt it was more 10bish, a one-move wonder. Place some cams, and go up to the first set of anchors.

Pitch 2 is the business at 5.11 plus, with bolts right there the whole time. This is a super-steep, super-fun portion of this climb; a few of the holds are climbing gym-esque. As you reach the second anchor, you will already be getting psyched for the great-looking third pitch.

Begin this pitch with easy slab moves, progressing into several 5.10 moves to the belay. As the pitch continues, so does the difficulty. Thank goodness for those incuts...Here we go, this is the crux.

Pitch 4, you can see the three shiny traverse bolts, where the climbing is the most difficult right at the beginning of the traverse, and eases as you get the overhang, which are really jugs. Use long runners on the first and last traverse bolts, or suffer the consequences of severe rope drag. Also notice the original Urioste bolt...don't both clipping it, I talked to the dude who rebolted this and he said they barely hold body weight. After the overhang, do some .10 slab moves, and then, belay if you want, or just launch into the 5.6 (at most) patina haul to the top.

The descent isn't pretty. You need to scramble back down the canyon that the climb started in (via some 4th-classing climber's right from the summit), the one dividing Black Velvet and Whiskey Peak, but be wary as the canyon forks, as we found out. You will need to do one short rap of like 70 feet once you get close to your packs. Thanks again to the ASCA, they are really doing climbers a service.


Bolts protect the cruxes, and the anchors are new as well, but don't roll up with just a rack of draws and a rope -- no, no, no, you will also need a single set of cams to #2 Camalot (I am not sure what SuperTopo says to bring, but that is what we had, and were fine). Only one rope is necessary, and a 50-meter rope would work fine -- the pitches are all super short. The only reason a longer rope might be desirable would be if you wanted to run the last few pitches together, not a problem as after the route's crux, the difficulty eases way back to 5.6 patina pulling. Backing off this route would be easy.

Photos of Only the Good Die Young Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Rico at the crux.  Photo by Darshan Ahluwalia.
Rico at the crux. Photo by Darshan Ahluwalia.
Rock Climbing Photo: Me leading up the 10b pitch
Me leading up the 10b pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Elated to be just past the crux
BETA PHOTO: Elated to be just past the crux
Rock Climbing Photo: Jay Smith on Only the Good Die Young (5.11c), Red ...
Jay Smith on Only the Good Die Young (5.11c), Red ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The way down ... stay on the right on the gully to...
The way down ... stay on the right on the gully to...
Rock Climbing Photo: Spectacular view down from pitch 2.
Spectacular view down from pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3
Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Austin after the crux on P2
Austin after the crux on P2
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch of Only the Good Die Young
2nd pitch of Only the Good Die Young
Rock Climbing Photo: The pitch 4 crux traverse.
The pitch 4 crux traverse.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down pitch 3.
Looking down pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Just past the pitch 2 crux.
Just past the pitch 2 crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: The pitch 2 crux.
The pitch 2 crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of the route.  Pitches 1 & 2 are visible...
The start of the route. Pitches 1 & 2 are visible...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike following pitch 1
Mike following pitch 1

Comments on Only the Good Die Young Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 27, 2016
By meo
Oct 21, 2007

This was a great route. First pitch a bit akward to start. All the cruxes we're protected very well.
By Aaron S
May 22, 2008
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

The description here is spot on. Despite reading it here I neglected to put a long runner on the last bolt of the pitch 4 traverse and paid the price. A shoulder length sling would have made a world of difference. I highly recommend running the last two pitches together as there is really no reason to stop on the mediocre ledge.

The descent sucks balls. Despite paying pretty close attention we missed the fork coming down the canyon and had to back track up to get over to the base. Lots of bushwhacking and crappy scrambling.

There was one spot where I was happy to have a #3 camalot. If you are solid on 5.11 (I’m not) then you will be fine without it. Every pitch has stellar climbing and it’s a good one to push yourself on as it’s very well protected.
By Chad Kuhlman
From: Fort Collins
Jul 30, 2008

Good Route! The crux is a one move wonder off a small crimp. You really want to climb this on a cooler day for that move.
I found the descent to be easy with little to no bushwhacking. Cut down and to the right on slabs early on the descent. Then you will have one small rap off a tree to get in the gully with a little down climbing to the base of the route.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Aug 24, 2008
rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

absolutely amazing line- really good route. for folks unfamiliar with the geography of the gully or new to red rocks: when you get ready to make the rappel, look down. you'll see a white fin of rock separating the gully- you want to be on the right (east) side of it when going down. the other trick here is that once you get down, about 30' along the trail, step right toward the main wall rather than down and left.

not too bad other than that. thanks to the ASCA for the FAT bolts on the route- man, i cant imagine making that traverse on ye olde 1/4" urioste bolts! yowsers!
By rex parker
From: las vegas n.v
Sep 4, 2009

really fun worth going out to climb the exposure on the second or third pitch were it angled down to the left is sweet
By Gaar
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Sep 18, 2009

I noticed all the pitches are short (less then 100') Does the route traverse too much to rap back down it??
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 19, 2009
rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

you could rap from the top of 3 if you wanted to- but you cant rap from above that- i seem to recall that there isnt a bolted belay at the top of 4 or 5.

the walkoff isnt that bad, maybe 10-15 minutes.
By Gaar
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Sep 19, 2009

Thanks for the info
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Oct 12, 2011
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Good route. However, when we went to climb it today we missed the first pitch (don't ask me how) and ended up climbing a difficult alternate pitch, 25 feet past the first pitch start, to the 1st pitch anchors proper. This pitch was about 15 feet shorter and packed a more difficult punch to the start of the whole route. My estimation is that it's in the 5.11c range with moves off the deck to a blocky flake into a fingerlock onto some crimps and a super high foot to reach some other OK crimps. Any info on this- has it been done, what's it called, etc.?

This start definitely left a bad taste in our mouthes heading into the 2nd pitch. And the 2nd pitch is definitely not the best piece of RR climbing I have done. I'll say that much. It's hard and awkward.

The 3rd pitch is great and beautiful movement up good crimps made me wish it wasn't so short!

The 4th pitch is certainly the money pitch and the redeeming pitch of the overall route. Tricky moves bring you to good holds and then onto some more cryptic crimp face climbing. Awesome.

Pitch 5 is OK. I thought this route (the way we did it) was lackluster but after we descended and did the 1st pitch proper it proved out to be overall a very good route.
By Cunning Linguist
Oct 16, 2011

This route is varied and interesting-much more variety of movement than most of the Velvet Wall crimp-ladders. Short, fun cruxes, good rock-the last pitch finish is forgettable but the rest is a blast. Don't miss this one.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 16, 2012
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Wonderful line on perfect rock. Short pitches that are all fun and a few pretty stout moves that are super well protected (bolt ladders). The descent is actually very easy and fast if you don't go off route. Once on top traverse a very short distance on the obvious ledge then look down for a lower ledge that leads down towards the gully (do not walk all the way back on the first ledge). Carefully down climb to this second ledge, traverse and down climb to a ledge with trees - one has a rap set up. At the bottom of the rap drop down only a few feet and then traverse straight along the wall you just climbed (do not drop over the ridge). A quick descent down along this wall takes you right to your gear in about 5 minutes. Piece of cake.
By David Stowe
May 2, 2012

Really fun route with a good variety. Every pitch is different,but all are fun and extremely well protected. The second pitch crux is a little burly while the fourth pitch crux is a crimp move. Definitely happy that we got on this route on our last day in Red Rocks. A nice way to end a week of climbing. The descent is fast and easy, just be careful up on that white sloping ledge when moving to the rap as there is a bunch of loose rocks and a slip would not be good.
By Chris DuRoss
From: Salt Lake City, UT
May 4, 2012
rating: 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Great route, even though the pitches are short. P2 felt like the business. The crux moves on P4 are not that bad - maybe 5.11a/b. Follow Tim's direction for the descent, which we managed to do without rapping.
By sqwirll
From: Las Vegas
Oct 1, 2012

Pitch 2 crux seemed harder than pitch 4. The left bolt at the pitch 3 anchor is loose and should be tightened.
By Derek DeBruin
Nov 2, 2012

As of 11/1/2012, the left-hand bolt at the belay atop P3 is loose. A couple microcams (red and yellow C3s) backed it up decently. You could also probably bring the first bolt of P4 into the anchor with a cordelette.

Otherwise, fun climbing. P2 definitely felt like the business as opposed to P4 per the Handren guidebook. I recommend skipping the 3rd bolt on P2 as it is unnecessary and difficult to clip.
By Jared Cohn
Dec 1, 2014

The anchor bolts atop pitch 2 and 3 both have one loose bolt that can almost slide out of the wall. This is as of 11/28/14.
By David Meyer
From: Out Yonder West
Feb 17, 2015
rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Absolutely incredible movement throughout the first four pitches. I enjoyed this one more than most of the other classics I've done in Black Velvet.
By Weston L
From: Summerlin, NV
Jul 8, 2015
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Great climb, wonderful variety and brilliant movement. Very easily doable on a summer morning, as the route faces West.

That being said, there are two anchor bolt issues:

Anchor atop P2, right hand bolt is significantly loose in the hole.

Anchor atop P3, left hand bolt is significantly loose in the hole and protruding a touch.

Rock Climbing Photo: LH bolt atop P3, Only The Good Die Young, Red Rock...
LH bolt atop P3, Only The Good Die Young, Red Rock.

RE: the descent...not too terrible, some brush and loose rock. The supertopo topo for this was spot on. Slings on the rappel tree were good as of 7/3/15.
By david s wilson
Apr 27, 2016

Did this one last week. It's an excellent route.

A few comments to add:

P1 - Thuggy move at base - 10d
P2 - The crux fro sure. 11b tricky traverse right. Top bolt is hard to clip / unclip and should probably be skipped
P3 - Fun 10b
P4 - 11b - One move wonder to jug rail - nice position. gear belay at horizontal after bolts.
P5 - Up and off - 5.7

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