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Risky Business 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b R

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b R [details]
FA: Greg Meyers, Mike Tupper 1985
Page Views: 8,912
Submitted By: J. Thompson on Oct 4, 2004

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AJ the boss.

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


Risky Business climbs some of the best rock in Red Rock. It is an EXTREMELY good climb and shouldn't be missed by anyone leading at the grade. However it is a bit runout so make sure you're very solid at the grade.

The route starts approximately 50ft to the left of Dark Shadows on a small "island" in the creek.

Pitch 1- start up a short left facing flake, then climb the face above aiming for the first of 2 bolts. After clipping the 2nd bolt climb up and slightly right to gain a shallow right facing corner. Climb this corner until it's possible to traverse left to reach the obvious ledge and anchor(5.10-, R-).

Pitch 2- climb the obvious corner up and slightly left of the belay; there is a bolt near the bottom of the corner. At the top of the corner follow thin, discontinous cracks aiming for another bolt. Face climb past this bolt, until you find more discontiuous cracks, follow these to the anchor, which is directly below a large bulge(5.10, R-).

Pitch 3- climb straight left, then up to reach a bolt. After clipping the bolt climb straight up until it is possible to traverse right to gain a thin crack system (the traverse is about 20ft). Climb up the thin cracks until it is possible to traverse back left towards a fixed pin in the bottom of a shallow right facing corner. Climb the corner to reach a hanging belay(5.10+, R).

Pitch 4- Climb straight up, off the belay past 4 bolts. After clipping the 4th bolt traverse right to a white ledge/large stance and the final anchor.

To descend rappel with 2 ropes.


Rack: 1 set of nuts extras in the small size's, 1 set of cams Green alien to #1 camalot.

Photos of Risky Business Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Matthew Lawry rockin it
Matthew Lawry rockin it
Rock Climbing Photo: Risky Business: topo overlay. Belay/rap anchors in...
BETA PHOTO: Risky Business: topo overlay. Belay/rap anchors in...
Rock Climbing Photo: The final stretch of pitch 3. 4/17.
The final stretch of pitch 3. 4/17.
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the 5.8 traverse on pitch 3. 4/17.
Approaching the 5.8 traverse on pitch 3. 4/17.
Rock Climbing Photo: Risky Business -- first pitch. 4/17.
Risky Business -- first pitch. 4/17.
Rock Climbing Photo: Nick heading up pitch 3
Nick heading up pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Picture of Risky Business from Dark Shadows. Promi...
Picture of Risky Business from Dark Shadows. Promi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom on the first pitch.
Tom on the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the top of the third pitch
Near the top of the third pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Third pitch of Risky Business.
Third pitch of Risky Business.
Rock Climbing Photo: climbers on last pitch of Risky Business.  Other c...
climbers on last pitch of Risky Business. Other c...
Rock Climbing Photo: starting Pitch 3 of Risky Business
starting Pitch 3 of Risky Business
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy and Allison following the super cool third pi...
Andy and Allison following the super cool third pi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber following the 1st pitch.
Climber following the 1st pitch.

Comments on Risky Business Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 25, 2017
By Drederek
Nov 29, 2004
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

We did first two pitches in may '04. Started on a 3-4 foot block about 60 feet left of Dark Shadows. P1 is committing, P2 protected well. Ran out of daylight :(
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 7, 2005
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Couple of addition's.In the diescription for pitch 2 it should read- at the top of the CORNER follow the... On pitch 3 instead of doing the traverse back left to the fixed pin it is possible to climb straight up to the anchor on Excellent adventure. If you do this you'll have to do a leftward traverse to get back on the route following the belay. Both varitation's are the same difficulty but you can avoid some rope drag by using the EV anchor.On the descent, 1 60M rope will not work. Pitch 3 is the problem. pitch;s 1 and2 can be rapped with a single 60. When rappelling with 2 ropes- from the pitch 2 anchor you can reach the ground and keep your ropes dry. You'll want to head left of the start aiming for a white block. You will pass the anchor for the route short circuit.

This is probably my favorite route in RR!!
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 7, 2005
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

One more thing!!! All anchors and protection bolts are good as of 5-5-2005. Thanks too Greg Barnes and the ASCA.
By blackflyrancher
May 16, 2005

This is a spectacular route - not too scary and every pitch is well worth the time. Bring a knife and a couple of quick links or a some webbing for the last belay if you get on it. As of 5/15/05 the last belay had a wonderful new bolt/ring and an old bolt with some rather uninspiring moldy cord tied through a rap ring.
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 16, 2005
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

OOPS!! I meant to mention that last anchor.We didn't have any quick links when we were replacing it. Someone please take a couple up there..this is the final touch needed to make every anchor perfect!!Thanks for the reminder blackfly!! Glad you had as much fun as I did on this awesome route!!
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Mar 16, 2007
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

So I was looking at this again the other day and I saw the consensus rating had the route down to 5.10b/c. Then I looked closer and realised that this was because the person who grade it 5.10b hadn't climbed the crux pitch! Folks that third pitch is BOTH 5.10c AND R rated. But it's classic!
By Aaron S
Oct 15, 2007

Every pitch is classic on this one!

And if you are as lazy as I am and hate carrying a second rope, the route can easily be rapped with a single 70m.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 1, 2008
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

amazing route- found a bail loop on the first bolt of the crux pitch- and what a pitch! wow!

definitely rap with a 70m, easier than using 2 lines.

while all the pitches have run-outs on them, the third is the most heady and committing- but well worth it!
By Jeff G.
From: Fort Collins
Nov 3, 2009
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

One of the best routes I have done in Red Rocks. Pretty spicy but not too bad if you are confident on 5.10.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 20, 2010
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

Stunning. Pitch 3 is the money pitch right off the bolt.
By stevecurtis
From: Petaluma California
Apr 3, 2010

excellent adventure. however, in my experience at RR, most of the pro on the first pitch would not hold a fall. I thought there was ground fall potential above the second bolt. The huge flake at the start of the second pitch is hollow. A cam placed under it would pull it off in a fall, creaming your partner.
By drewford
From: Wasatch Back, UT
Dec 15, 2010

Great heads-up climbing. Deserves the R rating for sure. I was surprised that the Handren guidebook does not offer a seriousness grade for this route (or Excellent Adventure).
By Cpn Dunsel
Mar 19, 2011

Great route. One of my favorites in Pine Creek....not to be missed by a confident 5.10 leader and hardly ever a wait during peak times....
By blakeherrington
Mar 31, 2011

1/3 of the way up p2 there's a large squared-off jug that is loose and gonna rip on someone. Just above this, the thin L-facing flake is flexy enough that any gear behind it can be cleaned by just expanding the flake with a nut tool and watching the hardware fall out.
By Pitty
From: Marbach
Apr 27, 2011

went left in pitch No.3 after the first bolt and was lost in the middle of nowhere.... My fault....
2nd pitch is extremely nice but not too good protection, I would call it some kind of Runout....
By Rob DeZonia
Sep 4, 2011
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

One of my top three favorite routes in Red Rocks! A must do!
By Brian Prince
From: morro bay, ca
Oct 18, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R

Such great climbing and rad corner features. There are definitely some scary (or, spare me, risky) sections though. That square block that Blake Herrington mentioned is the real deal, and what stands out in my mind as the crux of the route was moving past this thing. Although any of the other holds are just as likely to break I suppose. The only runout part that Handren specifically mentions (P3 5.8 traverse) is a cake walk compared to everything else. And by that time, you'll be so used to it all. The climbing is great and is mostly all on positive holds.

I didn't have any RPs or equivalent and I don't think they would have helped too much anyway.
By BrianWS
Mar 17, 2013
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

The route descriptions in both the Stiles and Handren Guide seemed way off. All pitches are slightly to fully runout, with the exception of the second.
P1 is quite runout on solid 5.9/5.10 slab. P2 felt to be the hardest pitch, although well protected. P3 seemed neither sustained nor committing. P4 was super fun, with good spacing between bolts on super positive holds.
By Dennis Wong
Oct 20, 2014


I just returned to the UK from a 10 day trip with my wife who doesn't climb. My friend told me that Risky Business is a "must do", so mid trip I managed to be first in the day on this. My wife normally uses a gri-gri, but in order to get most bang for buck I decided to use the Brit system of two ropes: a single light weight 70M and a half rope 8mm. This way I could do P1 and P2 in one run. Wearing my comfortable floppy boots I set off, and found the crux above the second bolt, racing for the flake line. Here there are a couple of rocks 3 or 4 that are good, given the nature of sandstone. The thought did occur to me that the bolts have been aged by freeze/ thaw action and I also wondered how far they were drilled into the rock. This, combined with my wife's new exposure to handling dual ropes and chatting with other parties became a little distracting. However, I refused to be tempted by the dark side and completed P1. P2 two was a breeze in comparison and rappelling the two pitches in one go didn't get my ropes wet. Back home it would get UK E3/4 5C.

My other recommendation is not to eat refried beans the night before. .......
I put my harness back on and also enjoyed slot machine (UK E25c)
By chris_vultaggio
From: The Gunks
Nov 9, 2014

P1 felt the most committing and serious, thin moves with potential groundfall above the second bolt. I'd call P3 runout, but not R - a lead fall would be big in spots, but the gear is good where you can get it and falls wouldn't result in serious injury. It's possible to get gear shortly after the belay preventing a factor fall.

Fun route - heady.
By Drew Marshall
Apr 20, 2015
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

Rapped with a single 60 - just barely (Knots!!)
By Cha Tate
From: Saint George, UT
Apr 22, 2015
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

Hard to believe anyone gives this route less than 4 stars. It is spectacular nomatter how many times you have adventured up it. Spicy. Do yourself a favor and take a 70m rope for the rap..
By Simon W
From: Nowhere Land
Apr 30, 2015

Spectacular! Every pitch is good, and every pitch involves runouts, so come prepared. I did and it was still scary, haha.

The first pitch is the most serious. Don't blow clipping the first bolt, or getting to the flake/ramp above the second bolt. Falling there would result in sliding down the slab for 40+ feet and then hitting the ground. (Unless your belayer is Usain Bolt)

The third pitch has the biggest runouts but I found the climbing more secure and the comfort of big air vs ground fall encouraging. This pitch will make you think more though.
By Kevin Kent
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 21, 2016

Wasn't super psyched on how old the bolt seems at the start of P3, also this pitch was made for double ropes; if you have them you could avoid the hanging belay and link it with P4 pretty easily I think.
By Eric D
From: Gnarnia
Feb 22, 2016

Great route. Though I don't think that any of it is R except for maybe some 5.6 moves high on pitch 1. Solid lead falls are possible on the other pitches but the risk of injury is very unlikely.

5.10 PG-13 is what I would give this route. Overall not too bad at all.
By Kevin Dahlstrom
From: Fort Worth, TX
Nov 16, 2016

If you're hesitant to get on this route due to the runouts, don't be. As others have pointed out, the protection is reasonable and the runouts are manageable. In fact, this is one of the few routes where I'd say that the spice adds to the character of the route. If you're solid at Red Rocks 5.10 and skilled at placing gear then you won't have a problem.

Here's the straight scoop on protection:

P1: I thought this was by far the spiciest pitch and the only one that's a bit scary. Getting to the first bolt is easy. Getting to the second bolt involves one or two 5.9/10- moves but isn't bad. The big runout is from the second bolt to the first decent placement in the flake (the bottom of the flake doesn't offer good pro). The good news is that the hardest moves on this pitch are just above the second bolt. Once you reach the flake it's 5.8 or easier to a good cam. But by that point you are probably 20 feet above the bolt.

P2: Really fun and well protected. Not runout at all. I placed at least 8 pieces plus the bolt.

P3: This is supposed to be the crux pitch although I didn't think the climbing itself was any harder than P2. There is one short punchy section but it's well protected. The pitch starts with a short runout to the first bolt on easy-ish terrain. Above the bolt you climb straight up about 15 feet to a horizontal crack where you can place a bomber cam before moving right. This section feels spicy and airy but a fall would be clean. The leftward traverse higher on the route is also runout and a fall would result in a gnarly pendulum, BUT it's only a few moves of 5.8 or easier on big crimps so it didn't feel scary at all. Again, I placed 8 or more pieces plus the bolt.

P4: After the first 3 pitches this one feels cruisy. It's mostly 5.8/9 with maybe a move or two of 10-. There are only 4 bolts but they are very well placed and you can supplement with a gear - especially higher on the pitch.

As for rack, I think the perfect setup is a single set of cams from purple C3 to red (#1) C4, a set of small stoppers (leave the bigger ones in your pack), and 6 slings/draws. So nice to climb with a light rack! Have fun.
By David Bruneau
From: St. John
Nov 16, 2016
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

Ditto on basically everything Kevin said. Runouts on P1 and 3 but you're contending with the ground on P1. P2 may have the nicest climbing but its all amazing. P3 runouts are all quite secure, at least for someone who's 6'.

80 km/hour wind made things a little bit exciting!
By Tim Heid
From: AZ
Mar 16, 2017
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

Kevin's comments are right on; but I found many places that I would have really liked having the medium to large nuts. I'd definitely take them next time.
By proto
From: Falmouth (MA)
Apr 25, 2017
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

With a 60m rope this can be climbed in 2 awesome pitches (1+2 and 3+4). Not R IMHO. First pitch is a bit heady but it's easy away from pros.

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