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Sensuous Mortician 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Nick Nordblom and Jon Martinet, 1979
Page Views: 6,847
Submitted By: Orphaned on Jan 1, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (119)
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BETA PHOTO: A bit more than halfway up Sensuous Mortician prob...

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


This is route "C" in the photo.

Swain book says this is "one of the best moderate routes at Red Rocks". I would change that to "best moderate single-pitch routes", but it's still a very nice route. Very nice climbing. Starts in a fracture about 25 feet left of Fold Out. The fracture peters out about halfway up, follow it up and right onto a black streak where face climbing (small nuts in seams and slots) leads to the roof above - sort of wander for the easiest path. Juggy moves through the roof to the anchor. Rap with two ropes.


Small to medium cams, lots of small to medium wires, 2 bolt anchor w/chains.

Photos of Sensuous Mortician Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Where the fun starts. Don't pass up any good nut p...
Where the fun starts. Don't pass up any good nut p...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Sensuous Mortician, Ice Box Canyon  Ne...
Climbers on Sensuous Mortician, Ice Box Canyon Ne...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the Necromancer Wall from the main trail i...
View of the Necromancer Wall from the main trail i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike leading the rather runout but clean pitch.
Mike leading the rather runout but clean pitch.

Comments on Sensuous Mortician Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 4, 2016
By L. Hamilton
May 13, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

An interesting 5.7-ish second pitch exists, starting up and left from the belay. Climb steep, featured rock past small overlaps to a white slab with old bolt, then continue to the summit of the formation. Descend by mixed downclimbing and a tree rappel in the exposed gully behind the left side of the formation (nontrivial).
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 5, 2005
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

I believe swain gives this an R rating, This is not the case. There is plenty of gear, like alot of RR route's on varnished faces the gear doesn't become apparent until you are almost on top of it.Very fun route!
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
May 27, 2005

Loved this climb! I felt there were some tricky pro placements(pockets and some funky, chossy horizontal cracks),at the start of the sections of varnished, somewhat blank face climbing. The entire Necromancer wall was shaded in the morning ,up until about noon when the sun started to show itself at the top of the route and at the base.
By alpinglow
From: city, state
Sep 3, 2006

By slim
Apr 23, 2007
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

this is probably my favorite pitch of 5.7 at red rocks.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 9, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

"Favorite 5.7 pitch"?? How can that be, isn't it 5.9?
By slim
Oct 10, 2008
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

the guidebook says 5.9, but low angled slab + tons of jugs does not = 5.9. if you compared this to similar pitches at old, established, baseline areas the pitch would probably get 5.7.

just trying to inject some reality into the 'consensus' driven (ie inflated) grading that seems so prevalent these days.
By AWinters
From: NH
Dec 23, 2008

pretty dang good, not quite "classic".
By Billcoe
Jan 2, 2009

It's 5.9 Slim. I'd even say it's a heady one at that. I really enjoy this route or that reason.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 20, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

I followed this route last weekend and IMHO it deserves at least a PG13 rating. Definitely a great route, but not for beginning 5.9 leaders.
By Cunning Linguist
Jul 22, 2011

Replaced the anchor on this one a while ago and forgot to mention it. This route is pretty damn great and is probably PG13/R or close to it by most people's estimation. That's not taking away from the great rock and interesting, mentally challenging climbing. The old anchors were rusted, featuring the largest chain I've ever seen on an anchor in Red Rock. We called this anchor "the Rime Of the Ancient Mariner" station while we were chopping it. Thanks to both of my lovely assistants-
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Oct 16, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Billcoe: "It's 5.9 ... I'd even say it's a heady one at that. I really enjoy this route or that reason."


For info, a rap with a 70 meter rope won't reach the deck. But it will get you to the big horizontal ledge that runs across much of the base of the crag. From there, we traversed left and then downclimbed eventually using a strenuous undercling. Maybe one can instead traverse to the far right of the crag? ... or rap with two ropes.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 17, 2011
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13

you can just downclimb the starting crack for the route- its only about 5.4.
By JMo
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 30, 2012
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

Straight off the epi chimneys, and this simply isn't 9. Amazing grace at refrigerator is a number grade harder easily. I think what is happening is it IS a heady lead. So people are mistaking 7+ or 8- PG-13 for 9. Just my opinion. I on-sighted this, except a neighboring party told me about the great nut placement right above the roof, as I was hesitating there for 10 minutes above several uninspiring pieces. The pro gets tricky halfway up and for tricky pro is also a tad sparse in places. I had 10 draws and wished I had 3 more- this route really wanders. Extend everything and don't pass up good placements.
By Cunning Linguist
Jul 31, 2012

Not the hardest nine in the world, given, but I thought Amazing Grace was kick-you-in-the-dick old school hard for the grade, and Epi's such different climbing that it's kinda ridick to bother comparing them. I mean, Freerider on El Cap is only .12d, that's exactly like busting out Straight Outta Compton at Chiselton, right?

The heady aspect is more challenging for most than the "extreme crimping and offwidthing". That said, it's got more meat to it than Fold Out, which is Herbst .8. Thus, =9*ish*.
By Lana dude
May 13, 2013

Fun! A piece can be placed every 10 feet or so. While the placements aren't ideal I think they all would have held.
By Edward Pyune
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 23, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Great face climbing with a roof at the end with gear spaced enough to give a little spice. Tons of fun. Did it after Fold Out and they felt about the same to me in terms of difficulty
By mmacelhi
May 7, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

i am tall so i would come close to giving it Slim's 5.7 rating but can see that the roof could be harder for shorter people and those not from the Gunks. Fun climbing although a bit wandering. Gear was all there but a little funky at times. The gear was the most thoughtful part of the climb. The roof was easy and super fun
By Michael Kimm
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 5, 2014
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Really really good, albeit soft at 5.9. Fantastic rock, good gear when you need it, and no real crux to speak of. A stellar pitch.
By Laine Christman
From: Reno, NV
Mar 30, 2015

Typical internet chest thumping above. Solid at the 5.9 grade with moves well above thin gear. Classic Red Rock route.
By JeanGClimbs
From: Reading, VT
Apr 22, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

I agree this is soft for a 5.9 and I say so from the perspective of typically leading trad 5.9 as my limit. As others have said the leader needs to be good at placing gear. I found good placements including tricams all the way to the anchors. If you are solid at gear placements you shouldn't feel this to be any more than a PG rating. If you want to compare it to other climbs of like grades in Red Rock, compare it to face climbs, not chimneys and off widths which are a whole different ballgame at the same grade. Super fun climbing from bottom to top!
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 29, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Protection was never further than 15' apart. It did require patience, an eye, and creativity. This can be protected JUST FINE by a crafty and experienced leader, but is not for the beginning trad climber.
By Howard.
From: Irvine, CA
Feb 21, 2016

Tons of good or decent pro. Thin nuts are key. Only maybe 2 small run outs: getting to leftward facing flake below roof and halfway up right after the traverse where it gets thinner and the jugs above can be a little hard to see immediately from below.
By Joanna Buffalini
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 4, 2016

Intense and really fun lead. The gear is small but if you pay attention it's there. Metolius and C3's came in handy.

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