Peak(s):  Black Velvet Peak - 6235
Date Posted:  02/19/2018
Modified:  02/24/2018
Date Climbed:   02/09/2018
Author:  FireOnTheMountain
 And Then There Was (Red) Rock.   

Although not quite a mountainous trip, stoke was high from a recent outing so I've decided to come out of "TR retirement" and grace all of you with some words, pictures, etc. Some will cry, some will not read a word and some have already left but all of you, minus the latter, will f*ing enjoy it! Joking.

Since its my TR and my time to spray, I'm going to begin with a quick overview of my path to rock climbing. Before you hit the snooze, it was really quite simple:

  • Began with running amok on the flattys at nearly every opportunity afforded, however, it certainly did not start out as "running" as DannyG can attest to
  • Got canned from work and had 5 months of freedom to which I devoted getting out everyday to climb or bike
  • Climbed with a bunch of solid people such as, in no particular order, Wolfe (best weekday partner this side of the Mississippi), Monster, DannyG, Amy Blaz, Robert Masc, Dom, Malone, Buco, Erlich
  • Led Satterfields Crack at The Voo ---> That's all she wrote.

Many notable outings to recount ranging from numerous bike trips to Eldo/Golden's North Table to learning how to chicken wing 30' up, on lead from an awesome stranger at Vedauwoo (see above). Here are some pics during this "formative" time that are fun for me to look back on at least:

Auother Doing Some Pre-Work Leading with Danny on The Bulge, Eldo

Wolfe Workin the Onsight on Yin & Yang, Red Rocks. Dude's A Crusher.

Danny, A Much Stronger Climber Than I, Taking Over Lead After I Backed Off, Matron N Face.

Awesome Outing With A Solid Crew, Fi's Summit Ridge, Photo by Crim (I Believe)

Michal Topping Out The Last Bit of Icarus in Eldo

Amy and the Darth Vader Tower, Wolf's Head, Wind River Range (Don't Go Left Around The Tower Proper Like We Did)

Sarah About To Get Up In The Crux, N Arete, Bear Creek Spire, Sierra

Good Ol' Bob Walkin' The Tight Rope On Primal Rib

S Face, Great White Throne, Zion With Marsters. This is 5.9 Believe It Or Not....

DannyG on Stetners, Longs Peak. Very Memorable Day.

Scott Matz and I On A Variation Of Pear Buttress, Lumpy Ridge. Scott Is A Cool Cat Who Would Always Push Me.

Erlich On A Mega Windy Day At West Ridge, Eldo

The Parting Shot After Downclimbing the North Summit of Matthes Crest With Marsters

Anyways, enough droning on, good God. I metup with Robert in Vegas on Thrusday evening after flying in from Boise (where I live, yo). Plan was the infamous 17 pitch 5.9 Epinephrine and whatever that may come afterwards.

We showed up at the Black Velvet Parking lot Friday morning (the 2.5mi dirt road is a little bumpy but Robert's masterful 2wd, 0 clearance skillz were up to the challenge). It was still dark and we were excited to have no cars in the lot. We left the car around 5:45am, made the 1.25mi hike up the wash to the base of the route, Robert played some Eye of the Tiger than blasted off onto the first 5.8 pitch which was actually a little blakety at the bottom, but bolt protected.

Early Morning Light in Black Velvet

I then led us to the base of the infamous chimneys which we did in 5 pitches to the base of the elephant's trunk. Robert's first pitch I felt was easily the most taxing pitch of the whole trip. Basically, if you want the pro in the back of the chimney, its there, but you're going to hate your life as it is an area better suited for a greased up 80s Holk Hogan. We later determined that the badasses must run it out and just climb it on the outside where its much wider.

First Chimney Pitch

To make things a little more strenuous, we both had packs on. Bad idea. We ended up hauling our packs after the leader topped out although I did try dangling mine between my legs off a sling which worked surprisingly well. However you go about these pitches, bring your smearing game.

Chimney Pitch 2. Super Fun Pitch!!

More Chimney. This One Started With A Neat Bouldering Traverse Move

Robert then led us out of the chimneys and missed the right jog in the route to the base of the "elephants trunk", a pile of rocks stacked up that do kind of look trunky. Innocent mistake, what he thought were belay anchors were really rap anchors from people who had done the same. I got up to Robert and we were talking some when I notice someone poke up over the lip...

"Pretty sure thats Honnold dude." "Yep, sure is." Alex was kind enough to ask us what route his new best gumby friends were on. We replied Epinephrine to which he pointed out our mistake. I may have asked are you sure but my memory is a little hazy at times.

AH Showing Us What's Up

We downclimbed to the base of the trunk and I linked the next 2 sustained facey 9 pitches in 1 (super good!).

Pitch 1 of the Facey Pitches, Clip The Anchor And Keep On Rolling!

From here on out it was a mixture of 5.7-5.8 crack and face with 1 5.9 bulgy, roof move. Overall the pro is good on the route. I would say I got a little nervous only one time on a facey spot where Robert told me had I fallen I would have decked. Seems to me the bolt was placed a little low and there was 0 pro after but hey, it ain't called epinephrine for no reason!

The Final Ramp

We traversed the final ramp to the ridgeline and powered up the last ~150' to the summit. The descent follows the SW ridge down for about 0.75mi then take a left. Very well cairned.

Epi More Or Less On The Left Skyline Arete

The next day we decided on Black Orpheus (5.10a). I took the first pitch.

Robert then Linked the next 2 pitches to where the route becomes 5.5/5.6 BS. We simuled & soloed some of this and were definitely feeling the heat of the sun after being in the shade all the previous day.

About To The Belay Of The Upper Half Of The Route

I wanted to not like the route. Ya the first couple pitches were quite fun, but the sun and the 5.5 nonsense was just kind of annoying. But then this pitch, and the next 3 happened. And it was good. Very good.

Too Bad I'm Not Nearly As Badass As This Photo Indicates

Robert and I both agreed, this 5.9 pitch was the shiz. Starts off with an airy traverse, to a high step crimp protected by a bolt then a beautiful, sustained 50' corner to a cracky notch with a roof bulge. Literally first move to the last minus 10' was engaging climbing. The spray is strong today on this pitch.

Robert took the 10a crux pitch nicely which was really just a bouldery start with a bolt then fun twin cracks above.

Belay With A View

And Then There Was The Lieback Pitch. I Wouldn't Make This Stuff Up.

Robert About To Finish Off The Last Bit To The Topout

Gear Used for The Multi-Pitch Climbs:
-Epi: Double Rack and a #4/#5 which we thought were useful, 10 alpines
-Black Orpheus: Double Rack and a #4, 10 alpines. I'd recommend triples of 0.5 & 0.75
-70m rope
-Note: Double rack up to #3 can be a bit much sometimes but the alternative is picking and choosing.

The next day, I was up for another multi pitch but Robert's toes were done. Very understandable, plus we were both pretty toasted. So instead we did a semi lax crag day which was good fun. Robert even led a very cool and sustained Mr. Choad's Wild Ride (11b) sport route. Whipper central!

All in all, the moral of the story is rock climbing is amazing and combining it with my other passions of cardio and mountains is just the obvious progression. Recounting the day's climbing half zoned out over dinner was also really fun as we would each distinctly remember certain things, like that one key foot or the not very good finger jam. Lastly, I couldn't help but recall my first trip to Red Rocks almost exactly a year prior with Wolfe where I had very little idea what I was doing in terms of crack or face, but a seed had been planted and that was all that was needed.

Climb on, and as always, Tread Lightly My Friends

Comments or Questions
Dave B
Pretty good stuff...
02/20/2018 08:27
That lieback looks like a longer and rowdier Zanzibar dihedral at Indy Pass.

I hope you had a suite of Beatles songs playing in your head the entirety of the climb. Actually, I hope it was Coldplay.

That's you in the Bulge pic dumbass
02/20/2018 10:03
Great TR dude, love it. Here's my summary:
1. TTIAD, and specifically Matron taught you that climbing is more than just fitness.
2. Time, combined with willingness to suffer and you got A LOT better.
3. You left Boulder, and did some non-Boulder things.

My favorites and the ones I seem only to have with you are the misadventures. Hex placements on Kieners, the failed attempt at TTIAD, several botched routes in Eldo, two (both me) dropped ATCs, wandering up the wrong way on Stett, suffering through the flu during Tour de Boulder, etc. Always a good time, even when it isn't.

He did write leading with Danny...
02/20/2018 11:52
emphasis on with. So no cameo for you, sorry Danny also, I've never seen him actually suffer unless he's good at faking it?
In the morning I'd awake and I couldn't remember...oh, oh, ohhhhh. Best bivy ever. (Way better than Coldplay)
Forgot how much I actually like cheese stuffed pizza crust. More happy TR's please.
"Hey Abe, chicken wing(does he know how to chicken wing?)" Best crag comment ever.
Packs and chimney climbing. Path of most resistance; me and Castleton. Duh.
Robert still gets a blue ribbon for the best dyno move I've ever seen on lead. When you weren't talking about finger jams, did you two discuss the mathematical calculation error to Honnold that all parallel lines have a lot in common? I still don't understand what you were so excited about at COR over the summer and that water pump. Maybe explain on our next long jaunt...oh wait maybe not, the last discussion was good bedtime story for me. Haaaa!

Saying 5.5 is annoying is like complaining about hiking up to the Cirque. It's just rock climbing cardio.

Gotta end with warm fuzzies...sorry...
Of all mountaineering pleasures, friendships are the keenest. Some nice friend of mine rode his bike all the way to see me and gave me a book I've read twice now, and this was my favorite quote from it. Some of my best times on rock and snow have been with you. You've become a really good climber and the stuff I've seen you accomplish and what you continue to accomplish makes me really happy.

Glad you're my friend too.

02/20/2018 13:48
BB x JB 4 life.

re - sorry for the Sap story
02/20/2018 17:30
Dave - Man, 2 Coldplay references. TR comments marred by functioning keyboard writing out Coldplay. Cool you been up to Indy, granitey I hear.

G - Good summary. Lets keep the yearly ascent of Longs by new route goin, plus you might as well go back and finish off Grand Giraffe. You'll do Thin Mints but take the high road on Sara Lee pie, see how it is.

Amy - I changed the picture caption cause I did mix that up..."Oh he's liebacking it, that poor basterd." Such a good trip. Glad you still keeping it bubbly.

Bucks - Random Wu texts 4 lyfe

02/21/2018 14:08
Love to see a TR from such a legend. It had been too long. Great fricking pics! Hope to see ya soon buddy

Love it, Abe
02/21/2018 17:26
These are the kinda TRs I really enjoy, buddy. From the history of you getting into rock climbing to a monster multi-pitch day and an encounter with Honnold, which is hilarious. Congrats man.

miss you guys!
02/26/2018 02:30
Reflecting on the personal journey one takes though their climbing progression is a magical thing. Red Rock looks sick, I've never been. Keep crushing it out there!

-David (in Sweden)

Well, shizer.
02/26/2018 02:48
Guess you better move back to boulder, huh? Really, though, you are a good writer. I really enjoyed this read! Your TRs are da bomb dude. Climbed Castleton tower yet? (I followed.) Good ole Kor 5.9+ ha.

Nice Write up
03/02/2018 12:30
"better suited for a greased up 80s Holk Hogan. " I "LOL"'d when I read that.

Thanks for the TR, it was fun read.

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