Sour Mash, Black Velvet Canyon 5.10a
Avg time to climb route: 4-5 hours
Approach time: 45 minutes
Descent time: 2 hours
Number of pitches: 7
Height of route: 700'
OverviewOften overlooked due to its extremely popular neighbors, Sour Mash is one of Red Rocks' finest climbs. With varied climbing, tons of thin cracks, tightly bolted face climbing cruxes, and an intriguing traversing roof to crack, Sour Mash is endless fun. To top it all off you will end the day rappelling off the middle of the giant roof!
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HistorySummer climbing in Red Rocks can be an interesting experience. The intense heat makes it impossible to climb in the sunshine. During their work on Sour Mash, George and Joanne set up a camp in Black Velvet Canyon. In the morning they would wake up and relax and maybe take a dip in one of the pools. Around midday, the wall would go into the shade and they would jumar to their high point. George, ever the gentleman, would go first to confirm the integrity of the fixed lines. If the climbing was hard and required much bolting, they might achieve only a single pitch before nightfall and return to camp.
The name of the route hangs on the end of a long chain. Sour Mash connects to a number of routes with whiskey themes. They all relate to “Black Velvet” which is the name of a particular brand of whiskey. Black Velvet evolved from the name “Velvet Wall” which had been chosen by Betsy Herbst to reflect the texture of the rock. But now the rest of the story… Joe Herbst and his climbing friends from the early days referred to the canyon by the code name “Crud Gulch.” They worried that a name such as Velvet Canyon would sound too good and entice a flood of climbers, thus ruining the wilderness solitude that they then enjoyed.
– Larry DeAngelo
StrategyLike most routes in Black Velvet Canyon, winter provides little sun and frigid temperatures. ... [full history for SuperTopo members only!]
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