Arrow Place, Burlap Buttress, East Formation 5.9
Avg time to climb route: 1-2 hours
Approach time: 30 minutes
Descent time: 1 hour
Number of pitches: 3
Height of route: 400'
OverviewArrow Place is an excellent climb, with steep stemming, face, and hand cracks on black rock. It is fairly short, but the added attractions of sunny exposure and fewer crowds are incentives to climb this route. It is neighbored by other older traditional routes, and for an adventure, check out these lines using the written descriptions in the newly reprinted Urioste guide.
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HistoryFA: Dick Tonkin, George Urioste, Mike Ward, 5/79.
The name of this route stems from the nicely crafted Indian arrowhead that the first ascent party found at the top of the first pitch. They speculated that an ancient hunter took a shot at a bird and was unable to retrieve his arrow.
This route is notable as it was the first of many first ascents in which Mike Ward participated in the company of the Uriostes. Mike came to Las Vegas in 1975 to deliver a car to his brother—he never left.
As a Gunks climber, Mike was familiar with the New Paltz mountaineering shop run by the famous Dick Williams. Mike thought it was a “really great store,” and was inspired. In 1988 he opened Desert Rock Sports, which has since become a focal point for Las Vegas climbing. In the mid-1990s the store received a visit from none other than Dick Williams in the company of fellow east coast luminaries Jim McCarthy and Rich Goldstone. Mike had the pleasure of telling Dick that he himself had provided the original inspiration.
– Larry DeAngelo
StrategyWith a short approach, relatively short pitches, and easy hiking, Arrow Place can be done at the start or end of a longer day in Black Velvet, or on its own at a relaxed pace.
A crux section of tricky 5.9 climbing is right off the deck, with the unappetizing prospect of landing in a big Yucca plant. Very thin pro protects this, and it is wise to place several pieces, especially as the “obvious” placement rejects nuts and a thin cam is hard to get in. This is one of the few free climbs where those who own Lowe Balls should definitely bring them. The stemming crux at the top of the first pitch is well-protected by cams and nuts, but it’s a good idea to do some stretching ahead of time.
The fourth and fifth pitches are loose and not recommended.
Frogland and the many excellent climbs of Whiskey Peak are just across the canyon, and the big routes of Black Velvet are a short hike up canyon.
RetreatRappel the route with one 70m rope or two ropes.
ApproachHike up the approach trail for Black Velvet (see page 39) until it first encounters the edge of the wash. A trail drops down here (one alternate for the main Black Velvet approach). Follow this trail down into the wash, hike up the wash for about 50 yards past the worst of the oak trees, and then follow burro trails up the far side of the wash. Head up to the wall via burro trails and easy hiking; beware of cacti.
DescentReverse the easy hike back to the car.
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