Only the Good Die Young, Whiskey Peak 5.11c
Avg time to climb route: 2-3 hours
Approach time: 35 minutes
Descent time: 1 hour
Number of pitches: 5
Height of route: 350'
OverviewWildly steep yet tucked away out of sight, Only the Good Die Young is easily the most neglected classic of its grade in Red Rocks. Quick to access and fairly short, and just across the way from the super-popular Black Velvet Wall, many strong parties will easily combine Only the Good Die Young with other routes in a day. Since the cruxes are very tightly bolted, those at their limit can easily work through the difficulties. Previously, with terrible rusty 1/4" bolts and no topo, it saw little traffic; thanks to the ASCA's replacement of all the bolts in Oct. 2001, this classic route will get the attention it deserves.
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StrategyWhile the climb is five pitches, all are short, and as it is overhung right off the deck, warming up on the classic crack climbs around to the left is recommended. With the high grade other parties are a rarity.
The 5.11 sections are all bolt ladders. However, the 5.10d crux right off the deck is pretty tricky so be careful. To reduce rope drag on the fourth pitch, consider reaching back and unclipping the first bolt on the traverse, and also just skipping the last bolt on the traverse under the roof (it is an original Urioste bolt—the only original protection bolt that was 3/8”).
RetreatIt is possible to retreat from any of the first three pitches with a single rope if you are careful to stay to the right. However, as the climb is overhung, if you come off the ramp you might not be able to get back on. Two ropes are far safer for retreating. Use care rappelling into the steep loose gully at the base, as rocks are easy to dislodge onto your partner.
ApproachAccessed by an independent dirt road far from the gated Loop Road, Black Velvet Canyon is an easy and convenient area to approach. The obvious trail heads up from the parking area toward the mouth of the canyon. After a gentle climb, the trail splits—one branch dives down into the creek bed and the other climbs steeply up left to Frogland. The trail bypasses a small cliff band to the left, then contours right through brush to the base of Frogland, which is easy to spot by a 30-foot-tall white flake at the base of a big, brown left-facing corner. The Whiskey Peak crag routes begin 100 yards to the right.
DescentDescend all routes by rappelling. Follow the same trail back to the car.
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