Prince of Darkness 5.10c

 
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Black Velvet Canyon


Red Rocks, Nevada USA


Trip Report
Red Rock pt. 1: Epinephrine n'stuff
Wednesday April 9, 2014 11:38am
Climbing in Red Rock canyon has been on my tick list for a long time. I wasn't sure how it would go. Usually climbing in Yosemite or the High Sierra, I fell in love with crack climbing on granite. My face climbing and sport climbing experience was limited, but there were so many crack and face routes in RR which looked amazing that I was super excited to try them all anyway! Epinephrine, Cloud Tower, Inti Watana to Resolution Arete, Adventure Punks, The Fox, Rainbow Wall, Levitation 29, Prince of Darkness, Dream of Wild Turkeys, Frogland, Texas Hold'em, Solar Slab, Fiddler on the Roof, Birdland, Unimpeachable Groping, Crimson Chrysalis, Mr. Choad’s Wild Ride, Yin and Yang, Black Orpheus and the list went on… I WAS EXCITED TO GET OUT THERE AND CLIMB, A LOT of cool looking routes. Problem was that my vacation was only a week and my partner sprained an ankle on the second day of our vacation. However, that allowed me to meet a few more people and him a few days to heal before he resumed to crush.


Black Velvet Canyon parking lot


Mark following P2 on Prince of Darkness (6 pitch 5.10c)


Weston took me out to do some cool bouldering too

I ended up climbing for 8 days in a row and ticking Prince of Darkness, Epinephrine, The Fox, Yin and Yang, Birdland, Inti Watana to Resolution Arete on Mt. Wilson, Unimpeachable Groping and Levitation 29. Favorite part about the trip was climbing with a few new people. Weston (WML from ST) took me out to climb the super classic Indian Creek style corner crack The Fox and did some cool bouldering with me. Lisa from Seattle was adventurous enough to get on a 20 pitch grade V link up of Inti Watana to Resolution Aręte link-up on Mt. Wilson.


Me leading the last (5.10c) pitch of Prince of Darkness.


Mark starting up Epinephrine IV 5.9


Mark in the chimney system on the Epinephrine


Looking down the chimney system after linking the last two pitches of it

I will break down this trip into three reports and talk about several main climbs in more details. First report will be on The Epinephrine. Before climbing the route, I thought it was named due to its exciting nature. Epinephrine is the same thing as Adrenaline, which is a hormone secreted by the Sympathetic Nervous System in response to a stress or due to high levels of excitement. After a bit more reading I found out it was not at all the case. The climb got its name because Epinephrine (the drug) saved Jorge Urioste’s life after he got bit by an insect in the process of bolting the upper pitches. He had an allergic reaction, which nearly cost him his life. I didn't find any bugs on the route, but the climbing sure was exciting!


Looking down at the Black Tower. Looks fairly white from here.


Mark leading high on Epi


Mark following somewhere on Epinephrine

Epinephrine is one of the most popular climbs in Red Rock Canyon. To be honest, I totally underestimated this climb. I thought it would be far easier since everyone says “Red Rock ratings are soft,” and 5.9 is something I usually cruise anyway. Even though NEB of Higher Cathedral gives trouble to many Yosemite climbers, I thought Epinephrine is a tougher route. Possibly my new favorite multi-pitch 5.9. At least I can’t come up with another one that I like more. It had a mix of fun chimneys, a few cracks and a lot of cool face climbing higher up. In addition you get to summit Black Velvet Peak.


Me starting to lead the last two pitches of the prominent chimney. I linked these.


Fun face climbing! PSSSAAAATTTT!!!

We arrived around 1:30pm on a Saturday and immediately went to climb Prince of Darkness (6 pitch 5.10c) in Black Velvet Canyon. Since the internet experts claim Red Rock ratings are soft I expected 5.10 face climbing would be similar to gym ratings so I linked the first (5.7) pitch with second (5.10b) pitch. In reality, the climbing turned out to be pretty challenging and thin. It took a lot of effort to do the second pitch without takes or falls. Next pitches were mostly 5.9 and were easier but had sustained climbing which never turned into a cruise. Last pitch was the 5.10c crux and my lead. I honestly thought I would land on my partner’s head trying to reach for a tiny hold which was higher than I wanted it to be. Somehow I got through it and managed to get to the top before total darkness fell. Both Mark and I thought this climb was not a super easy 5.10, worth doing, but a bit monotonous. That evening we were magically able to get a spot at a campground. It was a RR Rendezvous weekend, so we were surprised by our luck. The night at the campground was rough. Big gusts of winds did not allow us to get much rest and in addition it started to rain in the morning. Frustrated by the weather we were thinking of going to the city and taking the day off from climbing. By 9am we left the camp but the sunlit peaks grabbed our attention. “Let’s do the approach to Epinephrine and climb it if the rain doesn’t resume. Seems like it is mostly clear out there…aside from that giant cloud to the side.” Mark agreed and we got to the base of the climb around 11am. Not the typical start for such a long route but at least we had the whole thing to ourselves!


View of LV from the top


Summit register on top of Black Velvet peak


Me leading the Fox (5.10+). A great IC-style crack in a corner. Takes you through many sizes and has multiple challenges in one great pitch.

Mark took the first pitch, and immediately found the climbing to be challenging. Just a 5.8. He linked the first two pitches and found a few run outs. Higher up the climbing was fun and less run out. I got us into the chimney system, Mark got us through what is supposed to be the crux, and I found more cruxes for myself by going deep into the chimney when I linking pitches 4 and 5. Climbing mostly in Yosemite, I had no idea the normal route goes mostly on the outside of the chimneys through a series of big edges and cracks. I buried myself deep in and went through one cruxy bulge with a BD .5-.75 size crack through a tough bulge and than through a long squeeze chimney which took me to a bolt. Mark and I had a laugh about it on top of the Black Tower and resumed climbing. The climbing from here was mostly on face holds and thin cracks. There were a few AWESOME roofs that are negotiated on 5.8-9 jugs. Exposure and position above the canyon is incredible.


Calico Basin


I noticed pain in my left hand a few days after falling onto some cactus while descending from Epinephrine. There was also something that looked like a broken bone or a foreign object in my hand. It looked pretty big, so I didn't think it was a thorn. I could still climb as long as I didn't have to do fist jams so I resumed climbing in RR and waited till I got back to SF to seek medical help. When I got back Doc had a pleasant surprise...it is not a broken bone! :)


Intellectual humor on the strip

Due to position of this route, it is in the shade all day. Cold temps and frequent gusts of wind forced us to move and even though it is a 16-18 pitch route (if pitched out) we got to the top before the sunset. I was glad I didn’t get on this two years ago as a total noob. Some of the face climbing higher on the route was fairly exciting with runouts that would give me nightmares back in the day. I loved the route, but not the descent. Part ways down Mark sprained his ankle and was forced to take a few days off. While Mark could not climb, on Monday I got out and met WML - one of the Supertopo users. It was cool to finally climb with a person I saw around the internet back when both of us posted on summitpost. He knew I liked the cracks and took me out to do The Fox (5.10+). It took me through variety of sizes from thin to a full on OW. I found this climb to be pretty tough and not at all softer than some of the classic Valley 10d climbs like Five and Dime, Catchy or Finger Lickin. After leading the climb clean and loving the quality I took a few more laps on TR and we went to boulder at Calico Basin. Even though the first few days of climbing at Red Rock did not at all suck, I was a little frustrated my partner was forced to take some time off. Our trip wasn’t too long and I felt guilty for continuing to have fun while he couldn't.

  Trip Report Views: 2,787
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
overwatch

climber
  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:00pm PT
You always have great pics...good write up...yesh, climbing content... as I sit injured and dream...Tiffypoo
overwatch

climber
  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:04pm PT
Yeah is that a play on the Bloods call?
Starman

Trad climber
Sterling, MA
  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:04pm PT
Sweeeeet! Thanks for the TR...and well done :)

Superb shot of Calico, beautiful lighting and a bonus for staying around when a little rain might be in the offing!

Steve
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:11pm PT
What is Chris Sharma's favorite car?


....PPPPAAAASSSSSSAAAAATTTTT!!!
overwatch

climber
  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:13pm PT
A climbing Kiai?
The Chief

climber
Laughing at all the Sheep
  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:39pm PT
Two of my top ten all time favs in the US... PD and the Big Epi.

Good on you VM. Looks like you enjoyed them both.

Below is a pic taken on one of my 18 or so trips up the Prince some 20 years ago. The shoes (My left one being the best rock shoe Five Ten ever made!!) should give away the date....

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:41pm PT
Another great TR! Come play in Yosemite.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Apr 9, 2014 - 12:58pm PT
WOW CHIEF! Did you guide that route or you liked it that much?! My friend didn’t like it, said it was the same thing over and over again, but I thought it was really good. Sustained climbing, longish pitches. Keeps you engaged. Not a jug haul. Seemed more interesting than Unimpeachable Groping and Triassic Sands, even though those seemed pretty fun also.
I loved RR, and planning to come back in a few weeks. Any recommendations aside from all the popular routes?


Jim, will be in Sequoia this weekend, but next weekend hope to see you!
The Chief

climber
Laughing at all the Sheep
  Apr 9, 2014 - 01:28pm PT
Nope on the guiding. Just really loved climbing the entire Black Velvet cnyn.

Helped G Barnes and others (ASCA) back in 2000 rebolt the entire BV Wall.

That place BITD was the shet. You could drive to and camp at the mouth of the BV canyon for as long as one wanted.


You need to go back and do Yellow Brick Road, Wild Turkeys, Fiddler, Rock Warrior, Sandstone Sumari as well as Velveeta Wall and Yellow Rose of Texas. All of which are Classics and totally badass lines that were put up BITD by the original area Hardmenwomen.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Apr 9, 2014 - 01:13pm PT
Daaaaaang, that's a lot of pitches!

I'm glad you got that dime out of your hand.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Apr 9, 2014 - 02:08pm PT
Good fun!
slidingmike

climber
CA
  Apr 9, 2014 - 02:21pm PT
Inspiring as always, Vitaliy!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 9, 2014 - 02:50pm PT
Great stoke again V,
Thank you!!!!
fgw

climber
portland, or
  Apr 9, 2014 - 03:19pm PT
"Any recommendations aside from all the popular routes?"

Burlesque & please let me know if that thing is tighter than The Narrows. Along the same lines, Community Pillar. Could wiggle through the latter but not the former. La Cierta Edad is fun too.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
  Apr 9, 2014 - 03:28pm PT
Man, that dime was as large as a cactus prick!

Good trip, dude!

Btw, you climb too much. I got exhausted just reading this TR.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Apr 9, 2014 - 04:57pm PT
^^^^^^^ that made my day. Viral brah. Viral.


Nice work out there Vit. Proud lines and a great write up. Thanks for fueling the fire yet again.

Scott
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
  Apr 9, 2014 - 05:06pm PT
EFFFF YEWWWWWW, Weston!!!111

I'm going climbing tomorrow. I will post mid-activity updates to social media, take a 10:1 ratio of pics to climbing, and post TRs to every climbing site... on EARTH!

Ye shall know my climbing. O ye, o ye!

edit: LOL, that youtube! The endless cycle of cross fit!
The Chief

climber
Laughing at all the Sheep
  Apr 9, 2014 - 05:20pm PT
Rick! Did you climb Sandstone Samurai?
Yup, in May of 94'. The hardware was not old then. 1/4" Leepers if I remember correctly with some nice good old day RO's that some today would consider to be an "X".
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Apr 9, 2014 - 05:25pm PT
Awesome TR and strong work while you were out here. It was great getting to meet you & climb with you bud, looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks when you're out again!

Thanks for showing me around a bit! Back in the day I can't say we got along on the internet, and I wasn't sure we would in real life, but I am glad I got to meet you. Getting to know people in person is much more pleasant, we all are not as different as we think at times.

And yeah, thanks to Chief and everyone else who replaces bolts out there. I did not ever bother to think about it, but climbing on sandstone shows how fragile these things are and how important it is to have people willing to sacrifice their time and money to do a HUGE service to the whole community. As I gain skills I hope to contribute some of my time to replacing bolts as well. I think it is important to give back. It could even save a life.
The Chief

climber
Laughing at all the Sheep
  Apr 9, 2014 - 07:25pm PT
I was just a small part of that whole ASCA gig over the years.


It is Chris Mac and Greg Barnes that need to get all the kudos. It inspired and motivated those of us that took part to get off our asses and pay it forward via participating in the many rebolting gigs since the ASCA's formation.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Apr 9, 2014 - 06:14pm PT
dude, THAT is how you spend a week climbing in a new area. thanks for sharing.
The Chief

climber
Laughing at all the Sheep
  Apr 9, 2014 - 06:17pm PT
The bolts next to protectable "cracks" were removed with Jorge's onsight approval when we did the rebolt gigs on them four routes that are his.

Greg Barnes got that all set up prior to the gig back in 2000. I personally thought that was a waaaaaaaay cool part of the project.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Apr 9, 2014 - 06:23pm PT
Gettin' after it!

Damn straight dude, your climbing progression is proud.
craig morris

Trad climber
la
  Apr 9, 2014 - 06:54pm PT
Thanks for taking the time to post this. Red rocks can be so cool a place to climb
Triassic sands, all the stuff on the left is fun.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Apr 9, 2014 - 07:05pm PT
dude, THAT is how you spend a week climbing in a new area. thanks for sharing.

No no no! This was first 3 days. :)
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Apr 9, 2014 - 07:57pm PT
Looking forward to part 2. Thanks for taking the time.
Ham and Eggs

Mountain climber
Aoraki/Mt Cook Village
  Apr 10, 2014 - 12:06am PT
Kelly Cordes told me a great story, once, about the 22-hour car-to-car day covering Levitation 29, the Herb-Hamilton and Epinephrine. RR is great in it's own right, and a neat place to build the endurance for alpine sojourns.
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Apr 10, 2014 - 12:21am PT
Gettin' it done! Looks like you had some fun!!
Ham and Eggs

Mountain climber
Aoraki/Mt Cook Village
  Apr 10, 2014 - 12:26am PT
What is Chris Sharma's favorite car?

Close, though gets around in a VW Caddy in Spain. I live in mine - great climber's rig.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Apr 10, 2014 - 12:29am PT
forgive my mistake; I look forward to the rest.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Apr 10, 2014 - 01:06am PT
Love those pics, high quality.

Surprised to read that you found Epi to be solid. I haven't done it but, like you, have subconsciously been underestimating it, I think. Better put that in check before I hop on it...

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Apr 10, 2014 - 01:21am PT
I mean Epi is not hard, but I thought it would be a complete hike, and it wasn't. It was a climb worth doing. But I noticed I like all the climbs I do lately, so don't pay too much attention to my opinion. It is easy to please me, just paste some holds on a wall and let me ascent. Will be happy! Pretty much all climbing is fun. Granite, sandstone, solid, loose, scary and well bolted. All of it could be cool. As long as it is not a route with old and unsafe bolts.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Apr 10, 2014 - 01:27am PT
Hands down the best 5.9 I have ever done. Anyone know what's with the wall at the top before the 500 or so feet of easy scrambling. Is it just choss?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Apr 10, 2014 - 01:35am PT
Beautiful!

DMT
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Apr 10, 2014 - 01:37am PT
Yeah dude!!!!!


I want to go to RR & then write a TR!


There better be some second pullout bolt clipping in part 2.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Apr 10, 2014 - 04:19pm PT
Nice TR, sounds like a fun time. Been too long since I've been to RRs.

Also, TFPU something other than the political, religious, etc. head bashing stuff.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Apr 10, 2014 - 06:53pm PT
Close, though gets around in a VW Caddy in Spain. I live in mine - great climber's rig.

The Chris Sharma thing was a joke I heard. "PPPAAASSSAAAAATTT!!!" Is what some climbers yell when they make hard moves.
I usually do so to mess around, but when I do hard moves I usually forget to breath. Not sure what is worse :/

No bolt chopping in the next part, but it will be about a climb I wanted to do there the most. And will have a few cool photos. Maybe a little more fun than this report. I was really productive at work :)
timmaly

Trad climber
Menlo Park, CA
  Apr 16, 2014 - 03:38pm PT
Great TR - nice work!
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Black Velvet Canyon - Prince of Darkness 5.10c - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click to Enlarge
Prince of Darkness is a classic bolted face route up Black Velvet Wall.
Photo: Greg Barnes
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Black Velvet Canyon - Epinephrine 5.9 - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click for details.
Epinephrine, 5.9
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Epinephrine ascends the ominous 600-foot-tall chimney.
Black Velvet Canyon - Dream of Wild Turkeys 5.10a - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click for details.
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Over 1000 feet of amazing climbing on Black Velvet Wall.
Black Velvet Canyon - Sour Mash 5.10a - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click for details.
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Sour Mash is an overlooked awesome varied climb.
Black Velvet Canyon - Yellow Brick Road 5.10b - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click for details.
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Yellow Brick Road is a two-pitch variation to Dream of Wild Turkeys.
Black Velvet Canyon - Overhanging Hangover 5.10a - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click for details.
Overhanging Hangover, 5.10a
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Overhanging Hangover ascends an intimidating and exposed roof.
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