Trip Report
Texas Tower Direct to Texas Hold’em to Lone Star link up (V 5.12 A0)
Tuesday May 27, 2014 4:15pm
Climbing in Red Rocks blew my mind a month earlier and I could not resist Luke’s offer to go back for another round. We have done a few fun outings together and I knew he would be up for climbing a bunch of good routes. Since I have to cover for my co-worker this summer, my colleagues were kind enough to let me have another mini vacation on a short notice. So on Thursday night (April 24th) Luke picked me up from LV Airport and we spent the next 9 days climbing, resting, eating, hanging out, cracking jokes and taping our fingers. Aside from climbing a bunch of awesome pitches we spent time hanging out friends and making new ones. On one of the rest days we met the notorious x-supertopo superstar Cosmiccragsman. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to rope up, but meeting up was a good start.

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Hello Red Rocks!!!Let’s get this party started!!!

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Luke sending the first 5.12 pitch

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Boulder problem on Texas Tower Direct

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Following something super exciting and exposed

When Luke asked me about what I wanted to do as our first climb, I told him we should get the hardest thing out of the way. The psyche would be high and fingers would be fresh. He proposed Texas Tower Direct to Texas Hold’em to Lone Star link up (V 5.12 A0). He did a few variations on that wall a month or so prior and wanted to do the link up to the top. It seemed very intimidating, since 5.12 is something I don’t get on, but it turned out to be the right challenge and a route that I now consider in my top three. One of the few routes that rivals Astroman.

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While we climbed, Luke replaced some of the tat with new ASCA rings. What a saint! :)

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Luke below another short flare

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Me excited to start the 5.11c pitch (one of the funnest pitches on Texas Hold'em)

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Weather was iffy throughout the day

Since Luke knew this wall far better than me, he came up with the strategy and selected the leads for both of us. Day started well. Luke led and I followed one of the crux 5.12 pitches clean. We did a pendulum through the short v6 boulder problem and Luke led another awesome (and difficult) pitch. It had a few one-legged squats and fun climbing on the arete. I followed clean and led the next pitch clean as well – a 5.12a according to the book. Maybe it is the softest 5.12a in the world, maybe Luke’s tips helped a lot, maybe I just got lucky, but I was super excited about leading my first 5.12a clean.

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Me leading the awesome and very overhanging last pitch of Texas Hold'em

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5.10 traverse pitch on Texas Tower

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Luke laying it back on Lone Star

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One of the few enjoyable sections on Lone Star

We skipped one of the coming 5.12 pitches in favor of a 5.10 traverse and Luke send another 5.12. Luke was on a roll and his energy was contagious. After figuring out some crazy way to avoid using the tiny holds that Luke crimped, I was able to follow it clean. WOW, some of the wildest moves I have done while rock climbing. I heard lots of people put down Red Rock routes for being “like the gym,” but I love it. It was the first time when I had to commit to gymnastic moves sticking which seems highly unlikely outdoors.

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Luke skipping all the bolts! Just kidding, that's a tag line. :)

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Me starting the 5.10a R pitch

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Surprised to be on top of the Black Velvet Peak way before the sunset. 12 hrs c2c!

I led the next two pitches, which as I remember were the last two of Texas Hold’em – 5.11c (flaring chimney/face traverse and 10d/11a (chimney that leads to the crux – an overhanging crack). Both of them were beautiful and I managed to get them clean. From there we continued up Lone Star and took it to the top of Black Velvet peak. Compared to Texas Tower and Texas Hold’em, Lone Star does not stand out in quality, but is a logical continuation to the top. I liked some of the pitches on it. 5.10R pitch was fairly memorable, especially because I continued going up instead of traversing after reaching the “easy” ramp. Luke got some exciting Lone Star climbing while leading the wide pitch lower on the route and when he missed the 4th class ledge traverse to the top of Epinephrine. Instead, he took the direct finish up an unprotected chimney/face. While following that horror show I broke two holds. When we did get to the top we took some photos and hiked out. This time the descent took under one and a half hours and our car to car time was just over twelve hours! What a day.

  Trip Report Views: 3,439
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.


Trad climber
Fresno CA
  May 27, 2014 - 04:20pm PT
Your trip reports are uniformly excellent. My only criticism is that you make these climbs look too darned attractive. I wish I were younger. Thanks for posting another great TR.


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  May 27, 2014 - 04:24pm PT
Wow! Got a topo?

  May 27, 2014 - 04:42pm PT

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  May 27, 2014 - 04:45pm PT
Fantastic work, fellas.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  May 27, 2014 - 04:50pm PT
I wish I were younger.

Me too.

Jaybro, I believe there is a really good one in the guidebook that we used.


Social climber
  May 27, 2014 - 05:25pm PT
The only time my wife and I went to Red Rock, we loved it! Echoing the first comment you and Luke make it lookTOO easy (you also look overcaffinated in that last shot), but I was snapped back to reality with the shots of the face climbing you all were doing. Positively anorexic! Killer TR.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  May 27, 2014 - 07:50pm PT
Outstanding TR, great climbing, great photos. Thanks for posting up.

Trad climber
  May 27, 2014 - 07:59pm PT
red rocks is our dolomites.

they just need to put in a seilbahn or four and some huts with homemade dumplings and a decent table wine.

Trad climber
  May 27, 2014 - 08:22pm PT
At this rate of improvement, I expect Tommy Caldwell will be asking V to show him the way in about a year or so. Maybe two.

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  May 27, 2014 - 11:25pm PT
Great job gents! How did you get from the top of Texas Hold em to Lone Star? Did you rap a few and join Lonestar at the intersection or do some type of link pitch from the top of hold em? Inquiring minds want to know :-)

Oakland, CA
  May 28, 2014 - 01:59pm PT
Very v. v. v. v. nice stuff, fellas. The "let's get the hardest stuff out of the way first" is awesome thinking.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  May 28, 2014 - 02:06pm PT
Brassnuts we traversed right after the overhanging handcrack pitch (last of holdem). It was very straight forward. Low 5th class traverse ramp.

NutAgain, maybe I will climb with TC some day, when he is 60 and decides to join supertopo lol =)

  May 29, 2014 - 09:21pm PT
SICK!!!!!!!!! Thank you for these fun TR's man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob J.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  May 29, 2014 - 09:26pm PT
So annoying, I mean awesome. Great work!

Trad climber
  May 29, 2014 - 09:55pm PT
Great photography of a sendfest, that took me along for the ride.

Mountain View, CA
  May 29, 2014 - 10:24pm PT
inspiration and stoke, way to get after it guys!

  May 29, 2014 - 11:11pm PT
Whoa, that looks like some good climbing! Those photos are really good, too.

  May 30, 2014 - 01:32am PT
Good job Vitaliy, jealous you & Luke got to party like that. Looks like a great route!