Red Rocks Climbing

Red Rocks Climbing Information: Everything You Need To Know

Welcome to red rocks climbing information/ guide.

At a certain point in every avid climber’s life, the longing to overcome challenging routes overwhelms them, and thus they find themselves facing the incredibly tricky terrains of Red Rocks.

Tailored by nature, in a manner that even advanced climbers have had to exercise more caution and tactics, red rocks are infamous for their difficult bolt faced pitches, narrow cracks, and technical steeps.

Aside from the difficulty it presents, red rocks provide the right environment for cool-headed climbing. Tucked away from civilization, further adding to its appeal, Red Rocks have successfully hidden its existence from the blissful ultra-modern life of Sin City.

A sort of holy ground to climbers, Red Rocks have revealed itself to only those whose heart glow with the passion for overcoming its bolt pitches, extreme steeps, and splattering cracks.

An ideal location for rock climbing, the fact climbers, can easily sneak into the party life of Vegas nightlife and back for climbing further adds to Red Rocks allures. Suppose Vegas doesn’t count as an advantage.

In that case, the vast multitude of sports climbing routes, which have been developed on Red Rocks over the years, presents another allure, as climbers are presented with a plethora of choices to test their climbing prowess.

Red Rocks beckons to all professional and beginner climbers, ascending this alluring work of nature, which will surely add to your bragging rights and climbing skills. Reviewed in this article are the necessary information every climber should have about Red Rocks climbing.

Red Rocks Climbing 

Red Rocks Climbing
Credit: jessica45/Pixabay

Unlike other popular rock climbing routes such as the Yosemite, Red Rocks are filled with cracks that split to form edges. Climbers often make use of these cracks for jammings and protections.

Red Rocks are fragile compared to other rock climbing routes, so climbers have to ascend with caution. The sandstones are rare for climbers, and many climbers may have to take time to get attuned with sandstones.

As stated earlier, sandstones are fragile, so in the event of rainfall, it’s recommended that climbers wait for a day or two before climbing, as the rocks will be damp and weaker. Due to the unique techniques applied when scaling Red Rocks, it’s best to check out Red Rocks climbing guide books to get attuned to these techniques.

Red Rocks Climbing Gear

Due to the technical nature of red rocks, various forms of climbing gear are needed.

  • Nuts are to be attached to Red Rocks sandstone bottlenecks.
  • Cams are also imperative for hand sizing.
  • For routes that extend more prolonged than usual, climbers have to come with quickdraw and slings.
  • Climbing shoes are essential for Red Rocks climbs. Moderate laced shoes are ideal for this climb. For challenging routes, aggressive shoes can be worn. For sports climbing routes, Velcro neutral shoes are the right choice.
  • A helmet must be worn when ascending any Red Rock routes, as they protect the climber’s head from loose rocks (sandstones are very fragile) and falling gear from other climbers.
  • Googles can be worn. They can serve as protection from tiny bits of sand, which may inconvenience climbers’ sight.
  • Rock climbing clothing that fits the weather condition should be worn.
  • Depending on the climbing discipline to be carried, climbers should come with the right gear such as belay devices, anchors, crashpads, or mattresses.

Red Rocks boasts of several routes that require specific gear. For climbers unfamiliar with Red Rocks terrains, climbing guides specifically for Red Rocks climbing can be reasonable assistance. SuperTopo Guidebook is recommended.

As revealed by SuperTopo, here are some specific gear needed for Red Rocks Climbing routes;

  1. 1 set of Black Diamond Stopper
  2. 1 set of DMM Peenut
  3. One ea DMM Brass Offsets
  4. Two sets of Metolius Master Cam to #5
  5. 1 set of Metolius Offset Master Cam to #5
  6. Two sets of Black Diamond Camalot C4 #0.5-3
  7. One each of Black Diamond Camalots C4 #4 and #5
  8. 1 60m x 10.2mm lead rope
  9. One 60m x 7.7mm rappel rope
  10. 10 Black Diamond Oz quickdraws and 20 extra Black Diamond Oz Carabiners
  11. 10 Mammut Crocodile Sling
  12. Black Diamond Momentum or Petzl Sama climbing harness
  13. Petzl GriGri 2 or Trango Cinch belay device
  14. Petzl Reverso 4 belay device
  15. Five Ten Camp 4
  16. La Sportiva TC Pro shoes or Five Ten Anasazi VCS
  17. Petzl Meteor or Petzl Elios helmet
  18. Metolius Adjustable gear sling
  19. Metolius Climbing Glove or Black Diamond Stone Glove

They can be sourced from

Non-climbing gear recommended includes;

  1. Water: It’s best for climbers to come with clean water containers, as water at Red Rocks camping grounds tastes terrible.
  2. Hydration packs for areas with no chimney should be carried.
  3. Hiking boots should be worn.
  4. Climbing shoes should not be used for hiking or approaching the climbing route, as they are designed only for climbing purposes.
  5. Depending on the weather condition, climbers may have to come along with sun hats and sunscreens.
  6. During spring periods, climbers are advised to bring along rain gear.
  7. Headlights are recommended as climbers may spend more time on climbing routes than they plan.
  8. A small knife for removing old webbings be handy.
  9. A cell phone for emergency calls, and
  10. A GPS device for the accessible location should be carried along.

7 Recommended Climbs for First time Red Rocks Climbers.

1. Cat in the Hat Mescalito South

The most popular 5.6 climbing route in the Red Rocks is about nine pitches. Ledges, trees, and jugs line the route with no clear path, but, hidden in it lues steeps, cracks, and slabs for easy ascension.

2. Heavy Slide Karma Brass Wall

One of the Pine Creek Canyon wonders, the 5.6 route has one pitch. The route has thin cracks and free surfaces.

3. Whiskey Peak Lady Buttress

Another 5.6 route, Whiskey peak has an intimidating summit, but its vast jugs and slab pitch makes it a technical climb. It’s a good location for top-roping.

4. Whiskey Peak Schaeffer’s Delight

Next door neighbor to Lady Buttress lies the 5.7 route with its fragile holds. It is regarded as one of Red Rocks’ best routes.

5. Ragged Edges, Ragged Edges Wall

This 5.7 graded route has two pitches. The first pitch has excellent hands, while the second is a fist section with steeming and wide cracks.

6. Lotta Balls, Lotta Balls Walls

This intimidating rock boasts a 5.8 graded route, but within it lies a 5.7 crack section. The right spot for lead climbing; it’s lined with strong bolts.

7. Dark Shadows Mescalito North

This massive structure with its fine black and polished Rick’s is graded a 5.8 despite its hard looks. Climbers usually stop at its 4th pitch, unwilling to go to the summit of the Mescalito.

7 Routes for Returning Climbers

1. Cloud Tower, Crimson Chrysalis

With nine pitches, the 5.8 route ranks as one of the best routes in Red Rocks. Climbers can opt for face or wild climb, but face climber is more manageable due to bolts assistance.

2. Frogland, Whiskey Peak

A popular Red Rocks route, Frogland graded 5.8, has a run-out slab Crux. There are several routes to the summit, with many forgotten. One of such is the rebolted Urioste route, a 5.7 face climb.

3. Epinephrine, Black Velvet Canyon

The 5.9 2000 feet rock is one of the longest Red Rocks routes. At the foot of the root is a 600-foot chimney, which makes several climbers have second thoughts.

A problematic route, scattered along the routes are stretched with no protection. Climbing the Epinephrine can be very challenging, but the Grand view at the summit is worth it.

4. Black Orpheus, Black Orpheus Wall

The 5.10a dihedral wall has an overhung headwall. It has a broad slab, which is preceded by a few challenging sections.

5. Sour Mash, Black Velvet Canyon

Hiding in plain sight is the sour Mash, which doesn’t get its deserved attention, all thanks to its famous neighbors. The 5.10a rock has several bolted climbing cruxes.

6. Dream of Wild Turkey, Black Velvet Canyon

The 1200 feet structure is the first of several options in scaling the Black Velvet wall. It has 11 pitches, which are graded 5.9 and 5.10. It is rated 5.10a

7. Prince of Darkness, Black Velvet Canyon

A perfect route for 5.10 climbers, the 1200 feet route is graded 5.10c and requires lots of bolts and quickdraws.

Environmental Concerns on Red Rocks Climbing

Red Rocks is one of the few natural wonders that Nevada can enjoy, so climbers are advised to do their utmost to keep the rocks and its natural habitats in good shape.

  1. Climb with chalks that are the same color as the rocks.
  2. Climb on paths that are frequented and avoid less frequent paths.
  3. Try as much as possible to reduce the impact on plants found along your climbing routes.
  4. Animals such as bighorn sheep and peregrine falcons live in the canyons, so climbers are advised to respect nature.

With the explosive development of neighboring Las Vegas, the beauty of Red Rocks is threatened.

Most of the breathtaking view of Las Vegas from Red Rocks summits have been blocked by the Blue Diamond Hill mine, one of the threats to Red Rocks natural existence. 

To prevent further damage to Red Rocks, climbers can help by pressurizing responsible government bodies to preserve Red Rocks.

Visit to join the efforts to protect Red Rocks.


Please let us know your thoughts on our Red Rocks climbing information in the comments section below. Also, see these 9 Best Rock Climbing Destinations in the World, 10 Best Rock Climbing Places & Spots In The U.S, and 27 Inspirational Rock Climbing Quotes for Success.