RED ROCKS: THREE GRADE V ROUTES IN A DAY

Posted on: May 1, 2007


Kelly Cordes onsighting the 5.12a pitch just above the Red Dihedral on the Rainbow Wall's Original Route (V 5.12b, 13 pitches), Juniper Canyon, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada. Cordes and Josh Thompson linked this route with Levitation 29 (V 5.11c, 9 pitches) and Epinephrine (V 5.9, 17 pitches) in twenty-two hours, car to car. [Photo] Josh Thompson

On April 26-27 Kelly Cordes and I enchained three grade V routes on some of the biggest walls in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada. The logistics were complicated, as the climbs—Levitation 29 (5.11c, 9 pitches), Rainbow Wall's Original Route (5.12b, 13 pitches) and Epinephrine (5.9, 17 pitches)—are all in different canyons.

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We started the day on Levitation 29. I had climbed the route before, so I jugged behind Kelly, who onsighted the entire route in two hours and forty minutes. We then made a tricky scramble up and over the rim between Oak Creek and Juniper Canyons to gain the top of Rainbow Wall. We rappelled to its base and began climbing the Original Route.

I took over the sharp end for the first six pitches on Rainbow Wall, cleanly leading two 5.11 and two 5.10 pitches, but French-freeing Pitch 2 (5.12) and Pitch 3 (5.11d). Then Kelly took over the lead at the base of the Red Dihedrals to onsight a pitch of 5.12a. He hung once on the 5.12b crux. We topped out the climb in four and a half hours. We then scrambled and rappelled down the "Chicken Lips Descent" back to Oak Creek Canyon and our car.

While driving to Black Velvet Canyon's trailhead, we refueled with bagel and turkey sandwiches. We headed into the Canyon to climb the last objective—Epinephrine, a long and popular moderate—after exchanging some gear on the rack. Around dusk (7:25 p.m.) we began climbing, and we topped out at 12:20 a.m. Tired for the final trudge back to the car, our spirits remained high.

Thompson leading a chimney pitch on Epinephrine by headlamp. They started the route at 7:25 p.m. and topped out at 12:20 a.m. to conclude the triple enchainment. [Photo] Cordes-Thompson collection

Linking the three routes took twenty-two hours, car to car. We recommend other parties seek out big link-ups in Red Rocks, where relatively stable weather and tightly packed routes allow for countless opportunities.

Editor's Note: One week prior to Cordes and Thompson's link-up, Jeremy Collins and Ben Williams enchained Cloud Tower (5.12-), Rainbow Wall's Original Route (5.12b) and Crimson Chrysalis (5.8), making a twenty-nine pitch day in thirteen hours from car to car. Read the April 20 NewsWire here.

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