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Black Magic 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 580'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: the Uriostes 1978
Page Views: 12,640
Submitted By: Mark Hammond on Apr 20, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (177)
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Safely clipped into the bolt on pitch 3 of Black M...

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


A nice route to combine with Lotta Balls, we thought it was just as good. Begin about 40ft right of Lotta Balls, at a sharp flake.

P1-150ft. Climb the flake and then pass 2 bolts, heading right at the 2nd bolt into a thin crack. Climb the crack and face to belay at a single bolt (and gear in crack, or cool natural thread).

P2-140ft. Straight up the crack and face to a 2 bolt anchor. Easier pitch, but a bit runout in places.

P3-140ft. Avoid getting suckered into the left crack system by the fixed tcu (ruined, not booty). Instead go right from the belay into a crack with better protection and a more direct line. Address the roof above by blindly stepping right when up seems too hard. Voila! Find a welcome bolt and fire straight up and belay at bushes.

P4-140ft. Climb easy white rock to the top. Descend as for Lotta Balls, down the gully to the climbers left, including rappels.


Nuts, tcus and cams to hand size should do ya.

Photos of Black Magic Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Above the (unclipped) bolts on Pitch 1.
Above the (unclipped) bolts on Pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber on 2nd pitch of Black Magic just below the...
Climber on 2nd pitch of Black Magic just below the...
Rock Climbing Photo: April Milan leading P2 of Black Magic
April Milan leading P2 of Black Magic
Rock Climbing Photo: Black Magic start. Two bolts marked.
BETA PHOTO: Black Magic start. Two bolts marked.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the first pitch of Black Magic from j...
Looking down the first pitch of Black Magic from j...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Climbing the second pitch. Notice the slung f...
Mark Climbing the second pitch. Notice the slung f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Black Magic start
BETA PHOTO: Black Magic start
Rock Climbing Photo: Pic of folks I saw cruising up P3 on 3/13/14. (if ...
Pic of folks I saw cruising up P3 on 3/13/14. (if ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading P1
Leading P1
Rock Climbing Photo: Jonny on pitch 3.
Jonny on pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Black Magic Pitch 1 near the top
Black Magic Pitch 1 near the top
Rock Climbing Photo: Jonny stemming pitch one on a hot summer day. It s...
Jonny stemming pitch one on a hot summer day. It s...
Rock Climbing Photo: Launching onto the airy traverse of pitch 3.
Launching onto the airy traverse of pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Angie in the lead again
Angie in the lead again
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott Nomi and Chris Owen, top of P1.
Scott Nomi and Chris Owen, top of P1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Melissa on Black Magic
Melissa on Black Magic

Comments on Black Magic Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 27, 2014
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 22, 2007
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

On March 23rd, 2007, the ASCA replaced 4 protection bolts on this route. Three on the first pitch and one on the third pitch. The first bolt is 1/2" stainless, the next two are 3/8" stainless, and the final bolt is 1/2" non-stainless. Thanks to Greg Barnes for the replacement effort.
By Greg Barnes
Mar 26, 2007

The reason the final bolt is non-stainless is that it's extra long - 3.75". Those bolts are not made in that length in stainless (2.75" or 4.75" only). The original bolt was not rusted at all, and with softer sandstone the water evaporates through the rock anyway, so it should be fine for quite some time!

The original bolt on the 5.6 variation (the huge left traverse) is bad, and rusty as well since it's in a water streak. We did not replace that one since that variation is rarely done (and my arm was tired!).
By Alec
Nov 15, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Careful with those pebbles on the second pitch -- I busted one off 20 ft out on lead. Spicy!
By GMBurns
Mar 2, 2010
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

Intimidating at first, but moves are pretty easy for the grade. P1 is long.
By Matt McMurray
From: Castle Rock, CO
Mar 29, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I highly suggest leading directly up the dihedral under the small roof at the start of the route rather than going up left and then traversing back right after the bolts (as the chalk misleads you). This is maybe a grade more difficult, but WAY better movement.

By Top Rope Hero
From: Was Estes Park, now homeless
Mar 31, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Wish I had tried McMurray's direct line. As it is, the enterprising leader could protect the reachy/stemmy opening moves without the bolts (but with some balls)and turn this into a truer trad masterpiece. (Full disclosure: I clipped the bolts.)

The airy P3 could also have it's bolt skipped for a PG runout move above the bulge. Exposed but very manageable for the grade.

Fun climb. Better than Lotta Balls.

Flash this and do a lap on Lotta Balls for a fun, low-commitment, close-to-the-road 1000ft day of 5.7 and 5.8.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Apr 18, 2010

Classic route.

The moves on the first pitch are wonderful, athletic and improbable, but great holds always show up when needed. The big face pitch is an adventure, and though easy, risk mitigation is a little harder to come by than hoped for. Pitch three is massively thrilling, an intimidating lead but all there.
By Sherri Lewis
From: Sequim, WA
Nov 14, 2010

Well said, Chris! Agreed.

The fun starts right off the deck on that first pitch. I enjoyed the delicate/technical sequences right before and after the first two bolts. This pitch will take lots of your smallest cams and tcu's.
By nick serrano
From: Albuquerque, NM
Feb 9, 2011

Don't be confused by the 3rd bolt on pitch 1: the belay anchor bolt (and cool natural thread) is about 50 feet above.
By Evan Riley
From: San Francisco, CA
Feb 14, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

It was a great route but a bit cold (my partner was freezing in a down sweater) in mid February, I thought the route would get some sun but it never came.

Keep going after the 3rd bolt on the 1st pitch or it makes pitch 2 a rope stretcher. The route soaked up small chocks and TCU's so pack extra.
By John W. Knoernschild
From: Wisconsin
Mar 18, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

"Pull down, not out." - Nick Rhoads
By Tradoholic
Mar 18, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

John, you need to credit me with that quote. That was awesome when you punched yourself in the face. Ha!
By Tim Hadfield
From: Steamboat Springs, Co
Apr 30, 2011

Great route. I loved that the cracks and flakes were so friendly for passive protection.
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
May 25, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This is a really fun route with a lot of variety. The first pitch moves are SOOOOO cool. And the third pitch roof/bulge/corner/traverse thingy looks so intimidating, but it's really a one-move wonder (and it's not blind---the hold is right....there). Thought this route was better than Lotta Balls.
By Canon
Dec 3, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Phenomenal climb, and definitely better than Lotta Balls! You can get a couple small pieces (0/1 TCU) in below the first bolt. Crux on P1 is the hand rail above the second bolt to the corner - super fun! Lots of nuts on the rest of the pitch.

Wasn't quite sure what people were talking about with the "blind" step on P3. It's very clearly there. Kept thinking it was coming up, and then I was face-to-face with the bolt.
By Dan Lautzenheiser
From: Henderson, NV
Apr 15, 2013

The big balanced flake at the start of the route is now 1 foot shorter. Some climbers after us pulled a little too hard and a big chunk off the top came off. To avoid the scary stuff, you can step across right on face holds and hidden edges to get to your first gear placement. Other climbers mentioned they did a "direct" start left which went about 5.9.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Aug 19, 2013

Very fun P1 opening zig-zag sequences, finishing with the rightward handrail traverse above second bolt. Past the 3rd bolt near the top of that first pitch, the P1 anchor is now just the one bolt and tad remnants in the thread-thru to its right. Readily available gear placement(s) to further supplement. At the P2 bolted anchor, the P3 roof bolt can easily be spotted. Possible to lose sight of that bolt once up close at the roof, but the line of holds should be obvious. With a 70, able to stretch from P2 anchor below roof to go up and over roof and continue the long long way above to the last big tree approx 15 ft below the topout (nice shaded belay if on a hot day), with about 10 ft to spare. That last ~15 ft is easy and juggy, 4th class-ish. Trivial scramble ~30 ft to climber's left and down to the Lotta Balls descent raps.
By mmacelhi
May 7, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Did only the few couple pitches as we didn't leave the car until 3:30. The start of P1 is awesome fun and the rest of P1-2 is just pretty casual and fun. Left a biner at the P2 anchors and rapped w/ double 60s to the P1 Bruja anchors and back to packs. The pull from P2 was a bit tenuous but went ok
By Likeasummerthursday
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 26, 2014

Incredibly fun first pitch. Great route. I didn't clip any bolts on the route and was never runout. The reachy protection on the first pitch especially is insanely bomber--splitter finger cracks in bullet-proof rock. We ran the 70m as long as we could on pitch 3 past the roof. I built an anchor in the trench/crack when we were shy on rope. This left us about forty feet of 5.4 terrain to the top. The descent is straightforward. Two tree-tat raps down the gully that is to the left and down when reaching the top. Stay close to the big wall that is rapper's right and the third/final rap is off of two very new, very bomber bolts. Thanks, y'all, for the new hardware!
By Brent Cullen
Oct 27, 2014

Climbed this route on Saturday, Oct 11, 2014. Did the first two pitches and they were great. Interesting moves at the very start on P1, and past the 2 x bolts to gain the main face. Started off on P3, but decided to retreat due to lack of headlamp, so downclimbed from the top of the crack to the anchors. Rapped and left some gear, then had to build a gear anchor and rap off that to the ground (only a single 70 m rope). Left some gear marked with yellow, white, and blue tape - if you retrieved it, please message me and I'll give a more detailed description. Otherwise, a great climb and I hope to finish it next time I'm down!

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