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Black Velvet Wall
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American Flesh Dance (Combination of The Flesh plus American Ghost Dance) T 
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Dream of Wild Turkeys T 
Epinephrine T 
Fiddler on the Roof T,S 
Gobbler, The T 
I'm Not Worthy T 
Johnny Come Lately S 
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My Little Pony T 
Overhanging Hangover T 
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Sandstone Samurai T 
Smooth as Silk T 
Sour Mash T 
Spark Plug T 
Steel Monkey T 
Texanephrine T 
Texas Hold 'Em T 
Texas Tower Direct T 
Velveeta T 
Velvet Tongue, The T 
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Yellow Rose of Texas  T 

Epinephrine 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 13 pitches, 1600', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Jorge Urioste, Joanne Urioste, Joe Herbst, 1978
Page Views: 91,323
Submitted By: John Peterson on Apr 1, 2002

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Roman "shadow warrior" doing the final 4...

Description 

This is it. THE classic red rocks route. And it's just as good as everyone says it is.

Approach as for the Black Velvet wall. After climbing around the chockstone, return to the stream bed and walk another minute or two upstream. The bolts on the first pitch will be easily spotted on the left.

This route has lost some of the original seriousness now that bolted anchors have been placed all the way up. This speeds things up considerably and provides an easy retreat of needed. You'll need two ropes if you intend to rap the route.

The original description had 18 pitches. If you use the bolted belay anchors you can climb Epinephrine in 11 or 12 pitches. This description will assume that you use the bolted belays. It's hard to remember precisely how long (or how many!) pitches are on this route but I'll do my best.

Pitch 1: climb out of the creekbed past bolts to a big ledge (5.8). Continue on past a couple more bolts to a bushy ledge. (165 feet, 5.8)

Pitch 2: work up and left into a chimney, then pull out the right side and work up easier rock to the base of the big chimney that forms the right side of the Black Tower.(165 feet?, 5.7). May need some rope stretch here.

Pitch 3: The main event: chimney up a wide crack with good pro to a ledge on the right wall with bolts. (140', 5.9)

Pitch 4: Chimney up and swing left as the crack narrows. Climb easier rock to a good ledge. Belay or continue on up into a narrower chimney with a fixed nut at the base and then two bolts. The bolts can be hard to spot - you need to work away from the back of the chimney to find them. If you have enough rope you can belay at the top of the Black Tower. Otherwise belay at the top of the chimney and do a short easy pitch to the tower's top. You can avoid the lower part of the chimney on the right. (165', 5.9)

Pitch 5: Climb the face above the top of the tower, passing an overhang, aiming at a brushy ledge. (150', 5.8)

Pitch 6: Traverse easily right to the Elephant's Trunk. Ascend this to a ledge at its top. (80', 5.6)

Pitch 7: Climb up the crack system (some bolts) to a bolted belay at a ledge. (90', 5.8+) (can be combined with Pitch 6). The rap route goes straight down from here, avoiding pitches 5 and 6.

Pitches 8 - 10: Continue up the same crack system, stopping at the bolted belays. A short traverse right (bolt) is found on pitch 10. (400', 5.8+)

Pitch 11: Either rap the route or continue to the top of the crack. There is no rap anchor at the top of this pitch. (5.6, 120')

You're still not on top yet! Unrope and climb the slanting ramp to the right. This narrows and becomes seriously exposed - a rope will reassure the faint of heart here. Soon the scrambling eases up and you arrive at the summit.

Descent: follow cairns along the ridge leading east from the summit. There are a lot of cairns - if you miss them backtrack until you get back on the right trail. The route will eventually drop left towards Whiskey Peak at the top of Frogland.

Protection: You don't need anything bigger than a #4 camalot in the chimney pitches. A 3, 3.5, and 4 Camalot and perhaps a #11 hex, combined with the existing fixed gear, should get you up the chimney without much mental stress.

Logistics: Getting a pack through the chimney pitches is a pain - go light and bring a long sling to trail the pack when needed. The route gets almost no sun so you can go fairly light on water. Get an early start and move fast! Most of the climbing is 5.7 - 5.8. If you can avoid wasting time at the belays you should be able to get up in a day without too much effort. A competent party can easily get up in 8 hours. Figure on about 1 - 1.5 hours in descent. Don't leave gear at the base of the route if you chose to walk down - it's a long way out of the way to go back there.

If the chimney pitches were in Yosemite they would be 5.7. This isn't Steck-Salathe! 5.9 is consistent with other Vegas ratings though.

Here's the step by step descent by Jon P (thanks!)

1. Head up to the summit of Black Velvet peak by rounding the big lone pine tree at the top of the route and scrambling which quickly eases into hiking. Enjoy the view of Vegas.

2. When looking out at Las Vegas from Black Velvet peak, turn to face your 4:00 (right and slightly behind you), seeing another very large peak connected by a ridge and saddle. Follow this ridge, dropping down the saddle, and make your way up to the top of the large peak.

3. Once at the summit of the 2nd tall peak, look to your 8:00 (left and slightly behind) to see another ridge heading toward hwy 160.

4. Scramble down the large peak to obtain this next ridge. Stay as high as safely possible as you follow the ridge which is sporadically marked with cairns.

5. Connect the dots along the ridge, hitting 3 or 4 more peaks as you follow the ridge. Only one of the peaks does not have a cairn on it but continue high on the ridge heading to the top of each peak.

6. You will know when you are at the final peak because it has 4 or 5 very stout cairns on it closely spaced. It is obvious! If you are unsure then you are not there yet!

7. Once on top of the peak with the 4 or 5 big cairns, head left and down following the many cairns along the way. If you head down and do not see cairns, you are going the wrong way.

8. Get dumped into the whisky peak gully decent (turn right when you come to the fork) and continue down behind Frogland, following trails and cairns which are heading in the direction of hwy 160. There are multiple trails going down this decent and they all seem to meet up eventually.

9. Upon exiting the gully, curve around whisky peak following the trail that curves left.

10. The decent trail back to the parking lot is several hundred feet before Frogland, marked with a large cairn sitting on top of a large boulder.

Protection 

A few extra big pieces


Photos of Epinephrine Slideshow Add Photo
Picture of Whiskey Peak taken from the decent off ...
Picture of Whiskey Peak taken from the decent off ...
for once it helps to be shorter
for once it helps to be shorter
Spectacular chimneying
Spectacular chimneying
Near the Summit of Black Velvet Peak.
Near the Summit of Black Velvet Peak.
Greg Barnes replacing the final 1/4" bolts..A...
Greg Barnes replacing the final 1/4" bolts..A...
Looking at the upper pitches of Epinephrine and th...
Looking at the upper pitches of Epinephrine and th...
B. Davidson starting up the head-wall above the op...
B. Davidson starting up the head-wall above the op...
On the Eplephant Trunk, such  deserved jugs
On the Eplephant Trunk, such deserved jugs
Finally coming out onto the face after the chimnne...
Finally coming out onto the face after the chimnne...
After already climbing 25+ pitchs. Photo from the ...
After already climbing 25+ pitchs. Photo from the ...
The descent from Black Velvet Peak
BETA PHOTO: The descent from Black Velvet Peak
The descent from Black Velvet Peak
BETA PHOTO: The descent from Black Velvet Peak
Coach Bombay!
Coach Bombay!
Yep, that's a chimney, alright.
Yep, that's a chimney, alright.
The final ramp to the tree.
The final ramp to the tree.
Summit register and bivy site atop Epinephrine
Summit register and bivy site atop Epinephrine
Higher in the last chimney. It's almost a sport cl...
Higher in the last chimney. It's almost a sport cl...
No holds, just squeeze
No holds, just squeeze
Warner, ready for a beer
Warner, ready for a beer
The last moves before the first 5.9 chimney belay ...
BETA PHOTO: The last moves before the first 5.9 chimney belay ...
The pitch off "The Elephants Trunk" is p...
The pitch off "The Elephants Trunk" is p...
Mark Collar enjoying a wide chimney pitch on Epine...
Mark Collar enjoying a wide chimney pitch on Epine...
Epinephrine ascends the shadowy chimneys in the ce...
Epinephrine ascends the shadowy chimneys in the ce...
Anders nearing the top of pitch 9. Notice the righ...
Anders nearing the top of pitch 9. Notice the righ...

Show All 69 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Epinephrine Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 25, 2014
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 9, 2004

I'm glad you added this, John, as I can't recall many details from my one ascent of this route.

If you are unsure of your ability to do this route in a day, one good strategy is to start in the afternoon (when the route is empty, hopefully) and climb just the chimney pitches, then rap off. This way you will have familiarity with those chimneys and will be able to do them quickly. The climbing above the chimneys is virtually all face climbing and feels much easier even though there is still some 5.9.
By John Peterson
Mar 9, 2004

All the topos show a bit of 5.9 here and there on the upper pitches but I honestly can't recall any real 5.9 climbing after the chimney. If you can get up the chimney pitches you'll have no problems with the crack above.
By Joe Collins
Mar 9, 2004

The descent from the top of Epinepherine is tricky. The best beta is to follow the ridge as long as possible before descending down into Black Velvet Canyon. Descend too soon and you'll be forced to rappel.

Best to go fast and light on this route. Packs just get in the way on the chimney pitches. If you think you'll be slow, then climb it in May when the days are long and the temps are pretty reasonable in Black Velvet. The upper pitches have lots of 5.9 sections on the topo, but this part of the climb is a breeze and goes quickly.
By Kevin Sturmer
Mar 10, 2004

real fun route. leave the big gear in the car since there's a couple bolts in the chimney. you'll be happy to not have to lug around big cams. the pitches after the chimmy are real fun; some real nice face climbing. the walk off is long and rocky so don't forget something to hike down in. the route finding can be tricky after the tower.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 10, 2004

Leave the big gear in the car? Yikes! The first chimney pitch doesn't have any bolts at all, as I recall. I think most of pitch only takes #3-#4 Camalots, although maybe there are some places for smaller stuff, my memory is hazy on this. But it's not like the whole chimney section is bristling with bolts. I'd go with John's recommendation (maybe skip the hex though!), unless you are a way honed chimney climber (just came from Yosemite!).
By John Peterson
Mar 10, 2004

Last time I was there (2 years ago) there was a suprising amount of fixed pro on the first chimney pitch. Pretty unusual to see fixed #4 camalots! The lower part of the pitch takes about a #2 camalot; higher up it's #3 - #3.5. And that hex is a lot lighter than a camalot - there's a great place for it near the top of the pitch! That said, aside from one placement on the next pitch you're not going to be using the big stuff anywhere else on the route.
By Kevin Sturmer
Mar 11, 2004

i carried up to a #3BD and a #11 hex(the cow Bell). Not once did i wish i had more. i placed the #11 hex at one point. as i remember there was plenty of places of smaller pro and some bolts. i didn't mean to make it sound like the chimney was lined with bolts but going light will make your whole experience better.
By Max Schon
Mar 16, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Did this route on 3/13/04. We did it in 9 pitches without any simul-climbing. I brought a #4, #3, #2, #1, and #.5 Camalot, a blue, green, and yellow alien, and a set of nuts. Altough it is easily possible to do the climb without a #4 Camalot, I was happy to have it (although next time I do it I might not bring it, but that's only because I would have already done it). The 5.9 climbing after the chimneys is very easy. More like 5.7-5.8 climbing with one move of 5.9. Rapping the route sounds like a nightmare. There are so many chickenhead to get your rope stuck on. Better to just bring one rope and be determined to get to the top. Having said that, I wouldn't want to do the scrambling to the top in the dark or the descent in the dark. The descent is straightforward, but it takes more then one hour. There is a little fourth class downclimbing on the descent that wouldn't be fun in the dark, even if you had a headlamp.
By John Peterson
Mar 24, 2004

I was back in the chimneys last week and I'd like to refine the route description somewhat. All of the fixed gear from 3 years ago was gone so no freebies in the chimney pitches now.

I think the supertopo is pretty accurate and we took the ST route through the chimneys without really knowing what it is. Here's my revised description:

End P1 at the rap anchor (5.8, 180')

End P2 at the next rap anchor (5.7, 160')

P3 goes up relatively easy cracks below the chimney and then traverses into the main part of the chimney. Head for a ledge on the right with the next rap anchor. Work out to ledges below the anchor rather than stay at the back near the end of the pitch. (5.9, 120')

P4 uses the most wide gear - a #2 and #3 camalot for sure; the #11 hex or #3.5 camalot for the more gripped leader. Pass a bolted anchor on the right and pull through a wide section by swinging out left. At a big ledge, work up and right outside of the chimney to the rap bolts on another good ledge. (5.9. 120')

P5 traverses back left to the first bolt and then on up. This avoids the 5.9 part of the pitch by the fixed nut since you don't have to burrow way the hell back into the bowels of the chimney. (5.9, 130')

I'd double the #2 camalot to make the chimneys a bit easier to protect. We never felt a #4 was needed. Place smaller gear whenever you can and save the big stuff for where it's needed.

Don't wear shorts!

Judging by the number of late night headlamp sightings a lot of people ought to have started earlier or climbed faster :-).

John
By DEE
Mar 29, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

P.S. Looking for Bob and John from Idaho who climbed Epinephrine on 3/27/04 behind us. Got a couple of good photo's of you all!
By DEE
Mar 29, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Bring shoes for the descent!!!! Descending this baby takes awhile and it is more like a Sierra peak than Tahquitz Rock!
By 10b4me
Apr 16, 2004

i have no idea as to whether its accurate, but i found this link online- graphic descent beta. if its wrong, perhaps someone could comment?

utahphotowild.com/climbing/epi...
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 17, 2004

Regarding the "descent beta" graphic on utahphotowild.com, the diagram makes some sense but has a few problems. First, Whiskey Peak is incorrectly identified, this diagram would lead you to believe it is the highest point reached during the descent. The "Long Way Along Ridge" is probably the best piece of advice one can give, so this part is excellent.

The most troublesome part is the finish, which seems to indicate that you will be coming back towards the base of the climb, under the Black Velvet Wall (can the descent be done in this manner?). It is much easier to head straight for the parking lot, passing nowhere near the base of the climb.

Anyway the best advice is to go all the way to the top of Black Velvet Peak, and then travel "Long Way Along Ridge", farther than you think, before dropping off to the left and then heading more or less towards your car, not the base of the route. All of this should be pretty well cairned by now, but you can still get screwed by leaving the ridge too soon.
By Josh Janes
Apr 17, 2004

The topo is pretty much exactly how I remember it. But, unlike George, I wanted to descend back to the base of the Black Velvet Wall and NOT to the parking lot. As George stated the thing to remember is to head along that ridge for a long ways - pretty much to the end of it. The rest of the way is very well-cairned: from the end of the ridge you descend sharply to the left down to a saddle (which I believe is formed by the buttress that Frogland goes up) and slabs. At this point, if you're going back into the canyon, you turn left and go down a steep, tricky gully (I assume that George would have turned right at this point and gone down the other side of the saddle?).

Try not to forget your climbing shoes on the summit of Whiskey Peak as my poor, poor partner did. Of course, now he has the descent wired =)
By Bill Gibbs
From: Andover, Ks.
Apr 20, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Oh yes! Josh is right...Having to retrieve climbing shoes from the top sucked...but now I hold guide status for the descent.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 20, 2004

Yeah, Josh, if you head right (east) at that saddle it's an easy 10-15 minute walk to the parking lot. I've not gone the other way, thanks for clearing this up! It is worth not leaving anything at the base because of this fact.
By Anthony Anagnostou
From: nyc
Apr 26, 2004

climbed epinephrine sunday. we used the original pitch by pitch beta peterson posted. in retrospect, if i were to climb her again, id do the following for best rope-drag/linking-speed, referring to peterson's route description:

w/ 60m rope:p1 up past bolts past ledge to anchors. p2 up again, see description, etc etcp3 first chimney pitch, great protection, you can walk cams up with you and feel completely safe.p4 the not as well protected chimney pitch. and if youre a wuss like me, and stay burrowed in the depths of the crack so you can pretend to place pro, you need a lot of long runners, or you end up with heinous rope drag. like i did. and if you try to break for the anchor at the top-right of the tower, you wont make it with a 60. we had to simulclimb for 20 feet, which i hated with tricep-straining rope drag and not a small degree of griptitude. next time, id stay out of the squeeze-depths, clip the bolts that are hard to find, on both sides of the chimney, and break for the second anchor you come across.p5 would be a short chimney to the anchor at the top-right of the tower, IIRC, and a short clamber left to the anchor at the top of the black tower.p6 link three swain pitches, i think. climb up, pull a little overhang, bear right, and climb up the elephant trunk crack until you hit an anchor. p7- link two pitches following the crack. despite the fact that this crack woul take gear every two feet, you actually clip bolts every eight feet except fro the last 20 feet of the pitch. i have no idea why.p8- link two more pitches, following the crack. end below the roof.p9- short pitch. pull over the roof on the right, admire the deep rope-grooves from decades of climbing, and belay right there to avoid bad rope drag.p10- 5.6 straight up takes you to the ramp system.

ramps- well, you could unrope, i guess. there are a few moves of 5th class, and a few 4th class places where if you slipped on the gravel, or popped a hold, you'd end up in the drainage. if you stay roped, there are three or four 'pitches' of no-pro speedy travel.

descent- basically, from the pine trees at the top of the climb, hike away from teh canyon towards the big peak with big cairns on top. then follow the ridge left for a long ways. when the cairns dissapears, run around in small circles until you find the descent drops off left. follows cairns to a big slab. cairns here must have been washed/rocked off. look below, and youll see them again. cairns all the way from the peak to the main trail for the parking lot. if you dont see any, youre off. thats the best advice, i think.
By Anthony Anagnostou
From: nyc
Apr 26, 2004

Gear Alert
april 25th, '04

there appears to be a bolt missing from what i assume was an anchor above the 5.9 roof high on teh climb, below the last bit of (5.6?) climbing. there was one good bolt with an SMC hanger, one big bolt hole, and one 1/4" bolt with no hanger. you can still build an anchor with bomber nuts a few feet back, and tying off the bolt, and/or or the chickenhead above, but i thought it might be worth mentioning.

also, the sole bolt above that anchor (on the next pitch) has a nut, but is missing the hanger. its a 3/8" bolt next to a 1/4" bolt with no hanger, or just chopped, cant remember.
By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Jul 6, 2004

I heard that a rap line has been added recently. Anyone have details?
By Scott Conner
From: Lyons, CO
Sep 9, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Just got back from a hot RR trip. We did Epi on Sept. 3, my wife's birthday. I guess someone has to play devil's advocate and give this 2 stars, but it ain't gonna be me. 10 stars! A very fun adventure and an all day excercise in efficiency. This time of year (late summer) is perfect for this route. The crowds are thinner and the days are longer. Get a later start and plan to be on the black tower by noon. The upper wall goes into the shade around noon leaving almost 8 hours to finish the climb and descend.

I don't recall any 5.9 climbing above the chimneys either. Lots of 5.6 - 5.7 and some 5.8.

On the approach, someone has fixed a rope on the wall in the gully (where you are forced to exit the streambed to the left) making it easy to batman up and stay in the streambed. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Good descent beta here. Thanks.
By 10b4me
Apr 19, 2005

The very last belay is indeed missing a bolt, so I just climbed past it and built a belay about 25-30 feet passed it. The descent is pretty straight forward once you remeber to go to Whiskey Peak by hiking across the saddle on the back of the Black Velvet Tower.
By Kurt Arend
Nov 13, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

just a short trip report: not to spray so don't get your panties in a bunch. Just one of the best days for me in Red Rocks.Jay and myself have been guiding for a while in red rocks (jay alot longer than me) but we both haven't done the mighty Epinephine. We always just we waiting to guide it. One day (i forget now) we decide to go for it. I pick Jay up in Blue Diamond and told him the news. I had to be home in like 6 hours for my sons birthday. We just laughed. we are at the trail head by 7 ish. As we are racking up these I ask these two guys what they were doing, they said frogland andI told the Epinephine. THe poor guy looked at our rack (only like 4-6 nuts, 8 draws, 3 tcus, and like 3 other cams I think) and they told us to make sure we bring headlamps. and jay says no need he has to be back by noon! They looked confused as did I. I mean 18 pitches right? 5.9 chimneys? We start to run. We hit the base and I am tired, time for a Camel, nothing makes the lungs feel better than sucking on a non filter. I look at Jay and asked where his climbing shoes are and he said he was going to do it in his approach shoes. Huh? I am going to simul with you in approach shoes? Oh well. I was really getting into this speed climbing thing with some wall routes in Zion and in the valley so I was siked. I lead all the way to the chimneys in one pitch (takin the 5.8 way) and only placed like 4 or 5 pieces. I was yelling a Jay to hurry, and we were up 5 pitches in under 20 minutes, I felt like we were running. Jays lead 2 chimney pitches as one in his approach shoes and only placed like 5 pieces. I started the next block of two. I wanted to stop to place pro so many times but it just seemed like it would take forever, I I just clipped the bolts. We hit the black tower in less than an hour of climbing. We were stoked. After a short smoke break Jay go me to the base of the Trunk where I took over and we simuled for a ways. jay took over right before the last roof and we simuled all the way to the top. I remember thinking how come Jay was climbing so fast, but when I turned the lip of the roof he didn't even stop to place pro. The rope was snug at my harness and I couldn't keep up, this guys an animal. we hit the top and just simuled our way out. (its not over till the end for sure) We hit the top and just yelled. I think we did the route in 2-3 hours. (no clock) As we started the decent (no idea where to go) we just laughed and yelled, triped and fell, but had the best time. As we neared the start of Froglands we could see the guys , and we gave a yell, and ran to the car. I thought I was late for sure, but much to our amazment it was still way before noon. (I want to say like 10:45 but I don't remember) so with plenty of time we drove back to Blue Diamond and drank some beers and just really sat back and thought about what just happeded. All of a sudded I sat up and yelled "I JUST CLIMBED EPINEPHINE" jay and I still talk about it, it was one of my best days in red rocks, we had the time of our lives. Thanks for reading, now go have an adventure! Kurt "Burt" Arend
By chad umbel
Jan 1, 2006

Has anyone tried to attempt Texas Hold'em? This is one impressive looking line. If so post up some beta.
By Danny Inman
From: Arvada
Oct 10, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

One of the most memorable climbing adventures I have ever done. This climb is perfect. Doing the descent in the dark is ill advised unless there is a guided party just ahead of you such that you can follow their headlamps the whole way down.
By Matt Wolski
From: Salt Lake City
Feb 23, 2007

I attempted Epinephrine last week; got off route (???) on the 3rd pitch (which from reading the comments above, sounds hard to do). After pulling the 2nd pitch chimney, I followed the face up and left to a pair of bolts with yellow webbing/American death triangle. From there I 4th classed up, saw 2 bolts on the face up and right, went for them, broke a hold, took a digger (40ish ft.) onto the ledge by the belay and rapped due to injury/sense that I was lucky to still be breathing. If you can imagine, it's killing me to find out where the 3rd pitch starts because it sounds hard to miss (big, obvious chimney) but something tells me I missed it. Please send an email/leave a message. llliiil@yahoo.com
By Darshan Ahluwalia
From: Petaluma, CA
Apr 9, 2007

who climbed this april 7 saturday? I have photos of you.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 18, 2007

On April 17th 2007, the ASCA replaced 7 pro bolts on Epinephrine. All were 3/8" x 2 1/4" stainless 5 piece. They were placed as follows (per Supertopo pitches):

Pitch 6 (First pitch off the tower): Two protection bolts.

Pitch 7 (First pitch off Elephant's Trunk): Two protection bolts

Pitch 8 (Next pitch): Three protection bolts (the first two and the fourth). The remaining protection bolt is an okay 3/8" bolt.

Thanks to Greg Barnes and the ASCA for the effort!
By Greg Barnes
Apr 23, 2007

John is too nice, he helped hand-drill several of the holes!

Also, the 5th (last) pro bolt on that second pitch off the Elephant's Trunk (right below the anchor) is an old 1/4" Urioste bolt which is missing its hanger. THere is a good small nut placement nearby, and we didn't have enough bolts to replace it.
By EricH
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 16, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

What a climb!
Just a note: The last pitch (before the ramp to the summit) is missing bolt hangers... a trad anchor is easily set up with two #3 and a #4 camalot.

Peter, It was great to meet you and Brian in the chimney!
By Johnny D
From: Fort Collins, CO
Apr 30, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Holy Smokes! This climb delivers a little bit of something for everyone! Leave the #4 camalot at home, you don't need it.
The chimney pitches were just the price of admission for the unbelievable upper pitches.

Do not underestimate the descent.... We did car to car in 12 hours and I'm confident that we spent 3 hours of that on the descent.

~Team Gold Bond
By Matt McMurray
From: Castle Rock, CO
May 19, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

My partner and I had a good time. We had the route to ourselves so we climbed extra slow. =) I would also recommend bringing a #4 to move up the third pitch chimney with unless you are proficient/confident. Be careful where you place it though... I was walking it up without really looking and got mine stuck for 45 minutes while I worked it out. LAME! The chimney crux was tight/harder for me than expected (6'2" 190). The upper pitches are great face climbing. We simulclimbed the ramp placing a lifesaver piece every 50 feet or so. It took us 14hrs car to car, including f-ing around on my stuck placement, taking in the views at belays, snacks and pictures at the top, and taking our time hiking back. It wasn't fast but it was memorable.

FYI on the descent: From the true summit it took us 30 minutes hiking at a casual pace to walk the ridge before heading down. There were a couple cairned spots that 'looked' like where to head down, but DON"T TAKE THEM! The descent took 1hr 45min stopping occasionally to rest our sore toes. =)
By Katya gh
Aug 10, 2008

We did this climb on Sunday, July 6 (record temps for vegas, I think) and took 10L of h20 with us. Opted for carrying a pack (forever after referred as the "F'N"!!!pack) and a bottle or 2 on our harnesses.
We had a blast and if you're intersted there could still be a #5 cam on the 3rd chimney pitch. After 1/2 hr, we couldn't get it out. My biggest concern was that we'd need it for higher up and thankfully didn't BUT I AM GLAD WE HAD THE BIGGER GEAR. Never climbed a 5.9 chimney before (and could hardly believe the comment that this would be 5.7 in Yosemite) so I guess we gotta practice somemore. dEspite that we did well though slowly and did end up bivying on a ledge several ramps down from the top. Though not cozy it was spectacular...Vegas sparkled like a jewel at night and gorgeous sunrise in the am. Turned out to be just another great part of the climb of this amzing climb. dOWNSIde was that we had drank all but a cup and a half of water by the time we bivied and had to save it for the descent out the next day. Thank god for gas station chips and gatorade at the end.
Thanks to all the people who offered advice on how much water to carry and how during the summer months plus when to start. It was everything and MORE!!!!!
By MJW
From: Boise, ID
Oct 31, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Did the route yesterday....AWESOME! We moved fast but were held up a bit by a party in front and started late. Did the walk-off in the dark. We were able to get down to the saddle behind Whiskey Peak before it got dark. Straightforward from there. Could be trickier doing the upper part of the decent in the dark but there are alot of carins. Thx to all who stacked rocks! Only brought 1 rope...rapping the route looks like a PITA. Rack = TCU's 0,1,2, set of stoppers, camalots(.5,.75,1,doubles of 2,3). Lots of long slings. Didn't need anything bigger.
By Karsten Delap
From: North Carolina
Mar 13, 2009

A #4 and #5 camalot will make anyone without much chimney experience feel comfortable on lead.
By Pete Hickman
From: Tacoma, WA
Mar 31, 2009

Hit the base of the climb at 8am this past Sunday and there were three parties ahead of us. While waiting at the second belay below the first real chimney pitch the party ahead of us knocked 150 lbs of rock out of the chimney and directly down onto us at the belay. Terrifying. If you climb soon and find rubble and a sandbox where your belay station used to be thats why. We bailed due to all cams now barely functional, backpack contents destroyed by falling rock, and fear that it would happen again. We returned Monday morning and hit the wall at 6:30am, had the route to ourselves all day, wasted no time, and still had to find the pine tree and descent in the dark. Advice: be on wall at sun up, don't follow any other parties, and when you need a bolt more than you have ever needed a bolt in your entire life... look behind you.
By Richard Shore
Sep 8, 2009

Amazing climb. Did it on Saturday September 5 2009. Nearly 110 degrees in Vegas this day, thank god the climb was in the shade all day. Only 1L of H2O each, and we were out of water by noon. No one else in the canyon or in the parking lot. Started the first pitch at 7 am and summited at sunset. About 12 hours on route. Note: only 1 bolt at top of pitch 8 (maybe 9), and no bolt hangers at the top of pitch 10. Just the heads of one 1/4" and one 3/8" bolt. Build a natural anchor. We were the first group to sign the log book at the summit since May of this year. The descent took nearly 3 hours, almost entirely in the dark. We only got off trail once on the descent, tricked by a bighorn sheep's trail and delayed for maybe 15 minutes. 16 hours car-to-car. Absolutely epic.
By Bryan G
From: San Jose
Nov 23, 2009

We lucked out on this climb with an abnormally cool day in June. There wasn't another soul in the whole canyon. It was overcast most of the day, which had me a bit worried with only one rope (and just the previous weekend we had an epic bail in a Sierra snowstorm) but it didn't rain a drop. I think we poured out a whole liter of water on the summit, and still had some in our bottles when we got back to the car.
By slim
Administrator
Dec 7, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

i enjoy suffering, but this would be pretty brutal in the winter. you would get really sweaty while chimneying, and then freeze at the belays. give it a shot and report back to us though. i'm curious about my prediction.
By addicted2alpine
Jan 13, 2010

Im not going to reiterate everything that crazy mexican chicken already so accurately and poignantly stated a couple posts up, but what i will reiterate is that this climb is drastically OVERRATED!

I'm not sure where the classic-ness of this climb comes from but I've climbed many other routes that were much higher quality than Epinephrine and far less praised by the climbing community. Are you all just jumping on the band wagon or are you all just that oblivious to what good climbing should feel like? Or maybe you really do like this route (which is ok)- but why? The chimneys? Sandy, awkward CRAP! The never-ending patina face climbing? Cool for a pitch but then otherwise, CRAP! The length? This can not be the determining factor of quality and can not make up for the otherwise CRAP CLIMBING! The exposure or the view? Good, but again can not make up for the CRAP CLIMBING!

I say these things not to be negative but to give another perspective on the quality of this route because I do not want other climbers to be duped into climbing this "ultra-classic" as I was without first knowing all the ("ultra-crappy") facts.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jan 13, 2010

I think Epinephrine is a great route- both aesthetically (nearly perfectly straight up for 1800') and for quality of climbing- its varied for the first half, and what it lacks in variety on the second, it makes up for in exposure and position.

The chimneys are anything but sandy- 500' of varnished sandstone hardly qualifies as sandy- not really sure where you're coming from on that one. In terms of the run-out- the upper chimney with two bolts is more like 5.8 at most, but probably mostly 5.7- the 5.9 is well protected and much lower on the tower. I wouldnt recommend using anything other than a large cam at the exit of the chimney, lest you lose it.

Im surprised so many folks struggle with the traverse- I always found it to be incredibly straight-forward and the very natural, obvious line. After leaving the tower you have two choices- a 50' traverse right to the upper dihedrals of the route, or a 300' traverse up and left to the Original Route. Seems obvious to me, but ymmv.

I would be interested to know how much Red Rock climbing you two have done up until now- I have found that many people dont care for Red Rock style climbing at first, and Epineprhine is hardly what I would recommend as a first route for the area- better to get more acquainted with the style and rock in general on shorter routes.

I've done the route twice now, probably wont do it again for awhile- I think its a great route for the area and the grade- if you're looking for a 1800' 5.9 classic route, imho, Epinephrine should be on your short list.
By Larry DeAngelo
Administrator
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jan 13, 2010

You guys ought to be more helpful to persons such as Loco and Alpine. If they are finding the Epi chimneys low-quality and uninspiring, it would a simple matter to steer them, for example, toward Deep Space for a better perspective and a more engrossing experience.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jan 13, 2010

You know, Larry- I think you're right- if one was really interested in getting a solid chimney experience in Red Rock, Deep Space would be an ideal route for it!
By Jason D. Martin
Jan 16, 2010

No group think here... I've climbed the route a number of times and absolutely love it. It's got a little bit of everything and I'll definitely climb it many more times...

Jason
By Pete Hickman
From: Tacoma, WA
Feb 18, 2010

I think they are just in the early stages of the full epinephrine experience which often includes some initial resentment of the climb, particularly the chimneys. This is a normal part of any stressful, even traumatic experience and I think is a credit to the climb. When I finally arrived at the vehicle in the dark I too swore I would never subject myself to such an experience again. In time I realised that I got from Epinephrine exactly what I look for in a very long red rocks climb. Now, a year later, I'm looking forward to climbing it again soon.
By Brandontru
From: Nevada
Mar 12, 2010
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Anyone Who is gonna bitch about pro on a chimney with a crack going the whole way. Is being a bitch. (pollo) However.... after the chimneys is kinda cool, but don't expect much. Unless you like getting to the top. (somewhat of the general idea in climbing.)


Then its an awesome route, just imagine if you were free soloing. Thinking this is totally possible and would be a ton of fun. Yet you are still glad you got a rope. :)
By TylerW
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 12, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Did this awesome route 3/5/10. The chimneys weren't as bad as expected - there are really only two short tough spots.

The crux for us was that the final 4th class traverse pitch to the tree was covered in ice! Since we got a late start and got stuck behind another party, we did this section in the dark. very exciting.

I have to say that the descent was not as bad as people are saying in the comment thread. None of us had done it before, and it only took us 2 hours in the dark, including a false start.

also, the #4 and #5 were nice to have in the chimneys

fun route!
By csproul
From: Davis, CA
Mar 30, 2010

Climbed on 3/23/10. I'm not going to lie...the chimney pitches were pretty rough for me. I guess I have very little experience with that type of climbing. They were ok when wide enough, but when they narrowed up or I felt the need to move in for gear, it became physical. I was very glad to have an old style #4 Camalot and probably would have liked two. I'm guessing that if you are confident, you can stay out in the wider parts and run it out a little more, but keep the climbing easier.The chimneys were hard enough that we did not link any of the pitches and used all four belay stations. This was also useful since we hauled a small bullet pack as well. The upper face climbing pitches were fantastic and went much faster. Because of our slowness through the chimneys, we never really hit the sun on the upper pitches, so it was a fairly cold day. In all it was a 45 minute approach, and I think we did 13 pitches plus the last 600-800 ft of simuclimbing, which took almost 12 hours. This could easily be shortened if you can link the chimney pitches and maybe a few others. Despite the reputation, the walk off was pretty straight forward, thanks to ample cairns. The trick is to climb up to the summit of Whiskey peak after reaching the top of Black velvet peak, by way of the saddle between the two. After that, there were cairns marking the way down the ridge until you reach the large double cairns. Here, you drop down a gully system and eventually hit the decent from the top of Frogland.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 30, 2010

csproul- for clarity, i believe you mean climb up to the true summit of Black Velvet Peak (the peak visible from the canyon floor is the false summit)- from the true summit, head south on the ridge before dropping down to the saddle below.

Whiskey Peak is the peak that forms the wall that Frogland sits on and is where the Epi descent meets the frogland descent.
By csproul
From: Davis, CA
Mar 31, 2010

Hey John,
I was going off of this map from the Los Alamos Mountaineers site (it is the 2nd PDF topo map on the linked website) for the decent. This map called the peak right behind the Black velvet wall "Whiskey Peak". Are you saying that this map is mislabeled and "Whiskey Peak" should be the true summit of "Black Velvet Peak"? Anyway, sorry if that was inaccurate, but even if the names are not correct, this map was basically what we did.
Thanks
Chris

lamountaineers.org/NAC/browser...
By Larry DeAngelo
Administrator
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 31, 2010

Yeah-- the map on the Los Alamos site is mislabeled. Whiskey Peak is the comparatively small peak in the lower left (between where is says "option 1" and "option 2")
By TommyWiggins
From: Nanuet, NY
Apr 5, 2010

My camera fell off in the middle of the second chimney and got lodged in the chimney somewhere below. It was in a blue case with a biner attached to it and a gear topo route description. If anyone ends up finding it, I'd love to have it back. I'm sure the camera is destroyed but I'm hoping to slavage the pictures. Also I'm curious how serious Sony is about their no questions asked warranty policy. If you find it, please shoot me an email at tommywiggins37@gmail.com. Thanks! Sean (tommywiggins)
By Dusty Cams
Apr 19, 2010

If you have a 70 and are willing to simulclimb short distance off a few belays, this route easily goes in less than ten pitches as follows:

Solo the 5.4 variation to start. Link pitches 1 and 2 with a touch of simuling, belaying at the beginning of the .9 chimneys.

Climb 3 chimney pitches. don't stop at the alternative belay about 80 feet into the second chimney pitch.

From the top of the tower, climb to the top of the elephants perch (no simuling).

Link the next two pitches of richter face and crack climbing. From this belay, the leader will lead through the "5.9 roof with jugs on the left" as noted in the Supertopo (felt easier than 5.9 earlier on the route) with about 50 feet of simuling. From here, you will have a 5.6 pitch, then the fourth class ramp to the top. You can simul this easily, just don't run all 70 meters of the rope out or the drag will be a killer.

The descent is not a big deal, follow the 8 million carins. No need for anything over a #4 cam. We did car to car in 10 hours, descent in flip flops.
By Cory
From: Boise, ID
Apr 19, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Such a fun route! This route has it all, from jam-cracks ranging from finger to fist size, roofs that you can pull over on jugs, delicate stemming in exposed dihedrals, and of course, some awesome chimneys! Every pitch has something fun. I especially liked the incredible face climbing on the pitches above the black tower.

I brought a #4 and was happy to have it for one placement in one of the chimneys, but you could probably do without it if you're comfortable in the chimneys. I never felt like I needed a #5.

The descent was much easier than I thought it would be. I just followed the "don't descend too soon" advice and it went smoothly. The route is extremely well marked with cairns. You will know it is time to descend when you are directly above (actually almost past) Whiskey Peak.

Get an early start! We were at the base of the route at about 6:20am, and we were the 4th party in line. We probably wasted close to 3 hours waiting for the groups in front of us on the chimney pitches. No matter though, once above the chimneys all groups climbed quickly and we still topped out before dark.
By Josh Bittner
May 7, 2010

Just did this route on the 1st of May 2010 and I wanted to give a brief overview of the decent. I had the pages from the Falcon guide with me to help aid in getting down...WAY confusing map!!

Like others have said. Get to the top of Epie and keep going up hill until you're on top of Black Velvet Peak. An obvious ridgeline will be headed toward the city (East'ish). The ridge will be marked with carins ever so often. Follow the carins allllll the way down the ridge line (headed toward the parking lot). You will go up and down a few different "peaks", but just keep walking. The dreaded "too early" decent is easily recognizable because the actual decent you want does not drop down a steep narrow canyon.

At almost the very end of the ridge there is a really large double stack of carins marking the start of the decent. The trail follows LEFT. Again, this is not a narrow canyon...yet. Descend left toward a lower peak which is Whisky Peak. Once on the saddle between the two peaks continue descending to the Right. Carins are abundant and just keep waking down hill.
By Tradoholic
May 12, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

"Suum cuique". Epi is CLASSIC! If you're no good at off-width or scared of running it out you probably won't like it.

With a 400' rope we cleaned it up in six pitches and simul-climbed the 4th class at the top, very fast this way. The descent isn't bad just keep heading east as far as you can until you see three very obvious cairns right next to each other that mark the descent.
By sqwirll
From: Las Vegas
Sep 12, 2010

Somehow I lost my cow patterned chalk bag in the last chimney. Beer reward for its safe return.
By Brady Robinson
Oct 31, 2010

Just climbed this for my third time last week. Simul-climbed it in 3 pitches. I still love it! Don't be afraid of the chimneys. I got a little freaked in them my first time on the route (plus we took all day to do it and went down the wrong gully in the dark, ended up drinking water from stagnant pools in the middle of the night) but that is just part of the experience. Get up on it and enjoy it! Ignore the haters. Bring a #4 camalot and just keep pushing it above you when you are nervous. For the upper section, remember to FACE OUT (towards the canyon) and keep your feet on the featured and more steep outer section. When in doubt, stay towards the outside of the chimneys; fear will make you want to dive in but don't do it.
By smassey
From: CO
Mar 6, 2011

Just a heads up. The good jug that you mantel off on the entrance to the last chimney pitch is going to come off really soon. It was severely flexing today, 3/6/11. Would've cleaned it, but was kinda feeling weak sauce. Sorry sqwrlllll, didn't see the bovinity anywhere.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 7, 2011

interesting- that'll make that pitch a little more exciting!
By Arch Richardson
Apr 27, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

We hiked to the summit of BV Peak a few days ahead, cached approach shoes and water up there, less to carry up the chimneys on climb day. This great hike also familiarized us with the approach/descent. See Branch Whitney's website for detailed hiking beta. Mantle on entrance to 3rd 5.9 chimney pitch was a bit tricky(8+), but I didn't find a loose jug (as of April 25th).
By Travis Hibbard
Oct 18, 2011

My wife and I climbed this route this past Thursday in about 12 hours car to car, a few tips from our outing.

1. Start early, we hiked in under dark and easily found the base before light by headlamp. Waited for first light and went.

2. The only pitches we linked were 1 & 2

3. The second main chimney pitch felt like the crux for me. The first main chimney pitch had mostly crack climbing until the last 20-30 ft of #4 C4 size to the belay. Also, the 3rd main chimney pitch however a little runout had amazing foot/face holds on the outer wall making it less grueling than the 2nd chimney. There was a constriction about half way up the pitch that made it hard to make upward progress.

4. The upper pitches are awesome. If you can get through the chimney's the upper pitches will be a breeze. I really like the 2 right above the elephants trunk.

5. Stay roped up for the ramp but simul and belay as needed from drag.

6. We carried a single rack to #4 C4 with doubles of .75, 1, 2 which was plenty. Bring 6ish trad draws to extend your pieces but this will be plenty of gear for the chimney's. Maybe an additional #4 if you really are concerned with the chimney pitches.

The descent, head across to the main summit and follow the ridge line over several small peaks until you get to the crest with multiple (3-4) large cairns, at this point head down (left) in the gully towards Whiskey Peak (we did Frogland a couple days before to familiarize ourselves with the lower half of the gully). The hardest part for us was following the ridgeline before turning into the gully towards Whiskey. Try and stay as close to the ridge as you can with a few detours down the back side. Once you make the turn into the gully towards Whiskey the trail was very easy to follow.

In regards to whether this is a classic or not, get out and do it and make your own choice. For me this route carried an aura around it and it was everything I hoped it would be. From the chimney's to the dihedrals above in my opinion its well worth doing and a really awesome day and summit in RR. Start early and be first!
By Jon P
From: Duluth, MN
Nov 30, 2011

Step-by-step of the decent for those interested:

1. Head up to the summit of Black Velvet peak by rounding the big lone pine tree at the top of the route and scrambling which quickly eases into hiking. Enjoy the view of Vegas.

2. When looking out at Las Vegas from Black Velvet peak, turn to face your 4:00 (right and slightly behind you), seeing another very large peak connected by a ridge and saddle. Follow this ridge, dropping down the saddle, and make your way up to the top of the large peak.

3. Once at the summit of the 2nd tall peak, look to your 8:00 (left and slightly behind) to see another ridge heading toward hwy 160.

4. Scramble down the large peak to obtain this next ridge. Stay as high as safely possible as you follow the ridge which is sporadically marked with cairns.

5. Connect the dots along the ridge, hitting 3 or 4 more peaks as you follow the ridge. Only one of the peaks does not have a cairn on it but continue high on the ridge heading to the top of each peak.

6. You will know when you are at the final peak because it has 4 or 5 very stout cairns on it closely spaced. It is obvious! If you are unsure then you are not there yet!

7. Once on top of the peak with the 4 or 5 big cairns, head left and down following the many cairns along the way. If you head down and do not see cairns, you are going the wrong way.

8. Get dumped into the whisky peak gully decent (turn right when you come to the fork) and continue down behind Frogland, following trails and cairns which are heading in the direction of hwy 160. There are multiple trails going down this decent and they all seem to meet up eventually.

9. Upon exiting the gully, curve around whisky peak following the trail that curves left.

10. The decent trail back to the parking lot is several hundred feet before Frogland, marked with a large cairn sitting on top of a large boulder.

+++
We did this decent in the dark (with headlamps, of course) and it took about 3 hours as we took our time. It was not hard as the ridge is backlit from the city and you just need to follow the ridge, obtaining each peak until you come to the peak with a ton of large cairns. We kept second guessing ourselves, but there was no need. It is obvious when you are on the right peak that marks the decent into the Whiskey Peak Gully.
By Newton
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 6, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

Climbed on 3/4/12. The rap bolts at the top of pitch 11 (just before the 500' of long slabby ramp) have no hangers. Atop pitch 10 (the 5.9 roof) there is one older but solid looking bolt, but the larger one I had come to expect from the 4 previous bolted anchors was missing, and there was just a big hole in it's place. It is possible to make trad anchors here, just don't expect a safe rappel without leaving gear.
By bergbryce
From: Tracy, CA
Mar 29, 2012

Above the chimneys felt like sustained, steep 5.6/5.7 climbing with maybe 2 very short sections of 5.8 and has more bolts than really needed, there are holds and gear options just about everywhere you look. The chimneys are the show stopper though, absolutely incredible climbing. First team on at sunrise, back at the car by 2 pm.
By Ken Chase
Apr 22, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

DESCENT BETA for the Handren "DO NOT GO DOWN THIS GULLY" gully :(
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

We were up on Epi last week with a couple parties above us. Finally started at 9am. Waited for a bailing party to rap past us slowing us slightly, then some strenuous chimneying for inexperienced chimneyers (we're 6'+ tall face climbers ;). Lots of knees were used in narrow chimney, ouch! (Yes we need practice ;) That slowed us down a fair bit, top of tower by like 130-2pm (yeah, slow). Much easier face climbing there on out, several pitches are quite long however. Topped out at 645pm, took a few minutes to be convinced we found the traverse/hike out up and right, big pine tree by 745 after sunset. Getting dark.

Found the top of the local peak and went along the saddle to the higher peak (BV?) slightly south. Milled around and went from cairn to cairn around big dropoffs on either side, and basically got lost til a cairn led us down a small chimney under a giant boulder to a platform and a few more cairns down some steep vegetated slab to the left/east. 830pm by this point at least. A few more slides down from boulder to boulder and a few cairns and we realised we were probably in the wrong gully.

The gully goes down steep and a bit slow, but doable, mostly dirt, vegetation and a few areas of boulders. Annoying pointy trees and cactii, occasional cairns help with multiple choices, but it all just leads down to the same canyon wash.

Eventually you get down to sloped rock shaped by water. Truly beautiful and a bit surreal with the small pools in our headlamps. At the first hangup edge where a pool drops off into the abyss, a steep way down is available far left with the help of a tree. Once down, you again come to a narrows with a pool emptying over a curved edge into more void. A beachball sized chokestone is jammed into a 3' groove on the left side near the mouth/edge, and we were about to rap off it, but a new beefy bolt is right above it with a ratty looped sling. We donated another sling and a couple biners and rapped over the bulge down to a platform 30 feet. Another sling with a single ring is wrapped around a small tree, but we opted to not use it and continued over the next edge to a ledge just above a large pool (3-4' deep water!)

If you are careful you can both not drop your whole rope neither into the pool nor into the trickle trough in the ledge above the pool you rap to, as well as pull your rope hard over the rough but dull rock above (total rap is 50-60'). To get around the pool scramble up left and back down (or rap in for a swim :). If you actually get to this spot, please take a picture, the collection of pools around the large one jammed in between curving smooth canyon walls is incredibly beautiful. We were just too freaked to think about it at the time.

Now it'll seem you're hung up again, and you may follow a couple pieces of human-dropped trash out to the left and up more slab, which brings you way too high above the gully floor below also heading left but down. Go right instead where the cairn is at the far right side of the pool at the edge, and the lower gully floor is not too far below after a couple 5.2 moves onto a manmade pile of stepping stones. Continue fighting down through thick trees boulder hopping. Nothing drastic or hard from this point down, just annoying slow progress thru thick vegetation at times.

At one point with the slight S curves of the canyon, it looked like big black walls all around us with no way out - but eventually the walls move away and behind you and the horizon lights up with the city's glow. Found cairns for a cross trail out of the wash to the left back to BVC but lost them within a few hundred yards. Just kept angling towards below BVC's mouth deciding that if all else failed we'd hike back up in to find the trail. A couple official bike paths cut across this line but go kinda the wrong ways (up hill north west or down south east), til we found another that took us northish 300y to the main trail (which is really a big wide dirt road, hard to miss).

Finally hit the car at 130am. Lol. 24h mexican @ Main & LVB saved us (after first drinking about a gallon of water each).

Car to car with ~2h wait for other climbers total and a totally busted wrong descent + [INSERT EPIC ADVENTURE HERE]: 18.5 hrs.

Brought 5.5l of water for 2 people, on an 85F day in the city with 65-70 on the route in the shade (and again 70 in the lower half of the canyon descent, quite warm once off the top) we really shoulda had another 2 litres for bare min, and +3-4 woulda been comfy.

Im so curious what the right route down is, but from BVP we headed along the ridge AWAY from the city to circle around the big cirque to the far side, but kept getting hung up over drop offs til the chimney-down-under-the-boulder cairn misled us :/
By Colin Parker
Administrator
From: Idyllwild, CA
May 7, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Climbed this route on Saturday and absolutely loved it! Our camelback emptied itself on the first chimney pitch so the two of us went all day with only one liter of water to share. Fortunately we made it in 12 hours car to car and managed to avoid death by dehydration...
Anyway, here's pitch beta for those with a 70 or 80 meter rope to complete the climb in 8 pitches:
1. Solo 5.4 variation to start (~50 feet right of the bolts) then climb to the anchors below the first 5.9 chimney.
2. Climb the first chimney and the first half of the main event to the intermediate anchors on the second chimney pitch.
3. Finish the chimneys and climb to the top of the black tower.
4. Climb the face above the tower and continue to the top of the Elephant's trunk.
5. Climb 5.9 face and discontinuous cracks past two bolts, an anchor, and five more bolts to another anchor.
6. Climb 160' of 5.7 to the next anchor.
7. Climb the awesome 5.9 pitch past the roofs and belay on the big ledge.
8. Climb until the end of the rope, setup an anchor, belay the second, unrope, then tackle the ramps.
Enjoy!
By JLPierce
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 4, 2012

Walk off has a potential to be epic; I should have been more prepared-
Be very familiar with the route description for the walk off and plan for it to take awhile. Bring enough water (we didn't), shoes (I had sandals) and a good headlamp to spot carins in case you have an evening topout.
Many people say they'd skip the finish and rap after the chimney pitches. I can inderstand the thought behind this but I also pity those people. They don't get to experience the stunning rock features of final pitches, the special feeling that comes from finishing on top, and completing a great accomplishment.
We did it early October 2011 and it was nice for temps. For me, it was a smaller chimney then I imagined and found the offwidth crack deep inside to be quite useful.
Note: I recommend printing off Jon P's descent directions, they didn't exist when I did it. :)
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jul 11, 2012

To familiarize yourself with the Epi descent, climb Frogland first. The lower third of the Epi descent is the same as the Frogland descent. If you climb Frogland first, you might have a shot at learning the lay of the land before you go for the big one.
By JMo
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 9, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

1- 5 stars, period.

2- the chimneys are tough and serious and awesome, I know it is important to downgrade everything to stoke the ego, 5.7 in the valley, blah blah, but these chimneys are a grunt and SOLID 9....

3- along the same lines, the yapping about how it is all a walk after the chimneys, all 5.7, is also inaccurate. Those pitches are fabulous, but they still take some effort and the grades listed in handren are real.... Go figure.

4- the descent is not 1.5 hours from the tree to your car unless you run it or are very very good or know it really well. The rest of us, in the dark (in winter most likely you'll be in the dark, again unless very very good or you really know this route) plan on 3 hours...

5- whoever put bits of reflective tape to guide nighttime descents is a really fine human being!
By Ryu
Dec 12, 2012

Agree, 5 stars!

Did this over Thanksgiving. Would recommend not bringing a backpack. Clipped 2L of water, 2 apples, 2 candybars and shoes to harness.

Descent in the dark took 3hrs. Yes, whoever put reflective tape is awesome! Car-to-car time was 15hrs at a leisurely pace. Big thanks to Jon P for his step-by-step descent beta! We did get side tracked a few times, stay left along the ridge as much as possible, try to keep Whiskey peak in your view as often as possible.

Would do it again in a heartbeat!
By Johnny Y
From: California
Dec 14, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Most of the route is pretty straight-forward, except I almost got lured into what would've been an awful OW at the first chimney section. You are supposed to stem out of the chimney onto the face at the right, sparsely protected and seemed quite a stretch for short people...
By Robbie Brown
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 7, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This is a great line don't listen to all the blowhards who say its not. Did it in 11 pitches and loved just about every one of them. None of the climbing is very hard however the last 1000ft of soloing could be scary for a newer climber.
By Ken Chase
Jan 30, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

yes 3hr descent for the proper way in the dark, 4 hrs in the do not go down this gully gully :/

How do you clip apples to your harness? :)
By Cultivating Mass
Apr 14, 2013

This route can be a shitshow on weekends and holidays, plan to be there earlier than anything else I can think of, other than maybe Crimson.

This is not a good route to learn how to chimney on. This is not a route to haul your school backpack up. This is not a good route to try with an unfamiliar partner. This is not a route to drag your girlfriend up when she is still learning how to tie a figure 8. This is not a route to do if you are trying to be courteous to slower parties in front of you-if you're moving fast, just PASS ALREADY and make life easier on everyone, the chimneys are a bottleneck point and can get amazingly cockblocked even with use of linking and alternate belays. I enjoyed the experience but won't be second in line on this route again, the early buh-buh-buh-bird and all that. Hope the other parties top out sometime this week...
By Mooner
From: Bountiful, UT
Apr 21, 2013

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This Climb was sooooooo good. I personally was a little nerves about the walk off because of all the comments talking about epics and what not, so I posted 6 pictures Starting from the top of Black Velvet peak of the Descent. I hope these pictures clear up any confusion about the descent and everyone can enjoy the climb and descent of Black Velvet peak. Enjoy
By scottso
From: St. George, Utah
Apr 21, 2013

HAHA Killing in the name of!!! How true this is. It's all to common to see inexperienced climbers on the classics here, Moab, and every were else. LEARN TO CLIMB BEFORE YOU GET ON THESE ROUTES!! We went to get on it Friday at 9:00 hoping the slow parties would be up and we could pass them above the chimneys. After waiting at the base for half an hour to see this would be impossible, we hiked back to the car to get a tag line and started climbing at noon. By 3:00 we were both on top of the tower and caught the party that started at 6:30. Neither of us have ever been on it. Of course, we bailed as planned. They kept going... 1 rope raps except off the second pitch - easy pulls.
By Dusty Cams
Apr 24, 2013

I am not sure why everybody makes such a big deal about this descent--it is really straightforward and easy--done easily in flip flops. If you want a really messed up, tough descent, go down north dome gully in yosemite--that is a serious pain...

For Epinepherine, follow the 1001 carins down. If you link pitches and don't have a bunch of gumbies on the route, it can be done in 7 or 8 pitches and you can be down by mid afternoon.

Near the top of the route, there are several bolts missing hangers and at the belay above the 5.9 (5.8 in Handren) roof, it looks like a bolt has been fully removed and something etched in the rock "Love me somthingsomthing"

Agreed with Killing in the name of, this is not a good route for newbies or people just breaking into the grade of 5.9. Did this route Friday and sure enough some dude brought his girlfriend up, who could not climb chimneys, and a 3 hour swearing/yelling/crying/arguing session ensued, tainting what was otherwise a great day of climbing. If you or your partner can't climb at the grade, stay at home and don't muck it up for the people who can climb chimneys at that grade.
By nathan williamson
May 1, 2013

Absolute favorite multi pitch in black velvet. Get there very early to avoid a line.
By Pitty
From: Marbach
May 12, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

You forgot a very important detail! There are much more "do not go down this gully, gully" - if you go down the right side of the ridge you have to hike home from Windy Peak not Whiskey Peak :-)

Sorry folks, but you really can't miss the descent!!!!

We made it in something less than 9 hours car to car and we were baked in the sun from the start till the end (ok not in the chimneys.......... Who the hell said starting early is recommended??????

Great big Sandbag in the chimneys but a real funny climb overall.....

In Switzerland we call surfaces like these walls Highways........ but they are horizontal not vertical:-)
By JMo
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 25, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

During possible first ever 24 hour enchainment of white punks on dope in needles and epinephrine (at night) as "rest stop" on return to flag..... Long story....

Lost my left approach shoe in the chimneys, a la sportiva vertical K size 11 with one small foot minder orthotic and black running sock inside. Yes I can confirm the descent sucks in 1 climbing shoe and one approach shoe. Anyway,

REWARD: $25 plus postage plus the best six pack money can buy if you get me the shoe. Its super light and packs easily. So please take it with you. Lost it somewhere before pitch 5..... Thanks!
By Tane Owens
From: Denver, CO
Nov 28, 2013

Leaving the car without a headlamp is a bad idea. Unless you enjoy adding an extra two hours to your decent in the dark that is.
By knowbuddy
Dec 2, 2013

This is probably my favorite route I've ever done, anywhere. I couldn't stop giggling the whole way through the chimney sections. The face climbing was easy but fairly sustained and exposed. This route far exceeded my expectations.
By Owen Parker 1
From: Durango, Colorado
Mar 30, 2014

Awesome climb!! However it was freaking crowded! Woke up at the crack of dawn and still didnít get on the wall until 11. Wasnít at the top till 2:30 in the morning and 70mph gusts of wind at the top forced our party and another to bivy at the top (Shivering in a small exposed cave). Donít forget a headlamp and wind breaker.
By JeffL
From: Salt Lake City
Apr 24, 2014

Amazing route! I brought a single rack green alien to #4 camalot, with a 2nd #2 and an 11 hex. I was very happy to have and place the hex. Nothing else was needed, though you could walk a 5 for a ways in the chimney if you aren't comfortable. Once in the chimneys and once at a gear belay just after the last anchor in the guidebook (not supertopo). The last anchor shown in the guidebook before scrambling is missing the bolts. There's only 1 left, and it's not all that great. You could possibly use rivet hangars on it as of 4/24/14 but you definitely cannot rap from there unless you leave something.

If you haven't heard... the descent sucks. It took us just over 2 hours at a casual pace without any issues finding the route. Just a long way and lots of vertical. If I do this route again my strategy would be much different:

I would start later in the morning. There are way too many parties jumping on this thing from before the crack of dawn til 8ish. If you are fast and confident you could start at 10 or 11 and have plenty of time. I would recommend half ropes and rappel just before the 5.8+ or 5.9 roof because there is no anchor up there. Not having to do the long descent means no shoes and less water. You could probably not bring a pack up and that's a huge plus for the chimney pitches.

Finally... practice chimneys before you jump on this. You should be comfortable on 5.10 terrain, and comfortable 15+ feet above your gear on 5.9 terrain. This will make the route so much faster and smoother. Iron Messiah in Zion is a great practice route for Epi
By septikus
Apr 29, 2014

Found gear hanging on a sling on the tree at the end of the technical climbing on Sunday, April 27. Please message me privately if this was yours (with gear description) and I'll get it back to you.

Fun route and the descent was well marked by cairns.
By gavinsmith
From: Toronto, Ontario
Jun 8, 2014
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

This was my first trad climb above 6 pitches and basically the first I did any leading on. Yeah, a lot to take in.

Worth mentioning, it was Monday, May 5 and we were totally alone on the route that day.

My partner was experienced, and we climbed reasonably well, but weren't the most efficient at belays (mostly on me). I think we were on the wall for 13 hours total.

When we ended the last pitch, we were surprised by the remaining vertical distance (the rest of the wall is somewhat out of sight for much of the actual climb before this point). The Brock/McMillan book isn't really clear that, if you're going to roped in, that scramble can take an additional hour. We were also not used to climbs of this length and cutting it so close at sunset.

We topped out and unroped right as the sun disappeared. Our descent topo wasn't as good as it needed to be considering we summited in complete darkness and had some trouble working out which peak we were supposed to head towards. We actually skipped the Black Velvet peak and scrambled next to the ridge, chances are there are cairns on the actual ridge leading to the next peak which would have helped out with our confidence level considerably and sped the routefinding up.

Descent took probably near 3 hours because my legs were toast and it was pitch black, I'd guess 1.5 hours in daylight with good route finding (not that hard) and some energy. Tons of cairns, almost nowhere without. If you go 30 seconds without seeing one you're probably off route. Descent from the ridge itself is marked with a dozen cairns.

We had a full rack of Camalots to #5 with doubles in #1 and #2. Used everything often. My partner didn't feel comfortable with runout in the chimneys and suck to the protectable inner area, but the climbing is substantially harder there. Only a 5.9+ in my book because of that.
By Tyler Lomprey
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 21, 2014

did this 2 saturdays ago and i'm still in EPI shock, WHATTA ROUTE!!! Don't be scared of the chimneys, take a couple laps up and down plumbers crack beforehand and you'll be solid. As far as the runouts go on this route, i honestly never felt uncomfortably run out. Sure there are some distances between pieces of protection in some places, but this is all over moderate climbing. If you are familiar with the 5.8 classics in the area you will have no problem. All in all i think it was just over a 12.5 hr day car to car at a casual, enjoy the day pace. Got passed by someone soloing it on the 10th pitch, they had been on the route for just under an hr!!! Wicked!
By Likeasummerthursday
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 25, 2014

Climbed this route last Thursday. No high-clearance vehicle, so we walked with rack, rope and water from the highway. Lots of folks on Black Velvet, but we had Epi to ourselves. After reading all of the comments here, we brought a single rack to #5 with doubles from .5-2. I have climbed quite a few moderate classics out here, and I must say that this route is absolutely phenomenal, from start to finish! The Handren grades are correct IMO. I concur that if you can make it through the chimneys then the upper pitches will go fine. If 5.9 is your limit, though, the upper pitches are no cakewalk. The hardest chimney pitch (p5 in Handren's book) is one of the finest 5.9 pitches I've ever led. We were happy to have the #5, although a second #4 would have been about as useful. If I did it again, though, I would carry the same rack. Also, having 2 #2s was great.

As mentioned above, this is not the climb to learn multi-pitch, definitely not the climb to practice your chimney game and not the climb for breaking into the 5.9 grade. The chimneys are stunning but serious, and the route is long. We also chose to not carry a pack and were plenty happy about it, although these chimneys would not be the worst to haul a pack. We built gear anchors atop the last two pitches. For the second to last anchor I climbed about 20 feet above the ledge with the one good bolt and one good bolt hole and built an anchor on a small ledge. Also, we found the descent well-marked and straightforward. The three cairn piles that mark the descent down from the ridge are HUGE.