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Triassic Sands 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

   
Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 700', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: J. Herbst, L. Hamilton, 1972; FFA J. Herbst and many others, 1979
Page Views: 23,436
Submitted By: George Bell on Feb 20, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (224)
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The start of the crux moves on the 2nd pitch

Description 

A great crack climb. Many parties rap after the 2nd or 3rd pitch but the 4th pitch is great also and the descent is relatively quick and simple. From the parking lot, follow the road and then trail into Black Velvet Canyon. Soon the main NE wall of Whiskey peak will be prominent to your left, and this route is 150' right of the offwidth Ixtalan, which is the most obvious crack visible from below.

P1: Climb a left facing corner to a big ledge (5.7, 40'). This pitch could conceivably be combined with the next. P2 (crux): From the left side of the ledge climb the excellent finger crack (aliens work well to protect) over a roof (crux) then continue with 50' of 5.9 hand crack to a bolted belay (this is why you brought all those #2 Camalots). (5.10, 100'). Be sure to save some strength for the hand crack!

P3: A long pitch continues up a steep wall via (mostly thin) cracks and face climbing past a pointy detached flake (Caution! Do not touch!) and ending at another 2 bolt belay (5.8, 150'). This pitch looks harder than 5.8 from below, and is excellent. P4: Follow a right facing corner to another nice ledge (with no fixed anchor as of 1998) (5.10-, 160'). Two more easier pitches lead to the top, we might have done this as one long pitch.

Descent: From the summit head east, back towards the parking lot. Scramble down the rightmost of three gullies, and then countour back down to the base of the cliff. Alternatively, two 150' raps will take you from the top of pitch 3 to the ground.

There is an entire chapter about this route in Red Rock Odyssey

Protection 

Usual stoppers plus a generous selection of cams with extras in the hand crack range (three or even four #2 Camalots or #3-#3.5 Friends are ideal).


Photos of Triassic Sands Slideshow Add Photo
A little perspective near the top of pitch one: &q...
A little perspective near the top of pitch one: &q...
My brother grabbing the onsight by the horns on th...
My brother grabbing the onsight by the horns on th...
Andrew moving up the enjoyable third pitch.  A few...
Andrew moving up the enjoyable third pitch. A few...
Josh climbs p4 of Triassic Sands
Josh climbs p4 of Triassic Sands
Josh G linking pitch 1 and 2 of T.S. Be sure to do...
Josh G linking pitch 1 and 2 of T.S. Be sure to do...
Tri-sands starts on the right side of the photo.  ...
BETA PHOTO: Tri-sands starts on the right side of the photo. ...
2nd Pitch, Triassic Sands.
2nd Pitch, Triassic Sands.
Crux moves on Triassic Sands.
BETA PHOTO: Crux moves on Triassic Sands.
Getting ready to make the crux moves
Getting ready to make the crux moves
Chad Umbel on the start of second pitch.
Chad Umbel on the start of second pitch.
Fist pitch and crux of P2
BETA PHOTO: Fist pitch and crux of P2
Pitches 1 and 2 linked.
Pitches 1 and 2 linked.
Triassic Sands
Triassic Sands
Looking down from top of p2
Looking down from top of p2
Looking up at Pitch 4.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Pitch 4.

Comments on Triassic Sands Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 20, 2014
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 27, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Despite being one of the shorter climbs in this canyon, (only 3 pitches are usually done...) this is a wonderful route fully deserving of classic status.As well, the 5.10 grade is about right for Redrocks, but be advised that the climb will feel soft for the grade relative to most other areas.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 3, 2004

The latest electronic SuperTopo guide has some great history on the first ascent and free attempts of this route, and they call it the first "real" rock climb of any significant length in Red Rocks. Evidently Randal Grandstaff did the first free lead of the crux. I have no affiliation with these guides and I highly recommend their Red Rock guide, although they have upped the price a bit. Cool photos too!
By John Peterson
Mar 8, 2004

As the guys say, a classic climb! Don't skip pitch 4 - it's another good one.

The only thing I'll add is that a couple of extra hand-sized pieces will make pitches 2 + 3 go a little smoother.

John
By 10b4me
Sep 7, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Do yourself a favor and climb the 4th pitch. It is one of the best crack/corner pitches I've done in Red Rocks and is much more sustained at about 5.10 than the lower pitches. When I climbed it we summited, but there were fixed bolts at the top of the 4th pitch. I still can't figure out how people stop on the top of the third pitch after looking at the beautiful corner above.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 24, 2005
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Really amazing climb, probably the best crack climb i've done at Red Rock! It's a crime not to at least climb the fourth pitch, but you really should top out. After a climb that amazing, a summit is in order- rappelling it just seems wrong to me.

Couple of notes: 1) The bolts at the top of 3 are good enough to rap on, but using them as anchor is questionable.

2) The bolts at the top of 4 are good, better than those at three.

3) Theres also a rap station at the top of 5 now (if you're willing to spare a carabiner), although if you've gone this high, you might as well top out.

4) The easiest way off the summit is to head to the ridge, then drop down and left into the gully below the saddle between Whiskey Peak and the Velvet Wall. From there, head uphill to the saddle and then walk out via the Frogland descent, or head downhill to reach the base of the Velvet Wall.

5) Bring (3) #2 Camalots or equivalent if .10c is close to your limit, you'll be glad you did. Double up on the #1 and #3 Camalots or equivalent as well....

By chad umbel
Jan 2, 2006

This is one high quality route. Bring extra cams from 2-3 inches unless you like to watch the rope dangle far beneath your feet. A must do Red Rocks Classic.
By rpc
Feb 13, 2006

Update from 2/12/06:

One of two bolts atop P3 (that's at the base of the 5.10- dihedral) is wasted - i.e. I could take it out with my fingers. Can supplement the single bolt with some limited gear. Would not want to rap off of that pitch.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 28, 2006
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Hey folks, a quick note from the ASCA- this route's anchors on the top of the 3rd and 4th pitch were replaced on March 27th, 2006. The protection bolt on the 4th pitch was also replaced.

By Chris Weber
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 5, 2006

I'd recommended doing pitch 4 and then rapping...single rope rap as I recall from there, then a double?...we combined p2 and 3 as well. if you're solid on cracks, no need to bring more than doubles. Caveat emptor.
By Greg Barnes
Apr 10, 2006

Finally joined this site, Larry didn't even pressure me!

As John posted, we replaced the 3rd and 4th pitch anchors and the pro bolt on pitch 4. Details: the 3rd pitch anchor had 3 bolts, 2 of which had pulled out (a 1/4" split-shaft and a 3/8" Star-Dryvin). I reused the 1/4" hole, patched the 3/8" Star-Dryvin hole, and drilled a new bolt; both are 1/2 x 2.75" stainless 5-pieces. The 3rd bolt is a 3/8" split-shaft bolt without hanger; we didn't have the proper tools to remove this (well, we could have, but that would have risked damaging the rock excessively). I'll try to get back and pull/patch that sooner or later. The rock is not the greatest, and I suspect that even the new 1/2" bolts will loosen in time.

The classic 1/4" Star-Dryvin protection bolt on pitch 4 (photo in Red Rock Odyssey) pulled easily, and I drilled through the lead sleeve with no problem (not something to try if the steel sleeves are still in the hole!). That bolt is also a stainless 1/2" x 2.75" 5-piece.

The funky 5/16" euro bolts on top of pitch 4 were weird, and in a slightly suspect section of rock, so the new bolts are about a foot lower. Those are stainless 3/8" x 2.25" 5-pieces (better rock there), and Anthony Anagnostou helped hand-drill them.

Thanks to Constantine Severis and Anthony for helping out with the replacement! And to the video guys who let me jug their lines to pitch 3, that sped things up. Greg Barnes
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 12, 2006

I did the route a couple of days ago and assume GB had already been there since all the anchors were big and beefy. Still I would have liked the star bolt to have been left for historical purposes.

Overall the best rock at redrocks I have done so far!!! Can I give a climb 5 stars! It'll be interesting someday when the flake or lodged rocks on pitch 4 come off.
By Drederek
May 4, 2006
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Great Climb! Combined 1 and 2 without any problems. I found it to be perfect hands from the low crux to end of 3. Hexes worked very well. Pitch 4 was amazing, my partner dubiously slung the diving board, stepped up and got this huge grin on his face when he saw the bolt! A climb we'll do again I'm sure. One 60m rope rappell from top of 4 to 3 (29 meters!) then 2 double rope raps
By Danny Inman
From: Arvada
Oct 10, 2006
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

spectacular route! I followed this with Wholesome fullback and thought Triassic Sands was easier IMHO.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Nov 10, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Classic stuff! We only had opportunity for the first three pitches (late start w/ approaching darkness). Too bad, as P4 looks like an awesome Indian Creek style corner.

The crux of P2 is pumpy, but ample chalk leads the way... Aliens/TCUs protect the business portion of the crux, with a #1 or #2 camalot to finish.

Once past the crux, expect 100+ feet of 5.8 handcrack, with one little section of 5.9. Outside of a short thin section(the 5.9 bit), pretty much #2 and #3 camalots the entire way in the hand crack... so either have plenty of those cams or expect to run it out. I brought a #4 camalot, and got it in on P2 and P3, but a #3.5 would have been better.

P3 is fun, good gear, with a fun little chimney-ish finish.

P4 looks rad! Next time....

Two double raps to the ground. If the belay atop P2 is taken, there is a a bomber set of chains just down and left of the belay that can be used for descent. Apparently the bolt line below this anchor is a 10a sport route. Looks fun too.
By Mark SLC
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 8, 2009

Incredible route. Top it out! Pitch 4 is not to be missed - (though my belayer told me after that the block on the left was loose it felt solid when pulled down on). Good anchors. We brought trips in #2 & #3 camalot, plenty of stopper options, should have left the 4 at home.
By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Apr 21, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Agreed, the rating is soft if you only do the first 3 pitches... the real climbing is on pitch 4: definitely harder than pitch 2 (and better!) Rumors of a dangerous 4th pitch are not accurate, just avoid the diving board block before the corner, i'm big and clumsy and had no problem avoiding it.. :-)

REFLECTION TWO YEARS LATER: as i've settled into the tens i tend to think that triassic sands is fully soft. the 4th pitch is a more imaginative OS but has so many rest stances. the 2nd pitch (best combined with 1st i feel, sets up a happier belay situation) is a one move wonder and might be graded 5.9 in paradise forks. still an incredible climb but i think an exciting, exposed 10a is more accurate.
By TylerW
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 17, 2010
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Wow. Best route I've done in RR? Definitely do not miss the 4th pitch - it was fantastically fun. Not quite as hard as the 2nd pitch crux, IMO. The giant shark fin block was a little scary; it seemed solid vertically, but when touched it moved a few inches to the left. I don't think it's going anywhere though. I still can't quite get over how much fun this route was.
By Doug Foust
From: Henderson, Nevada
Nov 1, 2010
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

My new favorite climb in Red Rock. The climbing above the fourth pitch is not 4th class like the Handren book states. Although not difficult, the routefinding, fragile/lichen covered rock, loose rock, detached blocks, and potential rope drag make for some thoughtful leading. Once to the top you can stay high and head straight towards Whiskey Peak eventually passing just to right where you will end up on the frogland descent just up above the saddle.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Apr 7, 2011

P2 felt the hardest, starting with pumpy athletic fun, leading to continuous hand jamming joy, or juggy edges if one prefers.

P4 is really really good. Wild. Fantastic. Do it.

FYI: almost got one of our half ropes stuck rapping from top of P4 to top of P3, with long loops having slipped into a splitter and down through, at about 3/4 of the way down, blocking the rest of the rap. Took some effort to work the loops out. There was a scrap strand just below ours, cut from the stuck rope of a previous party. In hindsight, best to rap this pitch with the ends (or intermediate pts as well) clipped to the harness.
By Phil Esra
Apr 25, 2011
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

4th pitch is the best pitch on the route. can rap from p4. 4 stars.
By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Jun 2, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

anyone able to comment accurately on when she goes into the shade this time of year?

grazie!

jon
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jun 2, 2011
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

jon- triassic faces much more north northwest than frogland, so i'm not sure it sees much sun at all, even in the summer months- maybe the second pitch might see a bit of sun in the early morning, but i dont know that i've ever seen it in sun in the morning.
By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Jun 7, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

word, gracias amigo!


jon
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Sep 21, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Route sees very little sun. It was in the shade all day (10am through the whole day on Sept. 20) and was a pleasant climb overall. The crux pitch is a bit heady, not too sustained and the hand crack that follows is super. The Handren book is misleading as to how long the last pitch is. I'd say it's more in the 350-400 ft. length and the moves off the anchors after the 4th pitch are definitely still in the 5th class range. Roughly 5.6. Be careful. The top out is exceptional!
By cslice
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 12, 2011

This route is one of my top 3 at Red Rocks. The crux moves on pitch 2 are a bit challenging but the pro is excellent. I would definitely recommend 4 #2s and at least 4 #3 Camalots for this really long pitch, and save a few of the #3s for the top unless you don't mind running out 5-9 splitter crack climbing section. Leave anything beyond a #3 at home...you won't need it. The 4th pitch is more fun than hard.
By Spencer Weiler
From: SLC, UT
Nov 28, 2011

Stellar 3 pitch climb. Pitch 1 is awesome with good feet for stances, and the 90 foot hand crack after is sweet! 3 each yellow and blue camalots. Ends on a small but adequate ledge. Pitch 2 is easy 5.8 patina/crack action up a fun hand crack with a rightward traverse to a corner, that ends on a fat ledge. Pitch 3's shark fin sword cantilever beam action is scary to behold as it could easily kill your belayer if it pulled. Look above the small bulge for the bomber bolt to protect this move. Highly recommend going up and over on this one as rapelling will likely require reclimbing a pitch to get your rope unstuck from the classic red rock rope kidnapping patina.
By clint helander
From: anchorage, alaska
Dec 1, 2011

What's up with the completely unnecessary bolt on pitch 3? It's right next to a splitter hand crack. Weak sauce. We didn't clip it. There's no need.
By Stone Nude
Dec 3, 2011

The pro bolt on pitch 3 is of mysterious origin, how often does one stumble upon Bluewater stainless hangers floating around? The reason it was put in isn't hard to figure out, clint-the "splitter" you're talking about is a huge wedged hollow block that makes funky sounds when touched. While it's unlikely that even a fat bastard could pull the thing out under body weight, a big fall on gear placed beside it would shift it and probably pull the gear or worse.

My vote was for not replacing the bolt just above the Fang, when I first did the route this was a hand-removable star dryvin that was pretty entertaining.

What may not be obvious to out-of-towners who come here to climb "classics" is that most if not all of these routes used to have giant deathblocks, friable holds everywhere, and, in the case of Triassic, were established before the Age Of Cams, using direct aid on pitons with some frequency.

The bolt isn't necessary NOW, when anyone with a #1 camalot can slam it in and surf the Deathboard with (relative) safety, I bet when they were creeping up that thing back before a five piece bolt had even been invented, that little bit of reassurance went a long way towards psychological buffering for the task of chucking a few dozen bowling-ball sized chunks of sandstone off the Fang so that the creaky bastard could be stood upon. Historical perspecive, sir.
By Katya gh
Mar 19, 2012

Yes, make sure you have a few #2s (they weren't kidding) and save them for after the crux. The crack above isn't hard, just scary if you can't protect it and are tip-toeing around on bits of rock wondering if they'll break off.

And if you happen to find and get out a number 4 in the first pitch which I over-cammed as I was walking it up, I would love to get it back as it was my new found partner's piece and he worked on it for quite awhile with no success. I will make a donation in your name to a charity. Thanks so much. cmcdsmith@hotmail.com
By Stone Nude
Aug 5, 2012

Anchor replaced on Pitch 2. One of the Rawl shorty bolts that made up the 3 bolt anchor snapped at the threads under hand pressure while removing.

Anchor is now 2 stainless 1/2 inch with Fixe ASCA ring hangers. All holes patched.

The upper anchors still need some attention to remove old studs from previous incarnations. We didn't have the necessary tools with us, but hope to return and finish the job.
By Sean C
Sep 17, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Pitch 4 is a must do. Crux on the 2nd is easy and only a couple moves long. Also be very careful where you throw the ropes when repelling. Got our ropes stuck twice in the cracks, almost to the point of having to cut one.
By Weston L
From: Summerlin, NV
Feb 5, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Great route, climbed the first few pitches back in November.

P2 anchors are really effing high (perhaps due to rope pull on rappel?)...I'm 5'7 and it was a stretch for me. Absolutely stellar route, I mean...jesus, does it get much better than this?!?!!? If you are considering climbing this and are looking at it on MP, go climb it. Seriously. Bring lots of 2's and 3's - we had 3 each, 4 would not go unused.
By George Bracksieck
Apr 25, 2013

The cemented sands that have lingered so long as to provide so much fabulous movement are merely Jurassic, not Triassic. The projecting flake and jammed blocks low on pitch four feel secure enough to use for the next less-yawning stretch of time, and besides, there awaits an obscure bolt, so you can jam instead of cam.
By Colin Parker
Administrator
From: Idyllwild, CA
Apr 28, 2013
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

For those who care, it is barely possible to rappel from the top of pitch 3 to the top of pitch 2 with a single 80m rope. You will not make it to the rappel anchors out left at the top of Felipe, but if you leave your second rope here above the crux pitch you'll be fine.
By Pitty
From: Marbach
May 10, 2013

we climbed it today, absolutely superb!!!
The loose shark fin in pitch 4 has been stabilised with a small bolder, now it is fixed and doesn't move if you don't pull sidewards.....For me seems pretty safe, unless you don't really need it......
By Arch Richardson
Oct 23, 2013

Second pitch is only 5.9 if you french the crux...a few stiff pulls and you're cruisin the bomber handcrack. There, i said it.
By Stone Nude
Jan 3, 2014

^^^^THAT is some funny shit. Ev, in your world is there some choss park superintendant that is the person in charge of loose rock maintenance and/or shoring up?

That big fang will never come out. Many, many happy climbers comfortably free this route every year. All of them accept that climbing desert sandstone involves the occasional loose block, on trade routes. Try a few looser, less traveled routes and see if you find Triassic scary. For instance, in terms of loose rock/bad rock, on a scale of one to ten, Triassic is a one, and Community Pillar would be a six.

I've done Triassic a dozen times, replaced bolts on it, chucked loose rock off. The Fang is rather boringly stable these days. It used to be fun when it seesawed around under body weight.
By smassey
From: CO
Jan 5, 2014

This may be the funniest thing I have seen in awhile. Thank you Ev, and of course Senor VaG, for keeping me entertained. Uh, Ev, if you're unfamiliar with American public land management, there's this thing called "Wilderness", and it's designated by our beloved Congress, and this particular route happens to fall within one of them. Typically within "Wilderness", there's no "choss police" or "trammeling" (actions that reflect the hand of man, in case you slept through HS English). Hence, no one "official" is concerned that there is a "loose" block on Route Blah Blah Blah. Or unofficial for that matter... You are free to come and go, and live or die, as you have the knowledge, skills, and ability to...

Vegas VaG, I did not find CP to be particularly loose, but then I was admittedly in a relationship at the time... Maybe others have had different experiences...

Also, FWIW, the only person I know that could be considered a "choss park superintendent" would be Mike McHugh, and I feel like he would be pretty excited about the (titular) upgrade. Cheers, Mike.
By shakey
Jan 15, 2014

Yo just thought I'd throw it out there, climbed this just before new years, the tooth and the two blocks holding it in place rotated about 20-30 degrees when my buddy pushed against it, so be careful aka don't place any gear before the bolt as it would def. sever the rope... but in the words of Mr. Coyne, 'its no drama' just a bit of dynamic rock climbing
By Weston L
From: Summerlin, NV
Jul 26, 2014
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

The 4th pitch really is fantastic. Don't be scared by all of the babble about the diving board...tread carefully and be rewarded with glory above. Enjoy and be safe!
By Patrick Mulligan
Aug 20, 2014

The fourth pitch is by far the best of the climb IMHO. The Long crack pitches are fun but monotonous and the crux is a 2 move wonder. The fourth pitch has the most consistent and interesting climbing. It would be a waste to skip it. Its been years since I've last done it, but the climb to the top was fun as well and allows you to skip through the multiple parties often on the route.