Rock Climbing Prince of Darkness in Red Rock Canyon
We decided to do it again! The famous trio (me, Ash and Randi) were off to rock climb another local multi-pitch classic in Black Velvet Canyon. This time our sites were set on Prince of Darkness (5.10c). If you click on the pictures below, you will be linked to a better resolution/quality picture!
While this rock climb was primarily bolted, there was a few places where I was glad to have taken our single rack of aliens. The reputation for this climb was not great among our colleagues. The rumor was that this climb was monotonous and consisted primarily of high stepping and crimping all the way up the face with only hanging belays as breaks from the “crimping and pimping”. That being said, it still looked like a lot of fun, and it is in Black Velvet Canyon, which is one of my favorite areas inside the Red Rock conservation area. Ash and I convinced Randi to come along for the fun. Our party of three promised to make the hanging belays a little more interesting. We used twin/half ropes to accommodate our party and to give us the required double ropes for the rappel later in the day.
We started our approach around 9:00 and arrived at the base of the climb around 9:30. There were two other parties rock climbing the shared first pitch of Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a), but no one on our route! We were in luck. Ash took the first lead and soon arrived at the first pitch anchor.
I climbed up to Ash (and to our last comfortable belay ledge) and took a neat picture of Randi on her way up.
There were a couple climbing Fiddler on the Roof (5.10d), a notoriously run out climb next to ours, and I got a good picture of them on the traverse pitch.
Ash was still on for leading, and we looked up at the next 5.10b pitch. You could see the rest of the climb from here, and it looked pretty steep!
The pitch ended up being a lot more sustained and vertical than it appeared with sequency edging, crimping, and pulling up the vertical face. I followed next and Randi followed last. This pitch proved to be quite strenuous for Randi.
Now it was my turn to lead, and I headed up the next 5.10a pitch. Randi got a cool picture of me on lead.
After my lead, I put Ash and Randi on belay and brought them up to our hanging belay nest. I led up the next pitch and repeated the sequence. All in all, I found the climbing to be somewhat sporty in nature, but with a good variety of sequency moves and sustained edging. The climbing reminded me of Inti Watana (see previous trip report), although I enjoyed this climb a bit more because of its sustained nature and length (not as long). I got a few good pictures of Ash and Randi climbing up together. Cute couple!
Ash then led up the next 5.9 pitch, which brought us to the bottom of the crux (and final) pitch. Beautiful rock! We shot a couple more pictures for fun.
I racked up and went up the crux pitch. This was my favorite pitch of the route, probably because the rock seemed more beautiful to me, there was a fun boulder problem crux off of the anchor, and the rock quality improved greatly. After climbing to the first non-hanging belay at the top of the climb, I brought Ash up to admire the view with me. Success! We had completed the climb with no injuries, tolerable foot pain, and with a group of three.
We rappelled to the base of the climb, stopping at each belay. When we reached the bottom of the climb, Randi found that one of her sacrificial snack bars had been half chewed and then placed into her back pack. Randi likes to leave a sacrificial snack bar on the ground outside the packs in hopes that rodents will be so distracted by the sacrificial bar they completely forget about the back packs. The half chewed and redeposited bar was a strange incident, but at least our packs were intact!
We got a group “after” shot, and I took a last picture of Ash, and we headed out as the sun started to creep behind the canyon walls. All in all, this climb was much better than I had expected, and I was stoked to have had a fun day on the rock with some of my best friends. It really is true; climbing partners do make or break a good climbing day, and today was totally made by my excellent company. We ended the day with some brews at the Yard House and headed home.
Ash making a funny face (just for fun)
October 15, 2014. Posted by: nelsonday