Note: Route Beta at the Bottom
After Bishop we drove to Las Vegas to check out Red Rocks Canyon. I really enjoy visiting Red Rocks because of it’s close proximity to Las Vegas (civilization) yet it is still so majestic and grand and so full of solitude.
Red Rocks has a special place in my heart as this was the place that inspired me to learn Trad climbing 2 years ago when I picked up the giant guidebook only to find a small section of it for sports climbing. So with a year of trad climbing under my belt (maybe 10 times trad climbing total) , I decided to tackle the most famous route of them all: Epinephrine. Luckily, my friend DT was up for the shenanigans.
Epinephrine is a 500m trad climb rated 5.9 that can be linked in a day with 11 long pitches + some simul climbing. I had climbed to 5.10s in Trad climbing before and figured it shouldn’t be too difficult. What I hadn’t really realized was: 1. My longest ever multipitch was maybe 150m The Chief on an easy 5.7 slab that I only followed. 2. My longest multipitch lead was sports climbing about 100m 3. I had never done offwidth chimney climbing before, and 5.9 chimneys are hard when you don’t know what you are doing! My partner also had never done such a long climb before. 4. We had never simul climbed.
However, we persevered and managed to finish the climb in 12 hours and were following the party ahead of us for most of the climb. Which seems to be typical for gumbies like us. We topped out just as the sun was setting though the descent was brutal (3 hours) as in the dark it was hard to find the markers though I am glad to say we did not get lost.
All in all, a most memorable route for many reasons. An undoubtedly my hardest route to date in terms of length, endurance and beauty. This climb has only cemented my love of doing long trad multi pitches as it gives me the real sense of adventure that drew me into climbing in the first place.
Gear we took with us: 10 draws, 1 set of nuts, cams 0.1-4 with doubles of 0.5-4 (For chimney noobs like us, we were very glad to have double 4s as we didn’t have to bump gear up).
Rope: we bought a single 70m rope and were able to link the pitches as suggested in mountain project. Retreat was not an option. (though possible even with a 70m rope if one sacrifice a tiny bit of gear). There are lots of very stuck cams in the chimney pitches.
Other stuff we bought up: a small patagonia link (17L) bag to put our water bottles, snacks, with handles to tow the bag up through the chimney pitches. A jacket because it was cold.
Water: The climb was in the shade for 95% of the climb. This was in April where it was 30c in the sun but quite chilly in the shade. For both of us, we took 1L to drink for walk in, 2L for during the climb, 1L for the descent. It was just barely enough but we were pretty dehydrated still; especially on the descent.
Simul-climbing: We short roped to 35m and simul climbed. The 2nd portion of the simulclimbing (see photo) looks very intimidating from afar but there is actually a really good path to the top.
End: There is a log book at the top of the peak. Sign it!
Approach: Relatively straightforward. Follow comments on MP and mainly the river bed. Do go as early as possible. We reached the route start at 6am and there were 2 parties ahead of us. Parties that started 2-3 groups behind us had to bail due to some really slow groups behind us. (not me!)
Descent: In daylight it would probably take 1 hour to walk along the ridge and 1 hour to descend. At night, it took us 3 hours total without getting lost although there was a bit of backtracking. The details are in the comments of MP route page. ProTip: The ridge walk takes forever, follow the cairns and if you don’t see any cairns every 10 seconds you are going the wrong way. Their are a fair amount of “false ciarns” but you will notice the ciarn numbers decreasing rapidly if you are off route. If you are descending before an hour walk, you are probably going the wrong way. Once you start descending, you will see reflective tape on the trees that you can see with headlamps.