- We left the car at the Black Velvet parking area at 6 am and arrived at the base of the route around 6:40am. There was a party racking up and another party already on the route ahead of them. We waited a bit for the party ahead of us, and started climbing at 7:05am. By this time, two other parties had arrived and started up after us. In the chimneys, one of the parties ahead of us bailed. We climbed upward at a steady pace, keeping up with the party ahead of us and gradually gaining ground on the two parties below us. We passed the party ahead of us at the top of the route. We finished the route at 2:45pm, began the ascent up to the top of Black Velvet Peak at 3:00pm, stopped on the summit for 15 minutes, and were at the car shortly before 5 pm. A nice full day of climbing and back in time for dinner! That’s the way to do it!
- Cams – #0.2-4 with double 0.75-3
- Chris – #0.2-4 with double #1-3
- Tucker double #0.2-4 except single #0.75-3
- Eva – Liked having #5
- Aaron – Liked having #5
- Hunter – #0.1-5 with double #0.3-3
- Jared – Next time only doubles in 0.3-0.75 and double #4
- Tony – #0.3-4 with double 0.75-3
- Lani – #0.2-3 with double 1-2
- Benjamin – Gear to #4 with double 0.75-3
- Nathan – #0.3-4 with double 0.4-3
- Justin – Doubles to #3 and one #4
- Ben – Doubles 0.3-3 and one #4
- 10-15 draws
P1 – 5.8, 60′
Climb out of the creekbed past bolts to a big ledge (5.8). Easily links with P2.
P2 – 5.7, 110′
Continue on past a couple more bolts to a bushy ledge 170 feet above the creekbed.
P3 – 5.8, 150′
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. May need some rope stretch here.
P4 – 5.9, 110′
The main event: chimney up a wide crack with good pro, possibly to a ledge on the right wall with bolts? Someone has rappelled from top of P4 with a single 70m.
P5 – 5.9, 150′
Make an awkward exit out of chimney, then climb upwards, finishing with a splitter handcrack.
P6 – 5.9, 120′
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.
P7 – 5.7, 180′
Climb the face above the top of the tower, passing an overhang, aiming at a brushy ledge.
P8 – 5.9, 80′
Traverse easily right to the Elephant’s Trunk. Ascend this to a ledge at its top. Can be linked with P7.
P9 – 5.9, 120′
Climb up the crack system (some bolts) to a bolted belay at a ledge. (90′, 5.8+). The rap route goes straight down from here, avoiding pitches 5 and 6.
P9 – 5.9, 120′
Continue up the crack system, stopping at the next bolted belay
P10 – 5.7, 160′
Continue up the crack system, stopping at the next bolted belay.
P11 – 5.9, 140′
Continue up crack and face, making a move over a juggy roof to a belay ledge. (good gear, use jugs left of crack).
P12 – 5.7, 160′
Continue up the crack system.
Follow the ramp up and right. The ramp finishes at a huge tree on the Northwest ridge of Black Velvet Peak. The terrain is mostly 4th class with a short exposed 5.4 section. We simulclimbed this part quickly.
Either rap the route of continue to the top of the crack. There is no rap anchor at the top of the pitch, though you’ll see some bolts with missing hangers where there used to be an anchor. You can use a full 70m rope (and maybe some simul climbing) to get to the bolts at the top of the first 4th class section (see route exit below).