Guided Rock Climbing in Red Rock - Las Vegas, Nevada Overview
As the fall temperatures and wet weather start to overtake the
more temperate climbing areas in the U.S., rock climbers begin
their annual migration to the desert southwest in search of the
sunny skies and warm rock found there for most of the fall, winter
and spring months. The core season in Red Rock Canyon starts in
September and continues through May. Throughout the majority of the
season climbers find good climbing conditions on dry rock. The
shortest days of the year can be brisk in the deeper canyons, but
there are plenty of sunny and warm options for climbing throughout
Introduction to the Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area -- often referred to
as Red Rocks -- is unique in North American climbing. No other area
offers such extensive climbing in a beautiful desert environment
while at the same time enjoying the ease of access and amenities of
a nearby metropolitan area. Only 20 miles from downtown Las Vegas,
Red Rock rises in a 3000-foot wall of red, pink, and cream colored
Aztec sandstone. The cliffs form a north-south trending barrier
over ten miles long and are cut perpendicularly with many major
canyons and innumerable smaller ones. When you are climbing, the
only sign of human impact is an occasional glimpse of the narrow
access road, so while you are close to civilization, it feels like
you are deep in a desert wilderness area.
The peaks and formations of Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las
Vegas. Jason Martin
On the walls of these canyons and on the towers and summits
which lie between them, you will find some of the longest and best
non-granitic climbs in the country. The exceptionally hard, high
quality sandstone of Red Rock offers long continuous crack lines
and steep, exposed face climbing on fine desert varnish. The
canyons and cliffs of Red Rock have retained a true wilderness
feeling. There are very few established trails in the area and most
of the approaches involve easy cross-country travel, often up
isolated, narrow canyons lined with juniper and shaded by the
many-hued rock walls which rise above.
In addition to hundreds of one-pitch sport climbs, Red Rock
boasts an unusually large number of very long, high quality routes
of moderate technical difficulty. Many fine climbs of grade III or
IV in length lie in the 5.6 to 5.8 range. Some of the harder routes
with a difficulty of 5.9 or 5.10 can only be described as desert
classics. To take full advantage of the fine climbing these superb,
long routes have to offer we recommend a maximum client to guide
ratio of 2 to 1.
Guided Rock Climbing in Red Rock - Las Vegas, Nevada Prices and Details
Half-Day Courses & Climbs
$300 - Private
$190 - (per person) 2 people
$140 - (per person) 3 or more people
Available for Beginner and Intermediate level courses.
Participants can meet their guide at at a location nearby the Red
Rock Scenic Drive, or at any hotel on the Las Vegas Strip or west
of the Strip. There are two options for meeting/pick-up time. You
may meet your guide at 8am with the day finishing at 1pm or you may
meet your guide at 11am with the day finishing time of 5pm.
Full-Day Courses & Climbs
$325 - Private
$235 - (per person) 2 people
$190 - (per person) 3 or more people
Multi-Day Courses & Climbs
$300 - (per day) Private
$210 - (per person, per day) 2 people
$170 - (per person, per day) 3 or more people
Meeting Time and Location for Full-Day
A climber belaying a leader in Red Rock Canyon. Scott Massey
Available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level
courses. Participants can meet their guide at at a location
nearby the Red Rock Scenic Drive, or at any hotel on the Las Vegas
Strip or west of the Strip. Pick-up/meeting time is 8am; the
days genereally finish at 5pm with a return to your hotel by
If you would like to do a longer route that requires an early
morning meeting, please request the route by name and the office
will work with both you and the guide to set an appropriate meeting
time and location.
For beginners and other climbers who do not have their own
personal climbing equipment, we offer a complete rental package for
$15 per day. The package includes climbing shoes, helmet,
harness, a belay device, and any other equipment deemed necessary
by the guide.
Camping, Lodging, Shuttle Service, and
For a listing of places to camp, hotels (near Red Rock Canyon
and also in Las Vegas), and directions to Red Rock Canyon, download
our Red Rock Canyon Camping, Lodging, and Directions
brochure to the right.
Shuttle Service: We are able to provide
transportation to and from Red Rock Canyon from McCarran
International Airport, hotels on the strip, hotels Downtown, or
hotels west of the Strip. This service costs $25 per person per day
if there are two or more climbers, and $40 a day if there is only
Guided Rock Climbing in Red Rock - Las Vegas, Nevada Routes
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, or Red Rocks, is
home to literally thousands of beginner, intermediate and advanced
level multi-pitch routes. On private programs you may choose to
work on basic skills, movement skills, anchor building, rock
rescue, or leadership skills on single-pitch terrain, or you may
choose to climb a classic multi-pitch route. Following is a
sample of some of the more well-known multi-pitch lines
that Red Rock has to offer. Beginner Multi-Pitch Routes
Chips and Salsa: Grade i+, 5.4 - This little
three-pitch jaunt has limited exposure and easy moves. It's a great
outing for a total beginner on their first day out.
Man's Best Friend (I+, 5.8) is an excellent route for
beginning-level leaders. Jason Martin
Solar Slab Gully: Grade II, 5.4 - A five-pitch line,
this route is used to access climbs on the Solar Slab Wall. With
limited exposure and a massive ledge at the top of the route, this
line provides for a nice multi-pitch experience that "takes you
Snake Charmer: Grade I+, 5.7 - A very easy little
route close to the car with one or two 5.7 moves.
Tuna and Chips/Dolphin Safe: Grade I+, 5.7 - These two
routes are adjacent to each other and both provide an excellent
introduction to slab climbing on sandstone. It is not uncommon for
people to climb one of these routes on their very first day
Physical Graffiti: Grade II, 5.7 - An ultra-classic
route, this line provides two to three fanstastic pitches up an
absolutely stellar crack-system.
Man's Best Friend: Grade I+, 5.8 - It is not uncommon
for new leaders to lead up this very clean two-pitch bolted climb.
This is an excellent route for the novice leader due to the fact
that the bolts have been placed very closely together, limiting
one's potential to take a fall of any significance. Moderate Multi-Pitch Routes
Geronimo: Grade II+, 5.6 - A beautiful four pitch
line, this is one of the only rock climbing routes in Red Rock with
a summit register. It's always fun to see who was there before you
and then to write your name and a little note in the register.
Cat in the Hat: Grade II+, 5.6+ - One of the first,
and still one of the greatest, super-classic climbs in Conservation
Area. This line requires from four to six pitches of mostly
moderate climbing in a stellar position. The exposure on the last
pitch is often recalled upon wistfully by AAI climbers years after
they have completed the route.
Cookie Monster: Grade II+, 5.7 - A variation to Cat in
the Hat, this line provides two very long and steep pitches with
excellent holds and good protection. For those looking for a little
less crowd and a little more exposure, this is a great alternative
start to Cat in the Hat.
Olive Oil: Grade III, 5.7 - This beautiful line climbs
up the Rose Tower to a minor summit. A combination of beautiful
cracks, nice face climbing, and a deep and mildly complex chimney
make this great option for a solid 5.7 climber.
Birdland: II+, 5.7+ - Often referred to as a modern
classic, Birdland has recently become super popular. But don't
fret, there are lots of variations and side-routes that allow you
to play on the Birdland wall and climb all the Birdland pitches,
even when it is busy.
Solar Slab Wall: IV, 5.6-5.9 - This sunny wall is the
perfect place for a winter multi-pitch climb. There are lots of
moderate and intermediate level routes that can be easily linked
into other routes. These include, but are not limited to, lines
like Johnny Vegas (II+, 5.7), Buellah's Book
(II+, 5.9), Horndogger Select (III, 5.8), Going
Nuts (III, 5.6), Solar Slab (IV, 5.6) and
Sundog (IV, 5.10a). Intermediate Multi-Pitch Routes
A climber scampers up out of the infamous tunnel on Tunnel Vision
(III, 5.7) Jason Martin
Purblind Pillar: III, 5.8 - Found on the same
wall as Tunnel Vision, this newish line is the longest on the wall.
At six rope-stretching pitches, Purblind provides mostly 5.6ish
climbing with a few 5.8 moves thrown in for good measure.
Lotta Balls: II+, 5.8 - A wild four-pitch route shaded
route that require climbers to essentially climb little marbles
protruding from steep black varnished rock. This is a really fun
line on a beautiful wall.
Frogland: Grade III, 5.8 - A nice six-pitch shaded
line that provides pitch after pitch of interesting face and crack
climbing. When you climb this route on a warm spring day, the frogs
croaking down in the creekbed give you a very good idea of why this
route is named Frogland.
Crimson Chrysallis: Grade IV, 5.8+ - Perhaps the
steepest route of its grade in all of Red Rock, Crimson is
nine-pitch super-classic. If you elect to do this climb, be sure to
speak to your guide about an early morning meeting as it is a very
busy route. If it's too busy to get on, then the
nearby Ginger Cracks (IV, 5.9) is a great
Y2K: Grade II+, 5.10b-It's not too hard to figure out
when this route went up... This line which is mostly 5.8 or 5.9,
has one stellar 5.10 roof-move with a lot of air below. The move
provides a great introduction to harder climbing high off the
deck. Advanced Mutipitch Routes
Community Pillar: Grade IV, 5.9 - A great prep route
for Epinephrine, Community Pillar takes the
experience of spelunking to a completely new level. There are
multiple pitches inside the mountain! And indeed, at one point you
climb through a tight squeeze that cavers might be more used to
than rock climbers. The route has a very unique and very cool
The glass-smooth chimneys of Epinephrine (IV, 5.9). We usually pull
our packs up on tethers through the chimneys so that we can put our
back and feet on opposing walls. Rich Draves
Epinephrine: Grade IV, 5.9 - This is one of the big
daddys of Red Rock climbing. This fifteen-pitch old school 5.9
route climbs through deep chimneys and out on a very exposed face.
Climbers should be sold 5.10 trad followers with a lot of endurance
before attempting this route. It commonly takes 12 to 16 hours
car-to car, but it is well worth it!
Rainbow Buttress: Grade IV, 5.9 - Another giant route,
deep back in the Oak Creek Canyon, Rainbow Buttress is a
serious adventure route with a wild walk-off.
Black Orpheus: Grade IV, 5.10a - A beautiful long line
and a great introduction to the bigger routes in Red Rock. There is
only a little bit of 5.10 (two or three moves) and lots of 5.8 and
Dream of Wild Turkeys: Grade IV, 5.10a - This is a
historic line. It was one of the first to be opened in Red Rock
where bolts were used to connect a series of natural features. And
indeed, this way that the features were connected could be throught
of as a work of art.
Triassic Sands: Grade III, 5.10c - Wild moves with
exposure give this route a well deserved reputation for being both
cool and super-fun. Very Advanced Multi-Pitch Routes
Birdhunter Buttress: Grade IV, 5.9 - An
adventure route to cap all adventure routes in Red Rock. This
thirteen pitch line is a serious endeavor that requires both
stamina and an open mind to "adventure-style climbing."
Inti Wantana: Grade IV, 5.10c - A somewhat
bolted face climb up the massive flanks of Mount Wilson. There
isn't a moment when you don't have a out-of-this-world view on a
climb like this.
Eagle Dance: Grade IV, 5.10c, C1 - A striking
line that climbs straight up the center of the imposing Eagle
Resolution Arete: Grade V, 5.10c, C2 - The
granddaddy of big adventure climbs in Red Rock, most parties take
two days to climb this striking feature on Mount
Levitation 29: Grade IV, 5.11c - When it comes
to hard climbing, you simply can't beat Levitation. Stong climbers
come from all over the coutnry to test themselves on this beautiful
route on the Eagle Wall.
Rainbow Wall - Original Route: Grade V, 5.12- or
5.9, C2 - This old aid route is slowly becoming a popular free
climb. For those that have the skill to climb 5.12, this is a great
objective...but it is also a great objective for the aid climber
looking for a moderate overnight climb. Guided Rock Climbing in Red Rock - Las Vegas, Nevada Programs
The following programs are scheduled courses with set dates.
Content from these courses may be offered on a private basis.
Please click on the links to see dates and prices.
A climber top-roping at the Aquifer, a great location for beginners
to work on their movement and anchor skills. Jason Martin
Camp - Learn or review basic techniques and advanced
systems in this four-day program.
Lead - An introduction to traditional rock leadership,
designed for those who have done some outdoor climbing and are
ready to take the next step.
Falling and Commitment Camp - A program with Arno Ilgner,
author of The Rock Warrior's Way. Learn mental techniques to
overcome your fear of falling and to step up your climbing
Program - Climb and name a new route in Red Rock
Aid Climbing and Big
Wall Technique - Learn how to use direct aid and train to
climb a some of the biggest and steepest pieces of rock on the
Pitch Instructor Certification Course - This program
prepares accomplished recreational climbers to become rock climbing
Programs - These team building climbing and rappelling
programs are for for groups of four to forty... Red Rock Rendezvous - The climbing event of the year, with
support and instruction from AAI guides. Institute programs bookend
the event so that climbers may complete low-ratio courses before or
after the Rendezvous.
Guided Rock Climbing in Red Rock - Las Vegas, Nevada Advocacy
Access Fund has
identified Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area as the most
threatened climbing area in the United States. This is for a
variety of reasons, including:
proximity to major metropolitan city and the lack of respect
that some urban dwellers have for wilderness
difficult policies concerning the management of fixed
encroachement of housing developments
The Kraft Boulder Trail - completed during Red Rock Rendezvous,
2011 by the Las Vegas Climbers' Liaison Council and organized by
former AAI guide, Scott Massey
The proximity to the city and the ease of access to some of the
crags provides those with no wilderness ethics access to a pristine
environment. Rare native petroglyphs have been vandalized and
litter and graffiti have been a problem.
Fixed anchors have been banned in the Red Rock backcountry since
1998. This particular situation has made it difficult for
people to develop new routes deep in the Red Rock wilderness.
Fixed anchors such as bolts are often a necessary safety
feature needed to connect a series of crack systems on a face.
Additionally, they are often used for rappel descents. As such they
are a necessary feature in new route development.
Since the turn of the century, there has been an ongoing battle
between Red Rock advocates and developers. The developers
would like to see the outskirts of Red Rock Canyon turned into
housing developments and minimalls. Obviously, those who love the
wilderness character of the Conservation Area are hugely opposed to
such a move.
American Alpine Institute guides have been deeply involved in
the politics surrounding Red Rock Canyon since the year 2000. Jason
Martin, AAI's first Red Rock lead guide, became involved in the Las
Vegas Climbers' Liaison Council -- a local climbing advocacy group
-- on the Board of Directors. For eight years, Jason worked with
the LVCLC on the bolting issue, while also participating in
trail-buidling projects, litter clean-ups, graffiti removal
projects, and the removal and replacement of old bolts with the
American Safe Climbing
In 2004, Jason became involved with Mountain Gear's annual Red
Rock Rendezvous, one of the biggest climbing festivals of the year.
Since that time, AAI guides have been supporting and instructing at
the event which raises money for the Access Fund, the
American Alpine Club,
the American Safe Climbing Association, and of course, the Las
Vegas Climbers' Liaison Council.
In 2008, Jason moved into the AAI office, taking on a management
position in the company. At that time, AAI guide Scott Massey was
promoted to the lead guide position in Red Rock. And Scott not only
picked up where Jason left off, but expanded significantly on what
Jason and other members of the LVCLC accomplished. Scott not only
put together a number of clean-ups and trail-building projects, but
also replaced literally hundreds of old and bad bolts througbhout
the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. His work was so
prolific that it would be no exageration to say that if you have
climbed in Red Rock, you have likely clipped a bolt that Scott has
A WAG Bag Dispenser near the trailhead at Pine Creek Canyon. Scott
Massey installed these in the winter of 2011-2012. Scott Massey
In addition to the other work that Scott was involved with, he
also spearheaded a project to help cut down on human waste in the
backcountry. Scott installed four WAG Bag dispensers at trailheads.
Wag Bags are bags specifically designed for human waste removal.
This project helped to cut down on human waste in the backcountry
and at the crags considerably.
In 2012, the work that Scott was doing in Red Rock was
recognized by the American Mountain Guides Association. He resigned
from the American Alpine Instittue and became the Director of
Advocacy and Outreach for the AMGA.
AAI Guide Andrew Yasso took Scott's place as lead guide in 2012.
And along with Doug Foust, another local Red Rock guide, AAI
continues to work with the Las Vegas Climbers' Liaison Council, the
American Safe Climbing Association and Red Rock Rendezvous to
promote and protect Red Rock Canyon.
To learn more about the issues facing Red Rock Canyon and what
you can do about it, log onto:
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