Guided First Ascents at Red Rock, NV


Red Rock Canyon is not a very old climbing area in the scheme of things. A small cadre of locals and a handful of visiting climbers have primarily been responsible for the areas development over the last thirty years.

Some of the best climbs in the Conservation Area have been established over the last few years. The super-classic route, Birdland (5.7+, II+) was developed in 2001. Man's Best Friend, a stellar two-pitch bolted route, was put up in 2005. And the absolutely phenomenal route, Hotflash (5.8, IV), was established in 2007.

A number of shorter one-pitch routes have also been developed all over the Conservation Area. American Alpine Institute guides were responsible for developing sport and toproping areas like the Hamlet and the Existential Wall. Others have established walls like the Ironman Wall and the Back Forty.

There are two types of first ascents available in Red Rock. The first type is the shorter, bolted sport route. And the second type is the multi-pitch adventure line.

A climber pulls through a roof on Mr. Z (5.7, III). This moderate six-pitch line was established in 2003

A climber pulls through a roof on Mr. Z (5.7, III). This moderate six-pitch line was established in 2003.
Jason Martin

There are literally miles and miles of unclimbed rock in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Most of the routes at the peripheries of the canyons have been explored, but there is a tremendous amount of climbing available deeper in the Conservation Area. Institute guides scramble up and down the canyons regularly while doing popular routes and are always on the lookout for a really adventurous line. And while not every new route is guaranteed to become a classic, every new route is an adventure.

We cannot guarantee anything about first ascents. We don't know how long they'll be and we don't know how hard they'll be. We don't even know if we'll make it up the chosen line - but that's all part of the adventure.

Guided First Ascents at Red Rock, NV


A climber on the First Ascent of Pricks and Ticks (5.9, II+).

A climber on the First Ascent of Pricks and Ticks (5.9, II+). Dyan Padagas

One of the great joys of a first ascent is the ability to name a route. This puts a personal stamp on the ascent.

There are some longstanding traditions when it comes to route names. The first and foremost tradition is to try to keep the name in line with other names on the wall. For example on the Hamlet wall, all of the names are from Shakespeare's play. On the Panty Wall, every route is named after underwear. And on the Rad Cliff, most of the routes have a Harry Potter theme.

The trick to naming a route is to be creative, to keep in line with the names of adjacent routes and to comment on your experience on a new line. As a result, naming a route can be a complicated thing.

When you do a first ascent, you are part of a first ascent team. All members of the team have to agree on the name of the route before the name is accepted. Your guide will help you to understand the ethics of an area so that the name fits.

Remember, your name will be attached to the route in the next guidebook. If it is somehow outside the norm for a wall, the armchair climbers on the internet will go on the attack.


Post Trip Reporting

Once you have completed your trip and you have decided on a name with your guide, the guide will report the route to and to the appropriate guidebook authors. We don't have any control over what guidebook authors choose to report, but we will do everything that we can to make sure that they have information on the route that you climbed.


Prerequisites for Red Rock First Ascents

Due to the potentially serious nature of this first ascents trip, there are a number of things that potential climbers must agree to:  

  • All climbers should be able to consistently follow 5.9.
  • Potential climbers must climb with the guide who will lead the first ascent trip prior to the climb. This could be on the same trip or on a previous trip.
  • Climbers should not plan to fly out the following morning. While it is highly unlikely that you will get stuck up high and have to have an unplanned bivy, the possibility is there. Climber should not fly out until the afternoon following an ascent.
  • Climbers on first ascent trips must agree to the terms of route naming previously spelled out.


First Ascent Trip Reports

The most recent First Ascent report:


Check out a trip report for Pricks and Ticks (5.9):



Guided First Ascents at Red Rock, NV

Prices and Logistics

First Ascent Rates

Private rates. Contact the AAI office for further details.

Meeting Time and Location for Full-Day Programs

Participants can meet their guide at at a location nearby the Red Rock Scenic Drive. Meeting time is 8am; the days generally finish at 5pm.    


Since you will be joining us for a privately guided trip, you will be responsible providing transportation for yourself and your guide from our Rendezvous spot into the Red Rock scenic loop road and return here at the end of your course. Approximately 23 miles RT. 

Camping, Lodging, and Directions

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.

Guided First Ascents at Red Rock, NV

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