Black Magic, Red Rocks, NV

April 24, 2008 / 5.8, 4p, trad.

Today, we need something short. We are saving our energy for a longer route (Moutain Beast) tomorrow. We head to First Creek canyon to climb "Black Magic", a 4-pitch 5.8 route with a relatively short approach (50 minutes on mostly flat trail). It is on the same wall as the classic Lotta Balls, but follows a line on the right side of the wall.

Very nice route. The first pitch looks impressive from below. It climbs beautiful black varnished rock to under a roof and makes a short traverse right to exit on an arete and into a 5.6 crack. I though I'd have trouble with it, but it goes well. A party of two that was in front of us is still at the first belay when I get there. I wait several minutes before being able to set up an anchor, then more before I can bring Eric upů

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The Lotta Balls wall, home to the classic Lotta Balls and Black Magic.
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Black Magic follows a line on the right hand-side of the Lotta Balls wall.
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On the intimidating traverse of the first pitch (5.8).
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Higher on pitch 1.
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At the belay atop pitch 2 (5.6).

The second pitch goes up a steep black face on natural pro to a belay anchor some distance below a white roof.

The next pitch skirts the roof on the right, via a pretty committing finger traverse above and right of the last piece (the leader risks a pendulum fall onto slabs below before clipping the bolt). A slightly runout but easy diagonal traverse back left gets one to a crack which is followed to the top in two pitches.

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Just below the commiting move around the roof (pitch 3, 5.8)...
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...which is not as bad as it looks.
     

We walk off, and make three short raps in the gully behind and to the left (climber's left). We chat at length with a couple of climbers from Seattle after that. Back to bus to quickly prepare our gear for tomorrow and have dinner. The alarm is set to 4:40AM.