Dark Shadows is probably the best climb of its grade at Red Rocks. It is one of the very first climbs we did there but Lucie wanted to climb it again since she never had a chance to lead it. Because of its high quality and a short approach (30 min), this climb is very popular and unless you are the base at sunrise, it is likely that you will stand in line! An alternative strategy is to climb it in the afternoon, after all other parties have hopefully come down. When we arrived at the base shortly after noon, there was only one party of three on the climb and fortunately, they were rappelling down.

The climb follows a dihedral system capped off by a giant roof. The first pitch goes up a 5.5 face which does not really deserve the PG13 rating (there are two bolts and the climbing is very easy below the first bolt). Following the face is a right facing corner (5.7) and a short traverse to bolted anchors on a good ledge. The second pitch climbs a beautiful varnished dihedral (5.7) in 150 ft to a ledge. The third pitch (5.8) goes up a curving crack on the right wall and is relatively short (75 ft). Three double rope raps get you down to the pool at the base of the route. Wet ropes are essentially unavoidable.

 

Dark Shadows, Red Rocks, NV

March 28, 2003 - Rock climb, 5.8, 3 pitches, trad.
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Dark Shadows (climbers on the third pitch).
 
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Starting the first pitch.
 
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Going up the right facing corner on pitch 1.
 
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The beautiful varnished corner of pitch 2. A great pitch!
 
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Finishing the 2nd pitch.
 
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Just below the crux, on the 3rd pitch.
(high res. images are about 300KB)