Black Orpheus, Red Rocks Route Photo

Black Orpheus 5.9+

Black Arch Wall, Oak Creek Canyon

  • Black Orpheus Sun ExposureRoute quality:
  • Black Orpheus First AscentJoanne and Jorge Urioste, 1979
  • Black Orpheus Pitch InfoNumber of pitches: 10
  • Black Orpheus Approach TimeApproach Time: 1¼-1½ hour
  • Black Orpheus Climbing TimeClimbing Time: 5-7 hours
  • Black Orpheus Descent timeDescent Time: 2½-4 hours to car
  • Black Orpheus Sun ExposureSun exposure: All day, except low/high on route
  • About the Climb

    Black Orpheus is an enjoyable Red Rocks classic with an alpine feeling. It is a long, adventurous climb with a long descent. The bottom and top sections of the route have huge corner systems with pitches full of great climbing. The middle section has a lot of easier climbing, with many options. The crux is a short 5.10a move up a thin crack.

    The Painted Bowl descent is fairly long and can take as long as 4 hours, or as little as 2.5 hours. However, the Painted bowl area is very scenic and the varied and enjoyable nature of the descent makes it seem to go fast.

    Black Orpheus (Red Rocks) GearLoopTopo {Black Orpheus (Red Rocks) GearLoopTopo

    Low Resolution GearLoopTopo Preview

    Minimum order of 3 GearLoopTopos

    The GearLoopTopo

    Our GearLoopTopo for Black Orpheus contains all the information you need for the climb, starting from the Oak Creek Parking. This parking is located near the end of the Scenic Drive. If you don't want to take the Scenic Drive you can also park outside the loop on the 159, at a small parking 0.5 mile after the loop exit.

    The GearLoopTopo describes the descent by the Lower Painted Bowl. This descent requires two or more rappels and double ropes are the best option, but it is also possible with a single rope. Other descent options also exist.

    Possible Combinations

    Black Orpheus is a long route, so you'll have to climb lightning fast if you want to do another route. But if you are, there are several routes in the Painted Bowl/Eagle Wall area that can be climbed on your way down. For example, Eagle Dance (5.10c, A0) on Eagle Wall is a bit more difficult than Black Orpheus. The route has a short bolt ladder, but you can climb the 5 pitches below the aid section and rappel back down if you want. In this case the climbing is maximum 5.10b with well protected cruxes.

    Alternatively, you can climb a short route like Johnny Vegas (5.7) or Beulah's Book (5.9) on the lower tier of the Solar Slab Wall on your way to or from Black Orpheus.

    Similar Climbs

    If you are looking for routes with a similar grade, length and commitment, you should climb Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a) all the way to the top of Black Velvet peak. However, Dream of Wild Turkeys has more face climbing on crimpers than Black Orpheus. The super classic Epinephrine (5.9) is even longer and is a most do. Although similar in grade, the crux is a 3 pitch chimney section!

    Frigid Air Buttress (5.9+) in Ice Box Canyon is similar in grade and length. It is a nice and varied climb with a big ledge at almost every belay. This route deserves to be climbed more and can get hot despite its name.

    Black Orpheus and Oak Creek Canyon, Red Rocks Back to Red Rocks overview

    1. Black Orpheus (5.9+)
    2. Beulah's Book (5.9)
    3. Johnny Vegas (5.7)
    4. Going Nuts (5.6)
    5. Solar Slab (5.6)
    6. Levitation 29 (5.11c)
    7. Eagle Dance (5.10c, A0)

    Back to Red Rocks
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    Download the Black Orpheus PDF file or visit the PDF Center.

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