Dream of Wild Turkeys 5.10a
Black Velvet Wall, Black Velvet Canyon
About the Climb
Dream of Wild Turkeys is one of the most popular moderate classics on the Black Velvet Wall. It is one of the best climbs at the grade in all of Red Rocks. It is useful to have a backup plan in case the line is too long for this one. To make things worst, the route shares the first pitch with the very popular Prince of Darkness (5.10c).
The climbing is spectacular, exposed and the protection is good. The route is long, steep and sustained, linking sections of cracks and face climbing. The cruxes are pretty short and well protected. Most people only climb the first, and best, 7 pitches and rap down. But the next 2 or 3 pitches still have very enjoyable climbing.
Going all the way up to the top of Black Velvet Peak is also worth the effort and adds a little more adventure. It will also develop your route finding skills! Note that this will mean a much longer day, similar to Epinephrine (5.9) in lenght (same descent).
The sun exposure on the Black Velvet Wall depends strongly on the time of year. In early or late season, you can be in the shade all day, so be ready for cold temps. However, it can be sunny during the summer months. On a hot day, start early or, if you can climb fast, late in the arfternoon.
Black Velvet Canyon is located outside the Scenic Drive area and this means that you don't need to pay the entrance fee and there's no late parking problems. It is accessed by a dirt road that can be a little rough in places. A 4WD is not really needed, but it helps. A 2WD will make it, but extra clearance makes it easier. Be especially careful after big rain storms.
From the SR 159 and SR 160 intersection, go west for 4.7 miles. Look for a dirt pull-out and road on your right. Zero your counter when leaving SR 160. You'll pass a large gravel parking on the left, and the road will turn to dirt. Keep going on this. After 1.1 mile you'll see a fork, but keep going straight. The driving 'crux' is at about 1.5 mile. After 1.8 miles, a gate will be blocking the road and you must go left. Continue on this for another 0.4 mile, where several parking options exist. Note that camping is not allowed here and violators will get a ticket.
You can climb The Gobbler (5.10a) as an alternative start to Dream of Wild Turkeys. The Gobbler ends at the 3rd belay of the route, so just keep going. The belay has a small ledge so if you meet a party who started on Dream of Wild Turkeys, it's not that uncomfortable. Although, the Gobbler is a super route, the first pitches of Dream of Wild Turkeys are equally good. If there is no line, start on Dream of Wild Turkeys and save the Gobbler for another day. If you will only climb the bottom part of Dream of Wild Turkeys (7 first pitches), you can rap down and climb the Gobbler afterwards.
Yellow Brick Road (5.10b) takes a shortcut in the middle of the route, starting halfway up the 3rd pitch before the traverse. It is purely face climbing, and you will miss some fun pitches of Dream of Wild Turkeys. The choice is yours.
If you'll climb the first 7 pitches and rap down, the Black Velvet Wall has many other quality routes to fill your day. Almost all the routes have bolted belays, so you can retreat when you run out of steam or daylight. Other quality routes you should check are Sour Mash (5.10a) or Refried Brains (5.9). For harder face climbing try Prince of Darkness (5.10c). A little further up canyon lies another excellent route, Sick for Toys (5.10d), with a stellar mix of slab, bolts and thin cracks.
Most of the other routes on Black Velvet wall offer a similar type of climbing, so if you like Dream of Wild Turkeys, many other options exist. If you like face climbing and want to try another wall, check Unimpeachable Groping (5.10b).
If you are looking for long and varied climbing at a slightly easier grade, then you should definitively go for Black Orpheus (5.9+) or Frigid Air Buttress (5.9+). Black Orpheus has an alpine feeling to it, but has a long, complicated, but enjoyable descent. Frigid Air Buttress is less climbed, has nice belay ledges and deserves to be climbed more.
If you are looking for long routes at a higher grade you should go to Eagle Wall in Oak Creek Canyon, which is home to 2 amazing ultra classic climbs with lots of face and crack climbing. Eagle Dance (5.10c, A0) has a short bolt ladder, but you can climb the 5 pitches below the aid section and rappel back down if you want. Another option is the famous Levitation 29 (5.11c), although this is quite a step up from Dream of Wild Turkeys.