Refried Brains, Red Rocks Route Photo

Refried Brains 5.9

Black Velvet Wall, Black Velvet Canyon

  • Refried Brains Sun ExposureRoute quality:
  • Refried Brains First AscentJoanne and Jorge Urioste, Stephanie Petrilak, 1979
  • Refried Brains Pitch InfoNumber of pitches: 4
  • Refried Brains Approach TimeApproach Time: 40-50 minutes
  • Refried Brains Climbing TimeClimbing Time: 2-3 hours
  • Refried Brains Descent timeDescent Time: ¾-1 hour to base
  • Refried Brains Sun ExposureSun exposure: Some morning sun (in spring/summer)
  • About the Climb

    Refried Brains is not the most popular route on the Black Velvet Wall, but the first 4 pitches have excellent and sustained 5.8-5.9 climbing. It's a good climb to do on a hot day, as most of the route receives very little to no sun. Just below the amazing 3rd pitch is an exposed traverse, which now has a nice bolted belay. Apparently the exposure on the traverse was the reason why the first ascentionists called it Refried Brains. Think about it when you do the traverse, and clip into the solid anchor.

    Most parties only climb the bottom 4 pitches because the rock quality deteriorates above that, and the remaining fixed anchors are in poor condition. Above that, there are no fixed anchors. This means that if you keep going up past the 4th pitch, you have to go all the way to the top of Black Velvet Peak (poor rock in places and more than 1000' of 4th/low 5th class climbing) and descend as for Epinephrine. If you go to the top, be ready for an adventure.

    Refried Brains (Red Rocks) GearLoopTopo {Refried Brains (Red Rocks) GearLoopTopo

    Low Resolution GearLoopTopo Preview

    Minimum order of 3 GearLoopTopos

    The GearLoopTopo

    Our GearLoopTopo for Refried Brains contains all the information you need for the climb, starting from the Black Velvet Canyon parking. The instructions below can help you get to the parking.

    In addition to the topo for Refried Brains, our GearLoopTopo also shows the topo for The Gobbler (5.10a).

    Getting There

    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.

    Possible Combinations

    The are no direct combinations possible from Refried Brains, but Black Velvet Wall and Canyon contain plenty of amazing climbs to fill your day, or two. Because Refried Brains is the easiest route on the Wall, the other nearby options will all feel harder. The easiest options is to climb Sour mash (5.10a), which has bolted 5.10a sections. Also check out Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a), with some nice slab cruxes. Both of these climbs are 7 pitches, but because the belays are bolted you can retreat at almost any point. Dream of Wild Turkeys actually goes to the top of Black Velvet Peak, but most parties only climb the 7 first pitches and rap down. For a shorter option you can climb The Gobbler (5.10a), which has 3 fun pitches and is located just right of Wild Turkeys. It's possible to continue up Dream of Wild Turkeys after finishing the Gobbler if you have enough energy and daylight left.

    If you are looking for something easier to finish your day, try the classic Frogland (5.8) on Wiskey peak near the entrance of Black Velvet Canyon. Frogland can be crowded in the morning, but if you climb Refried Brains first, you should be OK.

    Similar Climbs

    If you like the crack pitch on Refried Brains and want to climb some more cracks, try Ginger Cracks (5.9). It is mostly 5.8 crack and face climbing, with a short bolt protected 5.9 crux. Ginger Crack is also just around the corner from Crimson Chrysalis (5.8), which ascents a crack system on a steep tower but is mainly face climing.

    Another great option is the Big Horn Crack 5.8+, which can be climbed in combination with Birdland (5.7+) or Rawlpindi (5.7). These climbs are mostly face climbs, but they provide access to the Big Horn Crack.

    For wide cracks you should check out the routes on Angel Food Wall: Tunnel Vision (5.7), Group Therapy (5.7), and Purblind Pillar (5.8). They are all great routes, but choose Group Therapy if you want a lot of wide cracks.

    Refried Brains and Black Velvet Canyon, Red Rocks Back to Red Rocks overview

    1. Frogland (5.8)
    2. Refried Brains (5.9)
    3. Prince of Darkness (5.10c)
    4. Dream of Wild Turkeys (10a)
    5. The Gobbler (5.10a)
    6. Sour Mash (5.10a)
    7. Epinephrine (5.9)
    8. Sick for Toys (5.10d)

    Back to Red Rocks
    routes overview

    Download the Refried Brains PDF file or visit the PDF Center.

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