After climbing Dream of Wild Turkeys, I noticed there was a variation (the Gobbler) that offered a more direct start. That being said, I did not feel like I missed out because the 2nd and 3rd pitches of the traditional line were quite stellar. However, in the spirit of not leaving any "rock" unturned, I returned to Black Velvet Wall to climb the Gobbler, which involved three pitches of stiff climbing for the grade. This makes for a fantastic day of climbing if you combine it with at few of the other shorter lines on Black Velvet Wall, i.e., Overhanging Hangover (5.10a-2 Pitches) or Sourmash (5.10a-6 Pitches).
We climbed the Gobbler and Overhanging Hangover on a mid May weekday and had the entire canyon to ourselves. Not another soul to be found from morning to evening. Despite 95F temps in Vegas, the weather was next to perfect in the shaded Canyon. The Uriostes (Jorge and Joanne) put this route in the same year they did Dream of Wild Turkeys, 1980.
The route is a stout 5.10a climb. All three pitches are quite sustained offering completely diverse climbing from pitch to pitch. The first pitch is bolted slab, the 2nd pitch involves a crack, traverse move (crux of the route) as well as chimney placing gear all the while, and the last pitch is sustained edgy face climbing through mixed protection, typical of most face climbing on Black Velvet Wall. The Gobbler ends at the comfortable belay ledge at the base of the 4th pitch of Dream of Wild Turkeys.
You park at the Black Velvet trail head which can be reached off of NV 160. During 2008, the regular Black Velvet dirt road is under construction and thus closed. To access it beyond the closed construction area, you must drive further east on 160 to the Windy Peak turn off over a cattle guard. Stay right and take the left detours whenever possible to avoid tremendous pot holes and obstacles in the road. Although a 4wd is not always essential, a high clearance vehicle is your best guarantee of not getting stuck or busting your oil pan as we have witnessed.
Continue down the Windy Peak road until you reach a turn off on the right that has been marked with a sign (2008) for Black Velvet Canyon road. Turn right and this road will dead end into the appropriate road. Turn left and follow this road to its end. From the parking area, follow the road until a trail leaves it heading for the canyon. The trail eventually splits with one fork heading down to the wash and the other heading up the hill towards the red cliff band on your left below a row of protruding buttresses. Take the trail into the wash. Eventually you come to a steep dry waterfall area. Turn around and locate a trail up the left bank. Via some 3rd class scrambling this trail leads up to the base of Black Velvet Wall. The Gobbler starts just to the left, on bolted slab, of a huge and deep arch (Overhanging Hangover) that is located at the bottom right hand corner of the Black Velvet Wall. It runs up to the obvious corner which serves as its 2nd pitch.
Route Description300’+/-, 3 Pitches, 5.10a
1st Pitch- 120’- 5.9/ The first pitch involves slab climbing through a traverse of seven bolts to reach the bottom of the corner directly above. Start left up easy ground to face a reach move past the first bolt. After clipping the 2nd bolt, start a traverse out right with a hard slab move here and there until you can sink your hands in the small roof crack above and move back left and up to a comfortable ledge with fixed belay.
2nd Pitch- 100’- 5.10a/ Move out right into the nice crack and follow it up until you reach the small angled roof above. Protect and jam your way up to a bolt on the slab face to your left. Via a very athletic move, traverse into the bottomless chimney to your left. This takes a leap of sorts and is definitely the move of the route. Once in the tight chimney, use chimney technique to ascend until the arête gives way to easier climbing. Make sure to use long slings if you are going to protect into the chimney itself. I had a friend who said he got a rope stuck here as he was ascending! Move up to the fixed belay and a small one person ledge.
3rd Pitch- 80’- 5.10a/ Hard to follow edgy face climbing, typical for Black Velvet Wall at the grade. If anything, do not get sucked right into the 5.11d bolt line which is the tendency if you follow the easier moves. Although you do move back and forth to find the moves, your next station is directly above the previous one. Seven bolts and wire protection to the large ledge below the 4th pitch of Dream of Wild Turkeys.
DescentUse double 60m ropes for two rappels. Back to the bottom of pitch 2 and then back to the ground.
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