Yellow Rose of Texas
has gotten a raw deal in Handren’s guide: “Not very high quality”
he states. But he does go on to say that it is an important route due to the fact that it gets you to the top of Texas Tower
via moderate terrain giving you access to other good moderates above the tower. Yellow Rose linked with Texas Tower Connection actually makes for a great full day of less traveled moderate climbing in Black Velvet Canyon.
The two routes connect the feature known as Texas Tower to Epinephrine
. Handren does at least give Texas Tower Connection one star in his guide despite its fixed pro being 35 years old.
But Yellow Rose is no question the better route of the two. Joanne and Jorge Urioste
established Yellow Rose and Texas Tower Connection with Joe Herbst
during the late 70’s.
The first pitch of Texas Tower Connection is an inviting endeavor on good rock with good pro. The crux of this pitch comes after you make an easy jug move at the start of the leftward traverse and then have to make a balance move (no hands) to gain a left leaning ramp.
Once you gain the ramp, good pro on good rock lead up to a fixed belay. The second pitch involves a much longer leftward traverse (continuing straight left, not down as Handren references in his guide)
on positive (but slightly suspect) edges. There is more pro than Handren suggests in his guide via a right facing corner you cross over on the traverse that takes good gear. Continue straight left after this corner passing several relic (2015) bolts. You arrive at two more relics (2015) at the base of a shallow seam. This is the old station. Instead of setting up a station on these bad bolts, down climb approximately 10’ and continue to traverse left to a modern rap (that belongs to another route) on a small ledge.
On the third pitch, re-climb past the old station and follow the bolted shallow seam up to the last bolt and then traverse right under the large roof above on easy holds to a fixed belay (one decent bolt-2015). This third pitch is the crux of the climb and takes approximately three good pieces over 90’+/- which supplement the 35 year old bolts (2015).
The last pitch is easy climbing up and left through the chossy roof and then up the right side of the Elephant Trunk on Epinephrine. This last pitch does not have much in the way of pro as it meanders through bad rock until you hit the right facing corner on the Elephant Trunk.
Park at the Black Velvet trail head in Red Rock. Hike past Black Velvet wall as you would if hiking in for Epinephrine. Yellow Rose of Texas starts in the obvious left facing (wide) chimney about 80’ to the right of the start for Epi. You will descend back down to the base of Epinephrine.
Route DescriptionTexas Tower Connection, 1000’+/-, 5.10aR
Climb Yellow Rose of Texas
, then these remaining four pitches connect to Epinephrine
1st Pitch- 90’- 5.10a/
This section of the face above Texas Tower offers some of the best rock in Black Velvet. If you climbed Yellow Rose to the top of the tower, rap (single biner-2015) from the very top of the tower to the left summit side. From the rap chains on this lower ledge, head straight up an obvious left leaning crack on beautiful rock. When it is obvious to traverse left after about 40’, place a good piece and make a hand jug (but no feet) traverse left. The final traverse move onto a left leaning ramp is a balance move with decent feet, but no hands. Head up the ramp to the fixed anchor with at least one decent bolt. I thought this pitch protected fairly well despite mention of “poor protection” in Handren’s guide.
2nd Pitch- 60’- 5.9/
The guide mentions moving down 10’ before starting this traverse. Instead, traverse straight across on 5.9 edges. There are two old, unreliable bolts to clip. There is also one decent cam placement in the middle of the traverse. When you come to the shallow bolted corner of pitch 3 with a bad fixed belay, then down climb approximately 10’ and continue to traverse to a modern fixed belay on a small ledge belonging to another route.
3rd Pitch- 90’- 5.10aR/
These bolts are 35 years old and the pitch needs to be retro bolted. I found three decent gear placements. If the seven bolts could be chopped and replaced with three or four modern bolts, this pitch would be vastly more enjoyable and that would eliminate the run-out rating. Head up the shallow corner. Like I said, I found three gear placements I was happy with and I trusted none of the bolts (2015). A combination of stemming and face climbing finds you near the roof above and at the last bolt. Traverse right and then up to the fixed anchor with at least one decent bolt.
4th Pitch- 100’- 5.7/
This pitch is not near as long as it states in Handren’s guide (140’). This is an undesirable (chossy) pitch. Head up and left through the opening in the roof on yellow and loose rock with little in the way of sound pro. Traverse left to the Elephant Trunk on Epinephrine and climb its right side to the top and a fixed anchor.
A double rope rap from the top of the Elephants Trunk will get you down to the modern rap anchor at the end of pitch two. Then rap straight down with doubles onto Epinephrine’s rap line. Several more double rope raps to the canyon.
Double 60m ropes for the rappel. If already climbing Yellow Rose of Texas to get to the start of Texas Tower Connection, you will not need any additional gear. If I was dropped from a helicopter at the top of Texas Tower and thus was just doing these four pitches, I would take a single rack from micro to C4#3 with a set of off-set cams or wires. Take plenty of slings (vs draws) for the traverses. I would also advise taking a few screamers until the route gets retro-bolted.
Well shaded wall with biting wind at times in the spring and/or fall, dress accordingly.