Free shipping on orders over $99 Route of the Week: Texas Hold ‘Em, Black Velvet Peak

Author: Blake Herrington

September 08, 2013

Just right of the park’s famous Epinephrine (5.9), the “Hold ‘Em to Lone Star” link may be the best long 5.11. It tackles steeper and wilder terrain, but features a similar mix of splitter cracks, varnished face holds and over 2,000 feet of north-facing terrain. The 5.11 pitches require a variety of power and subtle balance climbing, and you’ll also get to experience two of the premier 5.10 pitches in the park, one of which escapes the lower wall via an amazing and unlikely passage around and through the huge roof band splitting the wall at mid height. The upper pitches are part of the Lone Star route and offer a significantly more adventurous feel, with a bit of loose rock and runout face climbing as you reach the upper part of Black Velvet Peak. With a total of 20 pitches give or take a few, a summit topout on Black Velvet Peak, and a mere 45-minute approach familiar to anyone who has already climbed in Black Velvet Canyon, this is an overlooked and demanding classic.

For more beta, check out’s page on Texas Hold ‘Em [LINK].

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Blake Herrington

Blake Herrington learned to climb as a teenager while working for a small bakery in North Cascades National Park. His first trips into the mountains instilled in him a familiarity with untraveled alpine choss and a love for remote peaks. Now in his mid-20s, Blake has lived in Denver and Bellingham, before recently settling into the mountain town of Leavenworth, Wash. He has established over two-dozen new alpine routes or first free ascents from Alaska, to Colorado to Argentina. Blake is also a widely-published author, having contributed articles to Alpinist, Climbing and Rock & Ice. He has climbed sport and traditional pitches up to 5.13d, but considers diverse alpine routes the most engaging and inspiring sub-set of climbing. Despite savoring the alpine cooking of many climbing partners, he counts himself among the best camp chefs he’s had the opportunity to climb with.