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The Highlands aka Highlander
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Air Head 

YDS: 5.10a/b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VI+ British: E2 5b

   
Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 70'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Alan Nelson, 1995
Page Views: 2,005
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Apr 11, 2001
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Late afternoon in November.

Description 

Air Head is the first route on the large ledge system that sits below the great dihedral of The Highlands crag, to the right of Peer Pressure. The climbing starts right at a single belay bolt and ascends a short wall for several clips before taking on the obvious, large, flake system. Follow the flake to the chain anchor for some moderate but very enjoyable climbing movement. The overall climbing is more like 5.9 than 5.10. A single hard move past the first bolt delivers the crux right away. Stay on your feet, pay attention, and pick off a nice pitch that is well protected. Air Head provides a nice warm-up for the harder climbs off the ledge. I'd go with a star for the position, the big flake feature, and the overall good rock.


Protection 

QsD only. This 70 foot route needs only 7 or 8 draws and something for the double bolt anchor at the top.


Loose Rock 

Addendum: this route is and has been particularly known for its loose rock. Belayers, climbers, and bystanders beware.



Photos of Air Head Slideshow Add Photo
Lauren having fun cruising up the flake. don't drop that quickdraw!
Lauren having fun cruising up the flake. don't dro...
Half the fun of Highlander is the tyrolean. Here Lauren is doing her first one ever.
Half the fun of Highlander is the tyrolean. Here L...
On the steep flakes. The awkward-to-reach anchors are at the lip of the roof at the top of the left-facing corner to Ken's left.
On the steep flakes. The awkward-to-reach anchors ...
Comments on Air Head Add Comment
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By Jason Carter
From: Monument, CO
Jun 30, 2002

The move off the deck is not hard, but the free fall potential onto the ledge below hightens your attention. The crux seems to be between the 2nd and 3rd bolt. My partner so delicately clipped the 3rd before the move somehow; maybe he dislocated his shoulder momentarily, threw his arm and draw toward the bolt while standing on his toe ends and retracted back into normalicy to continue the climb. I think it is easier to make the move and then clip while the bolt is within easy reach. The rest of the climb is a cruise with lots of opportunity to play with the flake / arete. Really cool anchor chains although watch the rope as you lower; I seem to remember a couple of sharp edges higher up.

By Jason Carter
From: Monument, CO
Jul 3, 2002

The sharp edges are only a factor if you're clipped to the belay bolt. There is good clearance if you stand down and away from the rock. Good anchor for TR on Gear Head as well.

By Anonymous Coward
Jul 5, 2002

Saw some people pull off a big ass rock on this thing yesterday. Pulled it from the flake system, in all actuality it probably made the route even cleaner and therefore nicer:)

By Kent Perillo
Oct 26, 2002

I knocked a large rock off today and it nearly destroyed a few people at the base, another good reason for a helmet. (And to WATCH your children if they're runnin' wild.) Some of the rock on this route is real crumbly, I barely weighted it with my foot but that was enough. For the most part, it is solid and fun.

By rags
Jul 31, 2007
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

Nice route! I didn't want the flake to end. Make sure to take in the great exposure - after clipping the chains, ha!!

By Rob Westfall
From: Denver, CO
Jul 18, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

I don't trust some of the flakes as they sounded like a bass drum. Constant Vigilance.

By Doug Redosh
Nov 1, 2010

This has cleaned up considerably over the years. There is now only one semi-loose flake, almost at the top, that is avoidable.

By goingUp
Jun 8, 2013
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

The start has some deck potential, and the crux comes in passing bolt 2-3. Enjoyable moves and the flakes/arÍte can be climbed several different ways.

By Dave Carey
From: Morrison, CO
Oct 28, 2013
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI HVS 4c

We climbed this with a 60m rope from the ground without any rope drag issues. No need to scramble to the ledge.