I was tempted to blow off this little boulder, until I tried someone's un-reported project. Al Cap (Al and Rita's big roadside adventure) is an overgrown boulder divided into Upper Al Cap and Lower Al Cap sectors. Four routes have been put in so far, with room for all of two or three more. This mostly forgetable crag would not have been worth listing if it were not for the interesting line (not my own) that runs up four bolts on brilliant stone. Routes have been added left and right of this mini-test-piece to grab the obvious features of this 35 ft crag. The middle line on Upper Al Cap is a terrific bouldery problem and probably worth the trip from Denver by itself. The rest are interesting problems with more simple soultions (5.10/5.11). The rock is perfect, clean, very solid, and the pro reasonable. Park in the pull-out and descend left to get to the base.
3.1 miles outside of Empire, park at the pullout on the left side of the road, the creek side. There is a tree right here at the top of the cliff.
This middle of three lines ascends on a system of very fingery and small edges and corners. Since it pushed me off immediately, I set up the top rope to work out the beta. The climbing reminded me of a more vertical Twitch, but with even smaller holds and some perplexing body position. For an over grown boulder problem, it seemed very continuous for all of its 35 feet. Bullet-proof stone, complex sequences, reasonable pro, very fingery. Nice job by BH....[more]Browse More Classics in CO
There is also an excellent bolted line across, and slightly downstream from these routes. It is on the very obvious wall, which is visible from the pullout for Al Cap. The crag is maybe fifty or sixty feet tall and slightly off vertical. It has been quite a while since I climbed it, but if my memory is correct the line was in the upper ten range, with an inexplicable ground fall potential between either the first and second, or second and third bolts.(wherever it was, it would suck to crater from the spot.) Despite the questionable bolting the route was excellent, with nice incuts on a slabby face. There well could be potential for several more lines on this one crag.
AC - I looked closely at the crag coming right out of the creek and did not see any obvious evidence of routes there. I'll try to locate the line you mentioned, but my impression was that things pretty much petered out the further one went down stream. Were you indicating the nearly North facing wall that comes right out of the creek? If one could figure out how to deal with the aqueous approach, this crag could hold several routes on what appears to be very good stone, at an acceptable length, and with minimal approach.
RW- I just looked at my original comment and realized that I said "downstream." The truth is the route is actually slightly upstream, and probably the north facing wall you are wondering about. Sorry about that.