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Classic Crack of Calico 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 310', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
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Page Views: 919
Submitted By: Matt Kuehl on Nov 26, 2011

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Jonny is cruxing. Photo by Gigi.

Description 

A fun climb that starts crumbly but becomes more classic with height. Good crack climbing with a few balancey moves on occasional face holds.

Pitch 1: Scramble up the gully to reach the corner. Climb the corner with help from a series of cracks out left with occasional face holds. Move left over easier ground below a varnished corner. Pull the roof and belay on top of the large ledge. 200'

Pitch 2: Move right and climb a long left facing corner with a series of cracks and some face holds. 110'

Location 

Head right traversing the base of the wall and find a large left facing corner.

Protection 

Single to 4.5" inches. Double .5-#2, Stoppers and extendable slings.


Photos of Classic Crack of Calico Slideshow Add Photo
Pitch 3 of Classic Crack of Calico.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 3 of Classic Crack of Calico.
Jonny on P-2.
Jonny on P-2.
Route starts bottom right in photo, go up crack and left under roof.  Then go slight left up to another roof, pull it then climb the large inside corner to a ledge.
Route starts bottom right in photo, go up crack an...
The Classic Crack
The Classic Crack
Gigi comes up p1.
Gigi comes up p1.
Crux section of Classic Crack.
BETA PHOTO: Crux section of Classic Crack.
Classic Crack of Calico pitches 1 and 2.
BETA PHOTO: Classic Crack of Calico pitches 1 and 2.

Comments on Classic Crack of Calico Add Comment
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By Cultivating Mass
Jan 2, 2012

Fun route. Chossy first section in the gully is a solid deterrant for anyone looking for a Birdland type experience. Best done in 3 pitches, Dow's Summitpost page on it has it dead on, with the exception that the third pitch is more like 125'.

P1 200' Gully unfun to ledgy, crumbly crappo with (new)#5 walking for a ways (there's other pro but the 5 feels nice walked above as you step on old sugar cookies repeatedly). Rock improves after a ways and then gets fun before getting ledgy and annoying (watch drag just under roof) as you head to the anchor ledge below the splitter OW. Lots of anchor options here, all comfy.

P2 45' The crux gets in your face right away, but safe as houses, a little crack boulder problem that is awkward but fun to figure out. Short crux to nice but brief varnished corner to ledge. I anchored further back and belayed at a stance below the lip of the ledge, comfy on medium cams. My partner has small hands and had to do a few fist stacks where I made quick work of the crux; actual offwidth technique not a bad idea to have under your belt if you're little.

P3 The money pitch. Long, fun, pretty, funky. Worth every minute of hiking and chossaneering. Anchor on top is more crunchy than I had wished; looking around more than I did might give better results.

Dow's beta on the walkoff was right on. Going for the second gully was money, most was cairned but still ledgy downclimbing here and there. Probably a 20 minute walkoff, puts you a couple hundred flat feet right of the start.

I took a 6 and never used it; the doubled cams to 3 were very useful, and there were a few realy money wire placements as well.
By Patrick Mulligan
Mar 16, 2013

Just did this yesterday and what a route. Killing's description is right on, but I found the first pitch to be pretty fun. The wide crack and crumbly sections were serious and kind of sucked but the 25-30' of finger crack was technical and make you earn the first belay. Both the roof on the 2nd pitch and the money 3rd pitch are funky. I thought to myself on more than one occasion, "I've never done a move like that." The roof move was over with a knee bar and a long reach for me. 5.9 climbers might be more comfortable on the 3rd pitch with several cams smaller than .75 camalots and should definitely remember the mantra "its only 5.9". Jugs where you need them keep the climbing at the grade.
By Kevin Dahlstrom
From: Fort Worth, TX
Feb 11, 2014
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I can't believe this route doesn't get more hype. Easy approach + fantastic, varied, well-protected, and somewhat exposed climbing on mostly bomber rock = 4 stars. In fact, the 3rd pitch may be the best pitch of 5.8/5.9 I've done at Red Rocks.

Some beta that may be useful:

- Per the other comments, this route is much more enjoyable if broken into 3 pitches. If you try to do it in 2 you'll have rope drag for the crux roof and will need to move the belay at the large ledge anyway. Also, I'm not convinced a 60m will get you to the ledge above the roof without simulclimbing.

- A #4 Camalot protects the crux roof if you reach high/deep into the crack - no need for a #5.

- On the descent, traverse north (climber's right) quite a ways until you run into cairns. It's an easy scramble down with a couple of short 4th class sections.