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The Diamond
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D7 Variation T 
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Hearts and Arrows T 
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Yellow Wall T 

Casual Route 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Duncan Ferguson, Chris Reveley
Page Views: 94,927
Submitted By: Andrew Wellman on Jan 1, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: The Diamond as seen from Chasm View.

Description 

An incredible climb at high altitude on the most famous wall in Colorado. This is the easiest route on the Diamond, but that doesn't mean it's not world class. The route includes incredible climbing with awesome exposure and high alpine weather. Although I have heard the route described as both stiff, and easy for the grade, I think that the published ratings are quite accurate.

P1: Start in the middle of the wall at a less than vertical broken pillar. It is not hard to find. Pitch 1 is 5.4 up broken ground to the bottom of an obvious crack.

P2: Follow the steeper crack at 5.9 to a hanging belay 2/3 of the way up.

P3: A 100 foot 5.7 traverse with about three pieces of pro, two of which are fixed pins. This pitch is spectacular and has dangerous fall potential, although the climbing is easy.

P4: Climb up a dirty 5.8 crack and chimney to a belay about half way up the route.

P5: May be the best pitch of the climb. It leads up a steep 5.8 dihedral with a handcrack tucked in the corner. Belay halfway up the dihedral on a stance and continue up 5.8 to the Yellow Wall Bivy Ledge. The exposure hits you right here for the final, and crux, pitch.

P6: Climb up a really thin 5.9 crack with fixed gear to a 5.8 squeeze chimney. Trying to squirm your way up the chimney at 14,000 feet is about as strenuous as it gets. From here pull out of the chimney and perform the crux move, a well protected reach over a bulge on thin holds, 5.10a, and you're on Table Ledge.

P7: One last 5.7 traverse pitch leads to the exit onto Kiener's or the rap route.

Protection 

Standard trad rack. 1.5 sets stoppers, 1.5 sets of cams 0.5 - 3. 1 set TCUs. About 6 extended runners and 6 draws.


Photos of Casual Route Slideshow Add Photo
Look how beautiful she is over there- safely holdi...
Look how beautiful she is over there- safely holdi...
Panorama from the Yellow Wall Bivy Ledge.
Panorama from the Yellow Wall Bivy Ledge.
A pair of climbers on the 5.9 finger crack (P2) an...
A pair of climbers on the 5.9 finger crack (P2) an...
Best 5.8 corner in the Park...  I highly recommend...
Best 5.8 corner in the Park... I highly recommend...
Climbers on The Diamond.
Climbers on The Diamond.
Rapping off the Casual Route in a late June snowst...
Rapping off the Casual Route in a late June snowst...
Climbers on Casual Route, Yellow Wall, Black Dagge...
Climbers on Casual Route, Yellow Wall, Black Dagge...
Josh in a Sea of Granite on the 2nd pitch of Casua...
Josh in a Sea of Granite on the 2nd pitch of Casua...
Trevor Nydam looking down the D1 pillar.
Trevor Nydam looking down the D1 pillar.
Half way up the Casual Route.
Half way up the Casual Route.
Luke Taylor chillin' before the dihedral pitch.
Luke Taylor chillin' before the dihedral pitch.
Darth Vader on the Bivy Ledge.
Darth Vader on the Bivy Ledge.
Donny working it on the crux. Notice the fog in th...
Donny working it on the crux. Notice the fog in th...
Sandy at the hanging belay after the traverse pitc...
Sandy at the hanging belay after the traverse pitc...
Looking over the valley and my custom-fitted shoes...
Looking over the valley and my custom-fitted shoes...
Looking down the initial 5.9 pitch.
Looking down the initial 5.9 pitch.
John Carter ascends the Casual Route, July 23, 201...
John Carter ascends the Casual Route, July 23, 201...
Eric Everson on the Table Ledge traverse at the to...
Eric Everson on the Table Ledge traverse at the to...
Trevor Nydam starting into the crux moves
Trevor Nydam starting into the crux moves
As seen from high on Directissima. The route climb...
As seen from high on Directissima. The route climb...
Father and son, John and Bob Siegrist on Eroica (5...
Father and son, John and Bob Siegrist on Eroica (5...
Phil Wortmann on the top Table Ledge traverse on C...
BETA PHOTO: Phil Wortmann on the top Table Ledge traverse on C...
I just got here!! Now we climb what!?! That big ro...
I just got here!! Now we climb what!?! That big ro...
Pitch 3 (after the first traverse) with the dihedr...
Pitch 3 (after the first traverse) with the dihedr...

Show All 73 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Casual Route Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 12, 2014
By Jralph
Aug 19, 2014

CONDITION REPORT 
If anyone goes up the Diamond via the North Chimney soon and finds a #1.5 (silver) Wild Country Helium Friend about 20-30ft below the Broadway ledge in the North Chimney, I would greatly appreciate getting that back. My partner refused to take the time to take it out even after I put him on belay. I would hate to have to take the cost of that cam out of his flesh. I'm sure I could convince him to buy you a 6 pack of your favorite beer.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001

When I climbed this route a very slow party was in first place. The waiting was agony. Finally, it was noon and we had completed only 3 pitches (1 every 2 hours)! Fortunately, at this point, the slow team allowed people to pass. This could have been a disastrous day if the weather had come in, but it was flawless. We reached the summit by 4 PM. Logistically, the simplest way to do this route is in a day. However, beware that a party bivying at Chasm View or Broadway can always beat you to the base of the route, since you can't climb the North Chimney in the dark (unless insane). So you risk being behind a slow party.

Check out the FAQ about the Casual Route by the late Tom Dunwiddie.
By Patrick Vernon
From: Albuquerque, NM
Jan 1, 2001

Stellar, easiest route up the dead vertical diamond, and still a great route. The crux can easily be aided for those who get edgy leading 5.10 at fourteen thousand feet, yet the leader should defintately be confident up to mid 5.10 to feel at home on this route. Start early, and try to climb the north chimney at first light. Having people ahead of you in this 500 feet of decomposing rock is very dangerous with rock fall almost assured. It is easiest to solo all except the last steep section which is about 5.5. Once at the base of the diamond, the route is not hard to find, and quite safe with good pro the whole way (except for the traverse pitch, which is actually really easy.) This is also an easy route to retreat from. As almost every belay is made from fixed pro.
By Patrick Vernon
From: Albuquerque, NM
Jan 1, 2001

A red Metolius TCU, or FCU, or similar sixed cam fits perfectly where the pin used to be at the crux, so save this piece for the crux. If the routes to the left of it didn't exist, this would be the coolest 5.10 ever!
By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Jan 1, 2001

Myke - I found a great and thorough report on the Casual, at estes.on-line.com/rmnp/reports... ...
By Bryson Slothower
Aug 8, 2002

The 5th pitch as described above is best done in one long pitch with a 60m rope all the way to the Yellow Wall bivy ledge. This is just about the most amazing pitch I have ever climbed!!!...
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Aug 16, 2002

I climbed this route yesterday ( 8-15-02) and found it to be one of the best routes I've ever done. A couple of notes- you can do this route in 6 pitchs provided you have a 60m rope. Link what are described above as pitchs 2&3 (first 5.9 and the traverse). And then link 5&6 all the way to the yellow wall bivy ledge. After climbing pitch 4(or 3 in this case) it is helpful to belay at a ledge slightly higher than the obvious one, you will pass a short steep section and a couple of fixed pins to get to this ledge. A special note to whom ever took a crap on the ledge in the middle of pitch 6 (or 4)- YOU SUCK. Please people don't leave a pile of shit on a ledge in the middle of a route! I found the same thing on the petit earlier in the week as well- not good! If you climb this route you will love it!
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 20, 2002

What and awesome route did it on Aug. 7th, one day car to car, for a first time diamond route it was incredible besides the wet chimney and the sketchy N. Chimney which if I did it again I would not solo the upper 5.6 (i thought due to wet and loose rock) pitch. Elevation gets to you, climbing was not too bad but the endurance factor can be tuff, I was real tired on the long dihedral pitch and the crux pitch. I word of advice if you do it in one day hang your gear at the ranger cabin or somewhere along the way: what follows will explain why:

A vicious rainstorm came in on the traverse onto table ledge, lighting, thunder and side-ways hail, did not stop for an hour. Luckily we were able to rap down D7 to the crack of delight (definitely bring two ropes we would have been stuck if not) got to the base of north chimney and my gear with sneakers and food in it were gone, some remains were scattered about but the rest was f*&%ing gone (dam marmots) latter to find out that this happens often. Therefore we had to do the hike down (5.5 miles) in wet climbing shoes.

If you never have done an alpine route (like the diamond) be prepared to be scared if weather comes in, suck it up and get the hell down. We did the crux pitch and within 5-min. a huge whiteout came in doing the traverse (5.7) sopping wet. Never being in this situation we tried to wait it out, but we started to freeze so we got the hell down (thank goodness). Coming from a boulderer/sport climber I have a new appreciation for alpine climbers they have got big B*lls.

This route is awesome stay smart and be pared, a super physical day if you do it car to car but the way to go. Don't solo the N. Chimney if you don't feel up to it, it does not slow you down that bad. Be quick and enjoy the climb it kicks ass.
By Clint Locks
From: Boulder
Sep 12, 2003

If Darth Vader can do it, anyone can. (I doubt he's at his best at 14,000 ft.)
By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Sep 17, 2003

Attempted this yesterday, car to car, and failed to even get on the route. After 4 pitches of roped climbing in approach shoes, made it to Broadway via the north chimney, which had scattered snow and ice in it. The north chimney is a dangerous 800', rubble filled choss pile made trickier with the snow and ice.Although we were tempted, after such a long approach, we bailed after determining the route was too iced up in places, and there was visible snow on the ledges. We rapped off Broadway down the Crack of Delight, which took 4 raps with two 60 meter ropes. There are anchors at each rap station...
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 19, 2003

For climbing this route in good conditions, realize that the season rarely extends much into September, and then only if there have not been any significant storm fronts coming through. We have had several cold snaps with significant precipitation so far this September, so it isn't surprising that the route was "out of shape", nor that the North Chimney was difficult. Since much of the Casual Route has shadowed, R-facing corners on it, and that the sun leaves the face by mid-morning, snow/ice is likely to be encountered on the route this time of year.
By Brad Brandewie
Oct 12, 2004

More pictures at

piquaclimber.com/past/casual/c...
By Anonymous Coward
Feb 25, 2005

I would also suggest rapping in from Chasm View instead of having to deal with the North Chimney.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
Feb 25, 2005

I did the Casual Route in 78 or 79 with my brother Paul. We were pretty solid 10 climbers, but had little experience at altitude. I had climbed maybe once at Lumpy and done the Petit. We had both climbed a couple of routes in Chamonix in 74. We bivied at Chasm View and did it, no problems, no big deal. There were no lines back then. The lines are what worry me now. If it weren't for the crowds, I'd say, just go do it. What could happen?
By Anonymous Coward
Feb 26, 2005

No matter how much beta you read or think you are ready for a bigger route, always be prepared to epic.
By jcc
Jun 25, 2006

Does anyone know what the snowfield is like below the Diamond? Is it climbable yet? Thanks
By Trevor Nydam
Jun 26, 2006

I agree with Mr. Wortmann. Climbing Mills Glacier to the North Chimney with approach shoes, a rock in one hand and a nut-tool in the other is not ideal. In the early season a light piolet or crampons are worth the weight. Between 4 and 5am this past Friday (6/23), the snow was bullet-proof. Chopping steps cost us an hour.

We linked pitches 2&3 with a 70m rope. This also allowed the dihedral to go as one long pitch from the large ledge above the first chimney to the Yellow Wall bivy ledge (~68m). Absolutely the best pitch of my life thus far (setting, rock quality, consistant grade, length, protection...all perfect). Pure joy.

The exposure rapping from Almost Table Ledge is legit.
By Chris Cavallaro
Jun 27, 2006

I thought I would add a few ideas I applied in climbing this thing fast:

We do the North Chimney. Stay on the slabs to the left of the chimney at the start, not in the chimney proper. I do a running belay all the way to Broadway, and it didn't take us too long.
A few tips on linking pitches, as I found this to be priceless.
1- North Chimney, all the way to Broadway...solo or simul-climb.
2- 1 Long pitch up the pillar to the base of the first 5.9 crack. Haul pig or second carries.
3- Link 5.9 crack with 5.7 rising traverse to base of major right-facing dihedral system. Have belayer throw haul bag out away from face and haul pig up to belay.
4- Quick 5.8 pitch to belay above large sloping ledge. You have to belay above this ledge to setup for next pitch, and there is great gear for belay. Second wears pack or quick/easy haul.
5 - Long pitch all the way to Yellow Wall bivy ledge. If you are hauling, this is the one pitch that the second will have to wear the pack as it can get caught. This is a full 60m rope-stretching pitch.
6- Crux pitch, and link as far as you can off going left on table ledge. Have second throw the haul bag out again and haul pig.
7- 1 long rising traverse off of Table Ledge to Kiener's.
By Laurie Lambe
From: Ridgway, CO
Aug 22, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

On August 21st, the Casual Route was wet enough to have water actually running down across and out of the traverse, even though it hadn't rained that day and only for 5 or 10 minutes the day before. The crux pitch and the 4th pitch also looked very wet (water running out of them.) So, apparently, if it has been raining a lot recently, (although not in the last day or so), there is a very good chance this route will be quite wet. I had heard this about D7 before but didn't know it about the Cas. The other free routes looked mostly dry.
By Lordsokol
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 9, 2007

This route is fantastic. Climbed this weekend and barely escaped the thunderstorms. It's a tough day if you do it in one push from the parking lot, but it can be done. A few notes:

The 5.8 corner (p4 or p5) really may be the best 5.8+ crack in Colorado. We did the whole thing in one pitch, and it was very sustained and tough! I know it's just 5.8, but wait 'till you get up there at altitude and do a nearly 200' sustained pitch of it. There's just no where to rest on this pitch, except about halfway up where you either set a belay (probably should have) or keep going.

The crux pitch is (p6 or p7) very solid as well. The chimney squeeze took me by surprise. It's just wide enough so that an armbar won't quite be wide enough, but skinny enough that if you are wearing a pack, it's gotta come off. You can get some pro deep in the back of it toward the top, but then you've gotta pull a mini roof to get out of the chimney. It's about 6 feet deep, ranges from 1' to almost 2' wide, and runs about 15 feet up. That was the hardest part of the climb for me. Then after getting out of the chimney, you've got the 5.10a crux move to the table ledge (crack).

The last traverse pitch up to the table ledge proper is one of the most mentally challenging parts of the climb. It's a very exposed traverse that goes at 5.8. If you are going to rap the route, climb this traverse to the end, and don't go all the way up to table ledge. Go to a ledge that's about 10' below it to find your rappel anchors. There are lots of pitons on this pitch and there are several spots for good pro.

Five 200 foot rappels will get you back to Broadway. Have fun!
By aaron voreis
Aug 29, 2009

Help! Yesterday (8/28/09) we rapped in from Chasm View and left our packs on Broadway. After the route, my pack was missing and it appears that Marmots dragged it off of Broadway and sent it careening down the Crack of Delight area! I am missing the following:

Blue Granite Gear Pack
Red Marmot sleeping bag in red stuff sack
Yellow Dana Designs shelter
Leki Trekking Pole
Other misc. stuff

We searched for quite a while down on Mills and could not find more than a couple of random items. Please call Aaron at 970-596-9041 if you have any ideas or saw the incident. My HUGE apologies if anybody was hit by anything.
By Stich
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Aug 29, 2010

For those of you swinging leads with a leader stronger than you, don't be intimidated by the 3rd pitch. Once you clip the first piton ten feet to the left of the P2 belay, just head out along that ledge and notice how nicely incut the handholds are. The traverse is very solid and you can get plenty of gear at least every ten feet. There are three pins along the line, but you need not find them all. If you don't like the crack you are on, reverse your moves and go up a line or down. It's all there.
By SeanKuus
From: Steamboat Springs
Sep 1, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Climbed this with a 70m today and turned the first 5 pitches into 3 by stretching the rope each pitch. It's a really fast way to do it. We arrived at Yellow Wall Bivy Ledge at 9:15 and summited Long's well before noon.
By Chris Plesko
From: Westminster, CO
Sep 7, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Awesome route! For those whom this route is near their limit, it protects really well though obviously speed is important on the wall, so don't spend all day sewing it up. The only pitch we found runout is the first traverse, but it's definitely easy and all there.

My only advice is to have a plan for what to do with the packs on the crux pitch. My partner and I both wore small packs and swung leads all day, and here I had to get both packs up to the belay while seconding. That was a PITA. Next time we might haul just this one pitch.
By Brian Gaschler
From: Denver, Colorado
Sep 15, 2010

Response to Chris (September 7, 2010) and for anyone wondering what to do with a backpack while climbing chimneys:

Chris, you said "My only advice is to have a plan for what to do with the packs on the crux pitch. My partner and I both wore small packs and swung leads all day, and here I had to get both packs up to the belay while seconding. That was a PITA. Next time we might haul just this one pitch."

Squeeze chimneys always seem to present this problem, don't they? I always climb with an abundance of emergency stuff on my harness, like rain gear, a water bottle, shoes and the like, and I ALWAYS carry my large SLR camera and lenses on my climbs. It rides in a case on my back, and aside from when I'm in chimneys, it rides quite well back there. In chimneys, like the crux pitch on Casual (and that first bit of squeeze after the first traverse), I hang my packs and/or large camera bag from my harness by girth-hitching an over-the-shoulder to the harness' hard-points. An over-the-shoulder makes it so the hanging extras are out of the way, at a length that does not compete with my feet for space but is still easily within reach if I need to access or maneuver the extras. On the crux pitch on Casual, there is a great hands-free stance after the strenuous crack but before the chimney where relocating the pack is easily accomplished; and then, after the squeeze but before the 10a move, there is another good stance to return the pack to one's back. Hauling, it seems, poses more of a problem more times than not unless a person is using a haul bag and the line of hauling is more or less direct. Otherwise, whatever is being hauled always seems to get torn up, and potentially the bag will get stuck on some little horn or the like.

I'm sure there are other cool options for how to deal with packs, cameras, etc. This method has worked best for me---for whatever that's worth....

Happy climbing!
By YDPL8S
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Sep 15, 2010

(On a side note, the autumn colors have arrived above tree line, and they are quite spectacular!)

Huh?????
By Brian Gaschler
From: Denver, Colorado
Sep 17, 2010

@YDPL8S... as in, there are other forms of vegetation that exist above where trees stop growing---vegetation that changes colors earlier in the autumn than do the aspens and other deciduous trees and bushes---and these plants are now red and orange and yellow instead of green.
By YDPL8S
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Sep 17, 2010

Gotcha, for a minute there I thought you were talking about lichen :-)
By Dusty
From: Fort Collins
Aug 8, 2011

An efficient way to climb the Casual Route with a 70 meter rope is to simul the first three pitch (the rope will go tight as the leader begins the traverse and the leader will get to the base of the dihedral just before the second gets to the 5.9 finger crack). You can then link the dihedral pitches to get to YWBL. Finish with the crux pitch.
By Vaughne
Aug 16, 2011

The North Chimney sucked. Chossy and longer than I expected. Like Anonymous suggested, I would consider rapping in from Chasm View next time. Also, we never did find the second or third set of anchors on the D7 rap route. I would not recommend that descent unless you are with someone who knows where the rap stations are.
By Sam Stephens
Aug 20, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Did this with my buddy Jordan the other week. Had a blast. This was how we pitched it out:

From Broadway, Jordan climbed to the base of the 5.9 finger cracks.

I led the 5.7 traverse into the 5.8 squeeze and continued up to the base of the 5.8 corners. Some simul-climbing was involved.

I led the 5.8 corner to the base of the crux pitch (YWBL), some simul-climbing was involved there too, no big deal.

Jordan led the crux pitch to the base of Table Ledge extended

I led the traverse over to Table.

We got talked into summitting by the other parties we were with, we simuled up most of the ridge and unroped for the last 200 feet or so.

We had a hell of a time finding the Cable's rappels and took forever getting down the Camel gully. Make sure you know where you're going if you go this way.
By Spencer Weiler
From: SLC, UT
Aug 22, 2011

Great route. Here is some info about the climb I would have appreciated knowing beforehand as I was new to the Diamond.
-It is about 3 hours from the trailhead to the base of the North Chimney.
-The approach up to the North Chimney has a solid, bullet-resistant ice field leading up to it that was very scary without an axe to kick steps. Bring one.
-The North Chimney is pretty easy to solo but not without routefinding. I did not find it a "death trap" as some have described.
-The route starts right as you exit onto Broadway.
1st pitch - long 200' to base of finger crack, slung chockstone anchor plus nuts/cams for backup on small stance.
2nd pitch - Up finger crack, traverse starts at 2nd piton where grass starts in crack. Traverse almost horizontal, past 2 early pitons and good gear past that. Way more than 3 pieces of pro, which is what the author here described. Anchor another slung chockstone with fixed nuts, hanging.
3rd pitch - dirty chimney leads to base of 5.8 dihedral. Anchor - a slew of fixed pieces equalized together on sloping ledge.
4th pitch - beautiful dihedral, anchor-gear belay in cave on huge ledge.
5th pitch - traverse left up through roof to base of small finger crack, lots of pitons up to squeeze chimney 100' up - then the crux has lots of fixed gear near it. Stop and belay in hole with piton, nuts, cams right after crux.
6th pitch - traverse left with lots of fixed pitons to upper grassy Table Ledge.
The traverse into Kiener's is only 20 feet of short 5th class up and left from Table Ledge, then a long 4th class up to the summit. 30 min from Table Ledge to summit.
By Jeremy Bauman
From: Lakewood, CO
Aug 9, 2012

My Blog

Climbed Saturday 7/28/12. We were the only ones on the face, so much for it being the "Cattle Route." That said, nearly the entire climb was soaking wet from the massive rain the night before. I think we were off route on the crux pitch till the very end and ended up resting on gear a bit. Still, it was a great day!
By Joseph M.
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 8, 2012

Can someone tell me or direct me to a site that will tell me what the protection is for the top of every pitch? Are there eyebolts for anchor systems or will I need to build a natural anchor?

Thanks for the help and all the work!!
By tsuji
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 17, 2013

^Joseph,

There are no eyebolts on this route. There is a nest of webbing at the end of the third pitch traverse, but that's the only fixed anchor I can remember. If you've done much climbing, you shouldn't have trouble building an anchor at the end of any of the pitches.
By Peteoria
Aug 30, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I thought the .9 thin section before the squeeze chimney was the crux. It required technical moves, & it's the only hard part that doesn't suck up gear.
By Dwight Jugornot
From: Arvada, Co.
Jul 26, 2014

Truly amazing route.
A little (more) rap info - 2 raps are hard to find: 3rd anchor (bottom of 2nd rap) on D7 is 20 plus feet right of plumb, and you will be climbing a bit sideways to get to it (150 ft.). 2nd rap on Crack of Delight is an exact color match for the rock (tan/buff) and is on the very obvious, large ledge right of plumb at around 80?ft.
By Travis Drake
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 12, 2014

Amazing route. I thought the squeeze chimney was the crux. The 10a move above it felt like a piece of cake after that grovelfest. Maybe I need to learn how to climb chimneys without headjams. Be careful with weather - the final hand-traverse is quite a bit spicier when the holds are wet. What a blast!