Serpent Point and the adjacent walls within one-half mile are closed to public use from March 15 through July 15. This includes the landscape portions above the walls extending 50 feet from the rim edge. This pertains to the following areas:
North Rim areas - The Alpine Aretes, Porcelain Arete, and Painted Wall. These climbing routes are closed: Alpine Route, Porcelain Arete, On the Border, Broken Porcelain, Northern Arete, Beyer Route, The Dragon, The Serpent, Forrest-Walker, Stratosfear, Journey Through Mirkwood, and Southern Arete.
South Rim areas - Dragon Point and Dragon Point Buttress. These climbing routes are closed: Pilgrimage, Crumb Blunder, Magic Dragon, Black Adder, Black Snake, Black Heathen, Black Dragon Rider, and Silent Rage.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
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Comic Relief is an excellent introduction to 5.10 climbing in the Black, with clean rock, good pro, easy routefinding, and a relatively short day. The climb stays in the shade until early afternoon, so it's a good choice for hot weather. This is one of the more popular routes in the canyon. It is easier, shorter, and better protected than Journey Home.
Descend SOB gully to a white, polished slabby area under the third prominent buttress on your left. Look for a prominent left-angling feature low down (the "Vector Traverse" on Escape Artist) and a beautiful, thin, curving crack to the right of this. Head up the slab to a worn path leading to a 100 foot shoulder of broken rock. Scramble (rope?) 4th and easy 5th Class up and right to a large block/flake and the bottom of the route. All pitch lengths are approximates, and like many routes here, optional belay points may be used.
Pitch 1 (75'): Begin in a nice 5.9- corner which leads to the base of the splitter crack. Variation: The thin tips crack to the right (with a little bush in it) is hard 5.10, but somewhat dirty. Belay at the base of the splitter (or keep going - you can combine these 2 pitches).
Pitch 2 (100'): Climb the splitter (excellent 5.10b, RPs at start) to a stance and belay (extra thin hands pro).
Pitch 3 (140'): Climb a left-facing corner, and move right where it ends. Climb the short wall above, or move around right to the base of a slab (optional belay at some blocks). Climb the slab (5.7), and a second short slabby/corner (5.8), to the base of an overhanging, black corner, and belay (good anchors, a little sloping stance though).
Pitch 4 (120'): Traverse straight left, to a 5.9 hand crack groove which leads to a nice ledge. Variation: Climb the strenuous "Black Corner" above (5.10), then hand traverse straight left (5.6) to the belay ledge (optional 4" cam to protect the 2nd). Note that if you used the optional belay on pitch 3, you can climb the slab and traverse left to below the 5.9 groove and belay in one pitch.
Pitch 5 (120'): Several options. Climb up and right to a thin crack at a bulge, slightly sporty 5.9 or easy 5.10; or up, then left around the outside corner to join Escape Artist, and onto a steep pegmatite wall with a crack (5.9 or so) which leads to the large, sloping shelf at the "Lightening Bolt" crack, and belay below the prominent corner.
Pitch 6 (85'): Climb the grungy-looking corner with a precarious block (5.9+ if dry) to a short pegmatite section, and a belay ledge on the right. This pitch climbs better than it looks. Variation: Climb the striking lightening bolt crack (5.11b or so) on the overhanging right wall, sharp, strenuous, but well protected with large wired nuts to 2" cams. Variation 2: The runout arete left of the corner is 5.8, dirty and best ignored.
Pitches 7-8 (300' or more): Climb the lower angle, but at times runout, wall above (some 5.6) to the top of the summit ridge.
Go to the left-most set of rap anchors, just over the edge, and above a big chockstone. A single 60m rope will take you down to a rubble ledge system. Ascend the obvious and loose gully to the north- do not take the gully to the right (east)- and hit a vague trail back to the campground. This is the "standard exit".
With the black corner and the lightning bolt cracks, the climb is a more sustained challenge. If you combine P1 & P2 and simul-climb the upper wall, the route goes fast in about 6 pitches. Watch out if you are climbing below another party, since stuff on the exit wall is loose, and a rope could easily dislodge something big.
Double set wires to 3" cams, one set RPs, a 3.5" piece. A single 60m rope will get you off the top of the summit ridge. Helmet.
A very good climb on good rock the whole way up. The crux pitch in particular is fantastic. It seemed quite sustained at the 5.9 grade until we gained the upper slabs - definitely in a different league from Maiden Voyage.
Pay close attention to rope drag if traversing over to the 5.8 finger cracks on Escape Artist on P5. I foolishly did not, and paid the price by doing 100 lb leg presses up the finger cracks and onto the sloping ledge.The original line looks much nicer.
I also disagree, and I didn't even do the Black Corner or Lightning Bolt variations. Thus, instead of thinking of the route as hard, I like to think of it as beautiful sustained 5.9 crack climbing the whole way (until the exit slabs), briefly interrupted by one out of character, short stiff (and thinly protected) 5.10 section.
I just like to see who's reading and who's not outside climbing. I am not intending to offend anyone. : ) Sorry, if that's what happened.
By Ben Mottinger Founding Father May 27, 2003 rating: 5.10c6b20VIIE2 5b
Overall excellent. I would suggest an extra 3.5" piece if you belay below pitch 4/5 (5.9 hand crack). The belay requires this size so the leader must climb fairly high before a no. 2 camalot fits.
Near the end of pitch 6 there is a very small little overhang cave thing that is just big enough to keep two people from getting rained on as long as you are about 12 years old. Otherwise you have to like your partner a whole lot. And enjoy knees/elbows/etc jammed in your chest/legs/etc. ;-)
Slightly better than Escape Artist IMO.
The second pitch is sustained and while no single move may be 10c, the entire pitch feels about 10c to me.
By Ross Keller From: Parker, CO May 25, 2004 rating: 5.10c6b20VIIE2 5b
The 1st two pitches combine nicely. The crux hand/finger crack is as good as ou'll see anywhere!
The black corner pitch is better than it looks with excellent climbing and adequate pro (10b-pg).
Climbed Comic Relief in amazingly good weather 6/24/04. Linked P1+P2 which is definitely the way to go. Makes for a sustained 185 ft 10+ pitch. Things to remember. Double sling at the end of P1 to reduce rope drag and listen to the beta about bringing lots of small hand and finger pieces. P1 and P2 are mostly small hands and fingers. Ran out of appropriate pro which led to a run out of about 20 feet near the top of P2 before getting a nice green cam in. The Black Corner is a worth doing. It looks blocky and easy, but is just over vertical with less than perfect jams and some awkward holds.Watch for loose blocks, rocks and a few sticker bushes on the last 2 pitches (easy 5th class unless you get lost).
By charlie May 30, 2005 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-E2 5b
Charlie from Winter Park here,... A great route, and fantastic intro to the Black. Highest quality rock (although a few of the ledges have loose stuff on them), takes great gear, and a cooler side of the canyon. Crux pitch felt a solid 5.10 - one can bicker over letter grades, but in the old days we just called it 5.10. And what a great pitch at that, one of the finer 5.10s I've done in a while. The upper pitches are incredibly good, too. So don't delay, go out and find a belay! Naturally, do be careful!
By Ivan Rezucha From: Fort Collins, CO Oct 17, 2005 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+E1 5a
Great climb, although wandering. All pitches are good, even the easy summit slabs. I followed the the P2 crux (carrying a substantial pack), and the orange left facing corner, and led the other 9 something pitches and had a harder time on all the 9 parts (leading or following) than on the 10 moves. The 10 moves are just two technical very brief moves to decent stances. The 9 climbing is sustained and pumpy and somewhat dicey at the several thin hands sections.
By Lordsokol From: Boulder, CO May 17, 2006 rating: 5.10c6b20VIIE2 5b
Get an early start! This route is getting popular. We left the campground at 5:30am and were first on the route. By the time we were at the second belay stance, there were two parties on our tail. We were not climbing slowly either. (We did the entire route from the first move to the summit rappel in 6 hours).
Also, even though it is rated 5.10, it seemed hard. I think that the thin hands crack on the second pitch (splitter), and the 4th pitch were definitely the cruxes. The 4th pitch openbook hands crack felt much harder than 5.9 to me. I had a harder time on this pitch than I did on the 5.10b splitter crack of pitch 2. I followed the 5.9 and lead the 5.10b.
Overall, this is a great climb with solid rock. Very enjoyable.
We took most if not all of the hard variations and found this to be excellent: shady, clean, continuous and sustained (except for the easy peg at the top). Sort of cool that one could go back the next day and reclimb the route doing a quality variation on almost every pitch.
Very good route description by SL.
By Chris Perkins From: Avon, Colorado Aug 29, 2007 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+E3 5b
The second pitch is harder than 10b if you have big hands, but that goes to say with most cracks. The fourth felt harder than 5.9 also. The book is correct when it says leader needs to be solid on 5.10. I liked Journey Home better.
By Jeff Stephens From: Carbondale, CO Sep 27, 2008 rating: 5.106b20VII-E2 5b
Great rock, great protection, great views, great comraderie.... Pulling into the 5.9+ dark dihedral on Pitch 6 (middle of pitch 5 for us) was the crux for me. It is steep, awkward, and generally swarthy. The leader faces a bad ledge fall here, but on toprope I harmlessly and repeatedly bounced off the ledge as I morphed into a dog while trying to climb this corner. I kept falling even though I was yarding on a jammed hex. The climbing is sustained, with 5 distinct sections of great jamming.
Also, I dropped a bottle of Vadge body spray somewhere on this route. If you find it, just go ahead and use it.
By dbyte From: Carbondale, CO Sep 29, 2008 rating: 5.106b20VII-E2 5b
Great route - long, interesting, & reasonable enough to be enjoyable by any ~5.10 climbers. I found the 4th pitch to be slightly harder than the 2nd. WAY more physical @ least.
Great route, that whole wall with all its variations is a unique place in such a "forbidding" canyon!! The picture of Phil Broscovick on the 10d-really 11a/b variation was taken by me. And if you want a wild variation to the last real pitch or lightning bolt pitch traverse right around to the other side or straight up the prow!!! First done by John Hulett and myself.
There's a three-star crack pitch that can be climbed halfway up this route, fully worth the effort for one of the best pitches around.
From the ledge atop ~p3, where the black dihedral is on the left, scramble down and right for 35' to a flat ledge on the right margin of the buttress. The pitch is obvious, and takes excellent, fingers-to-thin-hands gear. This is described in the guidebook as "Perfect Art".
After ~70' of stellar crack climbing, we beefed up the in situ anchor. The next pitch of 'Perfect Art' is described as "5.12 dynamic friction"... we demurred and rapped back down to Comic Relief.
By Ryan A. Ray From: Keller, TX Sep 29, 2010 rating: 5.106b20VII-E2 5b
With a 70m rope, you can link pitch 1, 2, and part of 3. We did this and ended at a decent belay at the base of an easy, left-facing, dihedral slab. It is a short slab just before you do the traverse to the base of the 5.9 flaring chimney/crack. Keep in mind that this is exactly 70m as we had absolutely no rope left. I thought I was going to have to simul the first pitch a little but never had to. For pitch 2, you can take it accross the traverse to the base of the 5.9 crack and belay there. For the belay you can use a #3 or #3.5 Camalot along with 2 bomber but very small nuts just to your left in a small seam. It eliminates the need for many large pieces of gear. I suppose you could also link the traverse and the 5.9 dihedral crack as well, but you may wind up with a little rope drag, but would cut out even another pitch. From the top of the 5.9 crack, you can either go straight up or cut out left around the corner to join excape artist and end at the sloping ledge below lightning bolt crack or the 5.9 dihedral. For a final technical pitch, take either lighning bolt or the 5.9 dihedral up to the base of the summit slabs. Run this up as far as you can for a belay, and then simul the last several hundred feet. As you near the top, cut left along a ledge and scramble up some blocky/bushy gullies to the left rap anchor (fixed slings around a block). That makes this an enjoyable 5 to 6 pitch route that goes much faster than stopping at every pitch to belay.
Loved reading all the descriptions...very appropriate. I led all the pitches as I took my girlfriend up Oct. 2010. P.2 seemed in the 5.10+ range. After walking across the ramp in the middle somewhere, I lead the 5.9 flaring/body jam pitch to a sweet ledge below the "golden corner" pitch. This is where we caught 2 different parties: a 2-person party on Comic directly above us, and a 3-person party on Escape Artist. I led up the Golden Corner pitch to the Lightning Bolt belay and waited...and waited...and waited. Both routes are getting so popular, there's lots of traffic. We ended up climbing the dirty black corner (felt 5.10) in the dark and then the 400-500 ft. of 5.easy to the top with headlamps. Made for an exciting time. Superb route...I first climbed it 10 years earlier...it was every bit as good as I remembered. A fun exit as well. Rap down and head left up the exit gully right to your cold beers.
If you look up "Man" in the dictionary, it'll say... Webster... and this guy -
By b hof From: Pueblo West, CO May 29, 2013 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-E2 5b
Info for variations:
The first pitch variation is excellent and checks in at about same grade as the 2nd pitch crux, the only thing is the gear is a little harder to place. From the ledge, it looks thin, but there are good locks where you need them.
The black corner is amazing and with good pro, the hand traverse is fun in its own way, but do your follower a favor and protect the traverse otherwise they could get slammed hard into the 5.9, right-facing corner if they fall.
The lightning bolt crack is splitter and is not as hard as some suggest, if you know how to jam off fingers and tight hands. The pitch starts out as big fingers and goes to tight hands and then gets to a good stance with easier climbing above. There are great edges for the feet through the hard section and takes 3 x 0.5 and 3 x 0.75 Camalots.
IMO the 5.9 pitches are every bit like the 5.9 on the NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock. I'll just have to remind myself that a 5.11- at some sport junkie crag is pretty much a 5.9, too. This thing was fun with great cracks and a full-on adventure.
A couple additional comments for future readers: - We never needed the 3.5" piece. I presume it's for the 4th pitch/groove, but constrictions in it allow #3 placements. - If you end up rapping from the upper slings, you'll need to hike down the rap gully a bit. The chockstone in the gully can be downclimbed (4th class) by starting on ledges to climber's left. - The exit gully is the one staring you in the face as you come down the rap gully. It has some 5th class and some loose rock. Be careful and do your best to hit this with some daylight left, since the easiest path is a little circuitous.