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Sunshine Wall
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Equinox 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: Chris Reveley and possibly Jim Michaels, circa 1973
Page Views: 5,581
Submitted By: Brian Milhaupt on Sep 1, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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Getting a heel scum can help... very strenuous.

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>

Description 

This route is on the right side of the Sunshine Wall's south face. To get there park at the large parking area and follow the old logging road past a switchback and across the mostly dry streambed, then start looking for a cairn and a faint trail on your right. This will lead straight uphill to the left side of the Sunshine Wall. Hike right until directly under the multiple large overhangs. Equinox's first pitch starts to the left and ascends a 3rd class ramp that leads to some 5.9 R, and a belay at slings. In my opinion, it is better to start with the first two pitches of Deception Past (5.10b). The Trout guidebook has a much better topo of this wall and describes these pitches as the first two of Equinox. Both pitches are quality 5.10, and make a good warm-up for the intense roof ahead.

Pitch 1: Start in a crack directly below the large, right-facing dihedral on the left side of the first overhang. The start is a finger crack in a thin left facing dihedral between two trees. A hard start eases to 5.9 before the belay in a pod with new Metolius rap rings (hidden).

Pitch 2: Start up and step left to a ramp with a thin crack above it. Straight up to the dihedral, stem the dihedral with good holds out left. Belay at the slings, which may need to be replaced.

Pitch 3: Climb right from the belay and fire up an exposed move to the slab and up to the finger crack. Crank through steep finger locks to a pod. From here, it is obvious which way to go. Set a belay on the shelf after the roof crux. A two bolt anchor is shown on the right in Hubbel's guide, but I didn't see it. In my opinion, this pitch was a sandbag at 5.11a.

Pitch 4: 5.8 to the top.

Descent: Walk down the gully to the east between Poe Buttress and Sunshine Face. With two ropes, it may be better to rappel the Standard Route.

Protection 

Standard rack up to #3 Camalot, extra small cams, possibly some Ballnutz.


Photos of Equinox Slideshow Add Photo
Up in the crux...onsight flash!!
Up in the crux...onsight flash!!
The 10+ finger crack start to the roof.
The 10+ finger crack start to the roof.
2nd pitch.
2nd pitch.

Comments on Equinox Add Comment
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By Kevin Stricker
From: Evergreen, CO
Oct 20, 2002
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

The Equinox roof is in my opinion one of the coolest pitches in the Cathedral Spires. From the ground this feature looks 5.12, and will feel almost that hard ( good old South Platte 11a sandbag). There are new rap anchors at the top of pitch 2 of Fallen Angel but none above that as shown in Hubbel's most recent guide. A better finish is to traverse right and end on the Standard Route's last pitch. If you start this route via Deception's past or Fallen Angel this is a 4 star route!
By TBD
Sep 7, 2004

I believe some Ballnuts could protect the dicey moves from the ledge stance in the midle of the roof crux. There appear to be some knife blade scars that could take them. Otherwise, it's relatively unprotected (gear below your feet with nasty fall potential) after you leave the comfort of the stance, an orange Alien fits nicely just above this portion of the roof. Probably 11+ for Platte standards.

Starting via the 10 variation from the ground is a nice way to go. The start is rather tricky and powerful. You can climb all the way to the top of the first roof/ dihedral in one pitch- excellent. There are nice rap bolts here, so if you don't want to do the "monster" sandbag roof, you can rap from here. There is another set of bolts lower, so one rope will do you fine.
By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Feb 17, 2009
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

You can squeze a grey C3 (the "aid" piece) in comfortably from that stance below the roof, don't worry you sink a bomber 0.5 within one move, but the C3 definitely helps the head a little bit.
By Dustin B
From: Steamboat
Oct 24, 2009

Trout's guidebook gives this one 10+...awesome.
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Aug 10, 2010

As mentioned earlier, a grey triple 0 C3 (the smallest one) fits in great below the main roof, as does a #1 Camp Ballnut. Both can actually be placed together if you want the added security, though it's not really necessary as the move to the bomber cam has a good piece near your feet and this C3/Ballnut placement at your waist. If you don't own the Ballnut, the cam works just fine.

The crux pitch is super fun, weird, and technhical, making it a proud onsight for anyone, no matter the grade they climb.
By dameeser
From: denver
Dec 18, 2011

I was able to get in a RP in the roof before the crux that seemed to be pretty good. I also used a ballnut, but there is possibly more opportunity for other RP placements. Great climb!
By Drew McLean
From: Colorado
Sep 29, 2013
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

That grey C3 held my partners fall. He also place the ball nut and clipped the currently fixed RP just below that.
By Bob Robertson
Sep 29, 2013

Did this route in the late '80s with my daughter Carrie, and to this day, I still think it's the best route I've done in the South Platte.
By Jordan Moore
From: Boulder, co
Jun 16, 2014

Stiff 5.11. I did this twice and got beaten up pretty good on my second ascent. You can, in fact, aid through the crux if necessary! Ballnut and/or 00 C3 in stemming corner, then BD 0.75 fits in the crack just after the stem.
Enjoy.