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Redgarden - Tower One
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Ytrid Deed, The T 

Icarus 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b R

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: B. Culp, 1960s.
Fixed Hardware: 1 Lead Pin [details]
Page Views: 14,554
Submitted By: Ben Mottinger on Jan 1, 2001

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John Cioci leads high on Icarus, in Eldo. Photo b...

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  • Description 

    This is a great beginner lead, but it is a little runout on the last pitch of 6. The final pitch (same as last pitch of Yellow Spur) is spectacular, however. Start with Swanson Arete start up the West Chimney, but continue to traverse right along the Red Ledge to a right-facing dihedral. Follow the dihedral until it ends, then traverse right on an exposed and thin face. Continue up a good crack. The last pitch ascends a uniquely textured arete with a great view.

    Protection 

    Standard rack extra wired stoppers and runners. (Bring extra rope for raps.)

    Descent 

    Downclimb (N) to the notch and make 3 double rope raps, or downclimb to the East side of Redgarden.


    Photos of Icarus Slideshow Add Photo
    BETA PHOTO
    Dan Mottinger almost nearly to the belay finishing...
    Dan Mottinger almost nearly to the belay finishing...
    Chris Roberts solo on Icarus.
    Chris Roberts solo on Icarus.
    How to climb a variation of Icarus with a 70m rope...
    BETA PHOTO: How to climb a variation of Icarus with a 70m rope...
    Climbers on Icarus and Yellow Spur from Darkness T...
    Climbers on Icarus and Yellow Spur from Darkness T...
    Looking down from P3 Icarus.
    Looking down from P3 Icarus.
    Looking toward Shirttail Peak.
    Looking toward Shirttail Peak.
    John on the facey portion of the route.
    John on the facey portion of the route.
    Unknown party on Icarus, 10.10.04.
    Unknown party on Icarus, 10.10.04.
    An unknown climber starting up Icarus. This and th...
    An unknown climber starting up Icarus. This and th...
    Starting up the last pitch of Icarus / Yellow Spur...
    Starting up the last pitch of Icarus / Yellow Spur...
    Unknown climber traversing out to the arete.
    Unknown climber traversing out to the arete.
    Unknown climber on the arete. This climber stayed ...
    Unknown climber on the arete. This climber stayed ...
    Chase about to start the last (shared) pitch of Ye...
    Chase about to start the last (shared) pitch of Ye...
    Jim Illg on final pitch of Icarus.
    Jim Illg on final pitch of Icarus.
    A party finishing the last pitch in some serious H...
    A party finishing the last pitch in some serious H...
    The "alternate" first belay.
    The "alternate" first belay.
    First corner.
    First corner.
    Second corner.
    Second corner.
    Dave Yount just sewed up the 5.5 runout section of...
    Dave Yount just sewed up the 5.5 runout section of...
    Matt Gates reaches the top of Tower One via Icarus...
    Matt Gates reaches the top of Tower One via Icarus...
    Looking toward Lumpe Tower.
    Looking toward Lumpe Tower.
    John psyched to start the final arete.
    John psyched to start the final arete.
    Steep (but lots of holds).
    Steep (but lots of holds).

    Show All 33 Photos

    Only the first 24 are shown above.

    Comments on Icarus Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 5, 2014
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 7, 2001

    Most aesthetic way to start this route is from the first 3 pitches of the Yellow Spur, but this considerably harder than Icarus (5.9). You can traverse right to the arete in several places, but the arete is 5.8ish and unprotected. Rapping the gully between Lumpe Tower and T1 is to be avoided. The last rap (from a big tree) is 48m and it took us 20 mins to get our rope down (knot snags going over the edge).
    By Kristo torgersen
    Aug 1, 2001

    This route affords a less-skilled leader to access the incredible and exposed last pitch of The Yellow Spur without having to climb anything harder than 5.6. A great multipitch route to take less skilled climbers on (not quite for those who have never climbed though - it is quite exposed and the final pitch has a little fall potential for the second). I recall one uncomfortable belay, but a fine compromise for the stellar exposure!
    By Frank Stock
    Jan 14, 2002

    The only thought is for the 5.6 climber, getting off the top is a bit exciting. I know my wife was non to thrilled downclimbing to the notch, but it was survivable. Great route though.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Apr 10, 2002

    I thought that the second to last pitch was way more runout than any other - for some reason I did about twenty feet of face climbing above the end of the dihedral, and then a tough traverse to the arete. Is this off route, or am I just a big pussy?
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 11, 2002

    I remember traversing right to the arete soon after the dihedral ended, this may make the runout less. Also, Tony Bubb's photo of this route must be tilted or something, it looks way harder than 5.6 in that photo!!
    By Warren Teissier
    Apr 11, 2002

    I agree with George, I remember traversing almost immediately after the end of the dihedral. There is some kind of strata making the traverse easier. I do not remember this being at all run out. The next pitch (joined with Yellow Spur) now that's run out!
    By Casey Bernal
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jun 17, 2002

    I wouldn't suggest taking a beginner leader or follower on this climb. The rock is loose in places and the gear is tricky (you have to be careful not to place gear behind potentially loose blocks). There is also usually a lot of people below the climb between Yellow Spur and Rewritten so extra care is required. I continued straight up the face after the dihedral which was easy but run out for 20 feet or so. Awesome climbing up an easy and exposed face. I belayed at a nice short tree and continued straight up the face from there. Excellent position on the climb. casey bernal
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Sep 2, 2002

    This is a wonderful climb! Simplistic yet retains your interest. The route is easy to find and you can't beat the finish. Three stars in my book.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Sep 3, 2002

    You can easily protect the first half of the final arete finish. If this route is "s" because of the upper arete finish, why is not the Y. Spur also "s"? If runnout on the face above the dihedral ending is a worry, then as Warren states, go right about 8' to the start of a good crack which you can protect. This little traverse is exposed but the strata provides good foot placements.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 3, 2002

    The Yellow Spur does not have an s because the runout pitch is significantly easier than the crux. This is a controversial aspect of ratings, but many feel that climbs shouldn't have an s rating unless the runout moves are within about 1 grade of the crux. Rossiter will sometimes give a split rating 10d (8 s) which indicates the 10d is reasonably protected but the climb also has runout moves that are only 5.8. He does not do this for the Yellow Spur but one could probably call it 9 (6 s).
    By Joe Collins
    Jun 3, 2003

    I was a little less impressed by this climb than many of the other folks who commented above. After doing Swanson's Arete recently, which is truly a 3-star climb, I had high expectations for this one. I would say this climb is worth doing, only because it gives you an easy path to access the incredible last pitch of the Yellow Spur. Besides that, the bulk of the climb is less than inspiring.

    Icarus itself is a one star climb. It gets a bonus star for following the amazing last pitch of the Yellow Spur.
    By Leo Paik
    Administrator
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Jun 4, 2003

    IMHO, this is a great route, in particular, for its difficulty rating. It is a great combination for a day with Swanson's for 6x60m pitches. Bit of spice for the 5.6 leader with a breeze on the last pitch. Wonderful exposure.

    It rivals Wind Ridge, Calypso (which feel tops in Eldo at 5.6) in quality of climbing and beats them in position. What else is better in the Front Range at 5.6?
    By Steve Marr
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Jul 5, 2003

    I would have to agree with some of the other comments that it's the final pitch that makes this a great climb. The first two are good, but not stellar. We used a slightly different belay after the first pitch. Instead of belaying in the dihedral like the book shows (small pro), I traversed along the wide crack that leads to the arete and belayed at the end. It was interesting. There is an old fixed pin directly above the belay. On the second pitch, we climbed the face directly above the dihedreal. The pro is good, the climbing is fun, and it didn't seam that run out. Great route.
    By Steve Annecone
    From: boulder
    Jul 13, 2005

    I agree with Leo above, this is probably the best 5.6 climb in the Boulder area. It is way exposed, involves lots of interesting and varied climbing, a little bit of spice for the intermediate leader, and the position and views are excellent!

    For speed, you can do the route in two pitches with a 60-meter rope, going from the starting ledge to the end of the runout traverse discussed above, then to the summit on the second pitch.
    By Stich
    From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Oct 9, 2005

    I just climbed this again a bit late in the day on Saturday. I did what Rossiter refers to as variation B for the second to last pitch. Instead of moving to the right to the arete, you go straight up at 5s. The pro here is pretty poor. In some places, all I could find was a shallow microcam or a Loweball placement every 20-30ft., but the climbing is easy. We got to the ledge with the two trees around 6PM, so we escaped down to the Dirty Deed gully from there. A rap anchor with two quicklinks will assist you in reaching the second rap station on Dirty Deed and then it's one rap to the Red Ledge with a 60m. We got to our packs at the base by the time it got pretty dark.
    By Charles Danforth
    From: L'ville, CO
    Oct 29, 2006

    Nice climb. A lot like Swanson's, but a bit harder. Two things to be aware of: First the first belay is not at all obvious or optimal. I kept going expecting the tree ledge I thought I remembered from the topo. 55 meters up, I was running out of gear and constructed a semi-hanging belay on a foot-sized ledge.

    Second, there are two extremely loose blocks on P2 (the runout section much-lamented above). These aren't your standard Eldo loose blocks; they look like they'd come out if you looked at them funny. Each was probably 50#. Definitely an accident waiting to happen. We thought about gardening them, but the rock was crowded, so it seemed like a bad idea.

    Anyway, nice climb though I chickened out on the last pitch in strong cross-winds.
    By Danny Inman
    From: Arvada
    Nov 6, 2006

    Nice route with great exposure.
    By Lloyd Garrick
    From: Arvada, CO
    Aug 25, 2007

    Climbed this today. I disagree with those saying it's not so cool. It's awesome! Started with the West Chimney for P1, then a short traverse (more of a scramble then a climb) to Icarus. Two pitches on Icarus, not easy, some fun moves, but not real hard either. Final pitch, the Yellow Spur arete, is totally awesome - delightfully terrifying exposure and views.
    Getting down was a long downclimb, 4th or EZ 5th class, and I didn't like it. I would rather have sprouted eagle wings and just flown off the top ....
    I dispute the rating - I would give this a solid 5.7. But I haven't been climbing that long, so what do I know?
    By Steve Levin
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 26, 2007

    Ament's 1975 Eldorado guide documents this as a variation to The Yellow Spur, first climbed by Bob Culp in the 1960s. According to Jim Erickson, this was (and one assumes, still is) one of Culp's favorite climbs in the canyon; indeed it was the first route Jim ever climbed with Culp, sometime around 1968 (personal communication).
    By Mark Cushman
    From: Cumming, GA
    Mar 1, 2008
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

    If you are climbing with a 70m rope, you can make it from the Dirty Deed Dihedral to the small tree at the top of the face (just before the traverse right) with ~3m to spare. We climbed the first pitch of the Great Zot, Icarus and then finished on the arete in 3 pitches. Nice!
    By Debbie Vischer
    From: Loveland
    Jan 21, 2009
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

    This was a fun climb on a blue bird day in January! Although the afternoon winds made it a bit more spicy on that last pitch! We did this in 4 pitches (started up the West Chimney). Route finding was very easy.

    Lots of loose rock in the chimney so needed to take it slow on the first pitch (and getting a #1 cam stuck didn't help. After breaking both trigger wires we left it for dead. HOWEVER... our new friends we rapped down with were able to get it out using 2 nut tools...thanks John!!).

    Spectacular exposure on P3 & 4. P4 only protects with 1 piece (used a red C3). So get ready for some runout. The traverse to the dirty deeds rap was fun. We kind of did a layback hand-over-hand traverse until we were able to get our feet on a ledge. 2 loose rocks at the rap slings, so be careful. We rap'd to the red ledge with 2 ropes (must be at least 60M to do in 1 rap). Then 1 rap from the red ledge to the base (again, 2 ropes, 60M). No issues with getting the rope stuck. Thanks Kirk & John for sharing the rap & your rope!
    By Devan Johnson
    Apr 22, 2009

    Yeah, I wouldn't suggest this one to a 5.6 leader, the pro just isn't there.
    By Alex A
    Mar 14, 2011
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

    Fun climb, wild exposure on last pitch, this is not a beginner lead, with a possible for a 30 to 50 feet fall, if you blow it, the 5.6 lead for the 5.8 leader, no one should call a 5.6R a beginner lead route, WFT.
    By Carl Dixon
    From: Boulder
    Aug 1, 2011

    When starting this route with the first pitch of Rewritten (which is great), you can traverse up and left past the usual first belay and make it to a tree in the gully in one pitch from the ground. From there, you can easily walk unroped up the gully and right across the Red Ledge to the start of Icarus.

    On the decent from the notch, rappel ~28m to a tree on one rope, then make a double rope rappel to the last ledge (below the Red Ledge) with a big fat tree, then one more double rope rappel to the ground. The big tree on the last ledge is far back from the ledge, so to make the pull easier, the final rappeller should stop on a small ledge and pull the knot past the edge before going all the way to the ground.

    The final pitch is spectacular. Airy, exposed, and runout, but secure holds all the way.
    By Canon
    Sep 7, 2011
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

    Went up the West Chimney and did Icarus in 3 pitches from Red Ledge. P2 was belayed 110' up in a real crappy position about 20' below the end of the irregular, right-facing corner. P2 was directly up the face after the end of the corner and runout for about 20 feet. P3 belayed from the moderate-sized tree and ledge. The final pitch was very runout. I got a #2 TCU and a large nut in the crack at the end of the ledge traverse right to the arete and a #3 Friend on the arete just short of the summit. Ridiculous exposure. Phenomenal climb.
    By percious
    From: Bear Creek, CO
    May 11, 2012
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

    Climbed this yesterday for the first time. Couple of notes:

    If you have a 70m rope, you can reach the base of the climb by climbing West Chimney and trending right to the Red Ledge. There's actually some fun moves in there. From the ledge, you can get a small cam and place a long runner and make it to the small tree at the base of Icarus. I recommend one of those pulley carabiners if you do this. I wish I had one. This is a nice way to protect your second on the ledge if you find this necessary.

    From there, you can climb as described up to the first belay. I never actually made this belay but headed right to the arete for some exciting exposure. The gear here is sparce, PG, and small. I placed one RP and two smaller cams while I wound my way up the arete. About where you connect with the original route is an excellent belay stance, with a large cam placement and a few nuts. This hanging belay has a small but adequate ledge. With my 70m, I had 20 feet of rope left. I felt this extra section of arete lent itself to a 5.7 PG rating. I will have to try the other way sometime to see if it goes easier. With this "intermediate" belay, a short 35m pitch will get you to the summit. The rope drag at the crux was quite noticeable, but I could have used a longer runner on at least one of my placements.
    By Ross Philip
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    May 22, 2013
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

    Agree with those comments that this is by no means a "beginner lead". The protection is sparse at best, the route is not heavily traveled and therefore has quite a few loose blocks, and even the 2nd could take an interesting swinging fall as much of the climb is a rising traverse. That said, it is beautiful, exposed, enjoyable climbing - if you know what you are getting into.
    By Crag Dweller
    From: New York, NY
    Jun 1, 2013
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

    This is a great route. Not sure I'd put a new(ish) 5.6 leader on it, though. There's the runout last pitch, which has been mentioned, and the traverse at the end of the dihedral on the second pitch is a bit thin with the potential for a pendulum fall that could be jarring.
    By Mark Oveson
    From: Louisville, Colorado
    Jun 5, 2014

    Climbed this route twice in the past two weeks. First time I had some trouble routefinding, particularly finding the traverse on P2. Second time I got it just right. Here's what do to:

    Climb the dihedral until it fades out into the face. A short distance above this point, there is a 3"-4" horizontal hold/ledge feature with a bunch of quartz pebbles embedded into it. Climb up until your feet are on that ledge, then traverse right to the arête. The traverse is a ways above gear, but the moves are no harder than 5.4. Once on the arête, you can get a good piece.

    A spectacular route and a mind-blowing experience for a moderate climber looking to get way off the ground.