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This climb, along with Perilous Journey, is one of the most famous mind control routes created by the gifted and famous, David Breashears, aka Kloeberdanz Kid. This route is amazing considering the era, the equipment available, the consequences of error.... Most mortals (like me) will experience this route on TR, if they choose to venture here. A lead would probably be soloing.
There is a picture of Breashears's FA on p. 94 of Climb! by Jeff Achey, Dudley Chelton, & Bob Godfrey. There, it is described that Breashears returned shortly after the FA of Perilous Journey in hopes of finding a more demanding route but was disappointed to find it "slightly easier and more secure, and with better protection (just enought to avert a ground fall.)" In a discussion about these two routes in 1976, Steve Wunsch described both these routes "like real jumps into the future to me." Jim Erickson replied, "They sure do. You'd jump right into eternity if you fell off either of 'em." If anyone can provide details of the history of this route's first ascent, that would be a wonderful enrichment to this website.
Apparently, the route is named in part for the rock/crystal embedded just above its roof.
As for the climbing, this route is quite challenging, and even on TR, it felt quite stiff for 11a (old Boulder Climbs South) or 11b (new Eldorado Canyon. This route is sustained for its first half & is fairly difficult to decipher the sequences without beta or chalk. Interestingly, W. Prehm's topo denotes this as 11d.
Note, the beginning of the route is located in a lush garden with plenty of poison ivy.
This historic route is located 2 routes right from Red Dihedral's P1. It starts right of the stray bolt of the unknown climb 11a? to its left. It starts left of Perilous Journey. It starts below a roof and works up onto a smooth face just right of a prominent arete.
According to Rossiter's guidebook, a #2 & #2.5 Friend for the groove above the crystal is the pro. Hmmm...Camalots #1 or #2 don't fit this groove. This groove appears to be a very shallow, flaring groove that might be intimidating to trust. Higher, a yellow & red Alien can be placed just next to the ledge near mid-height. There is a downward-driven Lost Arrow above the ledge to the right. Just before topping out, you can get a red Alien & wire.
To TR, you can belay from the ground with a 60m rope off the Red Dihedral P1 anchor with the red Alien, Lost Arrow, yellow Alien for directionals.
Chris Stewart reaching for the Krystal.
The approximate line.
Oct 7, 2011
I can report that this pitch is actually ok to lead. The gear was not perfect but skillfully placed and not skipped where it presented itself. The feeling was of excitement as opposed to fear. I would tell my friends to do this one, a classic for sure!