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La Cierta Edad 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 650', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Jorge and Joanne Urioste
Page Views: 5,648
Submitted By: J. Thompson on Apr 11, 2007

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Sandra fires the spectacular 3rd pitch in style.

Description 

Pitch 1: Start up the perfect varnished face passing 4 bolts and belaying from bolts at the base of the obvious chimney, 5.8.

Pitch 2: Climb up the chimney clipping 1 protection bolt and follow the crack to a bolted belay at a small ledge, 5.9+.

Pitch 3: Continue up the obvious crack above. Belay at bolts, below an obvious OW. 5.10a

Pitch 4: Climb the short offwidth making face moves at its top. Continue up the obvious crack system to a ledge on the right. Continue up the wide crack (on the left), until you can traverse left to a seam in a varnished face (about 10ft). You're aiming for a bush with a small stance behind it. Belay at this stance on gear. 5.10d.

Pitch 5: Continue up the crack until you can step right to a 2-bolt belay at a stance. 5.8.

This route is VERY good, and should become a classic!

Descent:
From the anchor at the top of the fifth pitch, rappel back to the midway ledge of pitch 4. Traverse about 20ft right to another rap anchor. Next rap down into the chimney. You've now begun rapping the route "Unfinished Symphony", to an anchor on the right-hand wall. Continue rapping down to an anchor using 1 bolt and a thread. From this anchor rap to the ground ending right of where you started.
Rap using 2 ropes.

Location 

Follow the main trail into Ice box canyon until it drops into the drainage. Go about 100ft up the drainage until you can cut up right(south) on small trails thru the brush. When you come to a rock wall(pedestal) traverse up and around left until you can scramble across a ledge at the top of the pedestal. Start off the right side of this ledge. You cannot see the first bolt until you are about 10 ft up.

Protection 

SR to a #4 Camalot. Possibily extra #2 and #3.


Photos of La Cierta Edad Slideshow Add Photo
T-Pain following P3
T-Pain following P3
Always have the stronger partner carry the pack.  Put rocks in it if they're too strong.  Sandra follows the 2nd pitch.
Always have the stronger partner carry the pack. ...
Pitch 5 - solid for the grade.
Pitch 5 - solid for the grade.
Stem-tastic chimney if you are using the <a href='http://shortguyclimbingbeta.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >shortguyclimbingbeta.com</a> variation - I'm 5'7 for reference
Stem-tastic chimney if you are using the shortguyc...
Sandra climbs past the first pitch crux.  2nd and 3rd pitches can be seen above in the shaded dihedral.
Sandra climbs past the first pitch crux. 2nd and ...
Pitch 2 after the chimney
Pitch 2 after the chimney
Following the beautiful pitch 5 of La Cierta Edad.  Amazing route from bottom to top (Feb. 2008).
Following the beautiful pitch 5 of La Cierta Edad....
Dow about to exit the chimney
Dow about to exit the chimney
Pitch 3 - note the wide "chimney" that you can stem and get great gear into the left crack
Pitch 3 - note the wide "chimney" that y...
Looking down the 10a pitch
Looking down the 10a pitch
Travis and Jon following P1
Travis and Jon following P1
on the crux pitch
on the crux pitch
the final pitch
the final pitch
View from the P2 chimney.  <br /> <br />Photo: Corey Gargano
View from the P2 chimney. Photo: Corey Gargano

Comments on La Cierta Edad Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 11, 2013
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Apr 12, 2007

It may be possible to rap the route with 1x70M rope. The problem lies between raps 3 and 4. There is an anchor (on another route) out on the right face that MIGHT solve this problem...no promise's!

Also the ASCA replaced numerous bolts on this climb. All bolted anchors are good as are the protection bolts.
By Greg Barnes
Apr 23, 2007

Just to clarify - Josh is talking about rapping down the shared Unfinished Symphony raps (not rapping the route on La Cierta Edad), and the anchor out to the right is the one on top of pitch 2 of Music to My Fears. Reaching this anchor would require a somewhat aggressive penji/tension traverse out of the main corner, and it's not clear if you'd then rap back into the corner or to the first pitch anchor of Music to My Fears.

The bolt replacement: 11 bolts on first 3 pitches replaced in March 2004 by Bryan Law, Chris VanLeuven, and Greg Barnes. The two top anchor bolts, plus 3 bolts along the shared raps down Unfinished Symphony, replaced in April 2007 by Josh Thompson & Greg Barnes. Several old bolts remain on those raps, some of which are really cool to look at (like the 3rd bolt at the second rap station - a 1/4" Star-Dryvin with a bent nail that was never driven correctly!).
By meo
May 4, 2007
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

I found having a # 5 Camalot for the wide cracks we're very useful. Pitch 4 the consensus was 5.10 b Maybe that's because we had a #5 cam. Just the same the best pitches we're #2, a fun chimney and #3, awesome positions while crack climbing and stemming. Great Exposure and a super safe route. I'll give it 3 stars. Thanks for replacing those bolts! The rappels went without a problem.
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 14, 2007

If you wanted gear in the wide section on the crux pitch a #5 camalot would be the only way to go. However I thought that section to be about 5.8 there is very good small gear before you pull the crux however.
Interesting that you thought 5.10b, meo. I'm not one to overrate things and found the crux moves to be solid 5.10d.
By meo
May 16, 2007
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Hmm I must be missing something for I thought the wide crack in pitch 4 was the crux moves. If you thought it was 5.8 then where do you believe the crux moves to be?
By JSH
Administrator
May 23, 2007

Interesting comments here:
fivenineclimber.com/cragging/r...

(seems they'd be glad to hear about the new rap bolts!)

and
fivenineclimber.com/cragging/r...

These dudes call it 5.10- and say:
"The 3rd pitch was a strenuous, gently overhanging crack, varying in size from tight fingers to armbars. Felt like the true crux of the route. .... (in re: 4th pitch:) The stated technical crux was a short reachy fingercrack with one off-balance move; barely fiveten. As on Black Orpheus, this section is overrated in difficulty (the new Brock guide calls it .10d ! ), and pales in comparison with La Cierta Edad's other pitches."
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 23, 2007

Hmmm. Very interesting.
The wide section only felt 5.8 to me because stacked it, instead of arm bars. I'm sure arm baring would feel harder. I think the crux moves are at the top of the short wide section. They are short, almost like a boulder problem, however they are not "barely 5.10". The only thing I wonder is if those guys were fairly tall? I had trouble reaching the good holds that end the difficulties. Which made me do several moves on small holds/thin feet. Of course there may be a different sequence or holds that I missed as well. I've spoken with others who thought the crux to be harder than 5.10d....guess folks will just have to climb it and see for themselves!

In regards to why Swain called the route "strawberry shubert"...that is an extentsion. A final pitch up bad rock, that looks quite contrived. Swain apparently mixed it all up.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 23, 2007

5.8 hand stacking? Is that possible? Kind of like the ratings for squeeze chimneys, never under 5.9 ...
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 27, 2007

I'll have to respectfully disagree george! When proper stacking technique is used wide crack climbing can be easier than previously thought. Of course, as with any crack's, body size plays a role. For me that section of climbing is perfect hand/fist stacks. Which is totally bomber for me...YMMV!
By JSH
Administrator
Jun 7, 2007

Thing is, Josh, most folks don't get around to learning the Wide until they're well into a climbing career - like leading 5.10 or so. So it's only with the skillset of a 5.11 climber, that you can turn stacks into what feels secure and 5.8 to you. A 5.8 climber won't be able to turn that same trick - they will have to pull what feels like 5.11 to climb the same section. So by definition, even if it feels like 5.8 (to an experienced climber), it can't be rated that way. I think that's what George meant.

See, if I were climbing that section ... I'd tell my belayer to make him/herself comfortable and settle in for a long wait ;)

I wanted to get on this route in late May, but it was too dang hot, and surprisingly sunny - the sun's in a very different aspect by June.
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Jun 11, 2007

Julie?
I certainly agree! But that would beg the qeustion....what would a 5.8 leader be doing leading a 5.10+ pitch?
By JSH
Administrator
Jun 11, 2007

(yes, it's Julie, hey how are you man?)

A leader who will publicly claim she leads, say, 5.8 but has been onsighting 5.9 in Josh and led a few pitches of 5.10, -might- come across this route on fivenineclimber.com and, based on their comments (see above links) decide that 5.10- might be within her range to try, or at least hang/flail her way up. Or to climb with a stronger partner. So she's pretty concerned with whether it's 10- as they claim, or 10d, or secure 5.8, and what the nature of the difficulties are. She's pretty familiar with exactly why "secure 5.8 stacking" is an oxymoron!

So that's how a "5.8 leader" might end up on the sharp end of that pitch, and it's people like me (ahem, her) you have to take into consideration, when you say it's secure 5.8 stacking.
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Jun 14, 2007

Fair enough.

The only thing I'd point out is that I didn't put that in the route description(and wouldn't!). It was purely part of the conversation concerning the grade/crux and it's location.

I'm still alittle confused by anyone calling that pitch 5.10-.
We've( Julie) climbed together a bit, and I'd think you have a pretty good idea of my abilities and opinion's. Do you think I'm someone who would call a 5.10- pitch 5.10d?

I'm good by the way! How are you?
By JSH
Administrator
Jun 25, 2007

Yeah, I'm confused all over by the various comments I read. Yours is pretty straightforward to interpret, so long as the reader knows what OW really means - it's secure for someone with good OW skills, grade notwithstanding (and knowing you personally, you're spot-on in terms of grades).

The comment on fivenineclimber (who I don't know) is the harder one - I suspect that he's taller, and his "5.10-" and "barely five ten" applies if you're his height. That's more subjective to read, and to interpret how to apply to my own body and climbing level.

At any rate - maybe I'll get a chance to see what I think it is someday!

Coming your way in mid-Aug .... stay tooned! Hope your wrists are doing well.
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Jul 2, 2007
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

A great route that is also pretty much all in the shade. Definitely a must do climb. I would have to agree the 2nd and 3rd pitches are the best on the route too. Good rock, good protection, and fun moves make it classic.

The "crux" 4th pitch is like two moves of mid .10 and the rest is 5.8. I believe the earlier poster was talking about the offwidth (OW) section on this pitch being 5.8 (which I agree with). There are dished feet in the OW that allow you to squeeze up without having to use handstacks or the like. Above, the crux moves come as you pull out of the OW. As far as the crux moves, I would say that if you do the moves correctly (psssst . . . . heel hook,mantle) it felt more .10b/c to me. The pro before the crux is good and protects nicely with a #5 camalot but can also be protected with a medium sized nut at little higher up (I used both).

Overall I think you'll find the 2nd and 3rd pitches more sustained with almost as hard moves on the 3rd.

I might also add that you can continue up above the last bolted anchor up the chimney for another 50ft or so on 5.7ish climbing and rap from a cordage built station.

From this cordage anchor rap to the last bolted anchor first and then down and right to the anchor mentioned above.
By Cultivating Mass
Jul 9, 2007
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This is just my two cents: the 10d pitch felt like 5.9 max; I just stepped over Meo's head and laybacked it. There was literally maybe 5 5.9 moves in a row right off the belay, well protected by a new C4 camalot (old 4.5) on slick, pretty chocolate varnish with adequate feet. Any 5.9 gym climber shouldn't have ANY trouble laybacking these moves. From there on I maybe placed two or three more pieces until reaching the belay ledge shared by Unfinished. The crux for me was the third pitch-Mikey lead it and it felt like solid 10b as I seconded. The 5.8 pitch at the top was super fun and Bob Conz told me that his x-rated face pitch at the top could have been protected by a crack to the left-he was just feeling his oats and having fun climbing the face that day. A sweet route regardless, my girl leads 5.8 on gear and I'd have no problem sending her up on any pitch but the "10a"-this is a good beginner 5.10 multipitch. More fun than Y2K by a mile!
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Jul 14, 2007

It gets weirder!!! Now the 5.10d is 5.9....but the 5.10a is 5.10b!

Looks to me like this route is a classic example of WHO THE FUCK KNOWS What the rating is!!!

LOL....main thing anyone should take away from this is that the route is exceptional!! Go climb it and see how hard(or easy!) YOU think it is!
By rex parker
From: las vegas n.v
Aug 26, 2007

ok to further the confusion.to climb this route you need to have your offwidth technique down cause personally the cruxes are offwidth,and i suck at them so the cruxes were difficult. the rest of the route was awsome.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Aug 27, 2007
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

karsten- heel hook, mantel???

i thought that the crux was solid 5.10 if you climbed it straight in. i watched my partner do it, and it looked much harder. there are definitely options- left, right, or center. take your pick. i got a no-hands kneebar and was able to finesse my way out of the corner at what felt like 5.10-ish, but, solid OW technique makes that exit easier, i think. i cannot see how that corner could possibly be 5.9, since the crack seams out.....

the pitch below was low .10s, maybe .9ish- the OW wasnt that bad, but definitely took some technique and patience to get through it without crying for mommy.

really good route- but, since no one has mentioned it, the loose rock on the 2nd pitch makes for a pretty heads up lead....keep that in mind!
By Pete Bresciani
Sep 7, 2007

Michelle and I did this route today and enjoyed it. I was not thrilled however with the poor rock quality on pitches 2 and 4. Fortunately the short crux section of pitch 4 had bomber rock and pro.

Pitches 1, 3, and 5 were my favorites. Great rock, great pro and fun climbing.

I'm 6'1" tall and can confirm that height helps a lot on this climb. Long legs make for easy stems reducing the difficulty especially on pitch 3. On pitch 4, I easily reached the good face holds coming out of the offwidth.

This is a good route. Just be sure you are familiar with climbing on fragile sandstone (pitches 2 & 4) being careful what you step and pull on.
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Dec 24, 2007
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

I didn't find the rock to be that questionable.

I thought info seekers might like this website which has another route descritption and some great pics.

fivenineclimber.com/cragging/r...
By Greg Barnes
Dec 28, 2007

Well, for those who aren't strong gym or sport climbers, I'd rate this sucker at least 5.10d. No way is that crux anywhere near 5.9! Maybe it feels easy if you sport climb 5.11, but my only question was whether the crux was 5.11- or 10+, and 5.10- didn't even vaguely enter my mind. And I tried the heel hook mantle thing (couldn't press it through), liebacking, etc - ended up doing super dicey moves that I never would have tried on lead.

It's funny how the ratings are diverging - the skill sets are just so different with different groups of climbers. 5.11 gym equals 5.10 sport equals 5.7 slab equals 5.4 offwidth equals 4th class chimney...and outdoor 5.10+ trad equals 5.9 gym if you're weak and you never climb steep sport or gym routes!
By rpc
Mar 13, 2008

My wife & I climed it this February. An amazing route - probably our favorite RR outing to date. Rap gully to the right had ice in it which kept coming off all day long -- felt almost alpine :)
Given that we were able to get the thing cleanly, I'd sort of go with a 10- rating. Maybe you'll laugh, but I found Sour Mash significantly harder (not so good at face climbing).
By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Apr 9, 2009

I won't quibble about the grade though I do think the 3rd pitch was slightly harder. As for rapping, the Handren guide suggests rapping Unfinished Symph or the route itself. We got our ropes hopelessly caught rapping the route (had to relead the "crux" with both ends of the same rope). Unfinished was much cleaner for pulling the ropes. Use the 1st anchor on Music to My Fears for your final rap.
By MJW
From: Boise, ID
Apr 27, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Did this one the other day....pretty good.

Pitch 2 - 5.9+ Fun/tricky chimney. Be careful pulling out of it up higher. Loads of rotten rock and your belayer is right below all of it!

Pitch 3 - 5.10a. Cool stemming and jamming. Good pro. Classic

Pitch 4 - 5.10a. Plug your big cam in the wide crack above the belay. I had a #5 WC flex friend. Pull a(one) lieback move with pro at your waist and hike your feet up to a giant foothold. The rest of the pitch is a yawner and very easy. IMO pitch 3 should have ended above this move adding a nice sting at the end! One move wonder...No way it's 10d!

Pitch 5 - 5.8 crack. OK. Rap Unfinished Symp. Then go do Breakaway!!!!
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Oct 17, 2009
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

Fabulous and well protected route. My favorite route of our current trip. I didn't love the raps though.....

Approach - A fairly good trail takes off to the left about 100' up the wash once the main trail hits the wash. When you hit the pillar, wander left and up to the starting ledge.

P1 (5.8) - Mostly great rock up past four bolts and some gear. Bomber anchor bolts. 130'

P2 (5.9+) - Chimney up past one bolt and some gear... and then chimney out and up over the roof. Awesome climbing! The next 80-100' of climbing up the crack is on less-than-inspiring rock. Be careful. There is plenty of gear, but your placements are limited to the spots where the crack walls are solid. Bomber anchor bolts. 130' or so. I think this pitch is PG13 because of the rock... if not for the leader for the belayer.

P3 (5.10a/b) - AWESOME pitch. Up the steep crack and into awesome stemming when it gets wide. The difficulties stay with you until the end, though you do get a rest about 15' below the anchor. This pitch will take as much gear as you throw at it. If you ask me, this pitch is the crux of the route. Bomber bolts. Hanging stance. 90'

p4 (5.10?) - The #5 camalot goes in perfectly. I don't consider myself a sandbagger, but the crux felt 10-- to me. I pretty much just faced left, with a right hip scum, and worked up the crack... left foot on the offset left wall. I suppose I was laying it back, but with the hip scum it wasn't pumpy at all. At the top of the wide crack more gear is available, and then I just squared up to the crack and grabbed a nice edge up and right. My wife got the move as well, she thought around 10b/c or so. I'm 5'9, and she is 5'5. The rest of the pitch was easy climbing on so-so rock. We built a belay by the little shrub/tree. 150'

P5 (5.8) - Short, fun, varnished 5.8 corner. Lots of edges and heucos makes the climbing much easier then it looks. 80'. Two good bolts with a bunch of tat.

And now the rap....

The first rap sucked big time. My rope fell into the crack and got stuck in the crack right above the crux move on P4. So I rapped down and freed it. I debated just going down to the anchor bolts for the climb and rapping the route (all the anchors are rigged with rings), but was concerned about getting the rope stuck per the comment above. So I ascended the rope about 50' back to the big ledge for the Unfinished Symphony raps. After my wife came down, I had her belay me out left for the pull. The ropes came..... BARELY.

The next three raps down Unfinished Symphony went OK, but each anchor consisted of just one good bolt, another OK bolt, and tat.

I don't think the last pitch is worth the risk of the last rap. Next time, I'll just finish on the sloping ledge and the Unfinished Symphony anchor.

Gear: nuts, one or two sets of TCUs, double camalots from #0.5 to #4 camalot, and one #5 camalot. I was happy to have two #4s and the #5. With this rack you can pretty much sew up the route.
By brucelacroix
From: Portland, OR
Jun 17, 2010
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I was intrigued after reading all of the comments. Hand stacks, heel hooks, 5.9 or 5.10d. Normally I wouldn't get on a route rated 10d, but as someone else posted, you won't know unless you try it. My partner and I felt it was 5.10, but not hard 5.10. I'd break it down this way.
P1-5.8
P2-5.9, The crux felt a little like Epinephrine.
P3-5.10- Some loose rock on this pitch.
P4-5.10- Plug in a #4, layback 3 to 4 feet to a good stance.The rest of this pitch is pretty easy.
P5-5.8
The rap to unfinished symphony went ok, the first pull was hard, the next three were good.
Bonus-We got to the base of the climb at 10am. The first pitch was in the sun, the next four pitches were in the shade.
By Fett
Oct 30, 2010
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Awsome route. I thought the 3rd pitch was more of a challange because it was more sustained. The 4th pitch start was just a very short offwidth crux.
By Sherri Lewis
From: Sequim, WA
Oct 11, 2011
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

I'll add my 2 cents to ratings debate for P4. I'm 5' 1" and felt that the two bouldery moves immediately above the wide crack to be the crux; I'd say .10b, mabye 10c, though it didn't feel as stiff and desperate to me as Triassic Sands' crux. The wide part felt 5.9+--I was short enough that I could hip scum the whole thing with no laybacking and no offwidthing.

On the flip side, I offwidthed the entire length P3 because it was too wide to stem. This made it a much more sustained, physical pitch compared to P4, though perhaps not technically harder. I was glad for good pro all the way.

The quality of the rock, pro, and climbing above the crux of P4 deteriorated significantly. I cut the pitch short and belayed from the rap anchor on the right of the sloping ledge midway of P4. We rapped Unfinished Symphony from here.

P2 is definitely heads up. For short folks, it may be a challenge find solid stances in that initial chimney. The loose rock was also disconcerting.
By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Nov 22, 2011
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

cierta edad means "advanced in years"


:-)


jon
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 29, 2012
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Wow. Another great route by the Urioste family. After 25 years of climbing here I continue to find gems they have established. I was quite intimidated by the grade given to pitch 4 - 5.10d OW. I kept climbing and climbing and never found that part. The start of the pitch is 5.10 and takes a big piece (great gear so no fear) but a little foot work and side pulling for a few feet and that is done without ever using off width technique. Despite this route being labeled as a wide crack, there is almost no wide crack technique other than a little 5.9 chimney on pitch 2 so don't let that scare you away. You will want some big gear for protection, but face climbing, stemming etc suffices for the wide sections.
By Cultivating Mass
Apr 8, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Did this route again recently, my partner called it 9+. Substantial amount of hollow rock on upper crack of P2 got my attention; an extra #4 might have made that section feel more solid-still doesn't feel all that well cleaned, holds will break, heads up. "10a" 3rd pitch still felt 10a to me, mainly awkward for my body size (5.10 165). My two smaller female partners cruised it and thought tough nine was right on. The "10d" crux above is for sure 5.9 for my body+technique; I watched both the girls do it differnetly, but with all the great feet and hands outside the crack, you can go no-hands on every move up to the jug rail. There was one .9ish move for me laying back a sidepull above, but the pitch is easy if you don't go all Belly Full of Bad Berries on it. Protect in the crack, stay outside, milk huge feet on the right.

The raps down Unfinished/Music to My Fears have new webbing courtesy of Bluewater Ropes, but there's bolt replacement that needs to be done sooner rather than later. This rappel has snag potential, watch your ends as well.

As a final note about the grade, it's a good rock climb regardless of what label we affix to it. Get out there and enjoy it. For what it's worth, the Swain guide (which calls this Strawberry Shubert) calls this 10- with a 10c X finish pitch (conz variation), which seems to be closer to the truth. Brock/MacMillen calls P4 .10d, maybe Roxy got hyped on the crack stacking and never saw the good holds. In future guides, I think .10a would be an appropriate grade for the route excluding the alternate X finish for those not intending to offwidth the start of P4.
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
May 29, 2012

Still baffles me that anyone can think that OW is the crux. I did it without the right sized gear (and no Mtnproj beta) and still didn't think it was harder then 5.8.

Whatever! Maybe I'll climb it again someday and see if it feels any different. It would be worth another lap anyway.

josh
By Eugene Kwan
Oct 11, 2012

Did this route yesterday. I'd say it's a 5.10, but I don't know what sort. The wide chimney was a bit tricky to commit to, but the gear is pretty good if you look hard. It's easier if you stay in wide chimney mode for longer. I used arm bars and chicken wings through the OW sections, which weren't too bad. I was happy to have a #5. The #4 was occasionally useful, but I probably could have left it at home. Having double #2 and #3 was nice--one #1 would have been fine though.

I would recommend going from the hanging belay at the end of pitch #3, and going directly up to a large ledge instead of P4 belay. The right of the ledge has a bolted station on it, and you can belay from there. This lets you skip the horrible last pitch. It's full of friable rock and rope-eating chicken heads. The climbing at the top is cool, but the bottom half is kind of dull, doesn't have great gear, and has a lot of loose stuff everywhere.

We got caught in a storm on the way down. The Unfinished Symphony rap stations are right in a waterway, so we got completely soaked. I had the sense I could combine some of the raps with 2x60 m ropes, but I didn't really have the margin to experiment. I do know that from the station just below the big cave to the ground can be reached easily with a single 60. Not sure if you could do the whole route with a 70, but I don't think it's out of the question if you were creative with the rap stations.
By Brian Prince
From: morro bay, ca
Nov 29, 2012
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

RAP BETA: I'm not sure if it's been said, but you can rap the route with a 70m if you stop midway up pitch 4 (don't know about continuing). The first rap is kind of funky since you have to rap back across the ledge but the rope pulled ok. The way all the cord is equalized also puts all your weight on this tiny little bolt (of 3) doing it this way but it worked. The rest of the belays are all new and setup for rapping.

I though pitch 2 was pretty scary after the chimney and I thought I was used to hollow RR face/crack climbing.
By Weston L
From: Summerlin, NV
Apr 28, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Wow, what a fun route! After reading the endless ratings discourse here and seeing a beautiful looking route in pictures, decided to head up it yesterday.

The rock quality on P2 on the holds you are climbing on isn't that bad, but the quality of the rock you are placing pro in is definitely entertaining. Hollow and pretty spooky, and I've finally gotten adjusted to living in sandstone lands now - still scary.

As it relates to P3, that really is more the 'money pitch' on this thing - incredible techy movement, kinda burly if yer short (5'7 here). Get some cool stems at the end, though. Sustained and solid for the grade...

Of the three of us in my party we all had a differing opinion relative to the grade on P4. It's 5.10, the OW would be 5.8 or less in the Valley...the 5.10 move is after that, protects very well, and then it's over.


RE: the rap...

We rapped from the bolts/cord combo near the top of P5, rapped the route, and had no snag problems. Hated the hanging station with three of us...

YMMV
By Teresa Krolak-Owens
Aug 4, 2013

I haven't climbed in about 5 years or so and followed a friend up this climb yesterday...It was SO much fun. Hard but fun. The crux, I thought, was definitely exiting the OW, and yes, height makes a huge difference. I'm 5'4" and believe me, that chimney was "fun", that stemming on pitch 3 was "fun" and that exit move from the crux was "fun". It is good to be climbing again (I'm a Red Rock "native") and this route has it ALL....face, stemming, chimney, OW, good rock, bad rock....a Red Rocks sampler plate, I'd say. Thanks Jorge and Joanne...you guys are wonderful!
By Jim Amidon
Nov 5, 2013

Been there done that one.....


Good fun route....
By Derek Doucet
Nov 6, 2013

Steep and enjoyable. I gave it 2 stars. P1, the first half of P2, and P3 are all very good, with P3 being the real stand-out with excellent jamming and stemming through imposingly steep terrain. It's a 4-star pitch for sure. The crux p4 is essentially 10-12' of well protected, challenging climbing before easing off to easy rambling. Not an especially interesting pitch. P5 is OK, and certainly worth climbing.

I'd have called it a 3-star route except for the rock quality on the 2nd half of P2. It's pretty bad. You're both climbing on, and protecting in, very hollow stone. The climbing in this section is easy (5.8ish?) but serious caution is warranted in places, as the gear is mostly worthless. I have a fairly high tolerance for poor rock, and this stuff is for real hollow. It's not a reason not to do the route, but definitely makes the pitch heads up to a degree completely out of character with the rest of the climb which is exceptionally well protected.

The rappels over to and continuing down Unfinished Symphony are fine. The first pull (on the ledge you walk across to get to the Unfinished Symphony raps) is potentially problematic, but by walking (on belay) to the far climbers' left edge of the ledge to pull, we found the rope to fall quite cleanly. If one were to pull from the far right where the next anchor is, I can certainly imagine problems resulting. The rest of the raps are straightforward with reasonable anchors (as of 10/13). There was at least 1 modern 1/2" bolt at each, though there were also a number of antique star drives and other junk, plus one slung pinch supplementing the good bolts. In any case, the anchors were fine in my opinion. I've seen far, far worse in Red Rock, that's for sure.
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Nov 11, 2013

The popularity of this route is baffling. It is... ok.