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Frigid Air Buttress
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Middle Earth 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 600'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: FRA Ryan Mcphee, Bill Thiry, John Wilder, Larry DeAngelo
Page Views: 1,833
Submitted By: Larry DeAngelo on Jan 1, 2005

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Crawling into the squeeze on pitch 1 of Middle Ear...

Climbing in Red Rocks after heavy rain can permanently damage the rock! MORE INFO >>>


This is an interesting route with some good climbing. The name relates to the long, fully enclosed tunnel on the fifth pitch. Two ropes are needed for the rappel.

About a hundred yards to the left of the Frigid Air Buttress, a rounded whitish apron leans against the lower wall. Scramble up ledges on its left side for a few hundred feet to a rope-up point where the rock steepens.

Pitch 1: On the right, climb a convoluted offwidth crack formed by the left edge of a huge flake (5.9). The easier chimney above is unprotected. The flake rounds off to a good belay ledge (which is also the ledge beneath the 5.9 handcrack halfway up the Frigid Air Buttress route).

Pitch 2: Avoid the FAB crack, and instead climb the left-leaning jam crack in the clean varnished wall on the left. (5.8)

Pitch 3: A short pitch up and left to a big ledge.

Pitch 4: Move to the back right corner of the ledge and climb a varnished corner, then go left and belay among broken rocks in the main gully system.

Pitch 5: Climb to the back of the gully then go up a dark, tight, fully enclosed vertical chimney tunnel.

Pitch 6: Easy climbing leads to the top.

Descent: Scramble left to the standard rappel route (2 ropes) down Burlesque.


Big cam for the opening offwidth

Photos of Middle Earth Slideshow Add Photo
Very clean jam crack on pitch 2 of Middle Earth.
Very clean jam crack on pitch 2 of Middle Earth.
Will on P5
Will on P5

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By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 8, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This was a good route. The first pitch is burly at the grade, I thought, but then, what offwidth isnt?

The handcrack is a delight to climb- heck, it was the inspiration for the rotue!

Thanks for this one, Larry, glad I got to be a part of it.
By WillF
Apr 2, 2015

The hand crack/face pitch and the tunnel pitch were fun. The tunnel pitch was more exciting than tunnel vision's and easy to protect.

However it was a tight squeeze to exit the tunnel, my chest and hips barely fit through (is there such a thing as a hip jam, because I did some) with a 36 inch waist.
By Arin
From: NW Las Vegas, NV
Jul 13, 2015

Did this yesterday, 12 July. If I were to recommend this route to anyone, I would do so because of the pitch 5 tunnel. That thing is a blast! I would agree that anyone with a 36" or bigger waist might have some issues getting through the squeeze and if you are claustrophobic, you might have some issues. A lot of spider webs, dirt, and other fun stuff in there.

If you lead the pitch, it's a good laugh watching from the top as your second is squeezing through.

Also, plenty of good pro to be found in the tunnel. Did some gardening as well.
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