This starts just between Over the Hill and Emerald City...up dihedral for a stem fest to a fun traverse left and up the steep face to a cool pair of cracks in a steep 25' wall to a large belay ledge (be careful of loose rocks). Continue on with the 2nd pitch finger crack of Over the Hill (5.9) or rap 100' from tree and down climb a little to the ground (60 meter rope) or continue up the somewhat tricky 2nd pitch in the obvious dihedral.
Standard rack...tree anchor or gear under awesome finger crack (2nd pitch of Over the Hill) for a recommended finish.
You could also climb the 5.6 second pitch (as described in the guidebooks). As I recall: follow the parallel cracks (actually corner with a parallel crack to the right) to the rotten ledge at the base of the 3rd pitch of Over the Hill. From there, either traverse off left, or climb the 3rd pitch of OtH.
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Apr 30, 2003
Smells quite strongly of nitrogen-type compounds at the start of the last pitch. Beware.
This is a really good route. The gear is all there and it is very interesting. We climbed the dihedral to the left of the last pitch of Over the Hill. I thought there were some moves on that pitch that were a little harder than 5.8 (especially the first pitch). But the gear is good at these points, so it's not that much of a problem. The upper dihedral pitch is great pitch... varied moves and I thought they were decently thought-provoking. Also the double cracks at the top of the first pitch are pretty fun. Granted, they're short... but they're good.
The Over and Out - Over the Hill link-up is one of the best 2 pitch outings I've done! I highly recommend it!! Pitch 1 has great stemming down low, a neat mini-traverse left under a roof and then 15 ft of super-positive laybacking to the belay. Pitch 2 looks harder than 5.9 from the belay but finger-locks and jugs seem to present themselves just at the right time. The best 9 pitch i've done in Eldo. You'll see what i mean when you get up there....
Instead of moving left at the top of the initial dihedral, you can climb directly over the roof. It's not hard (5.7? Easier?), and has gear, but the big flake that forms the roof is a little suspect. Just above is a 1 1/4" angle, so it's an old variation.
Combined with the 5.9 finger crack this is one of the best moderates ever! Sucks up small nuts like a baby squirrel!
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Jun 19, 2003
Led this today and it rocks! Enjoyed every move. My new favorite (8) in the park. Go left at the end of the initial dihedral and climb the beautiful 20' crack next to the upper dihedral. Really fun moderate climbing. Definitely recommend linking P1 & 2. Use a long runner under the roof to eliminate rope drag. The weather forced us to miss the upper pitch, but plan on going back for the full experience real soon.
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Jun 19, 2003
What a great route!!! The first pitch is just fun moves with great gear. The hand traverse is pretty wild and then feast your eyes on the sweet 20-foot hand crack. Jam that or run the finger crack in the corner. Take your pick. For the second pitch, I've done both the 5.8 dihedral and the 5.9 finger crack up the face. Both are good but the 5.9 is amazing. Rossiter's book calls it one of the best 5.9s anywhere; I'd agree. The thing eats mid-size nuts and Aliens. The 5.8 is super fun too, though I recall a couple of moves that felt a bit harder. Enjoy!
If you do the upper pitch of Over the Hill or the dihedral to the left, there is a very quick descent to the north along the ledge system. Go about 150 feet N, when the ledge begins to go back upwards, look for an easy downclimb (4th class); 1 or 2 moves gets you to safe ground. I think the whole descent took about 5 minutes, the quickest I've ever had in Eldo. The finger crack is awesome with good stances before the cruxes; exciting moves.
The dihedral left of P2 of OtH is a stellar pitch. I get the feeling it's underrated because of its proximity to the OtH finger crack. If leading Eldo 5.9s is a bit beyong you (as for me), then be sure to continue on up this pitch. It is either blemished or enhanced by a slightly spooky bit near the end above a small roof, where the crack become more of a seam. Almost the entire route is good fun climbing on really solid rock with great views.
I didn't think the climbing was entirely straightforward. Which of the cracks do you follow about 40' up, for example? Also, there is a balancy lieback move about 15' up. But a great climb nonetheless!
Our 60m rope easily made it from the tree, no downclimbing.
IMHO one of the best moderates in Eldo. Two caveats:
The first good gear is about 15-20 feet up, but it's not hard to get there. The rest of the placements on this route are bomber and have good stances. Fun, smooth climbing all the way to the belay.
The belay at the top of the 5.6 corner is very chossy. There is currently a large pile of jagged debris at the exit of the corner. You can set a very nice gear anchor in the cracks below the big slab above, but use the slings on the tree instead. Although there's a bit more drag this way, you will avoid knocking the choss off with the rope. A note to the committee folks--bringing some of the rubble down might be a worthy off-season project.
You'll regret it if you don't do the 5.9 crack pitch above (P2 of Over the Hill). Sustained with very good pro, some thought-provoking frictiony moves, and holds that appear as if by magic, at just the right time and place. One of the coolest 5.9s anywhere.
At the top of the second pitch (of Over the Hill) The belay tree has died and no longer wears the mark of countless rappel slings. You may downclimb easily (climber's left) To another rappel tree, or continue right on down. There is one 5.1 exposed move on the downclimb.