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No Thoroughfare Canyon
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Over the Edge Spire-Child's Play 

YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c R

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 140'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jon Burnham, Bill Duncan, Brent Higgins, March 1996
Page Views: 299
Submitted By: Paul S on Mar 6, 2011

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Looking down from the top of the chimney.

Description 

This is another one of the obscure towers of the Colorado National Monument. It is located far up No Thoroughfare Canyon.

The climb starts in the hallway between the tower and the buttress up a fist crack. Chimney/jam up and obviously move into the main chimney system. This is where the climb gets exciting, run it out by stemming/chimneying up past some scary rock with no gear for a ways. Towards the top of the chimney I saw two drilled holes to hand place a baby angle in. (Desert Rock III mentions more holes for angles, I didn't see anymore besides an empty bolt hole. At the end of the chimney, there is a fixed piton. Now for the intimidating part (and beta, so stop reading if you want more of an adventure).

The last 15-20' requires face climbing one junk rock with a bad fall potential. I took forever on this section, the line looks obvious, two big huecos to a scary, sloping mantle to a scramble to the summit. I tried everything, even aiding up, but that didn't work at all. Going straight up would be very hard and dangerous, instead traverse left on decaying rock. This is much, much easier, a little more runout and definitely worse rock, but fairly easy.

Rap with two ropes off of 3 fixed pitons.

This climb is pretty fun and unique in a beautiful setting, but runouts, some horrid rock, and runouts on horrid rock keep this one from being a 4 star route.

Location 

To reach this climb drive into the east entrance of the monument. Take the turn off to Glade Park. Go roughly 1 mile on this road and park on a dirt road on the right (there's a huge pull out .8 miles on the road, don't park here, go a little further). You should be able to see into No Thoroughfare Canyon close to where you parked, there's a huge horseshoe shaped side canyon that almost reaches the road. From the road head east, just south of this side canyon to the rim of the main canyon. Rap ~80 m to the ground (tie 2 ropes together), and you should be close to the tower.

Protection 

2 fist, 2 hand sized cams, 2 #1 baby angles, and singles of some of the other normal sizes. Screamers are probably a good idea.


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By Bill Duncan
From: Jamestown, CO
Oct 18, 2011

The trick to protecting the last 15-20 feet of climbing is not really obvious. I used a homemade, duct-tape-slinged, quart-size water bottle, and managed to "thread" this water bottle with a long sling attached through a tunnel/hueco. This took several attempts, but there is a huge ledge on the other half of the tower a few feet away, so if you slip, just jump over to the large ledge across the chimney. I may have used the A5 hammer to hook the sling from the other side. Once you have a sling running through the hole, you have a very good secure placement. Climb up and right to the summit. Sorry about all the drilled holes, but we were poor at the time and didn't think anyone would be out there climbing that thing.

We actually summited first, before Scott, so we called it Fisher Price Pinnacle (hence Child's Play). But he actually knew about the pinnacle first, and so called it Over the Edge Spire.
By Paul S
From: Fruita, CO
Nov 5, 2011

That's a good idea about threading those huecos, I didn't even realize they were connected. I just shoved in a cam in one of them and felt somewhat ok about it.

Another thing I forgot to mention was the huge, rotting, pillarish thing that is on the wall that you rappel down on from the rim. It's maybe 40', and at its base, where it's connected to the wall, it's maybe a few inches in diameter and it looks like it's on the verge of toppling over. It's a pretty unique formation and a little scary, you want to make sure you're to the right (or left) of it when jugging up your fixed lines.