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Pseudo Sidetrack 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c R

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 450', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c R [details]
FA: Stan Shepard, Don Davis, 1958
Fixed Hardware: 1 Lead Bolt, 3 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 3,891
Submitted By: Leo Paik on Nov 1, 2001

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Here's a bit of ancient history! Me, leading the s...

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  • Description 

    Curiosity got us & might get you to check out this historic wander. Although it was described as a popular beginner route in Rossiter's ole guide, I've never seen anyone on it, ever. It got a star, so we checked it out. I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a beginner route. So here comes perhaps a bit of obscurity.

    Go to the left/West end of the bench behind Whale's Tail near The Bulge. Find a diagonalling, lower ramp going more left than up.

    P1. Find a path of least resistance left along a ramp with somewhat polished scoops past 2 pins and a bolt (probably from another route). Place pro, go around a bulge then move down slightly. There is definitely terrain on this pitch that neither the leader nor the follower would be wise to scream/pitch off. Continue left & up. Rossiter's guide describes a poor belay that we chose to avoid (you'll probably be smarter than us & find a belay in here). This apparently has been upgraded with a bolt. There is a polished little wall with another pin that proves to be meaty for 5.4. I wouldn't recommend this for my 5.4 leading friends. Continue up the ramp left to the big tree at a large ledge. 250 feet, simulclimbing, 5.4d.

    P2 or P3. Move down and right perhaps 30 feet to a path of least resistance. Up and right along a crack perhaps 50 feet. Rope drag makes the belay on this huge ledge useful. There are a few fixed pins or bolts here. 80 feet, 5.4.

    P3 or P4. Go up and slightly right finding fun face climbing to a large ledge with a tree. You can exit off right here or, better, continue up to another ledge with a smaller tree. Belay. 5.4c/d.

    From here, traverse off right to gain the East Slabs descent.


    Light Eldo rack, long rope (60m min).

    Photos of Pseudo Sidetrack Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bob beginning P.2 on Pseudosidetrack.
    Bob beginning P.2 on Pseudosidetrack.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Start of Pseudo Sidetrack.
    Start of Pseudo Sidetrack.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the 5.5 finish...  could easily link P4...
    Looking up the 5.5 finish... could easily link P4...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4.
    Pitch 4.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Large ledge where the original and direct finishes...
    Large ledge where the original and direct finishes...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Crack slightly to the right of the pine tree after...
    BETA PHOTO: Crack slightly to the right of the pine tree after...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sunshine daydream.
    Sunshine daydream.

    Comments on Pseudo Sidetrack Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 16, 2013
    By Mike Abraham
    Jun 8, 2004
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

    A great route no one ever does. What could be better....
    By slevin
    May 4, 2007

    The old quarter incher at the second belay has been replaced.

    I don't recommend combining the lower 3 pitches as described by Leo above. Belay after a short lead at the first bolt you come to (a cam backs this up)- this will reduce the chance of getting the rope caught in the flakes one traverses left around near the start of pitch 1. Then belay at the end of the long diagonal section at the newly replaced bolt and a fixed ring angle- to minimize rope stretch in the event of a fall and to allow better communication between climbers. Pitch three goes up and right past a fixed pin and onward to Sidetrack Junction (i.e. the large ledge) etc.

    This is an excellent, exposed, and devious route that the 5.4 leader (or follower!) should approach with caution.
    By Clint Locks
    From: Boulder
    Jul 9, 2007

    Running P1 and 2 together would be OK, I guess, if you were in a hurry and were careful with your gear placements, but why?? It's a great view from the P1 belay and it's comfy. Aside from that, the "small tree about 30 feet short of a huge ledge" (330) for the P3 belay as described in the Rossiter guide is gone. Use the beta from this page instead, and head all the way up to the big tree on Lower Juniper ledge to belay.
    By Clint Locks
    From: Boulder
    Oct 4, 2008

    Another fun variation is PA's Variation. Try it out for a finish if you want a little more "spice in the chili".
    By Rodger Raubach
    May 31, 2010
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

    This is an extremely nice, early season warm up for more experienced climbers. This is a bit scary for beginners, as a slip on the first lead would result in a bad swing. The pro is reasonable for any competent leader, but I wouldn't suggest this for a rookie. There are several old but still good fixed pitons on p.1. Bring plenty of longer slings to direct the rope from getting hooked on flakes. A 60 meter rope makes this a 2 pitch climb. The upper pitch is very nice climbing on chickenheads with good protection with a light rack of nuts and a few smaller cams.

    I've done this climb around 8-10 times, and always have found it to be fun. The 5.4 R rating is a bit of a "sandbag" and is based on finding the absolute easiest line. I'd be more inclined to call it 5.5 R however. Not that big of a deal, though.
    By Matt MacGregor
    Oct 2, 2011

    To expand on Levin's entry here on MP, there is a fixed pin on P1 before you traverse around the bulge. The "belay with a poor anchor" described in Rossiter would indeed be that without the bolt noted by Steve. Decent pro can be had in the shallow crack below it.

    P2 has another fixed pin along the ramp, continue to the bolt and ring-piton anchor as Steve describes.

    From this belay at end of P2, eyeball the fixed pin approx. 20 feet above and slightly to your right -- note the eye of the pin is half-broken through. After making moves above the pin, run it out up the ramp to the pine tree and belay. Or turn right just short of the tree and combine P3 with P4, continuing to the belay at the large ledge. As of this writing, there is a fixed nut where you enter the dihedral.

    The 5.5 variation finish offers an unexpected touch of spice. It protects reasonably well.

    Thoroughly enjoyable, I think a classic in its rating. But do exercise caution and judgment; like The Bulge, your second needs to be competent.
    By J. Broussard
    From: CordryCorner
    Aug 10, 2012

    Has anyone free soloed the route?
    5.4 is typically a very casual solo, but some of the reviews leave me wondering if this routes deserves a run on rope first.
    By fossana
    From: leeds, ut
    Nov 1, 2012

    @ Jeffeos
    I onsight soloed the route with the (licheny) direct finish. The rock is pretty solid by Eldo standards, there is minimal polish, and I didn't find the routefinding difficult (I do a lot of alpine soloing but was new to Eldo at the time). It is definitely exposed in spots especially on the lower ramp. I would say Swanson's Arete (minus getting up to it), Recon, and Breezy all feel mellower from an exposure perspective.
    By Jay Eggleston
    From: Denver
    Nov 8, 2012

    The direct 5.5 finish, the last pitch, did not seem "R" to me. I found lots of small cam placements. This is a fun route!
    By Rodger Raubach
    May 11, 2013
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

    I believe the "R" rating pertains mostly to the first pitch, and I would be more inclined to call it PG-13. The risk factor is more evident to the second, following the first pitch, especially if it's regarded as a "date climb" for an inexperienced GF. I've had several young females get real freaked out by the rapidly found exposure.

    That said, this is probably one of the few "easy" routes in Eldorado that could be called a "classic."
    By William Thiry
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Nov 16, 2013
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13

    This is a terrific route, and certainly one of my favorites at Eldo. The exposure is exciting, the climbing easy and fun with good rock and good movement. The protection is reasonable for the experienced leader. It is probably considered 'R' by some because a fall at the wrong spot on p1 or 2 traversing could be serious, but otherwise protection opportunities are ample. PG13 would be my vote.

    We finished on the 5.5 direct finish, which was good but would be even better without all of the flaky lichen near the top. PG13 here, too.

    Definitely a classic.

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