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Taken from the top of Break on Through on West Rid...
Psycho Pigeon is an ignored semi-classic deserving at least one other ascent this year. The climbing is somewhat wandering, the rock mostly good (even if a tad lichenous), and the moves satisfying. My only concern is that the cruxes rely on 15-year old button head bolts. These should be replaced with modern hardware- should a bolt pull, you could get mangled. You get nice views of Yellow Spur from this climb, but be forewarned that since the routes overlap on the pin ladder pitch of Yellow Spur, it may be best to avoid rush hour. I have neglected to describe the original pitches leading to the Upper Ramp as these have been superceded by Three Old Farts Young At Heart, and there are many other ways to access the upper, more independent pitches.
Climb either Doub-Griffith, Three Old Farts Young at Heart, Psychosis, or Vertigo, or somehow get yourself to the extreme upper reaches of the Upper Ramp, immediately below Mellow Yellow.
P1 (5.9 with 5.8s): Either start in the Mellow-Yellow crack-slot and climb 40 feet, then move left to the arete at 2 bolts, or climb a lichenous wall through an overhang just left of this, up a slab to the same point.
P2 (5.11a with 5.9s): Climb the arete above past a bolt, then traverse right on steeper rock to the larger arete. Clip a bolt, do a hard stand-up move to a jug, then swing around the corner on the right and climb the slab past three more bolts. The crux stuff on Mellow Yellow is to your right. Where the climbing eases, move up and slightly right to a crack which leads to the exposed belay below the crux pin ladder on Yellow Spur.
P3 (5.10d): Climb about 25 feet of the pin ladder pitch, then move up and left at an obvious left-angling crack which crosses the bright lichenous wall. The gear is a little stubborn at the start, but where the moves get harder there are two bolts. At the top of the difficulties join the end of the Robbins Traverse, then punch it to the top via the Yellow Spur arete, or the original line- a slightly contrived slab to the left with a bolt (5.8).
Descend via trickery to the rap above Chockstone Chimney (see my comments under Swanson Arete), rap the Dirty Deed, or head down the East Slabs. The first descent option is the most viable, certainly if you started from the Vertigo Ledge and left your packs there.
The previous photo cropped to show a close up. The...
Lisa Apprill stylin' on Psycho Pigeon.
Dave following the traverse to the pitch 1 anchor.
Unknown on pitch 2.
Kat A just past the thin crux on Psycho Pigeon (5....
"You climbed where?"
Kat A. scopes out the travers...
Kat A traverses to the first belay on Upper Psycho...
|Comments on Psycho Pigeon
|By Anonymous Coward|
Feb 4, 2004
I did this route a couple of years ago and the crux felt like it was a lot harder than 11a. The crux felt like it was on the traverse out to the arete . I've done a lot of 11's in eldo and all I can recall from this route was a moment of desperation that I wasn't prepared for. Maybe I missed something, but my partner felt it was desperate for 11a too. Worth doing though.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Feb 4, 2004
I did this route a couple of years ago (maybe 2000) and thought that the crux move was on the traverse close to the arete and it felt a lot harder than 11a to me. Maybe I missed something but my partner thought it was a lot harder than 11a too. Good route though.
|By Steve Annecone|
Mar 22, 2004
What an excellent and wild route! Well protected in the harder sections, but plenty of spicy runouts on easier terrain, great position and exposure! (most of the old bolts have been replaced!) I thought the crux on the second pitch was more like 5.11b, it seemed as hard as lots of Eldo 11b routes. And be prepared for 10a or b serious on the third pitch before getting to the first bolt... it's steep and sustained here and the lichen and occasional crumbly rock make falling on marginal gear a possibility if you're not paying attention. Routes like this remind me of how unique and awesome Eldorado really is!
|By Josh Janes|
Jun 26, 2004
The four bolts protecting the crux section on the second pitch have been replaced and it feels ultra-safe. However, there are other spicy sections: For example, the belay at the beginning of this pitch is a button head and a 1/4 inch, and there is a long section of climbing right off that is only protected by a 1/4 incher (it would suck to break this bolt and factor two on the belay).
|By Shane DeMars|
From: Boulder, Colorado
Jun 28, 2004
To add to Josh's comment, there is also a 20ft section on the 3rd pitch (above the fixed pin and on the way to the 2 bolts) in which it is difficult to find good gear. It's easy at the pin and about .10- just before the bolts. Overall I'd say the route deserves more ascents than it seems to get.
|By Joe Collins|
Jul 20, 2004
What a nice surprise this route is! Its tempting to give it 3 stars, but its hard to grant classic status to something that avoids all the obvious climbing on the Yellow Spur.
The crux traverse move felt like easy-11 to me, but the move is very height dependent... and apparently kind of scary for the second. Its another one of those Eldo problems where you see a jug above a blank stretch, and you have to concoct some scheme to get to it. I think the comments on the seriousness of the 3rd pitch are overstated... there is a nice stopper placement in the diagonal slash, and then moderate climbing to clip the bolt. The original 4th pitch looked like a contrived joke (5.8, one bolt eight feet left of arete), so we stuck to the Yellow Spur arete to the top.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Aug 20, 2004
What's interesting is that the guidebook describes the crux in a different place, on the arete after the traverse. Rossiter describes the trasverse as 5.10. Maybe something broke off?
|By David A. Turner|
Oct 14, 2004
In my opinion, the crux second pitch is about the same degree of difficulty as other classic Eldo face routes at this grade, eg. Wide Country. Well protected.
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Nov 9, 2004
rating: 5.11a PG13
I think it's a little interesting that nobody is discussing the bottom of the climb. The first 3 pitches are not insignificant and if done by the best line are all 5.10.The first pitch may as well be done as Psychosis (the 5.10 mantle) because the 5.9 to the right is junkier. THe middle pitch, as 3 Old Farts Young At Heart is excellent and well protected overhead for most moves. The 3rd pitch is independant and climbs like 'Body Tremors' but harder and with a few bolts. It's significant enough to say that without doing that pitch, you have not done the route. Not so hard as it is a testiment to what was envisioned and done by the FA party, and to "Get it" regarding the nature of the climbing on this route.
|By Rob Kepley|
May 7, 2006
I got on this one with my friend Joe yesterday. We climbed Three Old Farts to reach the upper ramp. This is an excellent way to reach Psycho Pigeon. Like Steve says, Psycho Pigeon is a neglected semi-classic. I thought the climbing was good and requires good route finding skills. There wasn't any chalk up there to help you find the way. It's totally worth more accents that it obviously doesn't get.
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 18, 2007
Greg Miller dragged a willing (it was my idea) but way out of shape me up Psycho Pigeon yesterday. My mind was willing, but my body wasn't. We approached via Psychosis, P1 of which was mixed snow and rock, and P3 of which was desperately-cold jamming. We started Psycho Pigeon via the left-facing corner depicted in the photo of Mellow Fellow. The move off the ground felt like 10+, but otherwise it was 9 with 9s at the end moving left then up to the belay. Rossiter describes starting further left, which looked very unappealing. You could also climb the flake just right of the corner. I was unhappy belaying the runout to the first bolt. Greg didn't get the nut in mentioned by someone above. Greg lunged at the crux stand up, disappeared around the corner, and with some mumbling, finished the pitch clean. I totally lunged the crux, got the jug, and then barn-doored off. I was very unhappy to move around the arete and discover it was not a slab, but rather very steep fingery face climbing. Flailed there. Near the top of the pitch, you can move left to the arete for a rest, but you'll want to move back right, and up and over the roof via fun easy move. P3 had decent gear. Greg got a good blue Alien in before the first bolt. The moves at the bolts were quite hard. I was expecting 10c, but Steve says 10d, and Rossiter says 11a. I was exhausted at this point and hung twice getting over the bulge.
|By Brian Milhaupt|
From: Golden, CO
Mar 8, 2007
Great rock and position. An overlooked classic.
|By Mike Munger|
From: Boulder, Colorado
May 20, 2007
I agree with Josh. You can place a small TCU to back up the bolts at the anchor at the top of the first pitch, and it is possible to place an RP before the first bolt on the second pitch. So, you are not totally run out, but it would be nice if that 1/4" button head was replaced as it is essentially the only thing you have when you start the traverse to the arete, and it would be a bad fall if it broke.
|By Phil Lauffen|
Mar 29, 2010
Once I fell 30 feet off of the third pitch of this due to the stopper in the diagonal slash pulling while getting lost on the Yellow Spur....
Can I tick it?
|By Rob DeZonia|
Sep 6, 2011
There are two independent pitches that lead to the Upper Ramp. The first hits an awsome splitter crack the leads just below Psychosis 11a roof. The second moves right and up a steep face visible from the Upper Ramp rappel. The Rossiter guide says these are three pitches that more or less follow Three Old Farts. They really add to the route, and the 5.10 crack on P1 is awesome.