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The Quarry
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
5.8 My Ass T 
Alien Heads T 
Chockstone Chimney T 
Crossed Fingers T 
Dig the Groove T 
Event Horizon S 
For Better or Worse T 
Glenfiddich T,S 
Hang'n Ten on the Wall of Glen T 
No Pressure S 
Not Even T 
Piece of the Action T 
Practice Roof T 
Pulp Friction S 
River Dance T,S 
Rodeo, The S 
Sidewinder T 
Slippery Nipple T,S 
Smashing T 
Undertow T 
Waffle, The T 

River Dance 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 110'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: ??
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 1,538
Submitted By: ryan laird on Apr 12, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (16)
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Description 

River Dance meanders up the cascading water streak following the natural weaknesses on the left and right sides of the streak. It provides slab climbing with plenty of rests and a few, short steeper sections. The start of the climb is shared with Alien Heads. A 5.8 leader will appreciate this well-protected route.


Location 

The route is located on the right side of The Quarry. This portion of the wall faces southwest. River Dance is located to the right of Dig the Groove and to the left of Alien Heads.


Protection 

8 bolts and a light gear rack to 2 inches. Several slings.

  • **Currently (as of April ’10) the anchor for River Dance (which will be at around 95’) has not been installed, but the coldshut anchor of Dig the Groove can easily be used. Save a hand-sized piece of gear to protect getting to the anchor and use caution lowering/toproping since the Dig the Groove's cold shuts are at 110’ height. I will update once the 95’ anchors are installed (damn faulty battery!!!).***



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By Monty
From: Golden, CO
May 17, 2010

So, why are there bolts in between 2 cracks? The 2nd and third bolt can be skipped with very adequate gear.... As well as a bolt or 2 higher up. 2 stars for the climbing, a bomb for putting bolts next to those cracks, sad day.

By ryan laird
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 17, 2010

Monty,

Thanks for the input on the route. The route follows a natural feature up the wall, which is likely the easiest weakness up the Quarry Wall. The route was bolted with the 5.8 climber in mind and potential ledge fall. The second bolt is located on the slab before the crack is accessible and was placed so a leader would not have to run it out 10 feet to the corner. The third bolt is located above the crux corner moves and protects from impacting the slab below in case of a fall. I agree that a 5.12 climber would feel fine skipping bolts on this 5.8, but it was not bolted for the 5.12 climber.

In response to your PM accusation about “was your route even done on lead”. Yes, this route was bolted on lead without aid. It is my opinion that the bolting on lead ethic at Thunder Ridge is contrived and is only upheld by semantics. From what I have seen at Thunder Ridge, it’s OK to toprope the route and mark the bolt locations prior to “the ascent”. This technique defeats the entire purpose and ethic of bolting from the ground up. Also, based on what I have seen at Thunder Ridge, it’s also OK to hang off of hooks and drill each bolt on aid. But how does that vary from drilling on aid from the top down? What will be next, the “drill from GOD” being lowered from above, so you can still bolt the route on lead without aid? It is my goal as a route developer to bolt routes that provide a fun and safe climbing experience for climbers of that grade.

By Monty
From: Golden, CO
May 17, 2010

When I said 2nd and 3rd bolt I was not counting the first bolt of alien heads. I meant "your bolts" the first bolt on the slab is in a great spot.

I completely understand your desire to make a safe route for a 5.8 leader, but when you can make 1 more crux move and slam in a bomber #2, I don't see the need for a bolt, even for the 5.8 leader. When natural pro is avaible you use natural pro. You use what the rock allows you. This is the Platte!

I think only a couple of routes at Thunder have been top roped before being bolted (including mine), which yes kills the ground up approach, but allows for more well thought out bolt placements. Drilling on lead is just the history in the Platte and has been soo well preserved. I don't think that pre-determining bolt placements takes anything away from the lead, it just helps create a better route. I wish I had the balls to do it ground up, but chances are, my route wouldn't of came out as good.

I was just very upset to see bolts where good protection could be had. I don't think making a route "safe for the grade" makes it ok to put bolts within 1 foot of a crack I don't care what the grade is.

By ryan laird
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 17, 2010

Monty,

I think you are exaggerating a little too much. The bolts that you are concerned about allow a 5.8 climber to protect against potential ledgefall rather than climbing an additional 5 feet before getting protection. I think your perspective may be different than an individual who is just starting to climb or leading 5.8 at their limit. The bolts and the gear are closer together than a hard climber would want, but I find it hypocritical for a hard climber to be OK with bolts being 5 feet apart on a steep 5.11 or 5.12 and then thinks that the easier 5.8 should be spaced at 10 or 15 feet (even if there is potential for a bad fall).

My comments about leading a climb from the ground up simply illustrate the difference of opinions between different route developers. For some, only ground up without aid is acceptable, for others a TR to mark bolt locations is OK, and for others drilling each hole off of aiding hooks is OK. I think it is great that we can all have different opinions on the route setting styles including the first ascent style and the bolt locations/spacing. I try to bolt routes that are safe and that climbers of that grade will enjoy. I am confident that many 5.8 leaders will enjoy River Dance. The 5.12 climbers can skip the bolts without getting their panties in a twist.

By Monty
From: Golden, CO
May 17, 2010

There is no good reason to ever put a bolt near a crack. I don't care what the grade. If the rock wants you to run it out, you run it out.

By ryan laird
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 17, 2010

Monty,

Again, I respect your opinion, but your hypocrisy is very clear in your previous comment.

"You're not getting my point. In CCC or Shelf or BC you can put bolts as close to cracks as you want. Not in the Platte. Not to sound like an elitist jerk, but how many 5.8 leaders would venture down to Thunder?

I see Thunder as a place with amazing routes that were put up in good style. If the route is too hard, or too scary for your ability, you move on. There is no good reason to ever put a bolt near a crack. I don't care what the grade. If the rock wants you to run it out, you run it out.

Did the original route developers in the Platte care about other ascents of there routes...? No they put it up in the best style possible, and if no one else climbed it, that means the fa was that much more hardcore."

By Kevin Stricker
From: Evergreen, CO
May 17, 2010

When I first saw the posting for this route, I was disappointed for several reasons. Firstly, it is the second most bolts placed on a single pitch at Thunder Ridge to my knowledge. It also for the most part follows a line I led with Dave Russell on-sight ground up on natural protection over a year ago. I didn't bother documenting the ascent as I was fairly sure it had been done previously being both obvious and easy.

The fact that you bolted "my line" doesn't bother me too much, it needed a couple bolts to have some semblance of safety. What does bother me is that you placed way more bolts than is standard for a route of that grade in the area. While I agree that 5.8 leaders have a right to experience a climb in a safe manner, what about my experience and others like me who want to journey into the unknown on a climb that can for the most part be protected naturally?

From your comments on the bolting ethic in the Platte, it is quite clear that you have next to no experience in this arena. Sure you maybe have bolted a few moderates on lead that you had previously top roped, but have you ever really been on the sharp end on a route at your limit? It is easy to disparage the use of hooks, but try bolting an overhanging .12 from stances and let me know if you still have the same feelings on the matter. Often hard routes are top roped before being bolted on lead simply to determine if the route even goes or is worth the effort.

While it may appear that this break from the "traditional" method of ground up climbing makes bolting on lead meaningless, it is important to realize that this tradition has been upheld for more than the adventure aspect. Bolting on lead makes the game of bolting much more serious, and generally keeps the concentration of bolted routes to a minimum. Any yahoo with a drill and a few hundred bucks in hardware can grid bolt a crag, but if you have to risk your neck to establish a route you tend to ask if the route is really worth bolting in the first place. I have lost count of the potential routes I have walked away from for just this reason alone.

I understand and respect your desire to establish new routes at Thunder Ridge. I just hope that you can respect the efforts of those who have come before you and try to keep your bolts to a minimum, especially where natural gear is available. Also please ask around before bolting obvious moderates. I have climbed several "new routes" leaving no trace, I am sure others have done the same. Check out the climb "The Waffle" to get a sense for what type of natural protection can be had on a face route at Thunder. Let's keep this amazing playground as natural as possible. Thanks.

By slim
Administrator
May 18, 2010

Sorry to chime in, but I disagree with Monty's first statement that you can put bolts as close to cracks as you want in BC, CCC, or Shelf. I think it is bad form regardless of the area. Not trying to pick on you or anything, just don't really agree.

I've never climbed w/ rlaird, or have any idea of how hard he climbs or what his limit is. For him, bolting this on lead may have been at his limit. Possibly a theory of relativity sort of thing?

By Monty
From: Golden, CO
May 18, 2010

You're absolutely right about my comment, Slim. I was more trying to illustrate the difference in ethics those areas and what kind of bolting goes on in those areas, not saying it's right by any means. I was just all fired up to see those types of ethics in the Platte. It was a stupid comment really.

I see the hypocrisy in my comment, but meant it as more of a joke about the crap that gets bolted that way in those areas.

By ryan laird
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 18, 2010

Kevin,

Thanks for your comments. Let me see if I can address them. Have you climbed River Dance since April, 2010? I think Monty’s description of the bolts is over-exaggerated. I did speak with Kevin McLaughlin to determine which lines had been done in the lower For Real Canyon and the right side of the Quarry Wall. He did not indicate that River Dance or that Crossed Fingers had been previously climbed. I agree that River Dance is an obvious line, but I find that these easy, obvious lines are often neglected at an area where most of the developers are looking for harder lines. I am glad to hear that you agree that 5.8 leaders have a right to experience a climb in a safe manner. The bolts do not keep the 5.12 climber or the adventure-seeking climber from climbing the route. I generally bolt my climbs in a safe manner to avoid groundfall, rockfall, potential ledgefall, possible pendulums into spiky rocks, etc, so the adventure-seeking climber may have to look for their loose, chossy, run-out pitches elsewhere... maybe Fisher Towers?

My comments on the bolting ethic at Thunder Ridge simply illustrate the contrived nature of the ethic and the irrational constraints that some climbers try to place on others. I have bolted moderates and climbs at my limit on lead, and I do not enjoy the exercise as much as providing a well-thought-out climb. When I have resorted to aid climbing a route on the first ascent, I consider it to be a failure because I was not strong enough to free climb it. It may get the job done and has its purpose, but it is not a true first free ascent done in the best style. The ground up-but OK to toprope and OK to aid-ethic is a bastardized version of a true ground up ethic. It has been changed to suit the desires of the adventure seeker. If that is why a person enjoys climbing, that is fine for that person, but should not be mandated for everyone else. To impose the belief that since a 5.12 climber is comfortable running it out on an easy 5.8 climb, that all 5.8 routes should be bolted this way, is irresponsible and selfish. What would be your response, if someone free soloed one of your routes, and decided that the bolts weren’t necessary because the free soloer didn’t use them? Why does a 5.12 climber find it perfectly acceptable for a 5.11 or a 5.12 to have bolts spaced at 5 feet, but then thinks that the 5.8 should be spaced at 10 or 15 feet even if there is potential for a bad fall?

I have asked around and gathered as much information as possible regarding first ascents at Thunder Ridge and would appreciate more information on other first ascents that anyone is willing to provide or post on Mountain Project. In the process I have met both Glenn and Kevin M. at Thunder Ridge. I have respect for what you, Glenn, Kevin M, and others have been able to accomplish at Thunder Ridge. You guys have put up some great routes on great rock with pretty good style. And I find that most of the routes are bolted very well with just a little more spice on lead than most areas. I have also met a few moderate climbers at Thunder Ridge who did not want to run it out too much on easy routes and appreciated a route that they were comfortable with. Again, I do respect the opinions that you and Monty have and I am not intending to come across as confrontational, but simply trying to relay my perspective and point of view. Live and let live.

By Kevin Stricker
From: Evergreen, CO
May 19, 2010

Ryan,
I respect your opinions though I do feel there is a bit of a generalization going on in your interpretation of the route development. To answer your question, no I have not been to Thunder since early March this year being tied up with work and climbing with my family when possible. Honestly I did not post anything when you first put up the route because I wanted to wait to see it myself before voicing my opinion. Maybe I have jumped the gun on this and will make sure I do it next time I am out there.

Back to the ethics...for the record I have bolted several routes at Thunder ground up and I have also joined in the fun while others had similar adventures. To say that every route is pre-viewed or aided would be a misstatement. Also I am only aware of a single route that has bolts approaching 5 feet spacing, the current hardest route Thunderstruck. For the most part the rest of the routes at Thunder have about 10 foot spacing on average between bolts.

I have also top rope previewed routes and placed several bolts from hooks, I personally have no problem with this as I generally will be hanging on the bolt once placed anyways. Why should it matter if the bolt is placed from a stance or from aid? From my conversations with several of the original route developers in the Platte, they also used hooks whenever possible as well.

Yes the ideal is still to bolt ground up from stances, but that is not always possible or sane. If you only place bolts from stances on a really hard route, the cruxes tend to be unprotected. The point I am making is that while you may think my style is a bastardization, I look at it as a way to preserve an ethic ( bolting on lead) while minimizing impact (only bolting worthy routes that go free). It is no longer the wild west where there are potential new routes where ever you look. I think it is more responsible to preview routes when you feel they may be at your limit because it tends to produce a better quality climb, and keeps you from bolting things that do not go free.

While you obviously have a different opinion on the matter, that is OK. If you want to bolt your routes ground up from stances, I salute you. Just make sure you are at least putting routes up that try to match the style of the rest of the area, if you want to improve on that style be my guest. Happy Climbing.

By half-pad-mini-jug
From: crauschville
May 19, 2010

Maybe we should move this discussion here.

By ryan laird
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 19, 2010

Darth,
I would agree that it would be better to move this discussion into an appropriate forum, but one that is focused directly on Thunder Ridge, and not the entire South Platte.

Kevin and Monty,
I definitely see the points that are being made and do not make it a habit to spew my opinion, chastise others for their climbing style, or try to control the actions of others. We have enough of that with religion these days. I realize that some may have taken offense at the points that I made, but that is not my intent. I have purposely left out specific route names and their developers in this discussion.

I have tried to take my cues from the route developers that have been climbing at Thunder Ridge before me. My perspective on the development of Thunder Ridge, which is generalized based on the observable details, is that the original ground up ethic has been replaced with a first ascent style that ranges from a true ground up ascent drilling from stances, drilling on lead after a preview (sometimes installing toprope anchors for the preview), or drilling on aid, varying from route to route and person to person as they choose what works best for the development of the line. In addition, I have observed several inconsistencies between what is acceptable on the harder routes of the area and the easier routes. On some (admittedly some, but not most) of the harder routes, the bolts are spaced closer together, likely because that is what the first ascensionist was comfortable with or saw a need to reduce what they perceived as a bad fall. From what I have seen, the bolting style of these routes has not been criticize, but the routes have been praised and accepted. Also, “chicken” bolts are currently being added to routes (by the FA’s) to make them safe for climbers of that grade. The simple question that I will ask is, “Why should the standards of what is acceptable vary between harder climbs and easier climbs?”

As I have indicated in previous posts, I am interested in other Thunder Ridge climbers’ opinions of my perspective or critiques of climbs that I have developed. Feel free to PM me or start a Thunder Ridge ethics forum post if that works better. Glenn and Kevin M., I am interested to know what your thoughts are on the matter, if you would like to share.

By AOSR
From: Wherever we park!
Aug 19, 2010

The fact that you left this route posted here having found out someone else clearly FAed it before you leaves no doubt to your ethics. I unknowingly climbed one of your other travesties today at the Rebel Wall - imagine my dismay with all that gear on my harness arriving at more bolts near bomber cracks at a crag with a more traditional style. Such a disappointment. I would pay you to find a new hobby.

-eric

By Ben Cassedy
From: Denver, CO
Aug 19, 2010

Don't pay him to take up golf. It is super expensive.

By AOSR
From: Wherever we park!
Aug 25, 2010

Hmmm. You may be right. How 'bout, "I will pay for you to take up a hobby that doesn't cost any money."

Perfect.

By Wayne Crill
From: an Altered State
Apr 4, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

I have only climbed a few days at Thunder Ridge, but since I just climbed River Dance, am quite familiar with the SPlatte and surrounding areas up/down the Front Range, enjoy discussions of history, ethics, and style, but mostly because RLaird stated "I am interested in other Thunder Ridge climbers’ opinions of my perspective or critiques of climbs that I have developed." I will chime in with my $.02 re the above "discussion".

Because I had difficulty following the MP "printout guide" of the area I believed I was getting on a different route when I got on RD, and I thought this was a mixed trad climb with a few bolts (no big deal at all, my *fault* for not spending more time gauking up at this nice looking line). Imagine my surprise as I begin climbing that there are many many bolts on it including at least two literally right next to (<<2') easily protected cracks.

Although the line is quite nice and the climb was fun, I felt that with all the bolts this line was much more characteristic of climbs in Boulder or Clear Creek Canyons. I don't think Monty's orginal critique is over exaggerated at all. I was very surprised such a "generously bolted" line existed at TR given my previous experiences climbing here and my understanding of the local TR ethics and style not only at TR but throughout the SPlatte. I was bummed about what I saw as the overuse of bolts on this route.

I appreciate there being different styles and approaches from different climbers, and I believe as much as possibly we should be open minded in allowing for and encouraging such diversity. RLaird, I also appreciate your interest in providing safely bolted climbs for the begining 5.8 leader; however, I think the historical precedent of local ethics and style can and should trump such high-minded statements of "individualism for the common man". To me, the bottom line is that the generous bolting on River Dance is OUT OF CONTEXT with the character, history, and ethics not only of TR but of the SPlatte in general. Safe enjoyable bolted leads appropriate for the 5.8 leader exist in many other places in the Front Range, these people can go to these places. As Monty I believe said, it's accepted and understood that TR is different and most typically requires one to be very solid at whatever grade they are attempting to lead. It is common if not the norm to have sections on most of these climbs where falling could be hurtful or dangerous (OMG! say it isn't so!).

Although I care deeply about climbing style, ground up ethics, and all that jazz, to me that discussion is irrelevant here. Maybe the local ethics and style are somewhat "contrived" as has been claimed; however, as also alluded to it has served its purpose of slowing down "development", and I believe allowing for the creation of more thoughtful lines. Just imagine if people starting treating this place like some of the crags in CCC or BC, there could be bolts all over the place, and hundreds of quite possibly very fun and enjoyable sport climbs at TR, I think that would be a travesty. TR seems special, and the nature of the route development and hence the existing climbs there are a big part of what makes TR special, I'd hate to see it "brought down to the lowest common denominator" as so frequently happens these days.

I hope River Dance stands the test of time as an anomaly at TR, as an approach to climbing 'style' that was thoroughly rejected here by all, at all levels of difficulty for something a little more adventurous and less easy.

By Greg D
From: Here
Mar 19, 2012

This was my first time at Thunder Ridge, and this was my first route there. I felt confused part way up the route. The bolt placements seemed strange and out of character for South Platte and too close to natural pro. At one point, I was well above a bolt before I even saw it. Keep in mind, I just had knee surgery and was looking for moderate, fairly well-protected routes.

Then I shouted to my partner, "This route is weird. Much of it could be protected with gear."

Later, we climbed the route just left. Completely different style and more typical South Platte: a few bolts, some runout, some route finding. But what sucked was I angled slightly right and clipped a bolt. Then started the moves above and realized I had done these moves before. So, I backed down, unclipped, slung a bomber chicken head to the left, and climbed to the cold shuts on RD. But, when I reached the anchors, something didn't line up. RD had new, shiny bolts, yet the anchors where older cold shuts. Hmmmm. Then I realized the cold shuts belonged to Dig the Groove.

Sorry to say, I agree with Monty, Kevin, and others. Poor style for several reasons.

By George Bracksieck
Mar 16, 2013

I enjoyed climbing this on my first visit to TR, a couple days ago. I agree that there are too many bolts, but the climbing is interesting and, in some places, tastefully improbable and not a give-away.

By Jay Eggleston
From: Littleton
Jun 21, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

I only used a 0.75 Camalot on this route. Nothing else except the bolts. I think the 2nd bolt protects a bad fall potential. There is gear above, but it would be a bolder lead without the second bolt. I almost missed the 3rd bolt. You can place a cam nearby. This is the only bolt I think did not need to be placed.