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West Ridge - part D - Xanadu to Pony Express
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River Of Darkness 

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

Type: Trad, 1 pitch, 40'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: D. Hare, Solo, 1981
Page Views: 281
Submitted By: Tony B on Jan 9, 2002
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Climbing reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>


Approach this climb on the West Ridge to the Cirque of the Cracks area. This is as for Handcrack, Duh Dihedral, and Terminal Velocity. On the right side or the Handcrack Buttress is the fun offwidth, Funeral March. Around the left corner from there (to the south) you can see a 40-foot climb with a section of off-width and dihedral. This "pitch" is more like 25' of climbing and 15' of scrambling.

This climb is fairly short, awkward to belay below, and has some loose rock. These are minor detractors, and only deduct a few "points" from this climb's value. Still, it's short and unfulfilling, so it didn't have many "points" to start with. For that reason, I have given it the bomb rating. It's not terrible, it's just not worth the bother unless you wanted to take 5 minutes out of your day to free-solo it, because that's about the amount of time it's worth.

To descend, walk to the Terminal Velocity anchor (trees) and rap off.


There are a few pieces to be had along the way, but some are large. Take a few big cams to lead this, or plan on a bit of runout.

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By Chris Zeller
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 3, 2008

Be ready to climb the offwidth. I wasn't able to find faceholds to climb this and found it much harder. It's a different category of climb.