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The Rotwand
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Rotwand Route 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b X

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 160'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Layton Kor/John Auld
Fixed Hardware: 4 Lead Pins [details]
Page Views: 1,401
Submitted By: David A. Turner on Sep 16, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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Adding to the summit cairn.

Climbing reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

This is "an historic route" according to some. It is "essential" to others who believe a Rotwand route is a necessary inclusion on an Eldo climber's resume.

Since all the rock looks essentially the same, junky, the start is difficult to pinpoint with accuracy. However, it is about 70' or so to the left of where the southernmost point of the cliff hits the path that traverses along the river. A very indistinct climber's trail leaves the river path about 30 feet before you would have to duck under or climb over a fallen tree that crosses the river path. This 30' climber's trail takes you directly to the foot of the route. The route takes the line of least resistance.

Climb up and slightly right for about 30 feet to a big ledge. (5.4) Traverse left about 50 feet to a good sized tree that is an obvious landmark from the ground. (5.4) Then head up a left-facing corner system, over some small overhangs to the top. (5.7)

I believe the seriousness rating for those with experience on imperfect rock is closer to an s. The rock is bad but not as bad as reputation has it. Test the holds, weight equally distributed, don't pull out/pull down, and step up more than pull on the handholds. Good training for the big limestone walls of the world. (E.g. Canadian Rockies).

One more item worth mentioning: "Sick Mic" Fairchild has done 120 laps on the Rotwand, many of them alone, the last when he graciously showed me this route.

Protection 

A standard Eldo rack.


Photos of Rotwand Route Slideshow Add Photo
The Rotwand Route from the base of the crag.
The Rotwand Route from the base of the crag.
Along the loose traverse on pitch one. The crux is...
Along the loose traverse on pitch one. The crux is...
Dave approaching the P1 belay on "Rotwand Rou...
Dave approaching the P1 belay on "Rotwand Rou...
The belay partner on the Haag team 2007.
The belay partner on the Haag team 2007.
Rotwand Route from across the canyon.
BETA PHOTO: Rotwand Route from across the canyon.
The aforementioned Michael Haag in 2007.
The aforementioned Michael Haag in 2007.
Dave leading P2 of "Rotwand Route".
Dave leading P2 of "Rotwand Route".

Comments on Rotwand Route Add Comment
Show which comments
By Mic Fairchild
From: Boulder
Oct 24, 2003
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Enviro considerations: the Artesian aquifier is just below this rock. be considerate and deposit human waste elsewhere. Legal consids: the east side (descent slab) is not on park property, but belongs to the Eldorado Water bottlers. Use common sense to keep this resource available. Climbing consids: on-sight, this is still a serious undertaking. Not everyone has the experience to make this a safe one.
By Mic Fairchild
From: Boulder
Jul 14, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

speed record (not advisable) 5 min 10 sec on 24 May 04

14 July 2004 completed summit trip #150 on this crag. Mostly on the Rotwand Route (mostly). This rock remains a unique adventure in Eldorado, and while I've pulled off numerous rocks over the years, it seems pretty cleaned off lately. Enjoy and be careful!
By Michael Haag
Mar 21, 2007

While climbing this superb historic route today, Mick soloed right past me & took my picture! Although I've been climbing in Eldo for 13 years, this was my first Rotwand Route. HILARIOUS and classic climbing...hats off to Mick! Long live the Rotwand!
By Tom Hanson
Oct 24, 2007

The thing that I've always loved best about Die Rotwand routes is that if you don't like any particular handhold you can just pluck it out and toss it over your shoulder.
By David Kozak
Feb 5, 2011

I did this route in November of 1978 or '79, I think. At the base of the route my partner, while belaying me, sat in (or near) a dried up plant that he learned later was most likely poison ivy or sumac (if there's a difference?) and had such a bad allergic reaction that he ended up in the hospital. We loved the route...well, at least I did. I went back over the next few years to do other routes on the Rotwand while my partner decided against such reckless behavior.
By Rodger Raubach
Feb 25, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X

Previous poster's comment re: Poison Ivy is SPOT ON THE MARK! But this is only ONE of the objective hazards involving this route. The lower portion is quite junky and loose; even though there are cracks available for some "pro" they are associated with loose junk. The second pitch however, is fairly enjoyable and reasonably solid.