Beginning Feb. 1st each year, a seasonal wildlife closure will be in effect on Redgarden Wall in Eldorado Canyon State Park to protect nesting and roosting sites of the canyon’s falcons. The closure is in effect through July 31st unless lifted early due to early fledging or inactivity.
The closure includes the following climbing routes: The Naked Edge (last 3 pitches only), The Diving Board, Centaur, Redguard (last 3 pitches only), Red Ant, Semi-Wild, Anthill Direct (last 3 pitches only), and The Sidetrack.
This is one of Eldo's top ten classic climbs. Super Slab begins at the top of the ramp that leads from the roof routes to the base of Ruper. Begin fifty feet left of Ruper underneath some heavily chalked underclings twenty feet above the ground. This climb offers spectacular and scary climbing on generally solid rock.
The first pitch checks in at 10+ and is the strength-related crux of the route. Climb up into the underclings and up the left-angling seam above, 10+ protected by good pins. Continue up thirty feet until parallel with some pins leading straight left. Traverse straight left past three pins (9) to a belay at the base of a left-facing dihedral.
Pitch two is a short one, continue up the dihedral for fifty feet (6) to a belay ledge.
Pitch three has two options. We traversed left into the 11a/b third pitch of Doub-Griffith. I recommend this as the climbing is great on this variation and is pretty well protected with two bolts and a decent pin. For this variation, traverse down and left on runout 5.6 from the belay. Head up for and obvious bolt and continue up a sort of arete with an delicate 11 section after the pin. Continue up on 5.7 climbing to a small belay ledge at the base of the beautiful 70 degree slab.
The normal way to do this pitch is to traverse in from the left, above the bolts on nebulous terrain to join the second half of the pitch I just described (8+).
The fourth pitch is the best on the route, and is the route's technical and psychological crux. This pitch checks in at about 10c with delicate balancy laybacks and precise footwork. Climb up to the obvious bolt fifteen feet above the belay. The crux is the twenty-foot section above this bolt. Head for a shallow left-facing dihedral with a pin scar. Make a scary blind placement (small TCU, or stopper) hope that it is good (you can indeed get a good placement here, if you spend too much time trying to place this piece and fall, you will probably hit the belay ledge, not a good prospect) and climb right of the dihedral for ten more scary feet to reach a good hold. (If the TCU blows on a fall from this section, injury is almost definite, however as I said you can if you are patient get a good piece in here that will hold a fall from the crux moves above, it is a hard piece to place though). Continue up on slightly scary 5.9 that traverses left under an overhang and surmount this on good holds on the left (9), do some 5.8 out right to reach the upper ramp. This pitch is about 10c overall and instead of requiring pure strength, requires a good sense of body position and good footwork.
Bring a purple Metolius TCU or equivalent for the crux. Otherwise a light standard rack is suffficient.
Actually there are two protection possibilities. The first is as described (blue Alien) the second is about four feet higher, left on the arete about the height of the flake on the face. This finger pocket will take a well placed (but slightly tight) yellow Alien. With both pieces in place I felt this climb was reasonably well protected.
When Steve refers to the Doubious-Grafitti variation, I believe he is referring to the traditional third pitch. Although it is possible to link the second and third pitches together.
This climb didn't deserve the 'r' that the guide gave it. Unless you're super-pumped, you have plenty of time to get in a solid Alien at the crux. The rest of the pitch is classic but easy. Great climb.
My opinion, the slab crux is harder than the opening moves on the first pitch, they felt like 10a to me. Placing gear at the slab crux is awkward and pumpy. Also, its difficult to see your placement as its kind of a layback there. Overall, be prepared for some fairly spicy climbing with ledge fall potential if you blow it.
Climbed this again this past weekend. My partner placed two good ballnuts at the crux of the last pitch, a #2 and #4. Much better than the single micro nut that I had blindly placed when I lead it.
By Charles Vernon From: Tucson, AZ Jun 14, 2003 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b PG13
[edited b/c I completely misread Dave Benson's comment. Never saw the yellow Alien placement he speaks of myself.]
All that said--wow! WOW! I think this is one of the very best routes in Eldo! The slab is fantastic, the climbing above it is amazing steep, juggy stuff, and no one, including the original poster, has even mentioned the third pitch, which involves a blind reach and step around an arete with massive exposure for one of the best 5.8 sequences in Eldo. The first 2 pitches are excellent as well.
A grey Metolius TCU can be placed blindly in the shallow, left-facing corner above the crux. It's actually quite bomber (I've almost fixed it!) and protects the hard high-step into the corner (if this feels scary, use double ropes). Once standing in the corner, all kinds of RPs and other stuff can be placed -- of course standing there and doing so is a whole different story. I don't think this pitch deserves an "s," but it is a hard and exciting lead for the grade; if you wobble, it'll feel harder!
Man, I wish we had all this beta a couple years ago. I fell about 6' out from said pin scar, which doesn't take nuts too well! Luckily, I flew right by the belay ledge! Cool route. Seems kinda 'R'... -AK
I have to disagree that a crux bolt would be a good idea. It's not unreasonable the way it is and not wanting to buy a piece isn't a good reason to place a bolt. It's a trade route in that it is done regularly, yes, but at .10+ isn't like a Bastille Crack that will have many inexperienced climbers leading it. There are so many sew-up routes in Eldo that there's no need to make them all accessible to those who don't want a runout.
I agree with Dan. The crux is well protected with a purple TCU or black alien. No disrespect Mic, but saying a route should be protectable, "without having to go to neptune and buy a micro cam ..." is about the worst excuse for placing a bolt that I've heard in a long time. And doesn't a purple TCU fall under the category of "standard rack" for Eldo 10s and 11s?
By Charles Vernon From: Tucson, AZ Nov 5, 2003 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b PG13
I, too (despite my comments above) would hate to see a bolt where the pin used to be. It took me a couple of years to get the nerve to lead this pitch onsight , and as a result, it was one of the most intense and rewarding experiences I've had in Eldo.
I realize that this is an old tired argument, and that Myke wants us to discuss this stuff over beers rather than on the 'net, but it's also worth repeating that the pin clearly was never bomber pro for a lead fall. So a bolt would drastically change the nature of this lead. Also, I would think most people who lead 10+ trad in this area own a #0 Metolius (or equivalent), and/or the small nuts needed to "protect" this section. There's a hell of a lot of routes in Eldo where you need that stuff.
Excellent climb. On the first pitch, the hold up and left after the undercling was key. Maybe the most efficient sequence for a taller person is different, but for me, that hold was key. Also, you will reduce quite a bit of rope drag using a long runner 2'-4' on the first pin as you start traversing left.
I know others have mentioned placing a small cam above the bolt on the third pitch. I happened to use a #5 HB offset. The thin face moves and subsequent moves finishing that pitch were sweet. Every time I needed a hold, it was there. Excellent line.
By Charles Vernon From: Tucson, AZ Jul 8, 2004 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b PG13
If you are at all unsure about the pro,I would recommend doing this route NOW (despite the heat). I did it again today and there are TWO bomber fixed pieces in the pin scar--a nut, and a very fixed #0 Metolius TCU.
The fixed stopper and cam on the fourth pitch are still there. So if hanging out at a precarious stance fiddling with pro is the reason you haven't done this classic get up there and do it. The climbing is fantastic.
My partner (Deb Piranian) and I have different ideas about which pitch is the crux. I say it's the fourth, though she led it. She says it's the first, though I led that one. Figure that one out.
The pitches are short and there is plenty of fixed gear so take a light rack; a single set of cams up to a number 2 Camalot and a single set of stoppers should do it.
Awesome!!! Every pitch is of excellent quality. The TCU is still fixed at the crux and is not going anywhere. I found the first pitch to be more strenuous and sustained, had a good flash pump going by the time I hit the belay ledge. The last pitch is just fun slab with maybe 3 tough moves. Save a red Alien for the huge pocket after you traverse left and before you pull through the headwall. It fits in the bottom of the pocket to the left and you don't get anymore gear for a while after. Enjoy!
I personally was confused about where I should go to turn the "blind corner" for pitch 3 (5.8) described in the book (also partly because I wasn't sure where p2 ends, since there are several options for a belay station).
The answer is: look for a ~2ft niche (indentation) in the contour of the arete on the left. This is where you'll turn the corner. The traverse to it from start of p3 looks unprotected, but it's not - there are good cracks in left-facing corners which are simply not visible from the start of pitch 3.
Did this classic a couple of years ago. P1 was way harder (but safer) for me than the crux pitch. I guess that shows my strengths/weaknesses. I don't recall the bit above the P4 crux being much harder than .5-.6, but I do recall having a fist sized foothold break off under me. Fortunately, the equally sized handholds were a bit more stout...
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Nov 22, 2006
FWIW, there was a proposal submitted to the FHRC for a bolt to replace the yet-again fallen-out pin at the crux some years back. It was a healthy discussion, and it was quite controversial, but the proposal did not pass. I recall a now-deceased climber relate a similar experience where she broke ribs taking a similar fall at that meeting. Anecdotally, I recall following Roger Schimmel, a well-seasoned Eldo climber, on this around that time and his pro pulled out very, very easily with a test yank.... Best not to fall & to consider it R or S.
I've seen 2 people take that same fall and pull gear. The first was a woman in the late 90s, she pulled the pin, probably the last one before everyone gave up putting it back in. The 2nd pulled a TCU and knocked me off my stance while I was belaying my partner on the last pitch of the DG. Neither were really hurt.
A couple of thoughts on gear and beta for the crux of the 4th pitch. I suspect the TCUs pull because the long trigger bar and stiff stem creates a fulcrum point that levers it out of this placement where an Alien with its longer, flexible stem and shorter trigger can't create a fulcrum point. I gave up TCUs because of this levering issue in some placements.
My beta for entering the corner is to commit and move up before placing the gear. This way you get to use that slot for a hold with no gear in it which IMO is way easier than if it is filled with pro. Then, when you do place the gear it is easy to see what you're doing. If you relax and get on your feet, you can drop both hands here...put the gear in first before trying this stunt :-).
I agree completely with Chris Beh's comment above, Aliens are definitely going to hold better than TCUs at the crux. Also, I've been able to get very good small Aliens (2) a few feet above the start of the lieback crux, although it required stemming a bit left of the crack and not going straight into the lieback initially.
My experience with the gear placements in the old pin scar was similar to that of Greg's. I also used a grey and purple Metolius TCU and was looking directly at the placements rather than placing them blindly. After moving through the corner, I placed a brass nut and promptly fell onto it, ripping it out and dropping my 225 lb onto the cams. They held and I was able to finish the route. The stance to the left of the corner is a tenuous stem on small edges but worth the effort I suppose to get in solid gear under direct visualization. See Ivan's pics of Chuck above for this approach to the corner.
Great climbing, but it's too bad about the pro on the 4th pitch. Although a decent piece could be placed above the bolt, it is really hard to get into position to see to do so. What will happen instead is a blind placement, as reflected by the other posts here, that is most likely to rip out in a fall, the consequences of which could be quite severe. When I had done this route years ago, there was always a pin that could be blind clipped from the good stance. It looked to me like the slot would take a good pin and maybe even still allow for backup brass or TCU placement. Since there are already a zillion pins on the route, it would seem to make sense to put the pin back in. This route should definitely get a big "S" for an on-sight leader at or near their capability.
By Hank Caylor Administrator From: Golden, CO Apr 5, 2007
You can get a great "Black Alien" (with purple webbing) totally blind from here. If you can't place the gear, ya probably won't be able to do the move anyway. Waaay good like it is right now.
I hope all of the future ascentionists who haven't done the route a million times read MP so they know exactly which piece to blindly stuff into the slot and I guess they'll know exactly where. Of course those who could figure out the blind placement probably couldn't do the moves anyway.....
By Guy H. From: Fort Collins CO Apr 6, 2007 rating: 5.10d6b+21VII+21E3 5b PG13
The placements on P4 are not blind. Every placement can be inspected. It is possible to get small gear every 2-3ft in the shallow LF corner, if you want to hang out and place them. I thought fiddling in the gear was the best part of the pitch.
By Rob Kepley From: Westminster,CO Apr 6, 2007 rating: 5.10d6b+21VII+21E3 5b
Wow, It's probably been about 8 years since I led the 4th pitch and I forgot how committing it is. I certainly wouldn't want to fall doing the move. Spicy.
Took the big fall (30 ft) on Saturday on the crux pitch. I had done this climb several times in the past, and I remember telling George that I'd never fallen on that 4th pitch. I couldn't seem to get a small cam to seat very well, I was wearing really soft shoes that didn't want to hold an edge, and maybe the sun was in my eyes or something - but I ended up pulling the small cam and falling 30 feet onto the bolt (and a certain Christine, who was gettting ready to follow the Doub-Griffith). Good news, the bolt held and nobody was seriously hurt.
Went back up and slotted a perfect RP placement in the spot where the cam was.
Great climb!, One of the best in Eldo!!! I read these comments before doing this climb, I wish I hadn't. The Run out at the top.... what? This route has tons of gear, is well protected, and the "super slab" should never put you in the hospital with any level of injuries. As 0f 5/21/07 there is a great deal of fixed stoppers to protect all the "super slab" crux moves. Do not believe the hype, get on this route, enjoy it, and write about how well protected it is. Falling 30 feet? who was your belaying you? The final crux move can't be more then 8 feet above the bolt = 16 foot fall plus close to 10 feet of slack. Like I said anyone who is reading this should get on this route it is amazing, do not worry at all about falling far. Even if the fixed gear does pull (or what ever you blindly place) and you are caught by the bolt.
By Dr. Evil From: Boulder, CO Oct 28, 2007 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b
There is currently a fixed nut protecting the crux. The nut looks welded into the crack; I fell on it and it held.
Here's some beta on the crux moves: the description/topo in the Rossiter book makes you think you should climb the face right of the corner. However, it is easier to climb up the corner, with one foot on each side of the corner. (Doing the crux this way has the advantage that you can inspect the nut in the corner before committing. The commenters on this page who refer to a "blind placement" are doing the climb the harder way, to the right of the corner.) There are some good hand holds on the mini-arete and back in the corner. The better feet are on the face left of the corner, but the feet just right of the corner are also OK.
Did this route again today. This is the best route in Eldo imo.
Fixed gear is gone on the crux. Bomber purple TCU. The third time I have placed it in the crux.
By climberKJ From: Holderness, NH Nov 18, 2008 rating: 5.10c/d6b+21VII+21E3 5b
Oh goodness. Finally ticked this one off today. P1 was definitely crux for me, way more techy and strength-related. P2 was nice, but P3 was terrifying! I followed P3 and pretty much hugged the arete around the corner; very blind and very exposed. P4 was incredible and seemed relatively easy to protect. I slotted a solid brass from a blind stance, made a move, then shoved a bomber black Alien in (apparently I shoved a little too much, since it got stuck). Sweet moves and definitely protectable. Great stuff, great climb.
By Jeff G. From: Fort Collins Mar 2, 2009 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b R
The last couple of times on the 4th pitch I have placed a green C3 and a purple C3 in the pin-scar. Both are pretty good and you can place them from a wide stem out to a small dime edge flake on the left. The stem allows full inspection of the cams before commiting to the crux moves. Still one of my favorite routes in the canyon! The 1st pitch is the pumpy crux for me and the 4th is the technical crux. No fixed gear in the pin scar as of 3/2/09.
For me the last pitch was definitely the crux, balancy and thin. I placed green Alien in some slot to the right of dihedral (I would not want to fall on it though), and then a black Alien a little higher. SPICY. and just don't fall....
I got the onsight on this route yesterday. I'm a 10+ leader. I would not say that the route is R or S rated, although it also is not super G rated either - probably more like PG13. Gear beta below. At the top of the 5.9 section (which protects well with small stuff) there is a bolt, which is far enough up that with a good belay you should be protected fine from a ledge fall until the next gear opportunity. As you climb even with the left corner system, you can get a green Alien in to the right of it (although only two good lobes, but I think it would hold the at-that-point 2' fall potential). At that point you move left into the corner and have a fine stance from which you can see to place either a good small nut, a 0 Mastercam (purple, what I did), or a black Alien. This will protect you safely to the top of the 10+ section. As of 8/5/09 there was no fixed gear.
An even better finish is to avoid going left at the top of the last pitch instead turn the small roof and head up and right in a small dihedral. As far as I know, this was first done by Malcolm Daly in the '80s.
One of the best catches of my climbing career occurred on the 4th pitch, and the climber wasn't even on my rope. Eons ago, Jim Ghiselli and I climbed the Doub-Griffith to arrive at the shared, last pitch ledge with Super Slab. Another team climbing SS had arrived first, so Jim & I set up our belay just below. While Jim led the also slightly dicey D-G, the unmistakeable sound of a falling climber grabbed my attention. The other party's leader hurtled straight towards me. She fell 35 feet, past her belayer, landing right in my arms, shaken but unhurt, without a bobble to my belaying Jim.
After a 15 year hiatus, led 4th pitch of SS yesterday, and given the history of this pitch, did not even try to place gear at the crux. Spicy! Made me consider buying a helmet.
Led P1 and followed P4 on my first go with this route recently. Awesome climb. I will say that P1 seemed easier than P4 (and I tend to be more of a slab climber). Regarding P4, we did have a small piece of rock break off around the crux and for my $$, it looked like there may have been a few other recent "break-offs." Since I have no previous experience on this one, I can't say if/how the final pitch might be impacted. Regardless, I think full-on afternoon sun adds a letter grade or so for P4!
By Tommey-James From: Boulder,Colorado Aug 1, 2011 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b
I did this route yesterday and here are my thoughts. The bolt is in a great spot, I do not think moving it up would be a good idea. At the crux, you can get a bomber #5 BD RP in the bottom part of the flake. I fell probably a good 10-12 feet on it, and it held. Great line, it is soooo fun. All pitches are very fun at their respected grade.
By Drew McLean From: Colorado Oct 12, 2011 rating: 5.10d6b+21VII+21E3 5b PG13
Not that anyone needs any more beta on this, but I thought I would second that the bolt is fine where it is. The stance for placing gear is decent and if you fall at that point I don't think you're going to hit anything. I was able to place a small offset brass and and the aforementioned purple 0 Mastercam (green c3 equiv.) before committing to the hard moves. I also had 2 fingertips in the slot above my gear to get my feet up. I can see why people say that TCUs are more likely to pull out. A flexible stem cam (Mastercam, Alien, c3) is more ideal for this placement.
I was scared off by the "reputation" of this climb for awhile when it turns out it really was not too dangerous for the solid 5.10 leader. Just make sure you get good gear before the crux because if that gear comes out if you fall above it then yes, you'll take a long enough fall to injure yourself. The moves on this pitch are SO good.
If you're solid at 5.10 and know how to place gear in Eldo, then do this route. You'll be happy you sacked up. It's by far the best 5.10 I have climbed in Eldo. Unique and exquisite the whole way up.
By kiff Dec 11, 2011 rating: 5.10d6b+21VII+21E3 5b PG13
I don't think there is a need to relocate that bolt, if the TCU rips the fall would be horrifying, but you'd pitch past the far side of the ledge where it isn't much of a ledge anyway, and the belayer can be a couple feet to the right standing on the ledge and be out of the flight path.
My good friend, San Diego Mountain Rescue member and uber nice guy, Adam, took a 40' fall from the crux of pitch 4 yesterday, hitting the belay ledge, resulting in multiple compression fractures of the tibia and fibula, as well as a serious sprain of the ankle/foot on the other leg. We self rescued to Grand Giraffe ledge where we were met by members of Rocky Mountain Rescue, who lowered Adam to the trail and carried him out on a litter. Thanks to everyone on the RMR team, the local FD and Sheriff's office!!!
We had to leave a little gear at belay ledges 2 and 3 of Grand Giraffe; a sling, a nut and a few biners, nothing of any real consequence (the sling and cordalette on belay ledge 2 where already there). We did, however, have to leave a red and an orange Alien and a few slings on P4 of Super Slab. If the next team up this route wants to return my Aliens, I will gladly get back to Boulder soon and buy them dinner and beers at Southern Sun. :-)
Adam is doing well, in good spirits, and will have surgery on his leg when he gets back to SD.
I placed a number 1 Ball Nut and a small cam (blue Alien) in the pin scar. I didn't have a lot of time to inspect, but the ballnut seemed pretty slammer. A number 2 might work a little higher in the pin scarred section. I expected the pitch to feel a lot scarier than it ended up being. It sure is a spectacular pitch!
Bob Culp and I did this climb in early November of 1966. We used no more than 4-5 points of aid at the time and were placing/pulling pitons. We really didn't have any concept of how hard it was and simply were still calling everything this difficult "hard 5.9." See my photos recently added! Not too shabby in Kronhofer Keltterschue and using a Columbian rope.
I now recall the 1966 ascent that Bob Culp and I made as being one of the outstanding climbs of my career as an alpinist. The 4th pitch was made using exactly 1 point of aid, since there was a pre-existing piton placed in the niche where a toe hold could have been used otherwise! I recall yelling up to Bob that I thought we could have free climbed this entire pitch had that piton not interfered. Every other move on that lead was done entirely free by rigorous no falls standards in Kronhofer Kletterschue and hauling along an ironmongery of pitons and hammers. We simply said it "was very hard 5.9."
By Noah8000 From: Vail, CO Jul 27, 2013 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b PG13
I've been scared of this climb for a long time. I've waited for quite a while until I was confident I could do it without falling on the crux, but it's totally doable and I don't think it deserves the reputation it gets. Don't get me wrong, it could end bad if you don't place the gear right. Though the top pitch is exciting, hang in there and place a good TCU with a decent RP above. I felt this protected the crux enough. It would be a bad day if the gear blew, but you can get it in there well. Do the extra move to be able to see the placement instead of doing it blind.
Not blind at all. A lot of fixed gear is found through out route, none at the crux though. I was able to place a purple C3 and a gray/purple offset Mastercam at the crux, still I wouldn't want to fall on them.
I waited for this route until I had a handful of 11 leads in Eldo under my belt. Super fun climb, classic for sure.