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.
The Edge is one of the most classic climbs in America.
There are several ways to reach the base of the Edge, the easiest and quickest is Touch 'N' Go. Touch 'N' Go had a line on it when we were racking up, and we took a runout .8 crack thirty feet to the right that ended at some bolts near the base of Anthill Direct. From the Lower Ramp climb the Cave Pitch, an interesting 5.8 overhang, and reach a three-bolt belay at the base of the first pitch.
The first pitch, a classic finger crack, is a great start to a very memorable route. It is a clean finger crack 5 feet to the right of a classic arete. It lies in a sort of groove which lends it nicely to stemming. Make some 9-ish moves to get to a small rest stance halfway up the crack. Getting off this rest stance is supposedly the 11a crux of this pitch. The moves off the rest are accomplished by stemming in the groove and using a small edge for your left hand. Once in the crack, the finger jams are very good yet the steep sustained nature pumps you out for one last 5.10 move to the two-bolt belay. This last move, while not very hard in and of itself, is definitely the crux of this beautiful pitch. This pitch protects very well with small stoppers and TCUs. If this pitch felt hard, remember that the last two are significantly harder and more involved.
The second pitch is just as classic, if a tad spicy. Begin with twenty feet of unprotected 5.8 slab up to a bolt just right of the arete, climb for twenty more feet up to another bolt (5.8) and step around left to the other side of the arete. This deposits one at the base of a left-angling crack. Crank up this crack a little ways to an ok stance. A good #1 Camalot can be placed at the base of this crack, but this piece will be below your feet for the crux move off a sloper. A fall off this move would throw you back around the arete and wouldn't be too pleasant. For this reason, some guidebooks give this pitch an R rating. Perhaps it is if you are incompetent at placing stoppers; there is a textbook RP placement right in your face for this move, this placement eliminates any s rating this pitch might have. The belay at the top is double bolt on a stance on the arete. All of the pitches on this route are approximately a half ropelength (80-90 feet) and some can be combined. However the rope drag would be heinous.
The third pitch is 5.8. It heads up the right side of the arete to a mantle onto a juggy hold. It is the easiest pitch, and if for some reason you are taking a second who leads in the 5.9 range, you might be inclined to let him lead this pitch. Be aware that it would be a pretty runout lead. This pitch wanders quite a bit, and long runners are needed to alleviate rope drag. Set the belay at the base of a rotten ramp/alcove deal.
From here the fourth pitch should be obvious, a right-leaning dihedral that turns into a chimney with a roof at the top. This is where the climbing gets intense. The initial dihedral is a thin 10c affair, and has a pin protecting the hard move. Gear can be had below the pin, and while this pin is not great, it is adequate for the move. The dihedral takes you up and right into some underclings where you encounter a second pin. This pin is definitely suspect. I have heard many wildly varying accounts of this pitch. Rossiter gives it an s rating in his latest guidebook because of this piton. I have heard people telling me it was a death pitch. None of this is true. A small purple Metolius TCU can be placed below the pin, together these two pieces provide adequate protection, and a fall from the crux onto them would be reasonable. One could probably back these pieces up even more if so inclined. This is definitely not a death pitch, it is only mildly spicy. From this last pin, intricate moves lead up and into the chimney. I couldn't identify a single crux; there are about four or five very technical moves to get situated in the chimney. The hardest might entail hiking your right foot up onto a left-angling rail. Once in the chimney, you can clip a pin below the roof and back it up with some small stoppers and a blue Metolius TCU. Resting before the roof is very awkward as you are very scrunched in this chimney. The next moves are 10c/d, I believe they are considered harder now because of a missing flake. At any rate, crank right around the roof with poor feet. This will feel hard after the endurance required for the rest of the pitch. The belay is obvious, a three-bolt affair below a right-angling ramp. This pitch can be considered 11b overall; it is very technical and sequency climbing.
Ahh the fifth pitch! Begin with an 11a move onto the ramp. Rossiter calls this the crux, yet I thought the bombay chimney was quite a bit harder and more involved. The bomber fixed gear here eases the strain of the climbing. Once on this ramp, you are led up and around the arete to an awesome, spectacular, overhanging hand crack with some fixed pro at the base. With a #1 Camalot, two #2s, and one #3, this final crack will be completely sewn up, a very important thing to to for your second. If they fall here it would be hard to get back on. This final crack is the final blow for the leader. I suspect that seconding this thing is quite a bit easier, placing pro on it is very strenuous. Next to the bombay chimney, I thought this was the second hardest part. The crack in and of itself is maybe 10b/c, yet feels very strenuous on lead, and after the initial crux section of the pitch it is very pumpy. Indian Creek climbers will enjoy this section. It consists of liebacking on good hand jams in small flares. Fire up this section to a wider, yet easier section, and get a belay right at the top of the crack in order to keep a close eye on your second. Overall, this pitch is 11b too, and is probably one of the most spectacular in Eldo with 600 feet of air below you!
From here, a final easy (5.6) pitch leads to the top.
The protection on this route is creative in places, yet never really a problem. Bring a healthy number of stoppers and TCUs, and only a few cams in the larger sizes. A #3 Camalot is helpful for the final handcrack.
Well, that doesn't surprise me, Pat, that you would underestimate or dare I say sandbag a pitch or a whole climb. I've NEVER heard you say something like, "Yeah, it was rated 12a s, but is actually more like 11c or so." ;-)
I was looking in the guidebook today, and the runnout .8 crack I described for the start was listed as runnout .10! Its probably not that hard, but in retrospect it is harder than .8, maybe .9+ and definitely not a good fall potential. Why am I telling you this? Well it looks pretty simple from the ground, but is harder and definately dangerous.
Pitches 1 & 2, and 4 & 5, can easily be combined without rope drag problems. This is a popular way to do the Edge. It is possible to retreat with one 60m rope from the top of the 2nd pitch; however, you need 2 ropes to get from the ramp at the top of the 5.8 3rd pitch down- a single 60m just doesn quite make it. This info might come in handy if you plan a late summer ascent and a thunderstorm rolls in...the top of the Edge is the last place you want to be during an electrical storm. The timed record for a roped party of 2 on the Edge (solo to the base), car-to-car, is 1:38, Michael Gilbert & Rob Slater, early 1990s.
Alternate Route Description: first pitch is a killer finger crack the crux for most is a stem with left hand on the left arete about half way up. The second pitch starts on a slab climb this slab around a corner to a 5.10 crack. 3rd pitch is a long 5.8 section to the upper two pitches. This is were it gets really exciting. The next two pitches are overhanging and are extremely exposed. Climb up a finger hand crack make a dynamic move to a little ledge make some face moves up to a piton move left and up into a bombay chiminey go to a roof around the roof right around the roof and up to the belay (5.11). the beginning of the 5th pitch is the crux of the route thats the face moves getting off the belay. Make some face moves on to a upperward slanted ramp. Follow this ramp to the corner arete go around arete. don forget to look 600feet or so down to the valley floor here. And ascend the 5.10 hand crack. The last pitch scrambles off to the left to the top 5.6.
Steve Levin is right when he says that the 1st & 2nd and 4th & 5th pitches can be combined without rope drag. Double ropes aren't necessary if you're careful and use long slings in the Chimney. Re escape, while a 60m rope leaves you 10' shy of the 2d belay while rapping the 3d pitch, a 70m rope works like a charm. The description is also inaccurate about sewing up the final handcrack for the second's benefit! A piece at the start of the handcrack (above the bulge) and one at the top protect it quite nicely for the second. One further point of clarification--Gilbert and Slater's record was not completely roped. They soloed unroped to the base of the first pitch. Chris Archer
The quickest means of reaching the start of the Edge is not Touch and Go, but as follows: from the base of The Contest (left of the start of Redguard Route) climb the left-trending ramp system for about 40' until just around a short bulging corner (5.5). Now climb a short, steep hand crack (5.6) to a bit of wandering and the Lower Meadows. Scramble up this (4th class) to the "Cave Exit" (5.8) and the base of the Edge. Watch dislodging rocks in the Meadows section.
The gear suggested for the fifth pitch is adequate for leading the pitch (indeed, most people can get by with one less piece), but you'll need gear to build the anchor. There is one fixed pin, so you'll likely want at least two more pieces. None of your smaller stuff will fit. If you're trying to save weight, you can use a couple of hexes (#8, 9), since you won't be needing this gear elsewhere on the route. Otherwise, a variety of cams in the range of #1-2 Camalots will work. Some people consider the entire block at the belay site suspect, and place a larger cam in the horizontal ten feet higher. If you're totally out of gear, and you began from the belay atop the fourth (not the third) pitch, you probably can runout the last pitch and belay from a tree at the top but you'll be missing out on one of the great belays in Eldo and communications with your partner will be a nightmare. Tom Isaacson
Some historical tidbits: when first free climbed in the early 1970s pitch 1 was the standout crux of the route, due to the abundance of fixed pins filling up most of the finger jams. This was first led by Steve Wunsch and rated 5.10+. On the complete FFA of the route a short while later Jim Erickson, in blue suede RRs, sans chalk, stemmed the entire pitch using only a finger jam or two. Over the years the first pitch became easier and easier, as more pins fell out. By the late 1970s no fixed pins remained, and now, with sticky rubber and chalk, we consider this lead 5.11a. Although it is easy for many nowadays to consider this route a casual stroll, consider going up there with primitive passive protection (first generation hexes, weird Moacs, parallel-sided stoppers), bulky rock shoes, no chalk, and only the complete unknown to great you (the approach of the early free climbers shunned any type of preview, and neither Jim nor Duncan Ferguson were into aid climbing). Truly one of the greatest ascents in Colorado history. If you see Jim at the Boulder Rock Club, ask him about his experience on the fifth pitch- it is a very interesting tale. Interestingly, he has never returned to the Edge since he and Duncan first free climbed it.
Last summer, insted of going in the chimney on the 4th pitch, I traverse (face climb) right after the pins in the flake. Do you guys know this variation (FA, Rating)... I think it's harder and scarier than the original chimney final part...
For those of you with Friends, the fifth pitch pitch sews up with one each of Friends 1-4 (including half sizes) in order! So a single set of Friends works precisely on this pitch. You'll need something in addition for the belay.
By Joe Collins Aug 12, 2002 rating: 5.116c+23VIII-23E4 5c
For the onsight, the start of pitch 5 is definitely the hardest bit of climbing on the route. Once you get the right beta though, its not even the crux of the pitch! Its just one of those moves...
A #4 friend nicely protects the start of the handcrack on pitch 5 and is really the only decent piece of gear you can get for the "Cave exit" on the approach pitch.
For those of us who are very afraid of the fourth pitch and the expanding flake that holds the usual pro for the moves into the chimney, it's easy to reach left and place a good 3/4" cam (the yellow Alien, I believe). This piece is good. Trust me.
I finally got on this route yesterday after years of aspiration and must say it was even better than my expectations. The move getting past the second pin on the 4th pitch seemed just as hard as getting into the chimney above the third pin and for some reason this section proved to be the most difficult part of the climb for me. Is it standard to use that large hold way out to the climbers left then move back right? I tried to stay in the dihedral and use that tiny crimper on the face to the right which left me with a very long reach up to the next good hold. The 2nd pin also looks a bit suspect (downward facing) and I was unable to back it up although maybe it is possible.
By Bill Wright Aug 20, 2002 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-23E3 5c PG13
A friend suggested that I post a link to a TR I recently wrote about getting dragged up this route by Hardly Manson. So, for what it's worth, here it is:
I'm looking for an opinion. In August 2001 I lead and onsighted every pitch from Touch & Go to the summit of the Naked Edge. I felt I was at my limit on the last 2 pitches. Months later in April I onsighted all pitches to Levitation 29 in Red Rocks. I frequently onsight 5.11- crag routes on the east coast as well as desert cracks and granite cracks on the west coast. My big desire is to onsight Astroman in Yosemite or at least give it one hell of a go. I'm not looking for criticism but just an opinion from a seasoned fellow climber or from someone who feels they might be at the same level I am at and maybe the same desire. Also, If this comment sparks any interest for anyone as wanting to be a possible compatible partner then please let me know. Finding a partner who is willing to do the routes I want to do is difficult. That's why I end up leading all the pitches. I think Astroman is a route I need a partner who is going to take some of the leads.
Technically speaking, Astroman isn't much harder than the Edge. The pump/endurance factor is another issue. It sounds like you're there technically, so go to Indian Creek and spend a week climbing 5.11 or 11+ enduro cracks and you'll be there. The Rostrum is a good warm-up, but the Man is considerably harder. Don't stress out about flashing it; it's just an awesome feature to climb.
By Joe Collins Dec 16, 2002 rating: 5.116c+23VIII-23E4 5c
Personally I found Astroman to be a whole different animal altogether than the Edge... really no comparison in terms of commitment and fitness required. Astroman has long physical cracks while the Edge has short, weird, technical pitches. I've never done Levitation 29 but isn't that basically a long sporty-sport climb? Anyway, I agree with Brad's advice: don't "save Astroman for the onsight", just go for it and don't stress about the flash. I think the best way to train for it is by going to the Valley: do Steck-Salathe to prepare for the Harding Slot, do the Rostrum and crag at the Cookie to get used to the cracks, and do the DNB to get into the high-commitment frame of mind. You may have difficulty finding hard free-climbing partners in Camp4 so showing up with a plan and a partner is key.
Sorry for the bad beta on the death route. It has been awhile since I've done it. No deliberate sandbag intended. Go do Wunch's instead, unless it is only accesible by boat now, has burned down, or is closed due to some contrived Forest Service regulation.
Guess I have to add my Naked Edge TR since Bill put his in:)
Here's the report (from around 1994). Sorry for the length of the comment, but I don't have anywhere else to put it, and it might as well be somewhere.
Following is a trip report - The Naked Edge, July 4, circa 1994. Skip if bored!!!
Fellow netter Jon and I had gone up to the Crags in Estes Park on Saturday, July 2nd and had a great time, so we decided to try climbing together a second time on the 4th. Jon's recently arrived in Colorado but has hit an impressive number of areas and routes here already. Asked what my druthers were on Sunday eve, I somewhat spontaneously replied "How about the Naked Edge?" I hadn't been planning this suggestion, but I had been wanting this route for a long time, so it popped out of my mouth fairly readily. The first time I did the route, it became 45 degrees and very windy, and my partner aided us up the 4th and 5th pitches. I was very cold and very scared on that ascent, although the earlier pitches had gone well. The second time my partner, although able to solo climb such routes as the Bastille Crack (5.8, 3 pitches), thought that the leads would be too hard for him, so I was trying to lead all the pitches and could not deliver on the 4th pitch. So I had this route on my mind, the 4th pitch especially, and was psyched to have a partner who could swing leads. And I wanted that 4th pitch especially. It was on my mind in a big way. After asking me if I was serious, Jon replied without hesitation that he'd love to do it. So we were on.
We met at 6am to get an early start, and arrived at the base of the Redgarden wall around 7ish. No one was around, so we took our time getting ready. Then, mysteriously, just about the time I was getting ready to go, a party of three arrived planning to do the same route. One of their party was a fast climber and beat us to the start of the Naked Edge proper, which is 3 pitches off the ground. So we were in for some waiting but still looking forward immensely to the climbing ahead. While waiting at the base of the first pitch, another party arrived to go after us!! And that was it - 3 parties to do the route this July 4th. We had fun talking with the party after us on the belay ledges and everyone had a "what the hell" mood about the waiting as the weather was fine, although very hot. Neither Jon nor I had any water, but we had both taken the approach of camels to hydration. I in particular had drunk about a gallon the night before, and nearly the same that morning, with very little pissing to compensate, as if my body knew that the water should not be passed. We were both feeling intimidated, looking at the overhanging tower we were to climb looming far above us.
When the time came for us to go, Jon did a brilliant, solid lead of the first pitch, a sustained (with one rest) thin finger crack right next to a sharp arete. I did not fare quite so well, but at least managed to get through the crux without falling. The feet are very important on this pitch to preserve finger strength for crucial jams and edges for a second crux at the end of the pitch.
The second pitch, like the 4th and 5th pitches, is sort of a half and half hybrid. The first half is a slab next to the still sharp arete, which is a bit runout on good bolts. Then it turns the sharp corner of the arete, opening up a lot of exposure and a 20' stretch of thin crack which is climbed using slopy holds to either side. Great protection is available at the bottom of this crack, but the last section is only moderately protected. The fall line is extremely good though. You just have to get used to the idea of a safe whipper, an idea I have always had trouble with! I manage to cross the longish stretch between the first bolt on the slab to the next protection. I get stuck for a long time after rounding the corner, but after pondering for awhile finally manage to not-quite-statically reach a good incut hold about halfway up for my right hand and haul up to an ok stance. From here, a greasy sloper provides passage to the belay. The last sequence off the sloper is very exciting for me although not extremely difficult and by the time I reach the belay I am very psyched about things in general and feeling good and prepped for the 4th pitch.
Jon's pitch this time is wandery and involves some routefinding. Nevertheless it's hard to get too much off-route on this climb. You always know where you are going in the end and you also know that you can't go too far away from the edge! The crux of this pitch while not too difficult is not particularly well-protected and feels very greasy to me when I do it. In fact I feel pretty sketched on follow!
At the belay for the 4th pitch we have to wait for awhile to wait for the threesome who are all on the small perch for the next belay when I arrive. This proves to be a long wait due to the difficulties of the 5th pitch but again we manage to make it enjoyable, and to tell the truth I don't mind the waiting period to get psyched and rest! A couple of baby pigeons are in a crack right in the middle of the ledge. While we are there the mother comes back. She is very shy about approaching, but when we are all still she slowly and warily walks up and drops into the crack practically at my knees. She sits on her chicks for awhile, and then feeds them, which is kind of neat to watch, and takes my mind off of my immediate future.
One of the party behind us, Ken, is a climber with a lot of 5.12 gear route war stories and is a neat guy to share the ledge with. He also proves to be an indispensable beta dispenser for me on the next pitch; as I start up he keeps a running commentary going which does help me. Sometimes I really hate that sort of thing but here it seems to be working, although I do choose to disregard his advice for the first 10+ crux move in a shallow dihedral approaching the looming chimney slot above me. As I enter the chimney I enter my nemesis from the time before. This slot is difficult to describe. It flares so my left side is squnched too tight while my right side is loose so that I can't backstep like one normally does in a chimney. It isn't too hard to hang out but I cannot move! I do some weird undulations gaining a couple of inches and then start to slide! I think I'm going for a ride, but of its own accord my body somehow squelches outwards dropping me down into a more normal chimney position and I cam to a halt! At first I am elated but after more wriggling and squirming I find I am disappointingly back to my former position. Ken is continuously telling me to relax and breathe and so on and when I listen I do get less desperate and think of constructive ways to approach the situation other than repeating "Oh shit!!" to myself. Every time I try something though the "Oh Shit" resumes and I drop back down to my spot until Ken can get me calmed down again. Somehow I eventually get something that feels good and loose my chimney position for a short desperate moment to hop my right foot onto a decent foothold and amaze myself by standing up with my head under the roof! Here I get protection and at this point feel unstoppable although the roof is another solid 5.10 move. It appears to be a pitch for squirming and full-body contact with the rock in general and the roof is no exception. I basically find a good hold wayyyy up high and haul myself flopping and wriggling over the top! Wow am I psyched! Did it! Was a real watershed for me after the grief this pitch had caused in the past.
Jon follows without falls or other incidents and fires off the 5th pitch. He goes all the way to the top and we are completely out of communication. I am a bit sketched as I am starting off of a highly exposed (~600 feet) hanging belay with hard moves right off the belay, and I am not completely sure I am on belay or not. We have a rule however that 2 minutes after the rope is pulled the second is on, so I give it a good time, hold my breath and take off. I take one fall on the first 5.11 move right off the belay. This is the test I guess! Rope stretch and all, I do drop down a good 8' and then thankfully stop. Having empirically established that I am on belay, I manage to fire off the 5.11 move next time, again with crucial beta from Ken who by now is at the belay on top of the 4th pitch. I turn the corner to face the overhanging hand crack and suddenly find that I have completely forgotten how to climb cracks during my recent year long interlude of almost exclusively bouldering!!!! Let's just say that I do not do this section of the climb with great style!! Oh well, I am totally psyched about this day, and 4 1/2 stylin' pitches is ok. While aiding the crack I enjoy the complete exposure beneath me. It is awesome. I am ~700' directly above the canyon far below.
And that's about it - except - later I run into Ken and learn that he took a 30' whipper on the hand crack!!! He seemed a little tired or something this day (maybe tired of the waiting!) and says that his tape ripped unexpectedly at the top of the crack with protection far below him. He had a lot of trouble getting back on the climb from that position too. Guess that was a pain!!
I'm completely exhausted and have a sore backside from pressing so hard against the chimney on the 4th pitch but am very elated about this day. The Naked Edge is the most awesome route I have done. I couldn't think of a way to design a better route - the way all the pitches are highly varied, no bad sections on the whole climb - made to swap leads giving each person an unforgettable dose of lead stories to tell. And every type of climbing on it - thin crack, face, hand crack, wide crack, chimney, and more!
I realize that Greg just posted a trip report on the Naked Edge (Damn, he beat me to the punch), but here is another one anyway. It is from the perspective of a much weaker climber and therefore gives a different slant to the route.
What am I doing up here? I don't belong here. I haven't earned it and I haven't paid my dues. The exposure is awesome and the climbing over my head. Way over. I hang at the belay and crane my neck back to watch the Doctorb work the desperate traverse at the start of the pitch. The last pitch. The last pitch of the Naked Edge!
My first rock climb was the super classic Wind Ridge (5.6) on the Wind Tower in Eldorado Canyon. The weather was perfect and the climb was stimulating. Hard, challenging, a bit scary, but I made it. The sky had never seemed so blue and I knew I was hooked. I would be a rock climber. After the climb my more experienced partner pointed out the area classics. Finally he pointed up to a knife edge that cut the highest tower right to the very summit and said, "That's the Naked Edge. The most famous climb in Colorado." I was mesmerized; in awe of the scary line and I never thought I would climb it.
Through the years I learned more about the route. First climbed by the legendary Layton Kor and Bob Culp in 1962 (direct, normal finish added in 1964 by Kor also); first free climbed by Jim Erickson and Duncan Ferguson in 1971; first free soloed by Jim Collins after falling on four of the five times he had previously climbed the route!. What history! What a classic line! The biggest, most glaring, most inexcusable blunder of "50 Classic Climbs of North American" was not including this ultra-classic.
The Doctorb had called me and left a message: "Bill, I'm feeling stupid..." Immediately my palms began to sweat and my knees began to knock. Whenever the Doctorb is "feeling stupid" it means something long, scary, and hard. And hard for him is out of my league. So why me? Maybe me likes the looks of horror that appear on my face whenever I climb with him, or the hyperventilating I do when on the brink of puking. I don't know, but I wasn't turning down a chance of seeing the Edge up close. I didn't know how much freeclimbing I would be able to do, but it didn't matter that much. I wanted to see this baby up close.
By now the Doctorb was my therapist/doctor and the doctor recommended pain. He recommended fear. He recommended commitment and exposure. He recommended the Edge. I was a shell of a climber seeking guidance through therapy and was powerless to abstain and obediently submitted. This was to be our third climb together. The other two being the Northwest Corner of the Bastille and Grand Giraffe/Diving Board. I was getting a guided tour of the Eldo classics and a fast introduction to hardman climbing. Too fast. I didn't measure up, but I didn't care either.
We were trying to squeeze it in after work and met at the Mesa Trailhead at 4:00 p.m. Was it too late? Just the day before I was caught in darkness coming down off this wall. I decided to bring my headlamp. I ducked out of work, a new job, and wondered if I would have one tomorrow. No matter. Jump in the car; jam in a tape and the Alarm starts screaming out prophetic lyrics:
Give me hope,
Give me strength,
Give me someone to live for....
I pull into the parking lot and the Doctorb is already there. I leap out. "Naked Edge, Doctorb!" I say with false bravado, my stomach already churning with fear. "Let's go get spanked."
One rope, a couple of water bottles, a big rack, and we were off. Up the trail to the ramp, we were at the base of the wall by 4:30 p.m. . To save time we selected the Ramp Route (5.7) as our passage to the Lower Meadow. Bruce led off. I led through and up the overhang of the cave pitch (5.8) to the base of the Naked Edge. As Bruce prepared to launch into the first pitch, a 5.11a finger crack, I checked my watch: 5:11 p.m. I called out the time, not even noticing it significance. "That's appropriate," said Bruce and launched upwards.
Bruce is a large man. He told me this before I ever met him. He said, "I a big guy. I set the standard for bigness." At 6'3" and 200 pounds, Doctorb is larger than your average climber. His arms are huge, like an NBA power forwards' and I expected him to climb with burly power. Yet his footwork is exquisite, precise, imaginative. It was quite a lesson watching him calmly work the stems on this pitch. Completely solid. He made it look so easy that I thought I had a chance at it...Wrong!
This pitch is hard right off the ledge and never lets up. A very tricky move gets you on top of a block and from here it is finger locks, liebacks and lots of tricky, tiring, precise stemming. I made it past the first 10c crux, barely, but was baffled at the 11a section. I tried to use the arete on the left remembering that Bruce had grabbed it, but couldn't get back to the crack and fell off. I attacked the corner directly and again a few feet before falling off again. The top section of this pitch is rated 10c, but Bruce thinks it is the crux and I also found it to be very hard: falling off yet again. It was going to be a long climb.
Bruce had run the first two pitches together so I now faced the second pitch. It starts up with exposed face climbing right up the arete. Bruce didn't place any gear here and I shuddered at the thought of leading this pitch. I reached a bulge right on the arete and here I had to cross over to the other side. A tricky 5.9 move and I was around and facing the crux up the second pitch.
This move is rated 10b but I found it very insecure, hard, and scary with sketchy pro. I fall once here and set up for the move 7 or 8 times before I finally got it with a desperate reach for a finger lock from two slopers. Bruce was above me loving my dilemma. He kept muttering things like, "You have now entered the Sloping Zone." and "Sloper City, dude!" Shut up and drop me a loop of rope to grab, I thought, but he pressed me to work it out and stay with it. I got it the second try.
The third pitch was my lead. It is the longest pitch of the route and the crux is a tricky mantle. This is another classic pitch, as each are, with great exposure. You climb both side of the arete, weaving back and forth across it until you arrive at a nice, unexposed belay on sloping ramp. This pitch is unique in that it was the only one that I didn't fall on. And my only lead.
As I belayed Bruce up, I scoped out the next, fourth, pitch. It looked very hard, but not the horror I expected. Bruce powers up the initial moves, hangs up from almost nothing an casually backs up the ancient pin that protects the crux moves into the start of the chimney. This is the first time I have ever seen Bruce work hard, though he was never close to coming off. He worked his way up to the roof, placed a couple of good pieces and swung out on a big flake. Then he powered up the final 10c moves to a three bolt hanging belay over a lot of nothing.
Pass or play? I'll play, Doctorb. The moves on this pitch are desperate for me, but I don't fall off the initial dihedral. I can't believe people can climb shit like this and place gear! As I near the entry moves to the chimney Bruce is giving me the running beta and lots of encouragement. I feel I can't fall off because I will disappoint him too much. With some ugly, thrashing, chimney moves I make it into the chimney and up to the roof. I freed the crux of this pitch (11a), but know I am light years away from leading it.
I bungle the next section in my truest form. Scared about the potential fall, I thought there was no gear from here to the belay - fifteen horizontal feet - and that a fall would send me screaming around the corner, I didn't clean the gear at the top of the roof until I swung out on the flake. Pulling the gear from here blew out what was left of my arms and I fell. Much to my surprise, I didn't go very far. Bruce had placed another cam along the traverse after he had already reached the belay - just for me. Thanks, Doctorb! Stupidity and fear had prevented me from my only chance at climbing one of these pitches clean. As Roseanne Roseanne Diana used to say: "If it's not one thing, then it's the other."
I now know that I couldn't aid this route because, apparently there is mandatory free moves out of this chimney, unless you pound in a couple of pins. I guess I won't be running back to this route without someone like Bruce to do the leading.
Which brings me to where this story first started: belaying Bruce up the final pitch. The light is fading on us. It is past eight as he starts the pitch. The initial moves are all overhanging as you work out this ramp up and right to a move around the corner. Bruce stays bunched up a bit in order to keep his feet above the overhang and in the game. He moves very solidly, but I can tell it takes a great effort, even from Bruce. I had heard previously that this was the crux of the whole route. I knew I couldn't do it. And if I fell off this section I might not be able to get back on the rock. The ropes hung free below with hundreds of feet of air below them.
The rope is moving continuously through my device as Bruce labors on the overhanging crack around the corner. I am fiddling with the rope trying to make sure no snags hold Bruce up when I suddenly hear "Falling!" Down comes Bruce and up I go. From hanging a couple of feet below the bolt anchors, I get slammed upwards and into the rock drawing blood from my arm and shin. Bruce has taken at least a twenty footer and his 200 pound mass has free fallen the entire distance generating a non trivial force. He is unhurt as he hit nothing. More damage is done to me. Why did he fall so far? I must not have been attentive enough because he wasn't ten feet above his gear. Damn! The one job I can contribute to the ascent and I can't even do that right.
Bruce said he just greased out of the hand crack. It is very polished up here and the day was warm. Of course, a good healthy pump contributed to the fall also, he mentioned.
Bruce is pumped and needs a rest so I hold him. He is swinging at the end of his rope 600 feet above the ground. After a moment I ask him how he plans on getting back on the route. "I'm not sure," he says. By kicking he gets himself swinging and then grabs the rock and then finally the rope. Now he can winch himself up and back onto the rock with me locking him off.
A moment later he is back at the climbing, around the corner out of my site. All my concentration is upon the flow of the rope. Two quick pulls - he is clipping gear. Now slack on the line - he is moving past gear clipped above him. Now a steady draw on the rope - he is climbing above gear. I reposition myself in order to reduce the bodily damage should he take another fall. He doesn't. Soon his heads pops above the arete and a whoop of joy escapes his mouth. The hard part is over and it is an easy cruise to the belay.
Almost all the rope gets drawn up as Bruce moves over the summit slabs and down to an alcove with a tree. Of course I don't know this at the time and can't hear anything at all. We had rope signals setup but I can't distinguish them. Soon as the rope is out and I assume he must be at the belay. A little way later the rope pulls tight. I must be on belay, but I don't want to take any chances. "Am...I...On...Belay?" I yell, but there is no answer. Yikes. I unclip from one belay anchor and the rope comes tight again - a sure sign that I am on belay. It's party time.
In waning light (this seems familiar) and totally psyched out, I start the pitch. If I fall, I might not be able to get back on this route because of the intense overhang. These moves are the hardest on the climb and I have been getting my ass kicked...consistently. I feel the initial holds...and make a quick judgment call. I start grabbing gear. Many of you will shake your heads in disgust...so be it. If I had jumars I might have used them also.
Up the tiny, overhanging ramp and around the corner. Even grabbing all the gear this is desperate for me and tiring. One glance at the overhanging crack around the corner and I know I am in trouble. This final crack is so steep it makes the Diving Board look like a slab. A 5.7 slab at that. This pitch is simply in another league than the earlier ones. A league many grades above where I should be. Your a long way from home now, I thought.
The jams here are tight hands in flaring constrictions spaced widely. The crack here is too wide to jam except for at these constrictions. I fall off once. Twice. Pull on the friend and climb way above it so that when I weight the rope I am level with it...except that I swing out into space and can barely reach it! This pitch is so steep that if the gear isn't placed closely enough you could fall off this pitch and never return to it.
Now the crack has turned into nice hands. Except for the angle that is. Very overhanging. I lieback up sections, something I would never do on lead, but I'm not leading this pitch anytime soon anyway. Probably not this lifetime. From here on up I don't have to hang anymore but it is all I can do finish it off. The hardest pitch I have seen in Eldo.
I come bumbling over the top with gear strewn all over me, water bottles clanking against the rock, thoroughly beaten. "YESSSSS!!!" my voice echoed off the deeply shadowed sandstone walls. A primal scream of victory? For what? you might ask. For aiding up the Naked Edge? Yes. Yes, yes, yes. For simply climbing the route. Am I a 5.11 climber? Hell, no! I'm not even much of a 5.10 climber. But I did find myself walking a little taller, holding my head a little higher. I was a virgin no longer.
I had hoped to better acquit myself on this route, but it was not be. I wouldn't feel comfortable leading any of the hard pitches. I am a low 5.10 climber being dragged into the world of real men. I don't belong. I can't even follow properly. A babe in the woods....
A trip report for the Diving Board, Eldorado Canyon, Colorado. Early September, 1995.
I get to the parking lot where I am meeting Rex to do an as yet unspecified climb in Eldorado. 2pm. We'd been using Rex's gear and up until this point in climbing with him I had never brought gear. His rack only goes up to a #2 Camalot though, and I don't know why, something prompted me to stuff a #3 and a #4 Camalot in my pack this time, even though for all I knew we wouldn't need it. My intuition proved uncanny though, because Rex suggested the Diving Board. He had borrowed a #4 Camalot and a #3 Camalot so we were well racked for it, although I did have only a pair of slippers and I was a little concerned about this. I decided it was so wide that I wouldn't be foot jamming anyway. The only other question was the time. In the past I have been a prime contender for Eldorado's slow climber award, frequently being the last car out of the parking lot well after dark. Recently that has been getting better, either because I choose easier climbs now or because I'm getting faster in my old age, but in any case the DB in September starting at 2:30 at the base seemed a bit questionable. But I said yes and we went off. The rock was blisteringly hot at first. Rex led up the first pitch of Redguard route (actually a variation in the corner left of the main line to try to be in the shade). I felt quite uneasy following the for me unprotected traverse at the top of the pitch because the rock was really greasy. We managed to make tolerably good time in the middle part of Redguard (still approaching the base of the DB, which parallels the naked edge and starts several pitches off the deck). We even simul climbed for about 80' or so, even though Rex did not know this at the time and just thought he had not used up as much rope as was actually the case. I actually had trouble following at one point of the water groove in the middle of Redguard. I don't know what I was thinking (maybe low angle offwidth technique), but it definitely was not "lieback", a method that made the move seem all too easy when I finally resorted to it. Someplace along in here, as I was starting a lead, Rex asked me two questions: "Is this really a good idea?" and "Wouldn't it be a better idea if we went back down?". I pondered for a moment, and responded: "NO" to the first question and "YES" to the second before continuing with my lead. I cleverly bypassed the first two pitches of the DB proper, much to Rex's dismay, by climbing further up Redguard than I was supposed to and then traversing left to join the DB before the two crux pitches that are after all what make the climb a classic (overhanging 5.10 and 5.11, right next to the Naked Edge's final pitches and very exposed). I had a good excuse because I had had no idea we were going to do this climb and had not looked at the guidebook - all I knew was we were going to the obvious overhanging crack line, so I took the best way I could come up with to get there. I was actually happy that I had done this by the time I found out what had happened, because by now after 6 pitches time was beginning to be worrisome (neither of us had a watch, though) and it would certainly have taken significantly longer if we had done the two lower pitches, even if they were easier at 5.8. On the other hand, if we had done those, we might have been delayed enough so that when we got to the spot before things got committing, we might have decided to traverse over to Redguard and finish on the 5.6 pitch of that route.... Rex started up the first 5.10 pitch of the overhang. At first it traverses without pro and is reputed to be 5.9 although on follow I felt it was easier. Then Rex disappeared from sight and the rope moved up irregularly with long pauses. At last there was a very long pause indeed and I began to wonder what was happening. Eventually it moved again and then he was at the belay and soon I was climbing. I enjoyed the finger jam moves on the lower part of the pitch a lot and found the crux move quite difficult (this accounted for the long pause). Now it was my turn. It was obvious at this point that we had little daylight left. I got out of sight of the belay very quickly as the line dives off to the right and then up a kind of a chimney type affair. I felt good because up to this point I had not fallen but I felt little hope of onsighting the crux in the twilight and in a hurry - I would be unlikely to even under ideal conditions, realistically. I would say it was late twilight. I really did not make much of an effort to free the crux. However, I soon realized that Frenching it was not going to be easy either! I had only a single #4 Camalot at my disposal and the wide section of the crack was too long to be able to get past it using only it. So, after several tries I succeeded in free climbing the last part of the crux from as high up as I could get in slings from the #4 Camalot. I was feeling like I really had to do it because retreat was not an option at this point. It was dark by the time I got to the belay. Also, it was a new moon and we had no headlamp. Rex followed the pitch in the dark, aiding the crux moves. Now all we had to do was descend the east slabs, with their tricky routefinding. I have gotten lost on these things even in the daylight. However, luck was on our side because we took the absolutely ideal line down the slabs. It was almost the neatest part of the climb for me, because I would meander down a slab having no idea if I was on the right track and then come upon a move or two that I recognized from the last time I'd been up there, over a year before. We were both really really ready to be back by the time we were just trudging down the brush pile, though. It was particularly annoying to lean your weight into a dark shadow that looked like a rock only to find it was a bush and to go headlong into it. For me it was still a good adventure though. Great climb - I'll really have to go back and do it for real now.
I read your trip report Greg. Good job in finishing it finally!
Are you sure, however, that it was July 4th?? 3 parties on the Edge on July 4th during raptor closure? I'm shocked rangers weren't waiting at the bridge to issue everyone citations. If so, is it common for folks to openly disregard these closures?
On this route and raptor closure: I'm sure Greg wasn't violating the ban. In Eldo the rangers are real good at scoping the closures with binocs, if the birds haven't nested they may open up certain areas well before Aug 1. This has happened for the last several years on the Yellow Spur. I wish they would do this for other raptor closures (like Boulder Open Space)!!
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Feb 7, 2003 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-23E3 5c
AC, I'd prefer to mail you this, but you didn't use a name, so I have to post it. I don't know what year Greg did the NE, but the closure there has been a recent phenomenon. When I first moved here it was the Yellow Spur area that always closed- the birds moved down in maybe 1997 or 1998 (?) Since then it's been the Edge and Diving Board area closing. As George said, they kinda do follow the birds a little.
I got a chuckle and a sigh at Devil's Tower in 2001. No raptors had been on the (massively popular, but closed) West face. I know why they were not there- I found them on a different climb. Rather than being on El Matador, they were over by One Way Sunset. I opted not to go through the 3rd pitch where they appeared to be perched. When I told the rangers about this, they shrugged. I don't think that they really cared to protect the birds, they just wanted to slow traffic on the cliff. I guess moving the closure to protect the birds would be a lot of bureaucracy and interfere with that agenda.
Putting your back against the left facing side of the chimney on pitch 4 and walking your feet up makes getting up to the roof seem less dicey. I followed this pitch, but I remember my partner struggled for a while on this until he did that. I just followed his lead and it seemed, well, almost easy - certainly less strenuous. It must have helped somewhat because we started the climb on T2 because people were on Touch and Go and I was already wiped out by the time we got to P4, but ended up thinking that was one of the easier pitches, although the move under the roof to the belay was troublesome for me. Just an alternative that might save you some energy for the continued hard climbing above.
Got a question... if, on the 4th pitch, one goes right along the flake instead of heading into the bombay chimney, what is that rated (I THINK it is the original aid line). It has been a while since I have done it but recall it was pretty tenious.
Great climb and I've got to get back on it soon!!!
Dougald MacDonald says above that a Yellow Alien in the obvious slot in the left wall of the chimney protects the chimney. Josh Janes told me the same thing, but said the Alien pulls. My brother Paul led this pitch and placed a red Alien at the top of the slot (leaving room for your hand below). We used double ropes (see photo) to avoid pulling out on the Alien. Paul fell 4 or 5 times and the Alien held, with the force split between the Alien and the fixed pin. Following, desperately and whimpering (again), the Alien looked good to me.
To be fair, I said, "The yellow Alien, I believe." Yellow, red, whatever. Go up there with both of them and you'll be much happier. I know I fell on one of them, and it held. I just better replace my busted red Alien before I go back up there, in case I was wrong about the size....
More for the Alien debate: I was up yesterday (last good weather before the closure)my first time, and was spanked by the chimney pitch. I tried the yellow alien in the slot. I fell. So did the Yellow Alien. Luckily I had a backup piece under the pin, however, I think; ahemm...I KNOW the pin is good...at leats for my 150 lbs. I popped out of there 3 times; the final one, I was reaching up into the roof. I was a bit perturbed, mentally exhausted and jammed my finger on my way down (boo-hoo). My opinion is that the alien placement, whether red OR yellow doesn't help at all. The sling length you need to make the rope drag manageable doesn't make the fall ANY shorter, and seems only to get in the way, FWIW. I expected this pitch to be a breeze for me, as I usualy excell at awkward, scrunchy wider pitches... Thanks to Cristo and partner for dragging our rope up, as we munched on humble pie. I have great pics of these guys on lead if anyone knows who they are (frequenters of "The Spot" in boulder?)
The Alien's worth is not so much in shortening the fall as it is in backing up that pin. Sooner or later the pin in that flake is going to blow when someone plunges out of the chimney, and that fall will be ugly! I'll take my chances with the Alien (yellow or red, whatever), with yhe hope that it at least slows me down a bit before I weight that pin. For what it's worth, it held me (160 pounds), the one time I fell on it.
Hey Doug Mc-D. Understood Robin Hood. I equalized with maybe a green alien immediately below the pin. To each his own. I [definitely] understand the slow down desire. That fall was no fun. Also, I see in some of the pics there is a pin in the lower section of this pitch (the dihedral); most likley a knifeblade. It was gone on saturday. Do you (or anyone) know where this went and if anyone plans on replacing it? I'm sure this has been discussed ad nauseum somewhere on the site...but I haven't found it...
The Alien may be pulling because of rightward pull from the rope through the pin on the right. When I followed Josh Janes on this almost exactly a year ago, he told me that on an earlier attempt he ripped the yellow Alien. So, in September, when I did this with my brother Paul, we planned on double rope for that pitch (single rope folded in half--see photo). I outwaited Paul on the ledge, and he took the lead for that pitch. He took 3 or 4 good wingers out of the chimney, and the Alien held, but the weight was distributed between the two ropes, one to the Alien, and one to the pin.
This route was great!!! I was nervous about climbing this rout seeing how I just started rock climbing in January, but I was amazed how good the first pitch was! Great crack! My fingers fit like a glove in it! I would recommed this to everyone especially girls! Our hands are usually smaller :-)
Someone e-mailed me quite a while ago about the pin being missing. Must have been before the closure at end of January 2004. So it's been missing for quite a while. The reason the person e-mailed me is that they saw the pin in one of the photos I posted and were surprised to not see it on the climb.
I am Jealous. I can't lead 11a trad. At least not safely or with confidence. I have attempted grandmothers challenge twice, sat after the pod twice, but cruised to the top after. I have onsighted most of the 10a pitches I have led in eldo though. My favorite was Yellow Spur. I got Grandmother's on TR when I wasn't placing gear or hauling two ropes(I'm trying for the 200ft pitch). I generally climb 11a sport in Boulder Canyon, and onsighted or got 2nd try a few 11a's at Animal World. I have been trad climbing off and on for 5 or 6 years, and the few times I've fallen on my gear it has held.
So...honestly now, do I have a chance at following this route if I actually find someone who will haul my ass up it. Don't worry about hurting my feelings, around here I pretty much suck. I'd love to get to climb this route, I think I could probably do all the moves, but I'm worried that bailing would suck if I couldn't.
Poor Mediocre Climber. (none of my partners leads any harder though) Will Belay for Rope Gun up Naked Edge.
Dude, you don't suck; you're just not ready for it. I think the key is to keep pushing yourself on gear routes close to the grade, and you'll send it onsight. It might take a year or two to get there, but if you are working for it, it'll come eventually. Think King's X, Le Toit, [Disappearing] Act, Center Route, Outer Space and Country Club Crack but don't get discouraged if you get schooled on classics like NW Corner, Vertigo or Athletes Feet as they are pretty desperate.
Sure, you could get gunned up this thing by some yokul hardguy, but you'll be more psyched to lead it onsight.
Tevis- I would suggest some more Eldo prep climbs before getting on the Edge. King's X is a good trainer. I would also get on Grand Course, Rincon, and any of several 5.11 routes on the West Ridge (better to push it close to the ground at first). I would also recommend following some Eldo multi-pitch 5.10/low-end 5.11 routes, if you haven't already, say Super Slab, Psycho Pigeon, or what has been dubbed as "Le Verne" on this site. The Edge is not going anywhere, so get all these under your belt and by October when it cools off- go for it. Some other tips: Be well-versed in French-free technique, if you need to get through a section you can't do free. You would also need to know how to ascend the rope- should you fall on the 4th pitch you may swing out into space and not be able to get back into the rock. You can bail with one rope after the first pitch, or with 2 ropes after the 2nd, if you're not feeling the joy. The 4th and 5th pitches are the crux, though, and require a bit more effort both physically and psychologically. Good luck, and find a strong partner who can coach you through.
Telvis, I agree with the previous 2 ac's...those are all good routes to do in order to get your head into it. As well, they are very good routes just to do on their own.
Take you time and work your way up to it. This is [definitely] better on lead as well...every pitch. I would veture to say that it is best climb I've ever done. I've done it bottom to top 7 times and the first two pitches probably 30 -40 times as an after work workout and it was always GREAT.
You will have to do moves above your gear on this climb.
You only suck if you don't [pursue] you interest...you don't suck.
FFA 30 years ago yesterday and he's still crankin'!! Way to go Jim!
By Jimmy Farrell From: Lexington, KY Oct 16, 2005 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-23E3 5c
This is a note going out to the party climbing ahead of us on The Edge today (Sun 10/16/05)... We have the cam that you forgot to clean. Send me an email: (reachjimmy at gmail). Tell me where you left it and what kind of piece it was so I make sure I'm getting it back to the right person. I'll meet you at The Southern Sun some time and you can buy me a beer!
ALSO...If you were THE GUY IN THE ROAD WITH THE TRIPOD while we were climbing the 4th & 5th pitch: Get in touch if you have any pics of us...that'd be sweet!
Just curious about rappelling off the Edge, I recall rapping the route a few years back, but yesterday could not find the anchors on top so took the East Slab descent. Any info on where to rappel from? Thanks.
Regarding the "red Alien/yellow Alien on p.4" discussion... I placed a gray Camalot (same size as yellow?), and it held when I fell off trying to hump my way up into the bombay. The Camalots are, of course, a bit wider axially than Aliens, and this may have helped (a bit more surface area on cam lobes). Then again, maybe it was just dumb luck. Obviously, best to put a 24'" runner on whatever one places here....
Took multiple whippers directly onto the pin below the chimney on July 28. I weigh 200lb + gear and the pin held. I had it backed up with a purple TCU. Thinking offset Alien in the slot out left for the next round....
Absolutely one of the top routes in Eldo. For the fun of it & to see what a couple of old guys might be able to do... Dave Vaughan & I were able to shorten the Gilbert & Slater 1:38 speed record on the edge, stated in Steve Levin's earlier post. On 9/06/06 our time was 1:22 parking lot to parking lot done traditional style, no french free, no simul climbing and no skate boarding down the East Slabs. As a follow up and for some additional fun to make things even more interesting we followed that ascent with a night time ascent a couple of days later by headlamp. Great practice for those climbs you don't quite finish by sunset. I was afraid the park ranger might come & order us down. I could just see it now. Spot light shining up on us. Us looking down like deer caught in the headlights. "Hey you clowns on the edge! Cease your climbing activities & come down right now!! The park is closed to climbing at night!!"
"We can't officer you've blinded us with that spot light!!" \;o) Fortunately we made it to the top without any "hazardous" official interference.
There's a baby pigeon that appears to have just hatched this morning (Tuesday, August 21) to the right of the belay at the bottom of pitch 4 of the Edge. Watch where you stack your ropes. It's cute. Little yellow thing with a bobbling head.
Protecting the bomb bay is not as hard as it is described. My suggestion would be to back up the pin before entering the chimney mere centimeters below the pin with a stopper or a yellow Alien/TCU (or both, which I did) I reached out to the slot out left, but it was both not a good piece, and DEFINITELY in the way (as mentioned above). Also, it doens't make the fall shorter, so the better packups would be near the pin. As far as the exit moves at the roof, a red Alien is decent, but more importantly there is a great small stopper placement next to it, and even a small stopper placement near the hand hold as you begin to exit. They are all good. In fact, there is currently a fixed RP at the exit move (that I placed and could not retrieve) which should help out the next few parties at least.
Oh, and there is currently a fixed #2 Friend at the base of the 4th pitch. The stem cable is starting to wear, it would be good to remove it from such a stellar pitch.
I still think this is hands down the best route in Eldo. It's always good every time I get on it. Me and Steven took a jaunt up it Friday afternoon.
As of 9-18-09, there are no fixed pieces on P1. However, on P4 there are two fixed Friends right on top of each other at the start. One is a rigid the other tech. You can still get a good #1 Camalot above them and also have room for your hand. I may go up and try to get them out soon. Anyone care to join me?
Climbing The Edge with Erik Weihenmayer and Charley Mace was definitely one of the greatest climbing experiences I have ever had. It was so exciting to see him climb it. We didn't know exactly how it was going to go. It went really well. Check out the video. Don't use Erik's beta on pitch 4 unless it feels too easy the other way!
UPDATE 1/5/2011: Erik's ascent was named by Chris Weidner as one of the "Top climbing achievements of the decade" in the Front Range in the Daily Camera. www.dailycamera.com/ci_17009978
Bob Rotert said: "Dave Vaughan & I were able to shorten the Gilbert & Slater 1:38 speed record on the edge, stated in Steve Levin's earlier post. On 9/06/06 our time was 1:22 parking lot to parking lot done traditional style, no French free, no simulclimbing, and no skate boarding down the East Slabs"
Huge props to the Bob and Dave! I've been itching to give this a try for a while now, and finally got a psyched partner and good temps today.
Blake Herrington and I went bridge to bridge in 1:13 (the bridge is 50yds from the parking lot, but we thought it was a more consistent starting point). Same style as Bob and Dave: all free, soloed up the ramp to the base, and then pitched it out in 3 pitches.
I think there's still a ton of room for improvement, though, as we went a bit off-route on the ramp approach, battled 50mph winds on the route, and wandered down the East Slabs.
I think this is a pretty safe challenge, and I know there's tons of strong-people in town. I wonder if anyone could do it sub-hour....
For beta on the approach, Rob showed me a way that is a little easier than the 5.5 handcrack fs off the ramp. Keeping going along the ramp past the handcrack about 50 feet (20 feet past Touch 'n Go) to a large flake. Climb up this and exit to the right up juggy ledges. It is quite a bit easier than the cracks, and there is a bit of a ledge at the base that you may land on if you blow the moves:)
Or just be smart and rope up one of the many excellent pitches leading to the lower ramp.
Currently there is a fixed nut and a green C3 in the first pitch, as well as two junky cams in the initial dihedral on the 4th pitch.
Finally did this today. There is still a c3 and a nut on pitch 1. The 2nd pitch is really fun and the slab part is mildly spicy. The bombay chimney is not as bad as people make it out to be. A yellow TCU/ master cam can be used below the pin and possible more stuff (a blue/yellow offset master cam might be good?). It is run out by the end of it, but once you are established in the Chimney, you won't fall out unless you want to (ie you give up). The last 11 pitch has a good series of hard moved below the hand crack. Great climb, pitch 1 was the best finger crack ive one in a while. A must do for sure.
Why would you want to link these pitches? 1&2 would probably give you horrendous rope drag and 4&5 are great pitches in themselves. The hardest moves of pitch 5 are right off the belay. Nice to have somebody there as there is really no pro.
I agree that combining P1/P2, and P4/P5 is the way to go. The Edge as 3 pitches is perfect, and I've never had rope drag doing it this way. Provided, of course, that you use a long sling on whatever you place in the nombay chimney.
Currently (April 2014), there is a fixed green C3 Camalot on P1, a rigid Friend in the dihedral on P4, and a yellow Metolius after the boulder problem on P5.