BETA PHOTO: The Watermark; photo taken from Animal W...
The Watermark is a small west-facing crag just above the creek, between Avalon and Vampire Rock. It is a cool spot to climb on a hot summer day. Moderate sport routes with slabs and a few roofs characterize the climbing here.
Many of these routes are around 5.8 and are good for first outside leads. Bring a 60m rope, because two routes in the middle of the crag need it (Memory of Trees and Road to Isengard).
On the left side of the road, across the creek, about 100' above the creek. As you are going up Boulder Canyon it is between Avalon and Vampire Rock.
Park at the small pullout for Avalon at 8.2 miles on the right, or continue up to the larger pullout for the Boulderado and Animal World at 8.4 miles on the left. If you park at the Avalon pullout, cross the road and walk 45 yards upstream to the Avalon Tyrolean. If you park at the upper pullout, you'll have to walk downstream about 300 yards to reach the crag.
There are several ways to cross the creek to reach the crag:
1. Cross the creek using the Avalon Tyrolean, then head upstream (right) across the talus to a climber's path which leads to the crag.
2. If the water level is low enough, cross the creek using a handline which may be present a little ways upstream from the crag.
3. If the water level is really low, cross the creek at a convenient spot below the crag and find a climber's path up the hill to the crag.
Please stay on trails when wandering about at this crag. The popularity of this crag has led to erosion of unforseen magnitude. There is now a trail going eastward above the cliff to connect with Avalon at the Second Tier level. Hard work on the part of concerned climbers has helped mitigate this erosion. Thanks!
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Watermark:
Twin Cracks Right (and Twin Cracks Left) begins with the first half of Twin Peaks and goes right into a separate crack system at the undercling (where the other goes left). The crux is somewhere along the crack (you decide). The crack itself is solid rock, mostly fingers. Recommend: skip the bolt just beneath the undercling and place pro out right (where you are going anyway). A steep finger crack then leads to a low-angle, V-shaped dihedral. Step right and lower off f...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
There are now 5 bolted lines. From the right, they go at 5.7 (though listed at 5.8 in Rossiter), 5.8 (dirty at the bottom, better up top), 5.9- (listed as 5.9), then around the corner on the face to the left, a 5.9+, then a 10b(?) or so. All bolts are new, with hangers. The water level today (May, 2002) was low enough you can cross without the Tyrolean.
This is easy to find, but the description above could be a bit clearer. Cross the tyrolean as described above (or wade just downstream) to a talus slope. Follow talus up and right, and catch a trail on the right and just below a chossy buttress. The trail contours around to the Watermark.
Note that right above the talus is a cliff with a single bolt route - this is not the Watermark.
Rossiter suggests parking just past Practice Rock. If you do this, the walk is shorter to the 'lower' tyrolian, but you have to cross the road. Drive just over 1/10th of a mile past Practice Rock, park on the right at a small pullout. Cross the road, cross the barrier, and locate the tyrolian. It deposits you onto a large talus slope.
Turn right after getting off the rope, walk about 20 meters staying 25 feet or so above the water. Enter the trees at a faint path just above the water and walk another 25-30 meters before turning uphill to arrive at the Watermark. The arete that is Memory of Trees is fairly obvious.
If you park at Animal World/Boulderado, walk creekside for a ways (5-10 minutes) downhill, until you get to the second, or lower, tyrolian. Longer walk, but probably safer.
There is a hand line across the creek just upstream of the Watermark. On 7/12/04, we were able to wade the creek 30' downstream from the hand line. A climber's path leads up to the rock from this point.
The Watermark is a nice, shady spot for late afternoon climbing on hot summer days.
There are two ways to go from Avalon to Watermark: The Low trail and The High Trail. The Low Trail is only useful to reach Watermark from the Tyrolean traverse for Avalon or from the bottom of the First Tier. This trail goes upstream (south) beneath a cliffband that eventually merges with Watermark and arrives at a platform beneath Twin Peaks and Glennevere.
The High Trail is beautiful and was recently rebuilt. It provides easy access to Watermark from the Second Tier of Avalon. Depending on which way you are going, it starts just above the junction on the approach to Avalon where you can go left to the Tarot Wall or straight up to the Free Fall area and Wall of the Dead. Go right just above a big Douglas fir (well below Goat Rock) and follow a beautiful trail that leads south to the top of Watermark. From the top of Watermark continue south, then down to the west and arrive at the bottom of Lothlorien.
Great, shady summer climbing! However, maybe it's my height, maybe the climbs are a bit soft for they're rating, or maybe it's that the lines are a bit contrived, but of the ones I've climbed Twin Peaks seemed to be the only one that felt like its grade.
I found a red Nalgene at the base of Twin Peaks yesterday (4/23). Looked like it had been dropped from the belay spot for Twin Peaks, but it could have rolled there from anywhere. Come pick it up in Boulder if it's yours.