Elevation: 8,855 ft
GPS: 39.642, -106.33 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 87,791 total · 331/month
Shared By: Chris Zeller on Nov 29, 1999 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC


Vail's Rigid Designator Area is arguably the most famous ice climbing area in Colorado. Although the climbs here are not the longest or hardest in the state, the combination of aesthetic beauty, difficulty, route density, and accessibility make this the premier spot to push your climbing to a new level, regardless of your ability level. Indeed, it was on these climbs that pioneers pushed climbing to new levels in defining pure waterfall and mixed climbing as a sports of their own. Octopussy, Jeff Lowe's M8 testpiece, is just to the right of the Designator (a world-famous climb in and of itself). The area boasts a variety of slabby ice sheets, incredible ice pillars, and moderate to heinously difficult mixed climbs. Despite the amount of activity in the area, new routes are still being done on the overhanging rock and thin smears of ice that occasionally form above. All of the climbs here are single pitch sport-ice climbs with excellent anchors at the tops of the climbs. All the climbs can be toproped, although leading them first is the only reasonable way of getting to the tops of most of the climbs.

Getting There

Take I-70 West out of Denver to Vail Ski Area. Find a legal parking spot. Don't walk on the cross country ski tracks.

Per Austin Gardner: from the Pumphouse parking area, walk east along the Frontage Road to the junction of the Frontage Road and Aspen Lane. Continue east on Aspen Lane for a short distance, and take the first right turn onto Aspen Court. At the end of this cul-de-sac is a trailhead providing access to the cross-country ski trails on the golf course. Cross the creek on a footbridge, and immediately turn left (east) on the signed climber's trail.

Follow the trail as it crosses the golf course and then heads east to the right of the prepared track. After a few minutes of walking, the trail leaves the valley floor and executes a rising traverse into the drainage below the Rigid Designator, directly opposite Booth Creek. Continue on the trail as it climbs to the base of the Designator and Fang. You'll gain about 550 feet on the approach.


work in progress, please be patient

A.  The Outsiders, WI5+ M7 R, 1p, 120', gear.

B. Psychotic Behavior, WI6 M7+ PG-13, 1p, 110', gear.

C. Dr. Delicate, 8 WI5 M6+, 1p, 100', bolts & gear.

above C. After 8, M8 PG-13, 1p, 100', gear & bolts.

D. Teriebel Traverse, WI 6, M6-7?, PG-13, 1p, 120', gear, ice screws, a Spectre.

E. Pitch Black, WI4-5 M9, 1p, bolts.

F. Aberrant Behavior aka LoweKey Lunacy, WI6+ M7, 1p, 100', gear & screws.

G1. Rigid Designator, WI4-5, 1p, 115', screws.

G2. Timid Resignator, WI4-5 M8- R, 1p, 125', screws & gear.

H1. Somnambulist, M9?, 1p, bolts, gear, and screws.

H2. Resurrection, WI4-5 M7-8, 1p, 90', gear & screws.

I. Divide, M7+, 1p, 100', bolts.

J. Unknown, 1p, bolts.

K. Little Higher, M8-, 1p, 100', bolts.

L. 7th Chakra, M8+, 1p, 100', bolts & screws.

M. 7th Testicle, WI5- M6+, 1p, 85', bolts & screws.

N. Seventh Tentacle, WI5 M5, 1p, bolt, gear, & screws.

above N. Octopussy, M6-8, 2p, 150', bolts & gear.

above N. Reptile, WI5 M9-10, 1p, bolts.

O. Little Thang, WI5 M6, 1p, bolts & screws.

above N. Lucky, WI5+ M9?, 1p, 120', bolts.

P. The Fang, WI5-6, 1p, 135', screws.

RO. Cupcake Corner, M5, 1p, 70', bolts.

R. "Dolly Madison", M6+, 1p, 85', bolts.

SR. Tatranka, M7, 1p, 80', bolts.

TP. King Cobra/King Cobra Extension, M11-, 1p, 115', bolts.

T. Hooded Cobra, M8-, 1p, 80', bolts.

U. Red Bull and Vodka, M11, (P1 M8+), 2p, bolts.

V2V1UTP. Superfortress, M13, 1p, 115', bolts.

V1. Red Beard, M12, 1p, 115', bolts.

V2V1+. The Flying Fortress, M13, 1p, 115', bolts.

V2. Amphibian, WI 5+ M9 (P1 WI5 M8), 2p, 105', bolts.

WV. Godzilla, WI5 M8, 1p, 105', bolts & screw.

X. Steel Balls, M9, 1p, 70',  bolts.

Y. Fuck The System, M8-9, 1p, bolts.

Z Saphira, M15-, 1p, 70', bolts.

AA. For the Ladies, M9, 1p, 85', bolts.

BB?. Project.

CC. Built for Comfort, M9, 1p, 85', bolts.

DD. Fatman and Robin, M9, 2p, gear & bolts.

EE. Little Higher, M7+, 1p, bolts.

FF. Hurt Locker, M8, 1p, 40', bolts.

GG. Choss Corner, M6, 1p, 40', bolts.

41 Total Climbs

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