The West Ridge Rock Climbing
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|Shared By:||Leo Paik on Mar 20, 2006|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
The West Ridge is an amazing, diagonalling cliff band, far wider than tall, with an enormous variety of climbing on SW-facing Fountain Formation sandstone. There are face climbs, dihedrals, slabs, overhangs, thin cracks, wide cracks, lots of moderate routes, but, sorry, no long routes. It lies just W of its larger sister, the Redgarden Wall, and rises out from the S. Boulder Creek to the gully just before Rincon. Interestingly, this ridge seems to have escaped the climbers' attention until 1963. Perhaps, it is 2400 feet wide by up to 350 feet tall with at least 180 routes. These routes range in length from 20 foot highballs to the 5-pitch Long John Wall and from 4th class to 5.12d at least; however lower than 5.7 & higher than 5.11 is are lightly represented here. So, higher end climbers need to look elsewhere for established testpieces unless you want to free one of the few remaining aid lines. Likely, it has the greatest potential for unclimbed routes remaining in Eldorado but many of the unclimbed areas area unclimbed for a reason.
Although there are no long routes here, this is a particularly great place to climb since climbing is well-spread out, there are all sorts of difficulties in climbing routes close together, and it's simply beautiful here. You can dial in your temperature setting by aspect of the face, shade, & altitude. For the moderate traditional climber seeking ease of access & variety, there may no place better in the close-in Denver Metro area.
For the purposes of organization for ease of use, the West Ridge is divided into 6 areas by well-known, spaced-out, arbitrary climbs (Xanadu, Pony Express, Long John Wall, Verschneidung) with the distinct Potato Chip (cover shot for the classic Boulder Climbs South) which remains from the previous organizational scheme.
While there may be no top-ten in Eldorado Canyon SP here, there are many fine lines to savor. Washington Irving, 5.6; Verscheidung, 5.7; Knight's Move, 5.7; the strenuous Mesca-Line, 5.7; Chianti, 5.8+; Long John Wall, 5.8+; The Unsaid, 5.9; Purple Haze, 5.9; Allosaur, 5.9 s; Morning Thunder, 5.9+; the delightful Positively Fourth Street, 5.9+; Chockstone, 5.10a; Handcracker Direct, 5.10a; the fine Xanadu, 5.10a; Break on Through, 5.10a; Laughing at the Moon, 5.10b; Hand Crack, 5.10b; Variation to Mail Ridge, 5.10; Sooberb, 5.10c; the exquisite Prince of Darkness, 5.11a; Practice Climb 101 to Sidewall, 5.11a s; Wing Shot, 5.11b; Parallels, 5.11b s; the fun Terminal Velocity, 5.11b/c s; the fine Pony Express, 5.11c; Iron Horse, 5.11c s; Jericho, 5.11c; amazing Bit by Bit, 5.11c/d; Wild Turkey, 5.11c/d s; Foxtrot, 5.11d s; the airy French Fry, 5.12b; the intimidating The Reckoning, 5.12d; among others.
Descent can be done by rappel or scrambling down the E side of the ridge when there it is snow-free.
So, while we're working on this, anyone care to sound in on if they've already done my long-term vision of a girdle traverse? I'm guessing this could be the second longest climb in the area. Mic? Did Derek do this? Crusher? Chris? Hamish? Tony? Bob? Malcolm? Duncan? Charlie?
Girdle on Redgarden is probably bigger.
Classic Climbing Routes at The West Ridge
Days w Precip