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CO for a Day - Where should I climb?


Original Post
Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 48

Coming out to Denver from the Atlanta area for a one day adventure on May 13th and looking for some climbing recommendations.  I wish this trip was much longer but due to my climbing partners shortage of PTO and my requirement to be home for mothers day we are flying out after work Friday and taking a 6am flight home Sunday morning.  We're meeting up with a third in Denver.  I'm new to trad and comfortable leading 5.8 but haven't done multi-pitch trad so I'd prefer bolted belays.  We've both climbed pretty established 5.10C on sport.  

Looking for multi-pitch routes emphasizing:

1. Exposure / views (don't get much of this in the southeast) 

2. Some bolts, bolted belays, or really easy gear belays

3. Within a couple hours of Denver

4. Somewhere we don't have to worry about waiting in line or slowing other parties down

So far I've been looking at the First Flatiron which seems like it would be crowded and some of what I've read makes the gear belays sound difficult to a new trad leader or heading south to Helen's Dome.

The best situation would be if you have plans to go out that day and don't mind us following / joining up with you.  I'd be happy to return the favor if you ever find yourself around the ATL.

Cheers,

Jason

John Ryan · · Poncha Springs, CO · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 165

Check out the Center Route aka Carter Classic on Davis Face outside Buena Vista. Meets all those criteria except may be slightly over two hours depending on your location in Denver. Need good clearance but probably not 4wd. It gets a 5.9 but really there's 2-3 moves at this grade and you could pull gear if you needed. Bolted belays/rap stations. 4-6 pitches typically. Killer views. A bit alpiney at 10k feet. I've been hit with a blizzard in early May. 

jason.cre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 10

First flatiron would be an interesting experience if you are new to multipitch and trad generally.  The 20 foot runouts will turn into 50 foot runouts if you arent adept at finding and placing gear.  The climbing is pretty easy but the exposure will make it pretty exciting, particularly if you havent done much multipitch.

Royal flush would also give you an interesting, very alpine-ish experience this time of year.  Youll probably run into your fair share of snow and seepage, but that'll keep the crowds away and make it more memorable.  

Theres quite a bit in the south platte that probably best fits what you are looking for.  Thats probably your best bet.

John Ryan · · Poncha Springs, CO · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 165

Someone will probably recommend Royal Flush in Summit County. This could be good if you are super sketched on multipitch. I hate the route due to one real pitch of climbing and a ton of 5.0, and it's a 'super alpine' route which means bolts every few feet. 

Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 48

I'm all for it being Alpine-ish.  I originally was looking at doing the Beaver on Longs but chose to forego it this round being early season and inexperienced with snow/ice.  

Royal looks fun, any idea how crowded it typically is?

Jon Banks · · Denver, CO · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 145

There can be a few groups on the route on a nice summer day. But it's a great option for a casual, long multipitch.

jleining · · CO · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 33

We have just had a few snow storms so anything above 9kish feet is going to be wet or still covered in snow by mothers day

physnchips · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0
Jason Eberhard wrote:

I'm all for it being Alpine-ish.  I originally was looking at doing the Beaver on Longs but chose to forego it this round being early season and inexperienced with snow/ice.  

Err, yeah, don't become this years news story of "Out of town climber dies on Longs, SAR waiting for conditions to improve"

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83
John Ryan wrote:

Check out the Center Route aka Carter Classic on Davis Face outside Buena Vista. Meets all those criteria except may be slightly over two hours depending on your location in Denver. Need good clearance but probably not 4wd. It gets a 5.9 but really there's 2-3 moves at this grade and you could pull gear if you needed. Bolted belays/rap stations. 4-6 pitches typically. Killer views. A bit alpiney at 10k feet. I've been hit with a blizzard in early May. 

This is a fantastic route and would be very worth doing. The gear is pretty good and the belays are bolted, but you can run it out if you want to (if you link pitches 2 and 3 you can either do something weird ish or just run out soe 5.7/8 slab). The odds of anyone being there are pretty low. You need two ropes to rap just so you are aware (but you will need two ropes for a group of 3 anyways). You can *Almost* make it in a sedan but you will not, a small SUV is fine though, we went in a crosstrek.  Great views on this one for sure. With the drive back to the face I would say you are looking at 3 ish hours to get there. Google shows you coming in from Antero Junction but I don't know how the road is that way.  It is good from BV.

Royal Flush is not as good (it has more that one pitch of climbing though, don't listen to that comment) but still fun. It is long and will take a while with three. You basically can limb in approach shoes until the upper pitches after the talus. Then it is 2-3 pitches of fun climbing. I climbed it on a pretty cold day in the wind and shade last year and there was 6 or so parties below us. Always expect lots of people. Also it had a bunch of snow on it on sunday. That should change but you could always be in trouble here. The hike down may have snow in sections. 

Devil's Head could be cool with options for single pitch and multipitch. 

mark kerns · · denver, co · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 315

couple suggestions

1) Two Jews Blues 5.10b - south platte area, little scraggy dome.  3 excellent pitches, all bolts with bolted belays.  great views.  15 minute approach.  rappel the route.

2) Rewritten 5.8 - Eldorado Canyon, 4 or 5 pitches, great climbing, can be crowded... good exposure on the upper pitches.

3) Bastille Crack 5.8, Eldorado Canyon,, 4 pitches, classic line, can be crowded

4) White Whale or The Dog 5.6 or 5.7,  Estes Park, Lumpy Ridge, 3 pitches, good views, fun, Check the show levels...

5) Melvin's Wheel 5.8, Estes Park - Lumpy Ridge, 3 pitches, awesome, varied climbing with great views. Check the snow levels...

jleining · · CO · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 33

Since when is the Bastille Crack rated 5.8?

I would not recommend Melvins Wheel for someone of your ability.

Dr. VARMENT · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined May 2010 · Points: 95

Check these guys out, they'll set you up and are reasonably priced

www.boulderclimbingguides.com

mark kerns · · denver, co · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 315
jleining wrote:

Since when is the Bastille Crack rated 5.8?

I would not recommend Melvins Wheel for someone of your ability.

well, your probably the expert on the grade.  maybe you have some recommendations to offer?

ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145

Trail of Tears on Wigwam Dome in the South Platte is super fun - soft 5.9, easy gear, nice hike, great views, no crowds! Just saw you are looking for 5.8 trad - I wouldn't let the 5.9 rating scare you off this one. I found it easier than Bastille Crack and Rewritten in Eldo (both 5.7, not 5.8 as listed above). 

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

All the routes mentioned are good in one way or another.  But, none match your criteria very well, mostly because trad climbs tend to NOT have bolted anchors, although some do, here and there.  Eldo can have some tricky climbing and gear.  And, loose rock should be expected, even on the classics.  Lumpy has high quality rock and fewer crowds, South Platte even fewer crowds, but more adventure, remote, dirt roads, and a bit more difficult to find your way. 

If you change your criteria a bit, there would be a lot more option.  Multi pitch trad, with party of 3 and limited gear experience in a new area sounds a bit sketch to me.  Just my opinion, though.  Multi pitch sport:

Fractured Fairytales 6?

Playing Hooky 8  (doesn't meet criteria 4)

Young and the Rackless 9 (doesn't meet criteria 4)

Two Jews Blues 10, already mentioned.  Bring your smearing game for this one.

Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 48

Thanks for all the input Colorado.  I booked a place in Frisco and we're going to get on Royal Flush east coast early.  If we're cruising and it's dry we'll probably get on the aces high variation at the top.  If the weather sucks in Frisco and is somehow good in either Boulder or by Helen's Dome we'll be there.  If you make it to Atlanta and want to check out boat rock or ride up to Chattanooga drop a line.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

When are you coming? Even a few days or a week could make a big difference this time of year. Frisco just got a ton of heavy wet snow. I would check with a local because those conditions can vary greatly in just a few days,.   That route is shaded in the morning. Expect it to be in the 20s or 30s early in the morning  if you are coming soon. 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Looks like I’m late to the party, but if you’re not dead set on Royal Flush, I think the Broadmoor in Big Thompson Canyon meet all of your criteria. More continuous climbing than Royal Flush, not going to be as crowded, bolted belays, just need a couple of cams to supplement some of the runout on the route. It doesn’t get climbed as much as Royal Flush probably because 1. It’s harder; 2. The rock quality is not the best… but hey, you didn’t ask for good rock!

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Parker Wrozek wrote:

Royal Flush is not as good (it has more that one pitch of climbing though, don't listen to that comment) 

I totally agree. Royal Flush definitely has more than one pitch of climbing... it has two pitches! Haha... I'm surprised you didn't recommend Mary's Bust area, since you've done the Brown Palace.

MyMichelle · · Frisco, CO · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Hi, Jason! I live in Frisco, so if you have any questions about the area, feel free to reach out. I hiked Royal today and there are still patches of snow on it, but it's melting pretty fast. May be clear(ish) by the time you make it out here .

Current conditions on Royal (as seen from my front porch :) )

Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 48
MyMichelle wrote:

Hi, Jason! I live in Frisco, so if you have any questions about the area, feel free to reach out. I hiked Royal today and there are still patches of snow on it, but it's melting pretty fast. May be clear(ish) by the time you make it out here .

Current conditions on Royal (as seen from my front porch :) )

Awesome, I'll check in with you mid next week.

If Frisco looks like a no-go would the Estes park(Big Thomson) area likely be better?  I saw it's about 1500' lower but I have very little knowledge of the typical weather out there this time of year.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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