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El dorado routes with anchors


Original Post
Juan Aziz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Hello Mtn Project community,

I’ve recently started trad climbing and would like to go do some beginner routes in el dorado canyon in boulder Colorado. I’m wondering if anyone can spare some words of wisdom on good beginner routes and preferably with set anchors since I am not yet that confident in building trad anchors myself.

Thank you and safe climbing everyone !

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

You should be able to build an anchor that’s trustworthy before leading above a single piece of gear...

Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30

The upper (north) end of Hawk-Eagle Ridge has single-pitch lines in the range 5.5-5.8. A fair amount of trees on the top, so anchors are easy. Easy walk-off to get down. Beware of some loose rock as this is not a super popular area. Other than that, Eldo doesn't have a lot of easy single pitches. Better check out Boulder Canyon.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

Juan, you need to think very carefully about the logic behind not being sure you can construct a safe three-piece anchor, while apparently maintaining that you can place adequate single pieces of protection while leading up to that anchor.  Something doesn't add up.

Mason Stone · · Island of misfit toys. · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Hi Juan,
Suss out how to place gear safely, make trad anchors, and escape/safety first, There are people in the area who can help you with this, just ask around.
When you are ready check this out: https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105748681/tigger 
And this:
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105748361/wind-ridge

Heed the advice above, you will find fixed anchors atop the first pitch of Bastille, however, that "easy" 5.7 has hurt quite a few people. The book doesn't lie PG, R or X are marked in the guidebook because a fall can hurt you. Even G routes can kill.

coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70

Buy Steve's guidebook and get some goals....then heed Rich and others' advice...take some time, work up to it. Happy to chat further to get some strategies going for your fall/winter.....

Juan Aziz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Hi thank you all for the quick replies. I am not just jumping into trad blindly and am taking precautions and always going with a knowledgeable partner. I really appreciate everyone’s concerns on me making dumbfounding decisions. I feel confident in placing gear but have only climbed routes with set anchors at the top (call me a noobie if ya want, I am). So grateful to have such a good community and if anyone is ever in the Boulder area and is feeling like taking a novice trad climber or a belayer dont hesitate to contact me.

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

It's all good.  Just want to keep each other safe.  If you have the gear down, you would probably be fine watching some videos or reading a book,
but it doesn't hurt to have a half day out with a guide..

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

Check out West Crack on Whale’s Tail (5.2). It’s actually really fun climbing, eats gear, is 1 pitch and has fixed anchors. And not as crowded as wind tower...

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

I agree with Rich and others here - if you're not ready to build anchors, you're not ready to lead trad. Aside from the valid point already made that if you don't trust your gear placements enough to put toprope loads on a 3-piece anchor, you probably shouldn't trust a single piece to hold a lead fall; what would you do if you had to build an anchor anywhere other than where the bolts are? It happens sometimes in trad climbing, for one reason or another you need to build an anchor other than where you originally planned, and you're taking a big risk heading up without this most basic skill.
Basically, if you don't yet have the knowledge and experience to place solid gear, it's not time to start leading yet. Follow a lot of pitches, ask a lot of questions, practice gear placements from ground level, bounce test them, ask experienced climbers for feedback, do some mock leads with a TR belay, take a class, hire a guide.... there are lots of ways you can gain the experience you need, so that when you lead your first trad climb you are at least competent in the minimum basic skillsets.
Best of luck, and don't rush this process - it's a fun, exciting, and challenging time and we all just want you (and your partners!) to live through it. :)

Kevin Pula · · Denver · Joined May 2012 · Points: 20

First pitch of the Bastille Crack has a bolted anchor. Pretty off the beaten path, no one will be bothered if you run a couple laps on that. Don’t let these guys tell you otherwise. 

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
Kevin Pula wrote: First pitch of the Bastille Crack has a bolted anchor. Pretty off the beaten path, no one will be bothered if you run a couple laps on that. Don’t let these guys tell you otherwise. 

This is a vicious troll, and its not funny.   Stewart Green's Rockclimbing  Colorado lists the Bastile Crack as one of the top ten most accident-prone routes, and most of the accidents involve poorly-placed gear or gear not placed or clipped where it should be.  Recommending this to a novice honestly seeking information, even as a bad joke, is a hostile act.

Here are two examples:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/106865558/fallen-climber-on-bastille-crack-8212010

https://www.climbing.com/people/everyday-hero-ii-rapid-response/

I'll happily delete this post if Kevin deletes his.
Alan Coon · · Longmont, CO · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 150
rgold wrote:

This is a vicious troll, and its not funny.   Stewart Green's Rockclimbing  Colorado lists the Bastile Crack as one of the top ten most accident-prone routes, and most of the accidents involve poorly-placed gear or gear not placed or clipped where it should be.  Recommending this to a novice honestly seeking information, even as a bad joke, is a hostile act.

Here are two examples:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/106865558/fallen-climber-on-bastille-crack-8212010

https://www.climbing.com/people/everyday-hero-ii-rapid-response/

I'll happily delete this post if Kevin deletes his.

Agreed 

Juan Aziz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Thank you all when I posted I didn’t imagine id get so many quick replies. I 100% understand everyone’s points because they are valid and truthfully have been some of the reasons why I have not gone. I realize that going to Eldorado Canyon and on that note all trad climbing should not be taken with the “go for it!” Mentality often expressed when sport climbing. I mostly have climbed in Boulder Canyon with routes that have set anchors at the top. I led a couple routes at The Dome in Boulder canyon  that had a tree anchor which I know how to set that up and also  how to set up a sling around a boulder to belay someone from above. I have not have placed a 3 point anchor from my own nuts and pieces into the wall therefore why I bring it up in the first place.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,249
Juan Aziz wrote: Thank you all when I posted I didn’t imagine id get so many quick replies. I 100% understand everyone’s points because they are valid and truthfully have been some of the reasons why I have not gone. I realize that going to Eldorado Canyon and on that note all trad climbing should not be taken with the “go for it!” Mentality often expressed when sport climbing. I mostly have climbed in Boulder Canyon with routes that have set anchors at the top. I led a couple routes at The Dome in Boulder canyon  that had a tree anchor which I know how to set that up and also  how to set up a sling around a boulder to belay someone from above. I have not have placed a 3 point anchor from my own nuts and pieces into the wall therefore why I bring it up in the first place.

I think everyone replying completely understands that you have not ever built a 3 piece gear anchor before, what you seem to fail to understand is that the anchor is by far the least of what your concerns should be.  If you are leading a trad route, any piece you place needs to be able to hold a lead fall, whereas the anchor typically only needs to hold the weight of 2 people hanging off of it, and it has multiple pieces to take that load (I'm assuming that you are single pitch cragging and not attempting multipitch yet based on your inexperience).  Basically, building an anchor is not rocket science, a 30 second search on this site will give you many different safe anchor options, the real risk comes from the pieces below the anchor.

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

Well exactly.... and basically what we're saying is you probably shouldn't start leading trad until you HAVE built a three piece gear anchor, with feedback from an experienced climber.

If you place bomber gear but just aren't sure how to put it together into an anchor, that can be learned with some solid instruction and practice. Focus on that, you'll be ready to build anchors in no time. If the problem is that you don't trust your own gear placements, then it's not safe to lead on them and bolted anchors aren't going to solve that. 

Kevin Pula · · Denver · Joined May 2012 · Points: 20
rgold wrote:

This is a vicious troll, and its not funny.   Stewart Green's Rockclimbing  Colorado lists the Bastile Crack as one of the top ten most accident-prone routes, and most of the accidents involve poorly-placed gear or gear not placed or clipped where it should be.  Recommending this to a novice honestly seeking information, even as a bad joke, is a hostile act.

Here are two examples:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/106865558/fallen-climber-on-bastille-crack-8212010

https://www.climbing.com/people/everyday-hero-ii-rapid-response/

I'll happily delete this post if Kevin deletes his.

While admittedly a pretty low-bar joke, its also on par with much of what we get on these forums. I meant more jest in the fact that the Bastille is a congested climbing highway than any advice on that being a good or bad trad climb. For all the self endulgence on these forums about purist climbing and the sky is falling mentality about “newbies” trying learn just like everyone else has once had to learn, it seems like people would be more upset about those bolts on that pitch.

Not trying to throw shade at you rgold, I genuinely enjoy your insight and posts. The sanctimony in the first handful of reply’s about Juan’s lack of ability perceived from one forum post is what made me want to respond with sarcasm.
But now you have me curious if BC really is uniquely or inherently unsafe/dangerous compared to other routes. Or is the high rate of accidents from high rates of usage and reputation as a need to be climbed 5.7?
Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 295
ErikaNW wrote: Check out West Crack on Whale’s Tail (5.2). It’s actually really fun climbing, eats gear, is 1 pitch and has fixed anchors. And not as crowded as wind tower...

You can also lead West Dihedral and use the same anchor.  

While you’re at Eldo, there are some good places on the ground to practice anchor building.
Jonathan Awerbuch · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 36
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
Kevin Pula wrote: But now you have me curious if BC really is uniquely or inherently unsafe/dangerous compared to other routes. Or is the high rate of accidents from high rates of usage and reputation as a need to be climbed 5.7?

Yup, good question.  I don't know the answer.  My guess is that both factors are involved.  There is a lot of traffic, and the both the placements and perhaps just as much the placement strategies are not at all trivial, making it far from ideal for a very early lead.

aclayden · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 90
rgold wrote:

Yup, good question.  I don't know the answer.  My guess is that both factors are involved.  There is a lot of traffic, and the both the placements and perhaps just as much the placement strategies are not at all trivial, making it far from ideal for a very early lead.

I think it is uniquely dangerous for a few reasons. First gear is 20+ feet up in a flake. People have had issues placing in the left side of the flake that can expand if a fall on a cam occurs. There is a good .3 placement down and right under the flake but this should be extended. Second, the feet in the traverse from the right flake to the left crack are very polished and easy to slip off. If you fall above an extended piece in the flake, you could easily hit the ledge system at the start of the climb. If a leader tries to reach left and place gear before completing the traverse, the placement may be blind and placing/clipping could cause a loss of balance. Once established in the left crack there’s bomber gear, but the risks getting there are a bit higher than typically encountered on 5.7+ terrain, IMO. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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