Type: Trad, 810 ft, 6 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Van Betten, Harrison, Nordblom 1983
Page Views: 60,218 total · 269/month
Shared By: Chris Archer on Dec 31, 2000 with improvements by Wylie
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


One of the best long free climbs of its grade in the country. On a par with The Naked Edge, the Prow, and Astroman. This route should not be missed. If you climb at this level, you will not have lead a full life without experiencing The Cloud Tower!

Approach: Same as Crimson Chrysalis. Average approach time about an hour, unless you're an old geezer like me. Cloud Tower begins about 100-130 feet right and downhill of CC, at an obvious chimney that leads to a left facing dihedral. N.B. some pitches are described differently than as suggested by the guides. Aspect: North facing until the last pitch which faces west and soaks up the afternoon sun. The initial pitches can be chilly.

P1. Climb the squeeze chimney and up the hand crack in the left facing corner (5.8). Rather than stopping at the ledge (135'), we kept climbing up the corner above for another 100 feet or so (5.8) and stopped on the next obvious ledge. (5.8, 225')

P2. Traverse up and way left, past a tree, to the base of a beautiful splitter handcrack, climb it (5.10) and then trend up and left to the base of an awesome right facing, right angling corner. Another rope stretcher. (5.10, 210+')

P3. IMO, the crux pitch. Face climb discontinuous cracks up and left past a bolt into the corner, ascend the corner with Eldorado-like face climbing and stemming and then tips laybacking for what seems like an eternity. (5.12-, 115'; Rack: 1.5F, nuts, blue/black aliens, green aliens, 1F, 1.5-2.5F)

P4. A long "easy" pitch (120', 5.10) that will be exciting if your rack is short on larger sizes or if your wide flaring crack technique is wanting. (Rack: I am embarrassed to confess having 3 each of 2.5-3.5 F, 2 4Fs and a 4 Camalot and using them all.)

P5. The Harding Slot of Red Rocks. The guide describes climbing a scary offwidth to the top of the tower at 5.10+. We climbed a short wide section (5.7) and then tunneled through the tower. The crux was squeezing through a taper for about 3 feet onto the west face. Not recommended for the bulbous or the claustrophobic. Some friends have climbed to the top of the tower as the guide suggests, while others traversed the tower (climbed right from the belay around the tower). No one has expressed great joy at the thought of repeating any of these options. (5.?, 45-50')

P6. After emerging from the birth canal, you are suddenly transplanted onto the west face of the tower at the base of a stellar Indian Creekish hand crack. Climb the flaring hand crack through several awkward bulges (5.11), while shedding as much clothing as you can remove. Potential radical temperature difference after the north face experience. Save a 1 camalot and some energy for the final hard moves to the belay. (5.11+, 110', Rack: (2) 1 camalots, (2-3 each) 2.5-3.5Fs)

I understand that this brilliant route has been extended but do not yet know further details.


RPs 2-5; wires-WC Rocks (2 each) 1-5, (1 each) 6-7; Aliens: (2) black, (3 each) blue and green, (1) yellow; Friends (1) 1, (2) 1.5, (2) 2, (2) green camalot jrs, (2) 2.5, (2) 1 camalots, (2) gold camalots,(3) 3.5, (2) 4, (1) 4.5. A 70m rope is handy for running pitches together, but you'll need another rope or some ingenuity to complete the first rappel from the top of the route. After that a 70m will work fine for the remainder of the descent.


Ross Keller
Parker, CO
Ross Keller   Parker, CO
It's possible to climb the layback and kace climb up the left side of the tower before entering the slot (5.9X). If you belay the last pitch from the top of the tower bring a Big Bro for an anchor. Feb 27, 2004
I think this while excellent is not in a class with super-classics such as Astroman, Epinephrine, Oz (w/ Gram Traverse), Naked Edge, Freeway, or for that matter, its neighbor, Crimson Chrysalis. I found virtually every pitch quite soft for the grade, except for the crux (P4) a desperate thin stemming corner. The last pitch seemed to me about Indian Creek 10+. IMO, the quality of the climb is diminished by the fact that the crux is much more difficult that the rest of the climb. Feb 27, 2004
Chris gave an excellent description of this ultra-classic route that is easily on a par with the Naked Edge in Eldo. I have some additional beta to consider.

1) #00 - #2 TCU's (mostly #0 and #1) also work well to protect the dihedral crux pitch (11d). I wouldn't argue with a 12- rating but it was easier than 29 Palms in J-Tree.

2) As of spring '03, the birth canal at the top of the squeeze chimney has been substantially widened! Someone must have removed a large block. Accessing the ledge at the base of the final west facing and bulging hand crack pitch (11c) no longer requires a svelt physique. The first time I climbed the route I had to remove my harness in order to squeeze on through to the other side.

3) The route has been extended but I haven't had a chance to check it out. I saw at least four bolts protecting overhanging face climbing beyond the anchors on the final pitch. Mar 1, 2004
Jake Martin  
This is a pretty great route, not to be missed. This is the rack we took:TCU's: 1 Gray (00), 1 Blue, 1 Orange, 1 Red (maybe 1 yellow?)Aliens: 2 Blue, 2 Greens, 2 Yellows, 1 RedCamalots: 1 .5, 2 .75, 2 #1's, 3 #2's, 3 #3's and 1 3.5Plus a set of offset nuts (useful!) and runners/draws. I can see adding a 4, but a 4.5 seems pretty excessive, as the place you would place it has big incuts everywhere surrounding the crack. I would say you def. want 3 #3's, thou

As for being on par with all these other super classics, thats a matter of opinion, but I would say comparing this climb with the edge and astroman is a streeeetch.

As for the super-gnarly offwidth birth canal maddness, see similiar comments above, I am not going to give it away, but some modifications have been made, and that thing is sure as shit not as bad as it used to be. Think crawling...At most, that pitch is not a 5.9 s pitch, with the 5.9 being the face climbing before you get to mandatory chimmney/off-width.

The crux pitch is hard. 11+, 12-, you be the judge. Even KACKALACKI, uber-thin fingers man whipped on it.

Great route, not to be missed.

Mar 26, 2004
Josh Janes    
P7: After the long hand crack, continue up past 5 bolts on white, lower quality rock to a bolted belay. The crux is a sequence of tips in pin scars, checking in at 5.12d. If aiding this section, link with the hand crack to skip the cramped ledge.

P8: Head straight up the really nice offwidth crack if there is such a thing. The first third can be protected with hand size cams, and the end can be protected with those extra #3 and or #4 Camalots, but the meat of it will either require boldness or a #5 Camalot. 5.10-.

P9: A short, wandering romp to the summit.

I have climbed CT four times and three of the four I've topped out and rapped Crimson. The "standard" rappel from the top of the long hand crack pitch is a rope-eating PITA (and if doing it with a single 70m rather sketchy too) and I won't do it that way again. Why bring two ropes only to bail off a route at an illogical place and set yourself up for grief when you can top out and rap easily with one rope? Nov 3, 2004
Combine pitch 1 & 2 as described by Chris. The obvious hand crack to the L of the tree felt like 5.8. The crux dihedral pitch requires some stemming trickery and use of holds on the L wall - bring extra blue aliens and save a 2.5F for the last 20 feet. The next 2 pitches can also be combined in 1 long pitch - the slot has no similarity to the Harding Slot - its pretty tame now. The final crack takes alot of 3-3.5 F sizes and 2 or 3 #1 Camalots.

Excellent route. Could use a rap route to the R of the route instead of rope jams on the last rap or rapping over parties on C.C. Oct 4, 2005
Aimee Rose
Bend, or
Aimee Rose   Bend, or
What a route! I can't say for sure how hard that crux pitch was, cause my partner aided it, so I hung a lot to clean the gear, but it felt very strenuous.

I felt that the 4th pitch required many #3 and #3.5 or #4 camalots. I wished I would have had maybe 2 #3s, 3 #3.5 and 3 #4s, but then again my trad onsight leading limit is 5.10+, so this was pretty close to my limit. Depending on how comfortable the person leading this pitch is, they may need fewer cams. It's about 90 feet of the same fist or bigger size.

Super fun. The 5th pitch felt no harder than the tunnel on tunnel vision to me, which I believe they give 5.3X, but we didn't go to the top of the tower, we just tunneled behind it (and I'm pretty small).

Edit: After thinking about it, I think that crux pitch is definatly 12a. Mar 28, 2006
great route!!! crux pitch is phenomenal, as well as the two that follow. i believed everyone had its unique points and was almost equal in quality. no hesitation on my part to give this route the full 4 stars. as for the crux pitch, its really not all that bad. its stemming and face climbing to stances. good stems, then locker fingers. i would be hesitant to give this pitch 12a. none the less, great pitch. Oct 11, 2006
Brendan N
Salt Lake City, Utah
Brendan N   Salt Lake City, Utah
One full set of Black Diamond C3s protect the crux dihedral very well. You can even whip onto them. I did.

Our rack: C3s: Purple, Green, Red, Yellow
C4s: (1) Blue .3 + (2) Gray .4 + (2) Purple .5 + (2) Green .75 + (3) Red 1 + (3) Yellow 2 + (3) Blue 3 + (1) Gray 4 + (1) Purple 5
No nuts required.

The Extension: The crux 5.12+ pitch is horribly rotten and not worth free climbing. Aid at C1.
The next pitch, which should not be combined with the previous pitch, involves moderately difficult squeeze chimney climbing with a slight chance of decking. Nov 14, 2006
Best route I have ever done at the red rocks or otherwise. Apr 6, 2007
Ben Lepesant
Innsbruck, AT
Ben Lepesant   Innsbruck, AT
alien are definitely useful, as well as TCU's. Anything small will do though. If it's hot, and you're no good at pure crack climbing, then the final pitch is going to be the crux, it is in the sun when you get there unless you're super fast and have an early start.
Every pitch is awesome, but the crux pitch and the one after it stand out. Feb 22, 2009
Fort Collins, CO
Bingman   Fort Collins, CO
Super Classic! Every single pitch is great, with varied climbing that follows an aesthetic and unique line. Pitches 3, 4, and 6 stand out in my mind - but all the pitches are great. Certainly not to be missed!

Pitch 4 and 5 (as described above) can be linked with a 60m rope if you take the chimney option through the "birth canal" - which seems to be the obvious choice. Mar 25, 2009
eric whewell
Longmont, CO
eric whewell   Longmont, CO
I carried doubles of small sizes on this route from purple tcu to .4 camalot with a 00 tcu as well. The small sizes are nice for the crux corner. The final dihedral pitch seemed to be pretty soft for the grade while p3 seemed to warrant 5.12- May 19, 2009
Geir www.ToofastTopos.com
Tucson, AZ
Geir www.ToofastTopos.com   Tucson, AZ

if climbing with 60 meter ropes, consider dividing up the opening pitches as follows:

1) climb the squeeze chimney and up the hand crack in the left facing corner (5.8). belay at the ledge at a tree tied with several slings(130').

2) continue up the corner above for another 70 feet (5.8). pass a tree with rap anchors on your right, and continue up about 30 feet on easy terrain. traverse up and left 20' past a tree to the base of a beautiful thin hands crack. belay at the ledge found here (130').

continue on the handcrack described in P2 in the OP. if belaying at the base of the crack, this pitch will be 140'.

we found that the following gear works well:
1 full set of nuts
triples of black, blue, and green aliens
doubles of yellow, grey, red, and gold aliens
doubles of camalot .75
triples of camalots 1 & 2
five camalot 3
three camalot 4

note that this rack assumes that you tunnel through the chimney on pitch 5 (as described in the OP) instead of climbing the wide flaring offwidth. Jun 17, 2009
Ross Keller
Parker, CO
Ross Keller   Parker, CO
We rapped with double sixties and the first rappel was a stretch. Not doing the last pitch would be like doing the Salathe to the headwall roof and then rapping off. The climbing is great to that point, but why do all the work to get there and then skip the money pitch? Mar 10, 2010
Monica Jones
Bishop, CA
Monica Jones   Bishop, CA
Linked first two pitches and onsighted the 10a splitter. Fell following the 11d, beautiful crux though. Didn't follow the last pitch, 11c, it was really burly and wide for me. My boyfriend linked the 10c and 10a offwidth pitches, they were super cool too. Great climb, I definitly was cold in the shade in mid-march on this route. Apr 4, 2010
GR Johnson  
This is a great route, climbed it when I was 17 and 135lbs with little stick fingers and again at 26 same height 165lbs with sausage fingers. I hope to climb it every few years until my old ass won't make it out there anymore. Jan 7, 2011
Kurt Prond
Bozeman, MT
Kurt Prond   Bozeman, MT
This was one of the best climbs I've done. Every pitch was high quality. The crux on pitch is definitely hard, but well protected (green C3's, bring 2 if you have them) and also had some good stances to rest. Some guides say the 6th pitch is scary offwidth to the top of the small tower, but it makes a lot more sense to tunnel through and start the last pitch on the big ledge on the west side, and it is only 5.7. Don't be scared by it. The last pitch is quality!!! Very long. Feb 16, 2011
Estes Park
Q B   Estes Park
Wondering why peeps just don't go to the top? Like Levitation, you can go up 2 more pitches! The pitch above the "last" of Cloud Tower is a safely bolted banged out corner that has a short (relatively) crux section! Rather than rapping in the middle of the wall! Book gives it a 12d rating (which I wouldn't doubt). I personally enjoy a summit view. Rap Crimson! Apr 20, 2011
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
well pG,

Getting up .11+ is a good deal different than getting up .12+ for one. Also, have you ever rapped Crimson? Maybe it would be a better statement to ask why Crimson Chrysalizers don't rap Cloud Tower. Apr 22, 2011
Kevin Volkening
Kevin Volkening  
Climbed this route back to back with several routes in Zion. The routes are far better and provide a much greater experience. Stellar climb for Red Rocks, but only a good climb in comparison to the greater US. If the crux only gets 11d than the rest of the route gets: 5.7, 5.9, 11d, 10-, 10. May 25, 2011
e Dixon
Durango, Colorado
e Dixon   Durango, Colorado
Definitely link P1 & P2 to a good ledge with a tree. P3 is a super fun splitter (5.10-). P4 protects well and is cool stemming and liebacks with face holds mixed in (5.11+). The tunnel through was no big deal for an average sized guy like me (5.7). Description calls the final corner 110', I remember it being more like 150' (5.11). Great route! Jun 17, 2011
Rainbow Weinstock
Boulder, CO
Rainbow Weinstock   Boulder, CO
Great route! Mostly a ton of 5.10 splitter climbing. Here are a few notes from our day out:

The P1+P2 link up goes down well using a 60, with just a hair of easy simuling to get to the fixed slings at the beginning of the ledge system.

For the crux (P4) I found a double set of tiny to small cams gets the job done i.e. doubles of green, purples, red and yellow C3s or similar. Larger than that, having a set of cams from .4-#2 camalot is sufficient on that pitch also. This pitch is way harder that anything else on the route, but can readily be hang dogged/french freed if need be. Clean falls on good, but small gear. I placed the singular nut we used on the whole route on the pitch- a mid sized nut on the traverse into the corner. RP's aren't necessary.

There are fixed anchors on top of P1, P2, P3 and P4 but not P5. The first two are slings around natural anchors the 3rd and the 4th are bolts. P6 has a slung block you can rap from, but belaying off of it wouldn't work out too well.

On another note, the raps are pretty annoying and a touch confusing, especially since there aren't rap lengths in Handren's book. We burned a lot of time going back and forth from a two rope to a one rope system. Here is what I would try next time:

1st rappel- double rope rappel to the mid-size tree, skipping the large sloping ledge with the fixed bolt anchor

2nd rappel- double rope rappel to the scraggly tree towards top of the gully

3rd rappel- approximately 200' double rope rappel straight down the clean face below to the huge ledge system

4th rappel- walk across the ledge to the top of P2 and do a single rope rappel to the slung block.

5th rappel- double rope (or single with a 70m) rappel to the ground

Note: You could likely link the last two raps with two 60m ropes with stretch, but based upon the nature of the crack, you would have a healthy chance of getting your rope severely stuck in the crack. The two cut ropes deep in the crack seem to be pretty good testament to this. Oct 25, 2011
Spencer Weiler
Salt Lake city
Spencer Weiler   Salt Lake city
Stupendous climb! The best part about this climb is the belay ledges. No hanging belays! Linking 1-2 saves time and is easy to do with a 70m, though the halfway belay isn't bad to stop at. The top of pitch 2 is a humungous ledge. My wife was a bit startled up pitch 3 when there was a 5.8 face traverse sans pro for a good 15 feet, but its easy. The crux corner actually has 2 old 1/4" bolts on it that aren't encouraging or necessary but what the heck, clip them anyway. The corner itself was harder than I expected, green-red c3 size most of the way. Only one good bolt for a anchor at the top of this one. Pitch 5 was my favorite, a gorgeous splitter crack. Triples #3 camalot with 2 #4 camalots was just enough. Don't get too scared when the crack widens to #6 camalot size, there is a finger crack in the back for good pro. Then tunnel pitch is easy, a couple chimney moves and you're clear. The last pitch is a doozie. Use your triple #1-#3 camalots wisely, backcleaning when possible. There are a bunch of awkward bulges with no feet that make this one hard. If this were in IC you would bring 5 of each size and place all of them no problem. The top of this pitch has about 5 bolts of varying quality on a crappy ledge. We toproped it with one 70m.
Rainbowweinstock's comments about the rappels were spot on, my only clarification is on the 2nd rappel from the big tree, put the rope to the rappelers right of the huge block, rapelling back towards the climb. The rappels were some of the easiest I've done in Red Rocks, easy pulls with nothing to get caught on on big ledges. 5 star route. Nov 29, 2011
Unless Spencer's ascent has happened since bolts sprouted left and right on the route and disappeared in other spots, the bolt counts he describes do not exist. There is one untrustworty bolt (the only pro bolt on the climb) at the start of the thin corner pitch, then two good bolts above-easy to rap from here, if you feel like missing the stellar upper handcrack pitches. The final belay (as installed by PVB etc back in the day) has three bolts by my memory, not five, and the "extension" pitches (chipped crap, thanks so much for that, johnny-come-lately sport climbers) above have pro bolts and bolted anchors, but nothing approaching five bolts at a stance.

Sounds like math/memory issues to me. Otherwise sounds right on, glad you enjoyed the route. Nov 30, 2011
Josh Janes    
Regarding bolt replacement:

  • The anchor immediately below the crux pitch is good.
  • The first pro bolt on the crux pitch is a 1/4" er and in bad shape. It is my opinion that it should be pulled and not replaced as there is a bomber blue TCU/green Alien placement right next to it and a bomber wire a few feet higher. These placements are actually more in line with the climbing as well.
  • The second pro bolt on the crux pitch is a 3/8" er, in apparently decent shape except for a thin Leeper hanger. It is my opinion that this bolt should also be pulled and not replaced as there are various bomber cam placements of all sizes immediately below, in line with, and above the bolt.
  • The anchor atop the crux pitch has one good bolt, a 1/4" button head that is bad, and another 1/4" er that is also bad. This anchor doesn't really need to be replaced because there is good gear in the crack for an anchor here, but there is bail gear on these bolts so maybe people use it for rappelling?
  • The next anchor is the one atop the Indian Creek hand crack pitch. It has four or five bolts, only one of which appears good, and a lot of tat. Since this is the start of the rap route, it should probably be cleaned up to be a nice 2 bolt station with decent hardware.
  • I can't comment on the rap route's bolts because we continued to the top.
  • The bolts on the 12d pitch are good.
  • The bolted anchor below the 5.10 OW is good.
Mar 28, 2012
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
The rap route bolts are in good condition- as there is only one set of bolts on the rap route. These bolts are found on the first rappel from the top of the 11c pitch. The rest of the rappels are off of trees which could use some new slings/cord.

Edit 4/25/16: There are currently two old bolts, a fixed #1 C3 and a fixed grey TCU on the 5.12- corner pitch. This route is still miraculous and well protected and uber mega fun. Mar 28, 2012
Could you rap the route with a single 80M? Apr 5, 2012
Some differing opinions have been circulating on what should be done regarding bolt replacement on Cloud Tower. I sat down and had beer with Paul and Richard (Nick had to work+couldn't make it) as well as Shirtless and here's what I got:

1: Paul can outdrink me.
2: Richard Harrison will never stop being a straight-up badass. Fact.
3: (this is kinda the important part):


The original attempts made on the line were by none other than Randall Grandstaff, protege of Joe Herbst (who also placed bolts next to cracks back before adequate clean pro existed) along with Paul Crawford of Tahoe fame. They pushed the route above the first .11 pitch, but did not send. Pro bolts and bail/belay anchors were placed PRIOR to the send by the FA party. All of the bolts at the final station on the original free route (ends just above the Creek splitter) are full-on retrobolts, placed after several/maybe many ascents had been ticked. The FA party has the understanding that some of the changes that occured on the route since the early days were at the behest of McQuade, who chipped the first extension pitch, and also pried out the flexy flake that was the meat of the P7 anchor (RPs placed by PVB after projectile vomiting from the stress of onsighting the final pitch at the end of a long day) as well as the large blocks that forced early parties to offwidth to the top of the tower rather than tunnel through.

There are a lot of good stories about this route around, but here are a couple of good facts worth sharing:

The FA party rated the route 11 b/c and still believe it to be so.

Paul and Richard understand that ASCA protocol and individual bolt preferences are pushing people to want to alter their route, and have the following solution: the anchors should be reduced to 2 good stainless bolts at all stations and set up for raps. Both pro bolts have been requested by 2/3 majority of the first ascent party (again, Nick couldn't make it and we've been playing phone tag) to be LEFT THE FUCK ALONE. The consensus is that since there are good gear placements nearby, just leave the old Grandstaff/Crawford bolts alone. New bolts are not necessary to protect the climb, and chopping them smacks of the same type of "this route's now kinda MY route" flavor that McQuade put out there. The first ascentionists want the old pro bolts on P4 left alone. Period. For historical flavor, for respect for the dead, for just not making the route the scene of some stupid controversy.

Hope that settles things, it was a pleasure hanging with those guys as always and with the utmost respect for all of their contributions to putting up routes in Red Rock in the very best style request that anyone planning on carrying out bolt replacement work abide by their wishes. -K Apr 24, 2012
Will S
Joshua Tree
Will S   Joshua Tree
Thanks for the history Killis.

This does raise a question though, you wrote:
"The first ascentionists want the old pro bolts on P4 left alone. Period"

As you related it, PVB/RH/NN weren't the FA of that pitch. So in a sense, they did something similar to McQuade (minus the chipping), they extended the route by adding pitches. Their ending point is kind of in the middle of nowhere, understandable because the rock quality deteriorates signficantly, but nevertheless they didn't end at a "logical" place like the top of a tower, big ledge, etc. So if your concern is the wishes of the FA-ists, seems to me you should be talking with the people who established that pitch, i.e. Crawford. May 8, 2012
It's not Crawford's route, Will, so that doesn't click. He+Randy tried it and didn't get it. Also, comparing a ground-up send of a ground-up project to anything even remotely related to a chipped, rap-bolted "extension" isn't making much sense.

I can call Crawford anytime, but to ask him about this? The guys that freed the thing in good style have spoken. I guess you think I need McQuade's permission to replace the anchors he retrobolted on, too?

I'm not sure this post or the last one add much of value to the collective consciousness. Now, Unconsciousness....

Drink your Robitussin and go to sleep, America. Somewhere, the bolt fairy is plucking ringtail teeth from a crack and turning them into stainless hangers. May 10, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
Few notes for the masses.

1) A 60m line works well to link the first two pitches and the fist crack/tunnel pitch. This lets you casually do the route in 5 pitches. Note: The final pitch goes into the sun around 1pm, so get up early and move quickly to avoid baking on it!

2) Rack. Lots of opinions. If i had to do it again, I'd take doubles from tiny to .75 Camalot, with a triple purple metolius. I'd also triple up on #1 and #2 camalots. Toss-up between four #3 Camalots or 3 of them plus a 3.5 Camalot. Two #4 camalots. This makes every pitch pretty casual. You can take some stoppers, but you dont really need them.

3) Hauling. Take a small pack and haul it up the crux pitch with all the big gear rather than have the second climb with it. This allows everyone to climb light. On the last pitch, if you're rappelling, lower the pack with the excess gear on the tag line to the ledge below and pick it up later. Easy and again, everyone gets to climb light.

4) Bolts. This climb NEEDS one new anchor bolt at the last station and have the rest of that crap cleaned up. Optionally, you could fix the station at the top of the crux with one bolt and chop the two 1/4"ers that are currently there. You can back that station up.

5) Rappels. Following Handren and Rainbow's beta, the following worked REALLY well for us, and I'd recommend it.

1st Rappel: From last anchor to the tree about 30' below the big ledge- 200' rappel.
2nd Rappel: From Tree to tree at base of sheer wall below (skip the chockstone station)- 150' rappel.
3rd Rappel: From tree to Tree on ledge. 95' rappel, one rope.
4th Rappel: From Tree on ledge to top of 2nd 5.8 pitch, 90' rappel, one rope.
5th Rappel: From top of 2nd 5.8 pitch to top of 1st 5.8 pitch, 50' one rope.
6th Rappel: From top of 1st 5.8 pitch to ground, 150' two ropes.

The reason I broke up those rappels rather than link them is due to the terrain- its a gnarly rope eating maze up there- better to break it up- this is especially true on the final two rappels- your rope WILL get stuck if you try to link them! Also, walk WAY uphill past a biggish tree to pull from the ground, lest your rope joins the others about 50' up.

Good luck, have fun- this thing is GREAT. So much fun, and a great challenge if you're getting into the grade! May 4, 2013
Jared Wicks
Las Vegas
Jared Wicks   Las Vegas
Climbed this yesterday and was extremely impressed... Amazing route for sure, quite humbling as well.

Reference the rack, we followed John's post above and it was perfect. We took 70's with us and followed the link-up beta as well and had room to spare.

We also followed John's Rappel beta. A little care should be taken on the 2nd Rappel when pulling as we found it rather easy to get the rope stuck on the small tower above you after you pull.

On a final note, we got a #1 C4 stuck at the top of the final pitch. We tried forever to get that puppy out but it wasn't budging. I know this is a long shot, but... If anyone is feeling chivalrous and feels like getting it out and returning it, I'll throw $20 and some delicious homebrew at you for your efforts! (You can't blame a guy for trying!)

All in all, fantastic route that is not to be missed. Nov 13, 2013
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
I highly recommend following John Wilder's rap beta. We attempted to link the last two raps (top of pitch two to the ground) and made it down safely BUT did get out rope stuck. Took us 2 hours combined trying to pull it down. My partner ended up hooking himself back on one strand while i gave him a firemans belay and he had to climb all the wayback up to top of pitch two.


RAP from top of pitch two to top of pitch one then to the ground. Don't combined. There are a lot of stuck ropes in a crack on the way down. Nov 16, 2013
Chris Sepic
Bend, OR
Chris Sepic   Bend, OR
As of 3/21/14 there are two fixed TCUs on the crux pitch.

There is a gear belay at the top of the long 10c pitch (right before the slot). I used a .5, a .75 and a 1 C4 (ideally it's two .5s and a .75 if I did it again) Mar 22, 2014
Topout beta / Rainbow Wall Link Beta

From the standard end of the route after the hand crack:

P6 - Overhanging ~.12d on sandy rock and fragile flakes - easily pulled through due to close bolts. Also easily combined with the 35m hand crack pitch below.

P7 - Climb the smooth 5.10 OW/Squeeze above, which would be hard to protect with anything smaller than a #6, and even that might not work. Or simply walk to the right 10m and then follow a 5.easy corner leftish to the same large ledge. You will be under a big blank wall with a mungy corner out right or a steep chimney up and left.

P8 - The Chimney - This thing is the gaping chasm in the prow of the wall up and to the left. It looks horrendous but it is actually splitter and awesome, with numerous short good cracks and fun climbing behind large chockstones. 5.10b

Now after truly topping out on the feature, it is possible to walk down and right, eventually picking up cairns and a goat trail, and even a hand line at one point, which descends and cuts across toward the bowl beneath Rainbow Wall. You have to lose several hundred feet of elevation and deal with typical desert convoluted terrain in passing across a major gully, so it is more complex than simply walking across the hill at the level of the bottom of Rainbow Wall.

70m rap from the standard finish -
1 -Rap the final pitch back to the belay (35m)
2 -Rap off the slings/tat beneath the final pitch, down and right to tree 30' below big ledge
3 -Rap to Chockstone anchor
4 -Rap to tree at base of sheer wall
5 -Rap from tree to Tree on ledge. 95' rappel
6 - Rap From Tree on ledge to top of 2nd 5.8 pitch, 90' rappel
7 - Rap From top of 2nd 5.8 pitch to top of 1st 5.8 pitch, 50'
8 - Rap P1 - Super close to 35m, watch your ends! (easy few meters of downclimbing may be required) Apr 1, 2014
Did this a couple of days ago, good times.
-we took a single 70m and the only sketchy bit was getting back to the base of the last pitch ("indian creek" rt. facing dihedral, I believe this is p7 in the book) I think the book lists this at 110' but with my 70m it involved shenanigans.
-next rap, we skipped the ledge to the tree which was also a little funky (pendulum potential)
- last rap came up a few feet short, but super casual.
-still two fixed cams, two bolts on the crux pitch.
-we linked 1&2 and 5&6 without issue (used a high cam on the tunnel just to keep the rope out of the loose stuff).
-regarding difficulty, I'm not qualified to comment, the last pitch worked me.
-but,... just to stir the pot,... why grade IV commitment? The approach took under an hour with braided trail navigation. We took no pack on route, but I had an extra number four, because of my miserable crack technique.
-sun hit p7 a little after one and we rapped in the shade.

enjoy, Apr 13, 2014
Cha Tate
Saint George, UT
Cha Tate   Saint George, UT
Hey Matt and Matt, great meeting you at base of Y2K. Hope you get on this route. For the crux pitch I also had a BD C3 00. Good luck and drop a line. chatate@gmail.com Nov 9, 2014
Max Bechdel
Jackson, WY
Max Bechdel   Jackson, WY
My notes (similar to others):

Gear: doubles of everything to #4 BD, triple up on #2s and #3s.

Pitches: link both 5.8 pitches together, climb the fun .10, climb the crux pitch 11+, climb another fun .10, go through chimney (not tight unless you are sumo wrestler), enduro fest on the .11 (probably not too bad if you are in shape, save a .75 BD for the top).

Opinions: people say crux pitch is much harder than the rest of the route, I disagree. If you master footwork it you probably won't get too pumped, whereas on the last pitch I got wrecked because I hadn't climbed much in the previous months. Nuts Not needed for any pitch.

Rappels: rap the final pitch to a good ledge below the start of the last pitch, rap down to a tree, rap again to massive ledge system (same ledge as end of the 5.8 P2), walk over to anchors at top of the 5.8 P2, rap to ground. We had a 60m and 70m, not sure if two 60s would work.

IMPORTANT: the bolts at the top of the last pitch are shady, probably needing replacement. One of the newer ones was working its way out. We used some bail cord to connect the other old bolts to the system for backup. Dec 5, 2014
Mike Rowley
Boise, Idaho
Mike Rowley   Boise, Idaho
Great climb! The crux pitch is tricky, but not all that terrible. A few hard moves to great fingers! Pitch 5 might have been my favorite pitch. For a wide/fist crack it was seriously enjoyable! I was happy to have two #4 camalots. Feb 17, 2015
Aaron Miller
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Miller   Santa Fe, NM
Climbed this super fun route in March. The final anchor, atop pitch 6, is not safe. There is really only one bolt holding it together, and that bolt is not exactly new either. Apr 9, 2015
Last anchor on the original free route has been replaced with ASCA half inch stainless and Fixe double ring hangers. The rock is bomber, the bolts are safe. Donate to the ASCA, we'll fix more. Apr 14, 2015
Reed Gustavsen
Van Life, USA
Reed Gustavsen   Van Life, USA
So just giving my 2 cents on Cloud Tower commenting. STOP saying your own crux!!

This route was SUPER fun, probably one of the coolest I did during my week there. The crack system you follow is always gear accepting and very positive.

A WAY awesome route, don't over think it, place when needed, and set your speed on cruise!

I don't entirely agree on suggested gear, but bring what you think you want. Large cams are unnecessary, doubles in 3 camalot is biggest I'd bring again.
Pitches 4 and 7 were tough but really fun, the rest went easy, pitch 5 (10c?) is softer then Reed's Direct 5.9 in Yosemite.

Every pitch was cool and easily protected! Having a speedy party behind us was awesome, up and down fast using both our ropes for rappelling. Can't wait to send this again!! May 14, 2015
Jake Dickerson
Lander, WY
Jake Dickerson   Lander, WY  
This is one of the best crack climbs I have ever done. There are belay stations at the end of every pitch. However, we didn't see the one at the end of pitch 5 and linked it into the squeeze chimney and it worked out well. Be very mindful of your gear placements in the final pitch as it can swallow gear, extend pieces below the bulge. There are also a few fixed pieces in the crux pitch and the next #3 crack above it. 10/10 the sickest climb I have ever done in Red Rocks. +1 for using a 70m. Mar 26, 2016
Dan Ressler
Silver Spring, MD
Dan Ressler   Silver Spring, MD
Long winded trip report here. Apr 22, 2016
Did this last week. A few comments to add:

P1 / P2 - link with a 60 with the second moving up just a bit
P3 - barely 5.10
P4 - seemed 12a to us. I thought the crux was the face climbing below where you really get established in the corner. Green / Black aliens work great in the corner. No nuts needed. Make sure you have the small cams. one fixed cam, but no fixed nuts in this pitch
P5 / P6 - definitely link easily - no reason not to. P5 easy for the grade compared to Yos. Going through the "cave" is really easy and wide.
P7 - many rests along the way and a thuggy final crux move to the ledge. Great pitch Apr 27, 2016
Tim Heid
Tim Heid   AZ
Stellar route! One of my all time favorites! We were able to run up Unimpeachable Groping after and still make it to the car by dark for a nice long day.

Definitely space that gear out on the last pitch, even if it means you're just leap-frogging. Felt like more #3's needed than anything else, although it changes sizes from 1-3 some-what frequently. Also glad to have both #4's to leave along the way and save the 2's and 3's.

We rapped with and 80m rope. The chock-stone rap station didn't have any webbing on it on 3/4/17, but our 80m made it with zero rope to spare to the following tree station. A very trivial/unexposed down-climb to that tree is NBD. With as mega-classic as this route is, it would be nice to have a more established (bolted) rap rather than the many aging slings left around trees. Mar 16, 2017
Ridiculously good climb. Climbed 11Mar17.

We linked Pitch 1 & 2, as well as 5 & 6. Finished at pitch 7. We had singles of .1-.4, doublses of .5-1, triples of 2, and double 3. Definitly forgot that third 3 and could have used another 2, especially on the last pitch. We hauled our backpack and large gear up the crux pitch so both of us could climb it in style, good tip. I could see the last pitch being lead comfortably by someone who is used to that style (and downgrading it considerably). Actually, I did see my partner follow up the cupped hands crux with ease, but I certainly didn't lead it with such finesse.

Rapping didn't seem complicated. We did take one extra rap because we weren't sure where we were in relation to other people's descriptions, so to avoid missing a station or getting a rope stuck, we just took an early anchor and rapped again. Mar 20, 2017
Erika Bannon
Boulder, CO
Erika Bannon   Boulder, CO
One note-- I was worried about the wide hands crack thinking the notes about taking less gear are probably by large handed men that climb 5.12 and while my hands are 2s I am more of a 10 to -11 crack climber so while there was some stuck #3s when I lead it which made things easy if I was to go back I would take 3 X #3s and 1 X #4. Also bring all your 3s and 4 on the last pitch. I for some reason had it in my head that it was tight hands and left the 4s and most 3s with my partner so I did a lot of bumping.... Apr 20, 2017
David Correll 1
Hartford, CT
David Correll 1   Hartford, CT
so good!!!

link pitches 1 and 2 with a 70.
pitch 3 is super fun
pitch 4 is amazing!! 0.2 camalots and tcus are very useful
pitch 5 was scary AF for me since i only had 1 #4. climbing is relatively easy (felt more like 10a) but the runouts spooked me. if you want the proper gear I would bring at least 2 5s and a 6 but if youre climbing 12a trad you can just run it out
pitch 6 super easy. basically plumbers crack. no gear needed. gear anchor at the end
pitch 7 super fun, strenuous corner climber reminiscent of indian creek

rappel beta
while the book shows that the rappels are off to the right they actually trend left quite a bit, especially the on to the top of pitch 2 Nov 29, 2017
Nick D'Hulster
Nick D'Hulster   California
This is a fun route and felt like Eldo on steroids to me. Great climbing and the crux protects well with small aliens. The thing that really hung me up was the rap route... pure trash tbh and kind of sullied the experience for me. That said the corner pitch was phenomenal and would go back to just climb that. After just getting off the rainbow Wall a day prior I’ll say the crux here was much easier than the OG route. Good rests in between moves that never warranted harder than 11+, giving an onsight estimate I’d say 11c/d as the book suggests- and I wouldn’t confirm a grade for this if I hadn’t done it clean from the ground up, doesn’t make sense to throw out a number when you weren’t leading and weren’t busting the sequences out from the bottom of the pitch. I’ll slow my rant and say this is a fun route, adventurous and difficult but didn’t warrant 5.12. Old bolts were in good shape with one star drive at the bottom of the corner slightly spinning. Apr 1, 2018