Type: Sport, 3 pitches
FA: Richard Rossiter & Colleen Greene, 1996
Page Views: 7,612 total · 35/month
Shared By: Walt Wehner on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Strange Cargo is the first route on the left side of the base of Lost Angel - the start is often underwater in the spring and summer.

The first pitch climbs a dirty face section to a 3 foot roof (crux) and belays just above. ~50 feet.

The second pitch, which can be easily combined with the first, climbs up and trends rightwards to another 2 bolt station.

The third pitch (the best on the route) heads up and right to a beautiful, exposed arete which goes at 5.9. No rap station is currently installed at the top of this pitch, necessitating a walk-off descent down the gully. [Eds. a 2 bolt anchor without chains has been added to the top of P3.]


Fully bolted. Take 12 draws; more if you wish to combine the 1st and 2nd pitches (recommended).
This is one of the best routes in Upper Dream Canyon...and the 3rd pitch is one of the best anywhere. I've led it 3 times and followed it twice...I absolutely love it. You can climb just the 3rd pitch by rappelling from 2 bolt anchor (just below Time Traveler and other cool but short cracks) next to tree half-way down the Dream Dome trail. The guidebook calls it 10b, Walt called it 5.9...I'd say somewhere in between, 9+/10a...VERY fun, long, exposed, exciting, beautiful...this is what climbing is all about. There's a cool picture of Steve Bartlett (yup, the one on this site) leading the 3rd pitch in Rossiter's guide to Boulder Canyon...... Don't miss this one!!! Jun 5, 2001
Oops....forgot to add that there is a 2 bolt belay at the top of the 3rd pitch, has been there for the last year (at least). Jun 6, 2001
From the top of time traveler you can in 2 rapples reach the base of raise the titanic and walk 15 feet to the right and be at the base of strange cargo. It Saves an long walk down the gully. Jul 1, 2001
Michael Walker
Loveland, CO
Michael Walker   Loveland, CO
I don't know, having only climbed the third pitch, I seem to sway to Rossiter on the 10b rating for that arete - or it seemed hard to me. From the steep face climbing out to the arete - reminded me of the edging on the Yellow Spur. Steep, thin, all there, exciting, well protected. Yeah, I think this would get three stars in and of itself. Just wait 'til you are "slappin that edge" on top - you'll know what I mean. I can't wait to get to do the whole thing. Oct 3, 2001
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
Don't rap from the top without leaving biners on the anchor or u b stuck.... Dec 17, 2001
10b for the last pitch is pretty silly, but also pretty much in line with the mean grade inflation one can expect in Dream Canyon, spawning ground of 5.11 climbers. Apr 16, 2002
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
The third pitch is fun, airy 5.9 with great position up an exposed arete. You can access this pitch by rappelling from the top of Zen Garden Wall with a 60-meter rope to the 2-bolt anchor 100' down, then doing an easy traverse 30' right and slightly up to the anchor at the start of the third pitch of Strange Cargo. This pitch is a fun addition to an outing on Zen Garden Wall. Aug 23, 2002
The crux of the first pitch consists of pumpy overhanging roof moves. There's a sweet rest right before the crux if you have your eyes open. Aug 27, 2002
This climb is absolutely great. Some advice: When clipping the fifth bolt, which is the bolt in the middle of the roof not visible from the ground, make sure the rope doesn't get caught under the flake you use to pull over the roof-I took a fall because this happened to me. Also, although the last part of the last pitch is fairly easy, it is quite a bit runout and a fall may be nasty-I would advise bringing a number 2 BD cam or similar size if you like to keep things extra safe, although it is easily done without this especially if you are climbing 11a/b. Have fun, this is a great route! Oct 29, 2004
Scott Robertson
Portland, OR
Scott Robertson   Portland, OR
I'm not trying to sandbag this by calling in 10d, but I onsighted this yesterday (Mar. 12, 2005) having no idea what the route was graded, and it didn't feel like an 11, even pulling the roof seemed hard 5.10, I'm putting my neck on the chopping block perhaps, but I'd have to say 10d. Nonetheless, sick route. Mar 12, 2005
Luke Evans
Luke Evans  
LOVE THIS CLIMB. Especially the last pitch! Sep 7, 2005
Regarding the First Ascent: I set up this route and placed the bolts with the help of Colleen Greene during the summer of 1996. I led the whole route the day after placing the bolts with Colleen, Dan Hare and Moe Hershoff.

It is hard to imagine the amount of work that went into many of the routes in Dream Canyon and elsewhere in Boulder Canyon. For example, the big ledge at the top of the second pitch of Strange Cargo was covered with 12 inches or so of earthen soil, grass, thistles, shattered rocks and two huge, fallen trees whose roots were deeply imbedded in the cracks and soil of the ledge. All of this including the soil was removed at great effort to expose the beautiful ledge where you belay or rappel from a two-bolt anchor today. All three pitches required a great deal of work. May 7, 2007
Phill T
Phill T  
Great climb. Note that the belay station at the top of the third pitch has no chains or rap rings, just sharp bolts! Bring your shoes for the walk back down! May 5, 2008
doug rouse
Denver, CO.
doug rouse   Denver, CO.
I read some of the above comments, and would like to thank Richard for ths efforts he has put in to the entire area. Grade inflation issues need to be put into perspective by qualifying the difficulty of being the first to do a line vs. subsequent ascents...after the munge has cleared, and new sequences discovered. I dislike the trashing of an area just because someone finds an easier way to do a crux move, or has greater ape index. For me this route felt about 5.10c, but I am 6' tall with a +3 A.I. For a person who is sub 5'10" this is probably solid 5.11a. None of this changes the full-on enjoyment we all experienced on this line however. Sep 11, 2008
Brent Apgar
Out of the Loop
Brent Apgar   Out of the Loop
Have to give it four stars for last pitch. Super fun route, thanks, RR. Apr 2, 2011
Geoff U
Centennial, CO
Geoff U   Centennial, CO
Funny, but enjoyed everything but the last pitch... maybe 1 or 2 stars? Probably would have helped if known that couldn't rappel (left two biners) and would have benefited from some gear. Really enjoyed linking the first two pitches though, but would have happily skipped the 3rd. Aug 6, 2012
Jon Lachelt
Fort Collins, CO
Jon Lachelt   Fort Collins, CO
Thanks to Richard and Colleen for bolting and cleaning this route. I wish I'd read this before getting on it, as we only did the first two pitches. Now I see that the 3rd may be the best. I'll definitely have to go back to this again. Nov 24, 2012
Ben Kulpinski
Ben Kulpinski  
Followed today with Matt Di on lead. This is a quality route, meant to be climbed. Fun traversing with high water levels to get to base of route. Technical and direct second pitch. Two bolt anchor at the top of third pitch. Do it! Jul 3, 2014
Jean Spencer
Squamish, CA
Jean Spencer   Squamish, CA
Does anyone know what the bolts to that follow up left to start the second pitch is? It seemed harder than .10a, and there was a separate bolt line that trended right (as the description says)...thanks! Dec 13, 2014
Boulder, CO
jmidkiff   Boulder, CO
I was climbing at this wall yesterday and found two sport draws at the top of this climb. If they're yours, contact me! I grabbed them, because they were baking in the sun. Jun 20, 2015
Casey Heidrich
Boulder, CO
Casey Heidrich   Boulder, CO
Tried to climb this today and accidentally ended up on Primal Cinema, 11b, instead of the last two pitches of Strange Cargo. A lot more than I bargained for, especially when expecting a 5.9 last pitch!

For those not wishing to repeat my mistake, at the first bolt station of Strange Cargo, do NOT follow the low-angle ramp up and right. I believe the correct route is a more vertical section out left. I was working off the older edition of Boulder Canyon guidebook which does not have the link-up in it. Sep 4, 2017
A. Bandos
Broomfield, CO
A. Bandos   Broomfield, CO
^^^ Yes, the second pitch of Strange Cargo does go left from the belay. I know grading is all over the place in Upper Dream, but P2 felt way harder than 10a. It's not at all sustained but has a hard move at bolt 3.

Also, as already mentioned, P3 is so money. Very enjoyable, slabby arete. Aug 11, 2018