Type: Trad, 5 pitches Fixed Hardware (1)
FA: Bob Culp, Stan Shepard, 1960.
Page Views: 20,543 total · 92/month
Shared By: Andrew Wellman on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Subject to Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is a fun, moderate route near Rewritten. The route starts about 12 feet to the left of the West Chimney. This route has some interesting and unique crack climbing on it that is not to be missed.

P1. The first pitch goes up the crack in the middle of the face to the left of West Chimney. It opens up into a small cave and then jams out the top of the cave for a fun lead.

P2. The next pitch is not fun. It is and ugly, upward traverse right to the red ledge about the West Chimney.

P3. The third pitch is short and climbs a 5.7 crack and corners to the left of the gully until a stance at the bottom of an incredible hand traverse left.

P4. Pitch four is the best pitch of the climb and is airy and exhilarating. Follow the obvious hand crack the traverses diagonally left. The crack is very reminiscent of a short section on Rewritten but is far longer. The exposure here is great. The best way to go is about halfway along this crack reach a small stance and climb up and to the right to a ledge with a tree. Watch out for rope drag.

P5. From here climb the Zot Face to the top via one or two pitches. This part is runout but is an incredible place to be climbing.


A standard rack of nuts and cams.
Andrew Wellman
Andrew Wellman  
We missed the face as well. I guess you have to break up and right from the middle of the fourth pitch to climb the Zot Face pitch. This would require a hanging belay. We climbed the whole left-angling crack to a terrible ledge with tons of loose blocks and a tree. The last pitch was a runout face, but I suppose not the "Zot Face" Jan 1, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
When I climbed this route, we had trouble finding the Zot Face. From the tree at the end of the 4th pitch, Rossiter says something like "step right, then go up". In reality you must go quite a ways to the right, at least 25 ft I would say. We went straight up and missed the pitch. Jan 1, 2001
I found part of the fun on this route to be the adventure or routefinding on the Zot Face. I recall meandering my way up the face being careful to avoid loose rock. It's runnout, but it is fun climbing, and worth doing of one feels really comfortable leading at the grade. Aug 1, 2001
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
We linked pitches 2 and 3 (as shown on the photo) and minimized rope drag by not meandering so far right. However, turning the roof I definitely felt to be a 5.8ish move; committing, and an ankle sprainer if not worse if you slip.

I believe the 3rd pitch, the exhilirating leftward traverse, can also be continued another 30 feet further than shown on the drawing. Continue the traverse around the big tree (5 feet after you would break up and right for zot face) for another 10-15 feet. At a fixed pin, the move up aiming for the giant tree 40 feet above you. Belay there (or better yet, just left and behind it - the stance at the tree doesn't look comfortable). Then finish up the ramp that you are on, or the face directly above you. The big RF dihedral to the left is supposedly 5.8, but looks burly and wide - next time.

A really fun climb - especially with the two cute girls from New York that were climbing Rewritten right next to us. I never did get the 45 minute backrub I was promised for all the great beta we gave them... Sep 3, 2001
I didn't find the Zot face either. Faced with short days of November there was no time to look around - I'll assume it was off to the right further and not obvious. Other than finishing on chunks, the route was great. Pitch's 1-3 we're all fun stuff.

Nov 12, 2001
I have done this route before, but on Sunday I did it again only this time on the traverse pitch instead of going up the crack, I continued to go left and around and up that other inside corner up to the belay ledge. Is this a pitch on the Green Spur? Dec 5, 2001
We climbed this a few weeks ago, with the recommended Zot Face finish. The belay at the end of the zig-zagging traverse pitch isn't all that hanging (there's a small, sloping ramp or if you climb down it a great ledge), and there's great pro for it. We are pretty sure we missed the last picth, going too far left and climbing the left facing dihedral just left of the Zot face instead. So, be wary, when looking from the top of the fourth whilst at the small tree belay, make sure you find the face just right of this left facing dihedral and you will have it. Jul 10, 2002
Brice W  
This is a fun route. We climbed the Zot face at the top (I think), though I never found the 8+ section Rossiter mentions in his book. After doing the spectacularly exposed hand traverse at the start of pitch 4, I traversed right on small ledges and holds, up a flake, and belayed at a ledge with a small tree (this is the tree all by itself in the middle of the face). From here I traversed right about 15 feet, then climbed up a dihedral. From there I climbed thin flakes and face holds, trending to the right, climbed over a flake with holds on both sides, and came back left, ending up at a small, exposed ledge with a very small tree. This is the belay shown in the book, but the climbing didn't fit the route description exactly. There weren't any bad runouts, and the climbing wasn't too hard, maybe 5.7 in a couple of spots, but mostly easier. The big exposure and continuously steep climbing are a treat, though. We rapped down the West Chimney with one 60M rope. You could rap it all with five raps with no downclimbing. Jul 21, 2002
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
The easiest and fastest way to descend from The Great Zot or Rewritten area is to hike to the north until you find an easy 3rd class down climb. I climbed Rewritten one winter morning with my partner and there were two of our friends in front of us. When my partner and I reached the top it was dumping snow, so we quickly scrambled north and then back to the base of the climb only to see our friends (who were extremely experienced climbers but didn't know the downclimb to the north) rapping the West Chimney. They were quite cold and we were nice and warm from the down climb and we made it back 5 minutes before them. This descent gets you back to the base just as fast as rapping but is much safer. I don't know how easy it would be to scramble from the Yellow Spur or Swanson Arete area, but I will find out. I have found that most rocks come down from climbers while on route and not while rapping. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET and if you are only hanging out - do it under an overhang. When you are on route BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL OF LOOSE ROCKS. See my comments on Rewritten. Casey Bernal Jul 23, 2002
Upon finishing all climbs in the area (Rewritten, Zot Face, Great Zot, Swanson Arete, Yellow Spur, Green Spur, the list goes on), I have found it quite convenient and easy to scramble north along the ridge (my god it's a harrowing 2nd class walk over some boulders where you might actually use your hands a wee bit, and then down a gully, so hard, so hard [please excuse mass sarcasm]), and then down the third class gully. I've done it mid-winter, ground covered with ice AND snow. If you get down the first part of the gully scramble and you don't like it, go up and right (descender's right, climber's left) on the big gravel ledge to an even easier scramble down. I have never seen anyone do a rap down the West Chimney except during the onset of a lightning storm, which has in fact even been done by myself after getting halfway up the Swanson Arete only to see a bolt hit the top. The fact remains that when climbers are above people rocks tend to hit heads. Wear a helmet, yes, but also respect the mass crowds that gather to climb these moderate routes. Almost every time except the time I ran into lightning and the time in the winter I have scrambled down the gully to find another group gearing up for a climb on one of these lines as well as a group already on one. It's a popular area, and most people are learning, so don't feel it's worth it to invest full blown days going to RMNP, but also don't want to get jumbled at belay stations like the West Redgarden is a local small crag. Oh yeah, and once in the dark I used the Yellow Spur raps, and those are incredibly easy to find and do. peace Jul 24, 2002
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
Bob D. - Thanks for filling in a vital link to this story. I had never known who was killed that day, however, I was descending the East slabs shortly after Robin was killed on them. My partner and I picked up a full rack of stoppers and Friends near the large block. We turned them in to the Ranger station and waited for two weeks. When the rack was not reclaimed, my partner claimed it. I don't know if would have any sentimental value at this point, and I'm not even sure that he still has it, however, it might be possible to track it down if you or Waugh were interested. Jul 24, 2002
Brice W  
From the top of the Zot Face, the West Chimney raps seemed like a logical descent since they are, I dunno, 100 feet away from the top of the climb. I've done the East Slabs descent also, and that is definitely a good choice. I apologize to the hordes of other climbers who were starting up routes while we were rapping down (oh, that's right, there weren't any).

I think people can flame all they want, but as long as there are fixed rap anchors in the West Chimney, even "gumbies" like me, who obviously can't find their ass with two hands and a flashlight, will spy the anchors and rap down. In addition, said gumbies, assuming they can read and have enough dough to purchase an Eldo climbing guide, might think that the West Chimney is an established rap route.

I, for one, will make an effort to use the other descent routes in the future, but as many people have mentioned in their posts there is tremendous rockfall potential from many of the routes in the area, whether gumbies are rapping down the West Chimney or not. If you are looking for Eldo climbs with low rockfall hazard, I'd avoid these routes, or get up early and be the first party there. Jul 24, 2002
Okay, so I took Intro to Rock through Colorado Mountain School last weekend, and this was what my guide, Mark Hammond, took me on! Never been climbing in my life.... I lost my nerve at the beginning, but got over it with the help of some complete strangers on a parallel route, who took the time to talk me through a tough part (for me). I really appreciated that. Once I got going though, it was a total gas! By the time I was done with this climb, my confidence and enthusiasm soared. I can't wait to try this new sport some more. Oh, about the route- I don't know what to say, as this was my first time. Lots of loose rock to avoid kicking down on the rappel... What a view !-excerpt from swanson's arete comments Jul 24, 2002
Wow! lots of comments. Perhaps somebody can comment on this. It is my belief the bolts that AC refers to are sanctioned by the ELDO bolt committee. It seems in recent years that a number of routes have had rap bolts installed. This seems fine to me it protects the trees that for years have been the rap anchors and are showing signs of wear and tear. I do not remember any living trees in the west chimney. There are some near the top off to one side. I once rapped the bottom 150 feet of the west chimney on the new bolts when the temp went from 45 to 32 with snow falling early last spring. The one drawback to the bolt anchors is I have seen a growing number of people who horde a route with a top-rope (mostly on the west ridge) Jul 25, 2002
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
Wow! That rappel issue sure got a lot of 1s and 0s! Bob Cando-take a rest! If you're gonna make a point, you can do it civilly, or you can do it somewhere besides this site. I don't come here to get your extended opinions...delivered quite pompously, I might add.

('Had to get that off my chest. 'Sorry.)

For those who just can't wait to get to the Mtn Sun for a Java Porter, the first two pitches can be linked with a 60, as can the last two...(although watch that rope drag. "It's a bummer, man.") Myke-good to know that 2/3 link well, too. I'll try that next time. I'd get to the Sun even quicker!

I found the next-to-last pitch to be a bit run-out and it asked for some thoughtful and 'creative' placements. File somewhere between "Urghh" and "S". Fun, though!

PS, regrettably-My 2 cents on the rap 'discussion': If you do choose the East Slabs, bring all yer stuff with ya. They'll take you far away from the base of the route. Also, they ARE relatively dangerous but, then again, so is making eggs and toast.All in all, I gotta side with ya on this one, Bob. I like the walk-off option--it's easy to find, is not that far, and it *does* avoid any rope-sticking and rock fall potential. But, alas, to further document our sad inconsistency as people...my party rapped the D.D. today. It was freakin' hot, I was tired, and all the route were clear below. Anyway--

Enjoy the climb! Jul 2, 2003
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
BTW-I wanna mention that the huge block you'd REALLY want to use below the roof on P1 is gonna pull right out soon. 'Careful. Jul 2, 2003
Mike McKinnon
Golden, CO
Mike McKinnon   Golden, CO
I climbed this route the Saturday early in the morning. No one was there. It is a great time in Eldo really quite and serene. We did the whole route in 4 pitches and I think it was pretty spot on with Rossiter's guide. I ran the first pitch all the way up to the perch above the red ledge. It was a full 65M rope length. P2 was about 60 feet up to the start of the hand traverse. P3 I traveresed out (reminiscent of Rewritten) lef and then back right on easy ground to belay in a niche with a small tree. P4 I went out right to some dihedrals and pulled a small bulge and ran it out all the way to the top. Great pitch with a ton of nice climbing. I found the whole climb easily protected except for the last pitch which was more fun to enjoy the climbing than stopping to place gear anyways. Aug 27, 2003
It should be noted that this is a great 1st pitch link up to the ledge past Swanson's and a terrific bypass of Rewritten with just one or two cruxy moves. As for the upper pitches, glad I'm not alone in missing the 'original' route. The upper areas are quite large and I have led into areas I could not find in Rossiter; quite happily, but a little runout. As for the rap, I used to use East Slabs years ago bit now prefer the rappel for reasons above. The danger is not in the Swanson's-T1 chimney (the one that should be used) but in the West Chimney adjacent to P1 which is a long established (30 years) rap route that I've rarely seen anyone climb. The only time I've experienced rockfall was at the start and it was because a team was stuck/confused in the Dirty Deed chimney, straight above the west chimney. It should be very easy in using the correct rap route to avoid rockfall at this point. Jun 12, 2004
Malcolm Daly
Boulder, CO
Malcolm Daly   Boulder, CO
Climbed this on 8/22/04. Watch your ass on the fourth pitch. I headed up and right after the great hand traverse, connecting all the wild flakes and edges. Near the top, as I was approaching the tree in the gully on the left, a huge flake (3' x 6') shifted on me as I was holding on to it with both hands. Prior to grabbing it I had thumped it hard and it sounded solid. I was contemplating placing a piece there as my last one was 20' down when it settled about 2" and sand and gravel sifted out of the bottom. Don't know why it didn't come off as the wall there is quite vertical. The obviously thing to do would have been to kick it off but there were a bunch of people below. The flake is precariously purchased there and something like a clap of thunder could knock it off. If it falls it will shatter and shotgun Dirty Deed, Lower Swanson's, the Zot, Rewritten, Rebuffat's and maybe even the Green Spur. As you're roping up for any of these routes you're right in the gunbarrel. Next time I go up there you won't find me sitting around the base of these routes. If you're ever up on that pitch at the end of the day and you're sure no one is below you (Someone suggested a team with radios) do us all a favor and clean the flake. Aug 24, 2004
I've only done the east slabs descent once, in the dark. But I think it sucks. It is like downclimbing a flatiron with better holds. you can walk off well to the north, and then backtrack (s.west)down the gully to the base, similar to the descent from rewritten, you can either downclimb class 4 or make one rap and walk the rest. The slabs will basically put you at the parking lot which is most likely not where your stash is.

I don't consider myself a gumby(well maybe), but gumbies certainly do not belong on the slabs. there are some funky sections (really funked out in the dark) that I would not want to be a beginner on. Sep 11, 2004
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
Variation to pitch above Red Ledge?

Reading the description and comments above, it seems that I've twice done the pitch above Red Ledge wrong. This is the variation I've climbed:

On Red Ledge left of the large corner is a shallow cave. Climb out the right side of this cave and up grooves, short cracks and flakes to the right end of a long ceiling that extends to the left. I believe most climbers continue straight up from here to the start of the hand traverse. Instead, traverse left below the ceiling with decent pro and some interesting moves. A double length sling is useful at the start of the traverse. Near the left end of the ceiling place a hand sized cam with a long sling. The ceiling ends at a left facing corner with a wide, bigger-than-fist crack. Make another move left onto very thin, creaky flakes for the hands, and clip an old thin pin driven straight up into a small ceiling. Place a #4 Friend, or, more secure, a #4 Camalot in the wide crack. I recommend unclipping from the pin for reasons that will be apparent. Make a hard move, maybe 5.9, into the wide crack and onto the arete. Climb more easily up the arete, sliding the big cam up. When convenient, flip the rope right so it runs over the middle of the long ceiling. Either continue up the wide crack to the top of the pillar at the start of the hand traverse or, more easily and less of a grovel, traverse right to the right side of the pillar. Belay. Jan 15, 2005
James K Purcell
James K Purcell  
Very good route nice for first time multipitch lead. It is a bit of a wandering route, that's got some air. The last pitch is to die for. Lots of good belays and go do it. Worth the time. May 31, 2005
This route is a great route, but lookout for the choss on the last pitch. We combined pitches 1 & 2 and 4 & 5 to do the route in 3 pitches starting from the ground. It is definitely doable. Have fun! Jun 5, 2007
Boulder, CO
claytown   Boulder, CO
Fun route. We ended up missing the cutoff for the Zot Face because we went to the Red Ledge eyebolt belay atop Green Spur. The rest of the climb from here is kind of grungy. I HIGHLY recommend actually reading the description first so you make it to the Zot Face finish, which I hear is classic. Enjoy!

CL Feb 24, 2008
Mike Pharris
Longmont, CO
Mike Pharris   Longmont, CO
We missed the Zot Face cutoff as well.... However, we did the variation that takes the right-facing dihedral to the right of Rebuffat's Arete. There is a microwave-sized, loose block just below the belay at the top of pitch 4 (as it's described here) just before you head up the dihedral. I pulled on it, and it rocked a bit - it will come down if anyone pulls on it at all. There's loose rock and weak flakes all over the place up that dihedral.

Be careful. May 3, 2008
Climbed the first pitch this morning at about 730am, it was way cold. When my partner got to the crux he clipped a fixed cam in the cave/crack and tried to rest on it to warm up his fingers. The stem of the cam broke as I was taking in slack, luckily he had a good jam and caught himself. The cam head is still in the crack but is no longer available for clipping. Beware when clipping fixed gear. Climb safe,
Kirk May 4, 2008
David House
Boulder, CO
David House   Boulder, CO
I read Ivan's post from 2005 with interest because I followed that variation today. I was not convinced that the first dihedral you come to on the traverse left on the third pitch was the one referred to in Rossiter's guide: I looked over the roof, and though there is a decent handhold I didn't see much for the feet or any pro. Looked harder than the 5.6 noted in the description. I continued out to the upward-driven pin, clipped it (with serious doubts that it would hold a fall) and headed up the huge flake. Not too bad except for the rope drag. Next time I'll try the actual route.

We went up the Zot Face finish which was great, I think it makes this a classic. We traversed left on the awesome hand traverse under the trees and then turned back right on the discontinuous ramp/ledges/corners over the tiny tree belay. Pretty easy climbing, but again we battled rope drag. Heading up the 5th pitch was fun route finding and I finally learned my lesson, placed pro sparsely and used a lot of runners. There is a great placement (small cam)at the bottom of the traverse left at the twin hairline cracks (crux) but no more gear until you complete the mantle at the end, maybe 12-15 feet. Definitely the limit of my comfort zone for the crux of a route. Rossiter's mention of the "small right-facing dihedral" is a little misleading, it's really more of just a discontinuous crack system, but an excellent finish to the route.

Routefinding, loose rock, placing gear, rope drag; all the elements of a true trad route! Jun 28, 2008
Boulder, CO
kevinnlong   Boulder, CO
I highly recommend the 5.8 dihedral formed by Rebaffet's Arete to finish Pitch 5. It looks burly, and is solid 5.8 for about 15 feet in the middle, but eases considerably afterwords. If the off-width is too intimidating on the last part, one may leave the dihedral and fire straight up the face along thin, but well-protected cracks.

The position and exposure on those final moves is stellar!

This deserves its status as an Eldo Classic! The 4th pitch traverse...need I say more?! Apr 30, 2009
Ryan Day Thompson
Phoenix, AZ
Ryan Day Thompson   Phoenix, AZ
I absolutely agree with Kevin. The dihedral is a blast. We skipped out finishing Rewritten, went up the choss pile to the right of the Rewritten traverse, and found ourselves by the tree. The dihedral looked fun, and it was. Excellent bit of climbing. Wondering why it isn't included anywhere? Nov 29, 2010
Rodger Raubach
Loveland, CO
Rodger Raubach   Loveland, CO
This climb seems to be suffering from "grade inflation!" It was considered "definition 5.7" when first put up and for quite a few years thereafter. Feb 25, 2012
There's a variation 3rd pitch listed in Levin's guidebook, claiming a 'few loose flakes' rated 5.8 PG (to the left of P3 decribed on this site). It is basically 60ft with no gear in any solid rock and a great chance of pulling off loose holds. Please avoid this variation as the bottom is always crowded with people. I found it more sketchy than the 1st pitch of Moonlight Drive (at Cadillac) that gets a 5.8 R rating. Apr 23, 2012
Today I did a third pitch variation listed in Levin's book as Direct Variation, route 290a, 5.8 PG, three stars rating. While it did have some loose flakes, it was relatively clean and had good gear. The line was super impressive going out left from the belay, then up a left-facing dihedral which after 40 feet or so goes left under a roof for 15 feet or so before exiting at its left-most point, then straight up the corner for 30 feet or so, till you step right about 5 feet to a small stance to belay (which I did because I'd run out of slings and had just a few cams left). The grade is definitely sandbag, IMHO. I would put it at 5.9, maybe 5.9+, sustained, with lots of exposure. Where I belayed, it was sparse for gear, but I got a red Alien in a space on the left, a small grey Camalot on the right, and a grey 00 Metolius TCU up higher on the right. Honestly, I would have liked to have had doubles in most cams for this variation pitch. Oct 17, 2012
Keith Earley
Portland, OR
Keith Earley   Portland, OR
Thanks, Paavo, I went to do the "Local's Favorite" (Zot to Direct Variation to Zot Face) today and got ~20 feet up that dihedral until the seam ended. I didn't see any hold or chalk, so I unfortunately downclimbed it. It definitely looked harder than the 5.8 that Levin called it. Apr 14, 2013
Charles Truslow
Charles Truslow   Boulder,CO
Climbed the first pitch of this climb today before linking it with Rewritten to Swanson's Arete. Instead of pulling the roof directly, I opted to climb around the left side and then traverse back over to the crack. There was quite a bit of fixed gear lodged in the roof crux, and I figured this move might make it a bit easier, which it may have been (5.8 instead of 8+?), but it leaves no option for protection and you end up about 15 feet above the pin doing a weird traverse before you can get gear in again. Probably best and safest just to throw a cam in the roof and pull it directly. Jun 19, 2014
Dave Livingston   BISHOP
I, like Charles (see previous post), climbed left of the roof on the first pitch. The climbing isn't difficult; however, it is run out, and there's a large loose flake (clearly marked with large "Xs"). The traverse back to the crack can be protected by climbing a little higher above the roof (look far left). Next time, I'm doing the roof and skipping all this nonsense. Jun 25, 2015
Nick Tripp
San Diego, CA
Nick Tripp   San Diego, CA
P1 was a fantastic variation start for Rewritten. Blast through the crux, you can power through it! Mar 26, 2018
Found what appeared to be a bail anchor near the top of the first pitch on Friday (3/30). If you can tell me what you left up there, I'll get it back to you. Apr 2, 2018