Type: Trad, 460 ft (139 m), 6 pitches Fixed Hardware (19)
FA: Layton Kor, Bob Culp 1962 (partial). Layton Kor, Maurice (Rick) Horn 1964 (complete). FFA: Jim Erickson, Duncan Ferguson, 1971
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Shared By: Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

The Edge is one of the most classic climbs in America.

There are several ways to reach the base of the Edge, the easiest and quickest is Touch 'N' Go. Touch 'N' Go had a line on it when we were racking up, and we took a runout .8 crack thirty feet to the right that ended at some bolts near the base of Anthill Direct. From the Lower Ramp climb the Cave Pitch, an interesting 5.8 overhang, and reach a three-bolt belay at the base of the first pitch.

The first pitch, a classic finger crack, is a great start to a very memorable route. It is a clean finger crack 5 feet to the right of a classic arete. It lies in a sort of groove which lends it nicely to stemming. Make some 9-ish moves to get to a small rest stance halfway up the crack. Getting off this rest stance is supposedly the 11a crux of this pitch. The moves off the rest are accomplished by stemming in the groove and using a small edge for your left hand. Once in the crack, the finger jams are very good yet the steep sustained nature pumps you out for one last 5.10 move to the two-bolt belay. This last move, while not very hard in and of itself, is definitely the crux of this beautiful pitch. This pitch protects very well with small stoppers and TCUs. If this pitch felt hard, remember that the last two are significantly harder and more involved.

The second pitch is just as classic, if a tad spicy. Begin with twenty feet of unprotected 5.8 slab up to a bolt just right of the arete, climb for twenty more feet up to another bolt (5.8) and step around left to the other side of the arete. This deposits one at the base of a left-angling crack. Crank up this crack a little ways to an ok stance. A good #1 Camalot can be placed at the base of this crack, but this piece will be below your feet for the crux move off a sloper. A fall off this move would throw you back around the arete and wouldn't be too pleasant. For this reason, some guidebooks give this pitch an R rating. Perhaps it is if you are incompetent at placing stoppers; there is a textbook RP placement right in your face for this move, this placement eliminates any s rating this pitch might have. The belay at the top is double bolt on a stance on the arete. All of the pitches on this route are approximately a half ropelength (80-90 feet) and some can be combined. However the rope drag would be heinous.

The third pitch is 5.8. It heads up the right side of the arete to a mantle onto a juggy hold. It is the easiest pitch, and if for some reason you are taking a second who leads in the 5.9 range, you might be inclined to let him lead this pitch. Be aware that it would be a pretty runout lead. This pitch wanders quite a bit, and long runners are needed to alleviate rope drag. Set the belay at the base of a rotten ramp/alcove deal.

From here the fourth pitch should be obvious, a right-leaning dihedral that turns into a chimney with a roof at the top. This is where the climbing gets intense. The initial dihedral is a thin 10c affair, and has a pin protecting the hard move. Gear can be had below the pin, and while this pin is not great, it is adequate for the move. The dihedral takes you up and right into some underclings where you encounter a second pin. This pin is definitely suspect. I have heard many wildly varying accounts of this pitch. Rossiter gives it an s rating in his latest guidebook because of this piton. I have heard people telling me it was a death pitch. None of this is true. A small purple Metolius TCU can be placed below the pin, together these two pieces provide adequate protection, and a fall from the crux onto them would be reasonable. One could probably back these pieces up even more if so inclined. This is definitely not a death pitch, it is only mildly spicy. From this last pin, intricate moves lead up and into the chimney. I couldn't identify a single crux; there are about four or five very technical moves to get situated in the chimney. The hardest might entail hiking your right foot up onto a left-angling rail. Once in the chimney, you can clip a pin below the roof and back it up with some small stoppers and a blue Metolius TCU. Resting before the roof is very awkward as you are very scrunched in this chimney. The next moves are 10c/d, I believe they are considered harder now because of a missing flake. At any rate, crank right around the roof with poor feet. This will feel hard after the endurance required for the rest of the pitch. The belay is obvious, a three-bolt affair below a right-angling ramp. This pitch can be considered 11b overall; it is very technical and sequency climbing.

Ahh the fifth pitch! Begin with an 11a move onto the ramp. Rossiter calls this the crux, yet I thought the bombay chimney was quite a bit harder and more involved. The bomber fixed gear here eases the strain of the climbing. Once on this ramp, you are led up and around the arete to an awesome, spectacular, overhanging hand crack with some fixed pro at the base. With a #1 Camalot, two #2s, and one #3, this final crack will be completely sewn up, a very important thing to to for your second. If they fall here it would be hard to get back on. This final crack is the final blow for the leader. I suspect that seconding this thing is quite a bit easier, placing pro on it is very strenuous. Next to the bombay chimney, I thought this was the second hardest part. The crack in and of itself is maybe 10b/c, yet feels very strenuous on lead, and after the initial crux section of the pitch it is very pumpy. Indian Creek climbers will enjoy this section. It consists of liebacking on good hand jams in small flares. Fire up this section to a wider, yet easier section, and get a belay right at the top of the crack in order to keep a close eye on your second. Overall, this pitch is 11b too, and is probably one of the most spectacular in Eldo with 600 feet of air below you!

From here, a final easy (5.6) pitch leads to the top.

Protection Suggest change

The protection on this route is creative in places, yet never really a problem. Bring a healthy number of stoppers and TCUs, and only a few cams in the larger sizes. A #3 Camalot is helpful for the final handcrack.