Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: L. Kor, P. Ament, Dean Moore, 1963. FFA: Jim Erickson, John
Page Views: 18,788 total · 85/month
Shared By: Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

235 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Subject to Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


Grandmother's Challenge begins 20 yards left of the nasty chimney that is the start to Swanson's Arete. It lies directly left of the Green Spur. It is the really obvious overhanging offwidth left of the crux on Green Spur.

P1. The first pitch is fun and 5.8. Lead directly up to beneath the intimidating offwidth that splits the overhang.

P2. The second pitch is the crux, this thing looks really hard from the ground, but once you are underneath it doesn't look quite as bad. Place your #4 Camalot in the offwidth, and do a burly lieback up it to a good jam underneath the roof. Get a good stem to rest a tad, place good pro, and do a .10a lieback around the right side of the flake that forms the roof. This whole section is quite sustained and definitely warrants a .10c rating. Once above the roof continue on 70' of good 5.7 face climbing to a large tree.

From here, either continue up to the top of the wall on Green Slab Direct or Green Spur, or make a double rope rappel to the west off the tree. This is one of the best (and most awkward) .10s in Eldo.


You need a #4 Camalot for the crux, and a #3 is also very useful.

Unusual phenomena

Note, sound can emanate from this crack from climbers on Darkness til Dawn.


Pat, you are right on with three stars! The first pitch is excellent 8 hands and fists with many good crimps on the face, and the crux second pitch is laybacking through the crack and so you can't even see the birdshit, let alone touch it. Aug 1, 2001
Climbed this again this weekend. The only place bird crap bugged me was the odor at the first belay. The climbing is great and a test of skills requiring you to muster some offwidth skill, a bit of delicacy and power. Combined with the upper pitches of the Green Slab this is one of my top 5 outings in Eldo.

Nov 12, 2001
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
How well does this work as 1 pitch? Nov 28, 2001
A 60 m rope will just barely get you to the belay tree. Manage the rope well, and the rope drag is not to heinous. Remember a couple of pieces of gear for after you pull the roof, moderate climbing but a fair amount of it. Nov 28, 2001
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
Ok, I finally went and did this route and must say that the bird shit did not bother me, or my partner at all. I was hesitant to get on it because of the comments here, but I loved it. The only way you would touch the droppings would be if you thruthed up the off-width crux, if you do this you deserve to grovel through shit. Perhaps it was better since I climbed it in Febuary (less oozing). I was planning on doing it in one pitch but used my big pro on the first pitch and thinking that I would need that piece for the crux, I did it in two. I however think that one would be hard pressed to reach the tree with a 60m rope because I only pulled up about 25 feet of rope at the tree. It would suck to belay below the tree. The crux has a fixed nut just below the pin (as of 02/04/02), other than that, I placed a #2 Camalot just after the belay and a #3 before the udercling/layback. No #4. Don't hesitate to do this route because of the bird poop like I did, it's great. Three stars for sure Feb 6, 2002
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
Yeah I hear you, it is hard to deal with ANY bird-funk on a route that sits between the Green Spur and Darkness Till Dawn and I'm sure that the heat brings on some serious slime flow, still I'd have to say that since you can avoid the stank by going during the winter it deserves the stars... Feb 8, 2002
Chris Dawson
Grand Junction, CO
Chris Dawson   Grand Junction, CO
I must say that I climbed Granny's in late summer and the bird poop was horrible. I had to wipe my shoes off before starting up the crux. That little nest of slings and the footholds above it were flowing with dookie. I'm sure it's a different story in winter, but be forewarned. Feb 9, 2002
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Hey, did you know putting #1/2 Friend and weighting it make that flake at the crux flex out? Be careful. Mar 7, 2002
Did it last night with Josh Janes -- the bird poo situation was quite tolerable thanks to the relatively low temperature and that's it's still early in the season. If you are going to do it this year, do it now. I thought it was an exciting, worthwhile climb. I didn't place the #4 that I had, although the #3.5 Camalot was handy, but also probably not necessary. Apr 4, 2002
Brian Milhaupt
Golden, CO
Brian Milhaupt   Golden, CO
Superclassic. I climbed this as one pitch, with my partner simuling for about 30'. This worked well as the last 30' seemed about 5.6. Early season must be the time to do this route, as I didn't notice any sheiBe at all. Apr 6, 2002
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
I spent about 1/2 hour dangling beside the route yesterday and taking pictures. Plenty of bird shit is on the route, believe me. I shot a few rolls of film, and I am sure it will show in each picture. That said, it did remind me of how cool the route is, and also of how it might be just a little height dependent. Shorter body and arms mean having to do an extra move prior to the good jam below the roof. Apr 8, 2002
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
Poo poo is still not oozing as of 04/25/02, the fixed nut is gone that I found earlier, a #4 Camalot came in handy. I climbed with Lindsay Gill who forgot her climbing shoes and managed the route (as well as Green Slab) in sneakers, burly... Apr 28, 2002
Dan St. John
Castle Rock
Dan St. John   Castle Rock
This climb is outstanding and perhaps soft for the grade. Every one has different strengthens hence I do not suggest down rating the climb robbing due credit from anyone. I recommend this climb to 5.10a/b leader looking to move into the harder 5.10c/d ranges. The gear is outstanding hence very safe climb. The crux is short and intense. The climb was not a health hazard due to bird excrement either. As of 8/26/02 disregard and excrement warnings. There was only one position with a mildly grungy spot. I have climbed much worse. Triple up and #3 Camalots, 1 x 3.5, and optional 1x4. Currently their is a fixed piece where you would have placed the #4, so I did not use the #4. Aug 26, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Soft for the grade ... short crux ... are you sure you were on the right route? ;^) Aug 26, 2002
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
I'm not sure what these offwidth comments are about. See the photo of the climber with arm buried in the crack. See the chalk on the left edge of the crack. That's for laybacking. No offwidth necessary. A while back I saw a much better climber stem the whole thing with no layback or offwidth. But today I looked at the stemming option and it was not for me. Mar 8, 2003
Alex Olivas  
We did this route this morning and thought it was great. All the betaon pro I read beforehand, I thought, was very helpful. We did alsodo it in one pitch with double 60m and just barely made it to the tree. My partner belayed from the top of the block at the start to give usan extra 8 feet or so. I ended up needing it. I was about 5 feet fromthe tree while my partner was debating whether she should standup and start simu-climbing. If you're going to do it in one pitch I would recommend bringing radios so you could communicate clearly with your partner.

Also I don't remember reading this anywhere, but we ended up takinga #3.5 Camalot. I found it useful in the fist-sized crack just below wherethe first belay should be. But I suppose if you did it in 2 pitches you could place the #4 somewhere in this crack and still have it for the crux.

Alex. Nov 12, 2003
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Three of us (me, Kevin, and Jeff) went up this this on Friday. Needless to say, the slime was minimal. A bit of advice to those leading the first pitch: bring your bigger cams with you. Even though you think you might not need them before the roof, you do. Otherwise you'll have to set up your belay about halfway up the pitch. That said, if you come upon a set of slings and rings before the OW fist crack on P1, keep going. There's another anchor above you. Great climb, though the offwidth makes it WAY pumpy. Feb 1, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
After having read the preceeding comments, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents worth.


I think the trick for those of us that are...ahem..."vertically-challenged" is to get a hip scum with your left side in order to reach the high right jam. I discovered this after struggling for a good while trying to stem and getting pumped out. Feb 1, 2004
SirVato   Boulder
This is a sweet route, don't let anyone tell you different, If youre just there to tick it off your list why be there to begin with?? The first pitch takes #4 Camalot well and is great fun at around 5.8. Save some big gear for the bealay, I used a #3 a #3.5 Camalot and a silver DMM. You can get 4 in at the start of the offwidth a #3 where it narrows to hand size, the pin looked shitty, and I didn't like where it would land me if I fell (which I did...more than once!!) so I didn't clip it, instead red of yellow Alien in the flake and then a large nut at the stance before you pull the final layback over the flake. Stemming is THE way to go, I would not really enjoy groveling through that crack OW style. Great route -- have fun!!!! Mar 22, 2004
I love this climb because it's the right size for me. This is where I get back at my buddies who lead thin cracks. I watch them struggle with way too many feet of 4"+ jamming.This is the climb for the 200 pounder! I'm surprised more people don't go to the tree in one pitch, or at least over the roof before starting the next pitch. I have attempted this route twice, I'm hoping #3 is the charm. I have wondered if the crux would be easier if the 2nd pitch started right below the crux, yet it seems such a shame to quit climbing right then! I walked a 3.5 Camalot in the 5.8 section, found a decent #3 Camalot in the back of the flare, and a #10 Metolius (close to 3.5 Camalot size) where the flare pinches down. A #2, and #3 Metolius fit nicely in the undercling, layback upper crux. It's nice to have your big cams pre slung with QD's or runners, as it saves a lot of time while you're pumped. There is a keeper hand jam at the top of the wide crack. (I just relaxed and the crack held on). It hurts like hell, but you can stem, place gear, and de-pump there. I have big hands, and I get fist jams through the back of the flare. This seems more secure to me, but some people just don't fit. The #10 Metolius placement held my 200lbs. Should be reassuring to all you skinny pukes. Jun 29, 2004
"The coveted "Eldo Bird Tour" must include the Diving Board, which having the excrement at the very crux I must give 5.11a Ex 3+. Aug 28, 2005
An amazing route. Rossiter describes the crux section as "wild and strenuous"-I'd say he's right on. Nov 10, 2005
Englewood, CO
ROC   Englewood, CO
On-sight!!! (12/1305) First 5.10 route ever led on trad!!! Bird poo...minimal (basically it was frozen). Dec 14, 2005
Jason Haas
G1 Climbing + Fitness
Jason Haas   G1 Climbing + Fitness
I felt the route was soft for the grade. I was initially disappointed when I got under the roof that it wasn't more of an offwidth, but once I did it, the moves were fun. The hand stack splitter below the roof is not to be missed. The only bird poo I found on route was in a small pile on top of the sling anchor belay underneath the offwidth pod and it was very easy to avoid (build an anchor above the slings, they look rotted from the poo). Apr 15, 2006
Boulder, CO
claytown   Boulder, CO
I was stoked to get on this climb today, and it didn't disappoint. I found the crux tough and a little burly. If you put in a piece at the undercling fingers, use a long draw so there isn't any drag. Great climbing on solid rock. Classic.

We used 60m doubles and did the route in one pitch with a nice, 200 ft, free-hanging rappel over Darkness till Dawn. I recommend doing it in 1 pitch, much like Green Spur.

I took doubles of 1-4 C4s and used them all.

C L Jun 2, 2007
Jonathan White
highlands ranch, co
Jonathan White   highlands ranch, co
Great route. There is a purple cam (Camalot?) stuck under the roof. I hope someone can remove it, since it spoils the crux. Jul 1, 2007
Dpurf   Superior
I have to say the bird shit or whatever it is takes away from the great climbing. The stuck cam (Trango) is still there.

Now from gathering all the beta from the post above, I was going to avoid the wide crack not try to do any off widthing. Big mistake for me. After a few down climbs and takes, I had to get in there to move up. For the start of the wide crack I did lay it back, but then moved in with a knee to set up for the good jams above. I did clip the pin, but I don't think it was needed, you can get a #3 BD in at the same level as the pin. Now to pull over the roof is a bit heady. A lot of air under your butt. But it is all there.

Have fun on it. Jul 20, 2007
David Champion
Centennial, CO
David Champion   Centennial, CO
Let me start with this: I do not believe in supernatural phenomena, nor am I particularly superstitious (the latter no more so than most climbers).

On Sunday I’m belaying my partner on the crux pitch of GC from just below the slings at the top of P1. After my partner clears the roof and disappears I begin to hear faint sounds coming from the wide crack at about chest level. My initial conclusion: pigeons, maybe bats (no surprise there). Then I start to hear metallic sounds, like those of gear clinking together. Okay, so there’s long lost gear buried in there and the pigeons are disturbing it. I peer into the crack about a foot and a half deep-—the point where dim sunlight meets blackness-—but I see nothing. Then I start to hear faint grunting noises. The grunting gets louder and louder, but it’s definitely not pigeons or bats. It’s the sound of a human being grunting! It gets louder and, as it gets louder, there is no longer any doubt the sound is coming from inside the crack, not via the crack by some weird sound reflection phenomenon, but from INSIDE THE CRACK. I’m thinking to myself either 1) this crack is a wormhole piping sound in from some other part of the canyon or 2) the ghosts of Layton Kor, Jim Erickson, et al have come to pay me a visit (except neither Kor nor Erickson is dead last I checked). Anyway, I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.

Can anybody here 1) recall having experienced this phenomenon and 2) if so, offer a reasonable explanation for it (besides the voices are coming from inside my head)? Aug 27, 2007
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
David C. -

YES! I had a very similar experience at a belay just above the slings. I was looking all around me to find out where the "voices" were coming from ... NOBODY was anywhere within 100+ feet, though the sounds were right next to me.

... After I coax my partner thru the crux, I hear the voices say: "I can hear somebody"

Then I realize I am not crazy, I am just hearing ghosts.

... Or someone is on Darkness Till Dawn. So I ask them (talking clearly and quietly into the crack): "Are you climbing Darkness Till Dawn?"

Then I hear a lot of laughing ... and finally a "Yes I am, HA!HA!HA!"

So does that mean that they are the same climb and one side is just a variation of the other? Aug 27, 2007
David Champion
Centennial, CO
David Champion   Centennial, CO
Casey, thank you for validating my sanity! Ironically, we climbed DtD right after rapping from the GC tree (but no voices this time, presumably since no one was on GC at the time). Thinking about the orientation of the cracks on both climbs your explanation seems logical. The DtD crack that splits the left-facing side of the dihedral meets the GC crack on the other side of the arete. I wonder if you were to shine a bright light into one side you could see it from the other? This explanation is unfortunate in one respect, though: it would have been much more fun as a ghost story. Aug 28, 2007
Darko Sarenac
boulder, co
Darko Sarenac   boulder, co
Too much bird crap. Enjoy. Sep 13, 2007
Brian Adzima
San Francisco
Brian Adzima   San Francisco
The slings and stuff for the belay before the roof were completely buried in bird shit, but it was otherwise avoidable. A 60m will not get you to the belay tree without about 30 feet of simul-climbing. Feb 24, 2008
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
At the risk of stating the obvious--for those who are not "at one" with the resident birds and their leavings, simply clip into the numerous slings around the chockstone at the end of P1, tie a clove hitch and extend it down to the ledge about 7 feet from the original belay. That way, you've got a nice place to watch your buddy and you don't have to worry about the wasting wetness in the crack above. Jun 20, 2008
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Yeeehaaaw! Good fun. This thing looked burly from the ground, and it still looked burly from right below the crux as well :) Amazingly, with proper stemming the moves are all there. I used an armbar at the bottom of the crux to place a high #4 camalot but then upward progress was definitely made via stemming and working the left and right features. I vaguely remember starting the crux with a brief lieback to get established in the stem.

I was glad to have two #4 cams for the crux section..... but YMMV as I didn't place any gear to the left of the crux or clip the pin.

Not a great route for the second if they come off. My wife fell out of the wide crack and unfortunately she swung out onto the blank face on the right... and she really couldn't get back on very well. The piece was a #3 Camalot at the top of the crack, so there isn't much a leader can do to prevent this... just an FYI.

The bird poop wasn't too bad, but I extended the belay below the chockstone to stand on the ledge. Oct 24, 2008
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
Was the Grandmother's Challenge rap anchor approved and placed?

aceeldo.org/fhrc/applicatio… Feb 18, 2009
Fort Collins
seth0687   Fort Collins
I thought this climb was stellar!!! lot of bird poop but stellar nonetheless. I would advise bringing at least double #3 Friends and double #4 Friends if you have them, I found them useful for the fist crack section and just below the crux. I thought the crux was not too bad, but did it offwidth style, chicken winging and knee barring until I could get up to that sweet hand jam below the block. I couldn't for the life of me imagine laybacking that but whatever works. The Trango cam is still stuck mid way through the block making it a short gas to a "fixed" piece of pro. From there, it's a freaking cake walk. Undercling and layback the block to bomber big holds and good feet. Easy climbing lies ahead although I would advise protecting it as you go. I chose to sparsely place gear and had a hold break off and ended up taking quiet a fall clipping a ledge on the way down. NOT FUN. Either way I give this climb 2 thumbs up. Definitely take a gander at Darkness til Dawn around the corner as you rap down or just walk around and take a peak. Mar 2, 2009
Richard Radcliffe
Louisville, CO
Richard Radcliffe   Louisville, CO
The bird crap is pretty gross, but what a spectacular climb all the way.

A great way to do this, mentioned by Tevis Blom above, is do P1 from the ground up through the roof and then build an anchor just over the roof where you can get as many bomber pieces as you like. This way you can avoid having to hang out amongst the worst of the bird crap (traditional first belay anchor), the leader can easily talk the second through the roof if necessary, and the leader and second can communicate much easier from that belay stance to the top. And it's a spectacular place for a belay -- very airy. May 10, 2009
Byron Murray
Byron Murray  
The Grandmother's Challenge rap anchor (when rappelling from the tree down by Darkness 'til Dawn) has been installed. This anchor was installed with ACE hardware. A big thanks to all that donate money and or time to ACE and FHRC.

For those of you out there still trying to redpoint this route I highly recommend training on Vertigo (5.11) and Country Club Crack (5.11). I redpointed the route today by using a #4 CM just above the traditional belay. A #3 CM at the entrance to the crux. At this point lieback to get the right foot up then lock off on the lie back to bring the left foot up so that you are in a stem. I then place a #3.5 CM high into the crack. I then jam my left fist below the #3.5 bring my left foot into the crack and jam to the roof. At the roof you are able to stem again to place gear and or clip the fixed Trango cam. If you are not pumped at this point you will easily get the remaining moves.

Note: The best time of year to climb this route is between November and March when wind, rain, and snow have cleaned the route of bird poo. May 25, 2009
Mike McKinnon
Golden, CO
Mike McKinnon   Golden, CO
Train on climbs 11a to onsight 10c? Jul 10, 2009
Matt McKibben
Durango, Co
Matt McKibben   Durango, Co
I was on GC last evening and was horrified at the number of cliff swallows and the amount of bird shit that was coming out of the crux flake. As I was nearing the beginning of the crux I was pummeled by about 40 birds and poop rained down from the flake. It sounded like there were plenty more birds up in the flake, too. Thankfully there's a slung chockstone and I was able to escape quickly, since it was probably the most disgusting thing I've experienced over 10 years of climbing. If you're heading to up to do this route anytime soon, DON'T! Wait till those birds leave and you'll have a much better experience. Sep 18, 2009

Ahhh, the joys of Eldo. Nothing like the smell of birdshit in the morning.... Sep 18, 2009
Scotty Nelson
Scotty Nelson   Boulder
Less bird crap than compared to the fall right now. Can link all the way to the tree in one long pitch with a 70m. Mar 22, 2010
Theo Colameco
Theo Colameco   Boulder,Co.
Apparently can be done in one pitch w/ a 60 if your second doesn't tie in w/too much tail and your leader places the pro w/ out too much drag! We did this on 5-4-10! The rope just makes it!! Inches.... Keep your shoes close!! May 6, 2010
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
I got crippled by drag on this today right above the roof. Take enough slings! Dec 4, 2010
Detroit, MI
A0hero   Detroit, MI
Because of my mid 20's senility, I may have left some locking biners and double length slings by the tree at the top. Their return would make me very happy. Nov 3, 2012
SeanKuus Kuusinen
Steamboat Springs
SeanKuus Kuusinen   Steamboat Springs
Wow. Do I suck at wide cracks (very likely), or is this hard for 5.10? I've felt way better on "harder" routes in Eldo (Art's Spar, Northcutt, T2, Genesis, Sunset, and Practice Wall all come to mind).

Impressively difficult, impressively awesome. Apr 5, 2013
Alex Vidal
Boulder, CO
Alex Vidal   Boulder, CO
We rapped from the tree at the top to the chains on the face above and to the left of the crux roof. From there, you can reach the ground with a 70m...but probably not a 60m. Jun 25, 2014
Boulder, Co
Dalton201   Boulder, Co
A bird shat on my shoulder while belaying the leader on P1. I took it as a good omen. Route is amazing, I hope the bird shit stories keep more people off of it, so I never have to wait in line :) Jun 5, 2015
Moritz B.  
Here is some extra gear beta from my side:

Drop the number four in the wide crack BEFORE the crux (not the crux itself). You don´t need it at the crux.

The crux itself protects wonderfully with a number 3 cam and an optional nut placement to the left. Mid-crux you can place a 0.4 cam. Next piece is the old nasty pin and a stuck cam under the roof. I was so paranoid about saving my number four that I didn´t place it at all, which says a lot since I´m usually overprotecting. Jul 6, 2015
This is outstanding as a single pitch - one of the best 240 foot climbs around. May 18, 2017
Pink Thunder
Sacramento, CA
Pink Thunder   Sacramento, CA
Awesome route. Tons of fun, great pro. Do it. Jul 24, 2017
Owen Murphy
Fort Collins, CO
Owen Murphy   Fort Collins, CO
Beautiful route. No bird shit or bullshit. Best done as one pitch with a 70m. Currently a fixed pin and cam near/at the roof. Feb 1, 2018

Wow, some saint out there deserves a Nobel prize in route cleaning if they got all the bird shit out of there! Feb 1, 2018
Kevin Dahlstrom
Fort Worth, TX
Kevin Dahlstrom   Fort Worth, TX
You can rap from the tree at the top of this route with one 70m rope... with a little shenanigans. From the tree anchor, rap 15-20 feet down and climber's right to a bolted anchor at the top of the steep face right of Darkness Till Dawn. From here, a 70m doesn't quite reach the ground (knot the ends!), so as you're rapping, push off the face and stay swinging to make sure you don't get stuck hanging in space. You can grab onto the face left of Darkness Till Dawn and make an easy 15 foot downclimb to the ground, pulling one end of the rope with you. It's a bit of a pain but probably less hassle that lugging a second rope. Sep 26, 2018
Luke Dickinson
Boulder, CO
Luke Dickinson   Boulder, CO
Super cool route. The kneebar in the offwidth is bomber, and then stem it out. Used two 3s and a 0.4 to sew it up sans #4. Oct 13, 2018