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Routes in High Wire Crag

5th of July S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Ace in the Hole S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Bouncer S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Bypass S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Contrarian, The T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Cracker Jack S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Dead End Crack T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Deuces Wild S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Everyday Struggle S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Everything Rhymes with Orange S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Full House S 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Ghetto Activity S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Ghetto Head S 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Head Up Activity S 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Head Up Dirty S 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Hip at the Lip S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
Idiot Savant S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Idiot's Roof T 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Indirect Savant S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Jackpot S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Left Long Moderate Dihedral (originally submitted as Crack Swindler) T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Life After Death S 5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c
Machine Gun Funk S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Moderate Dihedral T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Nickels and Dimes S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Notorious S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Overpass S,TR 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Passing Lane S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
People's Choice S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Poker Face S,TR 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Pony Up S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Power Play T,S 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13
Road Kill S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Road Rash Roof S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Road Warrior S 5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Savage, The S 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
Slot Machine S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Stone Cold Moderate S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Via Comatose Amigo S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Wild Card S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Type: Sport, 4 pitches Fixed Hardware (26)
FA: Richard Wright and Anna Brandenburg-Schroeder, Fall 1997
Page Views: 28,663 total · 134/month
Shared By: Michael Komarnitsky on Feb 28, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Closure 8/22/18-10/16/18 7a-5p weekdays Details


A popular climb, and deservedly so. This route starts just after the trail meets up with the rock. Rolofson's guide suggests that it is the far right climb. However, a new bolted line is the far right one (Nickels and Dimes). Just to the left is Road Kill.

Pitch 1: Start up and follow a great, super-positive flake and then over a hump. Hope you wore your edging shoes, cause the crux is blank as hell for hands. Belay at the end of the right-sloping big ramp. 6 bolts.

Pitch 2: Scramble up the easy 5.5 section. You can and probably should link up the first two pitches (we did). Belay at the base of the dihedral. 6 bolts.

Pitch 3. Waste that sucker! This is the most fun I had in a while. Overhanging, steep dihedral with lots of stemming moves and good places to clip. The crux comes out after exiting the dihedral - swing right, up, clip, and finish to the bolts. 8 bolts.

Pitch 4 (optional): Go left and clip 2 more bolts, 5.5 s. 210 ft rap.


6 bolts to a 2 bolt anchor, 50'. 6 more bolts to a 2 bolt anchor, 100'. 8 bolts to a 2 bolt anchor, 170'. With a 60m rope, you can JUST reach the 1 belay ledge, which is on top of a nice ramp where you can easily downclimb to the right.
First, to clarify--Myke means that you can just reach the 1st belay ledge w/ a 60m when rapping from the very top. Also--the new route to the right of PCs is only 1 pitch and about 5.9 and includes a large flake to lieback about 1/2 way up. You can still climb this variation, then head over to the second pitch of PCs. Finally, Myke must have had his marshmellow shoes on, because theres not an abscence of holds for the hands at the crux on P1--they are just subtle. Jan 1, 2001
Ryan "Rhyno" Smith - This climb was the hardest lead that I have ever done. It was an amazing climb, but we didn have enough gear to safely complete it (damnit)! This climb is a ton of fun, but unless you know exactly what your partner is doing, I recommend getting a couple two-way radios to let each other know what the hell you'r e doing- I had a really hard time knowing what my partner was doing and vice versa from the noise of the cars and stream. What a great climb!!! Jan 1, 2001
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
Comments to Ben- comment. The route to the right of PC is called "Nickles and Dimes", AKA "IQ Test" A hint, using the flake fails the IQ test. Stay left on the face and it just gets thinner and better with a run-out to the last bolt. My guess for a rating is 10ish on the face and maybe 5.8 with the flake. By the way, head left of the dihedral pitch on PC for even more fun, four new routes in all. Jan 1, 2001
This is the best sport rout I've ever climbed, hands down! Personally, I found the fist 50 feet the most fun, I love slab climbing. It's easy to get short on the gear if you don't come prepared, however, the bolts are close enough that, if you're comfortable, you could get by with only clipping every other one (especially on the 5.8 section). Great climb! Feb 23, 2002
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
10d is a bit generous, if you move L near the top of the dihedral. 10a perhaps for the first section though some ole trad, slab climbers called it 9. Still fun. Mar 5, 2002
Chris Dawson
Denver, CO
Chris Dawson   Denver, CO
AC-did you do the second (crux/.10d) pitch, or are you talking about the first? Because the second pitch is not a slab. Mar 5, 2002
People's Choice is definitely one of the best sport routes in Colorado. I dig the first slab pitch - 10a-ish is probably right. Stemming and pulling up the crack in the upper dihedral is a blast too. Only at Sitting Bull Falls and Enchanted Tower in New Mexico have I had this much fun sport climbing! Jun 6, 2002
Makes one nice long pitch with a 70 meter rope. With a few long runners, and skipping some bolts on the midsection, rope drag is no trouble. One rap on a doubled 70m takes you easily down to the 3rd-class ramp. Aug 9, 2002
you do not need a 70m rope to do this climb in 1 pitch. it is 50m long, with 22 bolts if you clip the anchors, less QDs if you skip a few. Aug 10, 2002
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
PC has cold shut anchors at each belay. A run through in the spring of 2002 indicated that they were still in excellent shape. Nonethless, one should check them from time to time. Sep 17, 2002
Jason Carter
Monument, CO
Jason Carter   Monument, CO
A fine two pitch route indeed with 3 cruxes! The slab bulge on P1, moving through the middle of the dihedral on P2, and then another slab bulge after exiting the dihedral. Nice job!

However, I must be climbing this wrong along with everyone else (at least based on the chalk evidence) " The crux comes out after exiting the dihedral - swing right, up, clip, and finish to the bolts."

I've always exited the dihedral, moved LEFT, then up over the slabby bulge and then zipped up to the anchors. Does the route go RIGHT after the dihedral? Yikes, very thin, very airy - I'll have to try it!!! Oct 2, 2002
Jake Wyatt
Longmont, CO
Jake Wyatt   Longmont, CO
I tried this route today, and was also drawn to the left after exiting the dihedral. I think I too was misled by the line of well-chalked holds. But looking down from the belay, I saw the adequate holds just off to the right. Perhaps the funky pocket near the bulge of the roof would have made a great foothold? Oct 21, 2002
The whole route is 5.9+ max if you jog left at the top of the dihedral. You can stem rest through the whole dihedral and the holds are huge. The slab is classic edge balancing slab. It is overprotected so it is good for someone who is stepping into the 5.10 grade. Dec 17, 2002
The best climb on the High Wire Crag. Through not difficult, it is a good route for beginners to find out how good they really are. The multi-pitch climb will also test their wits of heights. Wear a bright colored shirt as the cars driving up the canyon will see you very easily. A very exposed wall for the road and the sun as well. A very fun route and a must once up on High Wire. Jul 22, 2003
Drew Allan
Drew Allan   Denver/Aspen
Another run up this route has convinced me that the natural line is left of the bolts above the stemming corner on the second (last) pitch. You are clearly pulled by a good crimp and pocket to the left, which in turn makes you put both feet on the big ledge. Then it is just a question on how far left of the next two bolts you go. The farther left toward the diagonal right facing corner you go, the easier the moves. A quick look at Rolofson's guide confirms a dashed line left of the bolts above the ledge. The technical crux is probably the final slab moves on the first pitch. Sep 25, 2003
micah stocker
micah stocker  
This is a great [route], it has [awesome] moves and lots of great exposure. In the book, it is broken down into three pitches, however, I [recommend] doing it all in one pitch. You need a 60m rope and should be confident with climbing 10a slab. I only used 2 bolts before I got to the overhanging dihedrial. I also think this route could be done via trad, and it might call for a boost in the grade. However one chooses to do the route, it is a blast. Feb 11, 2004
Michael J Yarros
Colorado Springs, CO
Michael J Yarros   Colorado Springs, CO
Fun route. Although communicating with our partner is difficult because of the road/river noise. May 12, 2004
This was my first climb ever and it was a blast! Starting off was relatively easy, but it got really bare around the middle and there wasn't much for my hands. Fot those who haven't climbed it before, I recommend going to the right to utilize the protruding rock for something to get a hold of. A good instructor, which we had, you don't have to worry about the fear that the rock creates and you can have great success on this fun rock. Aug 20, 2004
John Kelley
Sedona, AZ
John Kelley   Sedona, AZ
Nice varied route, I found it a little reachy clipping the crux bolt on P3 after exiting the dihedral. All in all, great route with fun climbing and cool exposure. Feb 16, 2005
Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but there is no way this is a 5.10d, or suddenly this summer I've finally hit my goal of climbing 5.10d clean with no warm ups.

However...I [did] move left, not right after the dihedral, and I regret it. So, maybe there's one 5.10d move on an otherwise 5.8+/5.9 route.

Compared to some of the hard 5.9's Ii've climbed in CO, this route is much easier. A comparable 5.10a dihedral is [Hospital Corner] at [Lover's Leap] at [Tahoe] - and that was a legit 5.10a. This was way, way soft (like all grades at the [High Wire Crag]).

That said, it was way, way cool! Great hand jams, the feet are all there, and I felt that it must have been set by someone my height ('5"9). Perhaps reachy for smaller people...the bolts are, well, a bit much. I used all 13 draws and slings I brought on the last pitch - and still missed one.

cheers,alpinista. Aug 8, 2005
Tim Criger
Tim Criger   Longmont
A terrific climb. Beautiful rock, natural line... can protect the whole line traditionally (if you begin with the trad line to the right as first pitch). Edging up the bulge on the first pitch is certainly the crux (5.10a). Stemming up the corner on the last pitch is 5.9, and exiting left may reach 5.10. Enjoy this beautiful climb (and quit chalking the hell out of it). Oct 25, 2005
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
Darren and I added a bolt to the top of the P3 anchors. It is a 75mm Triplex with a Fixe double ring hanger. This backs up the cold-shuts that need to be replaced. It adds a bit of comfort while rapping or lowering. Aug 21, 2008
Jeff Welch
Denver, CO
Jeff Welch   Denver, CO
This is a question borne from naivety, not criticism. Why add a new bolt rather than just replace the two worn coldshuts?
However accomplished, I greatly appreciate your efforts in replacing worn out anchors. Aug 26, 2008
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
Jeff - Thanks for your recognition and thanks for asking. The basic reason is: time. In addition, the cold-shut hangers have little wear on them. We just have some trepidation about the non-visible part of the bolt. We thought our effort was most efficient by just adding 1 bombproof bolt to an 8 year old anchor, an anchor that a climbing party would be entirely relying on.

I was quite impressed with the Triplex and would be happy to replace the rest. The main downside to that hanger & bolt combo is that it retails for $22.90 each, though that will be forgotten long before it needs to be replaced. I replaced the P1 anchors 4? years ago and they look good. We just have to find the time, and choose to do the work (as opposed to climbing). Aug 27, 2008
Casey & Darren,

Thanks for fixing the anchor. I too had noticed the wear and tear recently. I had pursued ASCA about getting some hardware for projects like this one, but they never responded. I guess you have to be in some sort of "in crowd" or something. The popularity of the routes in this area will necessitate future maintenance I'm sure.

TZ Aug 27, 2008
Jeff Welch
Denver, CO
Jeff Welch   Denver, CO
Climbers that were forced to bail off People's Choice today because of rain, please email me. I have pictures for you. Aug 31, 2008
Jon Zucco
Denver, CO
Jon Zucco   Denver, CO
Very nice. Oct 25, 2008
Lakewood, CO
JK1   Lakewood, CO
I had to leave a draw half way up the third pitch of People's Choice. If anyone happens to be up that way and retrieves it, there would be a beer reward for you. I greatly appreciate it. I was climbing on Monday Nov. 3rd in the afternoon. Nov 5, 2008
One of my favorite pitches in the canyon- if linked all into 1 pitch. Maybe 180 feet? The rope is long enough, why stop? Bring many draws and long runners. It may require skipping some bolts or backcleaning on the easy low angle mid-section to save draws and cut down on drag- not as hard as it sounds. For soloists with a Grigri or MiniTraxion, it makes a great afterwork climb where you can get 1000+ feet of good climbing in short order. If intimidated by the slab crux on the left, the climb can be easily done from the 5.7 bolted slab/flake to the right. This linkup makes the entire climb a great 5.9. Even after 30 or more laps on this climb, it still never fails to satisfy.

Edit: Forgot one more way to enjoy this climb: TRAD. Do the right hand flake variation to get some gear low (the slab crux without bolts is probably x rated). Get a few pieces on the easy slab above and then pack the dihedral with bomber nuts. Very reasonable protection on a good, long pitch. Dec 6, 2008
J. Fox
Black Hawk, CO
J. Fox   Black Hawk, CO
This was a fun climb which I did w/Mark C. on 5/7/09. We began up the first pitch on Nickels & Dimes though. P3 is tricky! I lost my hat on it and it blew down to the top of the tunnel. I was able to retrieve it thanks to the spotting work from the lovely girl at the base who then gave me a strawberry! Thanks again! May 7, 2009
Tony T.
Denver, CO
Tony T.   Denver, CO
Great climb! I took the biggest and highest whipper on this route about a week ago. I took it on the third pitch getting out of the dihedral.

Two things...verbal communication is almost impossible on the third pitch. Bring a two-way radio or a loud person.

Second, today it was about 92F, and the rock was burning hot to the touch. We had to abandon our revisit to the route. After about 4pm the shade finally hit it and it cooled off. Aug 23, 2009
Jesse Reeves
Broomfield, CO
Jesse Reeves   Broomfield, CO
P1: freat starting flake to slanted lieback to the slab crux. You just got to trust your feet. One of the best climbs at HW, it's got it all. Sep 4, 2009
Buff Johnson  
Triple C must-do route for fun Oct 25, 2009
Andrew Bradberry
Golden, CO
Andrew Bradberry   Golden, CO
There's a huge block (maybe 150 lbs) in the middle of the dihedral pitch that has been making noise. The last two times I've been on PC this block will make a 'creaking' noise that's very obvious. I doubt it would go, but it's still pretty spooky. I think it's in between the 2nd and 3rd bolt. You can avoid it by face climbing to the left. Mar 7, 2010
Geoff U
Centennial, CO
Geoff U   Centennial, CO
Great route... can do as single pitch with bolt elimination at P2 and slings. Apr 5, 2010
Sam Feuerborn
Sam Feuerborn   Carbondale
Did it the other day as single pitch, skipped 6 bolts and brought 3 extend able draws and put those near the beginning of P3 and it was great, a few more longer draws would have been nice but drag was totally manageable. Give it a go, it's lots of fun. Aug 23, 2010
Dan Holz
Denver, CO
Dan Holz   Denver, CO
Feels like it goes at about 5.10a'ish, though it can feel a bit airy on the last pitch. Be sure you work out some rope signals with your partner before heading up the dihedral. You are out of sight and ear shot when you reach the anchor.

Casey & Darren - thanks for beefing up the anchor! Jun 2, 2011
keith story
Boulder, CO
keith story   Boulder, CO
FYI, P3 has an awkward clip after you pass the dihedral. Stay strong or swing large. Jun 14, 2012
Denver, co
TuRETZ   Denver, co
Fun route! Run it together as one long pitch with some extendable draws (5 ish) and a 70m. There are a 2 or 3 spinners up top that could use replacing as well as 2 of the 3 anchor bolts are a bit old. Great find of a route. Definitely will come back for this again! Dec 3, 2012
Dale Haas and I replaced the worn cold shuts at the belay on pitch 2 with SS Powers Power-Bolts (AKA 5-piece). We added SS quicklinks and SS rings to the new bolts.

We also added SS quicklinks and SS rings to the belay at the top of pitch 1. Someone else had replaced the cold shuts on this anchor with regular hangers.

Lastly, we replaced the cold shut hanger on the first bolt of this route with a SS Fixe hanger.

The American Safe Climbing Association ( provided the hardware for this project. They appreciate your support. Jun 24, 2015
Dale Haas and I removed the two cold shut anchors at the top of pitch 3. We added a Powers 5-piece SS bolt and Fixe double ring hanger to complement the SS Triplex wedge bolt and Fixe double ring hanger added by Darren Mabe and Casey Bernal.

We also replaced the cold shut hangers and plated bolts at the pitch 4 anchor with Powers SS bolts and Fixe double ring hangers.

Now, the anchors at the top of pitches 2, 3, and 4 all have SS bolts and SS hardware.

The hardware for this project was provided by the American Safe Climbing Association(ASCA They appreciate your support. Sep 22, 2015
Paul Sukow
Denver, CO
Paul Sukow   Denver, CO
I tried to climb this route in July. I heard some noise coming from the flake after clipping the first bolt. I looked behind the flake and there were 4-6 bats in it within 1-2 inches of the lip. Probably a good idea to look behind the flake before blindly grabbing it. Oct 2, 2016
With the Nickles and Dimes start, this is also a great trad lead with loads of gear placement options. Nov 1, 2016
Chad Elliott
Las Vegas
Chad Elliott   Las Vegas
Ahhhh, that is one sweet dihedral.... Nov 18, 2016
Scott E
Scott E  
Dihedral is super sick. The first pitch slab felt way harder than the dihedral to me. I also am not the best slab climber. Apr 25, 2017
Dave Clark 5.10
Golden, CO
Dave Clark 5.10   Golden, CO
Those 4-6 bats mentioned in the comment above have invited friends to join them. That big flake at the start of P1 now houses many (dozens? hundreds?) bats within your fingertip reach as you grab all those great holds. I don't think they will bite. I don't think they have rabies. (Although there were two on the ground that had fallen and couldn't get up. Maybe just arthritis?) Aug 2, 2017
Is the flake housing the bats actually on Nickels and Dimes and not People's Choice first pitch? Aug 2, 2017
Dave Clark 5.10
Golden, CO
Dave Clark 5.10   Golden, CO
It's a big flake; left edge come into play on PC en route to first bolt. Aug 7, 2017
Alex Anaya
Pueblo, CO
Alex Anaya   Pueblo, CO
Has anyone been up this route this year? Curious as to how the bolts and anchors are? Aug 14, 2018

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Fixed Hardware Report (26)