Type: Trad, Alpine, Grade V
FA: FA: Kamps/Rearick. FFA: Bachar/Westbay Achey/Briggs
Page Views: 8,776 total · 39/month
Shared By: slevin on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


D1 is the quintessential Diamond climb. Sustained and pumpy, some funky rock, great exposure, classic history- simply a great place to be. The first route climbed on the Diamond, it was freed in the late '70s via a horrendous, wet 5.11 chimney above Table Ledge that may still be unrepeated. The original aid line left of this was freed in the early '80s, and provides a difficult and exciting finale. The route is obvious, taking the center plumb-line crack system to the apex of The Diamond.

The first 200-300 feet is moderate climbing (5.8-5.9), lower-angle (at least compared to above) and a bit broken. If you have a pack, it may be efficient to have the second carry the pack instead of hauling. It is also time-saving to simul-climb the first 2+ pitches. Stay a bit right on the "D1 pillar" and it is easy to avoid climbers on the Casual Route. After this lower section, belay just below the obvious 5.10 overhang, on the higher of 2 stances. Climb the overhang, and a stretch of 5.10 above; with long slings down low you can avoid rope drag higher on the pitch. Near the top of the pitch skip the belay stance at the base of the overhanging handcrack (bail slings here) and continue up 20-25 feet to a small but comfortable belay ledge on the left with good anchors. Now you can skip the cramped hanging stance (bail slings here) midway up the pumpy hand crack in the overhanging wall and go all the way to the bivy ledge in one long pitch. Somebody should replace the bolts at the bivy ledge. From here, one rotten 5.10c pitch gets you to Table Ledge, a cramped stance/alcove at this point. Have a rain jacket handy, even if the weather is splitter, because drips from the ice plug can soak you at this belay. At Table Ledge step left (or barge straight up the wet 5.11 offwidth) and tackle a pumpy boulder problem which leads to sustained 5.11 climbing. This is a long pitch that is waaaay up there. The final 5.8 pitch may feel like the crux...wet, icy at times, and runout.

Not everyone will agree with a 3-star rating, although some well-rounded Diamond climbers I know consider D1 the best Diamond climb. It is not quite as sustained as King of Swords, but the crux pitch is probably harder than anything on the King, and the rock is better. The crux pitch is among the best 5.12a Diamond pitches, along with the crux pitch on Ariana and the Gilbert dihedral variation to King of Swords. Early season (June) D1 is often dry and climbable.


2-3 sets wires to #3 Friend, a #3.5 Friend or two, extra mid/large-size wires. 60m rope for the pitch combining beta (below). With two 60m ropes it is possible to bail from this route, even from up high. Early season ascents have used an ice screw on the last pitch if the ice plug is in (a small ice hammer would be comforting too- no joke!).


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Steve, thanks a ton for contributing this route. Although I won soon be climbing it, its awesome to be able to read about it. Please contribute more routes of this nature. I also love reading your historical footnotes to some of the classic and obscure routes on this site. Thanks. Jan 1, 2001
This was Achey and Brigg's first climb together. Jan 1, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Thanks for adding this historic route, Steve_ The info on belays and pitch combinations can not be found in any guide. For those of us who can not climb 12a, I am always interested in what a modern aid rating might be for this route (plus rack info). Perhaps someone else will comment. Has anyone recently donw this route at (say) 5.10 A1, and still made it in a day? Is there any reasonable place to bivy?. Jan 1, 2001
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
Patrick Vernon   Estes Park, CO
Steve, or anyone, I'm curious; has the joker ever seen a second free ascent? An onsight? It seems like one of the great free/trad challenges climbs of the front range (or america for that matter), yet I never hear of any climbers attempting to free it. It would be cool to see it onsighted some day. Jan 1, 2001
justin dubois
Estes Park
justin dubois   Estes Park
I was wondering whether anyone has repeated the westbay offwidth.That guy was a bad mo__erf__k_r!!!!!! Sep 26, 2003
Bosier Parsons
Colorado Springs, CO
Bosier Parsons   Colorado Springs, CO
I was on D-7 about 5 or 6 years ago, and we were just finishing the fourth crux pitch, when Roger Briggs and partner came rapping down past us after completing an early season warm-up on D-1. They topped out, then climbed down Upper Kiener's and back to the D-7 rappels. I asked him about the last pitch on D-1 and he said it was about 5.9-ish, wet and icy, and that it usually is. Impressive to see the speed merchants on their walk-in-the-park. I think we were on the first pitch of D-7 and saw them start up D-1. Then, next thing you know (maybe while we were about to start the third pitch), they were way up at Table Ledge, getting ready to crank the crux. Steve - I wonder if you were his partner that day. Ring a bell? Jul 10, 2004
Anyone been on D1 lately? I was thinking that perhapsafter the low percentage snowpack this last winter itmight be a little drier up there earlier in the season - maybe not... Jul 26, 2004
Kevin Stricker
Evergreen, CO
Kevin Stricker   Evergreen, CO
We replaced the bad bolts on the D1 bivy ledge with SS Fixe wedge bolts, allowing safe retreat from this point. Above this retreat will require leaving gear as fixed anchors become non-[existent] other than a faded sling around a block at Table ledge. Aug 16, 2004
Kristo torgersen  
i got a chance to try D1 this last summer, in the middle of august 04, with my friend luke parady. i found the route to be more "historic" than "classic". the whole middle section of the route was a wide loose trough, with pebbles constantly exfoliating from the decomposing granite and, at times, large chunks of rock pulling off...belayers beware. the crux pitch, however, stands alone as the best quality rock, and pitch, of the route. the location is stunning (the upper tip of the diamond, dead vertical, super exposed, sucking thin air, whew!), and the moves demand a strong effort, and make for an unforgettable pitch! those new fixe bolts below table crack were rad! unfortunately, we had to bail because of bad weather about a pitch and a half below the summit...temp. dropped about 20 degrees in 10 min. and aggressive hail, blinding fog, and wet rock made for an epic retreat. when the impending weather appeared destined to unleash, i had to set up a belay off of two fixed pins about 60ft. up the 12a pitch, in the sustained 11 section, and bring luke up. we bailed just in time (or a little too late), down and over to the D7 raps. the crux pitch is amazing, though, and i can't wait to traverse into it next summer and finish it to the summit.also, to reiterate patrick's question, has anyone repeated, or been on, The Joker? Mar 20, 2005
If you thought D1 was loose and rotten, prepare for exponentially higher misery on anything to the right of it, including The King of Swords, or The Joker. Mar 20, 2005
Kristo, I hear the rock up at Sport Park is pretty clean, you should check it out. Mar 28, 2005
vimeo.com/14740910 Sep 18, 2010
phil wortmann
Colorado Springs, Co.
phil wortmann   Colorado Springs, Co.
Eric Jesse and I climbed this a few weeks ago. I found the 10+ roof of P3 and the 12a pitch to be very enjoyable (especially since I was only following on the crux). The middle pitches were definitely looser and wetter than they appeared and pretty steep and sustained. I'm sure some Diamond hardmen would disagree, but I'm listing it as one of those routes that are good to have done but wouldn't go back for. Sep 16, 2015