Type: Trad, 130 ft Fixed Hardware (2)
FA: Jim Erickson, Jim Walsh, Ed Wright, 1969
Page Views: 11,705 total · 52/month
Shared By: Andrew Wellman on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

320 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: Seasonal Closures Details


This is a one pitch route that climbs a good crack in the back of a low-angle dihedral. It is just to the left of The Unsaid and is a great warm-up for any climbs in the area. The climbing is fun on positive holds and is always well protected.

There is a second pitch. Per Dave Holliday: Steve Levin describes a second pitch to this route (5.2). After getting to the anchor atop the first pitch, clamber over some choss to access a low-angle slab. Climb it with periodic gear placements in the corner to a cable anchor with rappel rings.


Standard trad rack. Bolt anchors at the top allow for top-roping subsequent ascents.


Eds. The anchor may be a rope stretcher to rappel with a short downclimb with a 50m rope to the ledge 30 ft up. Consider 2 ropes or a 60m rope. Also, if you belay from the ground, do not lower with a single rope!
This a great route for its grade. I would give it 3 stars. The route eats a standard rack, so its good for a beginning [Eldo] leader. You often have the option of shoving in a cam or using more creative nut placements from good stances. Bring some longer runners for lower placements and for the option of tying yourself in at the anchors. You can do a short 5.4ish pitch down and right of the climb in order to reach the belay ledge if you feel like doing something only slightly more interesting than scrambling up. Mar 12, 2002
anybody know what the bolted route is that goes on above washington? I jumped on it and definitely hit my ceiling for the day. Must go at 5.12 something? Thanks Jul 10, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The 3 bolt line above Washington Irving is listed as "Atom Smasher 12c" in the latest edition of Rossiter. Jul 10, 2002
I agree. A great climb for the beginning Eldo leader. It was my first Eldo lead. Protecting the first bulge is a tad tricky, but definitely doable. There are two sets of [bolts] at the top that you can used to rap off, or top rope [The Unsaid]. Sep 23, 2002
This route was the subject of an amusing episode in John Long's book "Close Calls : Climbing Mishaps & Near-Death Experiences." If the pseudonym-protected subjects of the story peruse this site, would they care to reveal themselves? Dec 10, 2002
Mike Epke
Denver, CO
Mike Epke   Denver, CO
Super fun route with some committing moves for a 5.6, but as said before the route eats the pro up and is a touch harder than Calypso for the same grade.

deserves three stars Jul 21, 2003
James Garnett
Bellingham, WA
James Garnett   Bellingham, WA
Don't need anything bigger than a #2 Camalot here; a full set of nuts and a few tricams would probably suffice. May 8, 2004
Gary Schmidt
Boulder, CO
Gary Schmidt   Boulder, CO
Easier than Duh Dihedral but still requires a couple of thoughtful moves, though the cruxes are easy to protect. Definitely worth doing if in the area. May 15, 2005
Great route for new trad leaders but one suggestion: be very aware of what you are placing gear into. There is a section approximately half way up that has some very loose blocks and hollow flakes. It is easy to place gear in this section but just as easy to pull it out!

Also, if you belay from the ground this route is way longer than the 100 feet listed in the description. Aug 12, 2007
Mark Cushman
Cumming, GA
Mark Cushman   Cumming, GA
I agree with James, you don't need anything bigger than large hands for this route. It protects very well with passive gear, too. Oct 21, 2007
J. Fox
Black Hawk, CO
J. Fox   Black Hawk, CO
Definitely a good route for beginning trad leaders (like me) wanting an intro to Eldo. This was/is harder than any .6 I'd done previously. It makes you think. I placed everything from a tiny stopper (#4) all the way up to a #4 Camalot. I'm sure I was over protecting though, since I'm kinda new to leading trad. Fun route though overall. Mar 10, 2008
Abram Herman
Grand Junction, CO
Abram Herman   Grand Junction, CO
Fun climb with good mix of holds. Easily protected, didn't need anything larger than #3 Camalot. Seems much easier to make the short climb up onto the ledge than to belay from the ground; we had about 5 ft. left to the middle marks (w/o stretch) when I led on a 60m, so from the ground I don't think you could lower/TR from it safely. Jun 6, 2009
Claire Rose
Boulder, CO
Claire Rose   Boulder, CO
This was a great route for my first time climbing and first pitch. Easy to protect from what I understand. Jul 1, 2012
In the second edition of Steve Levin's excellent guide to the canyon, he describes a second pitch to this route (5.2). After getting to the anchor atop the first pitch, clamber over some choss to access a low-angle slab. Climb it with periodic gear placements in the corner to a cable anchor with rappel rings.

The two pitches are easily linked; clip one of the anchor bolts atop the first pitch to keep the rope from getting sucked into a crack as you continue up the second pitch. A disadvantage of linking the pitches is that your partner at the base will probably not be able to hear you. Jan 18, 2014
Andres Fernandez
Boulder, Colorado
Andres Fernandez   Boulder, Colorado
I lead this on a great fall day. I would definitely recommend if you want to lead a good 5.6. The top of pitch one you can practice setting anchors to the left of the tree and disregard using the rap bolts until you actually need to rap off. I'd recommend the 5.2 forty foot 2nd pitch to the top. Great view of all the climbers on Redgarden Wall. There is a wire wrap slings with about 3 or 4 wrap rings to get back to the top of the 1st pitch. Oct 27, 2014
Climbed with Andrew on 2014/10/25.

I will add a general description, route diagram, and a link to my photos at: flickr.com/photos/19047247@N04/sets/72157648560058747/

Fantastic weather (even hot for October, above 80 F), so we went climbing in Eldorado Canyon State Park. We started with Washington Irving on the West Ridge and then East Slabs on the Whale's Tail.

Washington Irving: cross the stream at the parking lots south of the West Ridge. Follow up the climber's trail to about 1/2 way along the ridge to near the Long John Wall. Washington Irving follows the dihedral to the tree right of the taller routes (Long John, Break on Through, etc.). The 1st pitch of the climb might be made from the bottom using a 60m rope. A shorter 2nd pitch may be made by following the flat, low angle rock directly above the 1st pitch. There is a wire with rings to rappel from the top of the 2nd pitch. There are 2 bolts to rappel the first pitch - it will not go all the way to base of the rock with a 60 m rope. So I've marked the end of the rappel with a circle at N39.93134 W105.28788 at 6,316'.

East Slabs: you can get to the top in 2 pitches if you push if and set up a less comfortable station above the big juniper tree 1/3 of the way up the rock. We rappelled off of a tree near top, maybe a 50' rappel. In retrospect, you can walk off if you downclimb a little lower on the north end or rappel the bolts at the West Crack at the top (looks like a 60 m rope or two ropes is recommended from there). Photo from the base of the East slabs at N39.93140 W105.28309 at 6,027'.

Posted 2014/10/26.
Nov 27, 2014
Ben D.
Ben D.   Colorado
I have climbed this before and always thought the standard "approach" climb to the tree at the bottom of P1 detracted from the quality of the climb. Today, we climbed the bottom half of P1 of Strawberry Shortcut up to the tree to get to the start of P1. This was a much more enjoyable approach and is consistent with the 5.6 grade for the traditional P1.

Also, we climbed the 2nd pitch (5.3) for the first time today. While the climbing is short and pretty easy, the views of the Redgarden Wall make it worth the effort! Oct 17, 2016
Keith W
Keith W   Denvah
Fun route, and definitely a good beginner lead. The crux is steep but easily protected. You can link both pitches from the ground with a 70m rope with a few feet to spare. Great views. Oct 28, 2016
Tim Kessel
Fort Collins
Tim Kessel   Fort Collins
Great easy lead, takes all kind of gear. Two small cruxes are easy to protect. Mar 1, 2017
Tan B
Lakewood, CO
Tan B   Lakewood, CO
Good long lead for a beginner like me. Rack up to #3 (bring at least two #3s for the first bulge). Two bulging cruxes, but they protect very well. Dec 17, 2018