Type: Sport, TR
FA: unknown
Page Views: 3,526 total · 17/month
Shared By: Darin Lang on Jul 30, 2001
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Aeon Aki

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Access Issue: Dirt roads reopened as of June 2014 Details


This is the right-most route on the Fall Wall, just to the right of Cold Finger. The route is not in Heel & Toe, but don't be fooled by the barely suppressed snickers of partners who tell you the route is "8ish". Exceptionally well-protected for a slab route, Drop Zone has reportedly been chopped and rebolted at least twice.

Set up the belay as far right as possible on the Fall Wall ledge, delicately traverse straight right past three bolts, then move up past a slight bulge in the arete. Your first decent handhold and a stem on two chickenheads ends the difficulties. Continue up on 5.6 rock past two more bolts to the same anchor as Cold Finger. It can be TR'd by climbing the latter route.


7 QDs plus something for the two-bolt anchor.


Scott Hansen
Westminster, CO
Scott Hansen   Westminster, CO
What! It felt 8ish that day! Grab a couple more quick draws because I believe there are actually 9 bolts on the slab, before the anchors. Jul 31, 2001
Darin Lang
Darin Lang  
It may be splitting hairs, but the consensus rating on this climb is probably 9+, my previous puffery aside. To quote a Vedauwoo local, "It might appear somewhat overbolted primarily because of the really nasty fall potential, something most don't seem to realize. Once someone sketches off that skimpy rail at the bottom, however, they become thankful for the foresight really fast." I'm one of the thankful folks. Aug 7, 2001
A minor correction: Drop Zone and Cold Finger do not share a common anchor. There are separate two-bolt chain anchors at the top of each climb. Sep 4, 2001
Is this route really comparable in difficulty to, "5.11 Crack"? I'd say that 5.9+ is either an overrating for Drop Zone, or an underrating for 5.11 Crack, or both. Aug 21, 2002
Darin Lang
Darin Lang  
I've done both climbs several times, and I've always felt that 5.11 Crack is markedly easier than Drop Zone. 5.11 Crack really only has two or three difficult moves, separated by some 5.8 or so. Drop Zone feels pretty sustained at the 5.9 to 5.9+ level until you reach the second bolt after the traverse. The beauty of climbing, however, is that we can both be right. YM, as always, MV. Aug 21, 2002
Curiously DL's views seem to be the common consensus amongst climbers I talk to at Fall Wall, but it still leaves me scratching my head. Most people speak of DZ with some awe. Aug 21, 2002
As far as I know this route was bolted by Skip Harper, I may be wrong but I hope whoever the wild boltman is reads this. This route has been done many and many times without bolts either as a toprope or a free solo, further more if it were to be bolted it should have 2 not 3 for the traverse and go about every other bolt past that. I climb it with 5 draws and have fallen like that, it is plenty safe that way. What is ironic (moronic, ego-maniac possibly) is that if Skip did do this route he violated all the rules he set covered in his own book. "Veduawoo is not a bolt a meter area" "do not retro-bolt a someone else's route" basic ethics. Heel and toe, get out of Vedauwoo!!!!!! Sep 16, 2002
What's this? Superclimber can't read? Everyone who likes this climb is worthless or who clips the bolts is unskilled? Yet the climb gets three stars. Climb back into your fat crack dude. Tout your prowess in the local coffee house or bar where it might be believable. Sep 20, 2002
I am so sick of hearing the Laramie crying about Heel & Toe and the authors.Grow up! Sep 21, 2002
I don't think the anti-bolt annoymous coward is touting ability, he freely admits that he fell on the 5.9 Drop Zone. He makes a good point and I tend to agree. As far as complaining about guide book authors, well they just make it so damn easy to do, "don't start none won't be none" (Will Smith in MIB) Sep 25, 2002
I've been climbing only two years, but I must say that this is one of the best slabs anywhere. I agree that it might a be a bit over bolted right at the start, but once you turn up, I think the bolts are spaced just about right. I also agree with the fact that there's a potentially nasty fall at the start. One thing I've noticed, sometimes people will skip every other clip all the way through the route. I think that this isn't a bad idea, but be aware of the beginning.As for Skip Harper, I greatly admire him. He's done so much for documenting the area, and we should all be thankful. The huge groups aren't necessarily from him, but NOLS and outdoor groups like that. I have no problems with small groups wanting to go climb, heck even I will take some (4 or 5) of my friends out for a day. The thing with this is sharing. If someone just walks up, wanting to do whatever climb and I'm on it, I'll offer to pull my rope for a couple of attempts or they can climb on my rope! I really don't care, we need to stop fighting though. If we continue to fight and not abide by things like Leave No Trace, Veedauwoo is doomed for climbers. May 24, 2003
Great sport route! Looks tougher than it feels, but feels 5.9+ for the first half of the route. The difficulties end at the first and only real feature before the halfway mark. A large knob big enough to rest with both feet on. Be comfortable palming the rock and trusting your shoes or don't bother with this one! The top half seems like a walk in the park after the first half. I would agree that the first 3 bolts on this route are required to avoid a nasty fall in a bad place..for what its worth. I'd highly recommend this route to the friction seekers out there! Jul 21, 2003
Jake Wyatt
Longmont, CO
Jake Wyatt   Longmont, CO
I counted 10 bolts today, so things appear to still be happening on this route! (Three bolts on the traverse, and seven above; one bolt near the end looks homemade -- is that the new one?)

Perhaps a good idea to back-clean the first one or two bolts on the initial traverse, in order to to ease the rope-drag up high. Since the bolts on the traverse are very close, it's easy to do so. Aug 14, 2003
just a joy of a climb. this will test the balancy slabby friction doers. the pro makes it very comfy for those looking to challenge themselves after cold fingers. Sep 14, 2003
Gary Schmidt
Boulder, CO
Gary Schmidt   Boulder, CO
A real good sport route. Can be toproped easily with a 60m rope. If no one in your group feels comfortable leading it to set it up, it is easy to lead the 5.7 Cold fingers just to it's left and access the bolts for this route. A testy climb for the first half but good lessons to be learned. Jul 18, 2005
Hummmmm. Man! I cut my teeth learning to climb on slab routes in Colorado and have always felt pretty good at them. I find this route only slightly less difficult than Gunga Din which is 5.11 and accurate in my opinion. I climbed this Drop Zone again the other day for the 3rd or 4th time and find it harder than 9+. I agree too that 5.11 crack seems much easier all be it a different kind of climbing but Drop Zone seems 10 b/c to me. And to all of the AC's whining about the non-Vedauwoo crowd.....first of all get a name attached to your comments and then maybe others will take you serious, although probably not.. Jun 19, 2006
I'm not exactly a slab climber, but managed this thing as my first roped lead ever, so I don't think it's quite as hard as some people think. 9+ sounds pretty accurate. Feb 25, 2008
Joshua Balke
Colorado Springs
Joshua Balke   Colorado Springs
Climbed this a couple weeks ago. I'd say that overall its a great route but I must agree that the first three traverse bolts could have been placed better. A long reach even for a 6'3 person to the first bolt and a bad fall for the leader but then a bolt within 3ft? After the first bolt the worst that will happen is the belayer lowering to the ledge below and then CLIMB ON. Everything else was nicely placed and a great climb. A good 5.9 and 3 stars. Aug 11, 2008
29 palms, ca
kili   29 palms, ca
I climbed the 5.11 crack and Drop zone last night. I finished Drop zone in the dark. 5.11 crack seem the harder of the two climbs. Aug 28, 2009
Nate Olsen
Pinedale Wy/Golden Co
  5.9 PG13
Nate Olsen   Pinedale Wy/Golden Co
  5.9 PG13
In Zach Orenczak's book, Fat Crack Country, this route is rated 5.9. Oct 9, 2009
Sagar Gondalia
Sagar Gondalia   Golden
This is definitely a benchmark 9, granite slab climb. Jun 29, 2011
Arlo F Niederer
Colorado Springs, CO
Arlo F Niederer   Colorado Springs, CO
I've done lots of slab climbing over the years in many areas, probably my best climbing skill.

This route is very sustained up to the 5th bolt. Perhaps none of the moves are harder than 5.9, but consistently hard moves with no real rest spots bumps it up a tick in my book.

I've done mostly sport and crack climbing this year, so that made it feel harder because I'm out of practice. Perhaps that is the reason for the variability in ratings, because the proportion of slab climbs relative to other types has decreased with all the sport climbs and people are less experienced with slab climbs now. Oct 1, 2012
Rob Davies UK
Cheshire, UK
Rob Davies UK   Cheshire, UK
Note for UK visitors: be warned, local grades are weird - this has some thin 5c moves at the start (maybe I just couldn't see the footholds) and is F6b or 6b+ overall. Oct 16, 2013