Type: Trad
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Shared By: William Prehm on Dec 31, 2000
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 route follows a left-facing hand crack to an off-width finish. It has very solid jamming, but making your moves are tricky with thin footing and the way the crack is recessed. It is located to the right of the parabolic slab on the Southeast Side (left end). It is a prominent crack that is right of the large, detached flake that looks like a giant, shark's tooth.

The downclimb traverses to the right and descends a chimney.

I believe this climb to be under-rated at 5.9+.


The off-width finish can definitely eat up something large like a #4 - #4.5 Camalot or a Big bro. The rest of the crack is hand and fist-sized pro.
This climb is actually solid 5.11. ;-) I found the big piece for the top unnecessary as I placed a #3 Camalot at the bottom of the slot. One of the cruxy moves is getting into the slot, and for this move the #3 is at your feet, after that it eases up. A #4 Camalot is definitely too small for the slot. Take a good selection of thin hands through hands pro for the meat of the route. Oct 9, 2001
Lower Prog. is 5.11? Check out Skip Harper's targeted comments in the "Heel and Toe" Guidebook and try again. Benchmark 5.9+!!!J. R. May 7, 2002
I followed this a couple of days ago. 9+ seems like a fair grade. Seemed easier than Middle Parallel Space. May 28, 2002
When I hopped on this, I thought it was Handjacker, and thought 'damn this is tough for 5.7!!'. I feel much better now! I think the erratum stuff in the 'Heel and Toe' clears this confusion up. Jun 25, 2002
I too made the classic mistake of getting on this route thinking it was Handjacker. Fortunately I correctly assessed that I was about to be whipped by a typical Vedauwoo sandbag. The route eats gear (if you can place it!) in the #0.5 to #3 Camalot range, and I'd give it more like 5.10b. Lots-O-Fun (especially on TR ;_) Jul 10, 2002
It's a 5.9, don't cry when you get humbled by it. Just remember to get down and funky with it. Feb 27, 2003
Andy Johnson  
Alright folks are you ready for the secret key beta? If you do not want too much beta then do not read any more. If you do, here goes. When you get to the wide section at the top use the really good feet out left and the good crimpers and it is one easy move past the "crux" that does not take you off route. Try it and see. Mar 27, 2004

On the lower section, work a semi drop knee with the left foot on smears on the left face. This will square your hips to the crack and allow you to make big fluid moves. Really fun moving. If your thrutching, you havent figured it out. Like most Vedauwoo "grunt fests", a little technique goes a long way. Classic climb.

BTW, have to set a gear anchor with hand sized stuff and to get down down climb the chimney below Escalator, the left leaning hand crack back and to the right. May 13, 2006
manuel rangel
manuel rangel   Arizona
My beta would be different and I had no problems on the pitch. I loved the clean rock, excellent jams and tenuous smearing with my left foot. The exit was fun, I got to use my #6 Friend. I coulda used other stuff, just had to use the damn thing since I was in the land of big cracks! Jun 22, 2006
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
There are occasionally slings at the top of Handjacker you can rap from, but don't plan on them being there. Jul 17, 2007
Mike D
Fort Collins, CO
Mike D   Fort Collins, CO
New bolt anchors have been unnecessarily added to the top of this pitch. They have been placed in the worst of all possible places, set way back and down low where the rock is fractured into large boulders, there is clean solid rock two feet higher. Any attempt to lower off after a lead or a toprope ascent will result in a stuck rope. Not only can a natural gear anchor be set up in the same place but an easy downclimb can be found by walking around to the right (easier than it looks!) and downclimbing a v.easy chimney up against the main wall underneath Escalator 10b.
Please think before placing unnecessary bolt anchors, and if you do decide that they are required please bolt better than this. Aug 31, 2007
Sean Dunlop
Durango, CO
Sean Dunlop   Durango, CO
I was really surprised to see the new bolts when I climbed it on Tuesday.... True, they probably aren't necessary, and I would have put them above as well, but pulling the rope from the rappel did not result in a hang up. They were probably put there for some one to set up a simple top rope. Ball up and lead the damn thing, it's a wonderful climb. Sep 6, 2007
Aeon Aki

Aeon Aki    
My rope snagged as I pulled it which resulted in me having to climb up the chimney near Escalator to free it. Don't bother with the bolts, just throw your rope down and walk off. Maybe someone could paint them (read: remove them) so they're not completely hideous? Sep 30, 2007
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
The bolts are just all around poorly placed. It's easy to get a toprope stuck, and we definitely got the rope stuck trying to pull from the rappel. Just walk off. Apr 28, 2008
Standard Vedauwoo 5.9+ as a crack climb.

Face climb the crystals, and just use the crack for pro, and its a standard 5.9-. Just because its near a crack doesn't mean you have to climb it as a crack.

One of the better gear face climbs at the "Woo" that is much easier than trying to jam it. May 3, 2008
John Korfmacher
Fort Collins, CO
John Korfmacher   Fort Collins, CO
TR'd this one...but it might be one of the few Voo 5.9's that I could lead. Very good jams, and good pro. I thought the first move off the deck was the crux, although it's easier for more flexible climbers. Top piece would definitely be a #4 or #5 Camalot. The last few moves are OW but there are also medium-size crystals available to the climber's left hand, which helps quite a bit.

Vedauwoo 5.9+ is probably a reasonable grade, which is to say it'd be about 5.10b most places.

Props to Old Fart--and anyone else--with the finger strength to face climb this one! May 12, 2008
I have quite often face climbed out left at the end of this one to avoid doing the offwidth finish. Think that is what the"Old Fart" is talkin bout. Jun 9, 2008
Laramie, WY
poundit14   Laramie, WY
There are some good edges and crystals out left, through the whole crack, that make for good rests. There is especially a no hands rest before the offwidth finish. Also, a lot of people do face climb the slab at the end, avoiding the offwidth section.

Saying all that, I thought it was 5.9 even. You definitely was tight hands to hands for gear, and a big piece is nice for the end. Due to the flare, a few #1 Camalots are nice with 1 or 2 #2 Camalots, and a #5 Camalot for the end. May 24, 2009
prod. Kenny
Boulder, Co
prod. Kenny   Boulder, Co
I found it much harder than most other Vedauwoo 5.9+'s, I fell twice on lead and 3 times on TR (I was spent). The gear is all there to lace it up. If you feel the need to lace it up, bring some extra C3 #1s and #2s. I thought the crux was about 1/2 way up rattly fingers/ really thin hands for about 4 feet. Getting on the thing isn't too easy either. If you're worried about the top, bring something bigger than a #4, a #6 would most likely be perfect.

The bolts are the worst TR bolts I have seen. They should be chopped and replaced, or eliminated. Jul 5, 2010
EldoFiend   WY
No way you could place any C3s on this climb. I think you mean C4s. Jul 5, 2010
Boulder, CO
claytown   Boulder, CO
Excellent! Thin hands to a wide move or two at the top. Either belay from the top or, if top-roping, the crack at the top is a rope eater right before it gets wide. Maybe place a nut or 0.5/0.75 Camalot there to fill up the crack so the rope can't get stuck. Better yet to run the rope over the bulge (won't get stuck but will abrade the rope if weighted a bunch). May 21, 2012
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Awesome climb! Though I really wanted to stem my left foot on the low angle left wall, I found this made moving up a LOT more awkward. So best to stay straight in 'til the top, at least for me.

Also, I ignored the ample face features and stupidly tried left-side in at the top OW and got throttled. Right side in, using the great crystals for left foot & hand and working the arm bar/heel-toe combo with the right side made this feel spot on for 5.9. Aug 31, 2012
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
For me personally, the #6 was the perfect finishing piece. It is not absolutely necessary to have, but it felt good to know I would not slide way down out of the wide and have to re-do those moves again!

Why do people write "how to climb" crux moves? The beauty of climbing is problem solving and learning. I am glad to have not known anything about this route except the name and the grade when I did it. Jul 8, 2013
Rappelling off the new bolts is ok if you're careful about the line you take on the way down (don't follow the crack) and pull your rope from an angle where it won't end up in the crack. Toproping off these bolts is not a good idea at all.

The bolts are not at all necessary but worse yet are poorly positioned. I'd probably consider moving them if I ever lugged a drill and bolts up to the Nautilus but don't see that happening any time soon. Jul 9, 2013
Rob Davies UK
Cheshire, UK
Rob Davies UK   Cheshire, UK
Note for UK visitors: We failed miserably on this. I suspect hard E2 or E3 would be an accurate translation of "5.9".... Oct 16, 2013
bart cubrich 1  
I thought this was easy for a Vedauwoo 5.9, and 9+ is a little soft compared to, say Middle Parallel sSpace, Poo's Corner, or Plumb Line.

In response to top roping if you have a Big bro, it can be placed in the wide section to let the rope run in the crack or a piece can be placed outside the rope-sized constriction (just before the crack gets wide), which helps, but the best thing for the rope is to belay from the top and have a partner who can flash it. Apr 1, 2014
nate post
nate post   Silverthorne
Way harder than Middle Parallel Space. Middle Parallel Space wasn't a walk in the park for me but I comfortable on-sighted it. I'm new to crack climbing and Lower Progressive gave me the opportunity to test ride my cams. Aug 25, 2014
Tom Ashley
Laramie, WY
Tom Ashley   Laramie, WY
I didn't think the bolts were that bad... certainly they allow for easy rapping over the bulge to the right of the crack and no chance of getting the rope stuck. For top roping, I put a directional in below the offwidth, but I think that was actually totally unnecessary and maybe even made things worse. Maybe the bolts got moved? The downclimb looks scary to me, but then again I didn't actually try it, because there were bolts. So thanks to whoever put those in. Oct 14, 2015
Alex Vidal
Boulder, CO
Alex Vidal   Boulder, CO
I've rated this climb 9+ to maintain the local grade ethic, but in other granite areas like, say, Squamish... this climb could be 11a.

A 9+ testpiece and fairly graded for the Voo.

A #6 is nice to have but not mandatory. Jun 27, 2016