Mountain Project Logo

Routes in West Ridge - part C - Pony Express to Long John

Barrel of Monkeys S 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Bloke On The Side T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Bridget the Midget T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Byway T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Chick on the Side T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Conversions T,TR 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b X
Court Jester T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Crazy Stairs T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Curving Dihedral T 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Dandi-Line T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Dead Letter Department T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Drug Abuse T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Erickson's Finish T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
False Prophet T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Fever, The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Going Postal T 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Good Ship Venus T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13
Handcracker Direct T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Hanging Chad T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Heat Wave T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Horse d'Oeuvre (aka Pony Express P1 to Zip Code) T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Human Factor, The T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Hyperspace Roundup T,S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b PG13
Ignominity T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Ignore Me T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Iron Horse T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Knife, The T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Lightning Bolt Crack T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Lost in the Netherlands T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Mail Ridge Tower Link-Up T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Mail Ridge, The T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Mesca-Line T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Muscle and Hate T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Pluto T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Pony Express T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Pony Express, Briggs' Variation T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Practice Climb 101 T 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R
Practice Wall T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Prison Sex T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Pygmy Pony T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Quick Silver T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Quicksand T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Quiet Desperation T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
Reckoning T,S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Rhombohedral T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Rope to Ruin T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Seemingly Innocent T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Side Wall, The T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Sister Morphine T,TR 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Sooberb T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Sooberb Lite T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sundial T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sword Of Damocles T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Thin Ice T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a X
Think Quickly T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Unbroken Chain T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
Warp Drive Overload S 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Who's Holding T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Wind Tunnel T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Zeros and Ones T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13
variation to Mail Ridge T,TR 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: Ferguson, Wunsch, Bragg, 1974
Page Views: 10,634 total, 54/month
Shared By: Tony B on Aug 10, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route


138 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do

Your Star Rating:


     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:


-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
    -none-
Seasonal Closures Details

Description

This route is probably the best route in the popular Pony Express Area of the West Ridge of Eldo. It may be one of the best shorter routes in Eldo.

P1) 5.9, 80'. Climb the left most of the cracks in a large inset, starting just below a pine tree and ending at a pine at the base of a right-facing dihedral. Most of the gear is thin-to-fat finger sized.

P2) 5.11, 55'. From there, climb up the dihedral until it gets bare, then launch up and left though a series strenuous thin moves (11b/c) to get to the arete on the left, and up to a jug on the face and then back right to the corner (awkward). The gear is pretty reasonable and frequently fixed (small stoppers). There is one hard move (11a, balancy) remaining once you are back to the corner. What will be the crux for you depends upon your individual strengths and weaknesses. Going directly up the corner the whole way is thin stemming (5.11d) and is not as well protected.

To descend, rap to the rings above Iron Horse and then rap again to the ground.

Protection

The protection is reasonable at all times, but not necessarily great. The crux pro is several small nuts in a row, so take some small gear. There is most frequently fixed protection at the crux, but it can be transient and would best be backed up.
Andy Hansen
Longmont, Colorado
  5.11c
Andy Hansen   Longmont, Colorado
  5.11c
This route is a mega-classic. The second pitch is not to be missed, and if you were to rope up for this pitch, you would not regret it... but just don't forget the RPs is my estimation for gear. Plus a few cams up to #0.75 Camalot...perhaps some larger cams for P1. Aug 22, 2016
Lisa Montgomery
Golden, CO
Lisa Montgomery   Golden, CO
Route update: new righthand anchor bolt and new chain on P2 of Pony Express. We made it so that you can equalize your rope in two directions: either rap straight down to the ground from the lowest chain links (80m rope required?) or rap the Pony Express corner to the P1 anchor by using the quicklinks on the right chain.
May 25, 2016
Mike Tsuji
Boulder, CO
 
Mike Tsuji   Boulder, CO
 
Climbed this today and no wasps. Pretty cool line! Jun 8, 2012
Rob F
Fort Collins, CO
Rob F   Fort Collins, CO
Watched a gentleman bail on the beautiful 2nd pitch last Friday due to a swarm of wasps! Be aware! Apr 2, 2012
SeanKuus Kuusinen
Steamboat Springs
  5.11c
SeanKuus Kuusinen   Steamboat Springs
  5.11c
I climbed P2 around noon yesterday. I encountered 2 or 3 wasps when I climbed it, but while I was lowered I noticed 8-10 near a crucial finger lock. The guy who got on it earlier said that he saw very few wasps. This leads me to believe that they're more active later in the day, so get on this thing early! Mar 19, 2012
Phil Lauffen
The Bubble
Phil Lauffen   The Bubble
A few wasps today, but nothing bad. I think it's good to go for the fall season! Sep 11, 2011
Scotty Nelson
Boulder
 
Scotty Nelson   Boulder
 
Climbed it a few weeks ago, no wasps present. Mar 20, 2010
Brent Apgar
Out of the Loop
Brent Apgar   Out of the Loop
There are currently no wasps and an oldish looking (though solid) fixed stopped at the crux of Pony Express. I don't know about anyone else, but I would recommend against Tom F's suggestion of slinging the jug flake just after the crux. The thing is pretty creaky and you get great gear after just one more move, not worth risking sending a sizable missile down at your belayer or anyone below IMO. -BA Nov 22, 2009
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
  5.11c
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
  5.11c
You better add a can of raid or a fly swatter to your rack, if you want to climb second pitch. There were about dozen hornets sunning themselves around the crux crack this morning. Mar 20, 2009
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
  5.11c
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
  5.11c
Onsight Baby! I messed with some gear at the big hold halfway up and after fiddling for a few seconds thought "F*#@ it I have a bucket" and kept climbing.

That's for you John, thanks for the belay! Jan 22, 2009
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
Here's a suggestion: If coming down after climbing Handcracker Direct and are looking for more action, jump on P1 of PE for a little icing on the cake...set up a top rope and do Iron Horse, and then pull the rope and send Mesca-Line or Dandi-Line for the night cap. Made for a fun afternoon on west ridge! Jun 20, 2005
Just a high quality line. The wasps are lingering in the first little slot of p2. Oct 26, 2004
SL hits the nail on the head when he says "frustrating second crux". I have never been able to feel solid on that move. As I remember you have nothing for feet and kinda have to stab at an OK hold. Just desperate!!!! Aug 18, 2004
How can a trad route be 'contrived'? That seems a contradiction of terms. Similarly I don't see how one can be 'off route'. The whole point (for me) about a trad route is you get to choose exactly how you climb the section of rock. The grade is only a guide anyway. Jun 4, 2004
Clare, I've done the first pitch both ways -- staying in the crack and going a bit right on the face. Both seem about the same diffficulty to me. If you like crack climbing and being close to your gear, the former might seem easier. If you like face climbing, the latter might suit you better. I don't think one or the other is "off route." To say so means the route is contrived, IMHO. Oct 14, 2003
On P1, is it on route to go ~ 4 ft RIGHT of the crack about mid-way for about 10 feet, then join back up with the crack to finish? The crack section through the middle here seems to be more difficult than 9. Oct 13, 2003
I attempted to lead the second pitch of this climb today, and it appears that the wasps are back. I didn't see a nest, but there were quite a few wasps flying in and out of the crack (on the face) for its entire length, and more lurking in the initial finger jams.

I ended up backing off, so that stinging wasps wouldn't blow my onsight. Oct 8, 2003
adam brink
Boulder, CO
  5.11a/b
adam brink   Boulder, CO
  5.11a/b
Has anyone done the second pitch recently and are the wasps still there? I would love to hear that they're not. Oct 17, 2002
Joe Collins
  5.11+
Joe Collins  
  5.11+
I don't think that it would be too wise to sling the jug as Tom suggests. The jug seemed a bit creaky to me. Even so the feet suck here and its very hard to stop and place pro. There is a fixed nut just below the crux whose quality really can't be judged until you're eye to eye with it... basically, it sucks... you can back it up with a #4 or 5 BD stopper in the pod just above. An awesome climb with a desperately hard crux! Oct 14, 2002
Important note for those who don't like wasps: it appears that some wasps have declared the Pony Express crack on P2 their home. Yesterday, 4.28.02, about 50 wasps were swarming in and out of the crack. Apr 29, 2002
The first pitch protects fairly well and has some beautiful moves on it. There are good rests and nice stances to place gear. Feb 4, 2002
This is a top shelf line! It is also a bit intimidating. I think I managed a pink tricam near the crux that was a good supplement to the small nuts. You can also get a great sling over the flake you reach for at the crux. Nov 12, 2001