Type: Trad, 3 pitches
FA: Ken Duncan, 1976? Todd Skinner & Paul Piana, ~1979-1981?
Page Views: 24,418 total · 115/month
Shared By: slevin on Aug 30, 2001
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Aeon Aki

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Dirt roads reopened as of June 2014 Details


From the parking lot, listen for crowd noise, then follow this to the start of the route. Located at the far SE end of the Nautilus, Friday the 13th is tremendously popular (at least the 5.10a start) and for good reason. This climb takes the obvious L-facing corner just right of the deep chimney recess, through a large roof, then, higher, a second even larger (and much more challenging) roof.

P1. The start is the crux, with several off-finger jams to contend with. After a short bit, the crack widens to hands, then fists for short little stretches. There is a 3-bolt chain anchor below the first roof from which many people slingshot toprope (don't hog the route though!). A 5.11- variation climbs left towards the chimney (good climbing) and a steep, hanging crack.

P2. If you want to climb the roof (5.11 something), continue through in one pitch. The initial moves are strenuous but secure, then rounding the lip requires a bit of go-for-it. Belay above in a recess at some fixed anchors.

P3. The final roof (hard 5.11) has a cool cut-your-feet-loose move, on technical thin jams.

This route gets early morning and mid afternoon shade. Truly a classic crack line!


The first pitch takes larger TCUs at the start up to a 3-4" cam (the upper part is a bit wider than it looks). The roof takes hand-size pieces. The upper roof requires large wireds, TCUs in addition to the gear you've brought for the bottom. One rope off from chains at top of the 5.10a part, and from above the first roof (good anchors). Descend from the top via the rap route climbers right, or search left for anchors down the chimney.

Bird Nest

Per Ken Duncan: in the Spring of 2017, there is a raven's nest just to the left.
I agree completely with Steve's assessment - a superb climb even for gumbies such as myself who can only scratch their way up P1. It's a little more awkward than it appears from the ground, but the jams and the protection are excellent. Take a few #3 and #4 Friends, along with an orange TCU, stand in the queue, and then give it a go. Aug 30, 2001
Darrin Stein
Vancouver, WA
Darrin Stein   Vancouver, WA
A sweeet climb here. Great beta from Steve....thanks. You can read all about it, but nothing compares to just climbing it. Pumpy climb that when finished, will keep you smiling for some time after. Dec 19, 2001
The second pitch of this climb is also very good. I believe there was a chockstone anchor right after the crux. This pitch is only concidered about 25feet. 11a. Jul 30, 2003
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Excellent!!! Rack TCUs (yellow Metolius or equivalent) to #3 Camalot. The crack generally widens as one ascends, so placing gear is pretty straightforward. I would suggest racking on your left side and save a 0.75 Camalot for the top!

One of the best handcracks Vedauwoo has to offer. Aug 12, 2003
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
A yellow Alien at the start WILL NOT HOLD. I've seen one blow out numerous times when an associate chickened out (not difficult if you're not proficient at the grade). Medium-sized nuts will hold instead. Farther up, this thing eats #2 Camalots like popcorn. Apr 16, 2004
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
Also (nurrrr....) the second pitch goes at 10+ and eats gold Camalots like popcorn but needs a #3.5 Camalot to protect a brief (but easy) wide spot above the roof. Look for little feet and trust your smears and deep hand jams going out the roof on this thing. The third pitch goes at 11-ish. Wild exposure, no feet, campusing between jams for the crux of that. Apparently there is an edge to grab, but Bob says if you have any skill as a crack climber, don't use it. Apr 16, 2004
MaryH. Harlan
Carbondale, CO
MaryH. Harlan   Carbondale, CO
I agree with one of the previous comments-- if you are a small person, the bottom 20 feet aren't as challenging. I can place a bomber purple cam and go... But the top part where it opens into #3 cams and a bit wider- that section is tough for me. May 28, 2004
I think a yellow Alien is totally bomber gear at the initial moves, all about the competence of the climber placing it. The first pitch doesn't have a move harder than 5.9, but it is sustained. Harder for people with small hands up high. The last pitch does not involve campusing as said earlier. Really bomber hands out overhang lead to a good shelf hold above the lip- I bet if Bob was up there he'd use it. Jan 16, 2006
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
No, Scarpelli was being quick with the beta and he said "If you've got any skill as a crack climber, you won't grab that edge". Apr 10, 2006
"No, Scarpelli was being quick with the beta and he said 'If you've got any skill as a crack climber, you won't grab that edge'."

Lol. Bob has a very good point, which is to learn to climb the crack, not the face around the crack. Same goes for your feet. Learn to jam them in the crack, especially on flared cracks. Rand smears = (secure + good body position most of the time). Edges on the outside of the crack can certainly be useful, but pure reliance on them is foolish. Know how to do both and when to use what. Apr 21, 2006
Absolutely great route! Strenuous and continuous jamming, never too hard, but never too easy either. One of the best 5.10 cracks I've ever done. Apr 23, 2006
Rob Kepley
Rob Kepley   Westminster,CO
Trust me, about everyone uses the good edge at the lip of the top roof. Man I know I did. It's quite desperate up there.

I once linked up all three pitches together as one pitch. I called it the "Ultimate Linkup". Stanton "pumphouse" Peterson belayed. Jun 15, 2006
Climbing the first roof is 11a, but not harder. May 20, 2007
Jared O'Brien
Golden, Co
Jared O'Brien   Golden, Co
Led the first pitch, classic! I ripped out my second piece, 0.3 blue Camalot, at the same spot my friend did 4 years earlier...same size cam, too! I got rope burn and a little road rash and almost touched the ground. Had to ball up for the send, and then had to run it out 'cause I only brought one #2 Camalot. Great pitch! May 26, 2007
Mike D
Fort Collins, CO
Mike D   Fort Collins, CO
How about removing the 10a/b rating for this climb- IT'S WRONG! Only one pitch of this three pitch climb is even close to this (one move of 10a at most). Rating the climb for only its first pitch is ridiculous even if most people don't go on to climb the rest of it.
Anyone agree? Nov 11, 2007
Malcolm Daly
Boulder, CO
Malcolm Daly   Boulder, CO
I'm with Mike D on this one. The route is rated 5.11+. The first pitch clears the first roof and is rated 5.11a. The second pitch is the business and can be 5.11d or harder depending on your campusing ability between flared hands. There is no third pitch.

Whoever put the chains in below the first roof ought to be castrated: they have completely changed the nature of the route and should be removed. It used to be one of the great Veedauwoo test-pieces. Now it's just another overcrowded tick for people who people who climb on other people's top ropes.

I am so glad that the FHRC in Eldorado has taken a stance against these convenience anchors. Their farsighted understanding of how profoundly these cheese-ball anchors will change the nature of a route and an area has kept Eldo as one of the premier trad areas in the country. Nov 26, 2007
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
... or if nothing else, they should replace the chains with at least something I'd consider chaining my dog up with. Yeesh. As far as the "P2", the rope drag's gonna be a bitch no matter how you do it, since those bolts don't really provide you with anything, positionwise. Nov 27, 2007
Dan Brockway
Dan Brockway   Boulder
Malcolm, Those chains have been there for well over 20 years and allow a lot of people to be able to do a great 5.10a. A lot of people do not lead 5.11 trad. Why should 5.10 climbers be deprived of a one of the best 5.10 pitches in the area, especially since it has been there so long. I don't view it as a convenience anchor. Leading pitch one and two together would be interesting. With the weight of the rope there would be significant rope drag. I lead the second pitch in 1986 with a belay at the chains and I don't recall there being much drag. Did you lead P1 and P2 as a single pitch? Do you remember much rope drag?

As far as replacing the chains I can't remember or comment on the quality of the belay since I have not been there in a few years, but if it is inadequate, I would support replacement (preferably by the locals if they deem necessary since the last thing I want to do is tell the locals up there what to do.) Jul 31, 2008
P1 and P2 can be combined without rope drag being a concern. Jul 31, 2008
Bob Rotert
Bob Rotert  
I agree with the rating change for this route and I'm with Malcom. Just because the anchors have been there for a long time doesn't mean they should have been placed there to begin with. Did anyone contact the folks that did the FA to see if they were ok with installing a bolted anchor in the middle of this pitch? This climb was originally put up as a 2 pitch climb because that is how it should've done to be considered a free climb.If you were to use the chain anchor or belay here, since it is not a stance , you're not really freeing this. Technically it's adding Aid/A0 to this first pitch.

It's sad to see this kind of stuff happen to a classic test piece. There are plenty of other good 10s in the area for folks to do. Adding an anchor in the middle of a 5.11 pitch so folks can do only the 10- section of the pitch or belay to break up the crux is free climbing blasphemy along with a very bad precedent to set. I guess there are a lot of folks that don't and won't understand that "old school" perspective. Having climbed in Vedauwoo for over 20 yrs & knowing the mentality from the past, I believe the previous generations of locals would not be in favor of this DAWG anchor!!

Unfortunately the rock and the route have been permanently altered, it's there now, I am sure many will use it and find it convient enough to try to justify it being there. Jun 29, 2009
mikejohnson1 Johnson
Essex Junction, VT
mikejohnson1 Johnson   Essex Junction, VT
I watched the great Scarpelli and his lady friend use the anchors below the roof, which may add to their legitimacy. The way that it is broken up now seems to be the best way, and its rating is arrived at because that is the way most people climb it. Please, dismount from your white horse of righteousness. Apr 6, 2010
Ken Duncan
Ft Collins, CO
Ken Duncan   Ft Collins, CO
Amen, Malcolm and Bob. Adding anchors in the middle of a classic long standing pitch does not fit in Vedauwoo. Doing the first "two" pitches as one with properly placed gear is not a problem as far as rope drag goes. May 25, 2010
The first pitch was one of my hardest leads to date, and I am stoked that it's set up the way it is. I understand the purists wanting it to stay clean, but there are a ton of routes with walkoffs and probably first ascents if you don't like the crowds or it being broken up the way it is. Nov 3, 2010
Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Olszewski   Colorado Springs, CO
I certainly benefited from the convenience anchor; it was great to be able to play on this line. But I have to agree with the purists - if this route was FA'd as an .11 climbing through the roof, that's how it should be, IMO. There are plenty of nice .10s to be had without splitting up this pitch. I can think of several classics I've been on, all over CO and CA, that have high cruxes. I would hate to see them split by a lower anchor so that those that don't climb at the grade can do the lower portion. If this sort of thing is okay, then it naturally applies to all grades. Do we want 5.12s with intermediate anchors for climbing at 5.11? Do we want 5.7s with intermediate anchors for climbing at 5.6? And I have to think that were it not for the intermediate anchors on Friday the 13th, the rock on this line would be nowhere near as polished.... Mar 26, 2012
Just to voice a local opinion, I actually think the anchor is fine. I also think it is fine to add anchors in situations like this where the circumstances fit. I could well imagine a large part of the draw on this particular route is the fact that that pitch is nice and sheltered even in a heavy downpour, and due to its orientation and protected location, it is a great cold weather climb. Does anyone know how the FAist feels about this anchor? Apr 6, 2012
+1 for leaving the anchor alone.

"Chopping" would be destructive and silly, the vast majority of climbers that get on this route only do the 10a pitch to the existing anchors. Apr 6, 2012
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
I agree that chopping the bolts would be needlessly destructive, especially since they've been in place for decades (they were certainly there when I first visited the climb in 2002). Apr 6, 2012
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Dusty, rattly memories: maybe they've been there since the mid-1990s. I too agree with leaving the anchors as is. When we first did the first pitch (through the 11- section), we used that intermediate anchor. Apr 6, 2012
Michael Byczynski
Denver, CO
Michael Byczynski   Denver, CO
Great route, extremely hard to lead if you're not comfortable with 5.10 Vedauwoo ratings. P.S.: Keep the bolts. Please. May 6, 2012
Princess Mia
Princess Mia   Vail
It is kind of funny to look at the "com census" rating and so many folk saying it is 10a...well 99% of all only do the first pitch and yes it is 10a. But really... it is a three-pitch climb rated at 11+.

So, if you are not going to do all three pitches then you probably should not give the climb a grade.

Just saying.... Jun 4, 2012
I'm generally against chopping anchors. In this case, it seems that primarily Colorado climbers want to have the anchor removed. This is a Vedauwoo route, not Eldo. I'm certain if it were chopped (defacing the rock!) that it would be replaced by the Laramie/Fort Collins locals almost immediately. Don't like it? Climb somewhere/something else that doesn't offend your sensibilities.
P.S. I've been climbing in Vedauwoo a LONG time (since 1968). Oct 10, 2012
Geoff E. Mercer
Worcester, MA
Geoff E. Mercer   Worcester, MA
Is everyone basing their opinion of this climb on the 1st pitch? Dec 16, 2014
Brandon Emery
South Dakota
Brandon Emery   South Dakota
Although I don't think chopping the anchors is necessary, I would agree that it is crappy someone placed them there in the first place. The argument that they should be left so that 5.10 leaders can climb the route is a dumb argument. I myself have not climbed this route, because I am not capable of leading the whole route yet. The object of climbing should be to bring yourself to the difficulty of the route, not change the climb to meet your skill level. If you can't climb the route, then better yourself until you feel confident enough to climb it. Maybe after a year of training and climbing as I attend UW next year, I will be able to climb this whole route in its original form the way it was meant to be climbed. Then again I am also from the Needles SD, so I have a very traditional point of view on matters such as this. You don't mess with someone else's route, leave it the same way the FA team did. Jul 12, 2015
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
Noah McKelvin   Colorado Springs
That third pitch is stout and sharp! Sep 20, 2015
Todd Skinner and Paul Piana got the FA in 1979 or 1981. My uncle was there taking pictures! Mar 19, 2017
John L
Fort Collins, CO
John L   Fort Collins, CO
Do the whole thing. The third pitch was really fun. The second and third pitch are way more enjoyable than the first pitch. You can rap from the top of the formation in 1 rap with a 70m. There's an anchor at the top that looks pretty new. Thanks to whoever put it up.

Spoiler for the third pitch gear:
Gear beta for the third pitch (bd sizes): #2, 0.5, 0.3, optional #1, #2. Once you pull the roof, it's 5.8. It looked flared and overhung from the ground, but it's really chill. You get 1-2 body lengths of completely horizontal climbing though. Apr 12, 2017
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
A little history on the Friday the 13th anchors as told by Bob Scarpelli:

Layne Kopischka used to bring high school PE classes from Laramie to Vedauwoo to toprope at the Nautilus. To make it in time, Layne would punch it in the bus from Laramie, run over to the Nautilus, and set up a toprope on the first part of Friday the 13th. He would usually fix some gear below the roof to make toproping and cleaning faster and easier. Eventually Layne installed some bolts below the roof for the same purpose. His students would toprope Friday up to the roof in their sneakers. Some of Wyoming's best climbers cut their teeth toproping from Layne's anchors on Friday. After a quick toprope, they would all pile into the bus and Layne would fly back down I-80 to Laramie. Bob Scarpelli says if anyone chops that anchor, he will kick their ass.

Unrelated but also important.
If you lost a #3 C4 at the Friday the 13th area a few weeks ago, let me know the markings on it, and I can return it to you. Jun 29, 2017
Ken Duncan
Ft Collins, CO
Ken Duncan   Ft Collins, CO
Henry Wells,

"Todd Skinner and Paul Piana got the FA in 1979 or 1981. My uncle was there taking pictures!"

Had to be before then, as I did it several times between 1976 and 1978. Aug 6, 2018
Corey Flynn   USA
This route now sports lowering hooks on the rings below the first roof to accommodate the high amount of traffic it gets. Thank you to whoever stole my locking biner and wiregate off the rings right before we updated the hardware, you must feel really good about yourself. Also not sure what all the comments about campusing on hand jams are for the roof up high. I definitely cut feet at one point but didnt come close to anything resembling a campus move. The roof is very reasonable at 11+ especially if you can climb similarly graded V3 roof problems around the Voo. Oct 29, 2018
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
These are the new, bomber lower-off, wire-gate, steel hooks courtesy of the ASCA. It is safe and acceptable to lower from them. If you would like to use your own hardware, feel free to hang draws or biners from the links or hangers on the anchors with the hooks clipped, and simply have the last climber remove your hardware when finished.

They, like Corey's biners, are not booty. They are here for your safety, for the longevity of the anchors, and to expedite parties cleaning this route, which receives a disproportionate amount of traffic. Oct 30, 2018