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Routes in West Ridge - part D - Xanadu to Pony Express

Air Mail T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Backslash T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Barbie Doll Arete, The T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Bit by Bit T,S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Bottlenecks T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Clean Dan T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Coffee Break with Joe T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Cold Turkey T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Coniferous Types T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Crazy Fingers T 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a PG13
Cruising Lane T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Detour, The T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Doc's Little Brother T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Dr. Michael Solar T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Duh Dihedral T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Early Bird Special T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Fine Line T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Five Fang Overhang T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Fork in the Road T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Formula, The T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Foxtrot T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
Funeral March T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Hand Crack (aka White Lightning) T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Hang Ten T,TR 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Henry Chinaski T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Highway 61 T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Inverted Vee T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Iron Pony T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Kashmir T,TR 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Kubla Khan T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Lady Fingers T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Lunar Avenue T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c R
Lunar Lander T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
MRJR (aka MB III) T,TR 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b R
Masterbator's Edge, The T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Milk Dreams T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Milk and Honey T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mirage T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Parallels T 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Pool of Blood T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Positively Fourth Street T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Rhadamanthus T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
River Of Darkness T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Road Narrows T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Sign of the Cross T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Snail Mail T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Srinagar T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Tampon T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Tango T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Tanqueray T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
Terminal Velocity T 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Texas Two-Step T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Three Lane Highway T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c X
Tickle, The T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Toprope Right of Formula TR 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Trip Itch T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Tryptich T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Whatever T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Willow World T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Working Class Hero T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
X T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Xanadu T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Zap Snack T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Zip Code T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
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Type: Trad, 80 ft
FA: Jim Michael and Dan Hare?
Page Views: 14,307 total · 69/month
Shared By: Matt Robertson on Sep 29, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


Imaginative name, but a fine pitch with clean, varied jamming and plentiful protection. The crux, in fact, is fingers - but the steep hand jamming above is quite good.

The Hand Crack is located in an enclave of the upper West Ridge called the Cirque of the Cracks (a fittingly vague name since the West Ridge comprises 2000 feet of cirques and cracks). Fifty meters uphill from the Quartzite Ridge, locate an alcove with several obvious, chalked crack lines. Look for a steep hand crack (the Hand Crack, yes) about thirty feet right of a prominent, serrated, corner crack (the Duh Dihedral) and immediately right of a clean, left-facing dihedral (Terminal Velocity). Heavy chalkage marks the way, especially around an overhanging section of 2" crack forty feet up.

The route appears unremarkable and discontinuous from below, but does provide some quality action and varied climbing - slabby fingerlocks, steep hand jams, an arete slap here and there. Jam the Crack through a tour of sizes and belay in a comfortable chimney below a loose ledge or traverse left to a slung tree atop Terminal Velocity (a few feet left/north). Either way, mind the abundant loose rock on these ledges. Rappel Terminal Velocity.

Rossiter calls the FA Unknown; can any historians (or seniors) out there set the record straight? Important minutia.


Standard Eldo rack to #2 or #3 Camalot; even the gripped should be well-equipped without doubles as the crack size varies substantially. If going light, leave the #3 Camalot behind; otherwise it can be sunk near the top for the last bit of (5.7 or .8) jamming.
Joe Huggins
Grand Junction
Joe Huggins   Grand Junction
A good route, I've soloed it many times, but have always referred to it as White Lightning. Don't know the first though. Oct 15, 2001
I agree that it's a little easier than the grade suggests, but a very pleasant climb, even on a fairly cold day (look at the pictures). Nov 28, 2001
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
[Definitely] a worthy climb with good pro. I fell at the crux of Hand Crack and was stopped by a green alien. This was a fun route to do, [especially] if one is a beginning 5.10 trad leader, such as myself. Feb 3, 2003
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Excellent route with varied technique. Jun 22, 2003
Chris Archer
Chris Archer  
Great climb. Don't know why it was renamed in the guide, especially since there is already a route named Handcracker on the West Ridge. As Joe says, it had always been referred to as White Lightning until Boulder Climbs South came out. Nov 30, 2003
SirVato   Boulder
Fun, Fun, Fun route !! Don't try to fiddle with nuts or it gets quite pumpy! just shove small cams in an let 'er rip!! Apr 21, 2004
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
I was a little gripped on this (I have a whole LIST of excuses, but in the interest of posterity...), so I sewed it up REALLY well. One nut which was backing up a slung flake before the wide crack at the top. The rest were cams. Takes green alien (blue if you are REALLY gripped at the beginning) through #2 at the top. Leave the #3 on the ground. No need for the weight. Wonderful climb. 5.10a/b

I left a blue (small) Trango Flexcam at the bottom due to darkness and difficulties involving removal. I have a case of beer for the brave/honest soul that returns it to me. Sentimental values more than anything else... Thanks.

~Wm Oct 9, 2004
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Sorry... That's a "college case" (12 beers), not a full case of micros... It ain't worth THAT much to me! ~Wm Oct 9, 2004
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Russ, you know what???

YOU suck! No, actually, I respect all that you and Darren said. I think that you both see things pretty similarly after reviewing profiles last night. Incidentally, you both sound like really cool people to climb with. Not only does it embarass me that I got my nuts in a crack, but it also pisses me off that I lost the money invested in said nuts. Believe me when I said that I tried hard to remove the cram. I placed a green alien immediately below it, slung it, put my foot in it toe into the rock, then levered my ankle down on the Green to expand the rock just a few microns, maybe more. The cam actually repositioned with my urging. The idea was to move it up to a wider spot in the crack... Didn't work. Tried the "reverse fiddle" method too.. Point is that it was getting dark, cold, we had but one flashlight, and I had shit to do, namely get a less-than-enthusiastic girlfriend down from the area while we could still see. Car was reached in the dark, but we made it.

About the bugging bit, I fully expected some fun and interesting replies so I was adequately braced before re-visiting my post. Believe it or not I laughed a good bit. All in good fun, all in the interest of further opening one's mind. In any case, thanks for the comments, the fascinating nut-rescuing technique. I bet you're one of the ones who tried to pilfer (if not successfully) "Myke's Stopper" on Myke's Stopper Slab... I can't remember if it's still there or not. Maybe reason to re-visit the climb. Keep the comments coming in one form or another. Give's me something to do instead of research papers...due tomorrow...that I haven't started yet...

~Wm Oct 13, 2004
A great climb! I think this climb deserves its rating. The finger locks can be slick and if you have sausages for fingers like me its hard to get those puppies in there. A word to the wise...Dont place gear in the crack directly after the finger crack and expect it to hold. My first time on it I got pumped after the finger locks plugged a .5 cam in the crap rock and went for it only to fall. My piece pulled as did a good hunk of rock. Feb 21, 2005
Jason Shatek
Jason Shatek  
I thought this route could go at 10a or 10b. This is an excellent route for starting 5.10 leaders. The gear is very good and straight forward. However, the moves eluded me for some time! The finger crack is really pumpy with crappy feet. The second you hop out onto the slab the clock starts ticking; just use cams or you'll burn out! Move quickly or the boogeyman in your head will demand you yell "take" after a short period of time. To me it felt like a more sustained climb than chockstone and I had a harder time with this one than tagger. Probably because it requires sequencing of several 5.10 moves while placing gear. I doubled on green aliens for the finger crack; it just sucks'um right off your rack. Last week I fell on on one of the green aliens and it held, so its a good piece to bring. Very good climb; highly recommended! Jul 22, 2005
Rob Kepley
Rob Kepley   Westminster,CO
One of the best climbs in this area. Great pro throughout with fun movement. Sep 16, 2006
Ken Cangi
Eldorado Springs, CO
Ken Cangi   Eldorado Springs, CO
I agree with Dave. This route, compared to Chockstone, which I think has a harder and tricker crux move, is pretty straightforward. All the jams and locks are solid. Nov 11, 2007
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Good fun. Felt soft for the grade, I give it 10a. Bomber pro every step of the way. Oct 21, 2008
Eric Goltz
Boulder, CO
Eric Goltz   Boulder, CO
I'm writing this because it's not mentioned in the description: you can place a directional near the top of the pitch, then lower off a set of double-bolts atop Terminal Velocity. After your partner is finished cleaning, you'll be all set to TR T.V.! Nov 4, 2008
I'm thinking Jim Michael and Dan Hare did the first ascent at roughly the same time as Xanadu was put up. :) Aug 25, 2009
Andrew McLean
Andrew McLean   Colorado
Loved this route. This was my first Eldo. "5.10" lead and I must say I thought it was easier than some 5.9+ in the area. Not a surprise. Extra #2s and a #3 for the hand crack up high would have been nice. Nov 20, 2009
Longmont, CO
JVonD   Longmont, CO
Steve A's ascent of White Lightning (AKA: Hand Crack) 5.10b in Eldorado Canyon Colorado.… Mar 2, 2010
Joseph Crotty
Broomfield, CO
Joseph Crotty   Broomfield, CO
JVonD, love the video of Steve Annecone. Is the sound track from 'Blodder is my Spotter?' Mar 2, 2010
Jackson, WY
ClimberSuz   Jackson, WY
Just for another perspective on size (it matters!): for me the crux was the top section which was between hand and fist (#3 Camalot)! The fingers and hand sections were easier. Great route without a doubt. May 24, 2010
Tommey-James   Boulder,Colorado
Great gear, thought the cruz was down low exiting the finger locks and getting to the hand crack. 10a is perfect, for sure no harder. Jul 11, 2011
You can TR it from the Terminal Velocity anchor with a directional in the crack up at the top. Fantastic climb. There are a couple swallows that live in the second crack above the crux. Jul 23, 2011
Ben Burnett
Ben Burnett   Colorado
Bring the #3 Camalots! I would have placed 2 if I had them! That's about all that will fit in the upper crack, which is pretty hard for those with small hands. Unfortunately I placed my #3 on the middle section. I started with a bad #0.75 but immediately added the #3 higher up when I saw the condition of the rock where the smaller cam goes - see AC's post above.
I find the middle to be the crux - my hands just don't seem to fit well! Mar 4, 2012
Eric Haye
5.10a PG13
Eric Haye   Boulder
5.10a PG13
Great route. Bottom portion is the crux. A blue Alien, green aliens and a yellow Alien should do it. Hand crack section is grea,t and if I were to rack up again, I would take a 3rd #2 and #3 BD cam. Does not require any nuts and you can leave the #0.5, 0.75 and 1 BD doubles behind. Jul 23, 2012
Jessica Pemble
Yosemite, CA
Jessica Pemble   Yosemite, CA
This route is great and has a little of everything; definitely bring a #3 for the top if you have small hands! I had a few insecure fists at the top, and it was awesome to have it. Feb 3, 2013
Coury Ditch
Boulder, Colorado
Coury Ditch   Boulder, Colorado
A group of us climbed it this morning. Absolutely great route! There was a large loose block (really chalked up) right before you start into the section of solid hands, but as we were hiking down from Rincon later in the day a group of people decided to trundle the block into the scree down the way.

Some will like, some will disapprove. Interested to see how it climbs now though. New fist crack? big hands?

Cheers Apr 7, 2013
Alex Vidal
Boulder, CO
Alex Vidal   Boulder, CO
I climbed the route today in its new trundled form. The climb now accepts a #4 Camalot and is quite a bit easier through this section. There is a lot of dirt and loose rock still in the crack (much to the dismay of my belayer), we tried to get as much out as possible. Until it gets cleaned up a bit, I won't be climbing this route. Apr 8, 2013
Albuquerque, NM
farkas.time   Albuquerque, NM
My first 5.10 trad lead today. Super safe, super fun. Do it! Found Chockstone (5.10a) substantially harder. Aug 1, 2013
The Blueprint Part Dank
The Blueprint Part Dank   FEMA Region VIII
Super fun route, instant classic in my book. Very reminiscent of the style of climbing at the Tennessee Wall, where I cut my teeth years ago. I agree with I some of the other posts that this felt a bit soft for 10b, and the gear is excellent. So don't let the grade intimidate you away from this beauty.

"White Lightning" is a way more bad ass name for this IMHO. Oct 5, 2014

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