Type: Trad, Sport Fixed Hardware (3)
FA: Christian Griffith
Page Views: 8,708 total · 41/month
Shared By: Pinklebear on Oct 12, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Subject to Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This classic route is in dire need of an upgrade. It climbs right to left across the very smooth, very overhanging wall left of the crux (2nd) pitch of C'est La Vie and features bouldery moves on flat to sloping edges and a crux finish on an overhanging arete.

After waiting ten years to try the route, my fat ass pulled off a huge key flake right at the fourth bolt yesterday. Sincere apologies to the climbing community!

There may be some holds left, but they definitely need cleaning, if not a little glue (there was a little glue on the flake, but obviously not enough). The old Mammut ring bolts on this route could use replacing as well. They look pretty sketchy and rusty. It didn't look like anyone had been on the route in a long time.

Anyway, from the belay at the base of the 2nd pitch of C'est La Vie fire up the blank corner past a funky pin, placing a couple of RPs for safety's sake (11a). Reach a good finger lock (a stopper or TCUs goes in nicely here -- use a long sling) and lean waaayyyy left to clip the crispy fixed draw on the first bolt. Continue left via strenuous moves past more crispy draws, then move up past a curious hueco above the fourth bolt.


You'll need some trad gear for the first pitch of C'est La Vie, which takes you to the bolted belay below Desdichado. To get to Desdichado's bolts you'll also have to do the crux (desperate) of C'est La Vie. Bring RPs, a long sling and a couple of mid-ranged stoppers for the crux corner.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I would think if you can fire this route the crux of C'est La Vie isn't desperate! I once was up there when George Squibb was working on this route (maybe 10 years ago). He swarmed up the route past several bolts but could never quite finish (that day). He gave us detailed beta on the crux of C'est La Vie and we still couldn't get anywhere on it. Feb 19, 2002
I have *not* done Desdichado (nor could I), but I have done C'est La Vie a few times. Before riddling out the tricky moves on CLV, I was using a side pull on the left wall of the dihedral to reach up (pretty reachy) and grab a hold on the Desdichado traverse, and then try to work into the CLV finger lock that way (it didn't work. I eventually figured out I had to stay on the slab and in the corner...)

Anyway, my point: I think its possible to get onto this route without doing the (I agree) desperate slab crux on CLV. I could certainly have clipped the first bolt of Desdichado from the holds I reached.

Another thought: no matter how good a climber you are, I can't imagine the CLV crux feeling anything but extremely edgy! May 28, 2002
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
You can get on this route without doing CLV crux if you have long arms and are reasonably strong. Getting past the first clip is the hard part and there is no way I could link it. The falls onto the first bolt were clean though. May 14, 2003
Ted Lanzano
Boulder, CO
Ted Lanzano   Boulder, CO
I'm curious if the broken hold has made this climb far harder than its original 5.13c rating. It would be great to hear from someone who has been on the climb recently or knows of the key flake. Dec 27, 2003
I climbed on this line a couple times in 2004, and although I didn't send it, I felt the 13c grade was still applicable. I did not use the crux of C'est La Vie to gain access to the steep face, I used Tony's "long arms and reasonably strong" beta. Also, note that there are no anchors...to finish the climb in the true old school fashion you establish on the slab and take the whip. Feb 21, 2007
Jonathan Siegrist
his truck
Jonathan Siegrist   his truck
This climb is amazing. The movement is very continuous and dynamic- no single move is harder than maybe 12+/13-, but no move is too much easier either. There are restful positions, but there is no rest. All of the [remaining] holds felt solid to me- Regardless of the broken hold, Desdichado (still goes!) and is still an incredible, historically significant, Eldo testpiece classic! Oct 26, 2008
Jonathan Siegrist
his truck
Jonathan Siegrist   his truck
I replaced the draws on Desdichado today. The old dog bones were classic: radically multi-colored, once neon random geometric patterns. I considered calling the Smithsonian, but decided to keep these relics closer to Boulder. Enjoy! Oct 27, 2008
Bart Paull
Golden, CO
Bart Paull   Golden, CO
This is a very cool route worth the shenanigans to check out .... C. Griffith put this one up ahead of its time .... Mar 10, 2011
Back in the day, if you were going to give Desdichado a go, you only brought draws up with you, doing C'est La Vie the fun way--runout! lol!

A tip for the start of Desdichado--clip the second pin (may be gone now) in the dihedral and layback the pocket/edge hold on Desdichado with the right hand to clip the bolt, and then pull back into the dihedral and downclimb back to the ledge for a shake out. When you are ready for the "go", go back to the pocket edge, but this time layback it with the left, cross the right over to the sloper, and toe hook (rand pull) under you left hand, leaving the right foot smeared on the dihedral face (layback). Once toe hooked, release the left hand and go for the low corner thing hold. As soon as you get it, the feet break away, and you can stab the cut-out with the left foot. A couple shrugs and you are at the second bolt.

Great Route! More fun than CG's 'The Verve', IMHO. Aug 28, 2011
Hank Caylor
Glenwood Springs, CO
Hank Caylor   Glenwood Springs, CO  
Verve is pretty sweet though if you like that type of thrutching. Good to see you on here, Larry, way to fire these routes BITD! Aug 28, 2011
HANK! Wow, been a long time. I don't know if you knew Russell Hopper from OKC, but I just found out he died of cancer. It's sad to lose another one of the old crew.

Anyway, glad to see you are still with the sport. I'm just kinda getting back into it after a 15 year hiatus. Not sure why, but it's sucking me back in. I'll be teaching Sharma a thing or two here shortly, kidding. Guys and gals are really tearing it up these days. Amazing. Sep 11, 2011
Ted Lanzano
Boulder, CO
Ted Lanzano   Boulder, CO
I'm looking for a partner to climb on Desdichado. If you're interested, send me an email at tlanzano@gmail.com. Mar 29, 2012