Type: Trad, 450 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II Fixed Hardware (4)
FA: Stan Shepard, Don Davis, 1958
Page Views: 5,012 total · 24/month
Shared By: Leo Paik on Oct 31, 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
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Curiosity got us & might get you to check out this historic wander. Although it was described as a popular beginner route in Rossiter's ole guide, I've never seen anyone on it, ever. It got a star, so we checked it out. I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a beginner route. So here comes perhaps a bit of obscurity.

Go to the left/West end of the bench behind Whale's Tail near The Bulge. Find a diagonalling, lower ramp going more left than up.

P1. Find a path of least resistance left along a ramp with somewhat polished scoops past 2 pins and a bolt (probably from another route). Place pro, go around a bulge then move down slightly. There is definitely terrain on this pitch that neither the leader nor the follower would be wise to scream/pitch off. Continue left & up. Rossiter's guide describes a poor belay that we chose to avoid (you'll probably be smarter than us & find a belay in here). This apparently has been upgraded with a bolt. There is a polished little wall with another pin that proves to be meaty for 5.4. I wouldn't recommend this for my 5.4 leading friends. Continue up the ramp left to the big tree at a large ledge. 250 feet, simulclimbing, 5.4d.

P2 or P3. Move down and right perhaps 30 feet to a path of least resistance. Up and right along a crack perhaps 50 feet. Rope drag makes the belay on this huge ledge useful. There are a few fixed pins or bolts here. 80 feet, 5.4.

P3 or P4. Go up and slightly right finding fun face climbing to a large ledge with a tree. You can exit off right here or, better, continue up to another ledge with a smaller tree. Belay. 5.4c/d.

From here, traverse off right to gain the East Slabs descent.


Light Eldo rack, long rope (60m min).
Mike Abraham
Mike Abraham  
A great route no one ever does. What could be better.... Jun 8, 2004
The old quarter incher at the second belay has been replaced.

I don't recommend combining the lower 3 pitches as described by Leo above. Belay after a short lead at the first bolt you come to (a cam backs this up)- this will reduce the chance of getting the rope caught in the flakes one traverses left around near the start of pitch 1. Then belay at the end of the long diagonal section at the newly replaced bolt and a fixed ring angle- to minimize rope stretch in the event of a fall and to allow better communication between climbers. Pitch three goes up and right past a fixed pin and onward to Sidetrack Junction (i.e. the large ledge) etc.

This is an excellent, exposed, and devious route that the 5.4 leader (or follower!) should approach with caution. May 4, 2007
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
Running P1 and 2 together would be OK, I guess, if you were in a hurry and were careful with your gear placements, but why?? It's a great view from the P1 belay and it's comfy. Aside from that, the "small tree about 30 feet short of a huge ledge" (330) for the P3 belay as described in the Rossiter guide is gone. Use the beta from this page instead, and head all the way up to the big tree on Lower Juniper ledge to belay. Jul 9, 2007
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
Another fun variation is PA's Variation. Try it out for a finish if you want a little more "spice in the chili". Oct 4, 2008
Rodger Raubach
  5.5 PG13
Rodger Raubach  
  5.5 PG13
This is an extremely nice, early season warm up for more experienced climbers. This is a bit scary for beginners, as a slip on the first lead would result in a bad swing. The pro is reasonable for any competent leader, but I wouldn't suggest this for a rookie. There are several old but still good fixed pitons on p.1. Bring plenty of longer slings to direct the rope from getting hooked on flakes. A 60 meter rope makes this a 2 pitch climb. The upper pitch is very nice climbing on chickenheads with good protection with a light rack of nuts and a few smaller cams.

I've done this climb around 8-10 times, and always have found it to be fun. The 5.4 R rating is a bit of a "sandbag" and is based on finding the absolute easiest line. I'd be more inclined to call it 5.5 R however. Not that big of a deal, though. May 31, 2010
To expand on Levin's entry here on MP, there is a fixed pin on P1 before you traverse around the bulge. The "belay with a poor anchor" described in Rossiter would indeed be that without the bolt noted by Steve. Decent pro can be had in the shallow crack below it.

P2 has another fixed pin along the ramp, continue to the bolt and ring-piton anchor as Steve describes.

From this belay at end of P2, eyeball the fixed pin approx. 20 feet above and slightly to your right -- note the eye of the pin is half-broken through. After making moves above the pin, run it out up the ramp to the pine tree and belay. Or turn right just short of the tree and combine P3 with P4, continuing to the belay at the large ledge. As of this writing, there is a fixed nut where you enter the dihedral.

The 5.5 variation finish offers an unexpected touch of spice. It protects reasonably well.

Thoroughly enjoyable, I think a classic in its rating. But do exercise caution and judgment; like The Bulge, your second needs to be competent. Oct 2, 2011
J. Broussard
J. Broussard   CordryCorner
Has anyone free soloed the route?
5.4 is typically a very casual solo, but some of the reviews leave me wondering if this routes deserves a run on rope first. Aug 10, 2012
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
@ Jeffeos
I onsight soloed the route with the (licheny) direct finish. The rock is pretty solid by Eldo standards, there is minimal polish, and I didn't find the routefinding difficult (I do a lot of alpine soloing but was new to Eldo at the time). It is definitely exposed in spots especially on the lower ramp. I would say Swanson's Arete (minus getting up to it), Recon, and Breezy all feel mellower from an exposure perspective. Nov 1, 2012
Jay Eggleston
Jay Eggleston   Denver
The direct 5.5 finish, the last pitch, did not seem "R" to me. I found lots of small cam placements. This is a fun route! Nov 8, 2012
Rodger Raubach
  5.5 PG13
Rodger Raubach  
  5.5 PG13
I believe the "R" rating pertains mostly to the first pitch, and I would be more inclined to call it PG-13. The risk factor is more evident to the second, following the first pitch, especially if it's regarded as a "date climb" for an inexperienced GF. I've had several young females get real freaked out by the rapidly found exposure.

That said, this is probably one of the few "easy" routes in Eldorado that could be called a "classic." May 11, 2013
William Thiry
Las Vegas
  5.4 PG13
William Thiry   Las Vegas
  5.4 PG13
This is a terrific route, and certainly one of my favorites at Eldo. The exposure is exciting, the climbing easy and fun with good rock and good movement. The protection is reasonable for the experienced leader. It is probably considered 'R' by some because a fall at the wrong spot on p1 or 2 traversing could be serious, but otherwise protection opportunities are ample. PG13 would be my vote.

We finished on the 5.5 direct finish, which was good but would be even better without all of the flaky lichen near the top. PG13 here, too.

Definitely a classic. Nov 16, 2013
John RB
Superior, CO
  5.5 R
John RB   Superior, CO
  5.5 R
Just ran up this thing with Bill Wright after he got off work. Bill led to the first belay with a long 1st pitch to a new fat bolt with a pin backing it up. This was about 160' from the ground and put him where the picture of him shows. We had both considered this route as a fun possible solo, but the first pitch is very polished, slopey, there is loose rock (esp down low) and is probably not the best candidate for soloing. The 2nd pitch was 100' to a large tree and easier with ample protection. The last pitch was up the corner that most of these photos show, was steep on coarse grippy rock and positive edges and very fun. I did end up simuling a bit to get Bill to the bushes up top... maybe 30' of simuling on easy ground.

... would definitely solo this rig if not for that slimy first pitch, but given that pitch's character.... no go.... May 25, 2018