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Routes in The Rotwand

Kinnder Rooten T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c X
Lady Godiva T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a X
Most Honorable Hose Bag T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b X
Rotwand Route T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X
Witch's Brew T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Yes Fragile T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
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Type: Trad, 160 ft, 3 pitches Fixed Hardware (4)
FA: Layton Kor/John Auld
Page Views: 2,174 total · 12/month
Shared By: David A. Turner on Sep 15, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is "an historic route" according to some. It is "essential" to others who believe a Rotwand route is a necessary inclusion on an Eldo climber's resume.

Since all the rock looks essentially the same, junky, the start is difficult to pinpoint with accuracy. However, it is about 70' or so to the left of where the southernmost point of the cliff hits the path that traverses along the river. A very indistinct climber's trail leaves the river path about 30 feet before you would have to duck under or climb over a fallen tree that crosses the river path. This 30' climber's trail takes you directly to the foot of the route. The route takes the line of least resistance.

Climb up and slightly right for about 30 feet to a big ledge. (5.4) Traverse left about 50 feet to a good sized tree that is an obvious landmark from the ground. (5.4) Then head up a left-facing corner system, over some small overhangs to the top. (5.7)

I believe the seriousness rating for those with experience on imperfect rock is closer to an s. The rock is bad but not as bad as reputation has it. Test the holds, weight equally distributed, don't pull out/pull down, and step up more than pull on the handholds. Good training for the big limestone walls of the world. (E.g. Canadian Rockies).

One more item worth mentioning: "Sick Mic" Fairchild has done 120 laps on the Rotwand, many of them alone, the last when he graciously showed me this route.


A standard Eldo rack.
Mic Fairchild
Mic Fairchild   Boulder
Enviro considerations: the Artesian aquifier is just below this rock. be considerate and deposit human waste elsewhere. Legal consids: the east side (descent slab) is not on park property, but belongs to the Eldorado Water bottlers. Use common sense to keep this resource available. Climbing consids: on-sight, this is still a serious undertaking. Not everyone has the experience to make this a safe one. Oct 24, 2003
Mic Fairchild
Mic Fairchild   Boulder
Speed record (not advisable): 5 min 10 sec on 24 May 04.

14 July 2004 completed summit trip #150 on this crag. Mostly on the Rotwand Route (mostly). This rock remains a unique adventure in Eldorado, and while I've pulled off numerous rocks over the years, it seems pretty cleaned off lately. Enjoy and be careful! Jul 14, 2004
Michael Haag  
While climbing this superb historic route today, Mick soloed right past me & took my picture! Although I've been climbing in Eldo for 13 years, this was my first Rotwand Route. HILARIOUS and classic climbing...hats off to Mick! Long live the Rotwand! Mar 21, 2007
The thing that I've always loved best about Die Rotwand routes is that if you don't like any particular handhold you can just pluck it out and toss it over your shoulder. Oct 24, 2007
David Kozak  
I did this route in November of 1978 or '79, I think. At the base of the route my partner, while belaying me, sat in (or near) a dried up plant that he learned later was most likely poison ivy or sumac (if there's a difference?) and had such a bad allergic reaction that he ended up in the hospital. We loved the route...well, at least I did. I went back over the next few years to do other routes on the Rotwand while my partner decided against such reckless behavior. Feb 5, 2011
Rodger Raubach
  5.7 X
Rodger Raubach  
  5.7 X
Previous poster's comment re: Poison Ivy is SPOT ON THE MARK! But this is only ONE of the objective hazards involving this route. The lower portion is quite junky and loose; even though there are cracks available for some "pro" they are associated with loose junk. The second pitch however, is fairly enjoyable and reasonably solid. Feb 25, 2012
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
  5.7 X
Noah McKelvin   Colorado Springs
  5.7 X
Brushing against poison ivy has never bothered me in the Black Canyon, but I guess it did here. That was the crux for me. I'm currently suffering from it all over. The route is great. The ivy...not so much. Aug 10, 2015
Rodger Raubach
  5.7 X
Rodger Raubach  
  5.7 X
I'd never had poison ivy rash before climbing this route; my GF was covered with it. Maybe I got it from her? Apr 15, 2016

More About Rotwand Route

Fixed Hardware Report (4)