Type: Trad, 80 ft
FA: Joel Schiavone and Pat Healy, 1980
Page Views: 2,028 total · 11/month
Shared By: Steve Annecone on Aug 6, 2004
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route


15 Opinions

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details

Description

To approach, follow the faint trail uphill, starting a bit past the huge Superfresh boulder, and head up 50 yards or so and then across the talus to the base of the big, right-facing dihedral. Castles Made of Sand is the bolted line on the smooth slab just right of this corner.

The climb begins by firing up through the bouldery, overhanging crack at the base of the route (this is the same start shared by Clarence and Castles). This route is rated 5.9 in the Rossiter guide, but this powerful start is solid 5.10 and therefore the route really deserves a 5.10 rating. Continue up the low angle V-slot crack and then split off right at the first roof. Follow this beautiful 5.9 corner system up the steep wall, go right at the final roof, and belay out on the arete at the right edge of the roof. Thoughful and interesting moves, a little bit runout in places off of small nuts or RPs, very fun climbing overall!

To descend, you can either: (1) 3rd class scramble to the northeast, heading down to the gully between Fiddlehead and the Goose, then down to the bottom of Fiddlehead and back up to the base of the climb, or (2) continue up along the east side of the Fiddlehead to the summit, and rap off the west face. Looks like a pitch or two of easy 5th class climbing. A bolted anchor at the top of the route to allow direct rappeling back to the base would be nice, and would also reduce the chances of people impacting vegetation if/when walking off to the north, but doesn't exist at this time.

Protection

Standard rack including RPs, nuts, and cams to #3 Friend. Some of the pieces you use may be small RPs and therefore a Screamer or two may be useful. Smaller offset Aliens may also be helpful in reducing the runout factor in spots. A cleaning tool for the leader could be considered as the lower 30 feet of the crack has some dirt and growth.

Photos

Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.10a
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.10a
Pulling into the dihedral, like so many of the routes at this crag, seems to have been ignored in the grade assignment. Indeed, starting off is difficult and hard to protect well- what's more, the landing is poor. That said, I think this is a great climb. Both protection and awesome positive holds appear as needed (but maybe not as desired?) for even the 5.9 leader to be reasonably safe, once you get into the dihedral.

The climb is deceptively long and really quite good. One of the best pitches at the crag in my opinion and that of my partner. As usual, the disclaimer is that in a larger or better venue, it would be a good climb, not tip-tops/3-stars.

There is a newly replaced bomber rap anchor up top that should be solid for years. It is set 'low' so that one could also clip a few runners on it and lower off to prevent the problem of a crowded belay/rope drag after pulling the arching crack up top. Oct 4, 2004
Up at the East Ridge today, my partner and I were unable to find anything resembling a rap anchor up at the top of A Shadow Sickness. We slung a "horn" with some 1" webbing (one rap ring) and rappelled off of that. A belay can be built off of cams and slung horns on the flakes at the top of the climb. Sep 25, 2009
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.10a
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.10a
And we found that a few hours later and backed it up with a second piece and a Rapid link. It has an anchor again. Sep 27, 2009
Mark Roth
Boulder
 
Mark Roth   Boulder
 
One more sling added....
If you are tall, there is a great big nut placement that protects the opening. The upper part of the low angled corner seems insecure, but if you dig out some pine needles, there are some small placements.... Really fun route. Oct 3, 2009
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
The slings were gone, so we added another. Please discuss the issue on this site before you take established anchors.... It was probably some newb excited at finding some gear. Sep 26, 2011
Eric Klammer
Boulder, CO
  5.10a
Eric Klammer   Boulder, CO
  5.10a
No rap anchor as of 09/2014, walked off. Kind of a spicy lead, probably not a good route for a 5.9 leader. The moves off the ground are hard, the low angle dihedral after is right now full of pretty tall grass (really fun to smear on), and there is no pro until reaching the steeper section. The climb is a total classic from there though and a Flatirons must do! Sep 18, 2014
Mark Roth
Boulder
 
Mark Roth   Boulder
 
No more intermittent tat. This now has a bolted anchor. Thanks to OSMP for allowing the upgrade. Oct 22, 2017