Type: Trad, 1800 ft, 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Layton Kor & John Kerr, 1960s
Page Views: 2,987 total · 18/month
Shared By: justin dubois on Dec 31, 2004
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

8 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


The Porcelain Arete is one formation upriver from the Painted Wall. Its position, scale, and terrain dictate a distinct "rockineering" feel. A tad bushy and a bit loose, never the less, a great adventure at a reasonable grade. It has mind-bending views of the aretes and the immense Northerm Arete of the Painted Wall.

Gain a grassy ledge after climbing 200-300 feet up the gash between Painted Wall and Porcelain. From the far right side of the ledge, follow obvious, bushy sluices for 250' before an improbable and airy traverse left 75' on peg deviates from the cracks under a steep section.

Head up the next obvious, sluice for 250', until a series of corners present themselves above. Head up these, for another 300' or so, praying that these corners will allow passage left onto the main face. We stepped around at an arbitrary point only to be rewarded by an immaculate, 5.10 finger crack in a perfect, grey shield.

Continue up and left under another steep, scary section, passing some wicked death blocks. Gaining a pleasant & easy ramp system, traverse up and left until the mother all bushy sluices on the right appears the easiest exit.

300' more nebulous fun eventually leads to the top.


One to two sets of cams to 3", depending on pitch lengths. One #4 Camalot is nice. Bring gobs and gobs of runners.


Definitely a bush climb but does have some fun climbing. We climbed straight up the very exposed and questionably protected finger crack in the steep wall above the midway point of the peg traverse. Once in it protects well but the first move is a doosie. Felt like the hardest moves of the climb. Sounds like we might have been off route. At the top of the crack we traversed over into the system you speak of which takes you up to the edge of the arete and a nice spot for lunch. Then we traversed directly left to the base of the obvious right facing corner 3/4 of the way up the wall. This is fun stuff until you see the death pillar you've been bear hugging. This is a good climb to go fast on. We climbed to the peg traverse in one pitch. Up the finger crack for the second. Up corners to the traverse for the third. Traverse and halfway up the corner for the fourth. To the top of the corner for the fifth. Then to the top of the wall in one monster pitch. Mar 25, 2005
justin dubois
Estes Park
justin dubois   Estes Park
Sup Ryan,yeah, maybe I should have called my description " A Porcelain Arete", not "The Porcelain Arete".I didnt even notice the crack above the peg traverse, we had already gotten lost out right before that, and I guess I started picking up the pace a little.

As for that obvious corner you describe, I figured thats where Kor went, but I noticed that death pillar from below, and found a cool runout face to the right, that led to some corners and the sweet little finger crack I described.

I also think other exits exsist than the steep, rotten chimney I used to gain the last slab. But at the time, It was getting late, and I didnt feel like exploring, I was just going up.

I really liked this route.Maybe Pathfinder next, that thing looks monstrous!!Say Hi to Alpine Eddie if you see him.Later Mar 25, 2005
This route is longer and more involved than the Tourist Route or the Russian Arete. It is also a lot more bushy. It makes for rather a satisfying day though. Just be aware that once you climb the last of the three bushy corners, you still have a lot of climbing to do. Apr 23, 2006
Julian Smith
Colorado Springs, CO
Julian Smith   Colorado Springs, CO
A few notes:
On the approach, we started climbing up to the Porcelain Arete from directly beneath it, rather than starting on a fin that projects from the northern edge of the Painted Wall. It looked like the guide might indicate going that way, but straight up from the bottom will go (low 5th class), traversing upwards and to the left, where one can reach the gash between the Painted Wall and the Porcelain Arete. From there, continue up the gash until a way to break back over to the ledge system on the right can be found. Pick a spot where it looks like access may be granted. It surprised us, but apparently, the way we found on to the ledge system actually brought us out a little above the ledge, where we climbed down and then traversed across to the very end of the ledge where the Porcelain Arete route starts. I love climbing in the Black, but whew, is this thing booshy and loose… The description given for the route above is pretty accurate, but everything (pitches, etc) seems much longer and on a grander scale. From the top of the route, the trail is approximately 700 meters back from the rim (i.e. just shy of ½ mile). Be sure and veer to the north as the trail is actually switching back at this point to begin climbing Green Mountain. On the way back down the trail, make sure you are careful not to take the Exclamation Point cut-off. Maybe this sounds a little over obvious, but try sorting all of this out at night with a headlamp and not being really familiar with the area (i.e. when you see the Exclamation Point sign, take a trail to the left, and not to the right). Hope this helps alleviate a little confusion for what is otherwise a huge and satisfying Black Canyon experience. Enjoy! Oct 1, 2007