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Routes in Engineer Pass

Darkline T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Light Line T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Texas Wheelchair Massacre T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 1300 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: 6/23/08, Vince Anderson, Vivek Mital
Page Views: 134 total · 1/month
Shared By: Vince Anderson on Jun 30, 2008
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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The Darkline is essentially a variation to the Lightline, which is the prominent arête on the Eastern (right) edge of the Ruby Wall. The Darkline follows a prominent chimney system which splits the wall just right of the Lightline arête and is currently (June ’08) the hardest route on the wall.
Climb up the first part of the Lightline for about 3-400 feet until you encounter the first steep section of climbing. Look right for the big, steep chimney and belay near the base of this. Make sure to put the belay off to the side of the chimney to avoid the possibility of dislodging a rock onto your belayer. The chimney is wild, steep and 5.8, allowing great stemming and limited protection. Exit the chimney and continue up cracked slabs towards the stepped rock formation above. Another pitch climbs these steps via a prominent crack and corner system about 50 feet right of the Lightline arête. There are three steps to surmount on this pitch and each gets progressively harder. There is adequate protection on each step, but all are short overhangs above a slab, so a fall still may put one onto the slab below. As with much of the climbing here, it is alpine in nature and there is some loose rock. Be cautious. The final, third step is around 5.9, maybe even 9+ and awkward. Above this, the climbing gets much easier as you head back left towards the top of the Lightline. Follow the Lightline to its end and descend as for Lightline and Texas Wheelchair Massacre. To reach this descent, you must hike to where the Lightline arête meets with the forested slopes above, then traverse right across the drainage until you can scramble down towards the area above the rappel trees. It is a little tricky to find from above so make sure you scope it out from below. You can get a good look at it while climbing either the Lightline or Darkline. The bolted anchors are somewhat tricky to find. There are numerous, crappy anchors about on the wall from the ice climb that forms up here (FYI: Abraxas NOT Blue Condition) in the winter. The gully where the ice climb would form up is often running with water in the summer making a good point of reference for finding the rappel line.


As for Lightline and Texas Wheelchair Massacre, park at Engineer Pass intersection with US 550, several miles south of Ouray. Ascend the talus and scree slopes below to the base of the wall which is right above this intersection. See photo.


Bring a rack of nuts and cams up to 4” with doubles in the mid range. A mixture of 8-10 quickdraws and slings will work well.