Type: Trad, 500 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Bob Robertson & Art Wiggins - late 1980s
Page Views: 3,630 total · 29/month
Shared By: jeff haskell on Sep 4, 2008
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

14 Opinions

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


Some fantastic sections on this climb; many of the bolts have been replaced; route finding is not very difficult. The only drawback may be that the approach, lengthy upper section and return hike make for a much bigger day than five pitches would normally require.

P1. Climb unprotected 5.7 to gain a small, right-facing corner. Traverse left to second right-facing corner and belay at the top of this with a single, recently replaced bolt, 80 feet. (The Ripe Stuff heads out left from this belay.)

P2. Step right, then straight up towards the bolts crossing the peg band. The first two have been replaced and this is solid, fun face climbing. Continue up through beautiful rock to many options for a belay.

P3. Clip old bolt (you would be happier if they had replaced this one) and climb a ways to your next piece (mental crux). Continue up to a belay that is about 50 feet below a roof with a crack through it. (We combined P2 and P3 without much difficulty - approx. 180-190 feet combined.)

P4. More great rock leading up to the roof crack (a #4.5 cam was useful here). Above the roof, angle slightly right to a ledge at the base of another peg band, 180 feet.

P5. Cross peg band heading up and left with just a few options for gear (here, the guidebook says offwidth. The only offwidth is a long ways out left? We think that we should have traversed over to that feature.) We turned a small roof directly above the peg to gain a dirty slot. Another 50 feet above, the climbing eases and many ledge belay options exist, 150 feet.

The "pitches" are over but about 800 feet of stepped, bushy terrain remain to gain the rim. Simul-climbing or simul-soloing is recommended to prevent this from becoming an all-day (or all-night) affair. Note: all 5 pitches contain at least short sections of 5.10, but most of the climbing is in the 5.8-5.9 range.


Same approach as for the Russian Arete. Continue up the gully past that route for a couple hundred more feet. Just before a vertical step in the gully the route begins on clean, slabby rock on the left.


Double set of cams, set of nuts, and a few big pieces for pitch 5 offwidth. In addition to the 5 or so bolts on the climb, there are a few fixed pieces. No fixed belays with the exception of the bolt at the base of pitch two.
This climb is so good! Loved it. Beautiful rock, perfect white stone on the bolted face, gorgeous pewter-grey rock on the steep corner, and steep spicy face-climbing on the next pitch. Short and sweet. Still a lot more of a climbing day than its classic neighbor Russian Arete. Sep 12, 2008
The old bolt on the third pitch wasn’t replaced, because there is a good small cam placement just to the left of it. When Art and I did the route small cams didn’t exist. Sep 20, 2008
When we did it small cams didn't exist for us either. I do remember some wickedly cool, "text book" tricams, but I don't recall if we even had any cams in those dirt bag days. A couple of decades ago that little bolt on the 3rd pitch actually inspired confidence. All in all a stellar Black Canyon route. It has it all. Great position, phun climbing, a little spice, and a Black Cayoneering style exit. What more could you ask for? Apr 30, 2009
Mike S  
Heading to the Black this week, and this is on the list. Any idea as to which big cams are needed for the offwidth pitch? Thanks Oct 24, 2010
justin dubois
Estes Park
justin dubois   Estes Park
Yeah, Mike! Get some. Did Ghost Dancer a few years ago, and as far as I remember, we just brought a #4. Short term memory loss may or may not be affecting me though.... Have fun! Oct 24, 2010
Mike S  
Thanks, Justin,
Sounds good to me. I'm just psyched that it has new bolts.
Hope you're well. Drop me a line and come down for some climbing in Boulder in Nov. Oct 24, 2010
Mike S  
So, to answer my own question: no large gear at all is needed to protect this route. The offwidth is easily protected with two #0.3 cams inside the wide crack. The #4.5 for the roof crack described above was nice, but definitely not necessary. A #3 could be pushed back in there just fine.
It would be nice to replace the old bolt on P3 as the moves above it are a bit runout. I could not find a small cam placement next to it.
This is an excellent route. Oct 30, 2010
Valdez, AK
Taylor-B.   Valdez, AK
A blue/black Alien fits nice approx. 6ft to the left of the old bolt on P3. This is an excellent route. Nov 15, 2010
erik rieger
Ridgway, CO
erik rieger   Ridgway, CO
Fun, challenging climbing throughout. The OW protects with small gear. Great rock, but there are some large loose blocks and flakes.. There's still 800-1,000' of climbing (up to 5.8, a lot of scrambling) after you finish the offwidth, so absolutely a Grade IV route to the rim. Nov 5, 2012
MaryH. Harlan
Carbondale, CO
MaryH. Harlan   Carbondale, CO
This is an awesome, long route, well worth doing! The only addition is that there are 3 more pitches of "real" climbing beyond those described here or in the book. They are easy, but I don't think they are 3rd class- maybe 5.8 at most. Once you complete those, it is pretty quick & easy to simul climb the last 800 feet. Aug 30, 2014
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
Noah McKelvin   Colorado Springs
Great route. The direct way above the bolt on p3 is really cool. One exciting move of 10dish then jugs to the good gear. I thought the mental crux was p5. The peg pitch with some committing 5.10 moves but not too bad. Just spicy enough. We crossed over to the far left into the FA 5.10 ow. Which was short, had a wasp nest but was juggy! So cool. Worth doing! Sep 20, 2015
Lynn S
Lynn S  
Outstanding route! The five described pitches are each very fun. On P3, going straight up after the bolt seemed pretty mellow, maybe a 10b move.

The pitches above p5 are a bit tedious, but simul as much as you can to speed up your day. Apr 22, 2016
Highly recommend this route! New style #4 Camalot is nice. Fun, engaging climbing on spectacular rock! Apr 25, 2016
Laurent Meillon
Golden, CO
Laurent Meillon   Golden, CO
Very clean rock, making for fun face-climbing on good pro (except above the ripe bolt on P3. The thing is 6-8 mm, the hanger sticks out too far, best to use a nut's wire behind the hanger). It seemed to us that P1-5 were each a bit soft, but then again, don't think you're done after P5, you still got a long effort with regular full-body high-steps & occasional 5.9 moves!

Things I'd do different in retrospect: combine the 4th Class start & short P1. Fold the rope in half to simul-climb the upper section (full rope length creates unavoidable rope drag). Take face-climbing shoes (probably jammed my foot 3 times in total). Take no 4 (we placed it to get rid of it, but never came close to needing it). May 14, 2018
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
  5.10+ PG13
Patrick Vernon   Estes Park, CO
  5.10+ PG13
Loved this route! There is indeed a small cam placement 5 feet left of the crappy bolt on P3, took me a while to find it. I placed a yellow x4. Lots of PG-13 climbing but nothing ever too serious. May 23, 2018