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Sport, 85 ft (26 m),
Avg: 3.7 from 3
FA: Alex Scott
> Pagosa Springs
> Piedra River
> Piedra River - E Side
This is a spectacular, steep climb with awesome exposure. It is not for the faint-hearted; if you are uncomfortable climbing sideways of bolts, this is not the route for you.
Casual start to the 1st bolt, then easy climbing through lesser quality rock to the 2nd bolt. Go right, then up into a small chimney. Clip bolt 3 and continue up big ledges. Clip bolt 4, which is on the main rock face. Get a rest here and study the holds for the crux traverse. After the traverse, move upwards on steep rock with big holds. Clip the 8th bolt, trend right and use the arete to take you to the chains.
If the river is low enough to wade across: Take the forest service trail to the west side cliffs. Follow the trail a little downstream of "Cattle Drive" and take a side path down to the river. Wade across at a rocky beach.
If the river is too high to wade across: Park at the main area above the east rim just after deadman's curve. Walk down the slope to the skier's right. Take a gully down to the canyon bottom and walk upstream to the base of the climb.
Or: Park at a seldom used turnout on the west side of the road, between the trailhead and deadman's curve. At the turn out, there is a prominent hill to the east and a small pond (usually dry) downhill to the west. Hike down toward the pond. You will see an obvious beak/nose feature on the western cliffs. Hike toward the beak. At the canyon rim, there is a lone spruce near an old fire ring. This is the top of the climb. The next 2 gullies downstream will give you access to the canyon bottom. The second one is easier to descend, albeit a longer hike back upstream to the base of the climb.
Quickdraws, 9 bolts to 2 bolt chain anchor with lowering carabiners. A runner on the 2nd bolt will lessen rope drag.
Note to belayer: give a loose belay on the crux traverse to mitigate the pendulum in case of a fall. I fell many times working the traverse and never got a scratch.