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Rusty Cage

M7 PG13, Trad, Mixed, 800 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 3.4 from 5 votes
FA: Steve House/Steven Van Sickle
Colorado > CO Ice & Mixed > Ouray (Ice/Mixed) > Camp Bird Road
Access Issue: Yield to mining vehicle traffic Details

Description

Pitch 1. M4, 55m.
From the top of the approach/snow slope, climb up the gully for 50 feet (1 bolt), and then move right onto the the red slab that leads you into the Rusty Cage red line of rock which is the route. Clip the second bolt soon after leaving the main gully, a third bolt not much further on, and place a stubby screw in the one bit of ice on the route before climbing into easier terrain. The route steepens again, and one bolt protects an easier-version of what is to come, stemming and dry tooling. Exit left to a small ledge and two bolts on the far left side of the ledge under a tiny spruce tree and a protective roof.

Pitch 2. M6, 30m, 5 bolts.

Step down and right into the groove and continue to follow the rusty strip. The first bolt is a self-drive and was the only bolt placed on lead on this pitch initially. Climb past the steep bulge into easier terrain. At the base of a steep and rotten roof look left and climb to a 2-bolt anchor under a roof with a very slopey, but very protected, belay stance.

Pitch 3. M6. 50m, 6 bolts.
Follow the red strip of rock up and through the rotten roof. Pull fun steep moves right around the corner, now protected by bolts, and get back into the groove and climb up towards another vertical wall. A bolt (often covered by snow) in the face to the right of the corner points the way. After stemming high, step right around the corner with the bolt near your waist. Continue up the groove another 50 feet, and keep an eye out for a small ledge with two belay bolts fifteen feet right of the groove. Hint, the belay is not on the big horizontal snow ledge. If you get there, you went to far.... The belay is placed here as it's the safest location from rockfall we could find.

Pitch 4. M7, 50m, 8 bolts.
The crux pitch. Head straight up the groove, do some delicate moves that lead you into the rusty cage. Stem your way out of the rusty cage (a 0.75 is nice before turning the roof). Belay off bolts on the left.

Pitch 5, M5, 55m, 3 bolts.
Finish up the groove with a surprisingly difficult rock step and finally a ice/snow slope to a tree.

Location

This route is the first red stripe left of The Ribbon (the next red stripe left and parallel is Desperado). Approach as for The Ribbon, and continue into the gully just left of the The Ribbon's start.

Protection

A full set of stoppers including RPs. A full set of cams from 0 Metolius to 4" with double 0.75". People unfamiliar with this type of climbing may want more 0.25"-2" pieces. There are two fixed pins on the route, so you probably don't need to bring your own as long as you leave these there for the next party.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Steven VS approaching the top of the second pitch of Rusty Cage. The little slabby traverse to get to the two-bolt anchor is not easy, but there is a good cam where that purple runner leads.
[Hide Photo] Steven VS approaching the top of the second pitch of Rusty Cage. The little slabby traverse to get to the two-bolt anchor is not easy, but there is a good cam where that purple runner leads.
Steve House placing a self drive on the start of the 2nd pitch.
[Hide Photo] Steve House placing a self drive on the start of the 2nd pitch.
Steven VS approaching the 3rd belay stance. At this point, he has just exited the steep section of pitch 3.
[Hide Photo] Steven VS approaching the 3rd belay stance. At this point, he has just exited the steep section of pitch 3.
Steven VS approaching the first belay on the first working-day on Rusty Cage. Note that there was quite a bit of ice then (early December 2013), but this ice was mostly gone by mid-January 2014.
[Hide Photo] Steven VS approaching the first belay on the first working-day on Rusty Cage. Note that there was quite a bit of ice then (early December 2013), but this ice was mostly gone by mid-January 2014.
Steven VS coming up the first part of the first pitch (about 60 feet into the initial gully) on the first day of working on Rusty Cage.
[Hide Photo] Steven VS coming up the first part of the first pitch (about 60 feet into the initial gully) on the first day of working on Rusty Cage.
Rusty Cage route. X represent 2-bolt (all-stainless hardware) anchors rigged for rappelling. Anchors may be hidden under snow-mushrooms, especially the third.
[Hide Photo] Rusty Cage route. X represent 2-bolt (all-stainless hardware) anchors rigged for rappelling. Anchors may be hidden under snow-mushrooms, especially the third.
Steve escaping the rusty cage, kind of reminded me of Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchucks.
[Hide Photo] Steve escaping the rusty cage, kind of reminded me of Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchucks.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Had a chance to climb on this route a few weeks ago. This route is a great intro to the chosshounding scratchfest, because it has bolts, which is very nice. I still think this route is serious, because falls on this terrain are dangerous. The bolts can be hard to find if the wall has lots of snow, but they are there, just gotta dig! Thanks for all the work, Steve! Jan 23, 2014
[Hide Comment] The Roberts' guide mistakenly labels this as Walk The Line. SH and and I spoke with Jeff Lowe in person, and he assured us his route (which he actually call Snowblind Friend was farther to the left). This is a nice route, that clearly took a fair bit of work--thanks Steves! Jim Turner and I climbed the route last week and had a great time. I'd echo HK's comments. Don't expect a safe outing, but the bolts keep it reasonable. Jan 24, 2014
YDPL8S
Santa Monica, Ca.
[Hide Comment] Calling out Steve House, Josh Wharton, and Hayden Kennedy? Sheesh! I would think that you've lost any credibility right there. Jan 24, 2014
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
 
[Hide Comment] Rad line. Climbed this with Kurt Ross the other day. Thanks for the work on this one, guys. We brought singles up to #3 and a small set of nuts. No pins needed, really. Seemed like more then enough. Pulling out of the cage is super unique and awesome! Feb 10, 2015
[Hide Comment] Great climb, should be done often! A lot more sustained and exciting climbing than BBB. On the crux pitch, I clipped the bolt below the giant snow mushroom, hacked through it, pulled the bulge and continued up the dike feaure to the belay anchor. Thought that part was VERY runout above the bolt. Didn't see the 0.75 placement unfortunately, maybe the rest of the giant snow mushroom was covering it up? Anyway, enjoyed the climbing! Feb 24, 2016
erik rieger
Ridgway, CO
[Hide Comment] Good climbing. As others noted, it's on the edge of reasonable/runout, but it gains a lot from that. Would suggest a single set (small cams to #2 and some small-medium nuts). There's not enough opportunity for gear to bring more. Feb 27, 2016