Type: Trad, 260 ft (79 m), 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Bob Candelaria, 1976
Page Views: 1,889 total · 22/month
Shared By: Ken Trout on May 1, 2017
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

Candelaria's Connection, Castle Rock, Boulder Canyon, CO.

Start with Black Crack, a smoke-stained crack a few feet left of the 5.12 Gill Crack. The crux is a big step left to get out of the crack and onto a good foothold. From the taxing foothold rest below the roof, place a big RP/offset nut, then clip the pin off tiptoe, pull the roof to the bolted anchor (5.10, 15 meters). Black Crack seems comparable in difficulty to the Outer Space overhang on The Bastille.

From the first bolt belay, place a small cam, tiptoe up (5.9), and then traverse right on run out and devious, but almost-restful, friction knobs to the thin crack of the South Face's second pitch (5.7 R). The first chance to get protection is blind. If the gear fails, then the very clean looking fall will likely result in hitting the ground (estimated via "thumb survey" from across the creek, not by actual falling). The second bolt belay is just a few meters above this crucial gear (10 meters).

The third pitch is the same as for the South Face/Jackson's Wall Direct, 5.10a, PG-13, 20 meters. It has excellent rock and moves... but not the pro so much!

The third pitch ends at a bolt station on a nice ledge. The fourth pitch is not that great, and the rappels are convenient. Alternatively, it is nice to climb 200 feet up Jackson's Wall, 5.5, to the same anchor and then toprope everything while rappelling!

The fourth and final pitch starts with dodging a roof (15 meters, 5.6) and then makes a long traverse left before topping out. The descent off the summit, towards the highway, is harder than 4th Class. A harder direct finish is possible, but I forget how hard.

HISTORY: this bold connection is not described in any of the modern guide books to Boulder Canyon. After researching all the guides at the AAC Library, only Jim Erickson's book briefly tells of Rob Candelaria's bold lead:  "...head up to a roof and turn it right (5.9) to rejoin Jackson's Wall Direct..." (Rocky Heights, 1980)  Today, most agree that 5.9 for BC is a sandbag,  but, in Rocky Heights, the first pitch of the Bastille's West Buttress was rated 5.8+!

Location Suggest change

In case you took a divergent route to get here on the worldwide web: Castle Rock is in Boulder Canyon, Colorado, a couple miles east of Nederland.  In 2017, National Geographic published photo of climbers at Castle Rock to answer the question: where are happiest people in America?

Protection Suggest change

I don't like to advise on gear, because people vary widely in preferences. I'm the guy who wants a #6 Friend behind the big flake on pitch three. Also, you can get both a #3 and #4 C4 at the crux of pitch one, just above the old bolt hole. Pitches one and two are often combined, just like the first ascent.