REI Community
Solar Slab - Upper Tier
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Arch Enemy T 
Change Up T 
Going Nuts T 
Heliotrope T 
Solar Slab T 
Sunburn T 
Sundog T 
Sunflower T 
Sunspot Ridge T 

Arch Enemy 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 500', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: unknown
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 4,604
Submitted By: Larry DeAngelo on Apr 6, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (38)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Inside the tunnel - Arch Enemy

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


This route starts just to the left of where the Solar Slab route starts up from the terrace. There is a prominent corner that curves up and to the left, forming an arch. Climb up the slab, heading for a patch of varnish that is about twenty feet below and to the right of the bottom of the corner. Protection is available here. Go up and left to the corner and follow it to a bolted belay station. (5.8)

Pitch 2: Continue up the corner above, passing two protection bolts, until you can tunnel up underneath the arch (5.9). Belay on a good ledge that is halfway up the second pitch of Solar Slab.

Pitch 3: Climb up and right about twenty feet to reach the bottom of a clean finger crack. Follow this straight up (5.9) for a long pitch to the belay station at the top of Solar Slab's pitch 3. (The upper part of this pitch has been used as a variation to Solar Slab, sometimes unintentionally.)

From this point, you can continue to the top on Solar Slab, or rappel using bolted rap stations.


standard rack, maybe a few extras in the finger-size range for the upper crack

Photos of Arch Enemy Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Arch Enemy Pitch 3 finger crack. You need to do it...
Arch Enemy Pitch 3 finger crack. You need to do it...
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting the tunnel on pitch 2 of Arch Enemy.
Starting the tunnel on pitch 2 of Arch Enemy.
Rock Climbing Photo: Brett on p1 of Arch Enemy
Brett on p1 of Arch Enemy
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down at the first belay of Arch Enemy from...
Looking down at the first belay of Arch Enemy from...
Rock Climbing Photo: The view down the corner on pitch 1 of Arch Enemy.
The view down the corner on pitch 1 of Arch Enemy.
Rock Climbing Photo: Arch Enemy location
BETA PHOTO: Arch Enemy location

Comments on Arch Enemy Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 1, 2016
By Jason D. Martin
Apr 7, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Maybe I'm just a wimp, but I'd have to say that the second pitch of this is a solid 10a, maybe even 10b. It's certainly harder than other 5.9s I've done on the Solar Slab Wall.

By Larry DeAngelo
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 23, 2006

Naw-- the other 5.9s are probably soft...
By ChugachMan
Apr 3, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

As of the beginning of April be careful at the topout of the short chimney section. Someone dropped a poo right on the middle of the ledge (and placed a rock over it) that I was very lucky not to stick my hand in or step in.
By Jason D. Martin
Dec 15, 2007
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I just climbed this line again today and I think I'm going to stick with my 10a rating. It's definitely harder than Sunflower, Sundog, or Bhuela's Book...

Just below the bolts on the right hand side there is a double crack system. The upper of the two crack systems (the one further from the wall) harbors the smaller of the two cracks. This is a very inviting crack for #1 Camalots or the equivalent. Be aware that the flake that makes up this crack is loose. This piece of rock moved when I leaned against it. The rock probably weighs well over a thousand pounds, so be careful!

By Stephen Becker
Oct 22, 2010

I think the route is great. The finger crack on the third pitch was just amazing. The tunneling was, ummm, interesting. But 10a? More like really awkward 5.8.
By smassey
From: CO
Mar 14, 2011

On 13 March, the LVCLC with support from the ASCA replaced the two horribly rusted pro bolts on pitch 2, and one of the anchor bolts on the pitch 1 anchor. The other is a decent looking 5-piece. The bolts are 3/8x2.25 SS, and the anchor was equipped with links and rings. The unsightly wad of tat was removed.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 13, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Very nice option on the upper tier. Pretty standard 5.9 arm bars with foot smearing, then standard chimney. The third pitch finger crack is spectacular and should not be missed - has a couple short 5.9ish sections as well.
By BJ Sbarra
From: Carbondale, CO
Mar 30, 2014

Fun route, finger crack 3rd pitch lived up to the hype, so fun. Thought getting to the second bolt on p2 was a little exciting, moving up the sandy, hollow pillar thing, but reasonable. Chimney part was a hoot.
By Joe Cayer
From: Mesa, Az
Oct 12, 2014

Can the rap from the top of Arch Enemy be done with one rope? It's been awhile since I've been up there and I don't remember...
By smassey
From: CO
Oct 16, 2014

^^^Joe, the raps can be done with a single 60m, but the one from the top of the first pitch of Solar Slab will leave you at the top of the no-pro 5.4 section. If you're not comfy down-soloing a few slab moves, a 70m will take you down into 3rd class terrain where it's not too bad to scramble down.
By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Nov 2, 2015

The first pitch was a bit unnerving getting to the dark patch and continuing above unsure when gear might appear (but there is enough placements). A 4 camalot was nice to have for the 2nd pitch. Glad the slot was not any tighter for my claustrophobic self!
By Mike Soucy
From: Longmont, CO
Nov 4, 2015

To clarify a bit of smassey's comment:
I don't think Arch Enemy could be rapped from the top of the finger crack/Solar Slab p3 chains with a single 60m.
It's a 35m rap climbers' left to the second belay stance. From here a 60m would work per his beta. Bring a 70m.
By Sherri Lewis
From: Sequim, WA
Mar 17, 2016

I am so glad we didn't let the imposing appearance of this route deter us from giving it a try. It really is worth doing and the holds and gear appear just where you want them.

On P2, as with most offwidth, chimney-type features, I suspect that a climber's size could make the difference between loving it and hating it. My partner and I are both "petite" (under 5'1") and we could wiggle deeper into the chimney and work some of the face features that might be out of reach of those with more body mass.

To us, it felt like an honest 5.9, though much less sustained than the 5.9 chimneys on Epi.

I found a sweet .5 placement in a vertical slot on the smooth face to my right inside the chimney, which nicely protected this section above my #3.5 place at the mouth of the tunnel.

The moves between the bolts are fun combos of chicken wings and smearing which feel surprisingly secure.

If you are climbing with a pack, be sure to drop it before you leave the belay so you can work your right shoulder against wall.

We found a rack of singles to #4 to work well, with a few extra finger sizes if you are continuing to the P3 finger crack.
By Daniel Bookless
From: Portland, OR
Nov 30, 2016
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

Pitch 1 was run out AF! unless your placing marginal good for nothing tiny brass nuts. basically your gonna have to solo up to the base of the corner (the protection in the "varnished spot" is only gonna protect your for a little bit then your soloing again.)
By Cimbing Ivy
From: bay area, CA
Dec 1, 2016

Great fun! The climbing is more secure and mellow than the imposing appearance of the line suggests. We found plentiful gear/nuts placement opportunities on P1, maybe except the first 40 feet first off the deck (but it's low angle at that point). Have to agree P2 is closer to 5.8 as far as chimneys go. I'm 5'8" and my partner is 6'1" and not particularly anorexic; we both found the chimney section a hoot. Not too claustrophobic or awkward. Yes there're sections of delicate softer white rock inside the chimney, along with the standard fare of a flexing hollow flake behind you, but nothing too sandy or imminently unsafe - just climb with care and not muscle your way up, you would be rewarded with a fun lead! P3 is nice and long without any part standing out as cruxy. A single rack to #3 works well for us.

An overall fun mellow climb and a great link up with Beulah's Book.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About