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YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b Hueco: V1+ Font: 5 R

Type:  Boulder, 20'
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b Hueco: V1+ Font: 5 R [details]
FA: Bjorn Kruse 4/9/10
New Route: Yes
Season: No winter
Page Views: 152
Submitted By: Bjorn on Apr 13, 2010

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The beaver skull after which I had no choice but t...


There is a boulder, the size of a house, with one big, clean, flat face, just steeper than vertical, split by a fine, looming hand crack. The only thing tainting this incredibly clean, perfect crack is the stripe of guano coming out of it. I found nesting materials on top, though not an active nest.

Use the leaning boulder to gain the good jams. For most men with decently big hands, the jams will be utterly perfect for the first 5/6 of the crack's height. It gets a bit unnerving right at the top, where the jams get a bit fisty and the rock gets a bit more snap-happy. Please be careful.

A note on the name. On my first investigative attempt on this crack I pulled a skull out of a hand jam. The skull had belonged at one point to a beaver. Castor is the genus part of the Latin name of the beaver (C. fiber in Eurasia; C. canadensis in N. America), the great engineers of the natural world. I felt any name I would hang on this crack as a highball boulder problem should honor that creature whose remains I found in the crack.


Hiking upriver on the Riverside trail, after a mile or two keep your eyes peeled uphill for a massive downhill-sloping boulder with one big, slightly past vertical face which you will just barely be able to see is split by an utterly perfect, stuff-of-dreams hand crack.


Treat this thing as a short solo. I recommend padding the back-breaker rock directly beneath an imagined fall from the top. I also strongly discourage falling. Castor is a serious undertaking in a remote area. A fall from the top of this crack could break a leg or worse, a situation which a solo climber would be doing well to get out of alive.

One could rope up for this, in which case a #2 and a #3 Camalot would make it nice and safe. Belay options up top would be limited, though, and I have no intention of putting bolts up there. It's a boulder problem, and a fine, proud one at that. Jump off the opposite side. To my inspection, there is no other summit route on this boulder.

Photos of Castor Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: This is what the crack will look like from the tra...
This is what the crack will look like from the tra...
Rock Climbing Photo: A straight-on view of this lovely splitter. A triu...
A straight-on view of this lovely splitter. A triu...

Comments on Castor Add Comment
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By Bjorn
From: Leadvegas, CO
Apr 13, 2010

To those out there familiar with the climbing of LCW, I have submitted this amazing crack as my own first ascent. It is not lost on me though that this area has been visited by such prolific and capable climbers as Jimmy Dunn, Strappo Hughes, to name only a couple. I am basing my FA claim on the fact that I pulled a dead animal's head-bone out of a great hand jam as well as the number of crystals that broke off the crack's edges when I set foot jams. This climb had all the signs of an unclimbed crack. If anyone out there wishes to inform me that it was in fact climbed before, I am eager to know it, and will definitely rescind my claim as the first ascensionist. I'm just thrilled to have found it and climbed it when I did.
By Matt Bolt
From: Lakewood
May 6, 2010

Bjorn, that thing looks sick. I will definitely be planning on checking that out in a few weeks when I'm back in CO. Nice work on the find and the send!
By Bjorn
From: Leadvegas, CO
May 13, 2010

Thanks, Matt. I sure was proud. My directions on here are as precise as they really can be, but it still wouldn't surprise me if you had a hard time finding it. Feel free to contact me through this site, so we can be in touch. I'd be happy to talk you through how to get there.
By Patrick Beseda
From: Golden, CO
Jun 20, 2011

Hey Bjorn, went looking for this sweet looking crack on a backpacking trip out there. I even wrote down your directions, couldn't seem to find it. There are a few side trails that I think distracted me. If you're out there again anytime soon, think you could pinpoint it on a map or something? I'm psyched to climb it, and glad you found it.

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