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Challenger Wall
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YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b PG13

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 560'
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b PG13 [details]
FA: Jay Smith and Randal Grandstaff
Season: Summer, Spring, or Fall
Page Views: 5,471
Submitted By: chad umbel on Oct 13, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (43)
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Andy Milauskus crushing up the roof on the first p...

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


Challenger may be the first route to be established on this wall but I'm not sure. Rope up below the most central crack system on the cliff and it also has a prominent little porch of rock to lay your rack out on. You can also add two more pitches (5.8 and 5.10d) to the four described here.

Pitch 1) -5.10d: Start climbing up moderate terrain directly below the roof that marks the crux of the first pitch. Get below the roof and do some cool opposition moves to gain your position below the roof. Undercling and stem out the right side and keep your eyes peeled for a key foothold out right. Move up easier ground to a two bolt anchor with a small stance.

Pitch 2) -5.10d: climb up a nice crack and layback until it is possible to traverse right towards a little corner/alcove below the main right facing corner that marks the meat of this fine pitch. Climb up the corner using small stoppers for pro, and fingertip laybacks for skills. This eventually eases off and turns into nice hand pods and secure flared locks for about 50 ft. End at a semi hanger with two new studs. Really rad pitch.

Pitch 3) 5.10b: This pitch starts off sorta shitty but I guess is worth while. Do a big reach out right off the anchor and start your grovel through some vegetation for about twenty feet to gain a weird flaring groove. Climb this and gain better ground eventually perching up below a decent sized roof. Do some trickery and bust out the left side of this roof. Then do some more balancy stuff to gain a nice ledge with two bolts for the anchor.

Pitch 4) 5.10b: This pitch can be done one of two three ways. The original line goes up the thin right facing corner off the belay and goes up and right toward a short left facing corner. You can also hand traverse out a thin rail, no feet (5.11) right off the belay and gain the 4th pitch of Jupiter II.

We however downclimbed out right off the belay and traversed until it is possible to grab a cool undercling and crank off a few locks and holds to gain the 4th pitch of Jupiter II as well. Anyway you go it's a decent pitch of climbing with more good rock. Climb up the face with cool holds and semi hollow flakes. Offset Aliens would be nice for this pitch but can totally be done without as well.

The climbing is pretty moderate and never desperate. Make your way up toward the little left facing corner and eventually climb up the arete of this to gain another two bolt anchor with suspect tat. Watch out for the two huge loose death blocks on the left side of the corner. These would be a huge threat to the belayer if dislodged!!


Do four single rope raps to get back to your pack.


A single rack up to 2" Camalot, but doubles on .5 through 1" is sorta nice. Offset Aliens could defintely be useful and HB Offsets are nice as well. A nice selection of stoppper and rp's, draws and slings as well. One 60 meter gets you up and down. ( New webbing and biners would be nice for the new bolts at the anchors.)

Photos of Challenger Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan Strong in the crux of the first pitch of Chal...
Ryan Strong in the crux of the first pitch of Chal...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fred on pitch four.  Took me a while to figure it ...
Fred on pitch four. Took me a while to figure it ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Collin negotiating the tips corner on pitch two.
Collin negotiating the tips corner on pitch two.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rachel enjoying the balancing moves on pitch 4.  W...
BETA PHOTO: Rachel enjoying the balancing moves on pitch 4. W...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rachel Greenberg rising to the Challenge on pitch ...
BETA PHOTO: Rachel Greenberg rising to the Challenge on pitch ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Challenger's 4th Pitch (thin, right facing corner ...
Challenger's 4th Pitch (thin, right facing corner ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Challenger is the right facing corner system in th...
BETA PHOTO: Challenger is the right facing corner system in th...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 16, 2017
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Sep 9, 2008
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Warning! The roof on pitch 1 is a rope eater! I'm talking mid lead....placing a green Alien in the Choke spot might work. Or be sure to throw the rope around to the right after pullling the roof....then be very careful if you place gear after that....

Great route.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 10, 2008
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

definitely bring webbing for the upper anchor if you do this route- and, while we were pretty sure a 60m rope would work for the descent, some of the raps would be rope stretchers- a 70m makes it easily.

great route- dont forget the rp's!
By Scotty Nelson
From: Boulder
Nov 20, 2008

Our rope got stuck on the 2nd to last rappel. Suggest pulling the rope to the left on this rappel.

Would be nice if someone puts some rap rings on the nice new belay bolts.
By Karsten Delap
From: North Carolina
Apr 1, 2009
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

In my opinion the tips crack was desperate. Use a 70m rope and rap rings would be nice.
By max hasson
Dec 1, 2009

Rope got stuck leading the first pitch, after pulling the lip care must be taken (as said) to keep the rope to climber's left of the crack, in the direction of the anchor. Second pitch crux was avoided by climbing arete to the left, still challenging but appeared easier than the (splitter) tips crack. Climbed straight up and traversed above vegetation on third pitch, rock's a little friable but fun moves and no gardening. Did the original fourth pitch option and found one hard move, maybe hardest of the route. Rope got stuck a second time after pulling the rope on the second to last rappel (also noted here). I had to run back up the second pitch (pretty fun), luckily the rope pulled the second time.

Excellent route, cool amphitheater, beautiful hike, makes me want to go back and get on X-15, Jupiter II and Adventure Punks.
By Rob DeZonia
Sep 4, 2011
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

This route is awesome! We used long runners on the gear under roof and didn't have any issues with the rope getting stuck. Definitely recomend finishing with the last two pitches of Jupiter. The super steep hand crack at the top is great and easier than it looks.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Oct 1, 2011
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

This is a superb route. Both the crux pitches felt solid for the grade and the tips crack was very radical and technical but with good locks when you need them. The last two pitches however felt slightly sandbagged and a word of caution to those of you who go up there without a full set of RP's (me)... don't forget the RP's! I would say overall the whole route clocks in at 5.10+ with the upper pitches being headier and harder than the guidebook would advertise. Excellent route, great stone, great approach!
By John Roark
Feb 19, 2012

another sucker getting the rope stuck...

The only warning I have is on the last rap down challenger we got our rope stuck 3 times on the thin crack near the top of the second pitch on Challenger benighting us. I swung to the right and placed 2 nuts as directionals for the pull to prevent the rope from running in the crack. After that the rope got stuck just slightly and we were able to pull hard enough to get it unstuck. The first time I unstuck our rope i was able to see the remnants of a rope in the same crack system that someone must have cut to get down.
To be honest I'm not sure if it would be better just rapping Jupiter2 with a 70m and down climbing the last 20' or so. The anchors on Jupiter2 currently do have gear to rap off. Use your judgement. Good luck.
By Darren in Vegas
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jun 10, 2012

Removed tattered webbing from the first two anchors and left quicklinks and biners on the bolted stations. Please leave the biners as they are there to facilitate easier rappelling, not for bootying. Better yet, replace the biners with more quicklinks and rap rings.
By jspitzer
Apr 15, 2013

Climbed this route a couple days ago. This route follows an impressive corner system with delicate climbing at the 5.10 level. There is definitely some technical climbing above gear.

Pitch 1: Climb up broken slabs to the under cling roof. (0.4-0.5 BD cams) protects the roof move. 100ft

Pitch 2: Climb up into the thin right facing corner above the anchor. Crux is about 30ft above belay. Small gear and RP's protect this section. The crack easiest up to the anchor about 110ft. Awesome pitch.

Pitch 3: Traverse right 5ft off the belay to the next crack system. Follow up V groove with gear partially spaced to the roof. The crux is pulling the roof out left which you can get a .5 and .75 just before the roof. Just after the roof you can just a small cam or RP. Another 15ft of climbing to the anchor. 90ft pitch. I thought this was the hardness pitch and a bit bold.

Pitch 4: Technical stemming and balancing moves off the anchor for the first 30ft. Traverse right to easier terrain to the anchor. 70ft.

Can rap the route with a single 70m rope.

Doubles in small gear is very helpful. Enjoy The Challenge.
By Gargano
From: Oakland, CA
Nov 12, 2013

Excellent route. Highly recommended. Varied climbing on solid rock.

RPs are good to bring along. Some hybrid cams would be handy in a few key spots.

We rapped Jupiter II with a single 70. No problems. Three raps. The first two are rope stretchers. Fifteen feet of easy down climbing is required on the third to get to the ground.
By briantrrnv
Apr 13, 2014

Great route! The second pitch is a rope eater. Good idea to rap left, following the secon pitch of space cowboy.
By Derek Doucet
Apr 18, 2014
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

A very nice route. Well protected with small gear, including RPs. The only exception is a brief moment on P1, stemming to gain the stance below the roof. A fall here would be a possible ankle breaker. The roof itself is very well protected.

As for the route as a whole, note that "well protected" doesn't mean gear over one's head anywhere one wishes. There is certainly real climbing above pro. A competent 5.10 leader with a reasonable lead head and adequate small pro should be fine.

The grades of the pitches felt a bit off to me. I'd say p1 is more like .10b/c, and p2-4 all felt .10a-ish. The climbing is similar in character to the Alcohol Wall (Mai Tai, Gin Ricky, Rob Roy, etc.) though there is nothing as difficult or as run out as Mai Tai (which is itself pretty reasonably protected with some care).

All in all a really fun route in a gorgeous location.
By Luke Stefurak
From: Seattle, WA
May 2, 2014

This route is now has Rings/Links on all anchors thanks to the ASCA and John Wilder for getting me the hardware. We rapped Jupiter II with a 70m (as mentioned above) and didn't have any issues with stuck ropes.
By Princess Mia
From: Vail
Oct 21, 2014
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

Yep pitch two is a rope eater when rapping. I highly recommend rapping Jupiter. Super clean. However, the last rap leaves you 15 feet shy of the ground if you use a 70m rope….. I didn't find the down climbing that easy…… but maybe I was just tired……

I thought pitch two was glorious. Super fun body position. I didn't think the thin dihedral was that desperate……in fact I got a no hands rest in the "crux". I thought the balancy and reachy moves on pitch four being the most desperate on the whole climb. Never figured out that sequence.
By David Bruneau
From: St. John
Nov 26, 2016
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Given grades didn't really reflect my experience. I'd say 11a, 10b/c, 10b and desperate 10c. I think P3 was the best of the lot - Go up the left crack 10 feet and traverse high into the right crack for easier climbing and bush avoidance. P1 roof was burly for the grade - maybe a hold broke. My partner got his rope stuck at the lip and had to downclimb to get it unstuck despite extending all pieces under and after the roof. Maybe use Big Wall technique and duct tape over the crack at the lip?

We placed a yellow ballnut on every pitch, as well as a few RP's here and there.

Thanks to Luke for the anchors, they look great. A bit of simul-rapping trickery was required for us to unstick the rope on P2 rap, easy to see how it could cause problems.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 16, 2017
rating: 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13

Pretty darn hard - every pitch. Stout for the grade. We thought the 4th pitch was the crux - we went straight up the very thin corner ending at a small roof then moving right. Both of us logged some air high on that corner turning a blank slippery bulge about 40 feet up. Have your head on for this route - luckily my partner was in the zone, I got spanked.

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