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Colorado Crack 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Billy Westbay, John Long, and Hugh Burton - Sept 1975
Page Views: 10,568
Submitted By: M. Morley on Oct 19, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (244)
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Me on Colorado Crack


Colorado Crack is THE climb to do in the greater Jumbo Rocks area.

This 100' crack lies in the middle of the Corridor Face just right of Spiderman and is right-angling at the bottom, then vertical to the top. Face climb past large huecos to the right-angling hand crack. Continue up a vertical finger crack with nice face holds on exquisite rock.

Anchor: natural gear.

To descend, scramble off to the north (climber's right). This involves a move or two of downclimbing or...take DE's advice: "bring a skateboard for the descent, you might have to ollie the six inch bump encountered halfway down".


Medium to large nuts, a double set of cams .5 to 2", plus one 3" piece; skateboard optional.

Photos of Colorado Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Colorado Crack
Colorado Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Conan's Corridor
BETA PHOTO: Conan's Corridor
Rock Climbing Photo: Brett having fun leading Colorado Crack. He made i...
Brett having fun leading Colorado Crack. He made i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff "The Dude" Crow rolls a strike on C...
Jeff "The Dude" Crow rolls a strike on C...
Rock Climbing Photo: the outcrop of doom
the outcrop of doom
Rock Climbing Photo: Brett cruising Colorado Crack, as Patrick entertai...
Brett cruising Colorado Crack, as Patrick entertai...
Rock Climbing Photo: Colorado Crack. Photo by Blitzo.
Colorado Crack. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: not quite at the outcrop of doom belayed by the Te...
not quite at the outcrop of doom belayed by the Te...
Rock Climbing Photo: cowering...
Rock Climbing Photo: the deadly outcrop
the deadly outcrop
Rock Climbing Photo: Morgan onsighting.  Jun 2017.
Morgan onsighting. Jun 2017.
Rock Climbing Photo: Gear anchor at the top of Colorado Crack. Takes la...
BETA PHOTO: Gear anchor at the top of Colorado Crack. Takes la...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down Colorado Crack.
Looking down Colorado Crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bob doing the splits on up the crack.
Bob doing the splits on up the crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bob leading Colorado.
Bob leading Colorado.
Rock Climbing Photo: Colorado Crack , March 1990
Colorado Crack , March 1990
Rock Climbing Photo: Colorado Crack!
BETA PHOTO: Colorado Crack!

Comments on Colorado Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 10, 2017
By mike harrison
May 12, 2003

the best crack jumbo has to offer! fun,hard and commiting.great place to climb when the winds blowing.
By Woody Stark
Nov 1, 2003
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

This is a superb route: varied and sustained. I plan on climbing it again.
By Woody Stark
Jan 23, 2004
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

By C Miller
From: CA
Aug 11, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A very good route for the area but the rock is on the coarser side. Another quality route of the same grade nearby is Nuke The Whales, a steep, well-protected hand crack.
By Murf
Sep 27, 2004

I noticed from Mike's comments that the bolts on the top have been here for some period. Could someone put me in touch with the bolter? Click on the name to email me through the site.
By gnat
Sep 27, 2004

i think this mr. murf is up to no good. i just read over on the other jt climbing site that mr. murf plans on removing the bolts. and to make matters worse, the poor little bolts (a nice married couple) are pleading for thier lives. i'm just sick over this.
By Murf
Sep 27, 2004

Sorry lil' bug, I wasn't trying to hide anything. I will be removing the bolts, but I also wouldn't mind talking to whoever placed them. It turns out Mr. Bolt was cheating on Mrs. Bolt with a red sling, using the couples rap rings. Disturbing to say the least.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 29, 2004

Those bolts WILL be replaced Murf, spare yourself the trouble of chopping.
By Randy
Sep 29, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

While I am not a big fan of removing anchor bolts, even if placed in recent times (lets not revive the "convenience bolt wars"), I have absolutely no respect for people who place or remove bolts anonymously. And, "anonymous" opinions hold virtually no sway either.

In most cases, I do not agree with Tom (Murf) on removal of anchor bolts. However, I do respect his opinions and the fact that he is open and up front about what and why he is doing this. He has even had the courtesy of asking for a dialog with the wider climbing community and the persons who placed the bolts.

If you have an opinion or are taking some sort of action, speak up, otherwise keep your ideas and crow bar to yourself. Too many good routes have been vandalized by these appropriately named "anonymous cowards."

By Woody Stark
Sep 29, 2004
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I vote to leave the anchors. The downclimb is iffy. I agree, that at times, unnecessary anchors are placed; these are reasonable.
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Sep 29, 2004

I vote leave them also..............but Murf stated on Todds site that he was "Chopping" them the point is most likely moot.
By Woody Stark
Sep 30, 2004
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I don't know if Murf will remove the anchors "anyway"; but, if he does, why ask for other opinions? If one is going to act independently with little or no regard for the concerns of others, it can become somewhat anarchic out there. There are things I like and dislike vis a vis the present climbing scene, but I won't become a rogue warrior acting only on my own whims.
By Murf
Sep 30, 2004

Woody - don't assume that CJT and JTC and the views expressed thereon are all the opinions around.

I find these quotes to be interesting:

"Adding bolts to an established route is so seldom justified that it should be rarely considered."

"Additional protection bolts generally should not be placed on existing routes."

"Bolts should never be placed when a natural piece of protection will suffice. This holds true for anchors too."

Colorado Crack lasted from 1975 until recently without a rappel on the top. Its not hard to get down, there are certainly many climbs that are harder. I must be missing the dire need for belay bolts on top of this climb. Or is it that people are just getting lazy?

By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 30, 2004

Murf makes a good point - CC has existed for 25+ years without anchor bolts. Why now? What has changed? Perhaps people ARE growing lazier. There does seem to be a disturbing trend to 'improve' upon existing routes by adding additional protection bolts, adding anchor bolts where perfectly acceptable traditional gear exists, and so on (a lot of it going on in San Luis Obispo right now, see and

Personally, I don't want to see Joshua Tree turn into an outdoor climbing gym. I'm sure others would be delighted to see bolted anchors on top of every 3, 4 and 5-star route in the Park. So a balance must be achieved. Le Chatelier's Principle: 'If a dynamic equilibrium is disturbed by changing the conditions, the position of equilibrium moves to counteract the change'.

100 per cent consensus is unlikely and every situation is different (e.g., 3 Amigos Bolt Ladder). However, I think this website and JTC can provide useful forums for discussion and debate.

My opinion: I oppose unilateral decisions being made. Since removing bolts can cause significant damage to the natural resource, it should be avoided unless there is a compelling reason to do so by a majority of the climbing community (locals AND non-locals alike). Therefore, Murf, I would discourage you from removing the bolts (although I believe them to be superfluous and should never have been added in the first place) until you can provide a compelling reason to do so and gain the support of the majority of the climbing community. Otherwise, I think it is VERY likely that some dickweed will just replace the bolts once you remove them and we'll be back to square one.
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Sep 30, 2004

I personally feel that even "If" Murf has decided to chop the bolts regardless as he had stated earlier, that his being open and honest about it, and that having this dialog take place as a result is a good thing. If the bolts were chopped with no one taking responsibility, I doubt that this much discussion would be taking place. Also, though I disagree with "Chopping" in general, it happens and will continue to happen. It is fortunate that we do not live in a "Perfect world". How boring it would be.........
By Karen
From: Prescott
Sep 30, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Ditto, Woody !!!
By Randy
Sep 30, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Murf makes some excellent points. I gotto go with him on this one. Why is there suddenly a need for bolt anchors on top of this route? I presume you have a whole rack of gear when you lead it. Sounds like gym mentality laziness to me.
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Sep 30, 2004

what I would love to see here, is the person that put the bolts up be brave enough to come forward and admit it and discuss it openly. I agree with Murf, Randy and Mike that if it has been good enough for so long, why now. But I also agree that now that it is there, well..........leave it unless the majority (Also agree that the majority does not mean Jtree locals but any and all concerned climbers). So will the "Bolter in Question, please stand up and quit being a chicken shit"? Murf is out fully so should you be.........What I wonder, is it a "Gym person" or hopefully not..............a local? Hopefully not the latter......................
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 30, 2004

By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Sep 30, 2004

.........certainly possible anonymous. But I'm just curious, why are you personally posting under "Anonymous"? What's to hide? You know who the person is? I have no problems with bolted routes, or retro bolting (With permission from the FA party) or adding anchors (If it is reviewed and agreed upon by the climbing community and the FA party if possible) or of course replacing bad anchors. But I do think that discussion is needed and that accountability is in order. So even though I may be somewhat fucked up at times in others minds (And mine), I too do not like "Chicken Shit" ethics and state once more that though I disagree with Murf, I do appreiciate his honesty.......I would like to read opinions by real people. Not "Anonymous". And for those that think my name "locker" is anonymous in it's own way, well no more so than Bob, Richard, Don or whomever. It would be nice to be able to address each as some name. It does not mean we know you personally..........
By Joe Schmoe Test
Oct 1, 2004

By: The Gray Tradster On: 11.17.2003 Rating: 5.5 Comments: The original rating in the Wolfe book was 5.5. The bolt for the finish didn't appear untill the late 70's or early 80's. The last nut also had an unnerving habit of falling out. There were no bolted belays obviously. Last time I did it though, (Boy, we used to do this with only hexes?) shown to make a point. Adding anchors has been going on for a while
By Murf
Oct 11, 2004

Anchor bolts removed 10/10/2004 by Tom Murphy, email through site if you want your hangers back.
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 13, 2005

As of 3.11.05 a bolted anchor is there.

Re. the gear, nuts work great most of the way up, so if you don't have many cams you'll be alright. Mostly medium to large nuts.

Bryce Breslin
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 19, 2005

i think there is a difference between "convenience bolts" and "chicken bolts". im all for the former, but hey, maybe im just lazy...

these are "convenience bolts" and do not, IMHO, effect the quality of the climb, and i disagree (although not fervently) with the decision to remove them. i would prefer to simply rap down and go climb something else. if you prefer downclimbing/scrambling off, that option is still available to you.
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Mar 19, 2005

"these are "convenience bolts" and do not, IMHO, effect the quality of the climb, and i disagree (although not fervently) with the decision to remove them. i would prefer to simply rap down and go climb something else. if you prefer downclimbing/scrambling off, that option is still available to you."

The quote posted here may be true. "Conveinence anchors" do not in any way change the quality of a given route. I don't think that was or is the point concerning "Conveinence anchors"...if the general masses were to agree with the above quote then every single route should then have "Conveinence anchors".......right?

On these anchors in particular, they are there already and not really needed, but I say leave them be. But I do not support going nuts and loading up rocks with metal not truly needed by we climbers either. Sport climbing is fun and has it's place. Bolts are a must on many routes. Overbolting is not needed here at Jtree. Not anchors and not on routes. Not in my opinion........keep the runnouts! And learn to build your own anchors! If you can't get down? Don't go up...........
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 29, 2005

Much easier than it looks and a lot of fun. Probably a good first '5.9' at Josh since it is in no way pumpy, and you have great stances from which to place gear the whole way up.
By bw1
Apr 10, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

One of the nicer cracks in the area. There was a family of Scott's orioles nesting deep in the second little pod of the route as of 04/05.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Apr 10, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Surprised to see the bolts there today (4/10/05) don't remember them being there when I was there last, albeit a long time ago. In fact when we arrived a group of people were in the process of setting a top-rope up using the bolts, which incedentally are useless for a lead anchor unless you want to be pulled over the edge. We decided to lead the crack before the top-rope people got on it, and were subsequntly chastised for getting on "their" climb, all very boring. So, these bolts were placed to turn a traditional lead climb into a top-rope route with a handy rappel/lower off, not a healthy precedent to set at Joshua Tree - Colorado Crack was IMHO emasculated by this action. These bolts need to go, they don't belong at the top of this climb. Of course the top-roping group pronounced Colorado Crack "easy". My reply to which was "well lead the friggin' thing then and give it some dignity".
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Apr 11, 2005

Here we go again! "Bolt Wars!".................
By Randy
Sep 19, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A very nice climb, but Spiderman seemed a better route to me. At this point, I think the bolts should be left alone.
By Adam Stackhouse
Feb 4, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I really don't mind seeing a couple of belay bolts at the top of a climb. It just makes an enjoyable activity a bit easier...Don't sweat it...If it makes it easier to TR the route so what? They're just a couple of bolts...take it easy...
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Feb 23, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I find it hard to imagine that adding a two bolt anchor at the top of a traditionally protected climb would make it any easier, or more convenient. Imagine the poor sap who had to a) buy the bolting gear, b) lug it up to the top of the climb and c) pop the climb's cherry by drilling holes and setting the bolts.

No, a really sad precedent. One day the park dudes are going to say "no more!" and kick us all out. How easy will that be? If we can't restrain ourselves, someone will do it for us - and they won't be climbers.
By Blitzo
Nov 30, 2006

It's a good route, worthy of 2 stars.
By Hampton Uzzelle
From: Tucson, Arizona
Jan 30, 2007

I climbed this route in December and one of the bolts is loose in the hole and the rock is badly eroded beneath the hanger. The anchors also are a little over 100 feet from the base depending on where you belay from so be cautious if you are lowering someone. I did the walk off to the south-it's easy especially by area standards and only takes 10 minutes max. There are probably several ways to get back to the base.

Part of the beauty of Joshua tree is the trad ethic-even alot of bolt protected routes have natural anchors here. It's a style that's worth protecting especially in area with Jtree's history. These bolts are poorly placed and unnecessary -but the damage is done. If you are considering adding bolted anchors to climbs that have existed for years without them-take a look here and consider if it's really a community service. I think you might decide otherwise. 2 cents worth( I'm not a crusty old traddie either-I like clipping bolts, but a big part of the adventure in Joshua tree is figuring out the descent-a lot of times you see cool features you otherwise would have never seen)
By slobmonster
Nov 25, 2007

As of Thanksgiving week '07 the "bolts" (and I use this term loosely, here) atop CC are present. Unfortunately they are fuggly, loose, spinning, and obviously damaged (by attempt at removal). If I knew a reliable way to remove Petzl Long-lifes, I'd have done so last week.

Regarding the argument posted above: coming from North Conway, I'm familiar with these pissing matches and the rock damage that eventually ensues. Maybe if someone in the community can mix up a yard or two of "J T patch" cement, it won't look that bad... but in the meantime those bolts need to be either pulled & patched, or (dare I say) replaced.
By The Gray Tradster
Nov 25, 2007

Joe Schmoe took my comment about a completely different route (Mikes Books)and placed it out of context.

A bolt added almost 40 years ago due to changing technology and beat out placements (I'm assuming thats why it was placed. A cam would offer plenty of protection now) and convenience anchors placed where you are literally sitting on a protectable crack are two far different things.
By Ryan Kelly
From: work.
Oct 6, 2008

Bolting War Update: It seems at long last both sides have come to an agreement and called a truce. After years of placing the anchor bolts, removing them, replacing them... it appears a compromise has been reached. There is now one bolt there, next to the hole of the one removed.
By BrendanC
From: Sherman oaks, ca
May 15, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Another great, long 5.9. Some super positions. The new Miramontes book has this as the only 4 star 5.9 in the park. Not sure about that, but it's an excellent climb. Definitely one of the best. Well protected and varied. At this post a single spinner remains at the top. Gear anchor necessary, or loop a block. You can rap off the Boulderado anchor around to climber's right, but getting to it is rather spicy.
By Bryan Davenport
From: 29palms
Jul 2, 2011

Bolt is still there. Bees are insane at jumbo area right now. Offer them some water and they'll leave you alone. Not a bad climb but I don't get more than two stars. I doubt I'll be a repeat offender. Be cautious about the flake, it's coming down soon I'd bet. Easy walk off on climber's left.
By Ben Sachs
Oct 10, 2011

Cool route, but I think it's kind of weird it's the only 4-star 5.9 in the new book.

To the bolt chopper:

I understand why you chopped the bolts, but seriously you are going to leave a single spinner up there instead of finishing the job? That is so F'ing LAZY. Either chop it, or don't. Pathetic.
By Brian Chastain
Feb 8, 2012

The bolts were put in a place to make top roping this route a convenience. Who ever FA'ed this route should be the only person with the right to add bolts.

Rap the Boulderado bolts as someone mentioned. It isn't bad or spciy getting to these bolts in my opinion unless you traverse to them. You can slither down to them very easily through the wide crack above them. Sorry to perpetuate the bolt convo.
By Simon Hatfield
From: Oakland, CA
Mar 8, 2012

Must-do route - long, secure, with great, albeit sharp, rock.

C.C. Gets sun in the morning, then moves into shade. Would be a great first 5.9, as it takes stoppers readily (if you don't yet own a lot of cams) and features generally straightforward pro and great stances.
By Canon
Nov 22, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Popular area. Great climb, stances for placements are good, has some interesting technical moves and great holds, but it is NOT soft!

Stuck a #1 Friend in the crack about 2/3 of the way up. Follower was ultimately unsuccessful in removal, as were the 4 other climbers who made attempts on it while we were in the area.

Good climb. Lots of anchor options up top - 1 spinner bolt remains. The walk-off descent is a real pain in the ass. I can see why you wouldnt want (and dont need) TR bolts, but a rap anchor for the wall would be really nice, and probably result in less overall impact to the area.
By Zak Krenzer
From: Auburn, WA
Oct 22, 2014

Awesome Route! Varied with plenty of face moves that fade as the crack gets more thin and moves to fingers in the crux. 1 Spinner bolt still remains - walk left around the large boulder at the top and then right through the notch to a large ledge, Rap anchors will be to the right (Glued Bolts). Walk-0ff is also an option according to the books.
By Benjaminadk
From: San Pedro, California
Nov 16, 2014

a really good route. don't remember much about bolts. we walked off and lived.
By tomallen112190
From: yucca valley, ca
Apr 3, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This was my third ever crack climb when I started out climbing last year and I fell in love. My very first was invisibility lessons on future games rock followed by another crack over to the left of it, but that one really won't count since my belayer pulled me up most of the wall TRing... I may not be a pro yet, but I love the sport and the vets have my full respect- that said I would recommend this climb to anyone! I'm going back asap!
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
May 1, 2016

while the climbing is good, this route has a lot of hollow sounding rock to be considered a classic.
By Dan Evans
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jan 10, 2017

The walk off is easy and requires very little actual down climbing. Hard to believe this was ever an issue. As of 1/08/2017 one spinner bolt remains.

There are still a few loose/brittle face holds after the first "pod" that will likely break if you yard on them. It'll be pretty obvious when you get to that point.

Overall an excellent route! This was one of my first 5.9 leads in the park and had me smiling like a little kid once I pulled the moves to the summit.

Standard rack .3" - 3" (Plus up on sizes in the .5" - 1" range if you want to sew it up)

Bring 2" - 4" gear & slings/cord for the anchor.

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