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Dan's Dreadful Direct (aka DDD) 

YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a R

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a R [details]
FA: Dan Davis, Pat Callis, 1963 (FFA Dan Lepeska, John Stoddard) 1985
Season: Spring and Fall
Page Views: 438
Submitted By: Karsten Duncan on Mar 27, 2006

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DDD follows insipient cracks and small edges up the face to the left of Damnation Crack. There is pro but it can be thin and difficult to fish in while on the tiny edges. This route should only be led by those confident at the grade.

The route, originally put with 3 bolts one of which was also used as a belay. The original and additional bolts have appeared and disappeared several times over the years and the route remains a contentious poster child of bolting wars.

Most climbers now climb the route as a TR accessible from any of the routes that top out on the Jello Tower.


The route goes up the vertical wall to the left of Damnation crack and the Jello Tower.


Pro to #1 camalot with many micro nuts

Comments on Dan's Dreadful Direct (aka DDD) Add Comment
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By Drederek
Jun 30, 2008

This route is 100 feet to the chains
By geoff georges
From: Seattle, Wa.
May 19, 2014

The Dan of the Dreadful Direct was Dan Davis.
FA- Dan Davis, Pat Callis, 1963. Contrary to what's said above they placed 3) 3/8" studs, used 20 pitons.
FFA- as listed above using the bolts, which were chopped later, having nothing to do with the first ascent or the first free ascent.
By Jon Nelson
From: Bellingham, WA
Apr 18, 2016

I wonder who that "Don Stoddard" is in the FFA listing above. (I updated the info as per Geoff's comment above.)

Perhaps the author meant "John Stoddard" (who was quite actively doing new, hard ascents during that time)?
By Karsten Duncan
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 19, 2016

Thank you Geoff and Jon for corrections. Description edited.

For the record, looks like 2 bolts placed for pro and a third as an anchor. Appears only 2 pins used for aid. Description does say 20 pitons but those may have also been used to protect free portions of the route.

Pic below from 1965 Leavenworth Guide.
Rock Climbing Photo: 1965 Guide to Leavenworth
1965 Guide to Leavenworth

Thanks to Blake for the above pic from the guide.
By blakeherrington
Apr 19, 2016

In 1963 I think basically the entire pitch was the "direct aid" portion of the pitch. Graded 5.7 A3, I'd guess that only the top few meters were free climbed.

I think the specific mention of placing and aiding from bolts, a RURP and a KB isn't meant to imply that the remaining +/- 20 pitons were used as freeclimbing pro in a modern sense, but rather that the pitch required some atypical or specialized aid gear in addition to the normal rack of arrows, angles, etc.
By Jplotz
From: Wenatchee, WA
Apr 19, 2016

Interesting commentary from FFA'ist Dan Lepeska, taken from a Cascade climbers topic after DDD was bolted then chopped in 2001:

It has been some time since I have climbed, a retirement forced from stress injuries to joints from stupid training. Recently it came to my attention that there was some controversy surrounding Dan's Dreadful Direct, and I thought it appropriate I should add my voice to the equation, since I had the moment of privelege granted to me by Jim Yoder and had the belay and support of John Stoddard to free climb this wonderful route for the first time.

Indeed, John's point of view, that the existing manky old fixed pin on Damnation Crack did contribute to some level of safety for the crux section of the route, is an accurate statement. It was an ackward clip, but it was also a critical piece of protection.

Personally, I have no problem with the addition of a good bolt in a location that would be in about the same area as the original pin. One bolt is more than adequate. Additional bolts to make a sport climb of this route is not acceptable.

When Jim, John, and I did the climb we did it with the idea of using the natural protection available on the climb. The use of RP's was critical to success, and I understand that new protection has replaced RP's as the gear of choice for ultra small placements.

For many of my climbs I logged "air time" figuring out moves, with many a fall onto RP's down to #1 size. When used properly they provide psychological and sometimes real protection.

Climbs that are conceived as bold statements of ability for control with long runouts over difficult rock should stand in as original condition as possible. In the event the original climb is altered with the loss of a fixed pin or bolt, then the climb should be restored to as near to original condition as possible. In my opinion this climb, while having an element of danger, was not a lethal proposition, but certainly had the potential for painful consequences for failure.

Not all climbs are for all people. In fact the ability to do a given climb is a temporary condition and a privelege that should be enjoyed fully at the moment.

Full thread here if you want to waste a good hour for some entertaining reading:
By Sol Wertkin
From: Leavenworth, Washington
Apr 30, 2017

I made a redpoint ascent of this route recently and despite overlooking it for years when deeming it too dangerous without the fixed pins and too contrived to bother I actually found the pro good and somewhat plentiful and the lead brilliant, sustained, and long.


Initial seam/crack:
HB Brass Offset Nut #6
Red Slider Nut
HB Alum Offset Nut #7
(a Purple Mastercam can be placed in a pod slightly higher then the slider nut)

Blue Alien R side of undercling

.75 in pod with middle cam lobes facing R
Purple Mastercam in seam above pod
Fixed (for now) Yellow Slider Nut

Red/Yellow Offset Alien in small flaring pod

.75 in large horizontal
#6 BD Nut above cam

Yellow Alien in horizontal mantle shelf

Red Alien in flaring crack
.75 in horizontal

Yellow/Green Offset Alien in L Flake

000 TCU in horizontal out R

Green C3 in horizontal

Orange TCU before anchor
By Matthew Tangeman
Jul 6, 2017

Though leading this is way beyond me currently, the movement of this climb just on TR makes it easily one of the best Castle pitches. Sustained, intricate and thought-provoking. Decidedly more thought-provoking on lead I'm sure. Get on it!

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