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Desert Solitaire 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a A3+

Type:  Trad, Aid, 8 pitches, 1200', Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a A3+ [details]
FA: Nick Nordblom solo
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 5,653
Submitted By: Danny Meyers on Aug 13, 2008

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Pitch 5 on Desert Solitaire Photo by Dan Krauss

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


The crux of this route seems to be the sixth pitch, moving past a small cactus on thin (equalized - in my case) gear - you really don't want to fall here. The first ascent of this route was done by Nick Nordblom, and he did it solo - way cool! I couldn't think of a better way to do the 2nd ascent, so I attempted to do it solo as well. After running out of rope on the first pitch (I set my belay too low..) in a thunderstorm, replete with lightning strikes in the canyon below, I decided I needed a partner - Brad Stewart


A basic aid rack with a little emphasis (doubles) on some of the thin stuff, FA recommends 9 knifeblades, 8 Lost Arrows, 3 Angles (2 1/2" & 1 5/8") and a couple of hooks (cliffhangers). FA also recommends a bird beak & a crack tack (although we didn't use them) & a #1 copperhead, probably for a drilled hole but I don't think we used that either. It's kinda funky leaving the ledge from the top of the sixth pitch - you need to go left to into a small left-facing corner with a decent crack, and work your way up past a gangly, dead tree in the crack. The rest is cake... just watch out for a couple of loose blocks - no big deal.

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By Karsten Duncan
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 14, 2008

Very sweet. Nice to hear people are getting up there. . . well at least you are. I have thought about going up to do one of those things. You are definately going where few have (or ever will) go.
By Stiles
From: the Mountains
Oct 5, 2008

Kellen Nelson (of NelsonVs.Hutchenpsycle uber-fame) and l climbed this line in May of 2005. I hitched from Fort Collins to Kellen's house in Reno. We drove to Vegas, climbed the wall(ran out of food and water--walk down descent sucks), and hitched back to the Fort. Outstanding line. Kellen took a factor-2 35footer and fully blew out a screamer on pitch two trying to go clean (#00 brassie stayed in-wire snapped while backcleaning our other #00 below him). A few small KBs and several peckers and RURPs were needed on three pitches. This line runs straight up the middle of the wall, aesthetic. Solo FA is Bold.

Needs to be done sans hammer. Though seems unlikely...

Descent: We tried the walk-down on the backside. We didn't want to rappel with bags. It was a bad idea, descending the rappel anchors is the way to go, without a doubt.
By David Allfrey
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
Apr 17, 2017

This is a free route that goes at 13b now.

It's an excellent route, many hard pitches, cryptic and challenging climbing, beautiful stone. It has now seen 5 or 6 successful ascents over the last few years.

Overall the climbing is safe and well protected but not without moments of excitement (but minimal real danger).

have fun.
By apoet
From: AZ
May 11, 2017

Were bolts added for the free ascent of this route? Does anyone have info regarding changes to the aid rack (I assume this is now all clean aid if it goes free)?
By David Allfrey
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
May 13, 2017

I can't say if there were bolts 'added' or not. The old aid hardware was updated.

I would imagine it should all go clean.

I'd bring doubles from tiny to 4 or something. Small nuts. Ample clips, a few rivet hangers.

Don't break holds please, keep your bounce testing to a minimum and be careful.

Why not do one of the other, aid specific routes like Big Paycheck, Saurons Eye or some of the others that aren't free lines (FYI Crazy World is basically the new 13d free route 'Dreefee'). There are a few other lines up there that would make for just as good of an adventure.

Good luck, be smart!

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