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Fall Wall
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5.11 Crack T 
Clam Shell TR 
Cold Finger S 
Colonial Rule T 
Drop Zone S,TR 
E.O. Friction S 
E.O. Lieback T 
Easy Overhang Traverse T 
Fall Wall (*the route) T 
Fear and Loathing T 
Guilty Fingers S,TR 
Gunga Din S 
Hole T 
Mickey Mantle S 
Neon Madman T 
Spider God T,S 
Sport S 
Upper Fall Wall Route T 

Drop Zone 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Sport, TR, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 3,050
Submitted By: Darin Lang on Jul 30, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (73)
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This is me leading the cruxy, 5.9 moves past the t...

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This is the right-most route on the Fall Wall, just to the right of Cold Finger. The route is not in Heel & Toe, but don't be fooled by the barely suppressed snickers of partners who tell you the route is "8ish". Exceptionally well-protected for a slab route, Drop Zone has reportedly been chopped and rebolted at least twice.

Set up the belay as far right as possible on the Fall Wall ledge, delicately traverse straight right past three bolts, then move up past a slight bulge in the arete. Your first decent handhold and a stem on two chickenheads ends the difficulties. Continue up on 5.6 rock past two more bolts to the same anchor as Cold Finger. It can be TR'd by climbing the latter route.


7 QDs plus something for the two-bolt anchor.

Photos of Drop Zone Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: So balance-y, ya don't need no hands...!!  July 20...
So balance-y, ya don't need no hands...!! July 20...
Rock Climbing Photo: Shannon Warner on Drop Zone.
Shannon Warner on Drop Zone.
Rock Climbing Photo: E. Poore high stepping on "Drop Zone".
E. Poore high stepping on "Drop Zone".
Rock Climbing Photo: Lin Murphy nearing the end of the traverse, 7-10-0...
Lin Murphy nearing the end of the traverse, 7-10-0...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken Forester home free (without a parachute) on Dr...
Ken Forester home free (without a parachute) on Dr...

Comments on Drop Zone Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 16, 2013
By Scott Hansen
From: Westminster, CO
Jul 31, 2001

What! It felt 8ish that day! Grab a couple more quick draws because I believe there are actually 9 bolts on the slab, before the anchors.
By Darin Lang
Aug 7, 2001

It may be splitting hairs, but the consensus rating on this climb is probably 9+, my previous puffery aside. To quote a Vedauwoo local, "It might appear somewhat overbolted primarily because of the really nasty fall potential, something most don't seem to realize. Once someone sketches off that skimpy rail at the bottom, however, they become thankful for the foresight really fast." I'm one of the thankful folks.
By Mark J. Nelson
Sep 4, 2001

A minor correction: Drop Zone and Cold Finger do not share a common anchor. There are separate two-bolt chain anchors at the top of each climb.
By Bruce Davison
Aug 21, 2002

Is this route really comparable in difficulty to, "5.11 Crack"? I'd say that 5.9+ is either an overrating for Drop Zone, or an underrating for 5.11 Crack, or both.
By Darin Lang
Aug 21, 2002

I've done both climbs several times, and I've always felt that 5.11 Crack is markedly easier than Drop Zone. 5.11 Crack really only has two or three difficult moves, separated by some 5.8 or so. Drop Zone feels pretty sustained at the 5.9 to 5.9+ level until you reach the second bolt after the traverse. The beauty of climbing, however, is that we can both be right. YM, as always, MV.
By Bruce Davison
Aug 21, 2002

Curiously DL's views seem to be the common consensus amongst climbers I talk to at Fall Wall, but it still leaves me scratching my head. Most people speak of DZ with some awe.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 16, 2002

As far as I know this route was bolted by Skip Harper, I may be wrong but I hope whoever the wild boltman is reads this. This route has been done many and many times without bolts either as a toprope or a free solo, further more if it were to be bolted it should have 2 not 3 for the traverse and go about every other bolt past that. I climb it with 5 draws and have fallen like that, it is plenty safe that way. What is ironic (moronic, ego-maniac possibly) is that if Skip did do this route he violated all the rules he set covered in his own book. "Veduawoo is not a bolt a meter area" "do not retro-bolt a someone else's route" basic ethics. Heel and toe, get out of Vedauwoo!!!!!!
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 20, 2002

What's this? Superclimber can't read? Everyone who likes this climb is worthless or who clips the bolts is unskilled? Yet the climb gets three stars. Climb back into your fat crack dude. Tout your prowess in the local coffee house or bar where it might be believable.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 21, 2002

I am so sick of hearing the Laramie crying about Heel & Toe and the authors.Grow up!
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 25, 2002

I don't think the anti-bolt annoymous coward is touting ability, he freely admits that he fell on the 5.9 Drop Zone. He makes a good point and I tend to agree. As far as complaining about guide book authors, well they just make it so damn easy to do, "don't start none won't be none" (Will Smith in MIB)
By Chad Bowman
May 24, 2003

I've been climbing only two years, but I must say that this is one of the best slabs anywhere. I agree that it might a be a bit over bolted right at the start, but once you turn up, I think the bolts are spaced just about right. I also agree with the fact that there's a potentially nasty fall at the start. One thing I've noticed, sometimes people will skip every other clip all the way through the route. I think that this isn't a bad idea, but be aware of the beginning.As for Skip Harper, I greatly admire him. He's done so much for documenting the area, and we should all be thankful. The huge groups aren't necessarily from him, but NOLS and outdoor groups like that. I have no problems with small groups wanting to go climb, heck even I will take some (4 or 5) of my friends out for a day. The thing with this is sharing. If someone just walks up, wanting to do whatever climb and I'm on it, I'll offer to pull my rope for a couple of attempts or they can climb on my rope! I really don't care, we need to stop fighting though. If we continue to fight and not abide by things like Leave No Trace, Veedauwoo is doomed for climbers.
By John Shields
Jul 21, 2003

Great sport route! Looks tougher than it feels, but feels 5.9+ for the first half of the route. The difficulties end at the first and only real feature before the halfway mark. A large knob big enough to rest with both feet on. Be comfortable palming the rock and trusting your shoes or don't bother with this one! The top half seems like a walk in the park after the first half. I would agree that the first 3 bolts on this route are required to avoid a nasty fall in a bad place..for what its worth. I'd highly recommend this route to the friction seekers out there!
By Jake Wyatt
From: Longmont, CO
Aug 14, 2003

I counted 10 bolts today, so things appear to still be happening on this route! (Three bolts on the traverse, and seven above; one bolt near the end looks homemade -- is that the new one?)

Perhaps a good idea to back-clean the first one or two bolts on the initial traverse, in order to to ease the rope-drag up high. Since the bolts on the traverse are very close, it's easy to do so.
By Brian Weinstein
Sep 14, 2003

just a joy of a climb. this will test the balancy slabby friction doers. the pro makes it very comfy for those looking to challenge themselves after cold fingers.
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 18, 2005

A real good sport route. Can be toproped easily with a 60m rope. If no one in your group feels comfortable leading it to set it up, it is easy to lead the 5.7 Cold fingers just to it's left and access the bolts for this route. A testy climb for the first half but good lessons to be learned.
By allen simons
Jun 19, 2006

Hummmmm. Man! I cut my teeth learning to climb on slab routes in Colorado and have always felt pretty good at them. I find this route only slightly less difficult than Gunga Din which is 5.11 and accurate in my opinion. I climbed this Drop Zone again the other day for the 3rd or 4th time and find it harder than 9+. I agree too that 5.11 crack seems much easier all be it a different kind of climbing but Drop Zone seems 10 b/c to me. And to all of the AC's whining about the non-Vedauwoo crowd.....first of all get a name attached to your comments and then maybe others will take you serious, although probably not..
By molony
Feb 25, 2008

I'm not exactly a slab climber, but managed this thing as my first roped lead ever, so I don't think it's quite as hard as some people think. 9+ sounds pretty accurate.
By Joshua Balke
From: Colorado Springs
Aug 11, 2008

Climbed this a couple weeks ago. I'd say that overall its a great route but I must agree that the first three traverse bolts could have been placed better. A long reach even for a 6'3 person to the first bolt and a bad fall for the leader but then a bolt within 3ft? After the first bolt the worst that will happen is the belayer lowering to the ledge below and then CLIMB ON. Everything else was nicely placed and a great climb. A good 5.9 and 3 stars.
By kili
From: 29 palms, ca
Aug 28, 2009

I climbed the 5.11 crack and Drop zone last night. I finished Drop zone in the dark. 5.11 crack seem the harder of the two climbs.
By Nate Olsen
From: Pinedale Wy/Golden Co
Oct 9, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

In Zach Orenczak's book, Fat Crack Country, this route is rated 5.9.
By Sagar Gondalia
From: Golden
Jun 29, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

This is definitely a benchmark 9, granite slab climb.
By Arlo F Niederer
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 1, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I've done lots of slab climbing over the years in many areas, probably my best climbing skill.

This route is very sustained up to the 5th bolt. Perhaps none of the moves are harder than 5.9, but consistently hard moves with no real rest spots bumps it up a tick in my book.

I've done mostly sport and crack climbing this year, so that made it feel harder because I'm out of practice. Perhaps that is the reason for the variability in ratings, because the proportion of slab climbs relative to other types has decreased with all the sport climbs and people are less experienced with slab climbs now.
By Rob Davies UK
From: Cheshire, UK
Oct 16, 2013
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Note for UK visitors: be warned, local grades are weird - this has some thin 5c moves at the start (maybe I just couldn't see the footholds) and is F6b or 6b+ overall.

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