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Highway of Diamonds 

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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Wunsch, Hritz, Logan, 1973
Page Views: 2,945
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Feb 13, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (23)
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Contemplating the *9+* crux.

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  • Description 

    Jim Erickson called the Highway of Diamonds a "route of untarnished beauty".

    For P1, start in the slot between fin one and fin two. The start is a shallow corner leading to a left angling crack that gains the right corner of the obvious large roof. You will pass the bolted line "Land of Ra" on the way. Hike up a moderate crack for 15 feet and belay above the roof in a small stance on the arete.

    P2 dodges right for a short way and then cuts back to the arete for truly magnificent position on moderate rock.

    Descend North or rap from the anchors on Land of Ra (165 feet). Take a lot of wired stoppers and a full range of cams.

    Three stars for a classic piece of Eldorado history, great stone, and the amazing position. It's hard to believe that twenty years has elapsed since I touched this beautiful piece of stone.


    A full trad rack and a 60 m rope.

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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 31, 2015
    By David Hous
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Aug 26, 2002

    I led the fist pitch of this route a couple of days ago and it is great. I would mention the long runout after the hand tranverse left up to the crack. If you're solid on 5.8 it just takes a cool head. But it is a 15-20 foot runout and the last piece is somewhat suspect.
    By Joe Collins
    Jan 12, 2004

    A bit of an unheralded classic. Crux felt a bit stout for 9, and the moves are a bit reachy. First pitch is 5.8 X.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Feb 4, 2004

    I think the guidebook gives this route the dubious 9+ rating. Also I felt like the crux moves were a little run.
    By Luke Clarke
    From: Golden
    Mar 8, 2004

    Not that this site really needs another rating argument but I think the 9+ rating in Rossiter's guide for this route is a classic Eldo sandbag the hardmen of the 70s bequeathed to us. I was crushed on the crux -- leading and on top rope -- and I have been leading 10b and c in Eldorado. The 10b Ichiban Arete felt much easier than this line, which we intended as a *warm-up.* This is harder 9+ than p1 of Rincon.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 20, 2004

    I agree with Luke. You have to beware any 9+ rating put up in the 70's. Nobody wanted to give a route a ten and then given a bunch of shit for it. That's my interpretation.9+ is a dubious grade in any climbing area.
    By Brian Sorden
    Sep 25, 2005

    Another crux comment. I'm sure we cheated the route by moving farther right, to "Land of Ra" and proceeding up and then left to the arete, but the move straight up is 5.10 tricky and a little run out (potential 20 foot whipper.) Having said that, I certainly appreciate the sandbag gifts of our predecessors, it keeps Eldo real and interesting.
    By Brent Roaten
    From: Anchorage, AK
    Oct 15, 2005
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Climbed on 10/9. Great route. I would have to agree that the first pitch is X though it is fairly mellow face climbing. A fall before reaching the secure finger crack would not end well. As for the second pitch, I am not sure what the original line is but skirting to the right seems more in line with a 5.9 rating than going straight up.
    By Clint Locks
    From: Boulder
    Aug 4, 2006
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

    4 things:
    1-the "runout fun" is not over after your pitch one traverse. P2 has plenty of spice left. This is not a good route for the fledgling .9 leader.
    2-I echo the great idea of bringing a 3.5 and 4 for the traverse crack on P1.
    3-Bring doubles of red, yellow, green Aliens for building your anchor on the arete, or sm/med. tri-cams.
    4-rapelling (with 2 ropes) certainly beats the alternative loose, steep downclimb.

    Finally-I pulled an autolocker off 'Land of Ra' on 8/4/06. If you can describe it, it's yours.

    PS--Esteban-I'm not much into leather vests and I don't know what tongue baths are, but 'Highway' rocks, nonetheless!!
    By Jordon Griffler
    From: boulder
    Jul 5, 2007

    I wouldn't agree that the first pitch is VS. About half way through the scary hand traverse, right below the first bolt of Land of Ra, you an get a bomber #3 Camalot in a hole. It's still spicy, and I wouldn't recommend falling, but this is not a death route. Don't let the first pitch scare you and get on this gorgeous line.
    By tooTALLtim
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 7, 2008
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a X

    Rap off the slings to the tree (full 30m), then a quick ~25m to the ground.

    Bring lots of small-med gear if leading as one pitch.
    By Patrik
    Jul 12, 2011
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

    If you are allergic to runouts, pick the right-hand variation on P1 following a small, left-facing corner instead of traversing out left. Doing this, you can clip one bolt on Land of Ra.
    If following the suggestion in Rossiter's book about going left to the arete above the roof/bulge on P2, I think this is quite a bit harder than 5.9. Taking a step to the right makes it a 9.
    By Greg D
    From: Here
    Mar 26, 2012

    Had to bail today for various reasons. Lots of booty up there. Help me out if you can.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Mar 30, 2012
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

    Great route with continuous climbing on P2 if you go right from the roof. Every other move is significant, every second stance is rest... it never goes away but never exhausts you. Exciting but not lethal. A great first "heads up" lead for a 5.10 climber.
    By dlight
    May 31, 2015
    rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R

    Brilliant, quite unlike the other face climbs at Cadillac, no bolts to clip! It meanders a bit, double ropes can facilitate combining both pitches and eliminating the hanging belay in the middle. The hardest 5.9 I ever led!

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