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Idiot Wind 

YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, 1050'
Original:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Ed Webster, Pete Athens, 1986
Page Views: 13,719
Submitted By: Nate Weitzel on Jan 10, 2001

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Dean following the thin crack (5.10a/b) at the end...

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  • Description 

    Among the most thrilling routes at Lumpy Ridge, Idiot Wind offers incredible exposure and challenging face climbing complemented by enjoyable crack climbing forging up the right hand edge of the Turnkorner buttress. After hiking up the trail, look for a huge, leaning boulder which makes a tunnel to walk through. There are 2 starts used for this route. One is the first 2 1/3 pitches of The Nose. The other begins just uphill from the southeastern toe of Sundance Buttress, at a thin crack that does not quite reach the ground. These starts lie just to the east of the above boulder.

    P1: Climb the crack to its end (9), and ascend the unprotected face (9+ R) beyond up and right into a left-facing corner formed by a pillar. Ascend the pillar (shared with Firebird, 5.9) to a ledge at it top, and belay just above at the base of a right-facing corner; 180 ft., 5.9+. The thin crack and runout face above can be avoided by following Firebird for the entire pitch.

    P2: Move up off the belay briefly, and then face climb left (5.7 R), finding an open book that leads into a crack Jam this to the bolted belay station shared with The Nose; 80 ft, 5.7.

    P3a: Climb straight up from the belay to beneath a roof - traverse left beneath this roof into a tight corner and make a heart-pounding step out to the very edge of the huge ceiling. From a reasonable stance, gird your loins and continue traversing left (5.10b), clipping two bolts on the way to a bolted anchor (two 3/8" belay bolts) at a nice small stance. 80 ft., 5.10b.

    If you started on The Nose: follow The Nose until P3. Start with the same delicate traverse to the left edge of the ceiling band. Instead of pulling this lip and going right (Nose), continue left after the crux of the Nose and do a thin, ultra exposed traverse along the lip of the huge roof (Firebird roof).

    P3b. Crux pitch. Climb a crack and traverse left to the edge of the ceiling band (delicate), - traverse left beneath this roof into a tight corner and make a heart-pounding step out to the very edge of the huge ceiling. Continue as for P3a.

    These are thin moves (on P3a & P3b) that are protected by old bolts. Serious Exposure. Belay at the left end of this traverse at a small stance. The 3 questionable bolts and a pin here were replaced with 2 new 3/8" bolts (you used to use small nut & #1 Metolius cam to back this anchor up) (5.10c). Enjoy the view from here, it is a unique perspective on life.

    P4. Climbs the blank face following discontinuous cracks up and left toward the left edge of the upper roof band. There are four widely spaced bolts (1/4") that you follow to a left-leaning seam that leads to a bolt and a fixed pin at the base of a right-facing corner. Balance up the corner, and lieback out the roof (5.10a) reaching a 5.9 crack that ends at a nice ledge after about 40 more feet, 120', 10a PG-13.

    P5. Climbs the left edge of the upper roof via a small crack and then continue up on easier rock (5.8), ~200'.

    From here, one can rappel down the northeast face of Sundance into the standard descent gully (five rappels off natural anchors with a 50 or 60m rope, 4 rappels with a 70m - three with doubles) or ...

    P6-7: Continue up 300' of easier climbing to the top of the formation and traverse east to follow the standard Saddle Descent.

    Eds. note, at one point both The Nose & Idiot Wind were combined onto 1 page. To help with organization & clarity, we have split these into 2 separate pages with additional detail from Aaron Martinuzzi. Thus, some comments, photos, ratings, stars do not follow the page separations. Thanks for your understanding.


    Standard rack. There are a number of questionable 1/4 inch bolts on the route so the addition of Yates Screamers might be wise, that or don't fall on these bolts.

    Photos of Idiot Wind Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Frosty stepping out to the lip of the roof.
    Frosty stepping out to the lip of the roof.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Nick replacing the 4th pro bolt on pitch 4.
    Nick replacing the 4th pro bolt on pitch 4.
    Rock Climbing Photo: First pro bolt on Idiot Wind after replacement.
    First pro bolt on Idiot Wind after replacement.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The funky (but fabulous) fourth pitch. Photo by Fr...
    The funky (but fabulous) fourth pitch. Photo by Fr...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Too Tall trying not to blow away.
    Too Tall trying not to blow away.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tony Bubb leads the crux third pitch (roof and tra...
    Tony Bubb leads the crux third pitch (roof and tra...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Third pro bolt on pitch 4 - the end snapped off in...
    Third pro bolt on pitch 4 - the end snapped off in...
    Rock Climbing Photo: First pro bolt on Idiot Wind, before replacement.
    First pro bolt on Idiot Wind, before replacement.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Idiot Wind on Sundance Buttress (w/ Firebird start...
    BETA PHOTO: Idiot Wind on Sundance Buttress (w/ Firebird start...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The line and approximate belays on Idiot Wind, Sun...
    BETA PHOTO: The line and approximate belays on Idiot Wind, Sun...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Frosty tiptoeing along the lip.
    Frosty tiptoeing along the lip.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tony Bubb Follows the Runout Fourth Pitch (Slab) o...
    Tony Bubb Follows the Runout Fourth Pitch (Slab) o...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The start of Idiot Wind. Can make it to the bolts ...
    BETA PHOTO: The start of Idiot Wind. Can make it to the bolts ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Big Kopitzki following the traverse.
    Big Kopitzki following the traverse.
    Rock Climbing Photo: R. Briggs following C. Chase on the crux traverse ...
    R. Briggs following C. Chase on the crux traverse ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dean smearing the lip of the huge roof on Idiot Wi...
    Dean smearing the lip of the huge roof on Idiot Wi...

    Comments on Idiot Wind Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 5, 2016
    By Nevada Montagu
    Jun 13, 2001

    Idiot Wind:

    Combine pitch 3 (.10c) and pitch 4 (.9).

    This eliminnates the manky belay (look for a small tri-cam placement before the station) and allows you to climb the route faster. Double ropes help eliminate drag.

    Don't waste time looking for pro on the bolted face. The bolts are old but there are several. The exposure here is simply awesome. Enjoy it!

    Bring comfy shoes for the descent.
    By Erik Corkran
    Jun 14, 2001

    This particular one I haven't done, though that descent trail is more than familiar. Barefoot is the only way. Ok maybe not the only, just that the trail isn't really all that bad.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 25, 2001

    Re: Idiot Wind . highly recommended. I personally think the difficulties of the crux pitch and the 5.9 face pitch are about the same - 5.10b, and a bit run out. Recommend the 5.10 corner finish after the .9 face. We useed a 60m rope and ran the crux/face together without much rope drag. enjoy. A great route.climbed 8/19/01 Bert Honea
    By Charlie Perry
    Jul 29, 2003

    Replacing old bolts on Idiot Wind/ adding a rap station on the big ledge and the top of Icarus: (Please email me or call for comment or 970-267-8685, ask for Charlie.

    I am trying to contact the first ascentionist. However they are not on this site nor can I find an individual site for them, no luck so far. I am hoping the replacement of bad existing bolts will not be a problem on Idiot Wind. The real additions to the cliff would be two rap stations that get you from the big ledge to the ground. The middle station is the existing station below the 5.10A roof on Idiot Wind that is presently existing. The bottom of the three stations would be located at the top of the Icarus pitch which is presently a natural pro belay station. The upper station would be at the top of Idiot Wind on the big ledgewere many routes end. With the advent of these stations there would be an easy way to get back to the ground. If I only added the station on top of Icarus, it would afford an escape from the station under the 5.10A roof on Idiot Wind. The 5.10B pitch before this station goes up over a roof and then takes a steep left climbing pattern for the rest of the pitch, making it almost impossible to retreat if weather comes in. I spent a few hours last weekend at this station in a deluge, and had to pull the 5.10A roof in the rain. With the addition of the Icarus station, we could have been out of the rain and lightening in two easy raps.

    Please reply too this issue. Again thanks, and I am treating this issue with kid gloves. I am trying to reach all that I can. The last thing I want is to have a "Wanted Poster" posted in rock and Ice and the Climbingboulder site. I will keep seeking the orginal ascentionist. Any help would be appreciated. If I do not hear from anyone in two weeks, I will start this project.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 29, 2003

    Hey Charlie,

    Replacing old bolts is fine. But, with all due respect, please do not install the rap station bolts you're suggesting. I agree that it is a bummer to be caught in the rain and lightning, yet that is a risk we all assume when we leave the ground. Adding the rap stations reduces the commitment for one and all. And that is contrary to the Lumpy experience. Climbing on Lumpy Ridge requires more chutzpah than most single pitch / crag-type areas. Let's keep it that way. The first ascentionists and Lord knows how many subsequent parties over the years have not felt a compelling need to add rap/belay bolts. I don't feel you have presented a compelling need either.

    My guess is that if you and your partner wanted off you could have rigged anchors with your own gear and headed down, lickity-split. I'm not suggesting you would have liked that but if a very intense storm were ripping through, you would have found a way to get down.

    It was good of you to go public and encourage comment before wielding the hammer.
    By CU Climbing Team
    Jul 29, 2003

    Replacing crappy quarter inch bolts is a no brainer in my book. I fully commend and appreciate your efforts to update the route.

    However, I'm opposed to adding a bolted rappel route. I have climbed the Nose route twice and the first time we were caught a few pitches from the top as the afternoon thundershowers moved in. We raced to the top to be greeted by lightning strikes and a wicked down pour. It was wild and scary. This happens to me at least 50% of the time I climb at Lumpy and sometimes I'm lucky enough to have completed the route before it lets loose.This is never a surprise and part of the adventure of climbing at Lumpy. An easy retreat would diminish the commitment. The climbing at Lumpy feels like alpine climbing rather than cragging to me, so I always get up early, bring warm clothes, climb fast and mentally prepare myself to part with my rack if necessary.

    If you can justify adding a rappel route to hasten stormy descents to this route, why not add rappel routes to the hundreds of classic routes where people might get caught in an afternoon storm? To me that's not what Lumpy is about.
    By Joe Collins
    Jul 29, 2003

    Replace bolts: yes, great idea.

    New rap anchors: not in the tradition of Lumpy climbing. Tough luck on the weather, but you could have left a few stoppers if you had to bail. I suspect that new bolted anchors will get chopped.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 29, 2003

    Many places more alpine and wild than Lumpy have routes w/ bolted/fixed belays on each pitch, e.g., some routes on the Diamond, many routes on El Cap, and several other random routes in the Park. Having said that - Lumpy still seems to be one of the last areas to go down this path of bolted belays. IMP it should stay that way, sans bolted belays. Definitely replace those __ bolts though. Not sure why CMS is quietly bolting the belays on many on the Classics, i.e., Fat City?
    By Charles Vernon
    From: Tucson, AZ
    Jul 31, 2003

    Charlie, I'd echo what everyone else has said so far (and thanks for taking this to a forum before whipping out the drill!). There is not one multi-pitch route, traditional route at Lumpy that has its own rappel route. I've been climbing at Lumpy for a long time, I've climbed there more than I have anywhere else, and that's one of the things I love about it. I've retreated off the Nose in a storm, and I've raced a storm to the top, up the Nose. Sundance in particular still retains an fairly untamed feel, in large part due to the lack of sport climbs and proliferation of fixed bolted anchors and rap routes. I like doing those routes in shorts and a T-shirt, knowing that it's not possible for me just to zip on down when the storms come in, as they often do. It requires a measure of commitment, and forces me to rely on what judgment and skill I have. You're always welcome to wear a pack, carry some extra clothes and prepare yourself to wait it out, but don't change the nature of these route for everyone. It's virtually always possible to retreat if you're willing to leave gear, too--that's part of the game when you're climbing at Lumpy.

    I'm also confused about where you want to put these acnhors. I can't see any benefit to intstalling a bolt anchor on the big ledge where Turnkorner, Idiot Wind, the Nose, etc. meet. It's about one pitch of 5.6 to the top from there, and there is a rap route off to the side already--2 raps on natural anchors I believe, though I've never done it.

    On a related note, I wonder whether these nice bolted rap routes are ultimately safer. As an example, about 6 months after I started leading, I twice went up to climb the Diamond in late September. Both times, conditions and the weather report were dubious, but we headed up to Broadway anyhow, knowing we could just zip down Crack of Delight if things got nasty. In both cases, things did get nasty (first time, lots of falling ice from the chimneys on top of the wall, second time, complete white-out), and we would have been much better off if we had never gone up to Broadway in the first place. Which we *never* would have done in those questionable conditions had we known our only escape route would have been the North Chimney! Food for thought.
    By Nate A
    From: Estes Park, CO
    Jan 3, 2005
    rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

    The belay station after the crux traverse has been updated with 2 new 3/8'' bolts, noticed this after an ascent on 01-02-05, but I think they were replaced last fall. I think it now works best to combine pitches 4 and 5 as one, then an easy scramble to the rap ledge.
    By nolteboy
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Aug 29, 2005

    Idiot Wind and The Nose are each awesome routes, and I would encourage anyone to do both, without trying to somehow get the best of each one by doing some sort of combination. Obviously they do share a pitch, one that is so good you won't mind doing it twice.
    By david goldstein
    May 25, 2006

    Idiot Wind: 4 stars
    Nose: 2 stars
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 6, 2006

    The Nose and Idiot Wind are actually two separate routes that share part of pitch 3.

    The first pitch of Idiot Wind follows a crack 100' left of the start of the Nose which does not reach the ground. Climb a thin crack and then face climb up and right to reach the base of the main crack (runout 5.9, which is why the start is not often done, I guess). Then climb the surprisingly awkward crack to a belay. The second pitch is only about 60 feet long, 5.7ish and lies just left of the second pitch of the Nose. The crux is a slanting crack which leads back right to the bolted belay. These two pitches could be combined with a 70m rope, a 60m might make it too.
    By Aaron Martinuzzi
    Jun 13, 2009

    Just an FYI - the belay bolts at the end of the P3 traverse are two 3/8" bolts with beefy Metolius hangers - no need to worry about backing them up.
    By Bingman
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Jul 13, 2009

    I'm really surprised people rappel from the big ledge on this route. The final pitch up to the saddle was one of the best pitches of climbing with excellent position, the whole wall is below you! I would recommend the saddle descent - it's fine with just a bit of low exposure down-climbing.

    Also, no matter how much you've dealt with exposure in the past, climbing out on that traverse will have you thinking about taking up golf. An unbelievable pitch! :D
    By Phil Lauffen
    From: The Bubble
    Jun 17, 2010

    I'm surprised no one has commented on the 5.9+ R section. There is potential for a thirty foot fall, if the marginal placements 5 feet out from the last good piece do not hold, but you aren't going to hit anything if your belayer isn't completely incompetent. For those marginal placements I had a purple C3 and a ballnut. But I wouldn't depend on them to hold.

    Also, it is possible to retreat from above the roof with a 60m rope, as we did because of the weather.
    By jeremy long
    From: BOULDER CO
    May 19, 2011

    If you can lead the grade, do this route! Simply amazing. I thought the 5.9r section was weird as well. I kept barn-dooring.
    By Scott Matz
    From: Loveland, CO
    Jun 17, 2011

    I took a good whip on P4 roof. Fell right on to my ankle. Immediate swelling. We rapped off leaving 2--0.75, if you can snag my gear, you will be blessed forever, and you will feel an overwhelming gratitude for years to come.
    By Princess Mia
    From: Vail
    Aug 22, 2011
    rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

    We just climbed this exciting route on Sunday. The excitement factor was greatly enhanced as a major rain storm moved in (faster than normal?) when climbing the second traverse pitch (P4). The waterfall coming off the second roof onto this pitch was a bit nervewrecking.

    General info: comfy belay on top of P1 but no bolts. Nice bolts on top of P2. The crux pitch has one old and nasty "button head" and one old 1/4 inch bolt. Both could use replacement. At least there is some protection options if one is a bit creative. Small TCUs, stoppers and Lowe balls are useful. Nice bolts at the end of the pitch. The second traverse pitch has 4 old small bolts that really could be replaced. No options for any other gear until the end of the traverse. The second roof is really fun!! Continue up to a nice ledge (no bolts). The final pitch is easy but super fun. We chose to rap from the ledge as we were completely soaked by the time we got here, plus we have already climbed the upper pitches during previous adventures. Two long (60m) raps take you all the way down to the bottom.
    By Jeff McLeod
    Jun 24, 2013
    rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

    I found RPs to be prudent on this route. It gets a PG-13 rating from me, because I did the original start and there is a short run-out section traversing over to the Nose dihedral/crack system that would be quite unpleasant to botch. The moves on the crux traverse are delicate, and I laughed like a maniac when I saw that absolutely manky first bolt. My mother would be ashamed to hear the stream of profanities issuing from me during this section. Have fun :)
    By Noah McKelvin
    From: Colorado Springs
    Jan 13, 2015
    rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

    Best 5.10 in CO???? It's one of my favorite. My partner left my small RP on the original start on P1. Bummer. Don't know if it's still there, but it will take out some of the adventure. Killer exposure, great climbing, and some serious wind!
    By seanmo63
    Sep 3, 2016
    rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

    Also surprised that the first pitch hasn't gotten talked about much in the comments section. I thought it was pretty bold, doing solid 5.9 moves with 30 foot fall potential that would bring you within 5ish feet of the ground. Not secure climbing by any means. The rest is excellent 5.10 climbing with exciting exposure. Wish I brought my edging shoes for this one.
    By Greg Barnes
    Nov 5, 2016

    Nick Rawluk and I replaced all 7 remaining 1/4" bolts today. All were replaced in the same hole except one pro bolt where the end of the bolt broke off in the hole (third pro bolt on pitch 4). We also checked the fixed pin at the optional anchor (good for now but small, good to back up the single bolt + pin with a piece up high if you belay there). Also added some fresh webbing to the first two rappels.

    Not a single other party on the entire wall the whole day! Warm and sunny, then cool and breezy, but very mild weather, especially considering it's November!

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