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Turkey Tail
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Acoplopse T 
Brush Turkey S 
Camera Obscura T 
Captain Hook S 
Chop, The T 
Consternation T,TR 
Dark Meat T 
Dark Side of the Moon T 
Double Trouble T 
Drumstick Direct T 
East Side Story T 
Easy Offwidth T 
Eclipse T 
For Turkeys Only T 
Gobble This T 
Hummingbird Way aka Snively's Crack T 
I Turkey/ Resurrection T,S 
In Search of Unicorns T 
Inner Reaches T 
Jello Party T 
Johnny Lat S 
Journey to Ixtlan (1st Pitch) T 
Left Side of the Key T 
Live Fire T 
Make the Cut T 
Piece of Cake T 
Quiver and Quill T 
Rasmussen Crack T 
Roofus T 
Second Helping T 
Shoo Kitty T 
Shoobertapotamai Feathers T 
Sidewinder T 
Snake T 
Spider Lady T 
Squeeze Chimney T 
Termination T 
Turkey in the Straw T 
Turkey Turd T 
Turkey's Delight T 
Whimsical Dreams T 
Wild Turkey T 
Wudamudafuka (1st pitch) T 

In Search of Unicorns 

YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 50'
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Ed Webster, 1st 2 pitches, aid solo in 1977, 5.6 A2
Page Views: 7,400
Submitted By: Mike Anderson on Jan 23, 2005

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Rambo almost to the top of the first pitch of In S...


This route lies on the South Face of Turkey Tail. It is about 30 feet East (right) of Whimsical Dreams.

It is an "obvious" splitter. Begin by climbing 15' up a curving crack, it is possible to deck here, as there are hard moves right off the ground. When the curving crack pinches down, reach right to an adjacent crack. This second crack is typically wet near the ground, and if you try to jump over too early, you'll find a nice surprise!

A no hands rest is reached shortly after switching cracks, then power through a thin hands/off fingers section. The crux just might be clipping the anchors--remember, you didn't send if you grab the anchors!


Mostly finger sizes up to #1 Camalot.

Photos of In Search of Unicorns Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Sang attempting In Search Of Unicorns
Sang attempting In Search Of Unicorns
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan Morta placing gear before the crux of In Searc...
Dan Morta placing gear before the crux of In Searc...
Rock Climbing Photo: Onsighting on a crisp December day - Photo by Kirs...
Onsighting on a crisp December day - Photo by Kirs...
Rock Climbing Photo: Cory photographing Unicorns.  Photo: Jim Shoemaker...
Cory photographing Unicorns. Photo: Jim Shoemaker...
Rock Climbing Photo: Shumin Woo in search of holds as he onsights the v...
Shumin Woo in search of holds as he onsights the v...

Comments on In Search of Unicorns Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 27, 2017
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Apr 2, 2007
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

When you're in the transition between the left and right cracks, I found that a #4 Camalot fits perfectly in the right crack and is easier to place. A #2 Camalot can be placed a little higher also but is not necessary.
By Nate26
Oct 5, 2008

Stellar pumpy and fun. Solid 11 in my opinion.
By Hayduke Cloud
From: Denver, CO
Mar 14, 2009

As of today, the wasps are in full effect, making the final 10' unclimable. I agree that this route doesn't deserve the "R" rating.
By England
From: ?
Jul 16, 2009

I'm not 100% positive, but I believe this is a Jimmy Dunn FA. Perhaps Pete Gallagher can confirm?
By Stewart M. Green
Jul 23, 2009

First ascent of this route was by Ed Webster solo, I think in 1976. I was climbing Whimsical Dream while he aid rope-soloed it. I have photographs of him on it. We drove up there together. He wanted some aid practice. Jimmy Dunn did not do the first free ascent of this either.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 19, 2009

Keeping track of aid FAs on a 200' sport crag seems kind of ridiculous, don't you think? I'd like to consider Ed's climb as a recon of a future route.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 20, 2009

Careful...I don't think you want to engage me in a debate about the historical significance of Turkey Tail.

If we were to plot a spectrum of "sport crag-iness" that had, say, Rifle Mountain Park on one end and the Eiger Nordwand on the other, Turkey Tail would lie much closer to the RMP end.
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Aug 21, 2009

Peter is right in defense of the Tail. One of the first 5.12s (For Turkey's Only) in the country if not the world is on that rock. The idea of hard and super technical face climbing in the Platte came out of Harrison Dekker's Jello Party. I know how hard it is as I did the second ascent a few days after Harrison pulled it of. How about "Liquid Acrobat" as hard and sketchy? How about Charlie Fowler's arete? The cracks are rough. The face climbing complex. It's all very steep and world class.

The Tail maybe is one of the most important small crags in the country in retrospect. Sort of a small Arch or Cookie in the Yalley. Imagine the talent that was there after Doucette and Higgins found it.

Pushing standards on that rock where the likes of Jimmy Dunn, Earl Wiggins, Pete Gallagher, Steve Hong, Eddy Webster, Steve Cheney, Charlie Fowler, Mark Rolfson, Ajax Green, Harrison Dekker, the Westbay brothers, Henry Barber,Bryan Becker, Henry Lester, and countless other great climbers of the era who did the very very hard first ascents routes there. These guys did not drill bolts either. Imagine Earl third classing "Whimsical Dreams." Imagine watching Billy Westbay pull back some whiskey and wandering over to Rasmussen's and free soloing it with no effort. He did climb the Nose in day, the very first time.

I'll even throw out the the idea that the cliffs of Indian Creek wouldn't be even known if not for the afternoon face climbs at the Garden of thee Gods and its loose rock and then a weekend of very difficult crack climbing at Turkey Rocks. Sandstone by week, cracks by the weekend. That gave these guys had confidence to climb in Indian Creek and in a pre cam world they needed more than confidence.

Also who did the first big free ascents in the Black? The same guys.

Turkey Rock is a very important cluster of small but steep and burly rocks that are in fact a crag very important to the history of of our sport. It's world class. Let us praise the Turkey and its place in history.
By slim
Aug 21, 2009
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Amen to Turkey. Pete, I gotta say, you aren't intimidated by Mike are you? He's like, half as tall as you. Although he looks like one of those 'ball of muscle types'. Just gotta keep those types at arm's length. Don't let 'em get inside on ya!....

In all seriousness, I think Turkey is one of (if not THE) best trad crags in Colorado. It has DENSITY, good rock, and a good assortment of grades. I would trade Eldo for Turkey ANY day.
By Stewart M. Green
Aug 21, 2009

It's kind of funny to think of Turkey Rocks in a sport climbing way...basically most of the sport routes at Turkey are either 2 star, 1 star, or no-star climbs. Well, mostly no-star. Captain Hook and maybe another are okay routes but nothing to write home about. And who climbs them. I never see anyone on them. Sort of a waste of good bolts. They're really only significant because of the bolt wars. Good sport routes in the Platte, ya gotta go to Thunder Ridge or Devil's Head. Now that's sport climbing, pardner!
By Cody Cook
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 24, 2009

Well said, Allen. Not only the first big ascents in the Black, but some in the Valley as well. What about Jimmy's ascent of Cosmos? The first solo FA on the Captain! And EVERYTHING in the desert! You're right - they invented desert crack climbing (insert ad for Super Crack film). Not to take anything away from the great Stonemasters, but we always here about those guys. IMO - the generation of Springs climbers that you listed is one of the most influential crews in American climbing (don't get the big head Pete). When Earl free-soloed the Scenic Cruise, that very well could have been the greatest climbing feat ever accomplished at that time. And Turkey was their training ground.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 26, 2009

"Intimidation"? Jesus, Pete, it was a joke...chill out man. We're talking about climbing...quite possibly the most esoteric and meaningless pursuit in the history of man. The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself...that and my Hilti Te-6A...vroom, vroom!

(Let's see if you can spot that joke.)
By jason seaver
From: Estes Park, CO
Aug 26, 2009

Yer jokes kinda suck Mike. Your first couple posts made you sound ignorant and aloof.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 26, 2009

Well that's not a very nice thing to don't know anything about me. In fact, I'm sure we'd get along great if we hung out.
By jason seaver
From: Estes Park, CO
Aug 27, 2009

Aw shucks, you're probably right. But you gotta agree, you're jokes kinda suck.
By Cody Cook
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 27, 2009

Wow...In Search of Unicorns has been completely hijacked. Oh well. Hey Mike - I assume you're the same Mike Anderson from Higher Grounds. And the same one killin' everything in Zion. Correct? If so...strong work bro. If not...yeah...your jokes suck. But keep eggin' on Pete. I want to see him get fired up.
By Bosier Parsons
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 22, 2009

I'm not sure, but I think that Stewart's comment about Ed aid-soloing the route was also written in the context of previous comments about how good the gear is the whole way - definitely does not deserve an R rating.

As a local Springs climber, I enjoy hearing and reading the historical radness that was taking place on a seemingly daily basis by the aforementioned group of hardmen. It's often inspirational, especially when puckering on loose, runout Garden sandstone!
By Mark Rolofson
Jul 27, 2017

First ascent of the entire 2 pitch route: Ed Webster - aid solo in 1977. It was rated 5.6 A2. Ed placed 2 bolts. Most of the route was done clean, but one piton was needed. The second pitch ascends a 5.6 chimney to the top.

I aid soloed (what was probably) the second ascent in 1978. At the time, it seemed impossible to free climb the entire route. I may have been the first person to lead the first 50 feet free in 1988, accompanied with Mark Milligan. I left two small wires with biners at my highpoint, where the climbing gets really hard (5.12-5.13). It wasn't worth trying to claim any accomplishment by freeing the first 50 feet.

The question & the challenge remains: will the route go free? I say yes. It will go free, but it will be at least 5.13 & probably harder. A bolt may have to added through the bulge where a piton was used. Whoever does it, is going to have to be really honed & very strong. This is one of the last great problems in the area. Have at it, 5.14 climbers.

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