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Middle Earth 

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

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 600'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: FRA Ryan Mcphee, Bill Thiry, John Wilder, Larry DeAngelo
Page Views: 2,238
Submitted By: Larry DeAngelo on Jan 1, 2005

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Crawling into the squeeze on pitch 1 of Middle Ear...

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


This is an interesting route with some good climbing. The name relates to the long, fully enclosed tunnel on the fifth pitch. Two ropes are needed for the rappel.

About a hundred yards to the left of the Frigid Air Buttress, a rounded whitish apron leans against the lower wall. Scramble up ledges on its left side for a few hundred feet to a rope-up point where the rock steepens.

Pitch 1: On the right, climb a convoluted offwidth crack formed by the left edge of a huge flake (5.9). The easier chimney above is unprotected. The flake rounds off to a good belay ledge (which is also the ledge beneath the 5.9 handcrack halfway up the Frigid Air Buttress route).

Pitch 2: Avoid the FAB crack, and instead climb the left-leaning jam crack in the clean varnished wall on the left. (5.8)

Pitch 3: A short pitch up and left to a big ledge.

Pitch 4: Move to the back right corner of the ledge and climb a varnished corner, then go left and belay among broken rocks in the main gully system.

Pitch 5: Climb to the back of the gully then go up a dark, tight, fully enclosed vertical chimney tunnel.

Pitch 6: Easy climbing leads to the top.

Descent: Scramble left to the standard rappel route (2 ropes) down Burlesque.


Big cam for the opening offwidth

Photos of Middle Earth Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Will on P5
Will on P5
Rock Climbing Photo: Very clean jam crack on pitch 2 of Middle Earth.
Very clean jam crack on pitch 2 of Middle Earth.

Comments on Middle Earth Add Comment
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By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 8, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This was a good route. The first pitch is burly at the grade, I thought, but then, what offwidth isnt?

The handcrack is a delight to climb- heck, it was the inspiration for the rotue!

Thanks for this one, Larry, glad I got to be a part of it.
By WillF
Apr 2, 2015

The hand crack/face pitch and the tunnel pitch were fun. The tunnel pitch was more exciting than tunnel vision's and easy to protect.

However it was a tight squeeze to exit the tunnel, my chest and hips barely fit through (is there such a thing as a hip jam, because I did some) with a 36 inch waist.
By TactiCool
From: Republic Of Korea
Jul 13, 2015

Did this yesterday, 12 July. If I were to recommend this route to anyone, I would do so because of the pitch 5 tunnel. That thing is a blast! I would agree that anyone with a 36" or bigger waist might have some issues getting through the squeeze and if you are claustrophobic, you might have some issues. A lot of spider webs, dirt, and other fun stuff in there.

If you lead the pitch, it's a good laugh watching from the top as your second is squeezing through.

Also, plenty of good pro to be found in the tunnel. Did some gardening as well.
By Flavaflav
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 30, 2016

Repeated this line today, had some thoughts. - worthy adventure, big ledges. I led the handcrack and thought the exit was a bit hard for 5.8. The upper right leaning corner looks like garbage, but actually has pretty cool climbing. Finally, I bet a pretty big waitsted person could fit through there if you go in the right way. My front side never touched the front angle, at least 2" in front of me at all times.

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