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Salt Block Rock
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Ninja Ladder 

YDS: 5.14a French: 8b+ Ewbanks: 32 UIAA: X+ ZA: 32 British: E8 7a

   
Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.14a French: 8b+ Ewbanks: 32 UIAA: X+ ZA: 32 British: E8 7a [details]
FA: Geoff Sluyter
Page Views: 2,350
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Dec 16, 2006

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Just after the crux on this brilliant route! Came...

Description 

Left of the prominent trad crack is a bolted route that runs up to chain anchors. The start is sharp and a bit runout to the first clip (traverse right). This is followed by beautiful and strenuous climbing that fires up an offset, right-facing corner for 25 feet. This is followed by another 25 or so feet of face climbing on largely very good stone. The offset corner felt very powerful, and very finger intensive. This route reminded me of climbing at Security Risk in Boulder Canyon: hard, a bit runout but certainly not dangerous, and on excellent granite. This is great find for whomever put it up and one of the best single pitches in the BTC.

Location 

Hike 2 minutes up from the parking. The routes are easily seen from the parking.

Protection 

8-10 draws, something for the anchor, and a rope.


Photos of Ninja Ladder Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ninja Ladder goes straight up the face left of the...
BETA PHOTO: Ninja Ladder goes straight up the face left of the...

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By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Dec 18, 2006

Random scuttlebut has hinted that BG may have put this up...???
By Bernard Gillett
Dec 18, 2006

Hi Richard - I don't know who put this one up; it certainly wasn't me. Sounds like a neat route, though. Have you checked out the pinkish buttress not too far downstream (??? -- could be upstream, but it's not far from the "short wall of gray rock") from here? It's immediately off the north side of the road, I'd guess a little shy of 100 feet, and it looks like a very nice moderate route would go right up the middle, or you might even be able to get 2-3 lines in without squeezing. Shaped somewhat like a flat thumb at about 70 degrees. It's right across the highway from a bridge that leads over the river to a house, so I've always stayed away from it (the fact that it's so close to the road has also made me gun shy). But I saw it again not long ago after doing a couple of your new routes, and wondered when someone would do the research to find out if it's on Natl Forest land. Check it out next time you're new-routin' in BTC.
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Dec 19, 2006

Bernard, I'm not entirely certain which crag this is, or even if it was climbed by time your guide was assembled. I had assumed, based on the distance and on your description of the trad line, that this was what you had called the "short wall, etc". This may be incorrect. My distances and description are largely on target, but the bolt line was anything but moderate. The routes we found were in an alcove that formed a right facing dihedral, with the routes on the right face and a steep gully on the left. Two sets of chains are in, one for the trad line and one for the face/offset-corner. The right face is dead vertical to ever-so-slightly overhanging. This crag is actually downstream of the bridge by 100yds and looks rather broken up when viewed from the West. Ownership is certainly in question, but the closest house on this side of the road is a quarter of a mile upstream.
By Geoff Sluyter
Dec 21, 2006

The routes in question were put up by me and I named the cliff Salt Block Rock because of a salt block (lick) near the trail.
Work on these routes started in about 1995 and was finished by 2001.
Sorry I don't have a mileage, but it's past the pink slab and little bridge, and on the right side, above a big dirt pull-out...one or two miles? west of Drake on US Hwy 34. There are four completed routes at the time of this post, in the alcove that forms a right-facing dihedral. Listed from left to right, on the left prow is Nightmares About Ticks (5.12b/c 3 bolts), then the big clean center line is Ninja Ladder (5.14a 8 bolts), up the black streak is Ninja Crack (5.12c trad), and just right, going to the same anchor is Yoda (5.11c/d trad)
Geoff S
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Dec 22, 2006

Thanks for the information, Geoff. I'll change the crag name. In fact we did see the short bolted arete - I had forgotten to list it. Ninja Ladder (14a) - no wonder we were getting destroyed !!! On the other hand, until now I was convinced that 5.14 did not use holds of any kind. I'd love to see someone on it who could actually climb it. The route is brillant by any standard, but in the BTC it's a supernova.
By allen simons
Feb 17, 2007

Bernard, I know of and have top roped several lines on the rock you describe. Yes, 2-4 lines could go there with ratings between 5.8 and 5.11 depending on the line. I decided not to bolt any lines, since I found a piton or two pounded in when I first top roped it some years back. Would be nice to know the F.A. person. At any rate, the rock is solid except for the right arete in places, and it is right at 90-100 feet.
By j wharton
Jun 6, 2015

This is a very good route. Crap rock for the first ten feet but then quite good and clean. Great resistance climbing, with enjoyable movement. No especially hard sections but nothing very easy either. I'd venture to say that if this route was in Boulder Canyon, it would be one of the most popular 14as in the Front Range. The approach is 3 minutes, all but the final two holds stay dry in pouring rain, and the route gets morning sun and afternoon shade, making it a great, convenient project. Props to Geoff for finding a diamond amongst the mostly poor quality climbing in Big Thompson Canyon.

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