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West Ridge - part D - Xanadu to Pony Express
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YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Skip Guerin/Bob Horan, 1981
Page Views: 5,324
Submitted By: Alex Shainman on Oct 27, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (77)
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Steven milkin' the rest.

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  • Description 

    About three quarters way up the West Ridge just past an area devoid of good rock is the Cirque Of Cracks. One of the highlights of this area is the route Parallels (junk rock on its left and 2 more excellent looking thin crack looking lines to its right). None of these routes employ a lot of crack climbing but Parallels has the most...The guide gives it a "s" rating but I think its actually a safe lead. You do have to bust a move at the crux before placing a piece...Then only slightly run out on easier terrain to the anchor.

    A newly replaced anchor awaits at the top...The next two routes to the right use the same anchor but are in need of their own!


    0.4"-1.25" cams, 2 bolt anchor.

    Photos of Parallels Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Steven cruxing.
    Steven cruxing.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Steven plugging away.
    Steven plugging away.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Cirque of the Crack's Parallels. Photo: Bob Horan.
    Cirque of the Crack's Parallels. Photo: Bob Horan.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Pope just before the little tree stump....
    Chris Pope just before the little tree stump....
    Rock Climbing Photo: Stan Lanzano launching into the crux.
    Stan Lanzano launching into the crux.

    Comments on Parallels Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 1, 2016
    By adam brink
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 23, 2002
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    I had a go at this route on 9/21/02 and would argue that the above comments are a bit of a sandbag. Paralles definitely felt harder to me than Iron Horse or Terminal Velocity (given 5.11c and 5.11b/c respectively) and would agree with the Rossiter grade, 5.11c/d. Furthermore, the gear is pumpy to place and the crux comes pulling onto the upper slab when your last gear is just below your feet. While not a fall that would cause injury, you would definitely log some air time. With that said, I found Parallels to be a beautiful line and definitely worth more attention.
    By david goldstein
    Jun 2, 2003
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Excellent climbing for about 25 feet. Strenuous and sustained for 25' with no rests. Harder than Terminal Velocity or Climb of The Century. Technical difficulty is comparable to Pony Express but placing gear is much more strenuous -- protecting the start of the crux feels like 5.10. G rated protection is available throughout the [difficult] section, but it is very [strenuous] to place.
    By david goldstein
    Jun 13, 2003
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Rossiter currently rates this 11c/d. I wouldn't argue. It's harder than both Climb of the Centruy and Terminal Velocity. While the difficulty of the moves on Parallels are comparable to Pony Express, PE is less strenuous, esp. placing gear.
    By Brad Bond
    Jun 15, 2003

    In my opinion 5.11c, three stars. It might feel a tad-bit easier on toprope as part of the difficulty comes from placing the gear. Concerning the "s" rating in the guidebook, my guess is that this route was much more difficult to lead without modern micro-cams, which felt very crucial at the crux.My advise to someone who is psyched to lead this route: Place all the gear at waist level; if you reach up and plug a cam in the fingerlocks above, you will increase the difficulty. Be efficient and aggresive as it is very pumpy and there are no good rests from the start until after the crux. The tree stump is still there. It's really solid and makes for a great thank-god jug. What a strange finish to a bunch of hard moves!
    By M. Morley
    From: Sacramento, CA
    Nov 9, 2003
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    Excellent route with great movement. Significantly easier than its neighbor Foxtrot.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Nov 13, 2003

    Mike, I take it you led this route before downrating it...or at least toproped it clean???
    By M. Morley
    From: Sacramento, CA
    Nov 13, 2003
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    Thanks for keeping me honest, AC! I toproped it (fell the first time, then got it clean on the second go). I didn't find it as difficult as Terminal Velocity, which is given an 11b/c rating. My main point is that Foxtrot is significantly harder (Both are listed as 11c/d I believe). Perhaps the "headiness" of pulling the crux above a microcam and the difficulty of placing gear in general bump this up a letter grade or two? If that's the case, Foxtrot's got to be solid 5.12!
    By Joe Collins
    Jun 21, 2004
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    For the onsight, with no gear beta, this is a tricky lead. Your tendency on the onsight is to protect, then go for it, but it's very easy to screw yourself on Parallels by protecting in some crucial hand placements. For example, you can have overhead pro at the crux, but you have NO chance of sending with that gear in place. This feels like as tough a lead to me as Racoon Soup (and TRing is a very bad way to rate a climb), although once you figure out the gear beta, I can see this feeling easier. Even on TR (although it was a VERY humid day) this feels significantly harder than Climb of the Century, Iron Horse, and Terminal Velocity, and at least as difficult as Pony Express.

    Good climb, and a great example of how Eldo climbing is about more than just doing the moves.
    By Rob Kepley
    From: Westminster,CO
    Sep 19, 2007
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Parallels is like Foxtrots mean little step brother. Although they look similar from the ground they climb quite different. Parallels has awkward strenuous gear stances but doesn't quite pack the punch of Foxtrot. Body position is critical. Don't under estimate it though because I feel it is more continuous at the grade and doesn't let up as soon as Foxtrot does. Although harder to place, the gear is bomber throughout.
    By Mick Follari
    From: Boulder
    Sep 23, 2007

    Gave this a go myself. Brad put it well, there are plenty of placements for modern small gear. I also second Joe's comments about no gear-beta (harder), and the overhead placement at the crux-skip it. I found that I needed the 'short-guy' (unchalked but great) intermediate sidepull (I'm 5'7") as I moved away from my nest of waist-level pieces at the crux. Don't be afraid to find unchalked edges! I had plenty of gear on it, except for the punch-it after the crux. In fact, just before that place I had 3 pieces in, including an Alien, and a bomber stopper. On TR, after leading it this was a different route to me... punching it the whole way, and it was strenuous and trouble-free and fun. Classic West Ridge 5.11 heady route.
    By reboot
    From: .
    Apr 20, 2008

    Felt quite a bit easier than Foxtrot. The gear also does not get in the way nearly as much. A fine route though.
    By morkel
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Aug 14, 2009

    By JVonD
    From: Longmont, CO
    Mar 2, 2010

    Steve McCorkel climbing Eldorado Canyon on a route called Parallels while being filmed by JVonD for the Boulder Vidcast. Song is Wharf Rat performed by JVonD live in Nederland, CO.
    By Dave Holliday
    Apr 27, 2013

    Joe Collins wrote:
    For example, you can have overhead pro at the crux, but you have NO chance of sending with that gear in place.

    A couple of data points. Last year I belayed a friend on this, and he placed a grey Alien in the key fingerlock and was still able to send it. I watched someone today redpoint it today doing the same thing (not sure what size cam he used). I think the key is to place a cam high in the fingerlock while still leaving enough room to get a couple of fingers in there. I'm not strong enough to do that (I need the full fingerlock to make the move), but there are options.

    I think this is a perfect route to break into the Eldo mid-11s. It's hard but very safe.
    By Evan Deis
    Aug 8, 2013

    I've done both Foxtrot and Parallels (only on lead and neither clean). I thought that Parallels was harder than Foxtrot, but that's just like... you know... my opinion, man.
    By Alex Vidal
    From: Boulder, CO
    Feb 1, 2016

    I thought Parallels seemed a number grade harder than either pitch on Practice Wall.

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