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West Ridge - part D - Xanadu to Pony Express
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Positively Fourth Street 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: ...Jim Walsh, 1970
Page Views: 7,412
Submitted By: Ben Schneider on Mar 31, 2001

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Don cruising.

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  • Description 

    This is a steep and wonderful crack littered with big jugs. This is also the site of the conception of ClimbingBoulder. To get there, continue up the West Ridge trail past Long John Wall for a couple hundred yards. You'll also pass the [prominent] R-facing dihedrals of Chianti and Break on Through. As the slope of the hill shallows out, look for a short cliff right next to the trail with several cracks. You've gone too far if the trail has departed the cliff bottom.

    The route starts up the steep crack on the right side of the wall (5.9). After about 20 feet you can move left and up to a tree. Or you can go straight up through the crux (5.10a). Walk off to the left.


    Small and medium nuts. Up to a #2 Camalot. 50 feet long. Can also take easy scramble from the left to set a top rope.

    Photos of Positively Fourth Street Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Positively Fourth Street.  Climb the pumpy overhan...
    BETA PHOTO: Positively Fourth Street. Climb the pumpy overhan...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Lower part of Positively Fourth Street.
    Lower part of Positively Fourth Street.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from optional belay at the top.
    Looking down from optional belay at the top.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from the tree.
    Looking down from the tree.
    Rock Climbing Photo: CM starting out.
    CM starting out.
    Rock Climbing Photo: starting up Positively Fourth...
    starting up Positively Fourth...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Clint Locks on Positively Fourth Street. Photo: Da...
    Clint Locks on Positively Fourth Street. Photo: Da...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Short, steep and well protected. Fun Climb.
    Short, steep and well protected. Fun Climb.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up PFS. Photo by Steve Bond
    Starting up PFS. Photo by Steve Bond
    Rock Climbing Photo: Steve down low on PFS
    Steve down low on PFS

    Comments on Positively Fourth Street Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 10, 2016
    By Tyler Jones
    Jan 1, 2001

    When I did this, I definitely thought 5.9, but no way does it reach 10a. I thought the crux was hard, but once you find the hold, which can be hard to see at first, then [it's] really not bad at all.
    By Michael Komarnitsky
    Founding Father
    From: Seattle, WA
    Jul 29, 2001

    Well protected the whole way... but don't overprotect. I made that mistake and got pumped up 2/3 of the way up the route since I spent so much time fiddling with gear.
    By Jeff Lockyer
    From: Canmore, AB
    Nov 3, 2001

    Not sure what they were thinking when they rated this 10a ? I [don't] think anyway you do this, unless you [do it one-armed], it can even touch a 10 rating. The rating seems very out of place for [Eldorado], as most of the 10s I have been on have been pretty hard, but not in this case, if you are a 5.8 leader looking to get into 5.9's with good gear, hop on this one. Have fun.
    By Bryson Slothower
    Feb 9, 2002

    it is supposed to be 10- if you go straight up at the end, not sneaking either left nor right, which is 9+. It is only one slightly tricky move if you go straight up and it is easier than Green Spur, Cest La Vie, Werk Supp, and Touch and Go. My first 5.9 trad lead.
    By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
    Feb 17, 2002

    Funny comments. Personally I totally agree, the climb seems technically easy. However, not all climbers are alike. One fine day in the mid '80s, while hiking up West Ridge alone, intent on soloing this very route, I heard some strange shreiking noises up ahead. I stumbled across an unpleasant scene. One Mary Riddel, after cruising up the crux of Break On Through for her first 5.10 lead (see Break On Through for interesting comments on its rating), was expecting to be able to hike Positively Fourth Street. Alas, she ran out of gas near the top and was taking repeated and dramatic lobs (with loud screams and curses) much to the embarrasment of her quaking belayer. Her mood (somewhere between frustrated and murderous) was not helped by my showing up and (shameful to admit) soloing it while she watched. If the rating feels soft, it is because this pitch is juggy and has no rests. Gym/sport-climb trained climbers just eat up this stuff, whereas (in the old days) 5.9+ Eldo-trained leaders used to thin edging, cracks, stemming and training in Juanitas might not have the finger strength to finish. I guess as climbing evolves, ratings should change to reflect this.
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Mar 7, 2002

    Any climb that can be done in sloppy Tevas by slobs like me can't be 5.10. 5.9 power-endurance, is that an oxymoron? A boy climb. Way easier than Break On Through; betta gear, too.
    By James Balasalle
    Apr 15, 2003
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Just like the gym: big holds, slightly overhaning (in parts), and pretty pumpy. Great gear. I agree with Crusher, not too many rests (least I couldn't find 'em). I fell seconding it, so it'll be a while before I lead it...
    By Jeremy
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 6, 2004
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Great route with really good gear. Felt much like a sport route to me. I stayed to the right and used a little of the arete and a sloper toward the top. It didn't feel harder than 9 to me.
    By Jason Shatek
    Mar 7, 2005
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Led this one yesterday. This route is a gym rats' dream. The climb is entirely overhanging and has no rests to get you off your hands. After doing a couple of other climbs, I tried to fire up this one as fast as possble before burning out. But, alas I had to hang on my gear a few times till my forearms could recover. Outstanding route with excellent pro!
    By Jim Erickson
    Sep 20, 2005
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Although I always seem to get credit for leading the first ascent of this climb, it was actually my long-time climbing partner, Jim Walsh, who led an excellent, ground-up first ascent here, via the Direct Finish. I merely belayed him and followed the pitch. A very fun climb, which is way, way too short. I still have my original writeup of the route that I gave to Pat for High Over Boulder. In accordance with the standards of the day, we graded the route 5.8- if you went left at the top, or 5.9- if you did the direct finish!!!

    Jim Erickson
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Sep 25, 2005
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    IMO its the easiest 10a on west ridge. Especially if in the last 5' you reach out right to the corner and lay back with the left hand to reach the jug...suppose if you completely commit to the crack with both hands it would be 10a, but this route has so many hold options. I instinctively reached out to the right corner and sent it with little difficulty. Fun route nonetheless.Ernie
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 26, 2005

    It seems to me Jim already voted in at 5.8- "old school". I think of it kind of like a easy gym climb - if you don't run out of power you'll find it easy. But if you over-grip and try to place pro every few feet you may run out of gas and fall off. So with all the gym training these days it probably makes it feel easier. However, I believe it has logged a few serious accidents over the years due to leaders pumping out while gunning for the top.
    By Peter Yakovchuk
    From: Tempe, AZ
    Oct 8, 2006

    Led this route yesterday. I suspect it is not 5.9+ at all, better grade is probably 5.9- and really the direct finish is no harder than the rest of the route. It felt MUCH easier than the first pitch of Werk Supp, for example. Anyway, good climb.
    By Paul Hunnicutt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Feb 9, 2008
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    This is kind of like a face climb that happens to have a crack in the middle of it. Yes, it felt very gym like climbing. Relatively straightforward movement. Good gear and maybe the crux is that last move, but felt pretty Eldo 5.9ish. Maybe a bit harder if you get pumped, because the rests are not so straightforward. Easy to then TR the other climbs to the left and run some quick laps.
    By grant.rudd
    From: boulder, CO
    Apr 15, 2009
    rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    I would say 5.8+ tops. I climbed this with a stitched up finger, and couldn't really use the crack which made the crux harder, but all the holds were massive. I would feel confident leading this guy, even though I am a mediocre 5.7 trad leader.
    By Cale Farnham
    Sep 7, 2009

    Thought this line was awsome! Did this after a warm up on sister morphine and thought it would be an easy walk up due to the stellar feet and hands but soon realized I was wrong! Got to the top pumped up as a bike tire and barely topped out! Super fun route super pumpy!
    By NickinCO
    From: colorado
    Feb 27, 2012
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Underestimated this route, got to the crux with my last piece about 10' below me. Luckily it wasn't too terribly difficult. Sport climbers will probably find this route pretty easy. Place gear quickly and climb fast.
    By JLV
    From: San Francisco, CA
    Dec 4, 2014

    Such an awesome route!
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Jan 25, 2015
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Maybe easy 5.9. 5.9+ only if you completely refuse to use the crack (i.e. finger injury).
    By Ben D.
    From: Colorado
    Oct 10, 2016
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Ditto on the comment to not overprotect this climb. I did just that, sewing up the beautiful crack with WAY too much gear. As a result, I was completely pumped out halfway through the climb, and it took all I had just to finish the the easier, left exit at the top. Climbed it again after the gear was cleaned and cruised it through the harder straight-up finish. I couldn't figure out how to use the crack on the very last move but was able to reach far right for a sloper to make the final move.

    Really fun climb but still pumpy whether you lead it or TR it!

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