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West Ridge - part E - top to Xanadu
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Prince of Darkness 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Chris Archer, Stephan DeWet, Cris Ann Crylsdale, 1988.
Fixed Hardware: 4 Lead Bolts [details]
Page Views: 4,111
Submitted By: Michael Komarnitsky on Sep 26, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (98)
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Eric leading Prince of Darkness.

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  • Description 

    This is one of the last routes up the West Ridge. It's actually a separate rock, just west of where the West Ridge descent trail kicks you out. The black, shaded north face is split by this line. A wide slot runs up and left, while a diagonal hand crack runs up and right. In between these, four bolts continue straight up the thin face, through 2 distinct huecos. A nice line, and a good one to seek out when the rest of the rock is baking hot.


    4 draws, ~#3 Camalot, and something smaller for up top.

    Photos of Prince of Darkness Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Between bolt 2 and 3 with my foot in a hueco!!
    Between bolt 2 and 3 with my foot in a hueco!!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dave Holliday past the crux of 'Prince of Darkness...
    Dave Holliday past the crux of 'Prince of Darkness...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Thin fun and sharp !!!
    Thin fun and sharp !!!
    Rock Climbing Photo: FA
    Rock Climbing Photo: first ascent
    first ascent
    Rock Climbing Photo:
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sharp crimpers and shiny footholds.
    Sharp crimpers and shiny footholds.

    Comments on Prince of Darkness Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 6, 2016
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Mar 7, 2002

    This is a great line! Superb climbing. It gives you just enough to keep moving up. Thanks, Chris.
    By adam brink
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 23, 2002

    Beautiful slab climbing! This is an underappreciated Eldo classic.
    By Brian Milhaupt
    From: Golden, CO
    Apr 30, 2003

    The something else for the top is a #1 Camalot. Red Cam! Red Cam!
    By david goldstein
    Jul 4, 2003

    It should be pointed out that this climb is quite height dependent -- easier if taller. Do the direct start for extra value. Beautiful rock. Sharp, tweaky moves. Too short and straightforward to be a three star.
    By Kirk Woerner
    Sep 21, 2003

    I did this today again. At the top, (just below the crack with the tree in it) you'll be tempted to go right a bit and get a jug, but you CAN go straight up the face to the horizontal. It's very crimpy (like more so even than down below), but fun and next time I lead it, I'll try it this way since the bolt is right there...ahhh the "next times" :)
    By Jim Amidon
    Oct 12, 2003
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    Real nice route, good pro, good rock, great finish.....short but sweet....
    By Chris Archer
    Nov 12, 2003
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    I'm glad people are enjoying the route. The grade is certainly height dependent. I did the route again recently and still think 11a is a fair grade for average height climbers, if you're 6 feet or taller it's probably 5.10 something, if 5'6" or shorter 5.11 something. It's also chalk dependent. The last time I had done this route was about 5 years earlier in the sun on a hot day with Jim Erickson who led it sans chalk: 12c. Bolts were replaced in October 2003.
    By SirVato
    From: Boulder
    Apr 21, 2004

    Awesome pitch!!! Sharp positve edges to cling to but, so small!! For me the crux was the move to the hueco, my friend just jumped for it, I had to use some fancy footwork!!
    By Kevin Neilson
    From: Boulder
    Nov 6, 2005
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    I like this route because I can go to Eldo and still be a "sport wanker", as my friends like to denigrate me. I struggled earlier this year on my onsight attempt but had no issues today; the crimps are small, but solid, and the slight slabbiness allows for some resting. On my first attempt I tried to stay directly on the bolt line at the top, as Kirk suggests, but today I reached right to the crack. I suspect this is how most people do it since most people say the crux is getting to the bottom hueco, and avoiding the crack at the top seems like much thinner moves. I used three pieces besides the anchor: a 3.5 Camalot for the bottom, a gold Camalot right above it, and a red Camalot above the last bolt.
    By climberz
    Sep 21, 2008
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    The crux hold is broken. The climb is a bit harder now. Don't know how much harder (I could not do it), maybe 11c-11d? Too bad, the old hold was one of the best crimpers in memory.
    By Kat A
    From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
    Oct 19, 2008

    Great line. Not sure about any broken holds as it was my first time on it, but it felt 5.11a-ish to me (I'm 5'4").
    By Ryan Rickard
    Mar 9, 2009
    rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

    Balancy moves on sharp crimps, good fun! I'm not sure about any broken holds, this was my first time as well, but felt it was 10d or so. I'm 5.10 with monkey arms, so it does seem to be height dependent.
    By Ryan Brough
    From: Arvada, Colorado
    May 7, 2009
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    Great bolt placements!
    By Phil Lauffen
    From: The Bubble
    Nov 7, 2011
    rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

    Felt harder than 11a to me. Everyone on here calling it 11a onsite it?! Or did you do it with beta?
    By slim
    Nov 8, 2011
    rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

    Onsight, but I am pretty tall and was pretty dialed at slab climbing when I did it. I seem to remember some sort of 'stand up' move with an overhead thumbdercling or something like that. One thing that also helped (for me) was that for Eldo, the protection was excellent (good bolt right there), so I didn't have to worry about falling.
    By Darren Mabe
    From: Flagstaff, AZ
    Nov 8, 2011
    rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

    Ditto, Slim.
    By Phil Lauffen
    From: The Bubble
    Nov 8, 2011
    rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

    I guess it's time for me to accept that gym ability has nothing to do with the ability to climb slab on slippery Eldo rock... and that I'm a punter.
    By slim
    Nov 9, 2011
    rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

    I think you are also a bit shorter, maybe 5'9" or so? Probably just didn't get set up for it the best way or some minor thing like that. Having seen you grapple some horrific plastic, I'm thinking you're probably not a punter. Maybe go huck another lap on it and see if it feels easier.
    By Pinklebear
    Nov 9, 2011

    I think it's a hard route, Phil. I remember for me, at 5'6", I had to really fight hard. Also to remember: 11a in Eldo is a stout grade, sometimes with like a V4 crux!
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Nov 10, 2011
    rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

    I think 11 is right on, and there are some thin holds. If you did it on a hot day in full sun, then I imagine it was low percentage. There are also some side-to side movements in the route here and there.
    Some routes just are not for some people because it specializes in a particular move (weakness), so don't fret it. A step up from Prince of Darkness, but in the same genre, is Le Boomerang. At a slightly lower level but slightly more 'exciting' is Mrs. Clean Gets Down. You have a shot at those still, OS.
    So maybe work POD, and then when you get it, go get the other two right a way to wear in that recently gained experience and put it to use.
    By Aaron Martinuzzi
    Nov 16, 2011

    It's been a little while since I was climbing in Eldo, but I do remember Prince of Darkness being a tougher onsight than Super Slab. PoD definitely has a tech-y element to it that wasn't quite as present on SS.
    By Vincent K
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 1, 2015

    I agree that a #1 red Camalot is what you want for the horizontal crack towards the top.
    By Ryan Kempf
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 6, 2016

    Led this route today in the shade, absolutely no chalk on the route whatsoever. After shopping for holds, hanging the draws and figuring out the beta mid-route, I think 11a is still an accurate grade (although very style-dependent). A 0.5 or 0.75 before the 1st bolt and a #1 C4 after the 4th bolts is nice. Fantastic route.

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