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Rainbow Wall 

YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c

Type:  Trad, Sport
Original:  YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c [details]
FA: [FA Kyle Copeland; FFA] Bob Horan, 1984
Fixed Hardware: 4 Lead Bolts, 2 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 9,999
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Aug 18, 2001

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BH on the World Class Rainbow Wall, Eldorado Canyo...

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  • Description 

    The Rainbow Wall starts on the bright yellow South face of the Wind Tower by scrambling up the third class ramp to the right of King's X. A good Friend can be placed before reaching out to clip a bolt that initiates the hand traverse. The traverse is bolt protected and largely on a rather decent edge, it's the foot work that is so tricky. A hard move on very crimpy edges leads into the traverse which is followed by several reasonable moves. A pseudo-rest arises just before the edge system turns vertical and turns very difficult and cruxy. An ancient beta-max, and origin of the term beta, was published in Rock and Ice and shows Bob Horan running through this sequence. I tried the Rainbow Wall several years ago with the beta-max at hand and on top rope and vowed to get back when I thought I had the finger strength. The hard climbing is near the end of the traverse and is indeed rather brief, however, my guess is that the Rainbow Wall will still hold its grade 17 years later and as such makes a terrific first 5.13 lead. The grade seems reasonable, the holds are largely very friendly, and the protection is as safe as you can get, at least in the traverse. After turning the corner on the left work carefully up to the ledge system below the Metamorphosis from which you can rap. With care you can get some stoppers in here. While it is not a big route, the Rainbow Wall is surely an Eldorado classic, and perhaps its turning up today will give just the impetus to get back on it.


    Bring six or seven draws, a few small Friends, and perhaps some wired stoppers. A 50m rope gets you down.

    Photos of Rainbow Wall Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Asolo advert (1990) featuring Wolfgang Schweiger o...
    Asolo advert (1990) featuring Wolfgang Schweiger o...
    Rock Climbing Photo: January Ice Storm. Draws on Rainbow Wall.  © 2015...
    January Ice Storm. Draws on Rainbow Wall. © 2015...

    Comments on Rainbow Wall Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 15, 2013
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 22, 2001

    The term 'beta' does refer to Betamax (obsolete Sony videotape format that competed briefly with VHS) but the use of the term for climbing purposes definitely predates the Rock and Ice usage. Jack Mileski and others in the Gunks started using the term, I believe. R and I just picked up on the existing usage.
    By Richard M. Wright
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Aug 22, 2001

    What a kick. I have been trying to find the earliest reference in the context of climbing. I wonder if anyone can push the date eack even more...
    By Brian Sorden
    Aug 23, 2001

    Just for posterity, it is interesting to highlight the fact that this was the first 5.13 in Colorado, and was surrounded by some debate. The debate involved a cry baby named CG and his cronies laboring on this wall, fruitlessly, for a long time when they'd like you to believe Bob Horan walked in and stole CG's route. Bob received bitter, egotistical crap for his acheivement, not accolade. Buy him a beer sometime, he'll tell you the whole story. Then find CG and see if he'll even talk to you, let alone about the Rainbow Wall. (His wall, boo hoo) For posterity, no, I don't climb 5.13.
    By Sven Lavransen
    Aug 23, 2001

    My new family from Boulder, Jan and Nick, took me for a good tour on more nice routes in Eldorado Canyon. After quite full day, we went last to the Rainbow Wall. This climb was very interesting to me. The climb is quite easy to start leading to finger traverse to the left. A short hard move to finish goes up from the traverse and then the route mostly is over. Many fixed pieces are on the route. The route is technical but the difficult section is short so I did not think that to make a flash was so interesting. But Jan and Nick said to me that not many climbers make the flash. I think this is surprise since in Boulder one can train so much on the climbing walls. At Bergen, my home city, we have many young climbers that can make the flash at 5.13. Perhaps not so many climbers in US try for the flash as at my home. I liked this route quite well.
    By Joe Huggins
    From: Grand Junction
    Oct 15, 2001

    Also for posterity. In most people's book the first ascent counts, even on aid. Kyle Copeland led this as an horrendous A3+ in a snowstorm, belayed by me. We had a bet; he said it would never go free, I said it would. I won a dollar!
    By Dan Levison
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 9, 2003

    Hi Richard or anyone who's redpointed this route:

    At the end of the traverse, where the edge/rail goes from horizontal to vertical seems desperate. What is the beta per the old beta-max footage of Bob Horan at this section of the climb? There are no feet here -- must be some sort of heel hook mantel combination?

    By Dan Levison
    From: Boulder, CO
    Dec 3, 2003

    Hi AC,

    The rather unsightly _super long extendo draw_ hanging from the anchor is NOT mine. It was there when we started working the route. The draws on the route are mine (and Ted Lanzano's); we can remove these between sessions if this really bothers people.

    --Dan Levison
    By Casey Bernal
    From: Arvada, CO
    Dec 4, 2003

    Any gear left on routes, like draws or biners, is much more noticeable than bolts or pins. It can be an eyesore for the climbing and non-climbing public. Some may view it as 'inspiring' and others will view it as 'trash'. In such a visible place like Rainbow Wall, it might be better to take the more conservative approach and remove any gear when it is not in use in order to prevent any backlash against fixed gear and climbing privileges.

    By Dan Levison
    From: Boulder, CO
    Dec 4, 2003

    Good point Casey. I'll take the draws off the route.


    By Anonymous Coward
    Dec 5, 2003

    Kind of old issue, but I just read the 2001 posts regarding the term "beta."

    It's just as likely (probably more likely) that the term "beta" came from "beta test" in which is a test, trial run, or tryout for a product or process before it is rolled out for final introduction. It's a debugging phase. If someone is "giving you the beta" they are reporting the results of their tryout of the route so that you can improve on what they've learned, or at least not make the same mistakes. Considering how many climbers seem to come from the technical disciplines, it wouldn't surprise me that this is the ultimate source of this expression.
    By Ted Lanzano
    From: Boulder, CO
    Dec 6, 2003

    I took down the lower half of the extra long sling at the anchors. It was getting in the way of clipping the anchors. If it is yours, please send me an email and Ill be happy to return it (

    Thanks, Ted
    By Joe Huggins
    From: Grand Junction
    Jan 18, 2004

    Beta test?...The people who originally used the term had no idea about a beta test, the term definitely refers to the pre VHS video format; ask anyone who was climbing 20-25 years ago.
    By Old Fart aka Dave Bohn
    Jan 18, 2004

    VHS or Beta ? It's not a route name from Rifle, it's the afore-mentioned post regarding the arguements about the preferred video tape "standard" at the time. The very first climbing videos were issued on Betamax not VHS. Given the love for contractions, Betamax was shortened to Beta. Having previously viewed the video's and memorized the sequence from the video the term "Getting the Beta" sprang into the vernacular.
    By Ted Lanzano
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 3, 2004

    I think the grade on this Eldo classic is solid 13b. Besides being a damn hard route to begin with, some holds have broken off and the foot holds on the 2nd crux (after the rail) have gotten very polished. To me it felt a lot harder than Captain Crunch (13a/b) and more comparable in difficulty to the Web (13b).
    By Dan Levison
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 3, 2004

    Agreed Ted; definitely 8a.
    By Dusty
    From: Fort Collins
    Feb 7, 2009
    rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

    The runout to the anchors is a bit spicy nowadays knowing that there's an enema waiting to happen should you fall. That tree was tiny in those old pictures of Horan.

    Hank wasn't lying, this pitch is "bitchin"!!!
    By jason123
    Mar 29, 2012

    If anyone is interested in working Rainbow Wall, please let me know. I finally sent The Web last summer and would love to give this one a try. I got on it once and was totally shut down but would be excited to get back.
    By Ken Cangi
    From: Eldorado Springs, CO
    Apr 15, 2013
    rating: 5.13a/b 8a 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c

    Felt very solid at 7c+. Definitely harder than Captain Crunch, IMO.

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