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The Winchester Cave
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YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 85'
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Mark Tarrant, 1993
Page Views: 6,695
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Nov 7, 2001

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Photo: Tyler Casey.


Ricochet. This must be one of my favorite climbs at Rifle and is a brilliant addition that gives even gumbies like myself something to climb. A bit uphill from the cave proper and on the left is a vertical wall with grey to blue stone. The left of two routes is Ricochet (Noto bene: the FA data were incorrectly attributed in Hassan's guide. Mark Tarrant put up this terrific climb during the start up years at Rifle.). Big reaches to crisp edges with intricate footwork and sustained climbing can be expected. There are a couple of small overlaps to negotiate, but these are not the real cruxes - these arise with the tricky occasional cross-throughs. Ricochet is great line by any standard for the excellent quality rock, intricate moves, and relentless continuity. Bring some finger strength.


Bring 12 to 15 draws and a 60 meter rope. The route may be only 80 to 85 feet, and I can't recall how much of our 60m remained unused. Play it safe.

Photos of Ricochet Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Splits on Richochet.
Splits on Richochet.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ricochet.

Comments on Ricochet Add Comment
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By Rich Aschert
Jun 2, 2004

Midway up on the left watch for a loose block with a white X, about 12" X 12." It looks like a hold that gets used quite often.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 21, 2004

assuming I was on the correct route (I think I was--left across some talus, right of a ramp, locking bail biner on 3rd? to last bolt) this route has some relatively sporty runouts between several of the bolts. It's vertical and not too difficult in these sections, but a misstep/broken hold would send you a long way. Check it out well from the ground before you head up, if you don't dig such things.

Anyway, the climbing was also fantastic.
By Chris Archer
Jun 21, 2004
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Brilliant outing. Very un-Rifle-like. Lots of positive flat edges with generally obvious sequences. Richard, any additional info on the FA mix-up? I thought Rob Candelaria had opened Richocet and Puppy Love.
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Jun 21, 2004
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

CA - (sorry, the last post written in haste) - I don't think there is a lot more to discuss as regards the FA of Ricochet. I'm not sure how Rob ended up being credited with Ricochet, I suppose that things like that just happen. I do recall getting dragged up Puppy Love shortly after Rob put it up - it seemed like a very bold lead (scary in other words), typical of a lot of Rob's routes. What I can assure you is that he never made any claim to Ricochet himself, and any mix up probably came in the process of cobbling together the early route data. I did point out the mix up to Hassan when he was getting his guide assembled, but as I recall it was annotated correctly in an early version of his published book (?). I must have been on Ricochet within a week of the time Mark and Scott got it in, and as I recall I chased the line that time with Mark, and at that point, I don't recall any other line on that sector of the Winchester Cave other than Ricochet. Once again, digging through the musty neuron tracks, it seems as though Rob got Puppy Love established close on the heels of Ricochet, certainly less than a year later, and perhaps within just a few months.
By Chris Archer
Jun 21, 2004
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Thanks for the recollection, Richard. I always wondered why Rob didn't open more routes protected like Ricochet, and your thread answers that question nicely! Thanks for setting the record straight.
By Mark Tarrant
Jun 23, 2004

Recent postings got me thinking about the history of this route, if it matters. This was the last route I put up in Rifle in 1990 or so, not long after the problems on The Eighth Day began. The line seemed obvious and beautiful, bouncing between the two parallel grey streaks (hence, "Ricochet"). It was the first route in the Winchester Cave (named after the old Winchester Hotel in Rifle where Teddy Roosevelt had stayed, and even more important than that, where we used to have Sunday breakfast with my dad...). My wife-to-be, Anne Marie, and I clawed our way up a poison oak-filled gully, got to the top, set the anchor and lowered off. I got 7 of the 11 bolts drilled that day, left our rope up and returned a week later. Rob C. was actually putting in Puppy Love when we returned (I think he used our rope to get his anchor in), and he mentioned that he'd been on our line. I assumed he'd TR'd it since the first 3 bolts and the last bolt weren't in yet, and besides, not many people heisted routes back then,(wait, see Eighth Day!). Anyway, we got it finished and were quite happy. Rob's partner (a southern climber), gave it a quick try the same day, taking a long fall near the end with Anne Marie belaying (I have good photos of him on the route). Rob led it later and I remember him asking why I added the last bolt--he liked it better with the runout, so I was sure he'd been on it before it was complete. Maybe this is where the FA discrepancy arises. I was surprised to see the wrong FA info in the Rifle guides, but always thought it was just an honest mistake. So, that's what I recollect about Ricochet, lots of gibberish about an 80' slab route, albeit a pretty good one.
By Rich Strang
From: Santa Fe, NM
May 19, 2014
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

This is a fantastic route and a must do for its difference in style and exceptional rock. Unfortunately the right cold shut anchor is half worn through as of May 2014. It would be nice to see some new anchors on this classic. A fun, heady route but never desperate.
By jordand
From: Seattle, WA
Oct 12, 2014

I'll second what Rstrang said. Climbed this route yesterday, and the top was equipped with two rusted bolt hangers and nothing else.
By drewhouser
Sep 8, 2015
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

One of the best climbed I ever did climb. Pure Genius.
By Steve Annecone
From: boulder
Oct 3, 2015
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Excellent, clean route, with loads of hard moves but decent stances and rests where you need them. Thought the bottom 3 bolts or so was fairly spicy with chance for decking low and a reachy clip or two but probably nothing harder than 5.11- in there....

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