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Turkey Tail
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Consternation T,TR 
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YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: n/a
Page Views: 7,209
Submitted By: Ben F on Nov 11, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (31)
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I almost forgot how sweet offwidths are. This gorgeous route begins as a left-facing dihedral not too far to the right of Drumstick Direct on the Turkey Tail. Without a doubt, this route gets 3 stars and has nearly everything you would want in a fatty. Hubbel's book does this route a disservice by only giving this route 2 stars. It seems that there is some sort of unfounded prejudice against cracks wider than 3' - yet another debasing of a noble form of climbing. If you liked Honeymoon Chimney in Castle Valley, Utah, then you'll definitely appreciate this proud line.

Begin in a *relatively* thin crack, where some hand jams can actually be found. Follow up the widening crack towards the 1/4" trinket placed on the right side of the dihedral. Place a 4-1/2" piece nearby. Flow past this section and enter a large pod. Take a breather here before you continue. The dihedral crack becomes thinner (hand to thin hands) before opening into a small chimney. Move up the chimney and onto easier ground. Past the chimney, there are numerous face holds and the crack gets thinner. At the roof, where the crack ends, you can either move left or right and move to the top. Find your own way off the top. Topos for this climb in the books, especially the top, are less than adequate - I mean they suck. I moved left to the base of a really low-angled crack system that looked no harder than 5.easy to set my belay.

My descent. Because my second was the last thing on my mind as a did this route, I neglected to consider that he is a fat ass. When he entered the first pod and tried to clean his #1 Big Dude that I placed in the back of the pod, it wasn't happening without a good rubbing of Crisco - if at all. At first this was funny, but after several minutes of hearing him grovel, grunt and use my name in vain while the sun was setting, I knew that I would be leaving some stoppers. I lowered him, had him put me back on belay, traversed back to the right and downclimbed to the first keyhole stopper placements. There is a set of anchors in the dihedral just to the left of Sidewinder about 50 or so feet of the ground if you only have one rope (50 m may reach?) and my stoppers and biners are still near the top of P1 for added convenience.


2 or more of any combination from each of the following groups: 1) #6 Friend, 2 Big Dude or #5 Camalot; 2) #5 Friend, 1 Big Dude or #4.5 Camalot; 3) #4 Camalot; and 4) #4 Friend or #3.5 Camalot. In addition to these lodestones, bring gear ranging from a #2 TCU to a #3 Camalot. To descend, either do this climb in 2 pitches and walk-off, or rap from gear I left near the top of the first pitch (see full explanation below). Rapping will either entail 1 double rope rappel or 2 single rope rappels with a 60 m rope. P1 is roughly 150 feet of good loving.

Photos of Sidewinder Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Gettin' some thin hands.
Gettin' some thin hands.
Rock Climbing Photo: Catching a rest.
Catching a rest.
Rock Climbing Photo: Going up!
Going up!
Rock Climbing Photo: Fun!
Rock Climbing Photo: Me leading Sidewinder.
Me leading Sidewinder.
Rock Climbing Photo: Michael Michael motorcycle on Sidewinder.
Michael Michael motorcycle on Sidewinder.
Rock Climbing Photo:

Comments on Sidewinder Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 15, 2015
By jason seaver
From: Estes Park, CO
Nov 24, 2001

Gee Ben, you managed to call your partner a fatass, but you neglected to tell us how it took you close to 4 hours to lead that pitch. Instead of an insult, I'd say your partner deserves a medal for actually keeping you on belay that long.
By Ben F
From: Benfield, Kolorado
Nov 25, 2001

My comments were approved by my second prior to submittal. Furthermore, it only took me 3 hrs., 47 min. to lead the pitch - not 4 hrs.
By Jim Hausmann
From: Richmond, TX
Dec 22, 2004

Just did this route the other day, and it was one of the best offwidths I've ever done. Don't consider the old bolt for pro, I wouldn't hang my hat on it. For those without several large pieces of pro, consider belaying for p2 about 50' up, where #0.75 & #1 Camalots can be used for the belay. This way, you can reuse those #4.5 & 5 Camalots throught the crux immediately following. At the top, hang a left into the easy gully. There is a lowering sling on the north end that will get you to the ground with a single 60m rope.
By D. Shaw
Aug 2, 2007
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

It is telling that only 3 people have rated this route, as compared to 20 or more who rate Boulder Canyon climbs. The route is solid 5.10 and calling it 9+ is just a sick joke. I pity the person who tries to go up it who can lead 5.9...But what do I care? Only a few people left in Colorado do wide cracks, so we get 'em when we want 'em, eh?
By Boulder Chris
Apr 4, 2008

Sheesh! Ben provides a nearly move by move play back of this route, including a detailed gear list, and all Jason can ask is why it took him "4 hours to lead that pitch." What is this, an interrogation? Maybe he's a slow climber, or maybe he couldn't help to stop and take in the view every 10 feet. Maybe you should leave that fat ass "insult" to be dealt with by the 2 people involved, if that is really what it was.

And Bob- what is the point of posting a comment like that? Why don't you just stop reading when it starts getting a little "long-winded." The guide books do a better job at describing a lot of routes. Mountain Project, on the other hand, is take it or leave it. Or in your case, take it, leave it, or flame it.
By mike c
From: golden
Sep 14, 2009
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

It's pretty funny that this is the only route at Turkey Tail not 3 letters harder than the grade. It felt like a 5.8. climbing is funny sometimes....
By bigwallrog
From: the farside
Oct 24, 2009

Very nice OW climb. As for the grade, well, I realy can't say it has its tough parts and its easy parts....

Very nice climb and a good workout to boot.
By Matt Baker
From: Portland, OR
Aug 30, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Very nice off-width climb. The big gear I used was a #3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, & 6. I hopscotched the gear a little but always felt safe and well protected. I would agree with the old school rating of 5.9 to 5.9+, there are lots of face holds to supplement the off-width climbing.
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Aug 30, 2010

This is a fun climb. I did it once in winter with leather mountaineering boots on and it felt like a 5.8. They actually worked really well!
By erik wellborn
From: manitou springs
Oct 31, 2010

Really fun as far as awful-widths go. Rating wise? Geez, 9+/10a ish? Of course if it were at Vedauwoo it would be 5.8. Good thing I dont climb at Vedauwoo.
By Jason Kaplan
From: Glenwood ,Co
Dec 27, 2010

I finally got on this yesterday, it was super fun for sure! I almost didn't climb it because I left my second half of my rack (blue Aliens through #3 BDs) at home on accident. Furthermore, I was wishing I had a couple more 5s and 6s, but the thing that made me think I had a chance was that I had the smallest Bigbro (#4 BD size roughly), and the 2 biggest Bigbros which I figured might fit in the chimney. I also considered that I could stop half way and build an anchor to get the big cams back. The problem was I had about 2 hours of daylight, so once I got to the thin section and realized I still had tons of rope left, I decided to keep going. I had been leap frogging and running it out, so once I got to the thin hands section, I threw in 3 pieces, then lowered back dow to get the #4 and 5 back replacing the 4 with a Bigbro a little higher up. I then came back up and lead the next section also running it out and leap frogging up to the chimney/ roof where I threw in 2 of the larger bros then pulled out and up getting some smaller gear (red TCU approximately) cut out left once I gained the slab above. I took the line of least resistance to a low angle, thin hand crack leading up to a notch.

Climbed as one long pitch with a 70m, I think I had around 15-20' of rope left. Supplemented the missing cams with some hexes in the 0.75-#2 range. Ended up hanging a bit especially due to the gear issues. I guess maybe I'm out of shape, and out of practice. The climbing is all fun and not too desperate, but it's hard work and requires lots of big gear. Some of the OW can be avoided, but not all of it, this route has some good variety though for sure. Not sure about the rating, if this is really 9/9+ I've gotten pretty bad at OW and I'm pretty weak. I on sighted steppenwolf on the perch which is rated the same.

This things a classic for sure, I'll be back with more big gear....
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 26, 2012
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I think the climb was named for the fact that you wind around time after time to get the other side in - the feet alternate from side A to side B several times. If you don't like offwidth, this is hell. If you like offwidth, this is 200'+ of fun!
By R Sather
Apr 15, 2015
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

The 9+ rating is spot on for a climb of this style. I thought getting through the thin hands to the chimney pod was the most mentally challenging for myself but was surprisingly protectable. I brought singles up to a #1 Camalot and doubles in #2- #6 Camalots and an extra #5 Wild Country. This thing would take a lot of #5s if you were so inclined.

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