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Solid Gold 

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

Type:  Trad, Sport, 5 pitches, 450'
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Richard Wright, Mark Tarrant, Koko Kosila, Spring 2002
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 18,514
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Jun 15, 2002

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The exposed slab moves above the crux of the final...

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Solid Gold is a five pitch route that runs 450 feet up the right side of Creek Side. The line picks out the best features of the grey and black slab that starts 20 feet above the water and then fires up the left side of the huge open-book dihedral that splits the upper section at 300 feet.

P1: (5.9+, bolts and gear) this is a 100 foot pitch that goes on bolts and gear and finishes at a double bolt anchor. The rock is solid all the way and kicks out a couple of fun spots.

P2: (5.8, bolts) is also 100 feet long and is largely quite easy with a couple of 5.8 sections, one right off the belay. It finishes on a ledge at a double bolt belay stance. However, for descent purposes, a higher rap anchor was installed that keeps the rope running clean and off the ledge. This stance is ten feet higher than the belay stance.

P3: (5.8, bolts) is close to 100 feet as well and has a nifty sequence in the middle just above a grassy ledge. It finishes at a three bolt stance.

P4: (5.11d/5.12a, bolts) is 80 feet long and picks out a terrific long crux on bulletproof rock. After leaving the belay, one encounters a few feet of friable stone leading into the solid gold crux - just take this short section with some care. Pull the bulge above on superb stone with inobvious sequences. This pitch finishes at a three bolt stance.

P5: (5.11d, bolts) is 90 feet long and guns for the lip of the overhang on superb stone. A couple of big reaches will gain the edge of the lip and these are followed by a sub-vertical waltz to the little tree at the top and a double bolt anchor. You do have to watch the footwork on the finishing slab.

For the most part, Solid Gold is a very clean route; however, like most things in Clear Creek, it is essential to watch out for any loose rocks. I have cleaned what I think will be climbed, but straying off the line could unearth some dangerous flakes. Fishermen do hang out at the base and are the most troublesome "targets". Rocks ricocheting from the slab will hit the road, trust me. The slab pitches can provide access to new routes (Bob D?) going in left of Solid Gold.


Eds. Since the bolting of this line, additions to the right side of Creek Side has made it a little less obvious as to where to start this. Start at the lowest point on the light grey slab going up a line of bolts. Note, Playin' Hooky is accessed by climbing the 1st 2+ pitches of Solid Gold here.

Rock Climbing Photo: Creek Side - right (the base of Gold Side).  1. Bl...
Creek Side - right (the base of Gold Side).
1. Black Gold.
2. Furlough Day.
3. Solid Gold (standard approach to Playin' Hooky).
4. PTO.
5. Oyster Bar.
6. Creek Nation.

Rock Climbing Photo: Climber at anchors of P1 of Solid Gold and belayer...
Climber at anchors of P1 of Solid Gold and belayer.

Eds. The rope actually goes from the start of Furlough Day onto the upper part of P1 of Solid Gold.

Rock Climbing Photo: Red:Solid Gold start to Playin' Hooky. Yello...
Red:Solid Gold start to Playin' Hooky.
Yellow: Solid Gold.

Eds. The red line deviates at the black roof on P2 from Solid Gold onto Furlough Day. Solid Gold's P2 is on the lighter gray rock to the right of the red line on P2.

GPS coordinates for Playin' Hooky & Solid Gold are: 39.741468, -105.409588.


A 60 meter rope, a dozen draws, and Friends or Camalots in the # 2, 2.5, 3 range. One can rap from the very top in five rappels using just a 60 meter rope. All of the rope pulls are clean, and all of the belays are either at double or triple bolt stances. It is, of course, positively essential to tie the ends of the rope at each rappel; three of these will have you rapping to the knot at 100 feet, leaving no room to screw up. A 50 meter rope does not work. We used to have a Tyrolean that crossed the creek adjacent to the start of the climbing; however, this was chopped in September. One can approach from the Dog Wall by hiking along the stream or wade across where the Tyrolean used to be.

Tick Alert 

Beware of ticks when at the base and on the approach. This area has a reputation for a disproportionate number of ticks. Do a tick check!

Photos of Solid Gold Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: This is looking at the upper part of the route fro...
BETA PHOTO: This is looking at the upper part of the route fro...
Rock Climbing Photo: The exposed view looking down from mid-way up P5 o...
The exposed view looking down from mid-way up P5 o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the crux of the 5th pitch.
Near the crux of the 5th pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Sutfin on the 1st pitch.
Eric Sutfin on the 1st pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Hill stemming the crux of pitch 1.
Hill stemming the crux of pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of the 2nd pitch.
The start of the 2nd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mark heading into the solid gold stone on the four...
Mark heading into the solid gold stone on the four...
Rock Climbing Photo: Koko starting P3.
Koko starting P3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Koko on P2.
Koko on P2.
Rock Climbing Photo: The route from the pullout near the Dog House.
BETA PHOTO: The route from the pullout near the Dog House.
Rock Climbing Photo: Koko running through P1.
Koko running through P1.

Comments on Solid Gold Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 13, 2017
By dave klein
Nov 18, 2002
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Stellar route, at least the first 3 pitches. A dozen draws and two #2 Camalots will do you fine. We ended up bailing midway up pitch 4 on the .11d crux. Watch the feet and wear your helmet. I had a foot hold break off on the start of the crux on pitch 4 that sent me fly'n. Watch for loose holds on first half of pitch 4.

From what I climbed, the only loose section was on pitch 4. The rest of the route was on solid stone, with great positioning. The rappels are nicely spaced for a 60m rope, but make sure and knot the ends. If you use the upper rap anchors at the top of pitch 3 on rappel, it will be close. There is a lower set of anchors on the ledge that make it with slack to spare. Enjoy! Great route!
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Nov 18, 2002

The start on P4 is crumbly, however, it is only a short way and the rest of the stone is truly "Solid Gold". In rapping the line I did not see an obvious way to bypass this band and still catch the nice climbing above. I think the best idea is simply to tread carefully through this band knowing that this is the only dubious stone. It's a bit spooky though. There is an attractive option, which is not in yet, to run a line 30 feet right of SG from the belay at the top of P3. This line would run through the big roof via a system of seams. I also rapped this and it looks terrific. Pulling the roof will be substantially harder than anything on SG. Must have been colder than hell to run this route so late in the season.
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Dec 20, 2002

Having soloed (w/rope and a wee bit of aid) the first 2 pitchs 3 times now, I would say you don't really need the cams or any extra gear. This is, of course providing that 5.9 is well with in your ability. I have never placed any gear and was running it out on a clove, ( I'm not trying to look hard) it's just super solid! Also I would like to applaud Mr. Wright for not placing bolts next to such obvious and bomber gear placements. Also, thank you for installing this route as it has made my life a bit easier....more on this next spring....josh
By Anonymous Coward
May 5, 2003

I thought that 'Solid Gold' was neither.
By Bryson Slothower
Jul 23, 2003
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

This is an excellent adventure, a clean line through a sea of choss. A hearty thanks to the FA team, this was by far the most exposure I have ever felt in the canyon. Superb bolting job and vision to pick out the line. The 4th pitch felt hard for the grade to me, maybe because it is a long and sustained cux, once through the crappy start the rock really is perfect though. I was surprised by the slab above the cux of the 5th pitch, nuff said...
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Jul 23, 2003

The crux fourth pitch does have an interesting solution that probably keeps the grade at borderline 5.11. However, this was anything but obvious even after cleaning the pitch. While I won't give away the move, I will say that absolutely nothing on this line was chipped or enhanced in any way. This sounds a little defensive, but once you find the sequence its hard to imagine that wasn't placed there by some enterprising climber. It wasn't. In fact it was a bit funny working the move. I was about to concede the need for a big slopey dyno, and muttered to myself something about "if only there were such and such a sequence possible then the dyno would not be necessary". Sout's honor, within ten seconds I found the alternate move. I think the Gods were handing out favors.
By dave klein
Jun 8, 2004
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Great line. A true gem in the rough. P1 and p2 can be combined into a nice 195' lead. If you are comfortable with run-outs on 5.7 terrain, you can leave the trad gear at home - otherwise bring 2 gold Camalots for p1. P4 seemed like 5.12a, and p5 seemed like 5.11b at the roof to me. Have at it - it's a great line.
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Jun 8, 2004

P5 might well be easier than I imagined. Evidently, there is a good horn on the right that may make the swimming over the roof more straight forward; however, it comes at the end of several long pulls below.
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Jun 26, 2004

2nd time down, found an old ring angle piton just left of bolt 4 of P1 making us wonder if this is a retrobolted, old, bold, Kor route (P1-3 and heading R on the slab) :) P1-3 make a very fun, less-than-vertical CC moderate. Still shedding some rocks. Pretty waterfalls after a good rain/hail.
By micah stocker
Aug 31, 2005
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Great route. For all those not sure about the [rating], try linking the last two pitches together, for very solid 12a. Also, very bad rope drag, otherwise not too bad.
By sean connors
Dec 29, 2005

Climbed this route back in August and again last week stellar route. First three pitches are a great warm-up to the exciting two pitches ahead. All the anchors are bomber and offer good stances. Even the rappels are great. Fun exposure. Thanks Richard for yet another great C.C.C climb (Anyone know what's going up left of pitch 4?).
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Jan 4, 2006

In the Fall of 2005 I put in a variation to SG. The variation climbs two new pitches right of the last two pitches of SG but shares the first three pitches and belay stances. SG follows the left line of bolts. Mark and I went up to free the new route and came away feeling that some bolts needed to be moved. I finished this, and a little cleaning, probably in late August or early September, and the new placements will comfortize most of the climbing. Nonrtheless, there is a spot crossing the roof in P5 that remains a bit "necky". Difficulty comes in close to SG, has some very nice sections of climbing, and takes on largely excellent quality rock. If you were on the right hand route, Sean, you were probably on the new one (no name yet).
By mtoensing
From: Boulder
Feb 25, 2006

Don't bring gear. It's a waste. 1st pitch has been re-bolted and has plenty of bolts. 1st pitch also 5.8 instead of the 5.9+ it has been rated before. Lots and Lots of draws, thats all u need. Also the belay stations/rap stations are placed bad. A 70m rope is advised. It took forever with a 60m rope. The 3rd belay station has some webbing on the left side. Just keep your eyes open and you will spot it.
By Legs Magillicutty
From: Durango
May 25, 2006

Climbed this fun route last night. At the top of P3 I see that you have 2 options. I'm assuming that we took the proper line to the top, which is straight up from the belay. What is the route to the right rated? The route was pretty fun. Lots of loose crumbly stuff on P4. And to piggyback on what Josh said, no need to bring gear. Some people would not consider the runouts to be runout at all. A worthy route.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jul 27, 2006
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

While I found the 5th pitch to be no real problem, (save for one hold I significantly reduced the size of whilst hanging from, but is more solid now) the 4th pitch gave me fits, arriving at the technical crux flash-pumped. I still have a small hole in my finger a week later from a tiny crimp I had at the 4th pitch crux.

Good climb with a few easy pitches to warm up on.
Pitch ratings: 5.9, 5.8, 5.7, 5.12a, 5.11c.
By Joshua Merriam
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 16, 2008

Did this last weekend. I'd recommend RW's variation on P4 which is fairly clean and fun, then switching back for the original P5 of Solid Gold.
By mark solomon
From: Ashland, KY
Sep 7, 2008

Climbed the first three pitches Sep 6, 2008. It was good climbing, but may have a slightly harder rating that it felt, as it felt more 7-7+ than the listed 5.9 - We brought gear (cams from #1-3) and did not really need it.

THE APPROACH: Either (1) park at the climb and wade across waist deep, fast moving creek water, (2) park just after tunnel 5, on the side facing tunnel 6, jump the concrete bridge abutment on the right while facing tunnel 6, and scrable/traverse the creek on a hard to follow path for about 15-20 minutes to the bottom of the climb (another method we did accidentally was to park at the climb, walk back to the bridge and then the traverse along the creek, which made it easy to find the climb, but it's the tallest rock face there, you shouldn't be able to miss it).
From: Wherever we park!
May 18, 2009
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

I thought this climb was stellar. The loose section everyone speaks so badly of was only for a very, very small portion, maybe 2 bolts... and it pays off with so so much stellar rock. I thought the crux pitch was very hard and definitely warranted a firm 12a rating. After that 4th pitch, the 5th pitch was a breeze with only one hard crux move over the roof edge and then super fun climbing on an awesome slab to the summit.

P.S. - the river was too high to wade... had to walk from the Dog House. Lots of lots of ticks.
By Jay Eggleston
From: Denver
May 21, 2009

A great climb, but the base area is infested with more ticks than I have ever encountered anywhere else in the CO Front Range.
By Bjorn
From: Leadvegas, CO
Oct 15, 2009

I think the ticks have less to do with this specific location than they do with the month of May. Anywhere in Clear Creek that involves wading through vegetation late April through June or longer usually involves getting beticked.
By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
Oct 15, 2009

Bjorn is right about the ticks. I'd avoid this area (and any other in Clear Creek that involves bushwacking) in the spring and early summer but late summer on is fine. I was back & forth on this trail many times while Darren and I were working on Big Bros Watching and never saw a tick.
By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Jun 22, 2010
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

This route is Stellar. I'd say solid 12a for the onsight climber. If you know the moves, I could see 11d. With that said, this route has really cleaned up a lot. I climbed it last year, and it's a lot cleaner through the "crumbly" bit on the crux pitch than last year even. There are certainly some holds you don't want to yard on, but nothing to complain about.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 16, 2010

With Dave's new belay anchor for Playing Hooky, one can now rap from the top of P4 of Solid Gold down to this new anchor with a 70m rope.
By gregsmiller
From: Louisville
Apr 7, 2013
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

Very fun route and nothing loose on the last two pitches. It's possible to mantle through the crux skipping a lot of small crimps. I also thought the last pitch was worth doing, probably closer to easy 5.11.
Combining the last two is the way to go!
By Dwight Jugornot
From: Arvada, Co.
May 8, 2013
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

The first 3 pitches are a nice warm-up, and then both upper pitches are great. Excellent exposure, strong moves. The slab above seemed 10-ish. Picked up a tick on the approach. Found zero loose stuff.
By climberboy228 Romano
Mar 29, 2014
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13

This route is excellent...great job to the developers! There is definitely a fair amount of loose rock, especially at the belays, so be very careful of people below you. Also, beware of a couple hanging belays. We ran the first two pitches together with a 70m rope and very little rope drag. Pitch 3 was another relatively simple slab. The belay ledges are great. Pitch 4 was really taxing. First it was difficult right off the belay and became more overhung and pumpy as you continue up. SPOILER ALERT: There are several cruxes, but the big mantle move is made easier by a solid crimp on the right side of the arete. More difficult moves await above. The last pitch was also very difficult moving to and through the lip, including a very difficult clip just below the lip. Above the lip becomes much easier on 5.9ish slab. We took the trail in from Dog House (no ticks, 10 minutes) and waded across the river to get back...very refreshing! 4 raps to get down.
By George Bracksieck
Sep 27, 2014

I climbed the first two and a half pitches in 1973, placing primitive, hammerless pro and was belayed by Charly Marchand. I was fiddling with my first gear placement when Layton Kor showed up with a partner and started up the black slab just to our left. Layton whacked in a pin in seconds and disappeared above. His partner moved up and whacked it out in seconds and disappeared — as I was still fiddling. We finished our climb up the huge, right-facing dihedral left of the bolted fourth pitch of PH, feeling exposure comparable to that found on Eldo's Redgarden Wall. At the time, I thought our route (which someone else might have climbed earlier) was 5.7. We walked off to the east. The recently placed bolts don't always follow exactly where we climbed but are never far away. I confirmed that a few years ago, when rapping Solid Gold, after doing Big Bro.

In 1978, I led Anne Leibold up the same black slab that I saw Layton climb, placing only nuts and finishing with the same huge dihedral. We walked off.
By WadeM
From: Golden, Co
Sep 1, 2016
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

The pump really builds on this one, especially if you don't get the crux sequence first go (which I didn't). Two powerful cruxes on good rock!

We combined the first 3 pitches with about 15 QDs and a microtrax.

Super fun morning.
By Bruce Hildenbrand
Oct 12, 2016

Dale Haas and I replaced the cold shut hangers at the second belay with SS Fixe hangers and SS Powers 5-piece bolts.

Rock Climbing Photo: Old hangers and bolts.
Old hangers and bolts.
By Bruce Hildenbrand
Oct 18, 2016

Dale Haas and I replaced the smash links and chain at the rappel anchor of pitch two with SS quicklinks and chain. BTW, one way to remove smash links is to use a hammer and chisel to split the link open a bit so it will slide out of the hanger.

Rock Climbing Photo: Smash link removal.
Smash link removal.

We also removed the quicklinks from the left bolt on the pitch three anchor and replaced them with a SS quicklink and chain for better equalization.
By Brendan Armesy
From: Fort Collins CO
May 13, 2017

If you feel comfortable doing so, I highly recommend skipping the first belay. Super uncomfortable and awkward. The king-sized bed of a second belay ledge is much better.

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