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Test Tube 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 320', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Joanne Urioste, Jorge Urioste May 1980.
Page Views: 2,747
Submitted By: John Hegyes on Aug 29, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (11)
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BETA PHOTO: Test Tube and Spare Rib

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


Test Tube is an outstanding handcrack and chimney climb.

Pitch one goes up the obvious corner system with juggy holds on the sides. Soon, the rock becomes glass-like, and the only feature left is a killer hand crack that widens into a chimney.

Pitches two and three continue up the chimney to the top of the pillar. These pitches are about 80 feet each.

Rappel the route to the right, Spare Rib, with one 60m rope.


Test Tube is in the prominent right-facing dihedral about 30 feet left of Spare Rib and about 100 yards left of Crimson Chrysalis.


Bring a generous rack for the first pitch with an emphasis on #0.75 to #2 Camalots. We didn't need anything larger than a #3 on any pitch of this climb. There is no fixed gear or bolts.

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By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Apr 10, 2009

Climbed this the other day. Would recommend a piece or two larger than 3". Fun polished hand jamming at the end of the first pitch, a very narrow stance at the first belay. The second pitch involves some 5.7 R chimney climbing with stemming on weird pockets. Can finish the climb with one long second pitch. By the end of the climb the route quality deteriorates to something more "gully" like and has some loose, sandy rock. Worth doing once.
By smassey
From: CO
Oct 21, 2009

Killer. Beautiful thin hands/hands on p1. Currently a nut anchor in place at the belay.
By Tom Fralich
From: Fort Collins, CO
Apr 19, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Good climb, but the crux was pretty burly for me. The crack is thin and it's in the back of a tight corner, so pretty hard for those with wide shoulders and big hands. Agree on taking a #4. I was able to place some cams in pockets on the chimney pitch, so it wasn't that scary.
By Royal
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Mar 10, 2014
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I had a difficult time on the hand crack on pitch one. It was difficult for me to get my hands far enough back into the crack to effectively jam due to my shoulders getting in the way / my arms not being long enough.
By Cunning Linguist
Mar 16, 2015
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Wow! What a climb. First and foremost this is a great example of how wrong detractors of Urioste routes are about the consistency of percieved "over bolting" on routes J+J put up. This route is "1980 5.9 hard" aka solid 10-, was put up before cams were on their rack, and is BURLY and completely absent of fixed pro, despite the fact that it would make the first pitch a must-do classic if the upper two pitches of grovel weren't the penalty clause for climbing the beautiful first pitch. Regarding gear, as this was an insecure, flaring, and slick climb at the crux, and the first pitch a long and fairly consistent splitter, my rack for my next time up this beauty will be doubles .3-4" and four #1 camalots. Triples on 2 and 3 would not go unused, but with a double rack I was only able to get in 8 pieces in the 150' first pitch, which amounted to some consistent solid runouts and a sad moment or three working past the crux with no more 1" gear to ease the mind as I headed up towards the chimney belay. A sideways #13 nut was helpful and hexes most definitely could be used to supplement the rack as bomber placements abounded at non-crux spots. Belay takes gear .3-.75, plenty of options. The chimney pitches look long and horrible and scary, and are the opposite. After the constrictive belay atop P1, the upper pitches go quickly and offer reasonable pro. From the top of the route, a single rap from a tree down towards an old Urioste quarter inch bolt (last bolt on Spare Rib) accesses three bolted anchors on that route, easily done with a single 60. Worthwhile and scrappy, not your typical edge-fest that can be danced up elegantly. Grunt, grind, and thrash for this send.
By TomC
May 2, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

first pitch was not too bad to protect, totally disagree on the need for 4 #1's as mentioned above, although the wide nut was right on. my girlfriend lead the whole pitch saving both #1s thanks to that beta.
I linked p2 and 3, and I think made the wrong choice staying in the back at the start of p3, which was a super tight squeeze, although well protected. next time would stay out in the wide chimney and run it out.

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