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The Roof Wall 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 340'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R [details]
FA: B. Culp & S. Shepard, 1965
Page Views: 876
Submitted By: Tony B on Nov 17, 2002

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The second pitch variation viewed from above. Ste...

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  • Description 

    If you found Sunstar to be a great route but wanted something harder more devious and with less protection and insecure belays, then this is a route for you. This route is rated 2 stars in this description. I am an individual that enjoys "adventure climbing," which is to say that I find unexpected difficulty, complex protection, and funky moves to be more exciting than disturbing, provided that is well below my maximum on-sight grade. If you can't deal with runouts, loose rock in spots, or some route-finding difficulty, then choose another route.

    I did make the mistake of taking a less advanced follower on this line, which resulted in poor communication and some dangling in space. Lucky for us, some folks walked by and "relayed" vocal messages between my second and I so that we did not have to resort to a prusik situation. If you are said party, a deep and hearty thanks from us.

    The description here is as we have climbed it and may not be the true original line. It is, however, nice, and generally true. As described, the route is probably 5.10c but could be made easier by wandering left or right at key places as noted below.

    Find the last substantial buttress of Redgarden Wall; this is the Hot Spur area. This is further up the Redgarden Wall trail, past The Grand Course, Disappearing Act, and Silver Raven, and just past Sunstar. Near the center of the base of this buttress you will see a large pine growing atop a large boulder and in front of the wall. Go just right of this to see a left-leaning, overhanging, hand-to-fist crack in junky [rock] about 40 feet up the wall. Climb up to the right-hand edge of this and continue past it on the right through an acute corner (1" cam) to a ledge. Wander up and right past a tree another 60' to a second tree on a slanted ledge full of death blocks below a substantial overhang. There is one tree on this ledge at the very edge, which is not much good for a belay, but a good belay can be had from a few cams 2"-3" and just over from that a 0.4"-0.6" cam. This is just below the only decently solid seat on the ledge. From there, you can flick the rope to a notch just South of the little tree and North of a little horn such that it will not pull loose rocks down onto your belayer.

    This pitch can be 5.7 or so, but it is pretty junky that way (bomb rating). However, if the last 40 feet is done as described below, it can be serious fun. In the last 40 feet below the belay there is a steep, open-book dihedral with a thin finger crack in it. This lies just below and slightly right of the belay tree. A yellow micro-Camalot can be placed in this along the way (decent pro) with a nut or two as well. Climb up into this open book and directly up to the belay, avoiding the 100+ lb. puzzle-piece of rock that lies chocked into the wall on the left. The crack disappears into a few solid sidepulls. The wall on the left has a lot of lichen- be careful of your stems and lie-backing footholds. I have cleaned the lichen off of the critical holds and this goes about 5.10c, "S-". For more excitement still, climb to the yellow M.C. placement and then out left to the arete and up some edges and slopers on the arete to the ledge (5.10b, S). I downclimbed to remove the gear and reclimbed up in this spot, because it looked fun. This is about the only area of the first pitch worth of merit.

    From this belay, the topo implies that you would take a route more left than the initial part of the route to be described here, but that looked looser and less direct...the way we took was steep, reasonably solid, sustained and fun! So, step just right of the tree and battle though an opening boulder problem to reach the wall above. You will pass a few perennial 'shrubs' which were just recently pruned of some annual growth so as to pass them with out needing stitches... and continue upward toward an acute red V-slot. The red V-slot above is climbed like a bomb-bay chimney due to its lack of feet at the start. It is ~5.9 and easier for small people. The solid rock and surprisingly positive holds are great here. Reach up into the slot and get a good left-hand notch. Smear your feet under the overhang and move up to get your right foot out behind you to the right on a broken-looking hold. There is a great offset seam on the right-hand wall which also gives incredibly good edges and sidepulls. Get out of this after 30' of climbing and head up through this one of two V-slots above. The topo implies that you will climb the left-most of these again, but again, climb to the right, just left of the face of Sunstar. Both systems will dump you out just below the "crux" roof anyway.... Continue upward on decent rock, working up and left through cracks and corners until you can see the double roof out to your left. Climb up and left on well-spaced, but adequate protection to reach a point perhaps 15' under the right hand edge of the roof. There is one slick spot with lichen that will be passed to get to the roof from here.

    You can set a belay somewhere here (uncomfortable, less then perfect pro) or continue....

    Continue up to the corner of the roof, placing a 1-1.5" cam under and to the left of the crack and perhaps a stopper just out further to back it up. Crank through the multi-tiered roof on fingerlocks and edges to a final jam just above the last roof. A passive brown tricam was perfect crux pro. Go over the roof and up to the left-facing dihedral system above. Belay here or continue to the top of the wall with a few stoppers for pro, or medium cams if you've brought doubles. I placed sparse pro and had left my hand sized cams at the belay. As a result there was substantial runout, but no rope drag.

    Belay from the top from a good slung boulder (1/2 buried) and a tree 30' back from the edge--provided you have cord or spare rope to do so.

    To descend, walk West to the standard Redgarden walkoff by the Hypothermia area.


    Depending on how you do this you will need different amounts of pro. I seriously recommend doing this wall in 2 pitches if both climbers are solid at the grade (will not dangle helplessly in space after a fall). This avoids bad belays. If both climbers are not seriously solid at the grade, I suggest climbing something else.

    Rack for 2-pitch ascent (50M followed by 65M):1 set stoppers, 1-2 sets small tricams, 1 set friends from small TCU's to 3.5" with doubles from 1.5-3". A ton of 2-foot runners and biners. A 70M rope if you will do a 2-pitch ascent.There will be some significant sections of poor or sparse protection along this route and it should be considered serious.

    Photos of The Roof Wall Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The V-slot on the second pitch.  Tricky 5.9 climbi...
    BETA PHOTO: The V-slot on the second pitch. Tricky 5.9 climbi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Roof Wall, second pitch variation (10b s+): Climb ...
    BETA PHOTO: Roof Wall, second pitch variation (10b s+): Climb ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Roof Wall, showing the 10b s+ variation on the sec...
    BETA PHOTO: Roof Wall, showing the 10b s+ variation on the sec...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Roof Wall, upper pitches.  Pitch 2, 5.9, 140'. Fro...
    BETA PHOTO: Roof Wall, upper pitches. Pitch 2, 5.9, 140'. Fro...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Roof Wall, first pitch, 5.7, 150'.  Start in a gro...
    BETA PHOTO: Roof Wall, first pitch, 5.7, 150'. Start in a gro...

    Comments on The Roof Wall Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Ron Olsen
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 29, 2005
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    How do you spell loose? R-O-O-F W-A-L-L.

    Without a doubt, one of the loosest routes I've climbed in Eldorado. You have to test every handhold and foothold and tiptoe across ramps covered with loose rock.

    Despite this, there is some good climbing on the route. The V-slot on the second pitch is clean, sustained, and solid 9.

    Due to route-finding difficulties, my partner (Mike Amato) ended up leading a scary 10b variation to the second pitch. The quality of the climbing on this variation is excellent but the protection is terrible. Recommended only if you're solid on runout 5.10 face climbing.

    Details: Climb the V-slot (9) to a stance in the corner. Instead of angling up left (regular route), climb a finger and hand crack in the right wall up to the roof (8). Place pro in the corner (hexes or 2"-3" cams) and traverse right under the roof to the arete (8). Place a ball nut or small wired nut, climb up 10', and place a #2 Camalot in a shallow slot. This placement is in a cracked block and may not hold a long fall. This is the last protection before the belay.

    Climb sustained 5.9-5.10 face for 30' on small edges, angling up and left to a brown ramp. Go left to the left-facing corner and belay.

    I found nothing in any guidebooks about this variation, so we may have done the first ascent.
    By Michael Amato
    Oct 30, 2005

    Yeah, "with a little more traffic, this route should clean up nicely" ;-)

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