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YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Dave Dornan, Pete Lev, 1961. FFA: Pat Ament/Roger Briggs 196?
Fixed Hardware: 3 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 25,902
Submitted By: Nate Weitzel on Jan 1, 2001  with updates from Carl Schaefer

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Derek Hersey soloing Vertigo (5.11b), Eldorado Can...

  • Subject to Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>
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  • Description 

    This is one of the mega-classics in Eldo. Start on the same ledge as for the Yellow Spur, but down to the south.

    P1. Climb the 5.9 or 5.6 variation up a right dihedral to a big belay ledge.

    P2. Awkward and tough 5.9 moves past a bulge lead to easier rock above. Look for the bolted belay up and right of a slanted ledge before the obvious dihedral which is the crux of the route.

    P3. The routes technical crux. 5.11b dihedral with some difficult stemming and interesting finger locks. It can be protected well with small cams and nuts. There is some great exposure on this one.

    P4. The routes mental crux. 5.11a overhanging crack through a big ceiling. This is done with very solid jams and jugs, as well as great pro. Just plug the cams and go! If this pitch doesn't get you pumped by the amazing climbing and exposure, you should be a BASE jumper or fighter pilot. This is truly a wonderful and tough climb.

    After topping out, downclimb to the west face of a big block, just north of the summit block, to locate a bolted rappel station.


    Bring a standard rack for Eldorado Canyon. The old pins that used to protect the dihedral crux are no longer there so bring some small Aliens and TCUs. Second and third pitches have bolted belays. Also, bring lots of hand-sized cams for the overhanging, crack pitch.

    Photos of Vertigo Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Joseffa cleaning pro and about to turn the lip of ...
    Joseffa cleaning pro and about to turn the lip of ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Cruising over the roof on the last pitch....
    Cruising over the roof on the last pitch....
    Rock Climbing Photo: The "thank-god" hold over the lip.
    The "thank-god" hold over the lip.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dane Casterson on Vertigo. 5.31.07 Mike Morley.
    Dane Casterson on Vertigo. 5.31.07 Mike Morley.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Enga Lockey leading the direct finish,  c. 1998.
    Enga Lockey leading the direct finish, c. 1998.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Chad at the end of the crux moves.
    Chad at the end of the crux moves.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Joseffa just above the crux of the dihedral.
    Joseffa just above the crux of the dihedral.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The view of Mickey Mouse Nailup from Peanuts Wall.
    BETA PHOTO: The view of Mickey Mouse Nailup from Peanuts Wall.
    Rock Climbing Photo: 5.9 first pitch.
    5.9 first pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: On the first pitch.
    On the first pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tim leading the P3 dihedral.
    Tim leading the P3 dihedral.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Leading the dihedral, circa 1983.
    Leading the dihedral, circa 1983.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Chasing the shade up Vertigo with Ol' Kenny P....
    Chasing the shade up Vertigo with Ol' Kenny P....
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bart Calkins on the crux pitch.
    Bart Calkins on the crux pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Vertigo headwall.
    Vertigo headwall.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Starting the crux dihedral.
    Starting the crux dihedral.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Second pitch below the roof.
    Second pitch below the roof.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up the roof pitch, circa 1993. Notice the...
    Starting up the roof pitch, circa 1993. Notice the...

    Comments on Vertigo Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 9, 2017
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 23, 2001

    Pitches 1&2, 3&4 can be combined quite nicely. I've heard rumor that you can do the whole bloody thing in one pitch if you use a hanging belay in the groove just above the final overhang.
    By Mark Bockmann
    Sep 19, 2001

    One key piece of beta that might save yourself a lot of time and aggravation: set up your belay right after the roof on the final pitch. Otherwise the rope is almost guaranteed to get stuck in the crack and your 2nd will have to prusik. I've seen this happen myself and heard many similar tales of woe. Luckily I had the beta myself and didn't have to deal with the problem.
    By Richard M. Wright
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Sep 19, 2001

    This is good advice, however, the slot above the roof is very wide so you need to take some appropriate gear. Alternatively, run up to the end of the slot and set up a belay but have the leader clip their rope in high and work back to the end of the slot. This saves dragging along some very wide gear that is otherwise not needed.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Sep 23, 2001

    I climbed it on 9/23/01 and there was still one pin left at the crux of the third pitch.
    By Joe Huggins
    From: Grand Junction
    Oct 15, 2001

    An alternative to belaying just above the roof is to place a stopper in the crack to the right of the stance to keep the rope out of the crack; works just fine.
    By Aaron Reite
    Feb 9, 2002

    Chris "the Duece" Dawson & I watched some poor saps in front of us struggle for about an hour trying to free their snarled line from the jaws of the roof crack. At the time (May 2001) there was a fixed nut right at the lip of the roof that would align your rope perfectly to get snagged when clipped. When I led, I placed a big cam (#3 camalot I think) immediately above the roof on the easier terrain & then reached down & unclipped the fixed nut. I had no problem at all with pulling the rope. I'd highly recommend removing any pro at the lip before you finish the pitch. Placing pro to the right like Joe suggests is also an excellent idea.
    By Bryson Slothower
    Jul 16, 2002

    There is currently one fixed pin on the crux pitch and on 07/15/02 there was also a fixed nut just below the pin. The fixed nut mentioned in the comments above for the top of the final pitch is no longer there. The whole route protects well with singles of nuts, TCUs, and cams up to a #2 Camalot.....
    By TBD
    Nov 11, 2002

    The fixed pin is still on the 3rd pitch, the nut is not. It's easy to back the pin up with a green alien. On the 4th pitch, there is some webbing jammed in the crack about midway, that's currently the only "fixed" gear.

    I'll echo what everyone has said about the rope getting stuck in the crack easily. Thanks to the comments on this site, we delt with the rope travel before it became a problem. If you don't deal with it it will get stuck.
    By willem
    May 7, 2003

    There are three pieces of fixed gear on pitch 3: wires above and below the pin. Not sure why the pin is there, the crack takes great gear.
    By micah stocker
    Oct 25, 2004

    This is a sick route, but after two years of wanting to do I think in my case I just made it out to be more than it really was. I guess I just wish the roof was another 15 ft long. However, I would settle for 5ft, it is that much fun! You can't beat the exposure. Hanging from the jug before the lip of the roof, getting a shake. Look between your legs. All you see is an awsome line. An overhanging Dihedrial, filled with all sorts of cool gear, then your belayer hanging off some bolts. Below them nothing but air for a real long way. My advice just go do the damn thing. Easier then the Edge! Woo Weee
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Aug 22, 2005
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    One of the best routes in Eldo.The difficulty comes from the dihedral pitch, not from the roof pitch. The difficulty being more [dependent] on temperature and humidity than on any other subjective factor. This is presuming that shorter climbers also have better-suited thin fingers. The final roof is not so hard for experienced "steep" climbers, but slab masters might find some trouble turning the lip. The gear on the top half is "as you would like it"- that is to say, if you have the endurance, you can get overhead gear wherever you like and it's solid. Lastly, I think that the "awkward bulge" on the second pitch is awkward enough to merit the 5.10 grade rather than 5.9. Place protection before just getting there to reduce leg-shake once there. I made the mistake of running it out into that position last time I got on it. Yuck.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Nov 11, 2005

    Climbed this yesterday for the first time and it was amazing. While sitting on the belay watching my partner make his way up the second dihedral I noticed a line to the left on the overhanging arete. I was wondering what the rating and name is of this pitch is, if different than Vertigo?
    By Dane Casterson
    From: Boulder
    May 31, 2007

    Fantastic route! On the dihedral pitch, there is a fixed cam down low, a fixed nut, a pin, and another fixed nut. The fixed pieces sew up the crux section very nicely. And on the roof section, there is a large, fixed chock that has been slung and a 0.5 Camalot at the lip. The 0.5 will definitely hold some falls! Awesome!
    By Clint Locks
    From: Boulder
    Jun 16, 2007

    As of 06/07, the slung chock (See Dane's comment) is still there. Fixed 0.5 is not. One pin left on the dihedral pitch. I suppose a person could run 1 and 2 together, if so inclined, but, however you do it, every pitch on this climb is simply spectacular!
    By gloomis
    Apr 21, 2008

    This is the first route which has let me down at Eldo. I found the dihedral pitch to be a short one-move-wonder with fixed pin & stopper for the move. The roof pitch is CHOSS. The last flake on the roof flexes alot plus it's a jug haul to another one-move-wonder. Don't understand the hype.
    By max seigal
    From: boulder
    Jun 14, 2008

    Without a doubt this is one of the finest lines in Eldo. Every pitch is classic and there is an amazing variety of climbing throughout the four pitches. Absolutely fantastic.
    By Jay Eggleston
    From: Denver
    Mar 12, 2010

    No fixed gear in the crux dihedral except the pin as of 3-12-10.
    By jmeizis
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Apr 20, 2011
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    This is a great climb. Almost onsighted the dihedral but fell trying to reach for what would have been basically a bomber jug. Cruised the second time. There is one pin in the dihedral which can be backed up with yellow and blue TCUs. Flailed on the roof pitch because of rope issues. Don't place gear at the lip or if you do, remove it after you get past it because your rope will trap it and your second will make .11a look like .12a, especially if it's snowing....
    By Brett Brotherton
    From: Arvada, CO
    Sep 10, 2011

    The webbing in the roof looked like it was around a fixed stopper (just the stopper no wire). That being said I decided to plug a cam next to it, since there was bomber gear to be found everywhere on the roof.
    By Dane Casterson
    From: Boulder
    Feb 25, 2012

    As I remember it, a #0.75 Camalot can be placed out left after turning the roof on p4. This piece holds the rope out of the crack nicely.
    By Moritz B.
    May 5, 2013

    Today it was way too windy on the fifth pitch for us. It was way too cold to be enjoyable. We bailed off the fourth pitch and left a nineteen g carabiner on the pin in the crux. Whoever gets it, have fun with it :-)
    By Dr. VARMENT
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Aug 28, 2013

    The roof pitch is cake, as for the dihedral....
    By WadeM
    From: Golden, Co
    Jun 16, 2014

    The piece placed out left is actually a 0.4.

    Not sure where you could get in anything bigger, and this will make following the route more enjoyable for your second.
    By Mr. Stevens
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 28, 2014

    There are currently two fixed nuts after the pin on the dihedral pitch. The upper nut will hold a fall!
    By Dean Cool
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 20, 2014

    Only 1 fixed nut now, and it's pretty good, though you can back it up if you wish. Pin below the nut looks good, too.
    By Jake Ramsey
    From: Yosemite, CA
    Mar 27, 2015

    Such a fun climb. I recommend linking pitches 1 and 2, watch the rope drag though. Also when pulling over the lip, make sure to keep the hand jam next to the jug free of gear, otherwise it makes it a lot harder for shorter people.
    By Gregger Man
    From: Broomfield, CO
    Apr 5, 2015

    Rock Climbing Photo: The DragonCam that had been stuck for a while at t...
    The DragonCam that had been stuck for a while at the lip on the final pitch of Vertigo.
    Still good. Put it on your Indian Creek rack.
    By Bruce Hildenbrand
    Apr 5, 2015

    Very nice job, Gregger Man. Neptune Gear swap is coming up!
    By Benjamin Pontecorvo
    From: Seattle, WA
    Jan 16, 2016

    On the second pitch, there is currently a purple c4 with a biner above the bulge, buried in a crack. It was about 35 degrees out, so I was trying not to get the barfies - I didn't try for long - but a good angler could get it out with two nut tools and a bit of effort. Quality route, so happy to have gotten on it!
    By WadeM
    From: Golden, Co
    Jun 30, 2016

    Two fixed nuts and a pin on the crux dihedral, slung block with mangy tat on the roof pitch. Will try to clean up that block next time I'm up there.

    So much fun.
    By Amos Whiting
    From: Basalt, Colorado
    Oct 3, 2016

    I was almost killed on this route by rock fall in ''99. It took me 17 years to return, only to find loose blocks on the last pitch leaving the ledge. Also, most importantly, the huge death flake in the roof is just that, a DEATH FLAKE. This route is toted as one of the safer 5.11s in the park. It is just a matter of time before someone pulls or kicks the giant flake off into their chest, cleaning out the scores of people below. Not recommended.
    By Eliot Augusto
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 18, 2017
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    3/18/17 - fixed pin still there. There is a fixed nut above the pin. There is also a fixed pin on the small ledge after leaving the belay on pitch 3.

    Combine the fixed gear with a blue/purple TCU, and this crux sews up very nicely. A most amazing climb. We had the route to ourselves in Eldo on a Saturday.
    By Javier Antonanzas
    Oct 9, 2017

    Hi everyone! I forgot my camera in the Vertigo ledge on Saturday October 7. If you found it, I would really appreaciate to contact me. Thank you, Javier

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