REI Community
West Ridge - part B - Long John to Verschneidung
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Aftershock TR 
Atom Smasher S 
Baby Sitter T 
Break on Through T 
Break On Through to Chianti T 
Chianti T 
Clear-a-Sill T 
Cruisin' for Burgers T 
Ein Kluck T,TR 
Ghetto Blaster T,TR 
Gibbet, The T 
Incarnation S 
Jimmy G T 
Long John Wall T 
Next to Nearly T 
Rictus T 
Rock For Climbing Routes To T 
Shock Of the New T,TR 
Strawberry Shortcut T 
Sunshine Wall T,TR 
Toothsheaf Transfusion T,TR 
Unlead, The T,TR 
Unsaid, The T 
Uranus T 
Varieties Of Religious Experience T,TR 
Washington Irving T 
White Rabbit T 

Washington Irving 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 130'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Jim Erickson, Jim Walsh, Ed Wright, 1969
Fixed Hardware: 2 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 10,497
Submitted By: Andrew Wellman on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (277)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Eds. Note, this rappel may be a rope stretcher wi...

  • Seasonal Closures MORE INFO >>>
  • Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    This is a one pitch route that climbs a good crack in the back of a low-angle dihedral. It is just to the left of The Unsaid and is a great warm-up for any climbs in the area. The climbing is fun on positive holds and is always well protected.

    There is a second pitch. Per Dave Holliday: Steve Levin describes a second pitch to this route (5.2). After getting to the anchor atop the first pitch, clamber over some choss to access a low-angle slab. Climb it with periodic gear placements in the corner to a cable anchor with rappel rings.


    Standard trad rack. Bolt anchors at the top allow for top-roping subsequent ascents.


    Eds. The anchor may be a rope stretcher to rappel with a short downclimb with a 50m rope to the ledge 30 ft up. Consider 2 ropes or a 60m rope. Also, if you belay from the ground, do not lower with a single rope!

    Photos of Washington Irving Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Eric makes his way up Washington Irving.
    Eric makes his way up Washington Irving.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Nick Thompson stemming out 1/2 way up.
    Nick Thompson stemming out 1/2 way up.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Nick Thompson chilling on the top of Washington Ir...
    Nick Thompson chilling on the top of Washington Ir...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Gary Schmidt having fun onsighting the pitch of Wa...
    Gary Schmidt having fun onsighting the pitch of Wa...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The final high stepping move.
    The final high stepping move.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Moving over the crux move on the route.
    Moving over the crux move on the route.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Marga Powell getting pro at the start of the steep...
    Marga Powell getting pro at the start of the steep...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Getting into the dihedral.
    Getting into the dihedral.

    Comments on Washington Irving Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 1, 2017
    By Holly Barnard
    Mar 12, 2002

    This a great route for its grade. I would give it 3 stars. The route eats a standard rack, so its good for a beginning [Eldo] leader. You often have the option of shoving in a cam or using more creative nut placements from good stances. Bring some longer runners for lower placements and for the option of tying yourself in at the anchors. You can do a short 5.4ish pitch down and right of the climb in order to reach the belay ledge if you feel like doing something only slightly more interesting than scrambling up.
    By tobias Nitschke
    From: CO
    Jul 10, 2002

    anybody know what the bolted route is that goes on above washington? I jumped on it and definitely hit my ceiling for the day. Must go at 5.12 something? Thanks
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 10, 2002

    The 3 bolt line above Washington Irving is listed as "Atom Smasher 12c" in the latest edition of Rossiter.
    By James Balasalle
    Sep 23, 2002

    I agree. A great climb for the beginning Eldo leader. It was my first Eldo lead. Protecting the first bulge is a tad tricky, but definitely doable. There are two sets of [bolts] at the top that you can used to rap off, or top rope [The Unsaid].
    By Peter Spindloe
    From: North Vancouver, BC
    Dec 10, 2002

    This route was the subject of an amusing episode in John Long's book "Close Calls : Climbing Mishaps & Near-Death Experiences." If the pseudonym-protected subjects of the story peruse this site, would they care to reveal themselves?
    By Mike Epke
    From: Denver, CO
    Jul 21, 2003

    Super fun route with some committing moves for a 5.6, but as said before the route eats the pro up and is a touch harder than Calypso for the same grade.

    deserves three stars
    By James Garnett
    From: Bellingham, WA
    May 8, 2004

    Don't need anything bigger than a #2 Camalot here; a full set of nuts and a few tricams would probably suffice.
    By Gary Schmidt
    From: Boulder, CO
    May 15, 2005

    Easier than Duh Dihedral but still requires a couple of thoughtful moves, though the cruxes are easy to protect. Definitely worth doing if in the area.
    By Lee Smith
    Aug 12, 2007

    Great route for new trad leaders but one suggestion: be very aware of what you are placing gear into. There is a section approximately half way up that has some very loose blocks and hollow flakes. It is easy to place gear in this section but just as easy to pull it out!

    Also, if you belay from the ground this route is way longer than the 100 feet listed in the description.
    By Mark Cushman
    From: Cumming, GA
    Oct 21, 2007

    I agree with James, you don't need anything bigger than large hands for this route. It protects very well with passive gear, too.
    By J. Fox
    From: Black Hawk, CO
    Mar 10, 2008

    Definitely a good route for beginning trad leaders (like me) wanting an intro to Eldo. This was/is harder than any .6 I'd done previously. It makes you think. I placed everything from a tiny stopper (#4) all the way up to a #4 Camalot. I'm sure I was over protecting though, since I'm kinda new to leading trad. Fun route though overall.
    By Abram Herman
    From: Golden, CO
    Jun 6, 2009
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    Fun climb with good mix of holds. Easily protected, didn't need anything larger than #3 Camalot. Seems much easier to make the short climb up onto the ledge than to belay from the ground; we had about 5 ft. left to the middle marks (w/o stretch) when I led on a 60m, so from the ground I don't think you could lower/TR from it safely.
    By Claire Rose
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 1, 2012

    This was a great route for my first time climbing and first pitch. Easy to protect from what I understand.
    By Dave Holliday
    Jan 18, 2014

    In the second edition of Steve Levin's excellent guide to the canyon, he describes a second pitch to this route (5.2). After getting to the anchor atop the first pitch, clamber over some choss to access a low-angle slab. Climb it with periodic gear placements in the corner to a cable anchor with rappel rings.

    The two pitches are easily linked; clip one of the anchor bolts atop the first pitch to keep the rope from getting sucked into a crack as you continue up the second pitch. A disadvantage of linking the pitches is that your partner at the base will probably not be able to hear you.
    By Andres Fernandez
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Oct 27, 2014
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    I lead this on a great fall day. I would definitely recommend if you want to lead a good 5.6. The top of pitch one you can practice setting anchors to the left of the tree and disregard using the rap bolts until you actually need to rap off. I'd recommend the 5.2 forty foot 2nd pitch to the top. Great view of all the climbers on Redgarden Wall. There is a wire wrap slings with about 3 or 4 wrap rings to get back to the top of the 1st pitch.
    By dvdcmiller
    Nov 27, 2014

    Climbed with Andrew on 2014/10/25.

    I will add a general description, route diagram, and a link to my photos at:

    Fantastic weather (even hot for October, above 80 F), so we went climbing in Eldorado Canyon State Park. We started with Washington Irving on the West Ridge and then East Slabs on the Whale's Tail.

    Washington Irving: cross the stream at the parking lots south of the West Ridge. Follow up the climber's trail to about 1/2 way along the ridge to near the Long John Wall. Washington Irving follows the dihedral to the tree right of the taller routes (Long John, Break on Through, etc.). The 1st pitch of the climb might be made from the bottom using a 60m rope. A shorter 2nd pitch may be made by following the flat, low angle rock directly above the 1st pitch. There is a wire with rings to rappel from the top of the 2nd pitch. There are 2 bolts to rappel the first pitch - it will not go all the way to base of the rock with a 60 m rope. So I've marked the end of the rappel with a circle at N39.93134 W105.28788 at 6,316'.

    East Slabs: you can get to the top in 2 pitches if you push if and set up a less comfortable station above the big juniper tree 1/3 of the way up the rock. We rappelled off of a tree near top, maybe a 50' rappel. In retrospect, you can walk off if you downclimb a little lower on the north end or rappel the bolts at the West Crack at the top (looks like a 60 m rope or two ropes is recommended from there). Photo from the base of the East slabs at N39.93140 W105.28309 at 6,027'.

    Posted 2014/10/26.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Route diagram.
    Route diagram.
    By Ben D.
    From: Colorado
    Oct 17, 2016

    I have climbed this before and always thought the standard "approach" climb to the tree at the bottom of P1 detracted from the quality of the climb. Today, we climbed the bottom half of P1 of Strawberry Shortcut up to the tree to get to the start of P1. This was a much more enjoyable approach and is consistent with the 5.6 grade for the traditional P1.

    Also, we climbed the 2nd pitch (5.3) for the first time today. While the climbing is short and pretty easy, the views of the Redgarden Wall make it worth the effort!
    By Keith W
    Oct 28, 2016
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    Fun route, and definitely a good beginner lead. The crux is steep but easily protected. You can link both pitches from the ground with a 70m rope with a few feet to spare. Great views.
    By tkessel
    From: Windsor,CO
    Mar 1, 2017
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    Great easy lead, takes all kind of gear. Two small cruxes are easy to protect.

    Mountain Project

    The Definitive Climbing Resource

    MTB Project

    Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

    Powder Project

    Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
    FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About