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Watch Crystal
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Apes of Wrath S 
Black Arete, The T 
Crime & Punishment S 
Doctor Doolittle S 
Dogs of Doom T,TR 
Double Exposure S 
Double Exposure Direct T,S 
Durangutan T,S 
Evolution S 
Extra Cool T 
Hidden Gem S 
Jailhouse Monkey (on dope) T,S 
Kong Route, The T,S 
Left Picto T 
Martyr's Crown T,S 
Picto Crack T 
Power Glide S 
Primate Highway T 
Push-Me-Pull-You T 
Right Picto T,TR 
Simians to the Sun T,S 
Watch Crystal Crack T 
White Pages T,TR 
Yellow Pages T 
Unsorted Routes:

Watch Crystal Crack 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: FFA: Steve Wunsch, 1977
Page Views: 6,787
Submitted By: Grant Bryans on May 2, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (52)
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Ken Trout and Scott Visscher Second Free Ascent, F...


Climb the same start as Simians to the Sun, avoid the belay ledge and then bust up the crack to a two bolt achor.


Typical East Animas rack.

Photos of Watch Crystal Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: An early free ascent (1979) of the Watch Crystal C...
An early free ascent (1979) of the Watch Crystal C...
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of [Watch Crystal Crack].
First pitch of [Watch Crystal Crack].
Rock Climbing Photo: Top roping [Watch Crystal Crack], 5.9+.
Top roping [Watch Crystal Crack], 5.9+.
Rock Climbing Photo: Seth on [Watch Crystal Crack].
Seth on [Watch Crystal Crack].
Rock Climbing Photo: Aid soloing Watch Crystal Crack.
Aid soloing Watch Crystal Crack.

Comments on Watch Crystal Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 27, 2015
By m-earle
From: USA
Mar 19, 2007

This is probably (in my opinion) one of the best pitches of climbing in Durango. The crack is splitter, steep, exposed, and on good rock.
By AJ Onsight
From: lakewood
Apr 5, 2007

Fingers #0.3, #0.4 BDs for crux. Fun to do passively as well; it takes stoppers incredibly well.
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Apr 5, 2007

I had forgotten about this route and for that matter the rock, but as I recall it's a terrific climb. There's another great climb on this rock that climbs on face holds and holes. I remember the first pitch led you to a small cave or hole in the rock for the belay. I cannot remember the name. Another great climb though.
By Ben Griffin
From: Durango, CO
Sep 26, 2007
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

This route is freakin' sweet.
By eggman
From: Durango, co
Oct 11, 2009

Yesterday I drilled 27 2" diameter core samples near or on what climbers are calling the "Watchcrystal Crack" as part of a state funded guano research project. AS nitrogen and ammonia levels are determined, the area will most likely be closed for the next 11-14 weeks. Call Center for Guano Studies information line at 970-946-5727 for up to date news on this closure.


Johnson Eggman, president
Center for Guano Studies, LLC.
By bdboulder
From: Eldorado
Aug 29, 2010

Funny stuff, Eggman!
But dood, that's the best pic of Watch Crystal you guys have got? Someone aiding it? Really? Really??
By ozman
From: CO / NM
Aug 21, 2011

This would go strong 11 in Indian Creek.
By Aaron Miller
From: Santa Fe, NM
May 28, 2013
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

If you do this in two pitches (I'd recommend 1 long 110' pitch), step left at the first belay option, it's a much more comfortable ledge and then you aren't just doing a 35' crux pitch to the upper anchors. It was a little disappointing the way I did it, and I think it would climb nicer in two 55' pitches. Also, watch out for lots of little birds in the back of the crack.

Good, fun climbing.
By Michael Borga
Jul 18, 2014

Followed John Bird up this route around 1974, we aided the crux. Bird said he had never seen someone do aid without standing in the top step of their aiders before :-)

Peter Jamieson and Bub Smith did it around the same time with Peter trying to free the crux, after a couple of rather scary falls, with Bub belaying from that little cave spot, the aid went in. This was a couple of years prior to Wunsch's freeing of the route with Peter Jamieson following/belaying him. Peter worked at Pine Needle Mountaineering and Wunsch was in town for some demo thing. Peter asked Wunsch to go climbing, since they had a little time and Wunsch was prepared to aid the crux, but (if I remember correctly) Peter told Wunsch that he thought someone had done it free (a big fat lie) and Wunsch decided to give it a shot free, and now you know the rest of the story.
By Tim Heid
From: AZ
Jul 21, 2014

Can you lower with a 70m from the anchors? I see some conflicting info on the route length in the description and some of the comments.

By Gary N
From: Durango, CO
Jul 21, 2014
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b


A 70m rope will for sure work. I run laps on the Watch Crystal Crack and Apes of Wrath with my 60m rope, just barely. Keep in mind this is just to the top of the first pitch anchors, where Apes and WC meet on the nice ledge with the 3 bolted anchor.
By Michael Borga
Jul 27, 2015

Recently had an email conversation with Peter Jamieson, and it seems my memory is somewhat faulty. He tells me that Wunsch was aware that the aid section of the climb hadn't been freed before, but that once he got on the upper exposed face climb above the anchors, he kept asking Peter if he wasn't trying to sandbag him into doing the FA of the face climb. Seems Mr. Wunsch didn't want to believe that we had done that scary but fairly easy (5.7??) section several times already and that it had gone free.

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