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Waterfall Wall

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
A Fistful of Awesome T,S 
El Sueno T,S 
For a Few Quickdraws More S 
Hang 'em High S 
High Plains Crimper S 
Mist, The T,S 
Prince Charming Extension T 
Prince Charming Left S 
Princess Ella's Magical Adventure S 
Princess Ella`s Happy Ending T,S 

Waterfall Wall Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 8,000'
Page Views: 11,304
Administrators: Edward Medina, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jason Nelson on May 22, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: The Waterfall Wall viewed from Hwy 550


Although you're just across the canyon from the highway, it feels further away. Perhaps because the water is rushing over the cliff edge not far from where you are climbing, drowning out the highway noise.

This is a commiting wall to climb at since you will have to rap in and climb out. The alternative is to swim class 5 rapids. Located partway up Red Mtn Pass, storms can approach quickly at this location. The elevation here is likely close to 10,000 feet.

The location is just spectacular. There are other routes on this wall from 5.10 to 5.12. See the guidebook at Ouray Mountain Sports for more info.

The rock is a type of Quartzite and generally features lots of sidepulls and requires some balance.

Getting There 

Drive S on US Hwy 550 from Ouray (maybe 5 miles?), pass the alpine loop/Engineer Pass turnoff on your left, go another mile and park at the second launcher site sign/pulloff on your right. Directly across the street is a mine shaft. You will be directly across the canyon from the wall and a waterfall. About 20 ft. up the road from the parking, a faint trail will lead down into the trees following a ridgeline. Do a tyrolean across the top of the waterfall, and hike up the other side. You can rap in on a ledge near a giant pine tree (watch for sharp edges! Rap 35m and some down climbing or with 2 ropes) or scramble (4th or easy 5th class) to the top of the wall up a gully (go around the corner at the first tree to a ledge). Do not continue up the broad buttress or you will be nowhere near where you want to climb. Walk around the tree and locate and bolted anchor with chains and rappel the route. These anchors are visible from the parking lot just above the steep part of the all and to the right of a small tree. You will do 3 raps with a single line to get to the base of the route. You'll want at least a 60m rope.

Climbing Season

For the Ouray vicinity (rock) area.

Weather station 0.2 miles from here

10 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Waterfall Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Waterfall Wall:
Princess Ella's Magical Adventure   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 4 pitches, 270'   
Princess Ella`s Happy Ending   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 150'   
A Fistful of Awesome   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 5 pitches, 500'   
El Sueno   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 250'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Waterfall Wall

Featured Route For Waterfall Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Lisa Nelson on the second pitch of El Sueno.  Phot...

El Sueno 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  Colorado : Ouray vicinity (rock) : Waterfall Wall
This is one of my favorite climbs in Ouray and the location is just spectacular. Gear is only needed for the last pitch. Pitch one and two are bolted. Keep in mind that once you rap in, you're committed to climbing out. Keep in mind that the San Juans are subject to Colorado's afternoon storm systems. The first pitch may get wet in the spring from high water flow and mist from the waterfall. This wall gets late morning sun until about 2pm and then goes into the shade. Pitch 1 (10b, 29m): ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Waterfall Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Lisa Nelson on the second pitch of El Sueno.  Phot...
Lisa Nelson on the second pitch of El Sueno. Phot...
Rock Climbing Photo: Busy day for El Sueno! Andrew Temple, James Brakke...
Busy day for El Sueno! Andrew Temple, James Brakke...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alex Spencer and James Brakken on pitch 1 of El Su...
Alex Spencer and James Brakken on pitch 1 of El Su...

Comments on Waterfall Wall Add Comment
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By gimpmonkey
Oct 13, 2015
See The Misfits Wall and the Chunder Dome for routes (climber's) left of Princess Ella's.
By George Bracksieck
Aug 23, 2017
After crossing the Tyrolean and scrambling up the gully to said giant conifer, leave your packs, and traverse right along an exposed dirt ledge to reach a rappel anchor (two bolts with links). This rap is 45m, not 35m, although scrambling to the right in the slippery wet grass at the bottom may allow a rap shorter than 45m. Unless the creekflow is low, expect to be sprayed by the falls. Fixing a 45m rope to the anchor would allow an escape, using prussiks or ascenders, back to the giant conifer, in the event of failure to top out on your climb.

During high water, scrambling farther up the gully and ramp, then rapping down your route of choice, is a better choice and would avoid getting soaked by the waterfall.

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