Beginning Feb. 1st each year, a seasonal wildlife closure will be in effect on Redgarden Wall in Eldorado Canyon State Park to protect nesting and roosting sites of the canyon’s falcons. The closure is in effect through July 31st unless lifted early due to early fledging or inactivity.
The closure includes the following climbing routes: The Naked Edge (last 3 pitches only), The Diving Board, Centaur, Redguard (last 3 pitches only), Red Ant, Semi-Wild, Anthill Direct (last 3 pitches only), and The Sidetrack.
This is an often-overlooked, long route with very good climbing. The run-out is only "5.6", though it feels a bit harder--the rest is well-protected.
P1. We started on Touch 'N' Go, which apparently is more common, as we had heard that the original first pitch was mediocre. [Edit: many commentators below are saying that it's worthwhile, as well as easier than Touch 'N' Go.]
P2. Surmount a small roof (5.8-) to get off the rotten band and off the belay ledge (or bypass the roof 15' up and left). Then follow a crack up and right to an obvious roof. Crank through the roof at 5.8 (great pro) and belay 10' higher. 130'.
P3. Head up and left on pocketed rock in the vicinity of a black water streak. Pay attention to find the easiest climbing; this is the runout 5.6. Your second should be solid for this section. Belay on a small ledge.
P4. Climb around to the right, passing several fixed pitons, and head for the arette. The turn back to the left, now heading for the bottom of the large roof. Belay just beneath the roof.
P5. From the belay, move right and up through the roof where it turns more into a dihedral. Several layback moves get you through it at 5.9- with great pro. Climb easy slabs to the top.
In either case, descend the vast 4th-class slab to the NE, aiming for a cairn on an outcrop. Go left below it into a 4th-class gully, and hike around to the trail from the bottom of it.
A good route for cool, autumn days. Pitch 2 is mostly 5.4ish climbing with one hard move at the bulge. I would recommend combining pitches 3 and 4 into one long pitch, but these pitches zig zag so use long runners as needed to reduce rope drag. The first time I did this route 18 years ago, I found the runout nature of the 3rd pitch to be pretty intimidating. I would caution any fledgling leader to be sure to stay on route on this pitch. The Rossiter topo is OK for this, but I think the initial traverse on the 3rd pitch goes more left than is shown in the topo -- basically follow the strata of the rock diagnolly left until the first piton is seen.
A good route indeed. It's been a while since I climbed it, but I recall on P3 climbing straight up from the belay about 10 feet, clipping a pin, and then heading basically straight left on great holds, past a sun-bleached fixed tricam (if it's not there anymore, other good gear would go in this spot), straight up to a marginal blue alien placement, and then straight left again to the belay on a sloping ramp. Ken is right - it's a bit intimidating, but the holds are great and the position is outstanding. Just follow the path of least resistance. The position on the finger crack/stem exit to P5 is even better.
The sun blasted tricam is still there as of November 2001. Pitch 3 went exactly as per the Rossiter text. Follow the black streak. I climbed through the recommended belay to the two pitons just above the 5.7 pitch because I didn't like the anchor much.
Great route-with Touch and Go it's almost as good as Ruper for a mellow, cold day outing. Pretty easy route finding, great positions, not a bad pitch on it.
If combining 3 and 4 belay at the pin that darin speaks of, or a little above. It's almost 200 ft. from there to the base of the last pitch. exposure on the last layback is sweet. there's a cool kneelock rest too
The tri-cam was still there on 9/21/02, all color bleached from its webbing and useless for protecting the runout traverse. Got a good blue alien in nearby, though. The 3rd pitch is way more *heady* than the short, well protected 9 finish or the sustained 8 of Touch 'N Go, even though the moves are no tougher than 6.
I think the 5.6 traverse pitch, when linked into the cracks above which the guide calls "5.5", has to be one of the wildest pitches of its grade anywhere. Not that I would upgrade this pitch or anything, but it seems like the kind of climbing that is more suitable to someone with the climbing and route-finding skills of a solid 5.8/5.9 leader. I linked from the belay atop what Charles calls pitch 2 all the way to a belay near the arete, just below and right the hanging chimney/flake. This sets you up pretty well for doing a long final pitch to the top.
The 1st two pitches of Redguard are also a pretty good way to start this route.
By M.Morley Administrator From: Sacramento, CA Nov 17, 2002
I'll reiterate what others have said about the runout third pitch: it is HEADY. Although it can be protected to some degree with small TCUs / Aliens and small wires, I'm not convinced that they would hold a long fall, which is certainly possible on this pitch. Be prepared to keep a cool head and just move through it.
As for the final 5.9 pitch, it is very straightforward and easily-protected. It's really a one-move wonder.
Climbed on December 1, 2002....a perfect route this time of the year as the sun stays with you all the way to the top. My partner, Tom Wilson, and I did the original standard route from bottom to the top by swinging leads, and we wanted to share our experiences. Personally, I am not quite ready to lead Touch n' Go and I recently had my first leader fall on P1 of Redguard, so consequently we opted for the original direct start just to the left of Genesis despite the fact that it is not recommended - we simply had no other choice, and we wanted to get on this route. While this pitch is considered 5.8 S,` it was much easier for me, given I am 5'2" and do well on delicate balancy moves. A new bolt was recently placed on this route making the pitch much safer. The most challenging section is getting around the bulge as there is a bit of exposure and little in terms of hand holds. The feet are solid. Just protect your second every chance you get.
The little roof problem at the top of P2 required us both to use arm jams but posed no problem as it was easily protected. The 5.6 S rating on P3 is perfectly rated. We stayed directly in the dark streak and went pretty far left before hitting a nice ledge, where we could set a semi hanging belay. Yes the little tri-cam on P3 is looking as though it is going to tear any minute but we were able to get a piece of gear (nut) just below it.
We faced the same challenge up top as neither of us felt as though we were ready to lead the 5.9 finish despite it being a single move that protects well. So we did the 5.4 traverse to the left and belayed near the tree and the did the 5.6 slab finish to the top. So we had two pitches in stead of one to get off but we were having fun so who cared. The traverse was challenging for the second but it protected just fine. The slab to the top was a bit covered in lichen so it was a bit challenging but pretty straight forward. It was very difficult to place gear but we did get a couple pieces in. Of course there is always more than one way to the top and the route was not obvious.
It goes without saying we all have different levels of comfort, but if you have stayed off Anthill Direct because you aren't ready to lead a 5.9....there is an easier finish and what I believe to be an easier and fun start. By all means, give the direct start a try. The bolt makes a difference.
There is another way to get on Anthill Direct without doing Touch 'n Go or the original first pitch. It used to be called "Variation to the Lower Meadow" but I'm not sure if that name has stuck. It's about 5.6 or so and pretty good quality. Just climb the obvious ramp left of Redguard Route's first pitch for about 100 feet and belay (near where T&G's first pitch comes up). Then angle up and slightly right, over an overhang that is easier than it appears and then straight up to the Lower Meadow. Using this start, the crux becomes the overhang above the Lower Meadow.
Good route. I led the original first pitch and liked it. It's mildly runout and not that bad(5.8s). A bit chossy getting around the bulge at the top of the ramp but protected with a bolt and shortly after an old piton. A long pitch however, a full sixty meters from the bottom of the ramp to the anchor. Every pitch of Anthill Direct was fun. The third pitch is a tad runout, but again, not that bad. Well worth doing again.
Don't let the "S" rating on pitch 3 prevent you from doing this climb - It's fun! I led it yesterday and found the pro pretty adequate (if you consider the fixed pins "adequate" pro). I placed an orange metolius about 8 feet over the belay and then headed left along the strata of the rock where I found a fixed pin after about 10 feet. I then climbed left and slightly up to the bleached tri-cam (do not use this!!). I was able to place a green alien and backed it up with a yellow metolius in a shallow slot below. From here head straight up 10 feet to another ramp/ledge about 2' wide. I headed left on the ledge, placed a #2 camalot in a pocket on the ledge (at your feet) and then angled up and left towards a promising looking crack. From the crack to the belay the pro is good and plentiful. If you look hard, you can keep the runout to less than ten feet!
The upper pitches are vertical and the exposure is really amazing for such a moderate climb. The pictures below really bring that out. This is a great route when you want to "show Eldo off" to a visitor who wants to keep it under 5.10. A lot of the climbing on it feels dramatic. Ruper's upper pitches have the same characteristics, but it is a little deflated by the enormous ramp below you and feeling of confinement offered by the massive dihedral you climb in.
A good route but not great. Do the 5.9 section of the 5th pitch. Very fun!!
I skipped th 5.6s section because it was wet. Went around to the right side of the arete and then traversed back in on the ledge up higher. Do not recommend it though as there is a lot of loose stuff and you are right above your belayer at times.
We did this route with the Touch and Go start on 9/18/03. Couple of comments:
First, what a great route... Kor Grade all the way...
The route in general felt "stout", old time ratings, if you will. The exposure on the traverse and the next pitch (3 and 4 as described) is cool and/or unnerving depending on your mental state. Pitch 4 looked quite harder than the advertised 5.5 but it all works out, balancy though, not your "learn to lead" 5.5
These two pitches could turn into a real bad time if you get off route...
At the belay station at the bottom of the 5th pitch (5.9 direct) there is a 2x1 ft flake that has become detached. It sits at your feet while belaying and provides a really tempting handhold when reaching the belay. We thought about trundling it yesterday but there was lots of activity at the base of the climb. If this goes it could kill someone below so tread lightly.
Also, as you begin the awkward traverse at the start of the 5.9 pitch, avoid yarding on a rock that sticks downward from the rotten band. It's toaster size and it is ready to come down too...
Have fun... WT
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Sep 21, 2003 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
We climbed this today via the Touch & Go start, which I lead, and I followed the upper pitches using the direct (9) finish. My partner combined P4 & 5 into one awesome pitch. After climbing it and reading some of the comments above , I have to agree with most, but disagree with Tonya's comment regarding the crux dihedral being just one move. It involves stemming up under the dihedrals steep corner and laying back, up and around for about 10' or more until you reach easier ground. IMO its fairly graded at (9) but more of a sustained sequence punching through that crux...great route.
Agree with Ernie. Direct finish is not a one move wonder.
By Ivan Rezucha From: Fort Collins, CO Dec 7, 2003 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
Having never done this route, I thought it would be a good adventure as a self-belay. It was a bit more adventure than I bargained for, with me getting totally gripped on the 6s traverse, and having to deal with the tail end of my rope blowing horizontally to the east.Pitch 1 (5.8 not s): As others have said, the regular start is worthwhile. The new bolt is useful, but is before the hard climbing. It's a bit runout getting to the bolt, but not too hard. There is gear above the bolt. Move left, clip an old pin, and get a couple of good pieces higher. Now the hard climbing begins. Move left again, clip a better pin, step up, and place a good #4 Friend/3.5 Camalot to protect the last hard moves. The traverse left along the red band looks rotten, but is quite solid with occasional gear, and is not hard.Pitch 2 (5.8): Climb the ceiling at about 5.7 or traverse in from further left. There is a bit of a move about half way up the slab. The ceiling is buckets, one hand jam, and big feet. This felt like the easiest pitch to me, despite its 5.8 rating.Pitch 3 (6s): I started traversing left from the pin. It starts with good hands, but those run out. You're on sloping footholds with small finger holds or slopers. This is where I got gripped. Traversed back right, tried 6 feet higher (looks reasonable but still scary with a drop before the big swing), and 6 feet lower (too hard). So I found a better way with decent gear and big positive holds: Do not clip that pin. Instead, from just right of the pin, move up and get a good cam in a downward hanging flake. Move back right about 6 feet to big holds and up left to a flake/block. Sling the block with a double-length thin sling. Just left of this is a very shallow cam placement for a 1.5 friend (.75 Camalot?). Move straight left from here on big, positive holds and occasional gear. You end up with your feet a couple feet above that old fixed tricam.Pitch 4 (5.7): This is rated 5.5 in the guide but felt more like 7 to me. Climb past 2 pins using laybacks for your left hand. Continue angling right to the arête, gain the ramp, and angle back left to a belay.Pitch 5 (5.9): I also agree that this is not a one move wonder. There is a decent stance below the layback. You can back up the pin with a #3.5 Friend/#3 Camalot. Layback around the main part of the roof to a partial stance. You can place a piece here (I used a green Alien), but it's hard to stop. You need to do a couple more layback moves before you get a rest. Much easier climbing leads to the top.
By Mike McKinnon From: Golden, CO Aug 5, 2004 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
Great Route! Touch and Go was the hardest part.
By Stich From: Colorado Springs, Colorado Sep 18, 2004
Did the route for the first time today. The park got closed because of the Friday fire below Mickey Mouse rock, so we basically had the park to ourselves and a handful of others. Did Touch and Go for P1 and then the standard P2. The 5.6 S traverse was very exciting and we had trouble deciding where to belay. If you look at the Ivan R. photo of the route with the white dots, you can see a large horizontal ledge that marks the P4 right traverse on 5.5 ground. Somehow, we got far left of this and almost went to Redguard. There is a fixed red tricam and some unrecognizable piece of metal in a crack here.
In any case, we saw light chalk marks and a crack going straight up. This cracks starts as a deep cleft big enough to hold you inside and then traverses right. This line is obviously not climbed often, as there is a lot of lichen. There is a continuous undercling crack and good feet that takes you to a half pulled out old rusty ring pinton. Keep traversing left and there is a crack going up. I ended up belaying above this on a little ledge. You are in another red layer of sandstone with good traversing holds. Instead of belaying above, move right and belay just below the P5 5.9 pitch. This last traverse is a little run out, but not much.
I would say this is the forgotten variation. It's not in Rossiter's guide as far as I can tell. It's actually pretty good rock, so if you get off route and find yourself here, no worries. Definitely do the 5.9 finish as it is very good quality and is fairly soft for the grade.
By Ivan Rezucha From: Fort Collins, CO Sep 19, 2004 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
Seems like people are still avoiding the real first pitch of Anthill Dirrect. Don't. It's quite good and challenging. The two(?) old bolts have been replaced. There is adequate but not abundant gear, so it's safe but a little exciting in places. It's also a little airy in places. If you've never done Touch and Go then by all means do T&G as a start to Anthill Direct, else give the real Anthill Direct P1 a go.
First climbed this fantastic route when I moved to Colorado, 11/87. I was young and strong, lead every pitch (Touch N' Go w/ 5.9 finish) on a perfect fall day. Almost 19 years later, I'm climbing it again (following mostly). Without climbing much in the past 5 years - talked a young guy into doing it - I got to lead the 5.6. After reading the comments it seems that this pitch can be done numerous ways. I went the way that Darin Lang describes, and it was just as runout and heady as I remembered it to be - I backed off at first - then told myself that I have never fallen on a 5.6 - so just moved through it - I put pro in wherever I had an opportunity. The tattered tricam is STILL fixed - it is a good visual reference (target). There is a small fixed wire about 18" below the useless tricam - much appreciated after ~20' of no pro. I went straight up past the tricam to the next strata and then left to a good (sloping) belay ledge - right below the crack for Pitch 4. The ledge is 18" wide with grass growing in the inside crack/seam. I slung the large & small horns at the top of sloping ledge, put a #4 tricam at the base of the large horn, got a yellow Alien into a solid crack right behind where I sat. I missed the 1.5" bomber placement 3' above me. The start of the 4th pitch is 5.7 (Erickson 1980) then into 5.5 cracks - there are two fixed pitons for pro at the start. We did not do the 5.9 finish as my forearms were spent - so we went left and then up to the "top" with the full length of a 60m rope. Do the 5.9 direct if you want to finish this climb on a high note. The Anthill finish is covered with lichen and not a lot of fun. There is still poison ivy at the start to Touch N' Go and also at the start to the second pitch - I hope we were successful in avoiding it - time will tell.
Like everyone else says, doing the Touch & Go start creates a very solid route. Here's what we did: P1 T n G - Even tho I've done this a lot, it somehow remains hard and was definitely the crux of the climb for me. P2 - Keep the belay at the bolts, walk across the huge ledge and start up the wall heading for a vertical crack. Routefinding is easier and there's pro on this pitch. The roof seems like 5.7 not 8. 2 pins in vertical crack above a small but comfortable ledge for belay. P3 - Quite unnerving, as you're not sure where to go and it's certainly runout; the belay ledge is welcome. P4 - Up another vertical crack (2 pins) under the obvious huge flake, then keep going for the "direct" dihedral (actually another flake). If you launch a full layback it's simple (5.8?), but if you try to finesse it, you're leaning in and neither your hands or feet can stick and it will be a struggle. I continued this pitch all the way up onto the East Slabs, because from that same belay I immediately lowered my partner down to the trees, which saved her a bunch of time downscrambling the Slabs.
Agree with everyone who suggested Touch N' Go into Anthill Direct. Not a bad pitch among them all and the direct finish was a great way to cap off a great moderate route. For P4 I feel like it was harder than .5 climbing past the pins above the belay.
Uh yeah, I know there are signs on the trail showing which routes are closed. Hard to miss....
By Jay Samuelson From: Denver CO May 12, 2010 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c R
Awesome route. I would recommend linking pitches 3 & 4 instead of 4 & 5, the rope line is better and it provides an amazing and airy 150ft pitch. I don't think the direct finish up top is much harder than the roof on pitch 2, and it's a short section.
Okay, I'll have to go against the grain here. I just did the route - I led P 1, 3, and 5. P5, the "crux" was EASY. The real crux was P1. Loose rock, poor hands, and poor gear. I was never 100% sure that my handholds would stay attached, and I'd expect a good portion of my gear to rip if I took a fall. I did actually pull one handhold. Yes, there is one nice modern bolt. One bolt in 160 feet does not good protection make.
The supposed "R" rated pitch, (P3) was a breeze in comparison. Good rock, and small but decent gear, and certainly enough of it if you really hunt for it. I think I got a good piece every ten feet.
My only other comment is that I did not like the gear available to make an anchor atop P3. There was a large block that looked like it would take a #3 Camalot, but when I tested it, the block moved. My best piece in the anchor was the first pin of the next pitch - fortunately I had a cordelette which, when fully extended, reached down to the belay ledge from the pin.
T&G and the direct finish. Great line, I felt that pitch 2 was the money pitch, pulling both little roofs was a blast. Don't short yourself by skipping the first roof by traversing in from the left! Would also recommend linking 4&5 (direct) if you are confident at the grade, if you sling your pieces long on p4 (its 5.6ish climbing if that) its a pretty straight line. Direct finish was fun, protected very well and was 2 moves max on a good, positive, layback block.
By Tombo From: Boulder Oct 15, 2011 rating: 5.9-5c17VI16HVS 4c PG13
Climbed for the first time in about 20 plus years, nice long route. I wouldn't skip the first pitch w/ cams there seemed to be plenty of gear. Good Eldorado spice in my book.
A long forgotten (?) variation is listed in Rossiter's book but not in Levine's modern version: instead of diagonalling up and left for pitch 3, go straight up the arete. Stay slightly right at the start and then follow the natural features back left to the arete. Rossiter's topo shows a 5.6ish traverse up and left meeting the pins on the original pitch 4. A more exciting variation is to skip the leftward traverse (there's a bit of loose rock at the start of this), pull a short steep section on jugs, and hit a rightleaning 12ft open-book (5.8+ (?) crux) with good gear. Continue up the arete and then find the belay spot just below the 'under-the-roof-rightward-traverse' on the crux pitch. Beware of rope drag on this long pitch.
I recommend doing the original pitch 1. While the gear maybe isn't the greatest in spots, the climbing is quite nice and it is very sustained. T&G is great, but if you have never tried the original first pitch, you should.
By Ben Burnett From: Colorado Oct 22, 2012 rating: 5.9-5c17VI16HVS 4c R
Original p.1 was way sketchier than p.3. P.3 has better rock, better gear and easier, more secure climbing. The bolt on p.1 was just bizarre - it seemed to be located in the middle of a less-run-out section. The original start is worth doing once, but so far I've liked every other way up to the lower meadows better.
Otherwise, this is a fantastic climb! You can head up 400 ft of scrambling on the East slabs to reach the crest or access one of the towers or the Chockstone Chimney raps.
Alert!!! Watch for poison ivy over the first roof on p.2.
Good route. Combine p3 & p4 for more comfortable belays and a nice long pitch. Use long runners. Nothing all that great about the original p1. Fairly well-protected but just not that stimulating. Perhaps one or two cool moves at the top.
By mark felber From: Wheat Ridge, CO Apr 25, 2014 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a R
As a few people have said, P3 & P4 go together very nicely. The Touch 'n' Go start is a great way to start the climb. Not having tried the original start, I don't know which is better, so I will go back and do the original start before I pass judgment.
Did the original pitch 1 today, misinterpreted the route & ended up trying to climb that rotten flake at the traverse to the pin. Pulled a piece off and almost yarded on the precariously placed gear below me. Took a minute to get moving to the left. I'll never make that mistake again.
P1: Cool and varied, but best led by someone comfortable leading above the grade. Some runouts and routefinding. Feels a bit mountaineer-y.
P2: The first roof is easier than it looks. Not harder than 5.7 and easier if you do it just right. The upper roof felt like solid 5.8. In between is a lot of nice slab climbing.
P3/P4: I've climbed the route twice and we combined these both times. Makes for a long, runout pitch with some interesting climbing. Not clean enough to be super-classic, but still pretty good.
P5: The 5.9- direct finish is nice, clean, and fun. The 5.5 "original" finish to the left is horrible. The rock out there is covered with lichen and somewhat friable. Unquestionably the worst pitch I've climbed in Eldo. Do yourself a favor and do the direct.
I have a hard time giving this route more than two stars. Sure it's a classic line, but there are much better options at or near the grade. Ruper, Yellow Spur, Long John Wall, and Allosaur are all far superior.