The West Bank / Wild West / Secret Crag has been problematic for years due to access concerns. There have been negative encounters with gun-toting landowners who have alleged that the entire mountain is on private property. Typical approaches involve brief crossing of railroad property which appears to be prohibited.
Exact demarcation of property boundaries are not always clear. When in doubt, be discrete or polite.
Do not park your vehicle near the railroad tracks near Plainview. It is a well-known irritant to Plainview residents.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
This is a long (120') pitch of fantastic jamming with great rests and many thoughtful sequences. The crux is moving into and past a wide section, but zero thrutching is required.
P1: Do the first pitch of Lifestream (10d). Scramble up onto the highest tier of ledges and then move the belay all the way to the right end of this ledge.
P2: Beautiful climbing that protects well with small wires; a big cam is very useful for the crux. Belay a few meters below the Beagle's Ear at a horn with slings. 3 raps to the ground (some swinging is required to get over to the anchor atop Zen Effects.
There is also a third short pitch (9+) that is worth doing. This reaches the top of the wall, on the right side of the "Beagle's Ear." The best descent from here is to traverse over to the notch between the North and Central Towers for the standard rappel descent (four raps with a single rope, ending on top of the block at the base of Perversion).
Great climb, but maybe easier than 11a if you have big hands? There were two tricky mid 10 stemming and face cruxes and then the true crux--perfect hands to two OK fist jams and then wider pulling through an overhang with poor feet. I placed my big cam below the hand crack thinking a jug was coming and then went into melt down when the jug turned faux as the crack got wider.
I used lots of gear from mid-sized brass to maybe 3/8" nuts (could have used two sets), doubles from blue to red Aliens, and also doubles above that to #3 Camalot or perhaps singles if you back clean judiciously. And a #4 Camalot for the crux. We used a #3 Camalot at the belay at the bottom (optional), I placed another one at the first hand crack and back cleaned it, and I placed it again at the top as part of the belay and as a directional for the second. If you're real solid at 10, a single set from 1/8" to #3 Camalot might suffice.
I belayed at the end of the difficulties, but you can also traverse left and belay at the Zen Effects/Lifestream bolts. Our skinny twin ropes were pretty jammed in a thin crack above the crux, so that was not an option for us.
By Joseph P. Crotty From: Broomfield, CO Oct 9, 2005 rating: 5.11a6c22VII+22E3 5c
In response to the question "maybe easier than 11a if you have big hands" the answer is it's not. I check in at 6'7" and have "big" hands and didn't find any advantages on this gem of a route. There seems to be an ubiquitous myth, in Eldorado in particular, that some how big folks have it easy.
Standard Eldo rack will suffice, although for comfort it would be recommended to bring two camalot 2s, one camalot 3 and one camalot 3.5.
Double 60 M ropes will put you comfortably on the ground from the Zen Effects/Lifestream belay.
The 1980 Erickson Rocky Heights guide rates this 5.9(!), and says, "The final pitch, up a dihedral, is the crux (5.9+)." It's odd that Erickson would think P1 is much easier than the current 11a rating but that P2 is the same as the current 9+ rating. Could a chockstone have fallen out of the wide crux?
By Joseph P. Crotty From: Broomfield, CO Oct 12, 2005 rating: 5.11a6c22VII+22E3 5c
That's a great question Ivan. My guess would be probably. Either that or grade inflation has come home to roost. There are probably lots of examples in Eldo's history where an "old school" rating didn't hold up for one reason or another (i.e. first pitch of T2 comes to mind).
Specifically, on this route, I remember that in the crux wide section it was too wide to fist jam and the feet too delicate to lie back comfortably with the hands on the edge of the crack. The only alternative was to grope crimpers and slopers on the face and stand on smaller features progressing slowly - pretty pumpy. However, just as the tank was emptying I saw some hand sized rock chocks buried deep in the crack that offered good downward holds. Possibly, there were similar features in days past that were larger and more ample.
It is interesting to note that back in the day 5.9 was the hardest free rating given, and there was a huge range of difficulty at that grade. I believe that the first 5.10 grade given in the Boulder area was Athlete's Feat on Castle Rock which is a pretty burly 5.10. This gives you an idea of how hard things had to get before people were willing to acknowledge that people were climbing harder than before. Several things to consider: our forefathers were burly, they were just starting to figure this climbing thing out (grades, gear, footwear, etc.), they tended to be very conservative in their estimation of the difficulties, and the ratings were meant to be a general guideline (5.9 was expert level ). I sometimes wonder if newer climbers appreciate how much climbing has evolved or how much balls the pioneers possessed.