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.
Brilliant. Pat Ament has had many first ascents in Eldorado, but few are as perfect and fun as this one. Begin perhaps 20 feet left from the start of C'est La Morte. The first tricky face moves begin from a nice, flat rock. Then enter a broken crack system and move up past one bolt, a fucked-up knifeblade (no longer there) that [was] a perfect example of horrible fixed pro, and past one more bomber bolt right below the crux, which takes you up a hollow flake. The first set of anchors are 20 feet past the crux. From here you can lower, 75 feet, or continue up through an easy A shaped roof and then do an airy traverse left to another set of anchors, 100 feet. This sets you up for the second pitch, if you're up to it....
The second pitch really has to be done if you want the fully C'est La Vie experience. Go straight up the huge dihedral. The 5.11c crux is only about 10 feet above the belay, which sits on a small ledge. Two fixed pins ripped recently so there is virtually no pro to keep you from cratering on the ledge if you rip, but many argue it is well worth the risk. From the top, rap to the first set of anchors and then to the ground.
Per Bill Briggs: The route has an exhilarating third pitch that is sadly neglected because the double bolt anchor at the top of the second pitch was not placed at the original finish of the second pitch. Now everyone lowers off the bolts and misses the third pitch. The climb should be completed as follows. Clip the bolts at the top of the second pitch dihedral, then climb another 20 feet to a good stance beneath a six-foot overhand; good anchors can be found here. The third pitch surmounts the overhang with the help of some solution pockets above the lip and a heel hook. Once standing on the lip of the overhang, a medium cam can be placed in a solution pocket. Two more tricky moves up and right lead to easier climbing. The moves are probably 5.10. This pitch used to be the standard finish to the route and was done regularly.
If you are only doing the first part of the first pitch all that is needed is three quick draws, a #10 BD Stopper, and a #2 Camalot.
As of 4/14 there is one fixed pin on the second pitch. It is pretty low down and is very easy to clip, but is not in the greatest location for catching a fall from the crux. There is a ledge above the belay and below the pin that you will land on should you fall from up high and either haven placed RPs at the crux or your RP ripped. The crux of this route is tricky, slabby, very thin, and fun. I definately recomend trying it.
Hmmm, you would really have to know this route well to take the mentioned rack on it, the pitch isn't too long, but is one of the harder 9s in Eldo. The second pitch isn anything close to a death fest, there are one (or two?) pins at your waist, and two pretty good RP placements in the seam. It's really quite sane, even sewn up!
Did this route on Saturday, 11/17. There is one pin at the crux and you can get a good RP (#3 BD micro?) in to protect a ledge fall at the crux. If you have good gear placement skills this is a very safe lead.
My BD micro ripped when standing on a sling at the crux. Luckily the blue alien that I was grabing on higher up in the crack held and I was able to clip it. Perhaps an RP or small offset nut would work better for pro. After the first 15 feet or so on the crux pitch, it is 5.8ish to the rap anchors in a nice hand crack.
i did the top pitch of c'est la vie on 2/8/02 and the rumors of lacking protection are definately wrong. there is one good pin before the crux and a higher bomber #2 rp. the rp is absolutely sinker and would keep you off the ledge with an attentive belayer. protection aside, this is an amazing pitch and a definate must for any eldo climber.
I really disagree that the remaining pin below the crux is good. Not quite hall of shame material, but it's sticking pretty far out. There seem to be some good rp placements but you really have to fiddle for them and there's some deceptively bad ones--also, you have to place them from a very insecure stance, meaning that you could fall on that pin. But still, safe enough for the 5.11 leader w/good gear-placing skills, I suppose.
If you don't want to do the 5.11 corner, a fun alternative is to climb the beautiful arete to the right for the second pitch. I think it is around 5.8 or so, but I'm not exactly sure. Never the less, there are a few sections of poor, thin protection; so bring small gear.
One very minor detail: the white line on the above picture goes left around the A-shaped roof, when the route actually goes straight through the roof and a little right, before traversing left to the anchors.
What's the beta on the crux? I once followed this route 10+ years ago, but I forgot how and ever since then I have failed miserabley to even TR the crux. Does one use the sidepull way off on the left wall at the crux, or is this a dead end?
For those such as myself who find the 'regular' second pitch rather intimidating, the 5.9 variation is a great way to get to the anchors, or just do a nice second pitch. This is also a good way to reach the anchors to toprope the crux dihedral (be sure to set a directional).
From the anchors at the top of the first pitch, below the dihedral, traverse up and right to gain a thin right-leaning crack. Execute a few tricky, balancy moves to gain the arete, then work up and left to gain the top of the 11c pitch about 20 feet below the anchors. Finish with that pitch. Rossiter shows this as 9+, but it's easier than the first pitch. Probably 8+/9-, but very nice climbing with interesting holds for Eldo. Recommended.
In response to the beta at the crux of the second pitch. Personally, I got my left hand on that higher hold on the left wall and my right hand on a chalked up crimper where the book comes together. The key for me was bringing my right foot up on a very micro crystal. Then I backstepped my left foot on the fairly large, chalked up downward slanting ledge. This enabled me to be wedged in there enough to let go with one hand to get the good hold where the crack comes together. Wow! That was a lot of beta. Anyway I'm pretty short and my tall partner did it a different way. Good Luck
GEAR: I found either a black or blue alien slotted in nicely above the pin (which I would call so-so), to protect the crux move; though, depending on when you fell, you could still land on the ledge below.
BETA: For me, using any of the holds on the left wall (below/including the Desdichado holds) didn't work out, despite how nice and big they feel. I just couldn't rock my body back into the dihedral-- I am tall, so this may explain the difference here. My success on this crux came when I finally committed to just doing the delicate slab, stepping high with my right foot.
To protect the crux on the second pitch I was able to get a good #3 ball nut. I placed it in the "largest" slot below the small crimp in the corner. Placed with the flat side against the left slide it is only in about 3/4 but a small lip keeps it solidly in place. I gave it a few good tests.
At the risk of this comment field getting carried away w/ gear beta, this may be useful. Many of the above comments list small RP's (#3), etc. that looked pretty good, but no one talks about falling on them. As my partner and I tried to slove the crux, we fell onto a #5 BD copper/steel at least 15 times. It is bomber and the fall is very short if you place it where we did. There is currently one fixed pin on the route, and you can get a decent (yet, sideways) blue alien about a foot above it. The cam is not great but it provides a little confidence while you slot the higher RP. The #5 goes about a foot (my distances are guesses from memory and may be a little off) above the alien. You will have to climb up a move or two from the stance to place this piece. After the #5 is in, don't waste your time looking higher, there is a bomber medium stopper at the obvious finger lock at the end of the crux, just go for it.As for the beta, I have seen it done any number of very different ways, so just get on it and figure out what works for you. The footholds on the slab are pretty slick. I have had much better luck on these moves on a cool day.
there isn't much pro between the first and second bolt. a foot or two below the scary piton there is a very inobvious red alien placement...it goes in right at the nice undercling sidepull thingy. if you miss this placement there is a chance for a pretty big fall, but if you get it this climb is reasonbly protected. the hardest pitch of 5.9 i've climbed, and awesome.
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Jun 24, 2003
Went up to climb this fine route yesterday and just wanted to issue a warning to watch out for poison ivy all along the upper talus leading to the base of the wall. Coincidentally, todays Dailey Camera Get Out! section has an article on this nasty plant in case you need a description.
Couple comments about the 1st pitch. It *is* hard. Hardest 5.9 I've done in Eldo. I thought it was quite a bit harder than Emerald City for instance. Also, Jay is right: taking a big fall is quite the possibility. But it's a good fall. And the bolt before the pin works just fine, believe me.
The moves above the first bolt are so deceiving. There looks like there's a monstrous foot hold just under the pin. But when you make the move, you're not really in a position to step on it.
Also, try to clip the pin *before* making the moves. I didn't even think of the red alien that Jay mentions. So after making the move to clip the pin, realizing that I couldn't use the bomber foothold, I had comitted and couldn't reverse the moves... hence the nice big whipper.
Dale Haas and I fixed up the first anchor on pitch #1 (about 60' up). We replaced the old Leeper-style hanger on the left bolt with a Fixe 4mm Stainless Steel hanger. Also, we removed the smash links and assorted hardware from both bolts and installed two 3/8" quicklinks on each bolt.
This work was supported by the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA). Check them out at www.safeclimbing.org. They would appreciate your support.
By the way, smash links, also known as lap links, are a poor choice for using as rappel anchors on bolts. When they wear and need replacing, it requires a hammer and a chisel to open the link (hint, hint to those of you who would like to help out removing smash links from bolts). Quicklinks work so much better and are easier to replace.
The anchors at the top of the first pitch are appreciated. Thanks.The first pitch is hard, I thought. The beginning is scary becuase it is way up off the ground. I protected the start with a .5 camalot in the chalked-up slot. However, doing this takes away your best hold...
More thanks to Dale, Bruce, and the ASCA for replacing the first anchor. I'd offer to replace the bent, half-out lost arrow, but I fear the retribution, and it held my 190 lbs. just fine. I also protected the start with a #4 offset and a cam in the slot, but only after sliding off down to the block. Excellent Eldo 5.9!
Bill makes a good point but actually I think there are 2 variations which work as 3rd pitches. One is shown on the photo and one is as he describes. I believe the one he describes is the Barber Direct. The convenience bolts at the top of the dihedral were approverd by the FHRC to facilitate lowering back down the dihedral and were proposed by someone who was "guiding" in Eldo at the time. It seems to me that any "convenience" is compromised by having the second have to fight thru the rope at the crux. A hanging belay at these bolts is painfully awkward.
Myke's beta photo above is innacurate with regard to belay position on P1. The first set of chains is under the mamouth flake below where he has the dot on the photo. Obvoiously, P1 & 2 can be combined, and often are...The moves in that upper corner, past those chains are interesting and involve a step up and high reach back and way right pulling up into an interesting little traverse to the second set of chains...
Regarding pro at the crux pitch crux section: a #2 HB offset and a #2 RP can be placed right next to each other about a meter above the last pin. Falling with the pin as the last piece lands you on some small ledges/large edges. These two #2's are high enough to keep from hitting the edges if you fall....at least that's what I tried to tell myself while climbing.
If 5.9 is pushing your lead limit then the 1st pitch is going to feel pretty darn tough. This seemed a fair bit harder than say the first pitch of Chockstone (10a). The gear is kinda funky in places and the pin below the crux looks pretty bunk.
I fell on the twisted piton on the first pitch today-I wouldn't give that thing many more falls. I backed it up with a cam under the piton, I believe an HB quad cam(don't know what size, maybe similar to a BD #.75). We climbed the alternate second pitch, and, I must say, was excellent.
The party that climbed the first pitch before us today also took a lead fall on the twisted pin! At least we know it will hold one for now... I linked the first pitch and the arete alternate finish into one pitch and it worked out nicely with minimal rope drag.
I have another suggestion for pro on the second pitch. You can place a bomber blue alien about 10 inches above the pin and it will hold a fall. I know because I tested it a couple of times before I finally pulled the crux.
By KCP From: Eldorado Springs, CO Jul 8, 2005 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-23E3 5c
I placed the two-bolt anchor at the top of the second pitch, only after carefully and thoughtfully weighing the pros and cons of doing so. I submitted a written proposal to FHRC, who deliberated on the idea for almost one year, before I was given written approval to install the anchor. I originally proposed the installation of the bolts at a public meeting, at which several local climbers were in attendance and had the opportunity to voice their objections - few did. Consequently, with the assistance of Mark Rolofson and his drill, I installed the anchors. During the following month, a dozen or so local climbers approached me to express their appreciation for my efforts.
Given the sensitivity of such actions - legal or not - I feel compelled to clarify my reason for installing the anchor. It was not as Steve suggested meant to be a convenience anchor. Although I consider Steve to be a reasonable person, I am surprised and a bit disappointed at his comment. The fact is that he was one of the few climbers, at the meeting, who vehemently opposed my proposal. He is also acutely aware of my reason for suggesting the anchor in the first place, because I stated it clearly in his presence. My [sole] intention for the installation of those bolts was to reconcile a safety issue - period.
At the time, I had been guiding for Boulder Rock School, in Eldorado Canyon, three to four times per week in addition to spending almost all of my recreational time there. I frequently encountered competent parties, who had jammed their ropes into the top of the dihedral, while attempting to rappel. The problem was that the antecedent anchor was fixed in the horizontal section of that upper dihedral, which inevitably guided and sometimes lodged the rappel ropes into its flaring crack.
I do not disagree with Steve's opinion that the former belay stance was a bit more comfortable, although I firmly believe that resolving the more important safety issue supersedes any minor reduction of comfort. Mark and I contemplated this issue and spent a considerable amount of time on the upper ledge, determining what we believed to be the most efficient placement of the bolts. I've heard few complaints since.
I respect both Steve's and Roger's desire to preserve the tradition of Eldorado climbing. I too look forward to all efforts toward doing so. I have been an active climber, in the capacity of professional instructor, guide, sponsored athlete, and sports photographer, for almost thirty years. I learned to climb in a staunchly traditional environment, so I understand and appreciate tradition all too well. On the other hand, I also recognize that there is a difference between preserving tradition and becoming consumed by an ideology. Situations change and activities evolve. Such was clearly the case with this route. With all due respect to Roger, during seven years of climbing in Eldo, I never saw more than two separate parties, my own included, on the third pitch of the route in question. Moreover, the presence of my anchors in no way impinges upon anyone's desire to pursue this last pitch. The guidebooks display it, and all interested parties are free to do it. Most parties simply choose not to.
Could we live without the existence of bolted belays on this route? Of course we could. The same argument could be made regarding the bolted anchors on The Naked Edge and several other _traditional_ Eldorado classics. The Edge could easily be ascended without any bolts, and it would still be considered a relatively safe route. We humans have an innate predisposition toward maintain a modicum of comfort in our lives, which is why most people don't free solo routes. We instead form a general consensus to determine what is acceptable to the majority. This consensus is oftentimes implicit by our actions. I can see no benefit from the presence of machismo in our sport. Although the bold and defiant acts of some to challenge nature's patience can leave many of us with a sense of awe, they are still the personal choice of those who pursue them. They should in no way mandate a standard by which we all must abide. Climbing is personal endeavor, and it should be preserved as such.
In any event, this is a classic route, whether done in one, two, or all three pitches. I highly recommend it.KC
We just did the 1st and 2nd pitches last night. There are 3 pins on the 2nd pitch, one that protects the crux moves which I backed up with a blue alien below it. The crux pin seems to be adequate, as I fell on it from the top of the crux section. The fall wasn't bad, I basically slid back down the slab with the pin catching me just as my feet were coming to the ledge. The slide is so slow you have plenty of time to look down and see where your feet are going to land.
Personally, I am disappointed if the above comment means that recently some pins were [replaced] at the second pitch crux. The natural gear was adequate. A perfect example of where fixed pro should NOT have be replaced, in my opinion. Reduces the experience, and, in the long run, reduces the safety.
Chad, There is only one pin on the actual dihedral. The other two are located just above the bolted belay (probably the original belay) and don't impact the climbing at all. Hope that helps clear up any misunderstanding.
On P1, after clipping the twisted knife blade (which I didn't feel a need to back up), layback the flake and step up immediately using one of several small edges at the bottom of this flake, reaching for the two [chalked] up flared pockets in the crack above the piece. This is the most direct, and IMO easiest way to reach the next bolt. Trusting this stance while clipping is the mental crux...balancy... I've wandered a bit farther right before launching up while following this pitch in the past, but I believe the bolt would be out of reach if you get too far right past the flake before launching up on lead...
Climbed this yesterday late afternoon. Behind the big flake just before the first anchors was a pretty impressive colony of bats, sleeping and crawling all over each other. Its hard to say for sure how many were there, but I counted 30+ distinct bats, and I'm sure many more were hidden from view. Very cool, though the stench of guano was pretty strong.
I know nothing about bats: any ideas on what type might be living in Eldo?
Climbed P1 on 12/9/06 with A. Wiedmann. I don't recommend this as a cold-season climb; P1 gets no sunlight and the rock is very cold. Thought the pro was somewhat marginal. First move can be protected with a small stopper but it's effective only if the climber stays well to the right. The bent pin at the P1 crux looks very bad. It can be backed up (I used a stopper), but the backup is not that good and definitely should be equalized.
This is a satisfying pitch though. Crux moves are inobvious, delicate, and fun once you figure 'em out. Think it would be 5.10b for us lesser mortals. No bats--too cold I guess!
I did the first two pitches of this thing last year. I thought they were both rated 5.9 when I climbed it; at the time, I thought the second pitch was pretty sand-bagged. LOL, .11b sounds more like it.
This is a sport climb now, not a death-fest. Fixed pro the whole crux, you can crag the second, crux pitch from the belay under the dihedral, and thus only need a 70 meter to get all the way to the ground. Good evening 5.11. You can climb the .9 pitch, work the second pitch, lower from that belay and top rope Pansee Sauvage (.11). Also, the route mentions that this climb can't be .11c at the crux, but if you are 5'2" or shorter, this is at most a .10+. Little person climb...for once.
Just as a heads up, the second pitch is a little scary now due to the fact that a questionable nut has been wedged into the perfect TCU placement above the piton. The nut is about 1/3 a way in, I guess some people tried to get it out, but then stopped....
As of 5/9/2010, the pin in the crux dihedral of P2 is no longer there nor is there any other fixed gear on that pitch (except at the belay anchors at the top and bottom of the dihedral). Placing adequate gear in the dihedral through the crux is tricky and strenuous. Good luck.
By Tommey-James From: Boulder,Colorado Jun 13, 2011 rating: 5.11b/c6c+23VIII-24E4 6a
As of 6/10/2011, there is a fixed nut at the crux.
By Noah8000 From: Vail, CO Jun 5, 2013 rating: 5.11c/d7a24VIII25E4 6a
Still a bomber fixed nut. P2 protects really well and is definitely the money pitch.
Anchor the belay! My leader took an exciting fall today when he came off at P1 crux and the #3 blue Camalot he placed in the flake blew. I was VERY grateful I had anchored the belay. It's an sketchy belay stance on those rocks, but there's a good, #2 yellow Camalot placement right at your feet and a red #1 just behind you to keep you where you need to be in case of a fall. Not flying up probably saved me from being hit from above, and at least saved my leader from falling another 5-10 feet.
By the way, we left a draw in the bolt below the P1 crux, because my leader hurt his ankle on the fall and we backed off. FYI.
As of 8/7/2014, there is a nut ~1/3 up the dihedral that has become so stuck that it has literally molded into the crack and become part of the rock. The dihedral protected better than I thought, and you're never really that far above your pro to take a huge fall. Very exciting route! My buddy took a HUGE whipper on the P1 traverse over to the second set of anchors, exciting move that protects well with a 0.3 Camalot.