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Cloud Tower 

YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

   
Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 810', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Van Betten, Harrison, Nordblom 1983
Page Views: 30,398
Submitted By: Chris Archer on Jan 1, 2001  with updates from Wylie

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BETA PHOTO: Cloud Tower reaching the skyline on the right, Gin...

Description 

One of the best long free climbs of its grade in the country. On a par with The Naked Edge, the Prow, and Astroman. This route should not be missed. If you climb at this level, you will not have lead a full life without experiencing The Cloud Tower!

Approach: Same as Crimson Chrysalis. Average approach time about an hour, unless you're an old geezer like me. Cloud Tower begins about 100-130 feet right and downhill of CC, at an obvious chimney that leads to a left facing dihedral. N.B. some pitches are described differently than as suggested by the guides. Aspect: North facing until the last pitch which faces west and soaks up the afternoon sun. The initial pitches can be chilly.

P1. Climb the squeeze chimney and up the hand crack in the left facing corner (5.8). Rather than stopping at the ledge (135'), we kept climbing up the corner above for another 100 feet or so (5.8) and stopped on the next obvious ledge. (5.8, 225')

P2. Traverse up and way left, past a tree, to the base of a beautiful splitter handcrack, climb it (5.10) and then trend up and left to the base of an awesome right facing, right angling corner. Another rope stretcher. (5.10, 210+')

P3. IMO, the crux pitch. Face climb discontinuous cracks up and left past a bolt into the corner, ascend the corner with Eldorado-like face climbing and stemming and then tips laybacking for what seems like an eternity. (5.12-, 115'; Rack: 1.5F, nuts, blue/black aliens, green aliens, 1F, 1.5-2.5F)

P4. A long "easy" pitch (120', 5.10) that will be exciting if your rack is short on larger sizes or if your wide flaring crack technique is wanting. (Rack: I am embarrassed to confess having 3 each of 2.5-3.5 F, 2 4Fs and a 4 Camalot and using them all.)

P5. The Harding Slot of Red Rocks. The guide describes climbing a scary offwidth to the top of the tower at 5.10+. We climbed a short wide section (5.7) and then tunneled through the tower. The crux was squeezing through a taper for about 3 feet onto the west face. Not recommended for the bulbous or the claustrophobic. Some friends have climbed to the top of the tower as the guide suggests, while others traversed the tower (climbed right from the belay around the tower). No one has expressed great joy at the thought of repeating any of these options. (5.?, 45-50')

P6. After emerging from the birth canal, you are suddenly transplanted onto the west face of the tower at the base of a stellar Indian Creekish hand crack. Climb the flaring hand crack through several awkward bulges (5.11), while shedding as much clothing as you can remove. Potential radical temperature difference after the north face experience. Save a 1 camalot and some energy for the final hard moves to the belay. (5.11+, 110', Rack: (2) 1 camalots, (2-3 each) 2.5-3.5Fs)

I understand that this brilliant route has been extended but do not yet know further details.

Protection 

RPs 2-5; wires-WC Rocks (2 each) 1-5, (1 each) 6-7; Aliens: (2) black, (3 each) blue and green, (1) yellow; Friends (1) 1, (2) 1.5, (2) 2, (2) green camalot jrs, (2) 2.5, (2) 1 camalots, (2) gold camalots,(3) 3.5, (2) 4, (1) 4.5. A 70m rope is handy for running pitches together, but you'll need another rope or some ingenuity to complete the first rappel from the top of the route. After that a 70m will work fine for the remainder of the descent.


Photos of Cloud Tower Slideshow Add Photo
Jake leads the crux Dihedral (12-) with Ben at the belay, photo cred: T. Melin.
Jake leads the crux Dihedral (12-) with Ben at the...
Matt Kuehl cleaning up the last pitch on Cloud Tower.
Matt Kuehl cleaning up the last pitch on Cloud Tow...
Getting worked at the top of the crux corner <br /> <br />photo: Greg Jackson
Getting worked at the top of the crux corner phot...
Climbers on the crux corner of the third pitch. Heavily chalked holds are visible across the canyon.
Climbers on the crux corner of the third pitch. He...
A very cool perspective of the final pitch  of Cloud Tower (11+ corner). Taken from the Rainbow Wall.
BETA PHOTO: A very cool perspective of the final pitch of Clo...
Looking for nonexistent footholds at the start of the 5th pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Looking for nonexistent footholds at the start of ...
Andy Hansen, Cloud Tower. March 2012.
Andy Hansen, Cloud Tower. March 2012.
Andrew Gomoll cranks the final crux bulge on the 7th pitch.
Andrew Gomoll cranks the final crux bulge on the 7...
Jeremiah working the crux pitch on Cloud Tower.
BETA PHOTO: Jeremiah working the crux pitch on Cloud Tower.
Cloud Tower
Cloud Tower
Hai Ngyugen on Cloud Tower P5.
Hai Ngyugen on Cloud Tower P5.
Cloud Tower
Cloud Tower
Cloud Tower
Cloud Tower
Pitch 6, the tunnel/squeeze/chimney fun.
Pitch 6, the tunnel/squeeze/chimney fun.
Jeremiah pondering the crux of the final pitch on Cloud Tower.
BETA PHOTO: Jeremiah pondering the crux of the final pitch on ...
Me on the crux pitch before the true flailing began.  Photo by Adam Sinner, 5/12/10.
Me on the crux pitch before the true flailing bega...
Pitch 1
Pitch 1
SteveZ finishing pitch 3 of Cloud Tower, another party on pitch 4.  The awesome pitch 5 crack above.  October 2010.
SteveZ finishing pitch 3 of Cloud Tower, another p...
cloud tower area from jack rabbit buttress
BETA PHOTO: cloud tower area from jack rabbit buttress
Beautiful thin hands splitter on pitch 3
Beautiful thin hands splitter on pitch 3
Dow pulling the roof that starts the 10+ pitch.
Dow pulling the roof that starts the 10+ pitch.
Trying not to be intimidated by the supposedly scary 6th pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Trying not to be intimidated by the supposedly sca...
SteveZ on pitch 3 of Cloud Tower.  October 2010.
SteveZ on pitch 3 of Cloud Tower. October 2010.
Anchor on top of pitch 4 on Cloud Tower. The bright blue anchor is mine, the discolored one was up there when go there with a quicklink attached to it
Anchor on top of pitch 4 on Cloud Tower. The brigh...

Show All 39 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Cloud Tower Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 13, 2014
By Ross Keller
From: Parker, CO
Feb 27, 2004
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

It's possible to climb the layback and kace climb up the left side of the tower before entering the slot (5.9X). If you belay the last pitch from the top of the tower bring a Big Bro for an anchor.
By david goldstein
Feb 27, 2004

I think this while excellent is not in a class with super-classics such as Astroman, Epinephrine, Oz (w/ Gram Traverse), Naked Edge, Freeway, or for that matter, its neighbor, Crimson Chrysalis. I found virtually every pitch quite soft for the grade, except for the crux (P4) a desperate thin stemming corner. The last pitch seemed to me about Indian Creek 10+. IMO, the quality of the climb is diminished by the fact that the crux is much more difficult that the rest of the climb.
By vstiefel
Mar 1, 2004
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

Chris gave an excellent description of this ultra-classic route that is easily on a par with the Naked Edge in Eldo. I have some additional beta to consider.

1) #00 - #2 TCU's (mostly #0 and #1) also work well to protect the dihedral crux pitch (11d). I wouldn't argue with a 12- rating but it was easier than 29 Palms in J-Tree.

2) As of spring '03, the birth canal at the top of the squeeze chimney has been substantially widened! Someone must have removed a large block. Accessing the ledge at the base of the final west facing and bulging hand crack pitch (11c) no longer requires a svelt physique. The first time I climbed the route I had to remove my harness in order to squeeze on through to the other side.

3) The route has been extended but I haven't had a chance to check it out. I saw at least four bolts protecting overhanging face climbing beyond the anchors on the final pitch.
By Jake Martin
Mar 26, 2004

This is a pretty great route, not to be missed. This is the rack we took:TCU's: 1 Gray (00), 1 Blue, 1 Orange, 1 Red (maybe 1 yellow?)Aliens: 2 Blue, 2 Greens, 2 Yellows, 1 RedCamalots: 1 .5, 2 .75, 2 #1's, 3 #2's, 3 #3's and 1 3.5Plus a set of offset nuts (useful!) and runners/draws. I can see adding a 4, but a 4.5 seems pretty excessive, as the place you would place it has big incuts everywhere surrounding the crack. I would say you def. want 3 #3's, thou

As for being on par with all these other super classics, thats a matter of opinion, but I would say comparing this climb with the edge and astroman is a streeeetch.

As for the super-gnarly offwidth birth canal maddness, see similiar comments above, I am not going to give it away, but some modifications have been made, and that thing is sure as shit not as bad as it used to be. Think crawling...At most, that pitch is not a 5.9 s pitch, with the 5.9 being the face climbing before you get to mandatory chimmney/off-width.

The crux pitch is hard. 11+, 12-, you be the judge. Even KACKALACKI, uber-thin fingers man whipped on it.

Great route, not to be missed.

By Josh Janes
Nov 3, 2004

P7: After the long hand crack, continue up past 5 bolts on white, lower quality rock to a two bolt belay. The crux is a sequence of tips in pin scars, checking in at 5.12d.

P8: Easily linked with the previous pitch. Head straight up the really nice offwidth crack if there is such a thing. The first third can be protected with hand size cams, and the end can be protected with those extra 3 and 3.5 Camalots, but the meat of it will either require boldness or a 5 Camalot size piece. 5.10 OW.

P9: A short, wandering romp to the summit.
By 10b4me
Oct 4, 2005
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Combine pitch 1 & 2 as described by Chris. The obvious hand crack to the L of the tree felt like 5.8. The crux dihedral pitch requires some stemming trickery and use of holds on the L wall - bring extra blue aliens and save a 2.5F for the last 20 feet. The next 2 pitches can also be combined in 1 long pitch - the slot has no similarity to the Harding Slot - its pretty tame now. The final crack takes alot of 3-3.5 F sizes and 2 or 3 #1 Camalots.

Excellent route. Could use a rap route to the R of the route instead of rope jams on the last rap or rapping over parties on C.C.
By Aimee Rose
From: Bend, or
Mar 28, 2006
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

What a route! I can't say for sure how hard that crux pitch was, cause my partner aided it, so I hung a lot to clean the gear, but it felt very strenuous.

I felt that the 4th pitch required many #3 and #3.5 or #4 camalots. I wished I would have had maybe 2 #3s, 3 #3.5 and 3 #4s, but then again my trad onsight leading limit is 5.10+, so this was pretty close to my limit. Depending on how comfortable the person leading this pitch is, they may need fewer cams. It's about 90 feet of the same fist or bigger size.

Super fun. The 5th pitch felt no harder than the tunnel on tunnel vision to me, which I believe they give 5.3X, but we didn't go to the top of the tower, we just tunneled behind it (and I'm pretty small).

Edit: After thinking about it, I think that crux pitch is definatly 12a.
By misterclimberman
Oct 11, 2006
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

great route!!! crux pitch is phenomenal, as well as the two that follow. i believed everyone had its unique points and was almost equal in quality. no hesitation on my part to give this route the full 4 stars. as for the crux pitch, its really not all that bad. its stemming and face climbing to stances. good stems, then locker fingers. i would be hesitant to give this pitch 12a. none the less, great pitch.
By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Nov 14, 2006

One full set of Black Diamond C3s protect the crux dihedral very well. You can even whip onto them. I did.

Our rack: C3s: Purple, Green, Red, Yellow
C4s: (1) Blue .3 + (2) Gray .4 + (2) Purple .5 + (2) Green .75 + (3) Red 1 + (3) Yellow 2 + (3) Blue 3 + (1) Gray 4 + (1) Purple 5
No nuts required.

The Extension: The crux 5.12+ pitch is horribly rotten and not worth free climbing. Aid at C1.
The next pitch, which should not be combined with the previous pitch, involves moderately difficult squeeze chimney climbing with a slight chance of decking.
By snowey
Apr 6, 2007

Best route I have ever done at the red rocks or otherwise.
By BenL
Feb 22, 2009
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

alien are definitely useful, as well as TCU's. Anything small will do though. If it's hot, and you're no good at pure crack climbing, then the final pitch is going to be the crux, it is in the sun when you get there unless you're super fast and have an early start.
Every pitch is awesome, but the crux pitch and the one after it stand out.
By Bingman
From: Denver, CO
Mar 25, 2009
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Super Classic! Every single pitch is great, with varied climbing that follows an aesthetic and unique line. Pitches 3, 4, and 6 stand out in my mind - but all the pitches are great. Certainly not to be missed!

Pitch 4 and 5 (as described above) can be linked with a 60m rope if you take the chimney option through the "birth canal" - which seems to be the obvious choice.
By eric whewell
From: Boulder, CO
May 19, 2009
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

I carried doubles of small sizes on this route from purple tcu to .4 camalot with a 00 tcu as well. The small sizes are nice for the crux corner. The final dihedral pitch seemed to be pretty soft for the grade while p3 seemed to warrant 5.12-
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 17, 2009
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

classic!

if climbing with 60 meter ropes, consider dividing up the opening pitches as follows:

1) climb the squeeze chimney and up the hand crack in the left facing corner (5.8). belay at the ledge at a tree tied with several slings(130').

2) continue up the corner above for another 70 feet (5.8). pass a tree with rap anchors on your right, and continue up about 30 feet on easy terrain. traverse up and left 20' past a tree to the base of a beautiful thin hands crack. belay at the ledge found here (130').

continue on the handcrack described in P2 in the OP. if belaying at the base of the crack, this pitch will be 140'.

we found that the following gear works well:
1 full set of nuts
triples of black, blue, and green aliens
doubles of yellow, grey, red, and gold aliens
doubles of camalot .75
triples of camalots 1 & 2
five camalot 3
three camalot 4

note that this rack assumes that you tunnel through the chimney on pitch 5 (as described in the OP) instead of climbing the wide flaring offwidth.
By Ross Keller
From: Parker, CO
Mar 10, 2010
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

We rapped with double sixties and the first rappel was a stretch. Not doing the last pitch would be like doing the Salathe to the headwall roof and then rapping off. The climbing is great to that point, but why do all the work to get there and then skip the money pitch?
By Monica Jones
From: CO
Apr 4, 2010

Linked first two pitches and onsighted the 10a splitter. Fell following the 11d, beautiful crux though. Didn't follow the last pitch, 11c, it was really burly and wide for me. My boyfriend linked the 10c and 10a offwidth pitches, they were super cool too. Great climb, I definitly was cold in the shade in mid-march on this route.
By GR Johnson
Jan 7, 2011

This is a great route, climbed it when I was 17 and 135lbs with little stick fingers and again at 26 same height 165lbs with sausage fingers. I hope to climb it every few years until my old ass won't make it out there anymore.
By Kurt Prond
From: Bozeman, MT
Feb 16, 2011
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

This was one of the best climbs I've done. Every pitch was high quality. The crux on pitch is definitely hard, but well protected (green C3's, bring 2 if you have them) and also had some good stances to rest. Some guides say the 6th pitch is scary offwidth to the top of the small tower, but it makes a lot more sense to tunnel through and start the last pitch on the big ledge on the west side, and it is only 5.7. Don't be scared by it. The last pitch is quality!!! Very long.
By quinndalina
From: Estes Park
Apr 20, 2011

Wondering why peeps just don't go to the top? Like Levitation, you can go up 2 more pitches! The pitch above the "last" of Cloud Tower is a safely bolted banged out corner that has a short (relatively) crux section! Rather than rapping in the middle of the wall! Book gives it a 12d rating (which I wouldn't doubt). I personally enjoy a summit view. Rap Crimson!
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 22, 2011

well pG,

Getting up .11+ is a good deal different than getting up .12+ for one. Also, have you ever rapped Crimson? Maybe it would be a better statement to ask why Crimson Chrysalizers don't rap Cloud Tower.
By Kevin Volkening
May 25, 2011
rating: 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a

Climbed this route back to back with several routes in Zion. The routes are far better and provide a much greater experience. Stellar climb for Red Rocks, but only a good climb in comparison to the greater US. If the crux only gets 11d than the rest of the route gets: 5.7, 5.9, 11d, 10-, 10.
By eDixon
From: Durango, Colorado
Jun 17, 2011
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

Definitely link P1 & P2 to a good ledge with a tree. P3 is a super fun splitter (5.10-). P4 protects well and is cool stemming and liebacks with face holds mixed in (5.11+). The tunnel through was no big deal for an average sized guy like me (5.7). Description calls the final corner 110', I remember it being more like 150' (5.11). Great route!
By Rainbowweinstock
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 25, 2011
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Great route! Mostly a ton of 5.10 splitter climbing. Here are a few notes from our day out:

The P1+P2 link up goes down well using a 60, with just a hair of easy simuling to get to the fixed slings at the beginning of the ledge system.

For the crux (P4) I found a double set of tiny to small cams gets the job done i.e. doubles of green, purples, red and yellow C3s or similar. Larger than that, having a set of cams from .4-#2 camalot is sufficient on that pitch also. This pitch is way harder that anything else on the route, but can readily be hang dogged/french freed if need be. Clean falls on good, but small gear. I placed the singular nut we used on the whole route on the pitch- a mid sized nut on the traverse into the corner. RP's aren't necessary.

There are fixed anchors on top of P1, P2, P3 and P4 but not P5. The first two are slings around natural anchors the 3rd and the 4th are bolts. P6 has a slung block you can rap from, but belaying off of it wouldn't work out too well.

On another note, the raps are pretty annoying and a touch confusing, especially since there aren't rap lengths in Handren's book. We burned a lot of time going back and forth from a two rope to a one rope system. Here is what I would try next time:

1st rappel- double rope rappel to the mid-size tree, skipping the large sloping ledge with the fixed bolt anchor

2nd rappel- double rope rappel to the scraggly tree towards top of the gully

3rd rappel- approximately 200' double rope rappel straight down the clean face below to the huge ledge system

4th rappel- walk across the ledge to the top of P2 and do a single rope rappel to the slung block.

5th rappel- double rope (or single with a 70m) rappel to the ground

Note: You could likely link the last two raps with two 60m ropes with stretch, but based upon the nature of the crack, you would have a healthy chance of getting your rope severely stuck in the crack. The two cut ropes deep in the crack seem to be pretty good testament to this.
By Spencer Weiler
From: SLC, UT
Nov 29, 2011

Stupendous climb! The best part about this climb is the belay ledges. No hanging belays! Linking 1-2 saves time and is easy to do with a 70m, though the halfway belay isn't bad to stop at. The top of pitch 2 is a humungous ledge. My wife was a bit startled up pitch 3 when there was a 5.8 face traverse sans pro for a good 15 feet, but its easy. The crux corner actually has 2 old 1/4" bolts on it that aren't encouraging or necessary but what the heck, clip them anyway. The corner itself was harder than I expected, green-red c3 size most of the way. Only one good bolt for a anchor at the top of this one. Pitch 5 was my favorite, a gorgeous splitter crack. Triples #3 camalot with 2 #4 camalots was just enough. Don't get too scared when the crack widens to #6 camalot size, there is a finger crack in the back for good pro. Then tunnel pitch is easy, a couple chimney moves and you're clear. The last pitch is a doozie. Use your triple #1-#3 camalots wisely, backcleaning when possible. There are a bunch of awkward bulges with no feet that make this one hard. If this were in IC you would bring 5 of each size and place all of them no problem. The top of this pitch has about 5 bolts of varying quality on a crappy ledge. We toproped it with one 70m.
Rainbowweinstock's comments about the rappels were spot on, my only clarification is on the 2nd rappel from the big tree, put the rope to the rappelers right of the huge block, rapelling back towards the climb. The rappels were some of the easiest I've done in Red Rocks, easy pulls with nothing to get caught on on big ledges. 5 star route.
By Cultivating Mass
Nov 30, 2011

Unless Spencer's ascent has happened since bolts sprouted left and right on the route and disappeared in other spots, the bolt counts he describes do not exist. There is one untrustworty bolt (the only pro bolt on the climb) at the start of the thin corner pitch, then two good bolts above-easy to rap from here, if you feel like missing the stellar upper handcrack pitches. The final belay (as installed by PVB etc back in the day) has three bolts by my memory, not five, and the "extension" pitches (chipped crap, thanks so much for that, johnny-come-lately sport climbers) above have pro bolts and bolted anchors, but nothing approaching five bolts at a stance.

Sounds like math/memory issues to me. Otherwise sounds right on, glad you enjoyed the route.
By Josh Janes
Mar 28, 2012

Regarding bolt replacement:

  • The anchor immediately below the crux pitch is good.
  • The first pro bolt on the crux pitch is a 1/4" er and in bad shape. It is my opinion that it should be pulled and not replaced as there is a bomber blue TCU/green Alien placement right next to it and a bomber wire a few feet higher. These placements are actually more in line with the climbing as well.
  • The second pro bolt on the crux pitch is a 3/8" er, in apparently decent shape except for a thin Leeper hanger. It is my opinion that this bolt should also be pulled and not replaced as there are various bomber cam placements of all sizes immediately below, in line with, and above the bolt.
  • The anchor atop the crux pitch has one good bolt, a 1/4" button head that is bad, and another 1/4" er that is also bad. This anchor doesn't really need to be replaced because there is good gear in the crack for an anchor here, but there is bail gear on these bolts so maybe people use it for rappelling?
  • The next anchor is the one atop the Indian Creek hand crack pitch. It has four or five bolts, only one of which appears good, and a lot of tat. Since this is the start of the rap route, it should probably be cleaned up to be a nice 2 bolt station with decent hardware.
  • I can't comment on the rap route's bolts because we continued to the top.
  • The bolts on the 12d pitch are good.
  • The bolted anchor below the 5.10 OW is good.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Mar 28, 2012
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

The rap route bolts are in good condition- as there is only one set of bolts on the rap route. These bolts are found on the first rappel from the top of the 11c pitch. The rest of the rappels are off of trees which could use some new slings/cord.
By El scorpion
Apr 5, 2012

Could you rap the route with a single 80M?
By Cultivating Mass
Apr 24, 2012

Some differing opinions have been circulating on what should be done regarding bolt replacement on Cloud Tower. I sat down and had beer with Paul and Richard (Nick had to work+couldn't make it) as well as Shirtless and here's what I got:

1: Paul can outdrink me.
2: Richard Harrison will never stop being a straight-up badass. Fact.
3: (this is kinda the important part):

NONE OF THE BOLTS CLIPPED BY MODERN CLIMBERS WAS PLACED BY PAUL VAN B, RICHARD H, OR NICK N.

The original attempts made on the line were by none other than Randall Grandstaff, protege of Joe Herbst (who also placed bolts next to cracks back before adequate clean pro existed) along with Paul Crawford of Tahoe fame. They pushed the route above the first .11 pitch, but did not send. Pro bolts and bail/belay anchors were placed PRIOR to the send by the FA party. All of the bolts at the final station on the original free route (ends just above the Creek splitter) are full-on retrobolts, placed after several/maybe many ascents had been ticked. The FA party has the understanding that some of the changes that occured on the route since the early days were at the behest of McQuade, who chipped the first extension pitch, and also pried out the flexy flake that was the meat of the P7 anchor (RPs placed by PVB after projectile vomiting from the stress of onsighting the final pitch at the end of a long day) as well as the large blocks that forced early parties to offwidth to the top of the tower rather than tunnel through.

There are a lot of good stories about this route around, but here are a couple of good facts worth sharing:

The FA party rated the route 11 b/c and still believe it to be so.

Paul and Richard understand that ASCA protocol and individual bolt preferences are pushing people to want to alter their route, and have the following solution: the anchors should be reduced to 2 good stainless bolts at all stations and set up for raps. Both pro bolts have been requested by 2/3 majority of the first ascent party (again, Nick couldn't make it and we've been playing phone tag) to be LEFT THE FUCK ALONE. The consensus is that since there are good gear placements nearby, just leave the old Grandstaff/Crawford bolts alone. New bolts are not necessary to protect the climb, and chopping them smacks of the same type of "this route's now kinda MY route" flavor that McQuade put out there. The first ascentionists want the old pro bolts on P4 left alone. Period. For historical flavor, for respect for the dead, for just not making the route the scene of some stupid controversy.

Hope that settles things, it was a pleasure hanging with those guys as always and with the utmost respect for all of their contributions to putting up routes in Red Rock in the very best style request that anyone planning on carrying out bolt replacement work abide by their wishes. -K
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
May 8, 2012
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Thanks for the history Killis.

This does raise a question though, you wrote:
"The first ascentionists want the old pro bolts on P4 left alone. Period"

As you related it, PVB/RH/NN weren't the FA of that pitch. So in a sense, they did something similar to McQuade (minus the chipping), they extended the route by adding pitches. Their ending point is kind of in the middle of nowhere, understandable because the rock quality deteriorates signficantly, but nevertheless they didn't end at a "logical" place like the top of a tower, big ledge, etc. So if your concern is the wishes of the FA-ists, seems to me you should be talking with the people who established that pitch, i.e. Crawford.
By Cultivating Mass
May 10, 2012

It's not Crawford's route, Will, so that doesn't click. He+Randy tried it and didn't get it. Also, comparing a ground-up send of a ground-up project to anything even remotely related to a chipped, rap-bolted "extension" isn't making much sense.

I can call Crawford anytime, but to ask him about this? The guys that freed the thing in good style have spoken. I guess you think I need McQuade's permission to replace the anchors he retrobolted on, too?

I'm not sure this post or the last one add much of value to the collective consciousness. Now, Unconsciousness....

Drink your Robitussin and go to sleep, America. Somewhere, the bolt fairy is plucking ringtail teeth from a crack and turning them into stainless hangers.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
May 4, 2013
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Few notes for the masses.

1) A 60m line works well to link the first two pitches and the fist crack/tunnel pitch. This lets you casually do the route in 5 pitches. Note: The final pitch goes into the sun around 1pm, so get up early and move quickly to avoid baking on it!

2) Rack. Lots of opinions. If i had to do it again, I'd take doubles from tiny to .75 Camalot, with a triple purple metolius. I'd also triple up on #1 and #2 camalots. Toss-up between four #3 Camalots or 3 of them plus a 3.5 Camalot. Two #4 camalots. This makes every pitch pretty casual. You can take some stoppers, but you dont really need them.

3) Hauling. Take a small pack and haul it up the crux pitch with all the big gear rather than have the second climb with it. This allows everyone to climb light. On the last pitch, if you're rappelling, lower the pack with the excess gear on the tag line to the ledge below and pick it up later. Easy and again, everyone gets to climb light.

4) Bolts. This climb NEEDS one new anchor bolt at the last station and have the rest of that crap cleaned up. Optionally, you could fix the station at the top of the crux with one bolt and chop the two 1/4"ers that are currently there. You can back that station up.

5) Rappels. Following Handren and Rainbow's beta, the following worked REALLY well for us, and I'd recommend it.

1st Rappel: From last anchor to the tree about 30' below the big ledge- 200' rappel.
2nd Rappel: From Tree to tree at base of sheer wall below (skip the chockstone station)- 150' rappel.
3rd Rappel: From tree to Tree on ledge. 95' rappel, one rope.
4th Rappel: From Tree on ledge to top of 2nd 5.8 pitch, 90' rappel, one rope.
5th Rappel: From top of 2nd 5.8 pitch to top of 1st 5.8 pitch, 50' one rope.
6th Rappel: From top of 1st 5.8 pitch to ground, 150' two ropes.

The reason I broke up those rappels rather than link them is due to the terrain- its a gnarly rope eating maze up there- better to break it up- this is especially true on the final two rappels- your rope WILL get stuck if you try to link them! Also, walk WAY uphill past a biggish tree to pull from the ground, lest your rope joins the others about 50' up.

Good luck, have fun- this thing is GREAT. So much fun, and a great challenge if you're getting into the grade!
By Jared Wicks
From: Las Vegas
Nov 13, 2013
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Climbed this yesterday and was extremely impressed... Amazing route for sure, quite humbling as well.

Reference the rack, we followed John's post above and it was perfect. We took 70's with us and followed the link-up beta as well and had room to spare.

We also followed John's Rappel beta. A little care should be taken on the 2nd Rappel when pulling as we found it rather easy to get the rope stuck on the small tower above you after you pull.

On a final note, we got a #1 C4 stuck at the top of the final pitch. We tried forever to get that puppy out but it wasn't budging. I know this is a long shot, but... If anyone is feeling chivalrous and feels like getting it out and returning it, I'll throw $20 and some delicious homebrew at you for your efforts! (You can't blame a guy for trying!)

All in all, fantastic route that is not to be missed.
By RNclimber
From: Riverside, Ca
Nov 16, 2013
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

I highly recommend following John Wilder's rap beta. We attempted to link the last two raps (top of pitch two to the ground) and made it down safely BUT did get out rope stuck. Took us 2 hours combined trying to pull it down. My partner ended up hooking himself back on one strand while i gave him a firemans belay and he had to climb all the wayback up to top of pitch two.

sooooooo

RAP from top of pitch two to top of pitch one then to the ground. Don't combined. There are a lot of stuck ropes in a crack on the way down.
By Whippin
From: Bend, OR
Mar 22, 2014

As of 3/21/14 there are two fixed TCUs on the crux pitch.

There is a gear belay at the top of the long 10c pitch (right before the slot). I used a .5, a .75 and a 1 C4 (ideally it's two .5s and a .75 if I did it again)
By blakeherrington
Apr 1, 2014

Topout beta / Rainbow Wall Link Beta

From the standard end of the route after the hand crack:

P6 - Overhanging ~.12d on sandy rock and fragile flakes - easily pulled through due to close bolts. Also easily combined with the 35m hand crack pitch below.

P7 - Climb the smooth 5.10 OW/Squeeze above, which would be hard to protect with anything smaller than a #6, and even that might not work. Or simply walk to the right 10m and then follow a 5.easy corner leftish to the same large ledge. You will be under a big blank wall with a mungy corner out right or a steep chimney up and left.

P8 - The Chimney - This thing is the gaping chasm in the prow of the wall up and to the left. It looks horrendous but it is actually splitter and awesome, with numerous short good cracks and fun climbing behind large chockstones. 5.10b


Now after truly topping out on the feature, it is possible to walk down and right, eventually picking up cairns and a goat trail, and even a hand line at one point, which descends and cuts across toward the bowl beneath Rainbow Wall. You have to lose several hundred feet of elevation and deal with typical desert convoluted terrain in passing across a major gully, so it is more complex than simply walking across the hill at the level of the bottom of Rainbow Wall.

70m rap from the standard finish -
1 -Rap the final pitch back to the belay (35m)
2 -Rap off the slings/tat beneath the final pitch, down and right to tree 30' below big ledge
3 -Rap to Chockstone anchor
4 -Rap to tree at base of sheer wall
5 -Rap from tree to Tree on ledge. 95' rappel
6 - Rap From Tree on ledge to top of 2nd 5.8 pitch, 90' rappel
7 - Rap From top of 2nd 5.8 pitch to top of 1st 5.8 pitch, 50'
8 - Rap P1 - Super close to 35m, watch your ends! (easy few meters of downclimbing may be required)
By c vaughan
Apr 13, 2014

Did this a couple of days ago, good times.
-we took a single 70m and the only sketchy bit was getting back to the base of the last pitch ("indian creek" rt. facing dihedral, I believe this is p7 in the book) I think the book lists this at 110' but with my 70m it involved shenanigans.
-next rap, we skipped the ledge to the tree which was also a little funky (pendulum potential)
- last rap came up a few feet short, but super casual.
-still two fixed cams, two bolts on the crux pitch.
-we linked 1&2 and 5&6 without issue (used a high cam on the tunnel just to keep the rope out of the loose stuff).
-regarding difficulty, I'm not qualified to comment, the last pitch worked me.
-but,... just to stir the pot,... why grade IV commitment? The approach took under an hour with braided trail navigation. We took no pack on route, but I had an extra number four, because of my miserable crack technique.
-sun hit p7 a little after one and we rapped in the shade.

enjoy,