The Crystal Freeway is one of the hidden wonders of Vedauwoo. Its a large, flat and upturned slab of granite that forms the north face of the Friction Tower. It appears smooth from a distance, but when you get there you realize it isn't. Its literally peppered with feldspar crystals of all sizes. The bolted routes take advantage of the crystals and will test your toes. However beware, the cracks (like the 5.8 hands testpiece 'Strawberry Jam') are armed with teeth - bring tape! This place is usually sunny, quiet and seemingly remote. These features impart a high degree of uniquness to the area and make it an adventurous place to climb in.
Take the Box Canyon Trail past Old Easy (and MRC) to the next formation on your right - this is the Friction Tower (Crystal Freeway is the north face of this formation). Continue along the trail (which is now gravel) until you see a small bridge. You will now be just past Friction Tower. Ahead you will see the third formation on your right, Turtle Rock. You need to negotiate the upwardly tilted, smooth slabs of Turtle Rock eastward (up and right) to the saddle between it and Friction Tower. Continue along between these two formations about 100 yards and you will see the Crystal Freeway on your right. Go down towards the base sooner rather than later. Access to the routes is easiest along the base of the wall. I know it sounds difficult, but try it! It's worth it.
NOTE: NUMBER 3 on the topo. Tape up or your hands will look like a bowl of mashed berries. Other than that, its simple - jam up the beautiful handcrack. Think about 'swapping sides' at the squeezy crux. The upper half turns into an offwidth trough (think about long pants, gobi knees). If you don't feel comfortable running out the last 30' to the anchors, set a belay (on gear) at the obvious shelf in an alcove. Bring up your second, then do the second short pitch to the top. This climb is ...[more]Browse More Classics in WY
On Rockclimbing.com, I read of two routes on the Crystal Freeway that are bolted and begin to the left of the starts of Northeast Cutoff and Kitchen's Delight. Both of these lines are bolted and are listed as unnamed. We climbed them and are fun and a little easier than the given rating of 5.7. Since they are both unnamed, I would like to call the far left route Dharma Nubs. If and when the F.A. folks read this post and want to rename their routes, I can live with that. I just feel these two fun routes need names and if you give these lines a go, you sure can dig the nubs.
Just post the routes. If the FA shows up to claim them, they'll get renamed. Or I can talk about the one I climbed, although it's been years. Make it clear that these aren't the original names though. When they show up in a guidebook, people tend to get upset.
Sorry about not being dilligent about disseminating information in a timely manner. Tom Kohlman and I added the two routes on the left side of the rock a few years back. I'd been eyeing that stretch of rock for the past twenty years or more, thinking it would be a great place for some more moderate routes on good, clean rock. Initially we were thinking of climbing the rain groove that rises straight above the start of Kitchen Delight but noticed an old Leeper hanger about halfway up. Also another odd bolt up really high. Not wanting to infringe on the existing route, we decided to climb the two lines farther left.
We never gave much thought to names because we didn't figure that anyone willing to walk this far cared about such things. I guess we just referred to the first line (the right one) as ATR (for A Tom Route). The second one we also refer to as ATR. We placed all of the bolts on the lead, carrying my 20-odd pound Hilti drill on our harnesses, so I never was sure about the ratings, probably somewhere between 5.5 and 5.7 according to other folks who've climbed them. My youngest son thinks they're easier than Cold Fingers and about as hard as E.O. Friction, so he says they're 5.5. Other people say he's a miserable sand bagger.
As an historical note: The original climb on this face was named the "Crystal Freeway" by Bob Stevenson in 1968. The name has subsequently been applied to the entire face, and not his original route. The first known line was an unprotected "5.7." It was very "old school" 5.7, and protection was entirely lacking. I remember doing it in Spring, 1969.
Just got back to the parking lot after doing this thing. Did it in one pitch with some dude's single rack that I wasn't used to with nothing bigger than a #3. It was run out and a bit sketchy at times but overall lots of fun to be had on the off width section. I also did the whole thing left side in, so racking on the left was a big mistake on my part, but I still made it with more struggle for gear than I would have preferred. Definitely recommend getting on this thing!