Excellent Adventure is a fantastic, memorable rock climb. It's full of great moves, airy postions, fiddley gear, and exciting runouts. The only two detractors from this being a neo-classic are that the second and third pitches feel ever so slightly contrived (although the climbing is still very good) and the fact that Mike Tupper's homemade hangers seem quite dubious.
The climb starts right off of the water pools at the base of the Dark Shadows wall. It's worth taking some time to identify the correct line: There are four routes that take off from this area, each with two bolts up the water-polished slab. The right-most one, with nice modern hangers, departs from the boulder above the waterfall and is the famous Dark Shadows. Next is Sandstone Sandwich, which is best approached by traversing in from the boulder. It has modern hangers as well. The next one is Excellent Adventure which currently has homemade hangers. Finally, the left-most is Risky Business. All of these bolts can be hard to pick out without careful inspection.
P1: Step onto some rocks and then up onto the face immediately below the homemade hangers. You are aiming for the right end of a white roof about 75' up. Climb the slab easily to the second bolt, then perform a difficult move (5.10) past this bolt and continue up to the edge of the roof. Pull the roof a few feet left of the right edge onto a steep face and a tips crack of sorts. Climb up past a bolt or two until you can trend left into an easy right-diagonalling crack system. Follow this to a spacious belay ledge that gives good views of Dark Shadows.
P2: Step directly left off the belay around the blunt arete and up to a bolt. Swain's description speaks of down climbing but this is unnecessary. Climb up to a second bolt (tough move immediately before the clip) then head almost straight left to easier ground. The moves left from this bolt are the crux of the climb and check in at about 5.11b/c (this section felt slightly contrived as the bolts force you to avoid easier, more obvious climbing). Continue up past more bolts to easier climbing. The rock here is steep and the gear spacing is sporty! Right when things get blank again you can step left around a blunt arete to the anchor. Do not step left too soon and do not belay at the nice modern-bolted station that is a part of Risky Business.
P3: This is the psychological crux of the route - great climbing but a lot of 5.10 moves way out from gear. Contrary to Swain's description, this is not scary for the second at all (solid TR the whole time) - definately put the cool-headed leader on this pitch. Also, the scale/proportions in his topo for this pitch are way off: it would appear in the topo that there are only four bolts (instead of five) and that after you clip the last one you head straight left for a long ways. In actuality, after you clip the last bolt, you go straight up for a long ways, and you don't have to go all that far left to reach the anchor. Here's the description: Climb up off the belay past four bolts with homemade hangers. The line of bolts trend out right over the huge Heart of Darkness roof. The fourth clip is a tough one. From here you'll see an old stud out right (ignore this), and an obvious 5th bolt directly above. Head up to this fifth bolt. Take a deep breath and punch it for 30+ feet of 5.10 climbing straight up the face to a horn and overlap (alternatively, it is possible to clip the 5th bolt, then downclimb a move or two then head almost directly right (5.10+/5.11- moves) 15' to a huge hole in the rock. From here climb up about 10-20', then traverse back left along a natural line of holds until you are directly above (by 15-20 feet or so) the 5th bolt again. Continue up to the aformentioned horn and overlap ). Load the overlap up with thank-God gear and get a good shake, then continue straight up on more neat 5.10 climbing past several RP placements. After about 20 feet you'll see the angle of the face eases off - pull up onto a ledge system and walk a few feet to your left to the Risky Business/Excellent Adventure anchors.
Yee Haw! What a route!
Single set of cams to 0.75 Camalot, a #1 Camalot is helpful in a few places. Extra micro gear - small Aliens are extremely useful. Small & medium wires, RP's, HB offsets helpful. A bunch of draws & slings.
|By Arthur Parker|
Jun 4, 2005
On the last pitch,after the fifth bolt the route goes more or less straight up the wall moving between a couple of varnished flakes where you can get some pro. This is no harder than the necky moves needed to reach the fifth bolt. The detour into Heart of Darkness avoids a great piece of wall climbing.
|By J. Thompson|
From: denver, co
Oct 1, 2005
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
This route is awesome....between it and risky business there are 2 of the best routes(At the grade and possibly overall) in Red Rock right next to each other.
I disagree with some of what has been said above... Neither I nor my partner (who is one of the most prolific FAer's in the area) thought the route was the least bit contrived. On the second pitch I found the Swain description of downclimbing to be the way to go...it is possible to step directly left but either way works fine. The bolts do keep you from using a line of holds to the left...but these are the top of the second pitch of Risky business and I found the separate climbing on EA to be a very good and independent line.
The 3rd pitch is somewhat runout and very scary...after the fifth bolt there is good gear before you step back left and this greatly reduces the runout nature...using a standard length sling on this piece and at the overlap keeps you from having any rope drag.
If you're ready...do this climb you won't regret it!!
|By Isaac T.|
From: Rockville, MD
Sep 27, 2008
To the left of Excellent Adventures there is a single pitch (27 m) climb with Mussy Hook anchors. The route is just below the large offwidth that you see when approaching this area. Any beta on ratings, FA, etc...?
|By Jeff G.|
From: Fort Collins
Mar 23, 2009
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
This is a great route! I didn't feel it was contrived at all. The second pitch has the hardest technical moves but the third pitch is harder overall and would be much scarier to lead. The third pitch has a few moves that I would rate 11a, I think 5.10 is a big sandbag. The third pitch is not scary for the second as all the guidebooks state. The swing potential is quite short anywhere on the pitch for the second. Raps can be done with a single 70m cord down Risky Business on new stainless rap stations.
Apr 27, 2011
For me the best route I climbed in the two weeks there, better than Levitation 29.
Great but serious to lead.
|By Tim Wolfe|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 18, 2013
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R
Josh Janes told me a fall off the third pitch would be safe since you would clear a roof and sky into pure air. I have confirmed this opinion (see the photo) though it did do some damage to the sheath (not core) of the rope. Amazingly thin, balancy, scary climbing. After 5 bolts and some gear higher up and a huge looking further runnout I bailed not wanting to test the theory (and the rope) twice.
Apr 25, 2013
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13
I think calling it R is nonsense. Its bolted, jut not as well as in other places in RR. I admit it did make me almost shit my pants as I hate falling but its only scary , not dangerous IMHO. Getting to 1st bolt on 3rd pitch maybe a little runout but its on easy 5.8ish climbing. difficulty-wise I think its more like 11+ than 11a compared to other climbs in RR .
|By Mason Caiby|
Mar 30, 2014
super good route
a couple of the lower holds on p1 are flexing- be careful.
not too run anywhere. the headiest parts are generally safe. the top of the final pitch has a move above a bolt. not sure if id give it an "r" maybe PG11-13
|By Vlad S|
Apr 23, 2014
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
On the last pitch after the last bolt I forgot what the topo says and decided to quest over to the left on a gently rising traverse since it looked like the easiest option (I didn't see any chalk above). It's about 30 foot horizontal runout, but seemed pretty easy (5.9?) and was very secure. This way it can be linked into the last 15 feet of Risky business. I don't really get the grade inflation here. 11a in the guidebook and it's really not any harder. The hardest moves were just after the 2nd bolt on p 2 and between the last few bolts on p 3. Really stellar route!
|By peachy spohn|
May 15, 2014
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Amazing route! Excellent position and extremely fun moves. I would agree with the R rating as you could take long falls with the possibility of getting hurt...especially if any flake were to break. That being said the most difficult moves have bolts nearby. Loved the route!