From the parking lot, listen for crowd noise, then follow this to the start of the route. Located at the far SE end of the Nautilus, Friday the 13th is tremendously popular (at least the 5.10a start) and for good reason. This climb takes the obvious L-facing corner just right of the deep chimney recess, through a large roof, then, higher, a second even larger (and much more challenging) roof.
P1. The start is the crux, with several off-finger jams to contend with. After a short bit, the crack widens to hands, then fists for short little stretches. There is a 3-bolt chain anchor below the first roof from which many people slingshot toprope (don't hog the route though!). A 5.11- variation climbs left towards the chimney (good climbing) and a steep, hanging crack.
P2. If you want to climb the roof (5.11 something), continue through in one pitch. The initial moves are strenuous but secure, then rounding the lip requires a bit of go-for-it. Belay above in a recess at some fixed anchors.
P3. The final roof (hard 5.11) has a cool cut-your-feet-loose move, on technical thin jams.
This route gets early morning and mid afternoon shade. Truly a classic crack line!
The first pitch takes larger TCUs at the start up to a 3-4" cam (the upper part is a bit wider than it looks). The roof takes hand-size pieces. The upper roof requires large wireds, TCUs in addition to the gear you've brought for the bottom. One rope off from chains at top of the 5.10a part, and from above the first roof (good anchors). Descend from the top via the rap route climbers right, or search left for anchors down the chimney.
I agree completely with Steve's assessment - a superb climb even for gumbies such as myself who can only scratch their way up P1. It's a little more awkward than it appears from the ground, but the jams and the protection are excellent. Take a few #3 and #4 Friends, along with an orange TCU, stand in the queue, and then give it a go.
The second pitch of this climb is also very good. I believe there was a chockstone anchor right after the crux. This pitch is only concidered about 25feet. 11a.
By M.Morley Administrator From: Sacramento, CA Aug 12, 2003
Excellent!!! Rack TCUs (yellow Metolius or equivalent) to #3 Camalot. The crack generally widens as one ascends, so placing gear is pretty straightforward. I would suggest racking on your left side and save a 0.75 Camalot for the top!
One of the best handcracks Vedauwoo has to offer.
By Brian Scoggins From: Eugene, OR Apr 16, 2004 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
A yellow Alien at the start WILL NOT HOLD. I've seen one blow out numerous times when an associate chickened out (not difficult if you're not proficient at the grade). Medium-sized nuts will hold instead. Farther up, this thing eats #2 Camalots like popcorn.
By Brian Scoggins From: Eugene, OR Apr 16, 2004 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Also (nurrrr....) the second pitch goes at 10+ and eats gold Camalots like popcorn but needs a #3.5 Camalot to protect a brief (but easy) wide spot above the roof. Look for little feet and trust your smears and deep hand jams going out the roof on this thing. The third pitch goes at 11-ish. Wild exposure, no feet, campusing between jams for the crux of that. Apparently there is an edge to grab, but Bob says if you have any skill as a crack climber, don't use it.
I agree with one of the previous comments-- if you are a small person, the bottom 20 feet aren't as challenging. I can place a bomber purple cam and go... But the top part where it opens into #3 cams and a bit wider- that section is tough for me.
I think a yellow Alien is totally bomber gear at the initial moves, all about the competence of the climber placing it. The first pitch doesn't have a move harder than 5.9, but it is sustained. Harder for people with small hands up high. The last pitch does not involve campusing as said earlier. Really bomber hands out overhang lead to a good shelf hold above the lip- I bet if Bob was up there he'd use it.
By Brian Scoggins From: Eugene, OR Apr 10, 2006 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
No, Scarpelli was being quick with the beta and he said "If you've got any skill as a crack climber, you won't grab that edge".
"No, Scarpelli was being quick with the beta and he said 'If you've got any skill as a crack climber, you won't grab that edge'."
Lol. Bob has a very good point, which is to learn to climb the crack, not the face around the crack. Same goes for your feet. Learn to jam them in the crack, especially on flared cracks. Rand smears = (secure + good body position most of the time). Edges on the outside of the crack can certainly be useful, but pure reliance on them is foolish. Know how to do both and when to use what.
Led the first pitch, classic! I ripped out my second piece, 0.3 blue Camalot, at the same spot my friend did 4 years earlier...same size cam, too! I got rope burn and a little road rash and almost touched the ground. Had to ball up for the send, and then had to run it out 'cause I only brought one #2 Camalot. Great pitch!
By Mike D From: Fort Collins, CO Nov 11, 2007 rating: 5.11+7a24VIII24E4 6a
How about removing the 10a/b rating for this climb- IT'S WRONG! Only one pitch of this three pitch climb is even close to this (one move of 10a at most). Rating the climb for only its first pitch is ridiculous even if most people don't go on to climb the rest of it. Anyone agree?
I'm with Mike D on this one. The route is rated 5.11+. The first pitch clears the first roof and is rated 5.11a. The second pitch is the business and can be 5.11d or harder depending on your campusing ability between flared hands. There is no third pitch.
Whoever put the chains in below the first roof ought to be castrated: they have completely changed the nature of the route and should be removed. It used to be one of the great Veedauwoo test-pieces. Now it's just another overcrowded tick for people who people who climb on other people's top ropes.
I am so glad that the FHRC in Eldorado has taken a stance against these convenience anchors. Their farsighted understanding of how profoundly these cheese-ball anchors will change the nature of a route and an area has kept Eldo as one of the premier trad areas in the country.
By Brian Scoggins From: Eugene, OR Nov 27, 2007 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
... or if nothing else, they should replace the chains with at least something I'd consider chaining my dog up with. Yeesh. As far as the "P2", the rope drag's gonna be a bitch no matter how you do it, since those bolts don't really provide you with anything, positionwise.
Malcolm, Those chains have been there for well over 20 years and allow a lot of people to be able to do a great 5.10a. A lot of people do not lead 5.11 trad. Why should 5.10 climbers be deprived of a one of the best 5.10 pitches in the area, especially since it has been there so long. I don't view it as a convenience anchor. Leading pitch one and two together would be interesting. With the weight of the rope there would be significant rope drag. I lead the second pitch in 1986 with a belay at the chains and I don't recall there being much drag. Did you lead P1 and P2 as a single pitch? Do you remember much rope drag?
As far as replacing the chains I can't remember or comment on the quality of the belay since I have not been there in a few years, but if it is inadequate, I would support replacement (preferably by the locals if they deem necessary since the last thing I want to do is tell the locals up there what to do.)
P1 and P2 can be combined without rope drag being a concern.
By Bob Rotert Jun 29, 2009 rating: 5.11+7a24VIII24E4 6a
I agree with the rating change for this route and I'm with Malcom. Just because the anchors have been there for a long time doesn't mean they should have been placed there to begin with. Did anyone contact the folks that did the FA to see if they were ok with installing a bolted anchor in the middle of this pitch? This climb was originally put up as a 2 pitch climb because that is how it should've done to be considered a free climb.If you were to use the chain anchor or belay here, since it is not a stance , you're not really freeing this. Technically it's adding Aid/A0 to this first pitch.
It's sad to see this kind of stuff happen to a classic test piece. There are plenty of other good 10s in the area for folks to do. Adding an anchor in the middle of a 5.11 pitch so folks can do only the 10- section of the pitch or belay to break up the crux is free climbing blasphemy along with a very bad precedent to set. I guess there are a lot of folks that don't and won't understand that "old school" perspective. Having climbed in Vedauwoo for over 20 yrs & knowing the mentality from the past, I believe the previous generations of locals would not be in favor of this DAWG anchor!!
Unfortunately the rock and the route have been permanently altered, it's there now, I am sure many will use it and find it convient enough to try to justify it being there.
I watched the great Scarpelli and his lady friend use the anchors below the roof, which may add to their legitimacy. The way that it is broken up now seems to be the best way, and its rating is arrived at because that is the way most people climb it. Please, dismount from your white horse of righteousness.
By Ken Duncan May 25, 2010 rating: 5.11d7a24VIII25E5 6a
Amen, Malcolm and Bob. Adding anchors in the middle of a classic long standing pitch does not fit in Vedauwoo. Doing the first "two" pitches as one with properly placed gear is not a problem as far as rope drag goes.
The first pitch was one of my hardest leads to date, and I am stoked that it's set up the way it is. I understand the purists wanting it to stay clean, but there are a ton of routes with walkoffs and probably first ascents if you don't like the crowds or it being broken up the way it is.
I certainly benefited from the convenience anchor; it was great to be able to play on this line. But I have to agree with the purists - if this route was FA'd as an .11 climbing through the roof, that's how it should be, IMO. There are plenty of nice .10s to be had without splitting up this pitch. I can think of several classics I've been on, all over CO and CA, that have high cruxes. I would hate to see them split by a lower anchor so that those that don't climb at the grade can do the lower portion. If this sort of thing is okay, then it naturally applies to all grades. Do we want 5.12s with intermediate anchors for climbing at 5.11? Do we want 5.7s with intermediate anchors for climbing at 5.6? And I have to think that were it not for the intermediate anchors on Friday the 13th, the rock on this line would be nowhere near as polished....
Just to voice a local opinion, I actually think the anchor is fine. I also think it is fine to add anchors in situations like this where the circumstances fit. I could well imagine a large part of the draw on this particular route is the fact that that pitch is nice and sheltered even in a heavy downpour, and due to its orientation and protected location, it is a great cold weather climb. Does anyone know how the FAist feels about this anchor?
"Chopping" would be destructive and silly, the vast majority of climbers that get on this route only do the 10a pitch to the existing anchors.
By Brian Scoggins From: Eugene, OR Apr 6, 2012 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
I agree that chopping the bolts would be needlessly destructive, especially since they've been in place for decades (they were certainly there when I first visited the climb in 2002).
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Apr 6, 2012
Dusty, rattly memories: maybe they've been there since the mid-1990s. I too agree with leaving the anchors as is. When we first did the first pitch (through the 11- section), we used that intermediate anchor.
It is kind of funny to look at the "com census" rating and so many folk saying it is 10a...well 99% of all only do the first pitch and yes it is 10a. But really... it is a three-pitch climb rated at 11+.
So, if you are not going to do all three pitches then you probably should not give the climb a grade.
I'm generally against chopping anchors. In this case, it seems that primarily Colorado climbers want to have the anchor removed. This is a Vedauwoo route, not Eldo. I'm certain if it were chopped (defacing the rock!) that it would be replaced by the Laramie/Fort Collins locals almost immediately. Don't like it? Climb somewhere/something else that doesn't offend your sensibilities. P.S. I've been climbing in Vedauwoo a LONG time (since 1968).