Toward the middle of the wall lie two long aretes that make their way to the top of The Coliseum. Handcrack-a-rete is the obvious hand crack that splits the arete on the right hand side. Start by scrambling to the base of the crack then proceed through the excellent hand crack to a set of bolt anchors approximately 100' up on a great ledge. The crux lies near the beginning of this pitch; here, the crack itself is angled inward (making the jams somewhat awkward) and the feet are thin. As the crack proceeds upward, the angle eases up and the feet become more plentiful.
The second pitch can be attacked via two paths. The most obvious path is to follow the arete upward past a bolt about 10-15' above the belay ledge. Although Gillett states that the gear is sparse, at 5.6 the gear felt comfortable. Another option for the second pitch (also 5.6) is to head further right to a large flake; although I have not done this variation, it appears that the flake is more readily protected than the direct approach. Either way, the pitch ends with at a set of bolt anchors on another nice ledge.
There is a last pitch consisting of a short 5.6 chimney which will gain you the summit, but we chose to rap off from this point. To descend from the second belay station, simply rap to the first and then to the ground. If summiting, walk off to the west or rap off of an anchor located on the ridge further east.
The first two pitches can be linked with a 60 m rope.
This route is located on the second of two nice aretes which gain the summit. This beautiful handcrack can not be missed as it splits the second arete. You will have to do a little scrambling to reach the base of the route.
A traditional rack (you know, nuts, cams, etc) with extras in the hand-sized range for the first pitch.
Approaching the optional belay. Vrainavore 10a is ...
BETA PHOTO: The steep crux hand crack.
A couple of dudes on Handcrack-a-rete.
|Comments on Handcrack-a-rete
|By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett|
Jul 31, 2010
Nice climb, on great rock. After pitch 2, we headed directly up the arete, for a short, so-so 5.7 pitch that ends with a stem across the chimney to easy ground.
Sep 20, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b
The crack on the first pitch is stellar. If you are looking for really good, easy cracks on the Front Range, this should be on your list. The 2nd pitch is also very fun. There are a couple pieces of rock that aren't exactly 100% bomber, but they are good enough that it just sort of adds to the fun.
|By Kevin Wieczorek|
Aug 8, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b
This is a super fun, moderate climb. The pro is good the whole way. I took the right flake on the second pitch, instead of the aręte, which looked slightly more run out. The first two pitches can probably be linked. I did it in three short pitches instead. I was learning to use a solo belay device and stuck to the easiest and best protected options in case I had any shenanigans happen. The last pitch chimney has some serious vegetation at the start but looked better protected than the aręte. Once past the big bush, I climbed chimney and stemmed onto the face. It was fun, but the bushwhacking was obnoxious and I was stung by a wasp; maybe not recommended. From the second anchor, you can rappel the sport route to the climbers’ right and either lead it back up or top rope it. The rappels from the summit are straightforward. The biggest hassle of the day was crossing the creek; it was still at least knee deep and made for an exciting and very wet, crossing.
|By Rich F.|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 30, 2012
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- VS 4c
This was a terrific climb. But with my weak crack climbing skills, I found the steep handcrack crux on this route harder than the 5.8 Hollow Man route one arete over. Highly recommended moderate climb!