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Sentinel Spire
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Lizards & Scorpions w/ Sky on Tuesday 

YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 450', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: Petefish & company, circa 1992
Season: all seasons
Page Views: 1,586
Submitted By: Airbiscuit on Mar 29, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
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BETA PHOTO: Lizards & Scorpions.

Description 

This is one of the Best Routes in The Momument hands down! as well as the prominence of being the most accessible, full-length route out there. Just right of Sentinel Spire (approximately 200') lies a HUGE corner that extends the full length of the canyon wall. (There are two distinct approaches; I recommend climbing from the ground up first, so you know what you are getting into when you downclimb!) (and you will want to do this climb many, many, times!)

Eyeball the large dihedral that makes up this fine route from the rim. The last belay lies directly under the HUGE overhang, and the anchors are hard to see. Grasp a line and an idea where you are going then downclimb a moderately loose but an easy 5.7 pitch to the belay under the overhang. (Do not try to rappel!) Leave slings and rappel two excellent stations to either: terra firma; or, (if you want to avoid an extremely unpleasant and extremely short, 5.11+, dirty fingers crux right off the ground) land on the ledge directly above this section and diss the crap, in lieu of an awesome and sustained 5.10a experience to the rim.

At the ledge, belay off a pixed pin and a cam down low.

Climb exciting 5.10 face for three pins, then enter the chimney. Excellent, clean, and well protected climbing lead to an exposed and super-exciting traverese left onto the ledge with a good anchor. Retrieve your rappel gear.

P2 starts with a what looks like a little mank, (watch your gear!) but in reality; excellent and thought provoking movement lead into a sustained 120' perfect hand crack all the way to the belay. Retrieve your rappel gear.

Continue up the 5.7 line of least resistance out and to the right.
This route is SOOOOOOOOOOO good!


Location 

Start 200 feet climber's left of the start of Medicine Man.


Protection 

Singles with many hand size pieces, few extra thin hands and fingers. If doing the full deal, bring a few small TCUs for the bottom. Nuts, etc. nothing larger than a #4 Friend.



Photos of Lizards & Scorpions w/ Sky on Tuesday Slideshow Add Photo
Lizards' Huge corner.
BETA PHOTO: Lizards' Huge corner.
A view from the summit of Lizards and Scorpions... (5.11) in Colorado National Monument.
A view from the summit of Lizards and Scorpions......
Comments on Lizards & Scorpions w/ Sky on Tuesday Add Comment
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By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Apr 24, 2006
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13

A few notes on this route. It was good, but not a repeater until I've done many more routes- it was not nearly as good as a classic like Desert Solitaire, a few miles away. 3 stars if you consider some bad rock compulsory for a desert wall, otherwise 2 stars. As my partner phrased it: "This route must change every time it is done." Wear helmets and stay alive.

The route is 4 pitches:

P1: 5.11 thin hands and fingers with some layback and smearing. It is all of 25 feet of climbing and is the only physically hard climbing on the route. It is not that sandy and not 11+ unless you have BIG hands, but even then, I'd presume a big reach would come with that and allow you to totally skip the hardest move. The crux protects below a key jam on a 2" cam. That will be at your waist as you do the hardest move. Once your feet are here, you can work in other gear overhead from an OK stance. But how to belay up here without wide gear? You might get in that #4, or might climb up to the first fixed pin and work that into your anchor... There was some loose rock and sand here- I cleaned it out/off as best I could. The pitch seems clean now.

P2: The mental crux is going up the face past 3 pins, on sandy rock. At least the pins seem good, because this is unnerving. Then the chimney, which might be 5.8, and is very well protected with a single run of cams before exiting left to traverse on more sandy crap. I snapped off a handhold and don't know how I made it without a fall from around the crumbing finish corner. The bolt and pin belay needs an update- I finger-tightened the nut on the bolt, which wiggles a bit- perhaps owing in part to the fact that the sealant used around it 21 years ago (in 1985) has mostly come off/out. This has since been abandoned as a practice (the sealant) since it does not work. The pitch is less than 100' long.

P3: The best pitch, 125'- start off with a .75" cam or so, or maybe 2 of them and then go up to a hand-sized placement before reaching good rock. The above description of the route as needing "many hands sized" would be accurate if #3 Friends is the size of your hands. All those 2.5's we had, and gold Camalots were dead weight most of the way. And blue Camalots wouldn't quite fit. Nice exciting runouts were the result. Take maybe five #3's for this great pitch.

P4: I'd complain about all of the bird crap, but since most of the big blocks were securely held in place by it, thus making the climb possible, I'm not sure I have a gripe. The most insecure and dangerous move is protected above by a good large (but blind nut) if you climb and rap in rather than walk in, you could just leave this in... as we did. But then again, do you really want to climb a 5.7 "in poor form."

The route gets sunshine on P1 and the beginning of P2 around 10am, and the belays on P2 at about the same time. The upper pitch gets mid-afternoon sun.

For the approach, which was difficult to be sure of using the above directions... Easy to find, but hard to be sure of. The dihedral faces "climber's left" which is to say, "skier's right."
Find the climb by walking the edge and seeing a 5'X 8' pedestal/ledge recessed down 3' below the main rim. Step down onto this and look back towards the visitor's center, where a huge roof and corner block your views of the 2-pin anchor below the roof. Climb down a wide spot with a few 1.5" cams or tricams for protection for the "Second" and continue out and down for 70' until you at last reach the anchor. Coming around a loose corner (stacked blocks) was the mental crux.

You can get down with a few lines as such:
Climb down the P4 as described- fix and anchor at the top of P3 and set a single rope on it- single line tied, 50m, 60m, whatever... Rap that to the top of P2 (carrying your other rope, a 60m or 70m) Then rap to the bottom of P2 with a 60m (if you are skipping P1 as suggested) or to the base of the crack on P1 on a 70m that and pull your rope. You can now pull the lower line and do all but the top pitch unencumbered by the second rope. You pick it back up at the last belay and tag it out to the top behind you. We left water and a jacket on the anchor above P2 as well, you could also leave all the extra 3" rack of cams here, 'cause you don't need it all for the bottom 2 pitches and it would get in the way in the chimney. But we were not that smart...

By Bryan Gilmore
From: Your Mama
Mar 21, 2007
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13

Actually the first pitch, from the ground, is quite good climbing. Maybe it has cleaned up a bit over the years. I did it on March 16, 2007 and thought it was one of the cleaner sections on the whole route. Good, hard moves to get you warmed up fast. Enjoy!
Great route to do as a back up when your intended route is being aided extremely slowly!

By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 11, 2009

Josh Merriam and I spent about 6 hours cleaning the last pitch of this route. We trundled loose blocks, swept off sand, and shoveled rat shit. The pitch is now much safer and more enjoyable. There is still much cleaning to be done, however.

We left one rat poo-cemented block in place, the one below the 5.7 bulge. It could easily be removed, but we felt that it held some of the original character of the route, and we found it could be avoided while keeping the move at the same grade.

It is quite easy to rappel in with one rope to the pins at the top of P3 (using directionals), but pulling the rope would be a pain. If you don't want to down climb, then just rap with one rope, and climb with another.

The face climbing by the three bolts on P1 is terrifying due to the fragility of the holds. I don't think I'll be doing that part again! When those break off, it's going to be a bit harder. The same goes for the traverse at the end of the pitch.

If you don't mind skipping junk, just rap down to the beginning of the excellent chimney, and climb up from there.

By 007
From: cold as it gets, CO
Jan 10, 2012

The bolt on the main ledge needs to be replaced. The majority of this climb is on very fragile rock. However, the dihedral pitch is one of the best pitches I've climbed at The Monument. Next ascent gets a free runner and some webbing that my partner dropped.