Beginning Feb. 1st each year, a seasonal wildlife closure will be in effect on Redgarden Wall in Eldorado Canyon State Park to protect nesting and roosting sites of the canyon’s falcons. The closure is in effect through July 31st unless lifted early due to early fledging or inactivity.
The closure includes the following climbing routes: The Naked Edge (last 3 pitches only), The Diving Board, Centaur, Redguard (last 3 pitches only), Red Ant, Semi-Wild, Anthill Direct (last 3 pitches only), and The Sidetrack.
Curiosity got us & might get you to check out this historic wander. Although it was described as a popular beginner route in Rossiter's ole guide, I've never seen anyone on it, ever. It got a star, so we checked it out. I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a beginner route. So here comes perhaps a bit of obscurity.
Go to the left/West end of the bench behind Whale's Tail near The Bulge. Find a diagonalling, lower ramp going more left than up.
P1. Find a path of least resistance left along a ramp with somewhat polished scoops past 2 pins and a bolt (probably from another route). Place pro, go around a bulge then move down slightly. There is definitely terrain on this pitch that neither the leader nor the follower would be wise to scream/pitch off. Continue left & up. Rossiter's guide describes a poor belay that we chose to avoid (you'll probably be smarter than us & find a belay in here). This apparently has been upgraded with a bolt. There is a polished little wall with another pin that proves to be meaty for 5.4. I wouldn't recommend this for my 5.4 leading friends. Continue up the ramp left to the big tree at a large ledge. 250 feet, simulclimbing, 5.4d.
P2 or P3. Move down and right perhaps 30 feet to a path of least resistance. Up and right along a crack perhaps 50 feet. Rope drag makes the belay on this huge ledge useful. There are a few fixed pins or bolts here. 80 feet, 5.4.
P3 or P4. Go up and slightly right finding fun face climbing to a large ledge with a tree. You can exit off right here or, better, continue up to another ledge with a smaller tree. Belay. 5.4c/d.
From here, traverse off right to gain the East Slabs descent.
The old quarter incher at the second belay has been replaced.
I don't recommend combining the lower 3 pitches as described by Leo above. Belay after a short lead at the first bolt you come to (a cam backs this up)- this will reduce the chance of getting the rope caught in the flakes one traverses left around near the start of pitch 1. Then belay at the end of the long diagonal section at the newly replaced bolt and a fixed ring angle- to minimize rope stretch in the event of a fall and to allow better communication between climbers. Pitch three goes up and right past a fixed pin and onward to Sidetrack Junction (i.e. the large ledge) etc.
This is an excellent, exposed, and devious route that the 5.4 leader (or follower!) should approach with caution.
Running P1 and 2 together would be OK, I guess, if you were in a hurry and were careful with your gear placements, but why?? It's a great view from the P1 belay and it's comfy. Aside from that, the "small tree about 30 feet short of a huge ledge" (330) for the P3 belay as described in the Rossiter guide is gone. Use the beta from this page instead, and head all the way up to the big tree on Lower Juniper ledge to belay.
This is an extremely nice, early season warm up for more experienced climbers. This is a bit scary for beginners, as a slip on the first lead would result in a bad swing. The pro is reasonable for any competent leader, but I wouldn't suggest this for a rookie. There are several old but still good fixed pitons on p.1. Bring plenty of longer slings to direct the rope from getting hooked on flakes. A 60 meter rope makes this a 2 pitch climb. The upper pitch is very nice climbing on chickenheads with good protection with a light rack of nuts and a few smaller cams.
I've done this climb around 8-10 times, and always have found it to be fun. The 5.4 R rating is a bit of a "sandbag" and is based on finding the absolute easiest line. I'd be more inclined to call it 5.5 R however. Not that big of a deal, though.
For those of you that don't have Rossiter's guides -- either the classic 'Boulder Climbs South' or 'Rock Climbing Eldorado Canyon' -- may I point out that indeed he describes the route as a popular "beginner route". The quotation marks are in his description; I did not add them to indicate I was quoting the text. He is pointing out that, for its given rating, one should approach this "beginner route" with care.
That said, we decided to knock this one out today, wondering why we had overlooked this mini-classic for so many years. Trying to stay true to the line described by Rossiter, including belay stances, we found his description was right on as usual. But, as is the case with many Eldo routes, fixed hardware has been added, removed, upgraded, etc. since the publishing of 'Rock Climbing Eldorado Canyon'. (I haven't gotten my grubby hands on Levin's tome yet to see how his description differs from Rossiter's).
To expand on Levin's entry here on MP, there is a fixed pin on P1 before you traverse around the bulge. Rossiter's "belay with a poor anchor" would indeed be exactly that without the bolt noted by Steve. Decent pro can be had in the shallow crack below it.
Partner led P2, continuing diagonally up and left to another fixed pin, with plenty of spots for cams along the ramp. At pin, route continues more or less straight up, runout, to the bolt and fixed ring-piton anchor Steve describes.
From this belay at end of P2, eyeball the fixed pin approx. 20 feet above you and slightly to your right. Climb pretty much directly to it. From the belay, I ran it out to the pin -- note the eye of the pin is currently half-broken through. After making moves above pin, run it out up the ramp toward the now-larger pine tree 30 feet below and to the right of Lower Juniper Ledge (Rossiter described this tree as 'small'). Just short of the tree, turn right and blast up the "blocky, left-facing dihedral" to a large ledge. Belay here. As of this writing, there is a fixed nut where you enter the dihedral.
We chose to finish with Rossiter's 5.5 S variation that goes straight up to Upper Juniper Ledge from the belay at the end of P3, rather than with the easier traverse off to the right. It protects reasonably well -- I slung a flake near the beginning of the pitch to protect against a ledge fall, and found a couple of decent cam placements higher up.
Thoroughly enjoyable, I think a classic in its rating. It really should see more traffic. But do exercise caution and judgment; like The Bulge, your second needs to be competent.
BTW and FWIW, the photo of 'Bob beginning P.2 on Pseudosidetrack' (submitted by Rodger Raubach) is at the point in the middle of Rossiter's P3 where you turn right at the tree and climb the blocky, left-facing dihedral. Note the tree branch at the top right edge of the photo.
@ Jeffeos I onsight soloed the route with the (licheny) direct finish. The rock is pretty solid by Eldo standards, there is minimal polish, and I didn't find the routefinding difficult (I do a lot of alpine soloing but was new to Eldo at the time). It is definitely exposed in spots especially on the lower ramp. I would say Swanson's Arete (minus getting up to it), Recon, and Breezy all feel mellower from an exposure perspective.
I believe the "R" rating pertains mostly to the first pitch, and I would be more inclined to call it PG-13. The risk factor is more evident to the second, following the first pitch, especially if it's regarded as a "date climb" for an inexperienced GF. I've had several young females get real freaked out by the rapidly found exposure.
That said, this is probably one of the few "easy" routes in Eldorado that could be called a "classic."
By William Thiry From: Lakewood, CO Nov 16, 2013 rating: 5.44a12IV10VD 3c PG13
This is a terrific route, and certainly one of my favorites at Eldo. The exposure is exciting, the climbing easy and fun with good rock and good movement. The protection is reasonable for the experienced leader. It is probably considered 'R' by some because a fall at the wrong spot on p1 or 2 traversing could be serious, but otherwise protection opportunities are ample. PG13 would be my vote.
We finished on the 5.5 direct finish, which was good but would be even better without all of the flaky lichen near the top. PG13 here, too.