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.
Some will arguably consider this the premier section of the premier cliff of the premier area for the Denver Metro area. Many will agree that it contains the premier route for the area with The Naked Edge. This section of Redgarden Wall will include terrain left of Redguard extending to Ruper and including all above the Roof Routes and above the Lower Ramp.
Wow, what an amazing stretch of rock with an amazing history. It all began, as documneted in B. Godfrey's & D. Chelton's Climb!, with the first ascent of T2 by Layton Kor & Gerry Roach in 1959, starting with the intro by Kor of "want to go climbing tomorrow, Gerry?", "Sure, Layton, what's up?", "Uh, just a route in Eldorado. I'll pick you up at 4 a.m." The climb proceeded as planned with the classic-Kor statements during the ascent of "This route's gotta go!" and Tower Two was opened for climbing.
The famous Naked Edge began with Stanley Sheperd visualizing a line up this same buttress while reading the lurid novel Naked Edge (which has been made into a movie). The unstoppable Kor followed a terrified retreat off the line with S. Komito with success in 1962 with B. Culp to open this most famous line. In 1971, Jim Erickson & Duncan Ferguson fulfilled Pat Ament's vision of a free Naked Edge. Subsequently, it has become the goal of ultra-bold soloists and even captured on film of the late-Derek Hersey soloing Naked Edge (along with The Diving Board) in Peter Mortimer's excellent Front Range Freaks. However, note this is a bold line has hazards for even gifted climbers. Some may recall the incredible story documented in Jeff Achey's Climb and in an article in Rock & Ice of Coral Bowman, in 1978, who rappelled off her line and in superhuman fashion grabbed and caught herself barehanded with her haul line, & horribly burned her hands. She saved own her life but the experience completely changed her climbing career. So, be careful up there.
Many videos have celebrated the spectacular climbing here including Peter Mortimer's excellent Scary Faces with its focus on Jules Verne, Beth Bennett & Lynn Hill's video on an early all-female free attempt (title?), and others.
The climbs here are what many of us dream about and live for!
It would be wise to plan your descents before you leave the ground since none are completely obvious. Many of the lines that go to the top can be descended with at least 4 methods. 1) You can rappel the Swanson Arete or Dirty Deed rappels with double ropes. 2) You can downscramble the East Slabs Descent (plan - to be fleshed out with its own separate description) low 4th class- note this is exposed, lengthy, and particularly slippery when wet. You may wind up a long way from your gear and comfortable shoes. Also, the last bit can be challenging in the spring with a wet slab finish or funky downclimb down a chimney. 3) you can rappel the Chockstone Chimney rappels which take you to the top of the Upper Ramp or Meadows. Here, you can rappel the Vertigo rappels (60m or 2 ropes) or carefully descend the Upper Meadows to the rappels below The Naked Edge. 4) You perform the lengthy traverse W or left off the top going to the top of Redgarden Wall around Hot Spur and into the 3rd class+ gully.
To access this section of Redgarden Wall, you should park at the east end of Eldorado Canyon SP, hike uphill briefly, cross the bridge. Here you may choose one of 2 approaches depending on your exact line and preference. To access the furthest R routes, you can hike either around either the L of the The Whale's Tail or you continue upstream, cross the concrete pad, follow the trail, take the right fork and you arrived nearly at the base of T2.
This is probably my favorite route in Eldo. It is long, exciting, has beautiful climbing, better than the Yellow Spur, and the upper half sees little traffic. The first pitch is the crux, a pumpy overhang that will be quite dangerous if you are not solid on it. Climb up fifteen feet to the lip, clip a good drilled angle, and crank onto lower angle rock. if you feel iffy on this section before beginning, you could probably stick clip the pin. The 5.8 above is pretty runout. Take Jules Verne as th...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
The rappel tree on the top of the upper ramp (that puts you more or less at the base of Vertigo) is NOT stable. I was up there last week in high winds and the entire tree was lifting up out of the ground with each gust. I was sitting on the rocks near the tree and was lifted off the ground each time the tree would move. I left a rap anchor that consisted of three equalized stoppers, but I'm afraid the new anchor will be treated like booty gear. The tree may be fine, but under the circumstances I was not willing to trust my life to, "it's probably okay".
In the spirit of accuracy, I didn't actually rappel off the end of my rope. While trying to do the first all-female free ascent of The Edge with Sue Giller, the haul rope got stuck as she led up the third pitch. When Sue returned to the belay at the top of the 2nd pitch (so I could rappel down and free the haul rope from a crack) I quickly set up a rappel on our climbing rope (too quickly it turns out) and started down. When I pushed off to clear a small roof, that pressure flipped open the gates on the two carabiners I'd set up at the belay anchor. Apparently I hadn't reversed the gates and the rope popped out. I did think I was a goner but after falling about 20 feet I came within reach of the haul rope and managed to grab on, though at first I didn't think I would be able to hold it. Unbelievably my hands weren't burned that bad so I was able to unclip the useless rappel rope (after wrapping it around my leg for later) and clip the haul rope in to my "cross carabiner" brake on my waist tape -- while dangling in the air and hanging on with one hand (no harness back then), swing myself back into the rock to pull around the edge and rappel down to the top of the first pitch and clip in. By then my hands were freezing up and Sue helped me retreat. Though I am grateful for my literal strength, I was aware of saying as I looked at the ground zooming up below, prior to seeing the haul rope and grabbing it, "God, I'm not ready to die yet..." Coral