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 ADVANCED
Rigid Designator Amphitheatre

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
"Dolly Madison" S 
"Unnamed" S 
7th Chakra T,S 
7th Testicle T,S 
Aberrant Behavior aka LoweKey Lunacy 
Amphibian T 
Built for Comfort S 
Choss Corner S 
Cupcake Corner S 
Dr. Delicate T 
Fang, The T 
Fatman and Robin 
Flying Fortress, The S 
For The Ladies S 
Godzilla T 
Hooded Cobra 
King Cobra/King Cobra Extension S 
Little Higher S 
Lucky S 
Octopussy T 
Pitch Black T 
Red Beard S 
Red Bull and Vodka S 
Reptile T 
Resurrection 
Rigid Designator T 
Rigid Designator Steps, The T 
Seventh Tentacle T 
Somnambulist T 
Superfortress S 
Tatranka 
Thang aka Frigid Inseminator, The T 
Unsorted Routes:

Rigid Designator Amphitheatre  


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 39.64212, -106.33005 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 132,733
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Zeller on Nov 30, 1999
Forecast:
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Best routes for YOU in this area
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Mike on Black Mamba (Photo: Brian Aitken)

Description 

Vail’s Rigid Designator Area is arguably the most famous ice climbing area in Colorado. Although the climbs here are not the longest or hardest in the state, the combination of aesthetic beauty, difficulty, route density, and accessibility make this the premier spot to push your climbing to a new level—regardless of your ability level. Indeed, it was on these climbs that pioneers pushed climbing to new levels in defining pure waterfall and mixed climbing as a sports of their own. Octopussy, Jeff Lowe’s M8 testpiece, is just to the right of the Designator (a world-famous climb in and of itself). The area boasts a variety of slabby ice sheets, incredible ice pillars, and moderate to heinously difficult mixed climbs. Despite the amount of activity in the area, new routes are still being done on the overhanging rock and thin smears of ice that occasionally form above. All of the climbs here are single pitch sport-ice climbs with excellent anchors at the tops of the climbs. All the climbs can be toproped, although leading them first is the only reasonable way of getting to the tops of most of the climbs.

Getting There 

Take I-70 West out of Denver to Vail Ski Area. Find a legal parking spot. Don't walk on the cross country ski tracks.

L->R: 

work in progress, please be patient

A. Dr. Delicate, 8 WI5 M6+, 1p, 100', bolts & gear.
B. Teriebel Traverse, M7?, 1p.
C. Pitch Black, WI4-5 M9, 1p, bolts.
D. Aberrant Behavior aka LoweKey Lunacy, WI6+ M7, 1p, 100', gear & screws.
E. Rigid Designator, WI4-5, 1p, 115', screws.
F1. Somnambulist, M9?, 1p, bolts, gear, and screws.
F2. Resurrection, WI4-5 M7-8, 1p, 90', gear & screws.
G. Unknown, 1p, bolts.
H. Unknown, 1p, bolts.
I. Little Higher, M8-, 1p, 100', bolts.
J. 7th Chakra, M8+, 1p, 100', bolts & screws.
K. 7th Testicle, WI5- M6+, 1p, 85', bolts & screws.
L. Seventh Tentacle, WI5 M5, 1p, bolt, gear, & screws.
above L. Octopussy, M6-8, 2p, 150', bolts & gear.
above L. Reptile, WI5 M9-10, 1p, bolts.
M. Little Thang, WI5 M6, 1p, bolts & screws.
above M. Lucky, WI5+ M9?, 1p, 120', bolts.
N. The Fang, WI5-6, 1p, 135', screws.
OM. Cupcake Corner, M5, 1p, 70', bolts.
P. "Dolly Madison", M6+, 1p, 85', bolts.
QP. Tatranka, M7, 1p, 80', bolts.
RN. King Cobra/King Cobra Extension, M11-, 1p, 115', bolts.
R. Hooded Cobra, M8-, 1p, 80', bolts.
S. Red Bull and Vodka, M11, (P1 M8+), 2p, bolts.
T2T1SRN. Superfortress, M13, 1p, 115', bolts.
T1. Red Beard, M12, 1p, 115', bolts.
T2T1+. The Flying Fortress, M13, 1p, 115', bolts.
T2. Amphibian, WI 5+ M9 (P1 WI5 M8), 2p, 105', bolts.
UT. Godzilla, WI5 M8, 1p, 105', bolts & screw.
V. Project.
W. Built for Comfort, M9, 1p, 85', bolts.
X. Fatman and Robin, M9, 2p, gear & bolts.
Y. Little Higher, M7+, 1p, bolts.
Z. For the Ladies, M9, 1p, 85', bolts.
AA. Steel Balls, M9, 1p, bolts.
BB. Fuck The System, M8-9, 1p, bolts.
CC. "Unnamed", M8, 1p, 40', bolts.
CC. Choss Corner, M6, 1p, 40', bolts.

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.0 miles from here

32 Total Routes

['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',1],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rigid Designator Amphitheatre:
Hooded Cobra   M8-     Mixed, 1 pitch, 80'   
"Dolly Madison"   M6     Sport, Mixed, 1 pitch, 85'   
Godzilla   WI5 M8     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch   
7th Testicle   WI5- M6+     Trad, Sport, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 85'   
Tatranka   M7     Mixed, 1 pitch, 80'   
"Unnamed"   M8     Sport, Mixed, 1 pitch, 40'   
Little Higher   M8-     Sport, Mixed, 1 pitch, 100'   
Fatman and Robin   M9     Mixed, 2 pitches   
Built for Comfort   M9     Sport, Mixed, 1 pitch, 85'   
The Thang aka Frigid Inseminator   WI5+ M5+ R     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 70'   
Octopussy   WI6 M7-8 R     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 2 pitches, 150'   
The Fang   WI5-6     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 130'   
Amphibian   WI5+ M9     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 2 pitches, 105'   
Seventh Tentacle   WI5 M6     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch   
Red Bull and Vodka   M11     Sport, Mixed, 2 pitches   
Cupcake Corner   WI4-5 M5     Sport, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 70'   
Rigid Designator   WI5-     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 115'   
Browse More Classics in Rigid Designator Amphitheatre

Featured Route For Rigid Designator Amphitheatre
The purple line.

King Cobra/King Cobra Extension M11-  CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Rigid Designator Amphitheat...
King Cobra climbs Hooded Cobra , the right side of the rectangular buttress right of Cupcake Corner, and continues straight up through the upper roof slightly right of The Fang icicles. The extension, which traverses left past two additional bolts at the lip of the roof, is useful when the icicles have collapsed, enabling one to get into the truncated ice on the left side....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Rigid Designator Amphitheatre Slideshow Add Photo
The Fang seems to be the star of the Amphitheatre right now. Sam Lightner Jr. taking his rightful turn on lead. Nice work, Sam!
The Fang seems to be the star of the Amphitheatre ...
Justin on The Fang, Mike on Black Mamba (Photo: Brian Aitken)
Justin on The Fang, Mike on Black Mamba (Photo: Br...
The Little Thang.
The Little Thang.
Justin climbing Amphibian (Photo: Brian Aitken)
Justin climbing Amphibian (Photo: Brian Aitken)
The Dez, Dec. '09.
The Dez, Dec. '09.
Noah on The Fang, pretty heavily edited in terms up bringing the color of the ice out, and I changed Noah's jacket to bright magenta to make him pop off the ice as opposed the the blue jacket he was wearing.
Noah on The Fang, pretty heavily edited in terms u...
Designator area as of 11/18/03.
BETA PHOTO: Designator area as of 11/18/03.
Left to right: purple: King Cobra/King Cobra Extended (M11-); black: Unnamed (M8+); blue: Red Bull and Vodka (M11+); yellow: The Flying Fortress (M13); red: Superfortress (M13); green: Red Beard (M12); orange: Amphibian (M9); lime green: Godzilla (M9); light blue: Project.
BETA PHOTO: Left to right: purple: King Cobra/King Cobra Exten...
Newer right side routes.
Newer right side routes.
Rigid Designator Amphitheatre 12/06.
BETA PHOTO: Rigid Designator Amphitheatre 12/06.
Amphitheatre area.  Designator on the left, Fang on the right.
BETA PHOTO: Amphitheatre area. Designator on the left, Fang o...
Noah on The Fang, pretty heavily edited in terms up bringing the color of the ice out, and I changed Noah's jacket to bright magenta to make him pop off the ice as opposed the the blue jacket he was wearing.
Noah on The Fang, pretty heavily edited in terms u...
The night crew.
The night crew.
Some badass free soloing the fang with the rope to rap off. Seriously fat conditions this year.
Some badass free soloing the fang with the rope to...

Comments on Rigid Designator Amphitheatre Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 16, 2006
By Julian Smith
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 4, 2002
The Rigid Designator Area is pretty fat as of 3/3/02. Rigid Designator and Fang looked way more serious than usual, though. Cold temperatures had the ice very brittle and the flows were very chandeliered. The Fang was running with water. So, what else is new? Spiral Staircase was in much better shape than the aforementioned routes. Secret Probation looked pretty righteous as well. Enjoy.
By Mark Hammond
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Dec 23, 2002
Climbed here today. RD is fat and easy. Lots of pick holes and steps for feet. For a challenge, climb it with no tools. Fang is skinny but connected. It's probably still a bit stupid to lead but fun to TR. Not much on the mixed walls. 7th Tentacle is doable but has a sporty start, Teriebel Traverse is dry as are Amphibian, Fatman & Robin, etc. Some new totally dry lines on the 7th Tentacle/Little Thang wall. Spiral Starcase is broken. Have to dry tool up 20' to get to the ice.
By TBD
Jan 19, 2003
The Fang and the Thang look good. The Thang isn't yet touching the ground but it working on it, 3 bolts are still exposed just right of the flow. The Designator is fat. The left side looked like steep stairs to a ladder. The right side isn't chopped out but has a lot of chandelier. Pro was ok and good stances are [available], but the two aren't found together.
By djcrux
Mar 3, 2003
Spiral Staircase is relatively thin, but it makes for a super fun start. The Fang, Designator and Seventh Tentacle are all in good shape. They are probably a whole grade easier due to the abundance of solid hook placements.
By rich purnell
Dec 30, 2003
Reptile is a jug fest. there is actually one move that may baffle you but is still juggy and that is going from the lower ledge to upper im sure you will be fine. there are over 15 other lines in vail that are worthy as well and others that are possibly harder but who knows. Have fun
By rich purnell
Jan 2, 2004
Lay down that AC crap and show your name. Get real and stop taking the fun out of climbing.
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Jan 20, 2004
Rigid Designator, and surrounding climbs were formed up nicely as of 1/19/04. The left side of the curtain between the pencil, and the eraser formed up all the way to the ground, making a steep and exciting pillar. In my past trips to "the cave", this curtain was never close to touching all the way down. Felt about WI5+? The Eraser also seemed pretty steep comparable to past seasons (slightly overhanging hooks eased with stems off the curtain). I really wanted to stick-clip hang the draws on the mixed climb Quasimodo and go for it, but I just didnt have the guns to try that after a few laps on the blue stuff!!! Looks sweet though! Cold temperatures made for some rock hard ice in places. Spiral Staircase, and Slabbut are both in enjoyable shape, although stiff WI4 in the 6 degree temps we had on Monday! A partner, and good friend spotted some huge vertical ice up near here while snow-shoeing 2 miles up a deep gully this weekend. Details may come soon...
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Jan 23, 2004
Sadly, the house just below the Fang/Desi amphitheatre is up for sale. Prior owners have been climber friendly. Mr. N? Any climbers out there interested in a 5BR, 4.5 BA, house for 3.2M?
By Izza
Mar 16, 2006
Any info on the ice conditions in east Vail as of mid March? When is the end of the season there usually?