|Rigid Designator Amphitheatre
BETA PHOTO: Designator area as of 11/18/03.
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.
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.
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.
R. Hooded Cobra, M8-, 1p, 80', bolts.
S. Red Bull and Vodka, M11, (P1 M8+), 2p, bolts.
T. Amphibian, WI 5+ M9 (P1 WI5 M8), 2p, 105', bolts.
UT. Godzilla, WI5 M8, 1p, 105', bolts & screw.
V. Built for Comfort, M9, 1p, 85', bolts.
W. Fatman and Robin, M9, 2p, gear & bolts.
X. Little Higher, M7+, 1p, bolts.
Y. For the Ladies, M9, 1p, 85', bolts.
Z. Steel Balls, M9, 1p, bolts.
AA. Fuck The System, M8-9, 1p, bolts.
BB. "Unnamed", M8, 1p, 40', bolts.
CC. Choss Corner, M6, 1p, 40', bolts.
Browse More Classics in Rigid Designator Amphitheatre
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rigid Designator Amphitheatre:
WI5- M6+ Trad, Sport, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 85 feet
WI5-6 Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 130 feet, Grade II
WI5+ M9 Trad, Mixed, Ice, 2 pitches, 105 feet
Featured Route For Rigid Designator Amphitheatre
The Thang aka Frigid Inseminator
WI5+ M5+ R CO
: CO Ice & Mixed
: ... : Rigid Designator Amphitheat...
This is a terrific, little route. It is surprising to not find it in the ice database here until now. The line has been called many things: Thang, Little Thang, Frigid Inseminator, Rigid Inseminator, The Tongue, and others (per C. Burns & J. Roberts). This enticing dribble lies just L behind The Fang and to the R of the Seventh Tentacle. The ice rarely reaches the ground. It stirs the imagination every moderate climber who walks beneath it or watches Jeff Lowe's le...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
|Photos of Rigid Designator Amphitheatre Slideshow
The Fang seems to be the star of the Amphitheatre ...
BETA PHOTO: Amphitheatre area. Designator on the left, Fang o...
Mike on Black Mamba (Photo: Brian Aitken)
Justin climbing Amphibian (Photo: Brian Aitken)
Justin on The Fang, Mike on Black Mamba (Photo: Br...
BETA PHOTO: Rigid Designator Amphitheatre 12/06.
The Dez, Dec. '09.
Newer right side routes.
The Little Thang.
The night crew.
|Comments on Rigid Designator Amphitheatre
|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 Chad Stebbins|
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.
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|
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?
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?