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The Rotwand Route from the base of the crag.
This is "an historic route" according to some. It is "essential" to others who believe a Rotwand route is a necessary inclusion on an Eldo climber's resume.
Since all the rock looks essentially the same, junky, the start is difficult to pinpoint with accuracy. However, it is about 70' or so to the left of where the southernmost point of the cliff hits the path that traverses along the river. A very indistinct climber's trail leaves the river path about 30 feet before you would have to duck under or climb over a fallen tree that crosses the river path. This 30' climber's trail takes you directly to the foot of the route. The route takes the line of least resistance.
Climb up and slightly right for about 30 feet to a big ledge. (5.4) Traverse left about 50 feet to a good sized tree that is an obvious landmark from the ground. (5.4) Then head up a left-facing corner system, over some small overhangs to the top. (5.7)
I believe the seriousness rating for those with experience on imperfect rock is closer to an s. The rock is bad but not as bad as reputation has it. Test the holds, weight equally distributed, don't pull out/pull down, and step up more than pull on the handholds. Good training for the big limestone walls of the world. (E.g. Canadian Rockies).
One more item worth mentioning: "Sick Mic" Fairchild has done 120 laps on the Rotwand, many of them alone, the last when he graciously showed me this route.
A standard Eldo rack.
Just above the crux on the Rotwand Route (lap 126)...
Looking up at pitch two.
Near the summit on the Rotwand Route, looking down...
Along the loose traverse on pitch one.
The crux is...
BETA PHOTO: Rotwand Route from across the canyon.
The aforementioned Michael Haag in 2007.
The belay partner on the Haag team 2007.
Adding to the summit cairn.
|Comments on Rotwand Route
|By Mic Fairchild|
Oct 24, 2003
Enviro considerations: the Artesian aquifier is just below this rock. be considerate and deposit human waste elsewhere. Legal consids: the east side (descent slab) is not on park property, but belongs to the Eldorado Water bottlers. Use common sense to keep this resource available. Climbing consids: on-sight, this is still a serious undertaking. Not everyone has the experience to make this a safe one.
|By Mic Fairchild|
Jul 14, 2004
speed record (not advisable) 5 min 10 sec on 24 May 04
14 July 2004 completed summit trip #150 on this crag. Mostly on the Rotwand Route (mostly). This rock remains a unique adventure in Eldorado, and while I've pulled off numerous rocks over the years, it seems pretty cleaned off lately. Enjoy and be careful!
|By Michael Haag|
Mar 21, 2007
While climbing this superb historic route today, Mick soloed right past me & took my picture! Although I've been climbing in Eldo for 13 years, this was my first Rotwand Route. HILARIOUS and classic climbing...hats off to Mick! Long live the Rotwand!
|By Mic Fairchild|
Oct 23, 2007
Damn, sports fans. Looks like 200+ summit trips now. It's still the best exfoliating onion-of-a-crag in Eldo! D'ya wanna live forever?
|By Tom Hanson|
Oct 24, 2007
The thing that I've always loved best about Die Rotwand routes is that if you don't like any particular handhold you can just pluck it out and toss it over your shoulder.
|By David Kozak|
Feb 5, 2011
I did this route in November of 1978 or '79, I think. At the base of the route my partner, while belaying me, sat in (or near) a dried up plant that he learned later was most likely poison ivy or sumac (if there's a difference?) and had such a bad allergic reaction that he ended up in the hospital. We loved the route...well, at least I did. I went back over the next few years to do other routes on the Rotwand while my partner decided against such reckless behavior.
|By Rodger Raubach|
Feb 25, 2012
rating: 5.7 X
Previous poster's comment re: Poison Ivy is SPOT ON THE MARK! But this is only ONE of the objective hazards involving this route. The lower portion is quite junky and loose; even though there are cracks available for some "pro" they are associated with loose junk. The second pitch however, is fairly enjoyable and reasonably solid.