This is a 5.8 climb put up by a 5.13 climber for 5.8 leaders. This route is so much fun, I know I will be driving back all the way from Utah to do it again soon. Thanks to the hard work of Texas Tower Tim Toula, the climbers of Frisco have their own little "Big Wall" that is intelligently protected, with harder variation pitches available for those seeking more challenging climbing, with excellent pitch after pitch of outstanding climbing.
MANY OF THE 15-30m PITCHES MAY BE LINKED OR SIMUL-CLIMBED. The stated number of roped pitches is for clarity, ease of route finding, and ease of partner communication. With that said, when linking pitches, verbal and/or visual communication may be seriously impaired or impossible due to the wandering nature of the route as well as incessantly loud noise pollution from busy I-70. The route offers super fun cruising with memorable movement.
All belays are bolted. Please leave the rappel links and/or carabiners left at the stations for those who need to rappel the route. Many people new to multi-pitch climbs may choose to only climb the lower wall and these stations have been bootyed and re-equipped already numerous times since initially equipping the route. Although first thought to be intended for those new to this type of climbing, popularity has soared raising the number of ascents (as of Nov 2012) to more than 600!
At almost the lowest point or toe of the granite at the base of the climb (7-10 minutes approach time from the car), a nice rope up ledge will be found. Up and right is the start to Royal Rocklette Arete.
[Editor's Note: This was originally submitted as a 20 pitch route, but I doubt anyone has ever done it in that many. With a 60m, it is easy to do in 6-8 roped pitches, plus some unroped walking. Judging from comments and my own experience, that is the norm, so I have changed the official pitch count to 8. See comments for common ways to link pitches. My preference: P1-3: combine #1-12 below with some walking easy. There are so many anchors, just pick one when you think you're running out of rope. P4: combine #13-14 below P5: combine #15-16 below P6: combine #17-20 below -Nick Wilder]
Pitch #1: Climb up the middle of the slab past a couple of bolts passing few obstacles to a two-bolt belay platform. 5.4, 20m.
Pitch #2: Follow a black streak straight up to another two-bolt belay. 5.5, 15m.
Pitch #3: Pass an overlap protected by a bolt and some natural protection opportunities to a two-bolt belay. 5.6, ~15m.
Pitch #4: Lead up and right passing 4 -5 bolts. Four different variations are available for this pitch alone, which may lead to some confusion, but trend right for the ongoing pitches. 5.6, 15m.
Pitch #5: Choose 5.10 out slightly left or 5.6 angling right and up a groove to a White Crystal rock spur to one of 2 two bolt belays. 5.6, 20m.
Pitch #6: Traverse right (or down & right from the 5.10 var on P #5) on a narrow ledge to a tree and then to the base of a white crystal dike. 4th class, 30m.
Pitch #7: Climb the White Crystal Groove either going through Joe's 5.10 mantle variation straight up or start down & right and go to a two bolt belay. 5.7, 30m.
Pitch #8: Climb past 3 bolts (1st may be hard to spot) up a rib to a belay at two-bolts. At the belay is a plaque in memory of our mutual friend, Swiss Mountain Guide Res von Känel, who died in the Alps during the same time while Tim was doing the FA. Royal Flush is similar to many long "Plaisir" climbs in Switzerland. 5.7, 30m.
Pitch #9: Third class (exposed) up and then mostly 2nd class left traversing past 2 small, grungier buttresses. Follow cairns/faint trail, 60+ m.
Pitch #10: The White Rib Pitch. Joe's Cracks are nice offerings to the left (5.6) or pass 3 bolts on a slabby pillar (5.7) and belay near a snag. 30m.
Pitch #11: Go straight up (5.10) or out right up the Grey Beard Slab past a roof and more slab to a two-bolt belay. 5.6, 30m.
Pitch #12: Follow cairns up scree to the base of the apron of the Headwall. 3rd class, ~150m. Look for the bolt line just to the right of a large pine at the base of the Apron.
Pitch #13: Climb a classic pitch up a white streak with memorable holds past 1 pin & 5 bolts. 5.7, 30m.
Pitch #14: Continue past 3 more bolts & cross the gully at the top of the Apron moving left of the prominent cleft dihedral system of Mount Royal to the "Headwall" past 2 bolts to one of 2 two bolt belays. Use the left anchor for the 5.9 version of P15. This anchor is hidden until you walk to the left on a 1 foot ledge system. 5.7, 20m.
Pitch #15: Continue straight up (5.10) from right anchor or from the left anchor to a tricky 5.9 system of steep grooves. These merge after 5 bolts. Interesting moves to a two-bolt belay. 5.9, ~18m.
Pitch #16: Continue up some in-cut, black-colored plaques passing through a fun Gunks-like roof and belay at Yosemite Ledge with a two bolt belay. 5.8, ~18m.
Pitch #17: Climb up to the Grey Shelf past a few bolts. Some small Camalots may be useful here. 5.8, ~18m.
Pitch #18: Climb through some blocky roofs with funky rock past a ledge and a two-bolt belay near a tree. A wall register is found here...spray away. 5.8, ~18m.
Pitch #19: Follow up a coarse, dirt-filled gully slinging pine trees for protection. Beware of some loose rock. Two bolt belay. Exposed 3rd class, 30m.
Pitch #20: Surmount loose blocks to the summit and a sign that asks hikers not to throw rocks due to climbers below. 3rd class, 10m.
Though descent via rappel is always an option if inclement weather strikes, from the top, walking off to the south on a great trail which drops down to the town of Frisco is best. Stay south, going down a bit, and then back up a hill for a total of 1/4 mile until turning left and walking downhill. If you're not on a major trail, you probably tried to head downhill too early. 30-45 minutes.
10 QDs and 4-6 shoulder runners and perhaps a small rack of assorted cams if this is pushing your grade (most people won't need extra pro). All belays are bolted and all cruxes are well protected which deems a light rack adequate for protecting this climb.
If you link P1-3, P4-5, P7-8, P10-11, P13-14, P15-16, P17-18, P19-20, bring at least 13 QDs.
If anyone is climbing today through this weekend, I left a cordelette, a locker, and two biners at the first anchor this morning when we bailed during the rain. If you see it on your way up between now and Sunday, I thought I'd let you know. If you're just climbing the first pitch or messing around, feel free to bring it down to the bottom and leave it around one of the trees. Thanks! Since I'm already here, the rock was pretty wet following the bolt line - I think it runs off right down it. The rest was already dry from last night's rain.
Given the accessibility and enjoyable, well-protected climbing, this is a great climb. Not many places where you can walk 5 minutes on a paved path and get 1500' of pleasant sport climbing. The lower pitches aren't particularly noteworthy, but they are still enjoyable (especially the mantle). The upper pitches are really great. We climbed the route in 8 5th class pitches (no simulclimbing), plus the noted scramble + move the belay type pitches. P1-3 link, and the remaining 5th class pitches linked in sets of 2. The only pitches where linking created rope drag were 13-14, but it was still doable. Kudos to the developers for a lot of hard work. Route is mostly clean, but a few loose holds still exist.
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Jul 17, 2010 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
It reminded me of an out-of-place Flatiron, but it had less consistent grade, a lot of bolts and was a little broken up. It is a good route, but it's not a destination climb. The grades are mostly consistent with gym ratings, and the pitch lengths a bit overstated. That's not a problem - it's just an FYI.
Also, don't expect the route to be 'obvious' from the posting here- it is not and may be hard to follow if this is your guide to it.
Good comments. Not a destination climb for high end climbers, but something of this character is rare, fun, and a great day out for the rest of us....I agree, route finding could be eased up quite a bit by a quality topo. Tony? I suspect you have exceptional skills in this area?
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Jul 22, 2010 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
James, I'm pretty much "Mr Off Route" himself, and I can't draw any better than I could in first grade- and relative to my classmates, I was bad at it then, too. I wish I could be of more help, but all I can really offer is elaboration on the text if people want it.
FYI, I talked to Tim about the route, and I didn't get the impression that he'd be super psyched to see it published in full anywhere with topos and such. I don't regard it as being his route in any way more than authorship, but all things equal to me, I can leave it alone. So, I just fugured to leave the 'mystery' in this one and let people know that it was not super simple.
Still, if there is intent to be more clear, I can attempt to clarify in text a bit.
Thanks, Tony B. Fair enough. With route finding skills and the write-up, I suspect most people will find it pretty easy to follow. I'll be seeing Tim soon enough myself and carry on from there.
By Alex M From: Breckenridge, CO Jul 23, 2010 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a PG13
Really fun afternoon climb. I'm fairly new to climbing so this was my first multi pitch, first of many. I have to say good job to who put this route up, I can only imagine how much work that took. Only complaint is how it is slightly confusing finding the route, better cairns would be nice.
I wouldn't consider this to be a "sport" route, in the sense that a 5.9 sport climber might not be comfortable on it. It is a tad more adventuresome than 5.9 sport routes especially concerning runout, weather, route-finding etc. Plus, you must really feel comfortable with slab climbing. On lichen and moss.
But I do think it is a fun route, and I applaud the work put in by the first ascentionists. Other than the road noise it is a great day out. Definitely link pitches and watch the weather.
Fun climb. Don't let the number of pitches intimidate you. Here are the seven pitches w/ a 70 meter rope:
Pitch 1: Combine pitches 1, 2, 3. Pitch 2: Combine pitches 4, 5. (The walk right to "Pitch 7" (no climbing required)) Pitch 3: Combine pitches 7, 8. (Hike up left through the woods (little climbing required)) Pitch 4: Combine pitches 10, 11. (Hike across boulder field) Pitch 5: Combine pitches 13, 14. Your belay is 30 feet up the vertical wall, not the one at the end of the lower angled terrain. Pitch 6: Combine pitches 15, 16. Long draws help reduce drag in two key places. Pitch 16 was really fun. Pitch 7: Combine pitches 17, 18. If you bring some gear, you can climb past the pitch 18 top anchors to set your belay. This allows for an easy scramble to the top (4th class and easier). Somewhat loose, so rig your rope to not dislodge rocks on your buddies.
I never felt short on rope, so it went pretty well. Not sure how a 60m would do. It took us 4-5 hours with route finding. Thanks for bolting this route. Have fun.
This is a terrific, adventurous route. Look out for falling rock and wear a helmet. We climbed with a single 60m rope in 9 pitches, combining 2-3 “pitches” the whole way. The midway anchors should be considered rappel anchors not belay anchors. In addition to clipping the bolts we only placed 3 pieces of gear on the route, one small nut and two finger sized cams. A fairly relaxed 4-5 hours car to car with no simul-climbing. Some notes: -The route starts just up stream from the first power pole and just upstream from an old signed mine shaft. - pitch 6 is a long traverse (3 bolts), descending a little to the base of the White Crystal Groove (cool feature) or you can angle up after the traverse bolts on an unprotected right ascending foot ramp that joins the Groove (pitch 7) almost half way up. -pitch 12 is more than 100m of 3rd class.
Killer route, thanks so much for the bolts and the hard work installing!
A set of 8-10 quickdraws plus 4-6 extendable draws to cut down on rope drag is sufficient enough to climb each pitch. Trad gear is only needed if you are uncomfortable running it out on easy slab. All the cruxes are protected with ample bolts.
Hello All, I spoke with Peter and Tim the other afternoon and apparently the dynamic duo has been back at it on Royal. I did not get many details as it was raining and they had clients to attend to. The details that I did get were that the new route is harder and not quite as long? Sorry for the lack of useful information but I will try to pry more details from them when I see them next. Cheers, Pat Thompson
By Chris Plesko From: Westminster, CO Aug 14, 2010 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
I was going to leave a bunch of comments to help with route finding after Tony's comment, but I changed my mind. In fact, I think it's just about perfect for this "beginner", semi-alpine route. While it's not always super obvious which way is the right way (though it usually was to me), route finding is not difficult. The variations, at least all that we tried, are not much harder than anything on the standard route, so don't be afraid to try a line that looks like it goes. Be prepared for some minor climbing up and down and looking around and you'll find the route with the above description. To get to the start, all we did was park in the first parking lot off exit 201 (I-70) and walk west down the path to the first power pole and follow the trail/cairns. We were at the base in 5 minutes flat. The route doesn't get much sun in late summer, so dress accordingly. It was a little chilly at 7am.
We brought a small trad rack and didn't place one piece of gear. I'd still recommend bringing a very light rack of small cams if you don't feel super solid at the grade. There are occasional longer runouts but all cruxes are safe. Bring a 70m or longer if you really want to link every possible pitch and then a few extra draws. We linked tons of pitches with a 70m and still usually had rope left so a 60m is fine too. Pitches are always shorter than stated in the description. When it doubt, go for it!
I call it a beginner semi alpine route because there is some lichen and moss and loose rock but it's fairly minor by alpine standards. Wear a helmet and be aware and it's not a big concern. Also with all the bolted belays you can rap the route without leaving gear at any time so commitment factor is lower than normal. Would a 5.9 gym climber feel comfortable here? Maybe not. But real 5.9 outdoor leaders will have a blast, especially if they have someone to share the leads with. The upper headwall pitches are pretty steep and there are roofs at all grades throughout the route. I'm psyched the route equippers did such an excellent job and created a neat and unique route in the Front Range.
Also keep your eyes peeled in late summer, we had a delicious on-route raspberry snack!
By CJ Coccia From: Boulder, CO Aug 15, 2010 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
Chris pretty much said it all! The routes are super fun (especially on the steeper headwall) and the variations are nice. There are some slab type faces that are runout a bit, but it is easier climbing. All the cruxes are well protected (much appreciated!). Thanks to Tim and Peter for all their hard work!
First, this is a great route with unexpectedly outstanding climbing on the clean rock between the tree-covered ledges. Clearly a lot of work went into cleaning and equipping the route. Thanks very much!
The only tricky route finding is locating the start of the climb on the upper headwall. "Follow the cairns" is not too useful if cairns are missing or if there are multiple cairned routes -- as there are now. Here is a better way to find the bottom of pitch 13: Cross the rock pile and aim for the bottom of the large, right-facing dihedral that eventually becomes the prominent, central gully on the upper wall. Once at the bottom of this dihedral, traverse right (roughly west) along the bottom of the apron for about 30 yards. Look for the many bolts on pitch 13 before starting to climb.
Fun, fun. Makes for a great "after work" cruise. Was able to send it in 7 pitches, could have been 6, with a 70m line and some simul. Ideally you could break the route into 3 sections (pitches?): simul the bottom "5" pitches and possibly link them into pitch 7/8 with a bit o' drag across the ledge. Hit the middle section to the talus. Finally bang out the headwall. With 20 draws on the leader it's possible to run it (skipping a few bolts) to the top. Great drillin' guys! Love the ammo box too! Keep an eye across the canyon on White Cliff, some new craggin' lines going in there.
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Aug 26, 2010
Found a pair of scratched up sunglasses, if you want them.
Nice route. Kind of like linking up 4 mini-buttresses. 13 QDs are helpful if you link up as Steve Bond writes and do the 10 variations. Good route to dedicate to Res.
Climbed on September 25. Very fun route for what it is.... That being said, there could be a couple things you should know. There is a bit of hiking involved in getting up the climb. You have to unrope and coil up two times, which is kind of annoying but not avoidable. The upper climbs are very fun moderate climbs and even the 5.10 variation at the start of the headwall is about 5.9. The rock cairns are helpful for getting to the climbs between hikes. Someone needs to bring a knife and some quicklinks for the anchors because the ropes are not safe for rappelling considering the elemental exposure they will endure and the fact that they are directly wrapped through the hangers. It is worth doing if you are a Summit County person who is looking for an adventure.
By Chris I From: Fresno, CA Oct 4, 2010 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a PG13
I will echo Benten's comments. A worthwhile adventure but there are definitely some inconvenient spots, where coiling the rope and hiking around are required. I did a couple of the "5.10" variations and found they were very 5.9ish. Being an alpine route, loose rock was an issue and a scary stone was unleashed just by rope contact- so watch out! A last note- describing this as 20 pitches is a little extreme. Linking pitches was easy (though communication was difficult) and many of the "pitches" are hiking from one wall to another. We probably ended up climbing 8-9 technical roped pitches. The anchor set up is weird also. Those ropes are looking pretty beat up and shouldn't be trusted for much longer. What ever happened to two side by side bolts for a more convenient and traditional anchor? Also, we topped out just as a wild storm rolled through, so watch the weather!
I would never climb this route with a group above me. I pulled off many rocks. Our rope alone dislodged a football-sized rock. Nonetheless, it was an awesome climb and super fun.... P.S. CHECK THE WEATHER REPORT BEFORE CLIMBING. Ha.
By Chris Plesko From: Westminster, CO Jul 3, 2011 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
With an 80m, we linked 1-4, 5-8 (little simul), 10-11, 13-15, 16-18. Pitches not listed we scrambled unroped. I thought the route was a touch more dirty than last fall, but I'm sure some traffic will clean it up. Most of the rock was solid save for p18 to the top and the hard mantle variation on p7(?). Be aware of parties below you as there were 3 groups climbing today. I tried to be as careful as possible and still knocked one rock out of the p19 gully and that's without dragging a rope through it.
Oh, and we never used more than 18 draws including the anchors despite bringing more. We skipped a bolt here and there but clipped most of them.
By Mike Crandall From: Superior, CO Jul 5, 2011 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
Climbed it on July 2, 2011. Surprised/grateful that there wasn't a cattle train on a holiday weekend. Lots of fun!
I recommend just bringing a rack of 13-16 long slings as draws and leave the short sport draws at home. This will reduce the drag if you're linking pitches which most parties are doing.
Lots of potential variations. Looking forward to seeing this area further developed.
My partner Ryan and I are speed climbing Royal Flush from Door to Door. I live approximately 1 mile from the base of Royal Flush. On 7-29-11, our second attempt, we got 63 minutes. It is very exciting and great cardio training. Any challengers?....
By Mike Nevko From: Currently Charlotte Jul 31, 2011
Fun climb. We did this on Saturday, only noticed 3 other parties on the climb. We were able to do it without place 1 piece of pro. Many thanks to those who put this up. Just FYI, it's still a little dirty and lichen-ish, but it's safe climbing.
Head's up, folks, there is a big ugly piece of choss in the end of the "crux" on pitch...uh one of the last 2? moves are 5.9 maybe? Just avoid deadpointing or getting all aggro anywhere on this route, she's still a dirty girl.
"Bradyk", I will call your bluff on 63 mins from 1 mile out off Mt Royal. I live 1 mile from Mt. Royal as well. Drop me a line and I'll bet you a 30-pack of PBR that I can sink a 30-pack on your door-step before you get back from sending the Royal Flush (round trip from your dwelling). Unless you're BASE jumping the summit, the descent alone is a 20 min. jog/run down. Solo you couldn't touch this time, let alone roped-up.... Lifting a PBR to your so called "challange"?!
I second Ryan, there are 2 prominent hunks of rock that are seriously loose (a flake on the lower half and a block in the upper headwall)and will crush someone for sure. Hard to clean them as it could impact climbers not seen below. Hope to someday when we know it's safe, until then heads-up!
Ryan and Brady, you guys seem to be able to rock it out, Awesome! Sharing a rope would be great, maybe we could set a speed record with a 30pk of PBR in tow?! The Happy Hour Speed record? More routes to be done on Royal: 215.499.7832
This is a video my friend Liam took of rocks coming off the headwall while we were climbing it on April 9th, 2012. I'm above him after the traverse on the headwall. Look in top left corner of screen at 00:15 secs and then wait for the gnarly rock showers. Super scary experience.
Fun outing! Great way to beat the heat and avoid the crowds. We did most of the .10 variations and they felt easier than stated. On pitch 15, I took the 5.9 variation around the corner, I thought it provided a better line with more consistent moves. We brought QDs(13-14) with some longer slings. I brought a light rack but did not really need it. The route is well bolted. There has been a lot of work on this route. Great job. Be careful of loose blocks on the upper pitches.
By Casey Graham From: Colorado Springs, CO Jun 22, 2012 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
Great route, easy approach, and nice beginner grade III. We climbed it in 10 pitches but probably could have cut that down to six technical pitches. If you are comfortable with soloing 5.5, you can cut out a lot of time on the first 900 ft or so of the climb by not setting belays every rope length or by just simul-climbing the whole thing. We were a bit confused after the "5th" pitch, just go straight left until you are on a huge ledge with large trees and walk until you see the bolt line.
The upper pitches were solid and well protected. Even with a slight drizzle, we had no problem with the crux pitches up here and had a lot of fun on them. You can definitely link the first two pitches of the headwall (long 5.7 to top of the apron then 5.8ish on the traverse to the 9/10 anchors). You can also link the two crux pitches after that as the rope line is clean and a 70m gets you more than there. Loved the Gunks roof!
Don't bother bringing gear other than draws. It's just not necessary. Definitely bring 14 draws if you are linking pitches though.
Happened to be on this route on Sunday. To the dude in blue trying to simul-climb the whole thing: get there first the next time you try to climb it on a weekend. And to the 6 people who crowded us up the final headwall, hope the rockfall taught you all a valuable lesson. You never want to be under other groups when they are climbing through questionable (i.e. loose) terrain. I actually heard a few of you talking about how the rockfall video was taken from the belay you were at, then you all started bitching at us when a rock came loose. Please be careful, you say? We were being VERY careful! That shit is chossy. It's not rocket science, guys, figure it out.
PERSPECTIVE.... Look, kids, let's not turn the "Frisco Ferrata" route into a pissin' contest. Us locals know the top out harbors loose stuff, some of which could actually KILL you. It's all part of the climbing game, play it how you like...solo without a helmet or do the prescribed 22 pitches via a 25m rope. It's all how you want to enjoy it, but keep it "kleen and fun". I've been up Royal via rock routes probably 3 dozen times. Sometimes with my wife, sometimes with a good friend from back east, and sometimes on a 3-roped pitch, lunch break, speed climb. I'd bet Peter, James, and Tim felt this should be a fun outing for all who travel through (plus they beat me to it).
Some call it a beginner's alpine route (I don't think so) and such, it's honestly another shit-show side trip on I-70, just like the half-assed crags I have developed on the north side of 10 Mile. For those who travel far to enjoy rock climbing in 70-degree sunshine at 10K, cheers. For those that rope up (or solo) from the base, be kind, be respectful. There are gumbies, gym rats, newbies, greenhorns, hardmen, and douche bags all climbing the same line. Believe it or not, there are countless ways up Royal, and many ways don't involve clippin' bolts, but placing gear, running it out, and just plain soloing. Remember kids, this ain't the Diamond, it's Mt. Royal, my grandma hikes to the top for grins! Play fair, be cool, and thank the 3 fellas that put some hard-earned time and money into the line. Oh and if you don't like rockfall on the headwall apron, buck-up and climb "Aces High", a great 'bypass' that keeps you somewhat free of exposure until you rejoin the regular route...and don't bring your Hero GoPro, it'll probably get crushed by rockfall! Cheers~
Quick question...heading up here for the first time on 7/12. I am a little confused about people referring to the route finding. If it is pretty well bolted, how can you get off route? I understand it in trad I get lost all the time...lol....
Just looking for a little input before I get lost. Thanks.
It's not continuous, there are a few places (2 if I remember right) you need to hike to the next set of bolts. We spent only ~10 minutes looking for the next bolt after the two major hikes, but we had a few other people on the mountain which gave us some extra clues.
Just follow directions, and allow an extra 20-40 minutes to pick the line back up after each brief hike.
By D Sharp From: Boulder, CO Jul 22, 2012 rating: 5.10-6a18VI+18E1 5a
For those who lug a GPS around: start is at N39 34.352 W106 06.720. The head-wall pitches start either at N39 34.290 W106 06.568 (5.10, Aces High) or N39 34.272 W106 06.585 (5.7 Royal Flush).
We never found the "white rib" pitch, although spent a not insignificant amount of time looking for it. Maybe we didn't walk far enough left on the ledge above the memorial plaque belay? (Royal Rocklette Arete's description says 100m, Royal Flush's says 60m+. Don't know which is true. And is it laterally or altitude gain?) We scrambled up a mossy slab to the big plateau, where we found the cairn trail, only to lose it a bit later... We eventually made it up through the boulder field to the start of the upper part.
Aces High is easily on of the best pitches on the route. The pitches above seem pretty stiff for the grade (mostly due to the odd powerful/balancy/technical move here and there), but extremely fun. The Gunk roof is 5.8 only if going around it through the left (2 extra bolts - not easily visible from below), firing it straight up is more like 10- (similarly to Joe's Mantle variation).
Otherwise an amazing 6 hours spent on rock, with some very memorable climbing. Go do this route. And bring a walkie-talkie if you have one - certainly makes linking pitches easier...
Very nice route and kudos to those who put it up. I'm posting this as a heads up to others who try to find the route using the route description above. We didn't find quite all of the lower route and I don't know the route well enough to post a complete description, but here are some notes to consider:
General: some of the pitch lengths are not too accurate, so don't take them too literally Pitch #4: A 70m rope will not link Pitches 1-2-3-4. The sentence saying "you can reach all the way to this point easily with a 70m" should be deleted or moved to Pitch #3. Pitch #5: The 5.10 option goes straight up (not left). A separate bolt line starts about 20 ft to the right from the P4 anchors. Is this the 5.6 option? Pitch #6: The description implies you should traverse right 30m. Don't. Just go up. Pitch #9: Hard to follow the cairns when there are about 6 of them scattered around in all directions. This is a walking pitch; no significant elevation gain. Head left on a trail for about 60m and look for the P10 bolts above where the trail ends. Pitch#12: From here to the top the description is better and you can follow the bolts on the headwall.
Climbed the route on 8/4/12. I think there is some confusion around the first four "pitches." With a 60m rope, I was able to just make it to the third set of anchors with only a few feet of rope left. However, at the top of the third "pitch", the description didn't make sense anymore, but it did make sense if we were at the top of the 4th pitch. I think perhaps an anchor has been chopped on "pitch" one? Also, there is a traverse for "pitch" 6 despite comments above. Anyway, I'd ignore the crazy pitch count in the description and climb the lower section this way:
Pitch 1: 60m. Climb straight up passing 2 two bolt anchors with a "roof" between the anchors. Once you hit the third anchor, you should be almost out of rope with a 60m.
Pitch 2: Go up and angle right to keep it at 5.6 (Slightly left and up is a slabby 5.10 option per description). Climb 20m to a two bolt anchor and then traverse right 30m on a ledge (not that narrow as described above. This is the "pitch 6" traverse) with bushes and trees (follow bolts here for protection) to a two bolt anchor just right and below some large tree trunks.
Pitch 3: Another 5.10 option (per description) goes straight up over "Joe's Mantle", or you can angle up and right twenty feet along an in cut groove to a second bolt line. Climb straight up over an intimidating but not difficult 3m headwall. Pass a two bolt anchor, continue up over easy ground to a series of three bolts up a rib to a two bolt anchor. Here you will find the "Plaisir" plaque.
Coil your ropes. Scramble up 20 ft and hike left and up along a faint trail and cairns for 60m+ to the most prominent feature around (the only thing that looks interesting to climb). Look for bolts to start climbing again.
Pitch 4: The White Rib Pitch. Climb up a slabby pillar 25m to a two bolt anchor near a dead tree trunk(snag). Go out right up the Grey Beard Slab past a roof and more slab to a two bolt anchor, or go straight up some tricky 5.9/10 slab then 15m easy climbing to a different two bolt anchor.
Coil your ropes again. Follow cairns up a boulderfield to the headwall for "pitches" 13-20. The headwall can also be done in 3-4 pitches with a 60m rope making a total of 7-8 technical pitches.
Awesome day climbing a very fun route with John Parsons. My kudos to Tim and all the others who have worked on making this route happen. I think beta was pretty spot on. Cairns were no problem. We did this with a 70m. I only stopped at top of P3, because it was going to be hard to hear JP if I was out of rope, glad I did as JP said I did not have enough to make it to the top of P4. Agreed w/ prior post...linking first 4 w/ a 70m to make anchors is not possible. We did this in 7 pitches. We went left of the normal headwall pitch, to do Griz's variation up the headwall (1 pitch with 70m). Highly recommend...I think that pitch is 5.9++, would be nice to have a bolt straight up and do that slab instead of going out right to catch the "safety bolt" which I think makes it a little contrived. After finishing this pitch traverse right (30-40 ft) to catch last technical pitches. If the roofs on the last technical pitches are what the Gunks roofs are like, I gotta go there.:-)
By Stich From: Colorado Springs, Colorado Aug 12, 2012 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
1. Not a trad route. 2. More like 8 pitches. 3. Awesome fun.
Climbed the route today. Great fun. Thanks to Tim and Peter. Enough said. Joe S and Jim B
By Will Sharp From: Breck, CO Jun 25, 2013 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
A lot of folks have a difficult time finding the start of this route. Here's the beta:
Park in the bike path parking lot which is at the west end of Main Street in Frisco right before you would get on I-70 at Exit 201.
Gear up here as the finish does not take you back to the start but rather to your car.
Walk west (toward Copper Mtn.) along the bike path for roughly 200 meters. You will be under some very large overhead power lines. When you reach the first large green power line pole, look to the left for a wooden 4"x4" post which says "1 - Juno". The trail to the base of the climb is at this post. Follow the fairly obvious trail to the base of the slab. The start is above some small spruce.
Start of climb as seen from the bike path.
By Hiro From: Boulder, CO Jun 29, 2013 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
Fun route with lots of variety in the climbing - slab, face, mini-roofs. Regarding gear, yes, lots of draws, at half should be alpine draws. Cams - I brought C4 #0.3, X4 0.4, 0.5, 0.75. I placed them all once, and only once, and twice I only did so because I was dumb and didn't see the bolt until after I placed it. You don't need them - your fall will just be a little further.
The description of the 20 pitches is really hard to follow in real life. It was only useful to pick out landmarks every few pitches and to know how far up you are. On the other hand, it's hard to get lost - follow the bolts. Except on the pitch where it says follow the cairns 150m - the cairns are not currently obvious along the whole route, we got lost.
Nowadays, after 100s and 100s of ascents, it completely baffles me that someone could possibly "get lost" or "can't find the route" up here. Texas Tower Tim and I recently repeated the climb and marveled at the various paths and how "worn" the route and connecting trails seem to be. With that said, we loved the "Aces High" variation and had a great time on the rest of the pitches. Not much loose rock anymore, but helmets are still a very good idea....multiple parties on this wall 7 days a week all summer long.
I just want to reiterate that, although this route is bolted and next to an urban area, it can still be very a serious adventure. Yesterday, on pitch 18, a storm rolled in causing the rock to become an unclimbable waterfall with lightning so close that you could taste metal. This forced a rappel descent that took 4 hypothermic hours. People may scoff at the seemingly close rappel stations, but in this situation, they were literally a life-saver. I left biners at every belay station, please leave them for the next emergency! Thank you!
Jacob, was that Friday or Saturday? A few friends and I attempted on Saturday. You're right it can be an adventure - quite chilling to hear the thunder roll when you're dangling from the headwall above tree line! We bailed when the showers came in but hung around town long enough to see the deluge that came later. I wouldn't want to have been up there in that.
Definitely fun climbing. I'll second the notions that longer alpine draws would be a good choice. It is easy to get a little lost the first time 'round, although now that we know where we are going, it will be no sweat the next time.
From the comments, we were expecting route finding to be a problem, but it was super easy using the original description (I was glad to have MP on my phone though so we could check it between pitches).
P11 was confusing - I initially tried going right for the 5.6 option, but didn't see any bolts, so ended up downclimbing and going straight up figuring protected 5.10 was preferable to soloing 5.6 for me, so I am not sure where I went wrong there.
We climbed it in 8 pitches on a 70m with lots of extra rope at each belay. The P13-14 5.7 pitches were the best we both felt - super fun and aesthetic climbing - I should have used a longer draw at the base of the headwall (across the gully) though as the rope drag was fierce.
All in all a super enjoyable day - definitely worth doing as a sporty sub-alpine adventure.
By Nate Muncy From: Thornton, CO Jun 4, 2014 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
There are big, loose cranium-rockers on the last few pitches - be careful what you pull!
I did it as a party of three and were car-to-car in 7 hours, while taking our time.
So I did this route today with a good friend of mine. Neither of us have done the route but wanted to tick off a long Colorado sport route, there aren't too many. I present to you, a word on this route.
First and foremost: the description of this whole route, approach and descent is actually all you need.
Now, get there early!!!!! Afternoon storms and waiting for people is not fun. We fortunately started before 7 am, so we were the first party on and had plenty of time to account for any mishaps along the way.
If you are linking pitches, BRING WALKIE TALKIES. The route does some moving and there are a lot of times where you want to be able to easily communicate to your partner. Not to mention, it's pretty windy at the headwall, so save your voice. Oh and watch the drag, no joke on the runners, it gets to be a pain in the ass sometimes.
Read the descriptions carefully! There are a couple variations. Make sure you have the route you want, check things out, find the right line.
Some of the flakes are hollow, some of the rocks are loose, pebbles trickle down and rock the helmet.
But really, it's a lot of fun, true blast. If you can summit with bluebird views, you won. We had a great time all in all. Thank you to those who took the time to bolt this route!
By Kons Kourbatov From: Aurora, CO Aug 15, 2014 rating: 5.8-5b16VI-14VS 4c
Great route, unfortunately me and my partner had to bail after "pitch 16" due to a really heavy rain/hail storm that moved in out of nowhere. Had to leave 2 bail biners at the top of "pitch" 15, please leave those for the next party that has to bail.
Check the weather thoroughly, because it was a long, wet, and cold 3-4 hour descent.
Bailing on Royal Flush during a crazy rain/hail storm...halfway down the rappels.