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YDS: 5.12c/d French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12+ French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX British: E6 6b [details]
FA: Jean de Lataillade & Bertrand Gramont, 9/87
Page Views: 1,641
Submitted By: Monomaniac on Dec 4, 2006
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (7)
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Shadowdancer. From here, turn the arete to the le...


This is regarded by many as the best route at Cochiti Mesa. Slightly overhanging, with excellent rock, and deep, positive pockets, its hard to argue with that assessment. Due to the overhanging nature, this line is much more pumpy than most Cochiti routes, and the ability to quickly identify the best sequence is critical.

There are two ways to climb this route, which accounts for the split grade. However, the various area guidebooks disagree on which way is harder. The route begins by climbing the Dreamscape dihedral, and then traversing right to the arete at either the first or second bolt of Shadowdancer. The original Matt Samet guide stated that the lower traverse was more difficult, yet the error-ridden Falcon Guide claims the higher traverse is the more difficult variation.


Shadowdancer is the next arete/prow to the right of The Prow. However, the route actually begins in the dihedral crack (a route called Dreamscape) immediately to the left of the arete. Climb up Dreamscape until level with either the first or second bolt, and traverse right.


Bolts. Bring either a stick clip or gear for the first section of Dreamscape.

Photos of Shadowdancer Slideshow Add Photo
Mike Anderson goes out of his way to pose for the camera during his onsight of Shadowdancer.
Mike Anderson goes out of his way to pose for the ...
Kyu Park starting up Shadow Dancer
Kyu Park starting up Shadow Dancer
Occasionally the line veers onto the right face.
Occasionally the line veers onto the right face.
Mike Anderson on-sighting the ultra-classic Cochiti test-piece "Shadowdancer".
Mike Anderson on-sighting the ultra-classic Cochit...
Executing the 'low-traverse' version of Shadowdancer.  This version makes the route longer but adds a marginal ledge-rest right at the start when its not yet needed.
Executing the 'low-traverse' version of Shadowdanc...
Big cranks between good pockets on Shadowdancer.
Big cranks between good pockets on Shadowdancer.
Nearing the end.  The route gets steeper as it climbs, but the holds are good.
Nearing the end. The route gets steeper as it cli...
...More big cranks.
...More big cranks.
Comments on Shadowdancer Add Comment
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By Matthew NM
Jul 3, 2007

although a gorgeous line, manufactured holds keep this one from being 4 stars...

By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Jul 10, 2007

I'm curious what others have to say, but I've done this route a couple of times, and I never noticed any manufactured holds. The chipped holds I've noticed at Cochiti are all really obvious (new Age Nightmare, Olympian Wall rtes). If any of the holds on this are chipped, the chipper did an excellent job of disguising their work.

I agree that many of the pockets at Cochiti seem "too good to be true". However, a lot of the easier routes here also have these "too good to be true" pockets. I think its doubtful somebody would put in the effort to chip and artfully disguise their handywork on a 2 star 5.10. So if the easier routes have these unbelievable-but-probably-natural-holds, why can't some of the hard routes have them too?

By Mike Anderson
From: Dayton, OH
Oct 9, 2007

This route is not manufactured.

Chipped holds are easy to spot, especially in dark rock like that. Furthermore, chipped holds aren't sharp like those on Shadowdancer.

By Alex Shainman
From: the best place right now!
Jan 24, 2008

Definitely awesome face and arete moves on cool rock! Dreamscape is a cool crack line, too, with a brief and bouldery start...An even better (maybe the best) finger crack for the area is Let It Bleed, which is a tad harder and more sustained. I don't even know if it is at all accessible anymore. It was sketchy when I did it 12 years ago. Oh yeah...Fainting Imam is hard and trad and good too!

By Jean
Sep 1, 2008

my favorite route at cochiti. definitely not chipped! (and i should know...)
just to the right, in the slab, is "terminal ferocity" 11d and super fun.

By DisturbingThePeace
From: Albuquerque, NM
May 2, 2011
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b

An amazing line and it actually has holds, most of which are pretty good by cochiti standards. Seems like the lower traverse is the more difficult and more classic way of doing the route. I thought the moves on the arete between the first and second bolt were some of the harder moves on the route.

Interestingly I dug a bullet out of the rock just below the anchors. I guess someone thought the anchors made good target practice.