The Side Wall is one of the classic 5.11 lines on the West Ridge. It is a tad dangerous, but a bit of care placing gear under the roof may result in adequate protection.
Perhaps 10 minutes from the stream, and past the Unsaid area, find a sheltered alcove off the trail and up a short stretch of scrambling. This is one of the better protected west-facing areas in Eldo and is a great hang on those splitter winter days.
The central, main corner is the route, and begins up a short, awkward sub-dihedral which leads to a large roof. Now move up and left with RPs for pro (directional gear which unfortunately may not accomodate the direction of a fall) and make a couple strenuous crux moves to a bolt, clip it and power to a 2-bolt anchor.
The second pitch takes the beautiful corner above, well-protected, nice stemming, one section noticeably harder than the rest, perhaps 5.11a.
Rappel from a tree up high, to the bolt anchor, then to the ground. It is possible to catch a toprope on Wild Side (5.12), the steep corner just right of P2, Unbroken Chain (5.11c, fragile holds), the flakes just left of P1, or Conversions (5.12), the steep green wall just left.
Little RPs and TCUs for P1, then wireds and perhaps a cam or two up to 2" for P2. It isn't too hard to combine into one long lead, that is if minor rope drag is acceptable.
Continuously good climbing. The first pitch actually has a decent amount of pro, but it is almost all small wires. Bring a double set of RPs. Double ropes bring peace of mind of the first pitch as protection opportunities exist in two different corners.
A West Ridge three star. Along w/ Allosaur, my favorite route on the WR.
The first pitch isn't too hard for the rating, but it is somewhat exciting, esp. if you don't like micro pro. The second pitch is very well protected and pretty soft for an Eldo 11a -- a one move wonder.
I think the 1st pitch of this route is borderline 'VS', or at least considerably more serious than indicated in most of the comments on this page.I didn't lead this but I sussed out the gear placements on TR. The lower half is reasonably well protected. From the stance at mid-height, you can get in a small RP... it sets reasonably well, but the direction of pull in a fall might pull it out. The next 12 feet or so is the crux. You can place a nut in the middle of the hardest climbing, but your fingers will probably be blocking the placement, and you may get dangerously pumped trying to fiddle with gear, risking a fall on the RP which is well below your feet at that point. If that RP pulls (likely), a fall would be evil.
It's good to link these pitches. The rope runs well - see photo.
By Rob Kepley From: Westminster,CO Aug 20, 2006 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-E3 5c R
I'll agree that the first pitch could be a bit dangerous without some patience and good gear placing skills. The crux moves are a bit hard to initiate, but once you stand up aren't too bad. Great climb starting from a neat terrace.
I gonna stick my neck out here and say this thing protects pretty poorly for the crux. I agree you can get some decent stuff that protects you up to the base of the slanting roof. Once I got up to the stance under the slanting hang. My experience was the gear sucked. All I got was some opposed RPs in a flare that I definitely wouldn't want to fall on. If you fall leading up to the bolt, the crux, & these failed, you would be seriously hurting!! Maybe I have been clipping to many bolts or just quite didn't see the RP & stopper placements but with the pro I got, I would say it felt more like you are basically soloing the crux section until you get to the jug where you can clip the bolt.
Bob D'Antonio is right, double ropes could be really helpful for getting some more pro in on this and helping with the way the rope pulls on the gear.
Can anybody comment on if they really got any GOOD gear that would actually protect the crux on this? I agree with Joe Collins it looks like most commenter's are not fessing up to say how serious this one really is. Or maybe the lack of comments says something about how often this one really gets done on lead.
Led this today, awesome experience. A few comments on the gear for the first pitch. I was able to get three pieces at the stance below the crux, a 000 c3 (pretty bad placement), a #3 BD micro stopper in a wierd placement, and the best piece, a #2 BD micro stopper in a locker placement. With a screamer on that little nut, I felt like it had a reasonable chance of holding; it seemed to me that it would only fail if the wire/rock broke.
Also, I thought the crux move, if done correctly, was one of the easiest "5.11" moves I've done in Eldo. Just two liebacking moves with good feet and positive sidepulls enabled me to easily reach the jug. Granted in 6'1", so others might need to do an extra move (or dyno... hah). Both my partner and I thought that the crux on the 11a 2nd pitch (which links very easily) to be just as hard as p1, albeit much better protected.
So, if you're a solid Eldo 11 climber, don't hesitate to get on this thing!
Also, what's up with the bolt on this thing? I think it detracts from the route. Once you hit the jug, from which you clip the bolt, the crux is over and other gear could be placed. If the bolt's not going to protect the crux, what's the point of having it? Without a bolt, this would be a cooler, slightly more serious, all gear lead.
Led this recently, onsight. I spent a lot of time fussing with gear from the stance. A tiny nut seemed the best, but I equalized two cams as well. I didn't fall on the nest, and hurried to the bolt. But I agree that it takes away from the climb where it is. There is a good nut placement right next to the bolt. So, why is it there?
By Hank Caylor Administrator From: Golden, CO Nov 28, 2009
Joshua, because bolters are bastard coated people with bastard filling....;.smothered with bastard sauce.