Beginning Feb. 1st each year, a seasonal wildlife closure will be in effect on Redgarden Wall in Eldorado Canyon State Park to protect nesting and roosting sites of the canyon’s falcons. The closure is in effect through July 31st unless lifted early due to early fledging or inactivity.
The closure includes the following climbing routes: The Naked Edge (last 3 pitches only), The Diving Board, Centaur, Redguard (last 3 pitches only), Red Ant, Semi-Wild, Anthill Direct (last 3 pitches only), and The Sidetrack.
As you head up the Redgarden trail towards the Kloof Alcove turnoff (so below the lower ramp), you walk up 7 railroad tie stairs. About 40 feet up and right towards the wall is a ~10 foot tree at the base of a short one-move wonder dihedral. We "think" this is the start of the climb. Move up this dihedral, and then carefully follow the rotten band up and left about 50 feet, before turning the roof in the first available place, into a right-facing dihedral. Scramble up this, and then again continue along the ridge another 20 feet to a rappel station and belay.
Pitch 2 goes up the large, left-facing dihedral above your head. Watch for loose blocks, the climber AND the belayer. Finish at a tree at the end of the face, which leaves you on the lower ramp.
At least, we think this is the way the route is done.
I did Slimy Spoon last spring. I also did Vertical Smile, or so I think I did. In the end, I followed two lines more or less where the topo on P.203 of Rossiter's old Boulder Climbs South book showed them. Neither really seemed to match the description, and we spent some time trying to figure out if we'd done the right lines. Neither was classic, but both were fun & easy & seemed reasonably safe at the time. I'd have given either one of them a *, but neither one two *'s.
Anyway, there are a few lines up in the area worthy of the bother if you are in the area, but neither is a destination.
CAUTION!!! The loose block on pitch2 defies gravity at the moment! Make sure your belayer has a helmet and pray that the block smashes into lots of small pieces should it release while your on route. Also, without that block getting up onto the face moves which lead right is pretty stout for 5.8.
After climbing this route yesterday, it is readily apparent why this one doesn't make anyone's top ten list. There was much rotten rock, some very suspect flakes, and a few moments of shear terror as rock groaned and creaked - rock isn't supposed to make those sounds and not while I'm lying back on it! For a true Eldo experience, however, after climbing Chianti Wednesday, it was a great contrast on the quality and character of Eldorado, and one of the reasons I love Eldo so much. Trad climbing truly is an adventure. Sometimes a dangerous adventure, but that's part of the appeal isn't it?
I think with a little knowledge of the rock to avoid this climb can be safe and enjoyable, so I'll try and do my best to share some of my experience so you can avoid the most dangerous rock. Interestingly, the protection was fabulous on this climb, but the rock you climbed was horrible - how's that for contradictions??
The start is exactly as Mike describes it, up a short one move wonder dihedral that is fun, and then the work starts. Once on a left leaning ramp, traverse left along the top of quality rock, with a terrible rotten band above. You will need to cross this rotten band, so be creative with your pro in this bad rock as you go left. I found an awesome #3 in good rock that I was able to run a double length runner to protect this traverse. The rock is rotten, but the worst is obvious and easy to avoid. Once opportunity presents itself, shoot straight up to the roof above, which will take great pro. This keeps pro above your head, making the leftward traverse under the roof very secure. Once at the apex of the roof, the worse part is over (for this pitch!), and you can follow the left or right dihedral above over clean rock to a ledge.
Belay well right or left of the slightly overhanging second pitch dihedral above, this is very important to avoid the danger zone of falling rock from the leader. Make no mistake; this is a VERY DANGEROUS belay, stay away from the base of that dihedral!
The second pitch could be stellar - maybe in 25 years when all the crap falls off. Here's the blow-by-blow: Stem up the slightly left leaning, overhanging dihedral (Fun!) with great pro. There is a hanging Pizza Box flake in the dihedral that looks suspect, but you can stem out to avoid this first obstacle. At the apex of the overhanging section appears the Glider Wing Flake - a thin flat flake that temps as it is right in the face at the top of the dihedral. Work cautiously around and start back right up the finger crack above. Here is where I let my guard down, thinking the flakes I had just past were the flakes mentioned in the comments above.Oh no, not by a long shot. The crux of the route is in a clean finger crack working up the right dihedral. When it looks like you will need to lie back, really look at what you are grabbing onto - an upside down spearhead, the flake looks solid, but I called it the Death Spear Flake for a reason. I tested it, then went into a layback and the rock made the most unpleasant sound I've ever heard a rock make, I realized this flake was going to fall into my belly if it came off and land square on the head of my belayer below. Terror filled my heart. After Andrei jumped out of the way and I made a cautious, difficult stem out to the right, I was past the danger. I worked right and attacked the face straight up - the best part of the climb, but hard to enjoy.
Oddly, even though dangerous, I enjoyed this climb. Maybe because Eldo still has surprises, and you can still feel like an adventurer so close to the throngs!
Did this route today and totally avoided the death flake at the crux by yarding on the nut I put into the finger crack. Without doing that and avoiding the flake this move would be much harder than 5.8. I did move out to the left just under the flake in question as there seemed to be a plethora of good holds there. All of those flakes were loose and scary. I frenched the nut and got outa there! I did like the route though.
Too much loose junk to be good, despite a good looking last pitch. Not worthwhile unless you've climbed hundreds of other Eldo routes and are looking for something new.
By Drew Spaulding From: Boulder, CO Mar 17, 2014 rating: 5.9-5c17VI16HVS 4c
I personally think this is one of the most fun 5.8+ routes in Eldo. It must have cleaned up over the years, because I think it climbs quite cleanly. The ramping, diagonalling 1st pitch is nothing special, but the 2nd pitch is spectacular stemming up the steep, left-facing corner. Climb the steep finish to the left (5.9-) instead of taking the moderate rightward finish. Incredible position to the top of the Lower Ramp!