The Wicked Cave is home to many of Rifle's longest, hardest routes and is an impressive spectacle in and of itself. The cave proper, while way too chossy to climb, forms an immense roofy bowl that is easily 70+ feet from the back to the lip and often runs with water or drips with giant icicles.
Most of the routes are on the super-steep wall right of the cave, which hosts Rifle's first 5.14, Kurt Smith's Slice of Life, now 13d with kneebar technology. There are a couple of routes left of the cave as well, and a mini-cave with three difficult routes (5.13-5.13+) up and left on a dusty bench.
This cave can be pretty muggy and buggy in the summer, as it is very close to a marshy mosquito breeding ground and doesn't see much breeze action. Arm yourself and your belayer with bug juice if you're serious about climbing here, otherwise wait until the fall when conditions are a bit better (a hint: the Project Wall is a much better place for summer climbing because it sees way less sun, is in the deepest, narrowest part of the canyon and is generally breezy).
While the bottom of the wall is somewhat scaly and occasionally wet, the top 2/3 is made up of bomber tan stone with varied and interesting features. Endurance is the name of the game on these routes, all of which are hard all the way to the anchors.
The Wicked Cave is just downstream from the Arsenal on the same side of the Canyon, and is just across the road from the Fluff Boy (Sno-Cone Cave) parking area.
Drive about a mile into the canyon and park on the right as for Fluff Boy (use the pull-out right on the road instead of parking in the picnic area).
Cross the road and follow a narrow but well-defined trail through the grass to the wall right of the cave. The first route you'll encounter is Shades (12d), a seldom, if ever climbed line up the blocky wall behind a tree.
Established in 1992, Slice of Life was the first route in Colorado to be rated 14a. However, this historic route has been downgraded after climbers found up to seven kneebars including one at the crux dyno.Fun, pumpy climbing on large holds leads to a funky boulder problem in a corner. After resting in a kneebar, pull through a roof and rest below the crux. Do the dyno, and continue past more side pulls until you reach the next rest below the final roof. The last 20 feet contains some very a...[more]Browse More Classics in CO