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.
This is one of the most popular routes in Eldo, and for a good reason. It is long, not too sustained, and a beautiful direct line. The climbing is all pretty straight forward. The 5.10 variation on the second to last pitch is kinda stiff for .10a, but is really well protected on bolts. The last pitch is runout but easy. The direct start is not too bad, more of a high boulder problem than anything, although I had a friend who sprained his ankle on it once.
P1 direct. Scramble onto it and arrive shortly at some caked-on chalk and pin scars below a break in a long roof band. This was Kors original start; it is 5.10 and protects with tricky small stopper placements.
P1 standard. A much easier start ascends a short dihedral 20 feet to the right. Cut back left, then climb further up huge holds over the exciting roof, and head right to a tree belay-5.9 (about 30 feet of elevation gain).
P2. Go up left, then up a fantastic dihedral, with face moves at the end, to another tree, 5.8.
P3. Head up cracks and corners to a rotten band; continue over a scary bulge and another crack to a beautiful, exposed ledge, also 5.8.
P4. Fifteen feet right of the belay, ascend a large, moderate dihedral. Hand traverse right, avoiding a huge overhang, and climb another 5.8 corner up and then right to a small, exposed stance. You can also belay on a large ledge 10 feet lower with less exposure.
P5. Climb straight up, make a delicate step right into a thin crack (with several pitons) and ascend that (the crux) to a scary detached flake [now gone]. Make a beautiful ascending 5.7 traverse up left to lower angle terrain and a belay on the arete, or climb straight up past bolts at 5.10 and reach the same belay.
P6. Head up the spectacular 5.6 arete to the summit of Tower One.
Find the start to the route by approaching the Roof Routes area. You park at the lower parking lot, hike the trail around the West side of The Whale's Tail. Follow the trail across the concrete pad, take the switchbacks, take the left fork. Continue on the trail down and below the pretty, short wall with Pickpocket. Go left and up the Redgarden Trail. Follow the trail past the 2 railroad tie stepped sections, past the ladder. You continue on the trail until you get to the obvious huge chimney, West Chimney. Gear up around here below a beautiful, smooth face about 150 feet tall. Go down & R a very short distance. Pick an approach (about 20 feet) to the ledge where you start Yellow Spur. The direct start (below a pin) is left of the traditional start (at a shallow dihedral with an obvious traverse left).
Standard rack up to 3".
From the tree 20 feet below the summit, rap straight down to the gully on the east side. Alternatively, downclimb to the gully and walk down it. Either way, continue to down gully to the east and south, to the base of some trees that are at the end of Ruper.
Now turn back to the west and scramble up a few hundred feet, aiming for a large notch on the south side of the tower.
Go through the notch, then down big stone steps about 30 feet, the left another 30 feet to reach two big rap bolts. A 100' rap will NOT quite reach the ground, but it's an easy downclimb. Be careful.
You're now on a nice grassy ledge. Scramble west, over a fin of rock (do not go up to the higher notch). Over the fin you'll find a nice ledge with rap chains. Rap 80' to another set of chains, then 90' to ground. A short walk up north up the ledge will take you to your packs.
Actually, if you want to get really nutty about combining pitches on this route, you can link the first pitch with the second. The best way to do this is to do the direct 5.10b/c start and place gear above the big roof. Now, run it out over easy ground back right and up to the tree - make sure to pass the tree on the LEFT side, and DON'T clip the belay there. Traverse out to the left to the start of the difficulties on the second pitch, and place gear there. Your rope will now almost drop in a straight line to the ground. Now, would I recommend this? Not really. I only used it once when I simul-climbed the entire route (with an extremely good climber as the second).
Great route, I do it at least once a year! You can combine many of the pitches if you want to zoom up the route (not recommended for your first time). Pitch 1 is short but impossible to combine due to its zig-zag nature. But after that, even with a 50m rope, you can combine 2&3, 4&5, 6&7 to make the whole climb a 4 pitch route! These pitch numbers refer to those in Rossiters guide, note that in Charles description he has already combined 4&5. You must be careful with your pro when you combine some of these or you will get massive rope drag, so do it the traditional way uthe first time.
A couple of comments: Combined pitch 4 and 5 as suggested and had a rope drag nightmare after clearing the roof. Next time I will move the belay to the base of the 5.4 dihedral (20 feet to the right) and put an extra long sling before starting the roof traverse.
The second bolt on the 10C variation, pitch before last, is about 1/4" out of the wall and bent. Someone took a screamer on this baby. If I had to bet, I'd give it less than 50% chance that it'll hold another fall. Proceed with caution.
The second bolt may be bent, but you've got a great modern bolt about 3 feet below it and another 3 feet above it! You'd have to do something real stupid to take anything more than a hang on the bent one, and even a hang would be pretty ridiculous. The crux doesn't start until you clip bolt #3 anyhow.
My guess is someone clipped this bolt (before the other two were replaced), then whipped off the Robbins traverse, or maybe somebody tried to remove it.
Point is, there are a lot of dangerous pitches that guidebooks neglect to mention--but this isn't one of them--it's "sewn" up! If that 1/4 in. didn't exist, it would still be considered closely bolted. Even if you fell and it pulled (an extremely unlikely scenario), the next modern bolt 3 ft. lower would hold. Why scare people away from safe, classic climbing? There are easily a dozen or more popular routes elsewhere in Eldo that are really worth warning people about.
Not sure if anyone else stated this. On the crux pitch of the Spur, before you clip the first bolt, there is a death flake that is totally detached. You basically have to pull and stand on this thing, too. It's not loose looking from below either, so just pull lightly.!!!!
I've placed a #3 Camalot at the exit of the crack as backup to the fixed Bong. But you can also place a bomber small piece somewhere in the middle of the traverse (orange or red Alien / #1 Camalot?) on a small crack above the large traverse crack.
I felt the crux is the exit of the roof at the end of the traverse, not the traverse itself. Place a LONG runner on the piece BEFORE you start the traverse or rope drag will kill you on the thin 8+ corner above the traverse....
I did this route for my first time yesterday. WOW! What a pretty climb. There are some great lie-backs, and stems. We linked it into 4 pitches to save time. On the traverse before the crux pitch, I didnt use any big gear, and found the fixed pro to be sufficient. However, I did put a .75 cam about half way through it in a crack inside the wide crack... My partner lead the crux bolt ladder, and I found that part to be pretty stiff, but its well bolted. The loose flake mentioned is pretty hard to avoid, but it seemed to be wedged in there pretty good, so, definately just tread lightly on there. Cant say enough good stuff about this one...
Yes, the death flake is still there. As mentioned, I did have an accident on 5/26/02 following the easy traverse on P4 that sent me upside-down on a pendulum for about a 20-foot whipper. First time on the route, started with the direct start and they were great. Pieced together from what people have told me and what I remember, this is what I believed happened:
Right off the belay I found a finger crack with my left hand and reached about 3 feet to the right to a huge jug and stepped across. As soon as I did that I heard the sound of cracking sandstone and began to fall backwards. Either the rock, which from others I hear was the size of half a car, fulcrumed off my left middle finger and severed it or, as I fell with the newly separated boulder, my body weight pulled off the finger. I will never know. I hit back first and smacked my head pretty good; I was wearing a helmet which certainly saved further injury. After righting myself and finding my finger attached by a thread and in the palm of my hand, I had my partner, Pat Sullivan, lower me to the ledge at the top of pitch 2 where Mike Robertson and Julie Garrison lowered me to the ground. I don't know how but thankfully no one on the ground was hurt by the rock fall. I was very lucky and happy to only sever a finger (which was re-attached and doing fine, ugly but fine), as I should have lost a lot more. Out of the 4 people on the route at the time I was the only one wearing a helmet, glad it was me and not them.
Thanks to all those who helped, the calls, the first aid, the aspirin, the shirts and the short-rope to the waiting ambulance, you know who you are, thank you.
Wondering if anyone could inform me of any theories on removing the death flake from the Yellow Spur. While I do appreciate the expressive natural lay of things, it seems to me that the chances for it coming off and causing serious injuring or killing a climber (or entire party) are great enough that at least some ideas should be passed around. e-mail thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Put a bolt in the back of the flake with a hanger. Attach a chain. place a bolt in the wall that would keep the chain very close to taught. If the flake starts to go, the chain will keep it in place. hehehhhehhh. lol or lots of glue.... lol!
-Dont mess with the flake. Eventually it will fall. It may kill somebody. That sux.
I always thought that an Eldo cleanup day could yield ample opportunity to flag off the area around the base so someone could pry the damn thing off. Of course, like Adam, I do appreciate the 'natural lay of things' and wouldn't want to upset anyone's aesthetic valus, so it will remain argued without passion from this end.
By Guy H. From: Fort Collins CO Jul 30, 2002 rating: 5.10c6b20VII20E2 5b
Removing this "death" flake will change the character of the direct finish. It would most likely increase the difficulty of the route by a couple letter grades. If you don't feel comfortable climbing near this flake, don't climb the Yellow Spur.
I agree with Guy. Since you have to STAND atop this flake to do the direct finish, it can't be that close to going. Just don't pull out on it with all your strength, pull down. Last time I was up there it just wobbles slightly and still seems well seated. It also does not threaten the lower section of the route due to the rightward traverses, although it could still make a hell of a mess - it must weigh 500 lbs. To make it idiot proof one could perhaps put a cable around it to keep it from falling outward.
Leave the flake be!! If you are really scared, climb around it--I've done the direct finish at least two times without touching the flake, whether pulling on it or standing on it. There are many such flakes and blocks that could be trundled in Eldo, but unless they are truly right on the verge of popping, we should leave them in place--climbing softly at times should be part of the game.
I guess I'll chime in with my opinion, for what its worth. I agree with George, Guy and Charles. Climbing -- especially classic, trad routes, but in general -- is more than just the movement over the rock. It is the entire experience; dangerous, beautiful, scary, challenging, rewarding. I think the rock/route should be allowed to evolve naturally. There is a place for pulling off loose rock (I enjoy climbing at Rifle), but I don't think this is it.
I did this route about 2 weeks ago with my girlfriend, she led the "flakey" pitch, and neither of us felt the flake was overly concerning. Climb delicately.
I tended to feel similarly, and was apprehensive about posting the idea of removing it at all, but it seemed worth while just to seek some thoughts on it. Thanks for keeping Eldo a wonderful place, guys. Glad to be climbing around quality minds.peace
- The Flake - the earliest description I could find of the yellow spur dates back to 1980 from Pat Ament's Eldo guidebook as follows "lead six will air out your knickers and climbs straight up a vertical, yellow wall past a loose flake"
IMHO - there are a lot of hollow, loose flakes in Eldo - if it seems sketchy, don't yard on it - this flake in particular has been known for at least 22 years, probably longer, everyone knows it's there - tread lightly - Eldo is not a sport park and does not need to be cleaned like one
- The Descent - (brief edit to Charles's contribution)
from the top of the route hand traverse north into the gully, head down the gully to the east, veer right to some trees at the top of Ruper, turn back west from Ruper and follow the ramp up into a notch, keep heading west through the notch, head down the west side and find some new bolts on your left, rap with one 60m rope to a dirt patch on the ground, this will use all your rope, make sure the ends are even, cross the gully and scramble up the fin, scramble down some steps and locate the tree for the Vertigo raps on your left, there are many multi colored slings on this tree, it should be obvious, one single 60m rap will take you over the roof to a two bolt chained anchor, another will get you to the ledge, one double rope rap will get you to the ledge
Great climb!!!Being from the East Coast (VA), it was it was a lot better than the stuff Im use to! I like the balance'y move on the Spur-- Amazing moves! Makes me think I should stop visiting CO and just move there.
We climbed this recently, and looked at, but didn't touch the P5 death flake. I would suggest steering clear of that sucker. The flake has an aura about it these days. Its there, it has historical significance, like a mile marker, but nobody knows wheather to use it, or not, for fear that they will be the one to...dislodge it. The Spur is such a beautiful climb, but it could use a little maintenance. Not the removal of the flake or any other stone or hardware. But the chaulk! The 5.10 start looks like someone dumped a bag of flour off the top of the ledge. Wouldn't it be cool if the park had a portable high pressure cleaning system for the rock routes. Where they rappel down these classics and pressure wash the slippery caked chalk off once in awhile. I'd pay a few extra bucks for that. No, I don't use drugs...anymore.
Another stupid near-death story - Once upon a time I climbed this with 2 others. Pretty high up on the route (I don't remember exactly where, but it's the last belay from decent sized ledges), I was in 3rd position and it being a hot summer day and a long wait, I fell asleep on the ledge. In the meantime, the 2nd person (that was not terribly experienced) took off on follow. I woke up, stretched, and realized that I was no longer clipped into the belay and was attached to the rock only by the rope pulled up to belay me with.
ANOTHER VARIATION TO START:Yesterday, my partner Luke Clarke and I climbed a nice variation to the start of Yellow Spur. About 6 feet left of the regular start, climb the face just left of a shallow right racing corner. The moves off the ground are the crux and go at about 9+ if you can reach the first big hold. The moves are well protected by a yellow Alien. The gear above, up to the roof, is good. This start is more straightforward than the regular start and has much better pro and much less rope drag. The only caveat is that you need to be able to reach that first hold. If you can't, it might be about 11a. There are some half-joint holds lower down, but it's overhanging off the ground with not much for your feet.
Climbed The Yellow Spur for the first time this weekend. Yes, the sketchy flake is still there waiting to pop off. Indeed, it sounded a bit hollow. Not knowing exactly where the route went from the flake, I climbed the 5.10a(c) variation and made an awkward move to the right at a piton. A fun climb with good exposure.
Linking pitches: See above for linking pitches 1&2.
On Sunday I self-belayed this with a 70m rope and linked pitches 1-3 and 4-6, finishing with a short pitch to the top. When self-belaying, rope drag is not an issue, but I think linking pitches 1-3 would be reasonable even if you're leading if done as follows:
Either do the 10b start or do the 9+ variation and back clean until you get to the first pin below the roof (second can do the 10b start). Then, as described above, run it out to the left of the tree to the base of the dihedral on P2 (possibly placing a piece before reaching the dihedral and then backcleaning it). When you traverse right out of the dihedral run it out until you reach the belay at the end of P2. Keep going straight up to the belay on P3. Place gear and hike right to a belay just left of the dihedral on P3.
Linking pitches 4-6 on the lead is probably not a good idea due to rope drag and communication difficulty. Since a 70m rope won't reach to the top in 2 pitches anyway (I'm pretty sure), link pitches 4 and 5, then link pitch 6 via the bolt ladder and pitch 7.
Descending via the Dirty Deed gully to the north and then down the West Chimney goes in 3 easy rappels with a 70m. But see elsewhere for a discussion where some people discourage using this descent due to rockfall danger.
Beware the chalked up sucker holds on the wall immediately above the "scary detached flake (tm)." If you are baffled, feel around - there are better holds than those that may not be chalked. Thin, mind you. But better.
Time for a little lesson in crag manners. We got up pretty early yesterday and headed up to do the Yellow Spur. While racking up at the base a party of two arrives, clearly unhappy that they had to wait for us to start.
'Are you guys gonna move pretty fast?', one asks, hoping that we'll allow these Potter-esque speed demons to go first. 'We'll be fine,' I reply. While I led the first pitch, my partner is forced to listen to numerous, 'we should have gotten up 5 minutes earlier,' comments, as if we're preventing them from their record breaking speed ascent of the Spur. My partner is slow to warm-up sometimes, and she struggled through the crux of the first pitch, clearly upset due to the pressure and snickers from below. As I linked pitches 2+3, their leader nears the first belay and proceeds to make gestures to his belayer, as if to say, 'I can't help that I'm waiting... these gumbies are holding me up,' while my partner watches from no more than 15 feet away.
Anyway, by the time we rack up at the base of the pin ladder pitch, their leader has just left the belay tree at the TOP OF PITCH 2! In fact, we had enough time to hang out on top, do the Chockstone/Vertigo rappels, eat lunch, get thwarted by the first crux of Parting Shot, and lead Green Spur by the time these clowns were halfway down the Dirty Deed rappels.
So folks, know the rules of the game. If you want to be first on the most classic 5.9 in the state, on a holiday weekend, then you'd better get up early. If you're going to pass a party, and at the base of the climb no less, then you'd better be sure that you're way, way faster. My general rule for letting parties pass is to show me the proof: either be someone who I know by reputation is a fast climber, or be clearly held up by my party for multiple consecutive pitches.
If the guys who we encountered at the base read this, then you should be ashamed and embarrassed by your behavior, especially in light of your subsequent crawl to the top of the Spur.
Just curious if anyone has tried combining pitches 1 & 2? If you did the direct start and climbed left of the tree at the 1st belay, it seems the rope would be running pretty straight and might be less rope drag than combining pitches 2 & 3.
I always combine the 1st two pitches. I either do the direct start, or do the variation slightly left of the 5.9 start (mentioned above.) This allows you to climb the 3rd pitch and walk along the ledge and setup a better belay for the 4th pitch.
Ken, just as you suspect - combining the 1st and 2nd pitches is a good link amd doesn't cause rope drag.....but the area before and after the tree is more 'sporty' for both the leader and the second if you skip or skimp on protection there. Linking these pitches is a classic "double-rope" situation.
Since the first pitch is pretty challenging for some people to even follow a semi-hanging belay immediately after the bulge might be considered. It allows you to see and communicate with the second as well as saving rope abrasion in the event of a fall.
Thanks for your speedy ascent of the spur, you were indeed, like you claimed, fast. In fact, until my friend checked this site, I didn't even think twice about our encounter with you on Monday. Linking the 2nd and 3rd pitches is what did the trick. And in order to support that move, we didn't link the 1st and 2nd, or the second and third, so as to let you enjoy the day with your lady and to put some space between our two groups. We did each pitch individualy and took our time.
As for snickers and comments... they weren't there. At least, not from our end. Good luck with yourself though, keep climbing, and in the future say what's on your mind instead of spewing all over a site devoted to higher pursuits.
Earlier this year I self-belayed this with a 70m rope and linked pitches 1, 2, AND 3, including moving right to belay below the easy P4 dihedral. I started using the variation just left of the regular start. I then linked pitches 4/5/6 via the bolt ladder and belayed on the slab above. A short pitch from there to the top.
Many of you know this, but with self-belaying, the rope does not move, so rope drag isn't an issue. Still, I think linking 1/2/3 is feasible on the lead with a 70m rope with some judicious back cleaning and skipping of gear at the top of P1 and at the moves right and back left on P2.
Then link P4 and P5, and then link P6 and P7 to the top.
As one who enjoys moving fast sometimes and has probably behaved badly in the past behind a slower team, I have some, probably obvious, comments on this situation. First, yes, if you want to be on the most popular route on a weekend, you better get up EARLY. I frequently climb in Eldo on weekday mornings, and you don't even need to be there that early to be first on any route. 6:30 a.m. will do this time of year. Of course, that only gives you first dibs on your first route, so there can still be the problem of getting behind a slower party. Weekends are tougher, of course.
Around the Boulder area, I just assume anyone I meet in Eldo is a better and faster climber than me. Everyone here seems to be so good. I usually do make my intentions known if I'm out for a speed climb and ask nicely if I can go in front, if the team hasn't already started and I KNOW I can blast by. I never do this on a route that I don't KNOW I'll be fast. I think this is okay even with my assumption that they are better and faster because they might not be out for speed and want a more casual pace. If I can get by them in 5-10 minutes, then everyone has a more enjoyable climb.
There are many valid reasons for the party to not want to let me pass, though. In that situation, I always respect their choice. They were there first and have the right to the route. I might try to do another route that is nearby and similar in difficulty, but that isn't always an option. Sometimes, you just have to decide to give up the speed ascent and just take things slower.
I also agree with Joe that if I'm going to pass a party that has already started, I need to show them some proof that I won't be a problem for them. Whenever I do this, I try to simul-climb past the team to limit their wait and give them some confidence that we'll indeed get by quickly. I might follow the second up a pitch so that I can be ready to go by if they say it is okay, but I never follow too closely and always communicate BEFORE you get right up behind them.
Finally, you always want to be overly nice in such a situation. I always defer to them, thank them profusely, acknowledge that what I'm doing is a bit goofy, but fun, at least for me. I've had great luck with this approach. Climbers in general seem really cool and really nice. They don't want to get in anyone's way if it doesn't cost them much and doesn't sacrifice their safety.
I once was doing a goofy speed climb of the Yellow Spur and these cool guys let me led right over their rope on the crux pitch. I asked the belayer first and he was cool with it. Then we waited a bit for the leader to reach the belay and asked him. Everyone was cool with it. If not, I'd just have abandoned the speed ascent with no hard feelings at all. Once the speed climb is off, I do what A.C. did here. I back way off and give the team room to enjoy the climb without the pressure of having someone right on them.
P.S. Check out the photo of Aaron Ralston (one arm) taken by Malcom Daly (one leg) climbing the Yellow Spur!!?? Talk about inspirational! If I can speed climbing up a route and encountered these two guys, I'd shut it down completely and see if they'd let me tag along and chat with them. A more likely scenario is that they'd be speed climbing by me, though!
this is more appropriate for a private email, but since you've posted as AC, I'll have to respond here.
You're memory of the incident is off. I never claimed I was fast... and since when is a 3+ hour ascent of the Spur fast? I simply said we'll be fine. However, I'll stand by my partner's version of events regarding the comments and gestures which I mentioned in my previous comment. She was certainly upset by the attitude she perceived from one of you guys in particular. Maybe you're speaking for yourself and not for your partner?
As for your advice of not spewing and speaking my mind... thanks for the therapy consultation, but I didn't encounter you again that day. Perhaps you could take your own advice to heart and speak your mind without the security of anonymity.
...Good beta for the Yellow Spur is...have a back up plan...if you don't want to climb behind someone, climb something else... Yes, you should have turned up 5 minutes earlier ....
By Ken Heiser From: Boulder, CO Sep 28, 2003 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
My climbing partner Dave and I had a superb eperience on this route today. We did the above mentioned "6 feet left of the regular start face/seam" I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it to be bold and bouldery but you can see the good piece from the ground. This made this pitch really fun and indead it striaghtens the rope out. I led 2 and 3 as one pitch which worked great and then did the rest as guidebood description on the rest as we caught up to people.
In doing the direct finish I reflected on the flake kind of being a sentimental favorite of mine. It looks and feels about the same as it did in 1979 when I started climbing. I stood on it today to check it out and it is still there :)
Overall, fabulous, aesthetic, exposed, fairly consistent fun to climb route. Took us 4.5 hours.
By Ken Heiser From: Boulder, CO Sep 28, 2003 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Don't miss the direct finish--well protected, great exposure. I'd go with 10b, although the single-move nature makes this debatable.
Suggested link-up: DOUBLE SPUR. One person leads "block" of entire Yellow Spur, rap descent, second then leads "block" of entire Green Spur. Double your pleasure, double classic, ... double Spur.
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Oct 10, 2003
A friend climbed this last weekend and said she had wrong beta and didn't quite get P1 right first try. I climbed YS yesterday again leading P1 and here's my beta for first pitch... Clip the pin below the lip/roof, reach up and grab the bomber lip, step up with the right foot to a decent, yet awkward back leaning stance, stem left foot higher below upper left pin, grab a corner with left hand near that upper left pin shifting weight left, then step right foot up onto lip, shifting right hand for a high seam or palm, and shift weight back right moving up. Kinda of a back and forth stem sequence. Awkward on first try, this move IMO is not too bad for (9), once wired...In short, work that left corner, and avoid climbing straight up over the lip...
One: Girth hitch the pin below the roof on the first pitch. Clipping it will cross load your biner and will require you to retire it if you whip.
Two: If you send the roof and start the traverse right up to the dead tree, protect your traverse as well as possible. This will keep your second from having a heart attack when he/she gets to the roof and has trouble.......
Three: Patrick is correct in saying the .10a variation is a bit sandbagged, but do it anyway. Two nice clings on the crimpers will get you to the third bolt (one above the spinning 'relic' of sorts) and from there it's a cakewalk. I call it the Boulder Problem in the sky...
And do the chutes rappel. My partner and I did it at 9pm last night and found everything fairly easily with no headlamps. Just traverse north on the Knife-blade ridge to the notch and move down 5' or so to the west to find the first set of slings. Three rappels gets you to the huge ledge. Unrope and walk/scramble north awhile to find the 165' rap chains. Hit the ground at 9:25 to see the rescue attempt in progress. Be careful out there, and thank you to all the RMS&R volunteers out there. You make a big difference even to those you don't have to drag out!~Wm
By Ken Heiser From: Boulder, CO Oct 28, 2003 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Did this route again this past weekend (10/26) with a friend just because I love it so much :-)I did the first pitch by itself, then did 2 & 3 together, 4 & 5 together, and then did the top crux pitch and the arete pitch together.It was the first time doing the route and 4 pitches and I absolutely loved it!!!!!!No rope drag and you get to some nice long leads in.Have fun!! :)
By jeff sallen From: San Diego Oct 29, 2003 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
Now I know by some Eldo climbers standards, the Yellow Spur is not a difficult route. However it was my goal to feel confident to lead this amazing route buy the end of the 2003 summer. I must say that the route holds up to its status of being a classic Eldo climb. I would tell a future leader that they should be confident on 9 before they hop on this route, the first pitch is a bit crimpy when coming around the corner, and then the overhang is a bit intimidating. I ended up airing out the over hang, buy hanging from my hands, and then throwing a heal over the lip...felt like a V2 boulder problem. when setting a belay at the first tree. Make sure to set a directional for your second. The most rewarding pitch was by far the Layton Kor piton ladder. That airy and exposed pitch was just breath taking. the 6s arette is not to shabby either. Brian, thanks for another day for the books. Next time we're hitting up the green.
DESCENT: The notch that Charles, et.al., refer to for the Chockstone Chimney rappel is more like a huge, deep cleft...if you look for a notch like the size of the one for the belay on the last pitch of the YS, you'll never find it (well not easily). This rap is by far the best way down.
It's amazing to me that the classic Eldo moderate is almost sport-climb like. It has so much fixed gear, especially on the cruxes, that you are never trying to place gear before or while pulling a 9 move. In addition the .10a/b/c variation felt like a full-on sport section for a few feet (apart from the 10a rating, if you call it 10a). Now I'm not saying this isn't a great climb and some might suggest that the mix of bolts, pins and gear is in fact 'classic Eldo'. I've only climbed this once, and felt a great sense of achievement at the time, but in retrospect, the number of pins on the route left me feeling like I had been slightly cheated out of something really special.
At the moment, I may get back on Yellow Spur since it is a good climb, but I am as likely to go try something I haven't done yet. If someone were to remove the pins, especially on the pin-ladder pitch, I would be rushing back to try it again. I seem to remember opportunities for decent pro (RP's, micro cams, some larger cams) without the pins. Is this not the case? Would it even be possible to remove the pins? Frankly, I'm surprised they are still there in all their ugly, mangled glory.
I find the belay below the pin ladder entirely inadequate. Well there is room for pro, it must all be placed behind suspect rock. A fall onto the belay has the possibility of rock failure and total anchor failure. There is very solid rock less than 2 feet away to the right. Perhaps someone should place two beefy bolts to strengthen the anchor. These could or course be backed up by the natural pro.
The belay below the pin ladder always seemed bomber to me. The AC above must be trolling.
By Ken Heiser From: Boulder, CO Jul 6, 2004 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
The above comment on adding belay bolts for the top crux is absurd. The belay is very solid and excellent by any standard.P.S.You could always go down in the crack some from the standard belay and put in 8 or 10 pieces so you are alittle more ccomfortable ;-)
I had a thought on fixed pro though; the first pitch direct 10 start used to have a fixed pin up until about the mid 90's. Any chance of getting that replaced?
After numerous tries, I finally figured out how to pull the overhang on P1. This used to pump me out and make me sad. The key is to get your feet high by grabbing an undercling with the left hand and laying it back a bit. This enabled me to back step with my right foot and then stand up and grab great holds near the pin. There is one other key....keep moving...the slightest hesitation can cause a flash pump.
We found a tri-cam placement for the opening moves on the direct start. There is a disintegrating pocket that will hold the small pink tri-cam. It will only protect you for the first few moves though, until you get to some cam placements higher up. I bounce tested the placement (200 lbs.) and it held, although a lead fall would probably blow it. Anyway, the direct start is much cooler than the traverse in, doesn't feel much harder, and is like a boulder problem until you get a few pieces in. I though the hardest part was the piton ladder, very sustained and thin. I thought the bolted 10a-10c whatever was easier and more straightforward(and bolted) I didn't want to test out the pitons at all. probably my proudest ascent in eldo. the raps went easily and take you almost directly back to where you started.
Direct start? There are two "direct" starts. The original start is further left and leads directly to the pin at the roof. I TR'd this recently for the first time, and thought it was pretty desperate. There's some gear at first, but higher up, it's really insecure and would be hard to protect, with a ground fall possible.
Further right and just left of the inside corner of the regular start is the other "direct" start. This is, in my opinion, by far the best way to start the climb. Hardest move is right off the ground with toproped protection. You can backclean to straighten the rope, and your second can either risk a swing or climb the original direct start.
By Cody Munger From: Carson City, NV May 31, 2005 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a
My only recommendation is to bring draws for the piton ladder. I uh, forgot my 6 draws at the car. Got up to that pitch and saw 9 pins to be clipped and had the "oh, no" moment. Had to manufacture some draws out of wire stoppers. Also had to reach down and steal biners off lower clips. Luckily, I was able to improvise my way though this pitch.
"The belay below the pin ladder always seemed bomber to me."
I just did this (finally) for the first time. I also noticed the belay just below the crux pitch had slightly suspect rock. I think it's because we belayed too high. We started the the crux pitch by immediatly traversing hard right.
You can get a lot of gear there, but it's all based on one, fitted block about two feet by three feet that you sit on. It's unclear what is happening with it because it's fitted very well but on a slant such that if it's NOT cemented, it could slide out catastrophically.
That being said, there IS a good belay lower down, just after turning the 5.8 lip is a sloping ledge with gear at the top. This is probably a better belay spot then continuing up.
My partner and I did the route last Thursday and had a great time. Amazing exposure at the belay below the bolt ladder. I have one comment to those considering this route. If you are heading out to do the route and it is windy, you may want to think twice and maybe save it for another day. At the belay below the bolt ladder the wind was pushing me around the little ledge. The anchor is bomber but something about wind seems slightly scary. All in all great route, definitely a classic.
Good observation about the wind on Yellow Spur. I free soloed the route back in the mid-eighties after having it fairly wired from several lead ascents. The wind was blowing about forty mph with gusts up to maybe eightie. I was using the bolt hangers as huecos trying to get up the bolt ladder pitch. I had bloodied my fingers doing so. When I got to the final (5.6?) arete, I was more frightened than I've ever been climbing. The wind was just about blowing me off the arete. When I got to the top where the rock angles down away from the void and the climb is over, my legs wobbled beneath me and I collapsed, unable to walk until my nerves settled down.
Great route. Interesting climbing the whole way. Because the way the route kinda zig-zags, each ptich is "bite-sized" so even thought each pitch is pretty sustained, they are all pretty short. The only [detraction] from this route was the rank puddle of urine left at the 4th belay. I was able to identify this liquid b/c I was misfourtunate enough to drop a loop of my rope in it-lukily it had cooled to the ambient air temp of approx 55 deg.
Did this route this past weekend and it was awesome!!! Unfortunately, I spazzed out for about 5 minutes on the first pitch crux, because I refused to unclip the piton, for fear I would take a massive swing trying to get onto the block above. The roof move was easy, it was the move after that got me, and even though I've climbed many many routes, I still have yet to take a pendulum following a traverse, and I'd rather not, thank you very much. So, thanks to the folks below that told me to breath, and put a piece in above me (thank god Danny placed that TCU down low!!), and sorry for my wankery. Once again, awesome route, and I had no trouble with the 7s traverse on the piton ladder pitch!!! By the way, has anyone ever seen someone on second take a whipper after unclipping that piton over the roof on the first pitch?!?
Since he's my boyfriend, you bet he caught it for not placing a piece, although I forgave him because he was pumped when he pulled through it. Luckily he had placed a TCU below the roof, and I placed it in the crack above the pin and clipped into it (as advised by the people below me, sometimes I don't think straight when I get scared and forget that I can place while on second, duh), pulled the move onto the block and then reached down, and took out the TCU. He promised me next time he would protect it!! I guess he repayed me for making him follow all those runout slabs I love to lead, hahaha, he knows Eldo traverses often scare the crap out of me.
Just to note, the rap tree with all the slings at the top of Vertigo for the better descent is no longer there. It has been replaced by two new bolts with chains. You still go down the rock steps over the fin (marked by cairns) and when you get to the first little tree look to your left for the chains. We almost rapped off the little tree thinking the slings had been cut since there is no other tree on the ledges now.
By Jason Kaplan From: Glenwood ,Co Nov 3, 2007 rating: 5.10c6b20VII20E2 5b
Fun route! I lead p1, 2, &6. 1 and 2 weren't bad minus the wandering nature of the pitches. My partner had a hard time leading the bulge on pitch 3. Didn't help he got a flash pump on the first pitch, but last weekend he lead P2 of Over the Hill which is 5.9. I also thought the 3rd pitch seemed a bit tricky and could see how it would be a scary lead. My partner linked 4&5 with no event belayed on the ledge above and left of the roof where there is a pin. I thought the 6th pitch was interesting to say the least, the pin ladder isn't too bad, but it's a little awkward and pretty sustained, nice rest before the meat (at least for those doing the 5.10), you can clip the good bolt with out commiting to the sequence with some creativity. I skipped the second bolt and somehow barley clipped the third without falling off (it was windy). The sequence from here was inobvious to me as I climbed up and down a bunch. Finally committed and pretty much fell due to lack of endurance and flailing technique I am sure. I grabbed my draw before my partner even noticed I slipped (he never did actually) and I took a rest and looked over the sequence as I held myself up, then went for it barely pulling it.
The move seemed more awkward and less obvious then the Northcutt Start of the Bastille and harder than Blind Faith (not a fair comparison, though). My partner has lead the last pitch of People's Choice which is 10 c/d and he thought this was harder (having also lead People's Choice many times, I think I might agree). Then again it was onsight, so I have a bias opinion.
We rapped to the north of Tower 1 in the dihedral south of Swanson's 2 single 60m raps put us on the red ledge and 1 double 60m rap put us at the base of Rewritten which was pretty quick in my opinion.
We topped out right as the sun went behind the mountain and hit the ground right at dark. We started climbing at about 9 am. Don't under estimate this one, I tried not to and still got humbled.
By Ben Helgeson From: Denver Mar 22, 2008 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a
Every pitch is outstanding! Another note about the wind: after clipping my draws to the bolts on p. 5, the wind would blow them sideways, back and forth! Just when I thought I was balanced against the gust, it'd swirl and come back at me from the other direction.
I was just up on the Yellow Spur, and it was seriously cold. Bailed and left some gear just below the dihedral on the 2nd pitch. Just 2 biners, a sling and a nut, but of course I would love to get it back, if anyone comes across it. Otherwise no worries and happy climbing. Give me an email at email@example.com
By Tim Fleming From: Boulder, CO Jun 1, 2008 rating: 5.10-6a18VI+18E1 5a
I've been up this route maybe 4 times and still have the hardest time figuring out where that 5.7 traverse at the top of the 5.9 piton ladder is. Every time I'm up there at the location of where the death flake used to be I look left and it looks unprotected, much harder than 5.7, and a ways with no bolt in sight. Rossiter's guidebook marks 2 bolts or pins to clip after the traverse. Anyone have any info to help me out here to do the standard route through the 5.7 traverse? I always feel like the only reasonable thing to do is go straight up through the 5.10 finish, but I'd like to someday do that traverse.
Also, speaking of traverses off to the left on that pitch (pitch 5 in this description), there are 2 newer looking bolts off to the left that go up the face just after the second pin when ascending from the belay. They are lower than where I think the 5.7 traverse is and would be accessed before ascending the straight, piton ladder. Anyone know about these? I've never seen them before.
Tim, I would not call the 5.7 finish to that pitch a traverse. This may be your confusion, you do not traverse left, rather you angle up (mostly) and left. As I recall you just follow the strata of rock angling up and left from where the death flake was. It is only about 5.7 but runout. I don't remember if there is any fixed gear in there.
This variation used to be easier to find without the bolts and chalk leading up and right!
First trip to Eldo. First day, down climbed east slabs from Tower One after a different route. Not bad, but holy cow what a time sucker!
2nd route, Yellow Spur: These descent directions were perfect for a non-local. Details dead on. We were even blessed with another team at the first rap with a 70. Made it to the ground of the 1st rap and we joined ropes for a single rap to the ground.
Easily the fastest descent I have had, anywhere, from a 7pitch route. Thanks again for the great details.
Fantastic. Worth the lines and the hype and the chalk and the gumbies because it's just that good. Varied, thought-provoking climbing from the bouldery start to the exposed arete at the end, just awesome moves on impeccable rock. You can get to the ground off the last rappel with a 70m rope but will have to downclimb a 5.easy chimney for about 10 feet. Definitely do the direct finish up the pin ladder if it is within your ability, the exposure is fantastic and it is well bolt protected; more of a sport climb really. It gets you to the great final arete to the little summit pyramid, from which you can scramble [prefer to do this while roped because of the serious exposure] back down to the notch where the rap's start. Definitely an Eldo must-do!!
I just got off of Yellow Spur...I thought it was an ultra classic route!!! Super sweet moves on every pitch. I only had a question about pitch 6 (the crux pitch) after traversing right from the belay and clipping the first piton I encounter a dilemma while standing upon a small ledge at the arete above the piton. One can head to the right following an obvious piton ladder on what appears to be easier climbing then the left choice. The other choice is to head immediately left and on to the bright yellow-green face to two shiny and my guess relatively super new drilled in bolts 7- 10 feet apart followed by a semi run out piton. My question is what does this left route go at? and does it have a name? Personally I felt as though it was a very very stiff 5.10 maybe a 5.10d or even an 11a, but I could be way off. It maybe just an old school 10. Any feedback would be great. I felt all climbing on this route was very chill except for this 15-20 foot left section on the crux pitch which totally took me by surprise. If one choose to go left I was able to sling a horn between the second bolt and the piton, as well as, slinging another horn maybe ten feet above the piton which gave me decent protection until the last piton and belay station.
I think that the traverse on Pitch 5 is more of a .9 not a .7
By Andy Laakmann Site Landlord From: Bend, OR Oct 20, 2008 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Mega good fun. First roof crux is tricky if you don't find the proper path. I kept trying to follow the chalk left and completely missed the overhead jug. Be sure to protect your second once you are on the ledge. Piton/bolt ladder and finishing arete extra fun with 50 mph gusts.. yeeeeehhaaaaaaaa. 10a for the move at the bolt ladder.
By Jay Samuelson From: Denver CO Apr 13, 2009 rating: 5.10-6a18VI+18E1 5a
Finally got on this one today, definitely a classic. Although I must admit, for such a talked up route I thought more of it would be 4-star, but it's really only the top pitches (bolted face & arete) that deliver the ear-to-ear grin. The direct start was fun, slightly harder than the .10 moves up top, and just a little scary because of the sparse gear options.
As for the descent, I would recommend The Dirty Deed's rappels to come off of, although I know some try to steer parties away from this because of all the loose rock on it and its location directly above a very popular area. Definitely take care and be mindful, but I was more scared setting up a top-rope at Table Mountain last weekend than I was descending this line. Traverse north off the top of The Spur, and go through the little notch at the top of the gully, you'll see a nest of slings with some rap rings on it. Two rappels down put you on the big Red Ledge. From here, walk/scramble north for another 40 yards down to a set of bolts with rap rings on it. Two more rappels straight down puts you back on the ground.
4 star route. The bulge is certainly memorable, as is the Robbins' traverse. Each pitch has something that will get your attention. All in all a great route and certainly a classic. A lot of the pitches have awesome exposure. Before I did this route, I was looking for beta on the piton ladder pitch. Think thin, airy moves, but it's all there and the protection is good until you get to the Robbins' traverse. Next time I think we'll do the 5.10 bolts. The traverse is runout and probably more like 5.8. It's a bit creepy clipping the one piton as you know it's probably a 40 foot whipper if you blow it with some swing potential. All said, I'm glad we did it old school! FYI, the loose flake is still there, but it looks as solid as it can be.
Just wanted to reiterate some of the comments on the descent as it is easily to get lost in the long string of comments. The raps west of Ruper are very easy and clean and most importantly keeps you from tossing rocks on folks waiting for Green Spur ect. A single 60m works for all of the raps. To find the Ruper trees head down the gully north of the summit for about 50 yards. The rocks flatten out here and you can then start moving south until you see the Ruper trees. Work right here (west) up over a fin and through the notch and you will see the rap (95'). Everyone might know this but me, but there is no longer a tree on the Vertigo raps, instead look for the chains directly across from the 1st rap. 2 single raps with a 60m on chains will get you down. Hope this helps.
Fun climb. A bit difficult for me to protect. Pitons scare me, but 5.10 variation was the most exposed I have ever felt. Very fun now that it is over. Thank Sunny and Julie for letting us follow! It was awsome. We still missed the decent and ended up down climbing the east side. If anyone finds my 3 slider nuts that I dropped on the 1st pitch, feel free to contact me. Otherwise, if you have to keep them, give them my love.
Wow- just adding to this YS blog is an honor. FYI- Pulled out the piton, on the first pitch overhang/layback (large Chouinard angle) with two fingers last week on an AMGA course. I was about to ask the guide leading why he had placed a difficult to remove cam just below it and not clipped that trusty looking pin when I gave the pin a quick tug - then congratulated him on his good judgment in avoiding that time bomb! Needless to say, no one wanted to clip another pin on the route that day which is a bit tough to do in sections- besides, rust and spider webs have kept most of them in place this long!? FWIW- After many trips up this route via the two starting options, I've decided that the start between them (10c?) is the sweetest with very good gear, straight line, and just one hard starting move (which is spottable) to get going. Much nicer than the less- unprotected other options IMHO.
Finally got a chance to lead the pin ladder and did the direct finish. It should be noted that the pins/bolts are so close together that you could fairly easily French free through this section, even the direct finish with the exception of maybe two moves. So, if all this talk of a scary airy pin ladder has kept you off the rest of this route, don't let it keep you down! Just don't forget your quickdraws in the car! I had 6 doubled draws and 5 quickdraws for p5 and had no slingage left when I got to building an anchor at the top!
By Chris Dawson From: Denver, CO Jun 10, 2011 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
The enjoyability of this climb is greatly enhanced by doing the Robbins traverse. The 5.10 finish has funky moves that are way less fun. I find it fascinating that anyone could climb this route and give it less than four stars. A bona fide Eldo classic.
Ended up getting a #3 C4 stuck deep behind the flake at the top of the 3rd pitch. The anchor right before the "Open Book" pitch. Whoever can get that thing out of there deserves to inherit the booty.
By Jon Marek From: SLC Mar 13, 2012 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a
Felt like I should put in my two cents.
1. Personally I think p1 is the crux no matter which way you go. Even if you think p6 has harder moves, p1 is a far more serious lead particularly for the second.
2. I went for this route OS with very little beta, so I decided to make a belay in the ample placements about 10 feet from the base of the dihedral in p2 instead of the tree. Later, I read in Rock and Ice an accident report about a climber who died when his rope cut while falling on the initial moves in the dihedral. Looking back, the sharp angle the rope makes from the belay being WAY right of the line makes for a dangerous rope cutting situation. It appears the tree is the standard belay, but I would recommend using gear to make a belay in a better position.
By Brett Bauer May 25, 2012 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Last week replaced the overhand knotted cordage on the rap tree with some webbing and a rap ring. Added the cordage back on with double fisherman's, too.
I dropped a small, yellow HB Wales Quad Cam at the base of this route on 4/27/2013. It landed near the trail in plain sight, but when we got back to the base, it was gone. If you picked it up, please message me. I would like it back.
Stopped at a false belay on the fourth pitch after pulling the roof, on a ledge with an old piton. A big block there is loose and practically ready to come off; I broke a chunk of it off while looking for a place to plug some gear. Don't be fooled; keep moving up and to the right, onto the arête, where there's a ledge with bomber pro. Belay from there.
I just climbed this last week for the first time...spectacular climb. We linked pitches 2/3 and 4/5. We did the 10b variation which was super cool. I think we got off route at the very top as I encountered huge runouts on easy climbing. We finished too far to the right, so we had to do an additional pitch of up over the sharp ridge line and then all the way down to the saddle point where the dirty gully rappel begins. We did the rappel in 3 single rope raps with no problems with a 70m rope...a 60m would be cutting it close. Also, the winds were remarkably strong...so strong that my 105 pound partner actually got blown off the route!
We left a yellow Rock Empire cam at the belay at the bottom of pitch 4. If anyone can get it out, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ryan Watts From: Bishop, CA Aug 29, 2013 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a
Pitch 5 is definitely an interesting lead. Some thin moves up the pin ladder, but with a pin every 5 feet, it feels pretty much like sport climbing. Then comes the 5.7 Robbins Traverse which felt kind of tricky for the grade to be honest, and there is very little gear. I got a really sketchy blue Alien in behind a flake about halfway across and that was it until the fixed pin. Really wouldn't have wanted to fall on that one!
By LawHous From: Colorado Springs, CO Apr 27, 2014
If you're going to climb this route, skip the traverse on the crux pitch and head straight up on the 10a/b section. The tricky section is very short and more of a balancy, hidden move than a pumpfest. Awesome exposure and fun climbing high on Redgarden Wall. What more could you ask for?!
By Vaughne May 18, 2014 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Does anyone know the story on the lower traverse on pitch 5? I was up there today and saw a bolt up and left of the belay below the pin/bolt ladder. Thinking it was the Robbin's traverse I clipped the first pin on the ladder and then fired off to the left just above the roof. I found it to be relatively difficult and scary, since there was no pro for about 25' and kind of a lot of lichen. There are two bolts out there and only afterward did I learn that this is not the Robbin's Traverse.
Regarding the post above by Vaughne, sounds like you went on to the third pitch of Psycho Pigeon, a great route! There is definitely decent, though somewhat tricky pro before the bolt, including an excellent blue/green offset Alien right where you want it. That section getting to the bolt might be 5.10 PG or PG-13. The crux is getting to the second bolt.
By Andy Weinmann From: Alexandria, VA Jul 10, 2014 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Lovely route...quality and sustained. Traverses a good bit, so DMM Revolver biners are nice to have in those critical turn spots...if you have 'em, use 'em. Found the standard last pitch to be 10a...compares well with other old school areas back east like Seneca and the Gunks...a shade harder than the crux on Bring On The Nubiles at Seneca (9+).
The RR traverse was fun and airy. There was a long sling on one of the bolts, so I used that and then managed to put a slip-knot on a flake/chickenhead type thing near the right end of the traverse...moved up and clipped a pin.