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.
The better finish to the Great Zot. Lots of tricky routefinding on this route, but I found that the description in Rossiter more or less matches the route very well. There is a lot of runout 5.6 climbing but the "5.8+" traverse near the top looks well protected. See the comments for the Great Zot for a discussion of various routefinding issues on this route.
Start by following the first 3 and a half pitches of the Great Zot. Before you start pitch 4, observe that your eventual goal is the obvious tree and ledge directly above you. At the end of the cruxyness on the leftward traverse of pitch 4, look for a ramp-like weakness that leads up and right to the tree. Belay here.
The next pitch is where the routefinding gets weird. Traverse straight right to a dirty looking left facing dihedral capped by a licheny roof. Climb the dihedral, pulling around to the face on the right before the licheny roof. Once on the face, eye your eventual target: a small tree (the only one) on a ledge up and slightly left. Climb straight up the face looking for a very thin crack that diagonals in from the left.Traverse left on this feature (crux) to a crack and corner system which leads up to the tree and ledge. I thought that this section wasn't any harder than the pitch 4 traverse on the Great Zot.
With a 60 m, you can run the last two pitches together.
The description in Rossitter's book is pretty much right-on, but I found it still a mental challenge to lead the last 2 pitches, which we ran together, on-site. It *was* a bit run-out at spots, and the pro was 'creative' sometimes. I also found some rope-drag issues, so extend the runners as you can. Basically, I guess what I'm saying is that it's an Eldo face climb. Enjoy!
There is a very large amount of large loose rock on this face. Be especially aware of expando flakes that would fail under weighted cams. I saw many people below us today without hard hats. Wake up brothers and sisters. This sport is risky enough without having someone above kill you with a bomb. You have been warned.
Nice of you to warn people to wear helmets, but how about not prying flakes off the wall and trying to kill us all! My helmet wouldn't have done much to slow down the rock you (or your partner?) sent down at us. Climb under control and within your abilities? Learn to recognize loose rock and don't protect behind it?
My 2 cents. There is no "8+" traverse or any other 8+ moves if you stay on route. The crux is the first few moves of the traverse, but can be pretty well protected (gear 5 ft right). I didn't feel like the rest of the face was rounout and got gear in every 5-10ft. However, I'd agree you certainly can't just plug in gear wherever you feel like it and some of it was creative, but with good stances.
Uninformed accusations, to be sure. Not a pebble was sent down by me, nor by my partner that morning. I do recall, however, that some rock came down from that area in the afternoon. We had just finished Darkness Til Dawn (so I guess I was climbing within my abilities, as ZF was the day's warmup), and someone hollered rock, and there were a couple of dumbasses standing around underneath (gray t-shirts?) without helmets. So what did they do? They looked up (so the rock would hit them in the face?), then covered their heads with their hands (so they might have their fingers removed?) Did they try to get out of the way? No. They just stood there and grumbled.
Your safety is your own responsibility. Even the most careful climbers will dislodge a rock here and there. The last page Pat Ament's book High Over Boulder lists "A Few Suggetions For Safety." Here is suggestion #1:
"Don't climb below other parties. People drop equipment and knock rocks off. A climb will always wait for another day."
Standing around below parties in a known rockfall area is simply foolish. All of the posts debating the Dirty Deed rappell attest to that. Want to hang out at the GZ without worrying about gumbies dropping rocks onto your soft spot? How about taking ten steps to the west? It's sunny and warm over there, and you won't have some dude's dog nosing in your crotch while you try to eat your lunch.
BTW-- You may be surprised how much a climbing helmet can take. I caught a baseball- sized chunk on the noggin once at Granite Mountain in AZ, during a vertical rescue training course. I saw stars, and a dime- sized gouge was left in the shell.
Wear your helmet. It will save your life some day, and they look oh so cool!
Wow, Mark, you are obviously a talented and clever climber. 511+ trad! How long have you been climbing? and I guess never pulled or knocked a rock off a route - fantastic!
I'm glad you decided to share your advice, because thinking about it you are right. It's probably not a good idea to knock rocks off ledges and pull off flakes. They never really told us about that aspect of the sport when we were learning in the gym. I guess you can't just take gym climbing straight to Eldo. I'm gonna tell my friends about that. Hey, perhaps you'd show us the ropes?
Well I was having a lot of fun throwing rocks down on people, and Eldo is such a good place for it - lots of loose stuff. Much better than Joshua Tree! You really made me realize I should be more careful, because if it wasn't for us gumbies you wouldn't need to wear helmets 'coz no-one would be dropping shit on your head.
You're right Russell, my comment wasn't fully informed. I made an assumption and we all know what can happen when we head down that path.I based that guess on the fact that you posted the day of the rocks falling off the face, with no other posts about the route for a year and a half and no other posts about loose rock. Look at your original post. I think you might see why I might have thought that it sounded like you were speaking from experience, rather that in a theoretical way, about flakes being pried off. My bad on accusing you or your partner wrongfully.
Guess I still had a little adrenaline from the near death experience when I posted. BTW-I agree with you about helmets. I was wearing mine that day as was my partner. We weren't the "dumbasses" at the base, we were on route when the rocks came down. Way bigger than a baseball, more like a human head. Regarding Ament's advice: Good stuff, but much easier in his day to avoid climbing in an area with another party on the wall. Hey, there were probably only a dozen parties in the whole canyon on nice days when he penned that tidbit.
Okay, specifics: At the belay on top of p4 (the sweet traverse left, then back right), there is an obvious overhead flake with a crack behind. I stuck a 1.75 (green) forged friend in it and gave a tug-- the crack opened and creaked like an outhouse door (i.e. it was shit). The next pitch is littered with attached and unattached chunks of various sizes, as is the last. My partner mentioned tugging on an alien and opening up a flake on p5.
As this route is considered popular, I was surprised to see so much loose junk. Now that's not to say that it is all bad; there is plenty of good pro on this route.
IMHO, it's too bad that this face is above such a crowded base, because the climbing might be much more enjoyable after a good cleaning. I think that the fact that it is still a bit messy is a testament to how careful most people are up there.
Rossiter's book lists no less than six variations to his ZF route. Maybe there is a better way? Once you step around the roof on p5, it looks like you could go almost anywhere...
At what point on P4 do you divert up towards the little tree? When I lead this pitch a few years ago, I took it all the way to the arete on the corner before heading back right on the ramp to the tree. As I recall, the weakness near the end of this traverse, was either not obvious, or looked too sketchy and runnout...
The caption on the picture of RO below should read p4, not p5. Sorry.
To find where to traverse back right on p4, look for the place where the handcrack opens up into a kind of hollow, maybe only 30- 40 feet from where the crack starts. It is a bit run- out to the belay, but I found it easy, similar to the last 50 feet of Ruper.
Using double ropes eliminated rope drag completely, and nicely protected the second on the run- out bits.
Now that I'm reading the description others are writing, I may have been on route for the first section of the last pitch. Definitely found the first left-facing dihedral, but may or may not have found the traverse. Didn't climb anything 8+, but the gear was a little sparse and the rock a little loose.
Jesse, it sounds like you may have gone straight up instead of doing the traverse, which looked very doable, both from below and from the belay ledge a few feet from the top. If this is the case, it looked nicer than doing the traverse and is probably the more obvious line. You'd know if you did the traverse, especially if using single ropes, since it goes 15-20ft left.
By Ron Olsen From: Boulder, CO May 8, 2006 rating: 5.75a15V+MVS 4b
A fun pitch, with some route-finding, loose rock, and slightly runout pro.
From the belay by the tree at the end of P4, traverse right about 25' to a left-facing corner system. Pass some loose rock, turn a small overhang (5.7), and continue more or less straight up flakes and small corners for another 80'. When the corner peters out, traverse back left 25' to a ledge with two small pine trees. Done this way, there's no move harder than 5.7 on the pitch.
It's also possible to climb straight up from the tree atop P4. This variation is about 5.6, is also a bit runout, and ends at the same ledge with two small trees. This is a faster way to get to the top if weather is threatening, but the climbing isn't as good as the standard variation.