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Wigwam Dome
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Trail of Tears 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 700'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: ?
Page Views: 2,086
Submitted By: Luke Clarke on Aug 17, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (7)
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Route we took to the top. We missed our first bela...

Description 

This is fine route with lots of slab climbing, jamming and liebacking. Guidebooks vary on exact route and difficulty -- 9 or 9 minus. This felt soft for a South Platte 9. It's a good route for someone breaking into the grade. The rock is classic S. Platte granite: hard and knobby.

Pitch One: Lieback and jam an obvious 5.7 dihedral or follow a crack system angling up and left in the middle of a face. Find a belay in a spacious pod at the base of a huge right-facing dihedral.

Pitch Two: Ascend easy ground up and right to a belay ledge about 100 feet up.

Pitch Three: Climb the clean, right-facing, right-leaning dihedral. The crux is a traverse to cracks at the end of the dihedral.

Pitch Four: Either take the sweet finger crack splitting the face on climber's left(as depicted in Peter Hubbel's South Platte The Rock Climber's Guide) or climb the wide chimney on climber's right (Ken Trout's South Platte Rock). The finger crack protects easily. The wide crack would take a No. 4 Big Bro if you have one but only where the crack narrows a bit and the climbing gets easier. Either way, climb to a cave under a large overhang.

Pitch Five: We traversed out right(east)and made a couple slab moves with ledge-fall potential before you can place gear. Continue up obvious cracks to easy ground and on to the summit.

Location 

The start of this route is hard to find. Traverse along the base of Wigwam far to the east of Hill Route and Ramblin Rose. Fight through brush and boulders about 40 feet up to a clearing on a wide ledge and walk back left until you see an obvious right-facing dihedral with a hand size crack leading to a bushy corner. There is probably a better way but that's how we got there.

Protection 

Double cams to 3" and at least one No. 4


Photos of Trail of Tears Slideshow Add Photo
Gina having a good time in the not so windy corner pitch on Trail of Tears.
Gina having a good time in the not so windy corner...
The red line indicates the route depicted in the Hubbel guide.
BETA PHOTO: The red line indicates the route depicted in the H...
Pitch 1 of Trail of Tears (5.9-). <br /> <br /><a href='http://www.patrickbetts.zenfolio.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >patrickbetts.zenfolio.com</a>. <br />www.facebook.com/adventurethrulens.
Pitch 1 of Trail of Tears (5.9-).

www.patrickbett...
The lieback, jamming option for pitch one, easy 5.7. An alternative start is in a crack system just to the right of this photo.
The lieback, jamming option for pitch one, easy 5....
Starting the finger crack on P4. I recommend this variation for this pitch.
Starting the finger crack on P4. I recommend this ...
Pitch 1 of Trail of Tears (5.9-). <br /> <br /><a href='http://www.patrickbetts.zenfolio.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >patrickbetts.zenfolio.com</a>. <br />www.facebook.com/adventurethrulens.
Pitch 1 of Trail of Tears (5.9-).

www.patrickbett...
Chuck Graves steps up onto the slab. This start is a little unnerving. It's not hard, but the gear is below you and a slip is a definite ledge fall.
Chuck Graves steps up onto the slab. This start is...
Pitch 3 is the best pitch on Trail of Tears, even though P4 is more technical.
Pitch 3 is the best pitch on Trail of Tears, even ...
Finger crack variation on pitch 4 of Trail of Tears (5.9-). <br /> <br /><a href='http://www.patrickbetts.zenfolio.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >patrickbetts.zenfolio.com</a>. <br />www.facebook.com/adventurethrulens.
Finger crack variation on pitch 4 of Trail of Tear...

Comments on Trail of Tears Add Comment
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By Andrew
From: Lakewood
Sep 1, 2009

We took the wide crack on pitch 4. You can get a orange TCU in a pod just as the chimney starts to shrink that will protect you through the crux. The finger crack looked excellent and more exposed, but the chimney was super fun and classic in my opinion. Great climb.
By Patrick Betts
Jun 20, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

It's good to note that, personally, I believe the lower you traverse on pitch 3 the easier it is. However, you better be comfortable with a 40ft traverse on 5.7/5.8 slab. It seems the higher up the dihedral you wait, the more water-worn the slab gets. My 2-cents. Great climb!
By Patrick Betts
Sep 22, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed it again yesterday, 9/21, and did the finger crack variation on pitch 4. Stellar. With having done both options, the finger crack variation is definitely the way to go, in my opinion. Used just a #1 and 0.75 in the finger crack and that's it for the pitch. It does eat up gear though. Do it!
By LawHous
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 21, 2013

Just climbed this route today. There was some icefall and some water on the climb, but it will still fun and climbable. Nobody talks much about the descent, and the little that is mentioned says to go southwest (climber's left at top of route) to rap and walk off. There isn't much to rap off except some trees, and it takes longer to get back to the base of the climb that way. If you go east (climber's right), there is an easy, all walk off descent down a gully to the right of Wigwam Dome.
By LawHous
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 22, 2013

Also as far as gear goes big stuff is certainly beneficial, but we took double cams from 0.4 to 3 and used all of them more than once. Take everything you've got! This climb likes gear.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Nov 4, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This is a pretty good route. My girlfriend and I climbed this route yesterday in pretty windy conditions - up to 40mph gusts. Approach took 1h15m at a casual pace and was pretty easy to follow the "trail."

All in all, the climbing is pretty easy with short cruxes thrown in to make it exciting. We both agreed the climbing was no harder than 5.8+. The "finger crack" variation on P4 is really just a couple moves of Lumpy Ridge-esque "crack climbing." I think I locked one time towards the top of the crack. From there, an easy corner leads to an obvious belay ledge. Small cams on P3's crux are helpful. The belay at the Top of P3 (inside the chimney, below the finger crack variation) is tricky. Don't place gear in the seemingly stable flake... it's definitely hollow. Place large nuts/smaller cams higher up instead.

Walk off to the east/northeast and down the gully is really straightforward. The only possible way to get thrown off is if you walk too low and miss the start of the route. Just hug the edge of the dome and you'll get back to your packs in 30-40m.

A single rack of gear seems reasonable for this route. Doubles in 0.5-#1 Camalot would be ideal.
By Dan G0D5H411
From: Colorado Springs, CO
May 5, 2014
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

A couple of notes:
1) The route, as described above, is a bit different than what is listed in the Hubbel guide (take a look at the photo with the red line to see where Hubbel shows the route going). I suspect the Hubbel variation bumps up the grade when you traverse left after the finger crack, rather than going straight up the wide flake above.
2) Don't cheat yourself of some of the best climbing on the route by traversing far right on the third pitch. Continuing up the dihedral may be harder, but the low traverse indicated by the blue line in the beta photo is mediocre, run-out and 5.5 at the most.
3) A single rack up to #3 with doubles in the 0.5-1.0 range is perfect for this route. A #4 is definitely not necessary if you take the finger crack (not sure about the chimney variation.)

All in all, this was a nice moderate romp up an impressive dome, lacking only in sustained difficulty.