This classic and beautiful Rincon Wall route is one of the most memorable climbs in Eldorado. Right of Climb of the Century is a smooth, chalk-stained, hanging slab with overhangs both above and below. It gradually tapers up to a sharp arete and a steep dihedral. Begin in a short corner and then creep out right onto the face, past all the chalk (crux), using sharp flakes and complex footwork. Edge up the face, eventually touching the arete and then liebacking up the corner (good med. cam). Moving past the overhanging section is difficult (.11c), followed by an .11a move (wires) in the dihedral before the anchor. Most climbers usually lower off at this point, but a nice second pitch (.10d) moves out right and then up a crack and bulge to another anchor. Rap here (150') or climb up to the walk-off ledge (.8).
The fixed pins on Wendego are quite old and are probably not capable of holding a lot of weight. Some of the pins can be backed up with RPs or mini cams, but these aren't bombproof either. Disputes have arisen about placing bolts on Wendego (no!), but it would be better to replace the old pins with new ones. It would be a good way to find out just how bad the old ones are and how they've aged over the past 25+ years. The Park might approve gear-for-gear applications (no FHRC required). If these pins are as bad as people think, then there should be very little scarring when they are removed, and new and better pins could take their place. Maybe the slots left from the old pins would leave bomber cam placements?!
Even as is, Wendego is superb. With some careful upgrading more climbers might be willing to get on it. The elaborate moves, vintage gear, and overall challenge add up to an exemplary Eldorado experience.
3 old fixed pins, RPs, wires, mini cams, and Friends to 2". 2 bolt anchor.
The first pin is soft iron and will most likely break at the neck of the pin if someone tries to remove it with a hammer or funkness, leaving the blade in the rock quite impossible to remove.
It is possible to clip the first pin and then downclimb to the ground to test it. Once on the ground if you weight the rope like crazy and the pin holds, it will probably hold a fall from the crux since the pin is at your chest for that move.
There is a 0.4 or 0.5 TCU/Alien placement left a bit and below the first pin that will keep you off the ground should the pin fail, although you will swing a bit.
While I understand the idea and concept of keeping the the route in its original condition with regard to the fixed pins, I will once again state that fixed gear is fixed gear regardless of the form it takes. It does not matter whether it is a bolt or a pin. Both pieces are relied upon by the climber for pro, with the caveat that the pin is less stable. When you add to this that the pins are 20+ years old, I consider this laughable that people actually object to replacing the gear with bolts. The bolt will last longer, can be placed in the same locale, and represents the same caliber of climbing. This will in the long run reduce the damage to the rock, while allowing people to climb this fine route.
Nate, you stated that replacing the pin with a bolt would "in the long run reduce the damage to the rock, while allowing people to climb this fine route."
In many instances I agree. But can you imagine the amount of chalk (i.e. "damage to the rock") on the first part of Wendego if a bolt replaced that first pin, "allowing people to climb this fine route"?
I do agree with, and respect your premise that a bolt would change the nature of the route by making the climber 100% sure of the pro, and I can appreciate the idea of the trad climb demanding much more mental control than a similarly bolted sport route. For instance, I did X-M the other day on the Bastille, and was shaking in my boots trying to figure out the crux moves with my gear consisting of a very small questionable RP and a distant alien 15 feet below, but when I pulled it off I must say that it was quite a different feeling than many sport routes I have done. A bolt right there would have made the route easy (relatively)
It would be a shame to cover the rock with all that chalk (if bolted) as surely more attempts would be made. I guess the only issue lies in how are these type of routes to be maintained when the gear in place fails. I just feel it is somewhat irresponsible to replace fixed gear with something less than bombproof. Perhaps each route will need to be looked at, and if clean gear (aliens, rps atc) can be had then mere removal of the pin could make the climb more challenging and prevent failure from someone trusting it to hold, while on those routes that absolutely require something fixed perhaps bolts are in order. Tough call for sure....... Definitely a problem that I think was not expected before so many people took up the sport.
I must add that I have not yet mustered the courage to do Wendego, but have it on the list for a day when I feel strong, and courageous! I appreciate the dialogue about this a value your opinion, and hopefully did not offend you by my comments...... (Some of my sarcasm did come from the AC posting!)
As I recall, the pin under discussion is a Lost Arrow. This being the case, simply removing it would solve the issue entirely since a #1 Slider would slip into the slot left by a Lost Arrow and generate a nearly bomb proof piece.
Took a look at Wendego last week and noticed a total of four fixed pitons on the first pitch. The first piton is low down in the short corner under main dihedral and slab. I had always remembered it being there, but it was partially hidden by a small bush. It only protects the very beginning and is too low to be considered a back-up for the lost arrow that protects the crux. This lost arrow looks so-so, but it may have been recently put in. It is still only driven about halfway and tilts downward. The next two are fully driven angles that look newish and very good. There is decent gear between the upper pins, so trusting the lost arrow through the crux and for a few more moves is probably the only concern. It looks like Aliens or Ball Nuts might back up the crux pin well enough. I hope to summon up the courage to get on it soon to verify the condition of the fixed gear and try out the new micro gear.
By the way, I really doubt that the FHRC/ACE would ever allow a bolt to go in, and then getting it by the Park would be nearly impossible (thankfully). Anyone who drilled a bolt would probably haunted by a former FHRC member for a good long time.
As part of the Celebrate Eldo and FHRC activities this past weekend, my partner, JC, and I attempted to replace the suspect pin on this route.
We aborted an extensive removal attempt after we realized that we would probably break the pin trying to get it out. Leaving an unusable pin in place was not an acceptable solution. Therefore, this pin was driven back into the crack, and a backup "replacement" pin was driven above and adjacent to it.
A steel link through both eyes of the pins (as a single point of protection to clip), will be installed. Currently there is a temporary loop (3") of webbing threaded through both pins.
This point of pro is in the same location, but is now relatively good.The pins still look scary, and the "fixed" gear on Wendego will continue to deter sport climbers, and the masses.
IMHO the possibility of slicing one's rope on the lip is a greater concern than the pins. One brave soul whipped and sliced his cord to 3 remaining strands. Undaunted, he lowered to the talus, cut his rope, tied back in, and sent. Not being as courageous or as confident, the fear of the rope slice gives me the Willies, and should be considered by any aspiring leader and his belayer.
Thanks for puttin' a new pin in... seems to be a good compromise between the "leave as is " and the bolting camp-- I don't think folks are waiting in line for their next RP burn, yet it gives some enough confidence to give it a whirl. I thought the rest of the pins seemed pretty good, and depending on how hard you want to work, there is gear inbetween. BTW, I spoke w/ somebody yesterday who was present at the rope slicing incident and friends w the climber... he said that the leader blew off the bomber friend placement and did not have the next pin clipped when he tried to pull the roof, flew and consequently shredded his rope. So, keep in mind that the best hold on the entire route takes a bomber cam and leaves plenty of room for a good grip.
Replaced the old purple piece of tat threaded through the first pins in the roof on 12-20-03. The new piece is doubled through the pins. If anyone plans on going up it might be possible to clip a very narrow karabiner of one of those mallion (?) rings that you can get at the hardware store into the pins. This will save everyone the hassle of replacing the tat periodically and will be a lot safer.
I climbed this last weekend (narrowly missing the on-site with a foolish foot slip). Got it clean after lowering off.Anyway, I have fixed a stopper through those two pins that are right next to each other. I couldn't get the swaged end through both eyes, so I stuck the nutted end through and clipped both ends with a locker to create a sort of contrived cable. I'm not convinced that it's all that great (maybe the wires could get broken over the sharp eyes of the pins?), but it sure is better than just clipping the old tat that's up there.
As a side note, I'm very happy that it still has the gear that it does. I have wanted to climb it for a while now, and it would have been much less meaningful (or even interesting) if I thought I could just go fall my way up it all willy nilly. Besides, the other gear that you can fiddle in isn't all that bad. Thanks for keeping ethics alive, everybody.
By adampeters From: Golden, Colorado Nov 9, 2007 rating: 5.12a7a+25VIII+25E5 6a
I climbed this route last week with a friend and we bounce tested the two pins before heading up, they seemed okay, so we climbed it. I actually took a small fall on the two pins after pulling through the crux, and to my surprise they held fine. This is a great line and you shouldn't be scared off of it by the pins. Techy footwork at the bottom, arete slapping, and a little corner climbing makes this one of the better routes I have been on in Eldo.
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Jul 1, 2008 rating: 5.127b+27VIII+26E6 6b PG13
Too thin for me to think of it as pleasureable.
By Dusty From: Fort Collins Nov 8, 2009 rating: 5.12b7b26VIII+26E5 6b PG13
Wendego is excellent. Super desperate. I can't fathom climbing it barefoot. Skip is badass.