Where Eagles Dare
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This was one of the most (in)famous 5.9 trad routes in Boulder Canyon - that is until it was upgraded to 10b in Rossiter's latest guide. The route begins about 50' right of the bolted route "Bolt Cola" behind a large talus block.
P1. Head up a slab with occasional cracks to a large roof about 60' up. The crux tackles this roof directly via an overhanging corner with a very thin crack in the back. You can place good gear down low, but higher up the corner where the crux is, your pro consists of RPs. Back when this was rated 9+ we used to piss and moan about how Dan Hare could call this 5.9. The exit moves above the roof are exciting and thin, then traverse right to a nice 2 bolt anchor (courtesy Dan Hare). 80'.
It is possible to climb around the crux on the left, which is really the route "Center Direct (5.9+)". This involves an awkward hand traverse left along a leaning crack which begins where the normal crux does. Not recommended unless you forgot your RPs.
P2. The second pitch climbs a crackless corner and/or the slab to the right, and ends at the eagle's nest where the climb got its name. This pitch is only about 60' long and has very little pro. It used to be 5.8 but has been upgraded to 5.9 in the latest guide. I'd still call it 5.8 s. 35'.
P3. The final exciting pitch moves right through a roof on a steep, exposed flake, turns the corner and heads straight up beautiful hand cracks to the top. Watch your pro when you are turning the corner to avoid rope drag on this long pitch. 105'.
Walk west from the summit to descend or rappel 160' off a bolted anchor with chains just 12 feet to the right.
Standard rack to 3" plus RPs.
BETA PHOTO: The crux corner on the first pitch is in the cente...
Fun slab climbing leads to the crux corner visible...
Luke's getting situated in the corner above the 1s...
Luke on the real crux--moving up from the jug. The...
P2: Placing the marginal small cam in the horizont...
P2: After committing to the horizontal below me, I...
Rolling onto the ledge on P3. A #4 Camalot p...
Advanced Base Camp on pitch 3.
Having finally regained his dignity, Luke is at th...
Just above the crux on pitch 2
Looking down from t...
The perfect hand crack after the hand traverse on ...
YAY! Topping out P3.
|Comments on Where Eagles Dare
|By Jake Martin|
Sep 24, 2001
Jake Martin-- There are some great variations that make this climb go at 9+ or 10a. As described in George's description, at the first pitch crux, you can go up a weird hand traverse left(the route Center Direct), clip a bolt and then move up and right to the bolted belay. This is kind of runout, but climbs on fairly easy slab. At this point, (the belay) you can go up the 9s corner, left on two bolts, or the variation we did, which is traverse directly right. A bomber yellow alien comes 10 feet off the belay, then continue right on some balancey slab (more bomber gear--keep your eyes open) until you see the a bolt line running up (this bolt line is also visible from the belay) on the right side of the crack/block that is usually accessed from the left (via the normal route). These bolts are only 5.9. Follow them until you reach the crack and onward to the top!
|By Leo Paik|
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 5, 2002
Great route. Stiff for even the 10b rating. You can definitely get a wire or Alien in the crack at the crux. It's strenuous. It's a wee bit awkward & committing to move up onto the slab. The second pitch can definitely be protected on good gear with wires, Aliens. It's a long way to walk off this bugger.
|By Jon Sargent|
Sep 23, 2002
Great route! I would suggest doing it in two pitches, [especially] linking one and two. A fall on the second pitch would send the leader directly into the belayer. As for the crux, I was able to protect the initial move into the corner with a solid # 3 RP placement and found what was a solid #00 TCU (grey) placement to [protect] the move exiting the corner. 1 long [rappel] with a 60 meter rope (the anchor is slings, climber's right after topping out) and a bit of down climbing gets you to the gully where Jolt Cola is located.
|By Chad Stebbins|
Sep 29, 2002
From the ground, this climb just looks ok; however it is great, a must do in my opinion. The last pitch looks like a walk up after the short hand [crack] section, but there is good climbing from top to bottom.
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Fort Collins, CO
Dec 21, 2002
More gear info:
At the crux, place a big brass nut. Anything bigger interferes with the finger jam. After the first hard move, you can place a medium stopper on the right edge of the bucket. This is good for a straight out pull, but the rock could break. Above is a small brass, #2HB offset? Use long draws, because as you stem the corner you are pulling straight out on these nuts. If you are as stressed out as I was, you might consider the following two placements: Where the dihedral meets the slab there is a tiny "V" slot. You can place a medium HB (#5?) sideways. After you step up left you can get a good aluminum HB offset (#8?) to your left at hip level. Use a long sling. A regular nut probably wouldn't work here. Can you tell I like the HB offsets? I really like the aluminum bigger ones. I've been using the smaller brass ones since they came out. I also really like the offset cams. I was given the 3 smallest Metolius offset cams for a present and use them all the time.
The second "9s" pitch is more like 8pg. You can get good cams in the corner and a tiny cam in the horizontal as you move right. Another cam on the arete and a brass nut back left in the corner makes this very safe.
For the "crawl" pitch, a #4/purple Camalot would make it very safe. Smaller cams can be placed further left, but you would be facing a ledge fall, or worse if your foot gets stuck and you land on your head. If this pitch is 10a, it must be the crawl that is the crux. The hand crack is very easy.
There are two new bolts at the end of the hand crack that you can rap to the ground from with a 60m rope. It felt a little silly to do the crawl and then rap, but we were cold.
Jan 4, 2003
We also did a variation on the second pitch (see Jake's comments above). From the anchor at the top of the first pitch, continue the traverse right. There are some decent finger underclings, and you can get a medium cam in, then it heads up after about 12-15 feet. The rock seems a bit brittle here in places, and it's fairly dirty, but slam a small wire in and head up and it's worth it. You will gain an arete from which you can see your belayer again--s/he's right below you--and you can get in your smallest cam for pro. Easy climbing from here to the ledge beneath the third pitch. I thought this was to be the most exciting pitch, but then I went on to climb the rest of the route, which continued to be fantastic. Good stuff! Three stars! Look for the rappel slings to the right to save the walk....
|By Michael Amato|
Nov 19, 2004
We got on this route today, mid-40s with a frigid, biting wind, so we rapped off at the second set of anchors, frozen. The move into the P1 crux corner can be very well protected, but be sure to dress your runners so that they're out of your way as you pull up into the corner. Once you reach the jugs above, the real crux begins... don't miss the #00 Metolius TCU to your right which Jon Sargent mentions above, the only pro as you stem high and wide using thin crimps to get you up onto the slab. Be sure to place a small stopper as you head right above to the anchors to protect your second from a big swing. We will be back to finish this route!
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Fort Collins, CO
Dec 17, 2006
There's a fixed nut to protect the P1 real crux moves after the jug. The nut has been there over a year. It's been tested... P2 is spicier than I remembered. The small cam in the horizontal is tough to place and very shallow, hanging in on a bump in the crack.
|By James R. Arnold|
Nov 6, 2007
Climbed this yesterday with Joe Chorny. We both thought this route was great. Here are some comments for what they are worth.
Joe led the first pitch and placed a small nut in the right hand hold needed to pull your feet up into the dihedral. Placing this nut was a long reach, strenuous and required a few tries and some rests in between. The first pitch still has the fixed nut at the top of the crux dihedral. Joe also got a good nut below this and slung the jug horn.
I led the second pitch and thought the gear was mediocre. One could place cams in the pin scars but these would take away the only handholds. I placed a marginal nut in the btm of the larger hold to leave some room. Before making the traverse right a small nut/RP can be placed in the thin crack on the left. Placing the small cam in the horizontal (#0 Friend) wasn't that bad, but the move after that was the hardest. I traversed straight right to the arete and found quite a bit of lichen, perhaps up a move or two and then to the arete is the right way. As for the potential fall on the belay, the belayer could tie in with a few feet of rope and then swing to the right out of harm's way if the leader falls near them.
On the 3rd pitch Joe and I both hand traversed the lip with feet down low instead of trying to grovel sideways. The #4 Camalot is very nice to have here. If you're tall (I'm 6" 2"), you can place or clean the #4 from the belay. The short crack after the grovel is also 9, steep with smooth feet but good jams.
The last pitch was 8-8+ and very nice. It is good to have 3 or more cams in the 0.5-0.75" Camalot size for the middle and upper part of the crack. I ran out of those and had to overcam a #1 Camalot in the final crack.
From the top, traverse 10-15 feet right to a bolted anchor. There is also a single bolt on a boulder a few feet above this anchor. From there, 2 single rope raps will get you to the ground.
|By Rob Dillon|
From: '81 Sunrader
Nov 6, 2007
Wait, the small cam...middle lobes up or down?
|By James R. Arnold|
Nov 8, 2007
I don't recall which way the cam went in. Not a spot to hang around at very long. P2 and the others are much easier than P1 so give it a try if you at the top of P1.
|By Guy H.|
From: Fort Collins CO
Jan 5, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b R
This is one of the best multi-pitch climbs in BC. Every pitch has something unique to offer. The 10b pitch is well protected and straightforward, if you are tall. The second pitch is quite heady, since the crux is protected by a #000 C3 cam.
|By kyle lefkoff|
Nov 1, 2008
I agree with Guy, and here is an excellent 4 pitch variation that captures the best parts of Main Wall:
P1: Climb Bolt Cola to the anchors (10a), 25m.
P2: Lead directly up the white face above on small pro to the prominent traverse rail. Clip a single cold shut, and hand rail across for 20m to the regular belay at the base of p3 of Where Eagles Dare (8+), 30m.
P3: Climb the beginning of the third pitch and belay at the first set of ring anchors, just past the handcrack (10a), 15m.
P4: Climb the rest of the third pitch to the big ledge (10a), 25m.
Just below and climber's right of the top out are a set of rap anchors for a 25m rappel to ring anchors at the base of Decade Dance, then 25m rappel to the gully.
|By Olaf Mitchell|
From: Paia, Maui, Hi,
Dec 15, 2008
That's Scott Woodruff, Dan Hare, and Brad Gilbert. Great route, great guys!
|By Rick Mix|
Dec 15, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b PG13
Fer sure one of the BEST routes in BC! P2 overhang is a little heady, but that's what we're out there for, right?
|By Greg D|
Jun 22, 2009
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b
Finally I can say I climbed a really good trad line in BC. Found it a bit harder than expected. Not sure if my 5 day fast and losing 13lbs had anything to do with it. But, the first pitch crux felt quite stiff, well protected though. The second pitch is the mental crux, thin slabby climbing with intermittent "ok" gear.
|By Brian Barenberg|
Oct 3, 2009
Great route! P2 was my favorite, but I found the crux in the first pitch easier than some parts of the sustained hand cracks on P3. Loads of fun none the less.
|By Phil Lauffen|
Oct 3, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a
Did this with Brian today. First of all, awesome climb. It seems to me that everyone has a different experience on this climb. I found the crux of the route for me to be the hand crack leaving the large detached "eagle's nest" flake. However, I suck at all kinds of crack except for my specialty... thin tips. The thin overhang was one move of 5.10a followed by a decent rest to a strange stemming/manteling sequence that just felt a little balancey.
The second pitch was super exciting. I placed about four small, decent pieces right in a row on the left before launching out into the cool sequence on the face to the right. I apparently was having too much fun, because I missed the cam placement on the arete and didn't place until I was about to exit the RF corner, circa~8 ft below the 2nd pitch belay. I love fiddling in RPs above a twenty foot runout. An excellent route.