This route is in the popular Pony Express area of the West Ridge of Eldo. Just to the left of the famous routes, Iron Horse and Iron Pony, is a crack through an overhang that continues on and up for about 130' total. The crux is about 40 feet up where a right-facing corner comes into a bulge. The crux is short and sweet stemming and a bit of body English... a 1-move wonder. I don't find the crux move particularly hard, but it can be tricky to figure out and may be harder for shorter folks. I think it is one of Eldo's easier 5.11s for average and tall folks. Mellow if you get the move right, damn hard if you don't.
The protection is reasonable at all times, but not necessarily great. at the crux. It will do and is fairly safe. Take some small gear.
I actually think the grade is pretty close to right. Being consistent with my comments, I really like this route, technical and interesting down low with a cool distinct crux followed by some run-out jugging up easier terrain ah...
After my experience on this route I can see why some would think it is hard and some would think it is easy. My partner gave me the wrong beta and told me to go up high with your right hand for a hold to do the crux. The discrepancy around the ratings I think depends on how you do the crux. I found this approach very difficult and eventually found a good, very positive, intermediate hidden edge lower in the crack/seam. If you miss the good hidden edge in the crack/seam and reach past it and up high to the sloping lay away with your right hand and smear your left foot up high on the diheadral it is very difficult. If you find the hidden intermediate edge and don't reach past it, it is not a hard 5.11.
By Ivan Rezucha From: Fort Collins, CO Sep 23, 2004 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-23E3 5c
Zip Code is technically quite difficult yet it's an easy 11 lead. It's technically difficult for me since my feet don't work well unless I have decent hand holds. Stem onto microdots. Left foot higher onto nothing. Reach through with right hand for jug. Cut loose with both feet, accidentally. It's an easy lead, though. The moderate approach is maybe 5.9, but be careful of thumper flakes and at least one loose hold. Place several or more good small cams at the crux from a big stance. The crux sequence is essentially top roped. Get the jug and hook a good sling over it or (less fun) place a big nut next to it and enjoy the extremely fun upper wall, for which this route deserves 2 stars. From the ground the upper all looked blank with thin gear, but there are big holds and excellent gear all over. As you climb it, keep saying to yourself, "I'm cruising a 5.11" and ignore the fact that the moves are 5.8 tops. You'll feel like a god.
I didn't like the rap/belay anchor at the top of this route in the red band. It's a small bush/tree. And only part of a bush/tree at that. Instead, I belayed maybe 25' lower at a good stance on a slab. Used a #2/gold Camalot in a short vertical slot and a couple of small cams. We then traversed left and up to the usual descent from Handcracker Direct, etc.
Hard crux to onsight at least for me. I tried to do it as described by Bob Rotert above (sort of layback on the good chalked hold in the crack and then right hand to slopey crap) but it just didn't work. Is the beta to just stem the whole way up or layback?
I would guess the rating on this would be somewhere between 11- to 11+, depending on your reach. If you are tall you will be able to reach all the way from the fingerlock to the jug while still on the good foothold.
Went back for this again after 6 years and liked it even more than the first time. Cool climbing, good gear, though provoking (but not difficult) crux. Stem or lieback. The upper braids of cracks are superb as well, though easy. Best to have a good handful of gear 0.25-1"
The anchor above the whole thing is a little high and difficult to clip, un-clip, etc... Single bolt + small tree with the end point out of reach to clip for shorter folks.
It is possible to rap the line with a single 70m. There is a low fifth class downclimb, so don't rap off the ends of your rope.
By Ivan Rezucha From: Fort Collins, CO Nov 20, 2006 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-23E3 5c
Seems like there are at least several ways to do the crux. My new way differs from the way I posted above. Stem low or high, layback, finger lock and reach, etc. All can work, but all are hard unless you're really tall. I didn't know there was a bolt at the anchor tree. I've always just seen that small tree and thought, "No way", and traversed off left and scrambled down.
By Wayne Crill From: an Altered State Feb 12, 2008 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b
This is a nice route, very enjoyable climbing for the entire route. I always find grading routes a bit difficult, but I think the best way to assess is to compare to standard routes with generally accepted grades at the same crag/area. My opinion is that this route is absolutely no more difficult or challenging than Air Mail (next crack left), in fact I think they are very similar overall. Now, Air Mail is one of the most challenging 5.9+'s I've done and I think most people agree that it's quite stiff at the grade. I wonder if Steve L will change the grade in his upcoming book? Regardless, I would call Zip Code, the softest 5.11 in the park, hence I really think it's most appropriately 5.10+.
I agree with Wayne. I thought this was easy for Eldo 11s. The crux was over fast and not really tricky. On the other hand, if I was shorter, I may not think it was easy for 5.11. The route was lots of fun, with the exception of some potential loose rock.
The anchor up top has been changed. Some time this year the single bolt was backed up by a second bolt and 3-foot chains were installed. The gear and bush sling was removed.
By mtoensing From: Boulder May 14, 2012 rating: 5.10+6b+21VII+20E3 5b
This is a great, varied route. The start protects well with a number 4 for the opening moves. The crux is not too hard if you are on the tall side but still not bad especially if you have good beta. Great pro for the crux and the whole route. Once you reach the great holds after the crux, you can throw your left foot up and get the greatest knee bar for a rest before the next section (which remains sustained to the chains, it's so great). I brought some brass and placed a few of them on the upper section. Glad to have them as well as a handful of small and medium cams. Be careful when rappelling as to not kick off any loose rocks on the first rappel to pitch 1 of Pony Express. Bias on the grade, because I am tall but many stars nonetheless, and I look forward to climbing it again.