Saturday, May 08, 2010

Guidebook: Eldorado Canyon - Washington Irving (5.6), Chianti (5.8+), The Unsaid (5.9), Next to Nearly (5.9)

Eldorado Canyon, Eldorado Springs, CO

The West Ridge

Approach: From the main parking lot just inside the gate, walk across the bridge and head left, staying low to the creek when other trails head up. Continue along until you come to a sign that says the trail ends. Walk past the sign and up a slick but well-worn ramp on rock near the creek. Make a very careful step over the top and downclimb, finding a worn path up right of the tiny beach area on the other side of the ramp. Head up right and find another, real trail, which is the West Ridge Trail.

Follow this trail up several hundred feet until you see a bunch of dihedrals that start on a ledge about 25 feet above the trail. On the right side of this ledge there is a fairly large boulder resting against the bottom of a slab. There is a tree growing next to the boulder.

All routes in this post can be safely descended by either lowering or rapping with a single 70m rope. A 60m rope will work if you are confident down-climbing easy-but-exposed slab for probably ten feet or so.

Washington Irving (5.6) - One Pitch - Trad - Bolted Anchor - 105 Feet

Washington Irving (5.6): From the boulder that is resting against the slab, head up left and climb the obvious, easy right-facing corner on the left. The corner has a very large flake that makes for good jugs and excellent pro all the way up. A #3 Camalot is recommended for the top. Climb this corner and find two bolts on the face on the left (you may have to look behind you to your left when you top out to find the bolts).

Chianti (5.8+) - Two Pitches - Trad - Tree and Gear Anchor (has rappel bolts nearby) - 200 feet

Chianti (5.8+): This can be done in one pitch with good rope management. About 20 feet left of the boulder that is against the slab, find a series of corners that don't start on the slab. The middle one is Chianti. It has a steep cut-in section of rock with a crack on the left that makes a small right-facing corner, too. Climb the crack to a roof and head left. Then follow the crack up to the tree anchor on the right (should have slings). Belay here, or head up right to an overhang. Then climb the obvious crack system to a nice ledge and gear anchor just to the right.

Descent: There are some old bolts and slings on the floor to your left if you're facing the climb as it is coming up. Getting over the edge may seem intimidating, but there is a small ledge on the right of that corner that makes swinging out easier. Rap once to the ledge and find the bolts on the face directly below. Rap again off theese bolts to the boulder at the bottom.

Next to Nearly (5.9) - One Pitch - Trad - Bolted Anchor - 105 feet

Next to Nearly (5.9): Start on the boulder leaning against the slab and head straight up the slab to the middle of the two main right-facing corners in this section (should be left of the face with the large pockets). Follow this crack to the top. The route probably goes up over the not-so-well-protected slab at the top, but we chose to head left into the final section of Washington Irving instead.

The Unsaid (5.9) - One Pitch - Trad - Bolted Anchor - 105 feet

The Unsaid (5.9): Start on the boulder leaning against the slab and head right to the right-facing corner that is beneath a roof and right of a face with large pockets on it. Climb the corner until it the lower pocket can be gained. Step left out on to the face and climb the pockets until your waist is about level with the roof. Make a tricky step right back into the right-facing corner that is above the roof. Follow that to a left-facing corner that fades up left to the anchors at the top.

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