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eldiente

[TR] Red Rocks - Levitation 29 Various 4/3/2009

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Trip: Red Rocks - Levitation 29 Various

 

Date: 4/3/2009

 

Trip Report:

Just got back from a quick 4 day trip to Red Rocks this past weekend. Unfortunately we were having problems with our camera all weekend so we didn't get a lot of pictures. I might have a few pictures from my partners camera that I'll upload later

 

Day 1. Cold and windy. Cragging around the Black Corridor and the Gallery. No joke, we froze our asses off. It even snowed for a few minutes before turning to rain. Still, we were amped to climb and ended up climbing a half dozen routes in the .11 -.11+ range. We called it quits by 3:00PM when the wind gusted to 50MPH. Went back to our condo we rented for the weekend. Side note. I hate the campground in RR, it is a dumb and costs way too much. We rented a 3bdr place near the park for $75 a night. Gated community and all. Although there was a knife fight outside our condo one night. Umh.

 

Day 2. Levitation 29. 5.11c 7-9 pitches(?) For me this was the big goal for the trip. I have been thinking about doing this route for a few years but never was able to find the time or the motivation to hike back in there. Often regarded as the best climb in Red Rocks, I was anxious to see if all the hype was justified. Weather was again cold but sunny, even in direct sun I wore a jacket all day. This route is high-up and gets a lot of wind, come prepared.

 

The hike in is indeed long but straightforward,the beta in the SuperTopo is spot on. We actually ended up jumping out of the ravine early and bushwhacked straight-up some 4th/5th class slabs to the base of the route instead of going to the two big pine tress and walking up the slabs. The route we took to the base of the route is actually the descent for the black orpheus. 2 hours I would guess with a lot of elevation gain at the end.

 

All the pitch by pitch beta is well detailed in many guides. The beta from here is good

 

Some other details about the pitches.

 

Pitch 1 is slick and micro nuts are needed between the bolts, not a crack but lots of strange side pulls and flared pods. Hard for the grade.

 

P2 Crux roof thingy. Not an endurance crux, more like a V4 boulder problem from a good stance. I up and down-climbed these moves a few times before committing to the move. It is a hard move or two but jugs out very quickly. There is bolts every few feet at the crux, but lower down on the pitch medium sized gear is needed between the bolts.

 

P5 Other Crux pitch. The angle of the wall gets really steep on this pitch, slightly overhanging and very exposed. The crux for this pitch is low on the route where a fist crack goes through a roof and into some face climbing. I botched my on sight and fell in this spot trying to crimp my way from the fist crack to a shallow finger lock. Too bad as this was the only fall I took on the route. The correct beta is using the fist crack pod like an undercling and getting really high feet gunning for an edge with your left hand. From there it is just sustained 5.11 face climbing with lots of bolts, so many that I actually z-clipped on one occasion. This pitch isn't really a crack, but your following a shallow feature that has a few jams every so often that you can use to take a break from the crimping.

 

Best route at Red Rocks? Ahhh I say no. Lots of fun, and amazing pitches, but at the end of the day it really comes down to it being a steep multi pitch sport route. I happily clipped all of the bolts up there, but all of that hardware gave the route a very mellow feeling to it, like you would get at the crag. Nothing too crazy, just fun bolt clipping on steep rock. The 5.11 c grade seems about right compared to other sport routes. Even if your not climbing that grade do this route anyway, it would be really easy to dog your way up this route with the closely spaced bolts.

 

Gear. Yes, bring some. Small rack, single green alien through #1 BD and a #3 for the 4th pitch move off the belay. A few small to medium nuts. 12-15 draws. You can rap the route with a 70M rope no problem or use double 60s.

 

 

Day 3. More Sport climbing Calico Basin. Climbed some super routes on the Cannibal Boulder Calico Basin. Short steep routes, projected a few .12s on the South side of the boulder that were more like tall boulder problems than routes. At sunset I soloed up the 2 pitch physical graffiti (5.7) and the the shorter one pitch of Classic Corner (5.8) Both of these routes are perfect hands/off hands cracks that you wish would go on forever. The 2nd pitch of Physical Graffiti features almost 200 feet of perfect hands.

 

Day 4. Crack climbing. Meet up with a guy I met online to do some crack climbing for a change of pace. Went up to Whiskey peak and climbed three good routes.

 

First up was triassic sands, 5.10c 6 pitches. This is the best route in RR, IMO. I did this last year and liked it so much I had to do it again. The real joy of this route is the second pitch, 130 feet of steep hand crack. There is a short boulder problem right at the belay, sort of barn door flake move into an overhanging hand crack, but after that is just straight-in jamming for 100+ feet. Bring many #2s and #3s for this pitch. The walk off is easy and worth topping out on.

 

Wholesome Fullback (5.10 R 2 pitches) was next on the list for the day and I was surprised at how burly this 2 pitch route was. The first pitch is long, 180 feet and features all types of cracks, from fingers to fists. The burly part comes when your forced to make a long traverse right switching cracks. The end of the first pitch is a airy gear belay. 2nd pitch is a squeeze chimney to keep it interesting. Bring at least double cams with maybe and even triples in the hand size as you'll need some gear to build the belay.

 

Our Father (5.10D 3 pitches) We did one more route before my flight. The 2nd pitch on this route is 5.9 and had me shaking. I found 1 bolt and 1 bad nut in 100 feet of slab climbing. 3rd pitch is what we came for, steep corner crack going from hands to tips layback. The tips section is tough, a thank God crimp on the right wall was the only way I saved a whipper and moved up to a nice finger crack below the anchors. Amazing pitch, hard for the grade. This crux pitch takes gear of all sizes, need Aliens or C3s to protect the crux layback Doubles of everything up to #2 would do it.

 

 

Fly back to PDX.

 

 

 

Edited by eldiente

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First up was triassic sands, 5.10c 6 pitches. This is the best route in RR, IMO.

Wholesome Fullback (5.10 R 2 pitches) was next on the list for the day and I was surprised at how burly this 2 pitch route was.

 

I have not done Triassic Sands, but I think Cloud Tower might also be in the running for best RR route. Where on Wholesome Fullback did you think there was serious/likely potential for injury?

 

The walkoff from Lev 29 is also really pretty and not brushy or loose.

 

 

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I'd agree that the Cloud Tower is very near the top for the best route at RR. I climbed Cloud Tower last year and highly recommend it even though I got spanked on the crux pitch, that pitch is thin!

 

For Wholesome Fullback I was just going with what the guidebook gave for a grade, not sure why there was an "R" in guidebook for this. There is a 20 foot horizontal traverse about a 100 feet up on the first pitch that might be ugly if you blew it, I would guess this is what the author was thinking when they gave it an "R" rating. I didn't think the traverse was too bad, I noticed SuperTopo did not give it an "R" rating so who knows.

 

I've never been on top of Rainbow mountain, but would love to walk off one of the routes on that formation at some point.

 

 

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How many pitches total did you do on Triassic, and where'd you get the walkoff directions?

Just curious because we rapped from the 4th set of anchors - didn't know how much further it'd be to top out.

 

Edit to add: nice work on Levitation 29, by the way - that one's on my list too for sure. But I'd also agree that Cloud Tower looks like a more appealing climb to me - but definitely more intimidating.

Edited by hemp22

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For Triassic we did a total of 6 pitches. After the 4th bolted anchors there is no clear route to follow, head mostly straight-up and slightly left on low 5th class terrain with a few spots of 5.7 for 300 feet or so. There is a little boulder that blocks the finish to the summit, maybe 10 feet of 5.9. Shortening your rope and simul-climbing to the summit would be a smart move. You end up right next to Frog land and use the same descent, easy 20-30 minutes down left and to your packs. I haven't actually seen anything in the guidebooks for topping out this route, but it seems fairly obvious once your up there (and the only choice if you forgot the rap line on the ground)

 

Yeah you should give Cloud Tower a try, it definitely has the "holy shit" factor going for it when you look up at at some of those pithes, however it is all splitter crack and you can pull on gear to get you past the tough stuff. Unique for RR in that there is almost no holds, it climbs like a multi pitch Indian Creek climb.

 

-Nate

Edited by eldiente

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I'd agree that the Cloud Tower is very near the top for the best route at RR. I climbed Cloud Tower last year and highly recommend it even though I got spanked on the crux pitch, that pitch is thin!

 

For Wholesome Fullback I was just going with what the guidebook gave for a grade, not sure why there was an "R" in guidebook for this. There is a 20 foot horizontal traverse about a 100 feet up on the first pitch that might be ugly if you blew it, I would guess this is what the author was thinking when they gave it an "R" rating. I didn't think the traverse was too bad, I noticed SuperTopo did not give it an "R" rating so who knows.

 

I've never been on top of Rainbow mountain, but would love to walk off one of the routes on that formation at some point.

 

 

Best route at RR: Fiddler on the Roof, that 180+ foot 10d pitch it by far the best gear protected face climbing I have ever done. The cloud tower is really great but...it just doen't have the position or exposure.

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I'd agree that the Cloud Tower is very near the top for the best route at RR. I climbed Cloud Tower last year and highly recommend it even though I got spanked on the crux pitch, that pitch is thin!

 

For Wholesome Fullback I was just going with what the guidebook gave for a grade, not sure why there was an "R" in guidebook for this. There is a 20 foot horizontal traverse about a 100 feet up on the first pitch that might be ugly if you blew it, I would guess this is what the author was thinking when they gave it an "R" rating. I didn't think the traverse was too bad, I noticed SuperTopo did not give it an "R" rating so who knows.

 

I've never been on top of Rainbow mountain, but would love to walk off one of the routes on that formation at some point.

 

 

Best route at RR: Fiddler on the Roof, that 180+ foot 10d pitch it by far the best gear protected face climbing I have ever done. The cloud tower is really great but...it just doen't have the position or exposure.

That's what another guy was saying about Fiddler a few years back. We were on one of the routes next to it, I think Sour Mash. Anyway, this guy leading Fiddler was going on and on about what a great route it was... best route in Velvet Canyon, best route in RR. A few minutes later he is getting pretty gripped and waaay runout on some small rp's. Then I hear all this jingle-jangle and look over to see this guy take at least a 75' footer. Got to give him credit though as he re-led and finished the pitch. When we caught up with them at the base just as it was getting dark, he had the 1,000 yard stare and a pretty vacant look in his eyes. :o:crazy: I think that intimidated me from ever getting on it. Looks like a great line though. Everyone who has done it says it is one of the best, if not the best, route at RR.

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Best route at RR: Fiddler on the Roof, that 180+ foot 10d pitch it by far the best gear protected face climbing I have ever done.

Damn, that's saying a lot too!

 

Here's my poor contribution to this (otherwise great) thread Nate:

 

worthless_thread_without_pics.gif

 

:grin:

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Triassic Sands is the best RR route for a leader of that ability, and Cloud is the best for a leader of that ability. Although I have not done the Rainbow Wall free, I bet that's in the running too. I didn't think Lev 29 was all that, although it was awesome. Fiddler on the roof has gotta be the best face climb in the park!

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Alright here's a few photos that I was able to get in between camera malfunction.

 

Picture_1.png

Looking up Levitation 29 from the base. Cruxes marked.

 

SNC12218.jpg

Hiding on a cave to keep out of the rain.

 

IMG_2716.jpg

Caustic Cock Sport climbing 5.11b

 

IMG_2757.jpg

 

Zach Bouldering Kraft Bouders, V5ish.

 

Yes, it seems like Fiddler on the Roof is getting rave reviews from everyone. That pitch above the roof does look wild.

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granted, I was following p5 on L29, but I felt the face moves above the #3 placement/underclingy move to be harder. maybe it is just a whole 15 ft or so of crux, but I only fell about 10-15 ft under the belay.

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Second the statement about getting on Levitation even if you're not climbing at that grade. I definitely don't consider myself a 5.11 climber and I managed to follow the odd pitches clean and lead the even pitches with only a couple of hangs, mosty because I didn't rest long enough after following P5 and kept flaming out on P6.

 

Triassic Sands does look like fun, as does Woman of Mountain Dreams. Anybody here ever climbed that?

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Woman of Mountain Dreams: climbed it last year. It may be one of the best lines at RR, but not that great a climb, overall, although the exposure on the upper part is amazing.

First 3 pitches mediocre. Crux not that hard... bolts a bit old. Above crux, rock quality deteriorates. Some fun climbing, but scary friable rock in many places. I'd still recommend it because of the line, though Inti Watana into the top of Resolution Arete would give you better climbing IMO.

Full TR and pics here.

More TRs and pics of several other RR classics here.

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Fiddler may be one of the best lines at RR but it was put up somewhat strangely. If climbing 15' past a decent stance to a hanging belay is your thing you'll love it! It was definitely put up at a time when boldness was in style, this is truly an r rated route. I'm pretty sure the mostly shallow gear I placed on the crux pitch wouldn't have held a large fall but it does make you feel a bit better. Cloud Tower is a much better route, especially if you like cracks.

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