What was your first climb in Eldorado Canyon?


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Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 2, 2011 - 12:31pm PT
Yes, this is a blatant "copy cat" thread, but in spite of that, these are CLIMBING RELATED, and not polititard threads!

Mine was a late 1960 ascent of "Redguard," using the "Variation to the Lower Meadow." When Bob Culp suggested we do the climb in an amazingly warm period of November/December, I was a bit hesitant due to a sprained ankle from a spill downhill skiing. I dug out my clunky Kronhofer mountaineering boots and off we went. As a still "rookie' climber at the time, i was very happy to climb what was then considered "a most excellent adventure."
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:13pm PT
First and only sadly: Calypso.

I had to pick an easy route because I was taking a pudgy, non-climbing friend from grad school with me. He totally walked up the thing. A natural.

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:18pm PT
I think it may have been the Yellow Spur with Tarbuster? Not sure though. Tar you lurking? Do you know what we first climbed together in Eldo?


mule city
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:19pm PT
yellow spur 1985 with some random dude named john

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:20pm PT
Wind Ridge, 1972, topped out by grabbing and pulling up on Ivy Baldwin's cable (before it was taken down). It was freaky looking across that thing stretched over to the Bastille (my 3rd climb after Calypso) and imagining Ivy out there playing around.

Did climbs with Chuck Tolton, I lead the 2nd pitch on Calypso.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:26pm PT
The Bomb in 1984, with some random kid I found in the parking lot.

Next day, climbed in Boulder Canyon, and, caught a huge whipper a different new partner took, probably a 50 footer. Busted up, I had to half carry him back to the road (foot and ribs). He couldn't walk, and, was in a lot of pain, but, asked if I was around the next day and maybe we could climb again...

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:29pm PT

I climbed it with Carl Siegel, with whom I worked. Carl died not that long after on Longs Peak. (RIP).
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:32pm PT
Bastielle Crack

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:34pm PT
Mine was Redguard with Layton Kor and Larry Dalke in 1963.
Wore Kluttershues and tied directly into the rope with a bowline.

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:36pm PT
Bastille in 84. We were at the second belay and Rossiter soloed past. Welcome.

Trad climber
Longmont, CO
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:38pm PT
The Bomb and then Breezy on Wind Tower, 1971. Goldline, 1" swami, pins, and mostly steel biners.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:38pm PT
bastille crack

Mar 2, 2011 - 01:40pm PT
Calypso after work. T-storm moved in. We hunkered down in a cave mid way up the 3rd pitch. It got dark and still crazy storming. We had no headlamps. Managed to get to the top. Spent an hour looking for the rap anchors in said storm. Made it back to the car at midnight. I still laugh about that 15 years later.



Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:40pm PT
Never made it there. I didn't own any white painters pants. NTTAWWI

Mar 2, 2011 - 02:09pm PT
calypso. i remember being quite intimidated too.

Social climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:19pm PT
first climb in Eldo was my first roped climb ever, Whale's Tail left. Next was Whale's Tail, right, where I broke off a hold and made the climb a grade harder, hahaha, that was me! Graduated to Calypso right away. Climbed that thing so many times I was soloing it after a year. The Bastille Crack felt like a whole 'nuther ball game.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:26pm PT
Calypso to the top of Wind Tower. No Reggae that time.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:27pm PT
I like Jan's response.

1977: Calypso, Wind Ridge then the Bastille Crack. BC is still one of my favorite climbs.

Trad climber
Red River NM
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:29pm PT

Trad climber
santa fe
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:34pm PT
I had just started climbing when I was sent to Boulder for a work conference. Somebody at the Dept. of Commerce labs had heard that I started climbing and offered to take me after work. We climbed Calypso. It was also one of my first multi-pitch climbs.

Trad climber
BIG ISLAND or Vail ; just following the sun.......
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:43pm PT
Soloed something on the wind tower. What a great canyon.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:57pm PT
OK, maybe we should just hear from those people whose first climb WASN'T Calypso.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:58pm PT
Bastille crack, maybe '77. Ament almost beaned me with a dropped carabiner.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:14pm PT
The Bastille, in the mid 70s

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:29pm PT
Batsille Crack with my wife, back in '01.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:33pm PT
Frank Sacherer's first climb in Eldorado - 1967
Frank Sacherer's first climb in Eldorado - 1967
Credit: Jan

Of course he chose a crack.
Dick Danger

Trad climber
Lakewood, Colorado
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:33pm PT
Bastille Crack ---> Touch 'n Go ----> Rosy Crucifixion... It was a steep curve.

Mar 2, 2011 - 03:45pm PT
The naked edge

Totally classic - wicked exposure on the last two pitches

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:45pm PT
It was Redguard Route with Deek Cook in the very early 70's we did the "Bird Walk"
first pitch. It was rated 5.6, chuckle,!!

Mar 2, 2011 - 04:02pm PT
The one a step or two from the car.

Myself and Steve Lewontin


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:06pm PT
Same pose, same place.

Mar 2, 2011 - 04:08pm PT
West Buttress of the Bastille, I think. I remember getting wigged where it got wide and traversing out onto the knobby face instead.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:13pm PT
Fat Dad wrote: OK, maybe we should just hear from those people whose first climb WASN'T Calypso.

West Buttress of the Bastille was my first route in Eldorado.

But, more importantly, my second route was Hair City. I completely missed the first bolt and was looking at a huge groundfall potential thinking to myself "this must be why they call it Hair City."

Epilogue: I went back up on Hair City about ten years later and with Jim Erickson's permission moved the first bolt, which he had place on rappel, to a better location.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:16pm PT
That is a great picture Jan.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:21pm PT
I have a pic of me in about the same place, Jan

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:28pm PT
Onsite free solo of the West Overhang on the Wind Tower. I showed up without a partner and it called to me.

This was also my second climb west of the Mississippi, the first being an onsite free solo of the Third Flatiron.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:36pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#193241
photo not found
Missing photo ID#193242
I still wander back in my mind to those early days,
with Larry and Layton and Culp and others... Layton, Larry,
and I made what was viewed as the first known ascent of Calypso,
and Layton gave it that name. There are three climbs that stick
in my mind, and I can't for anything remember which came
first, as they all happened rather near to each other. Calypso,
Bastille Crack, and Pseudo-Sidetrack. I was about 14, maybe still
13, can't recall, when I led the Bastille Crack. I didn't put in
a single piece of protection and made those two first normally
shorter vertical pitches as one long one... I didn't
think a leader was supposed
to put anything in unless he was on the verge of falling, and
I felt so solid I just kept going. When Larry and I did Pseudo-
Sidetrack, it was an easy climb but pure discovery to move upward
into those windblow realms, the river loud below, pigeons, a gorgeous
place to be alive, the solid rock with so many holds everywhere
from which to choose, to have a few choice friends. Little did we know
how deeply the years would touch our lives, and how we would touch
one another... and how fast it all would fly by into the
past. Everything was young and new and beautiful, and we
were free. I think sometimes of our parents, how supportive they were
of our strange new pursuit, how courageous they were to let us go
and for them not even to know if we were really that safe, but to
sense our spirits, our love of adventure, our sense of mastery
of our newfound discovery,
climbing, how it belonged to us alone. And that was something very
special in and of itself, that no climber today will quite understand,
what with the masses and mobs of climbers these days...

Jan, do you remember the time I tried to take you and Dean up T-2?

Social climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:52pm PT
Anthill Direct or Yellow Spur, I can't remember which. Probably Yellow Spur. circa 1994. I do remember that Anthill direct scared the crap out of me on the "5.6" runout.

Social climber
eldorado springs
Mar 2, 2011 - 05:12pm PT
Bastille Crack in 1964. I held a long leader fall with a 3/8th goldline on the last pitch when one of my partners pulled a big block off and rode it to the ramp below.
wayne burleson

Amherst, MA (currently in Lutry, CH)
Mar 2, 2011 - 05:26pm PT
Grand Giraffe. 1982.
I had just driven from Boston and ran into a guy
in the parking lot who had just done Tangerine Trip and
wanted to do something wide.

I was clueless...

And it was desperate...

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Mar 2, 2011 - 06:48pm PT
Pat - thank you for continuing to share your wonderful stories and history with us, fascinating! I and many of my climbing friends have the utmost respect for you and your generation of climbers that established, in very bold style, the climbs that we enjoy today.

One point I would like to share with you is that even though there are many more climbers today, and even though many of us are climbing established routes versus pioneering new territory, I can assure you that for me as well as many of my climbing partners, the pursuit of climbing is an obsession, very core to our existence and to our soul. So while I agree we might never be able to fully relate to the feelings you experienced in the era you climbed, the "specialness" of climbing certainly isn't lost for many of us that climb today.

You authored one of my most enjoyable climbing reads, High Over Boulder. I met you briefly at a book signing, so my copy is autographed.

Carry on, my friend. Wally

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 2, 2011 - 07:09pm PT
Calypso in '75 and rope-soloed the Bastille Crack later that year. I used to hitchhike I-70 back and forth from SoIll to climb there. Also did T2 one time leaving a pair of crutches on the ground with one of my friends who couldn't second the start. I had chipped my heal bone, but it did really bother me climbing, but I hadn't really thought it all the way through and the descent was a nightmarish face-in crab crawl that took forever. Old man Fowler read us the riot act when we finally got down.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Mar 2, 2011 - 08:02pm PT
Tagger with Jay Eggleston, a very cool pro BMX rider that my then GF knew & set me up with to climb for the day because she had to work.

I still recall the dubious, ancient fixed pins that I'll bet haven't been touched by a hammer in years.

We also did some pitches on T2 & the first pitch of Genesis.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Mar 2, 2011 - 08:32pm PT
Hey jan;
I couldn't find the negative but I took a photo of my collage
that I have hanging on the wall, of the same stance

Jan's pic

and mine
Credit: Cosmiccragsman


Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 08:51pm PT

Bastille Crack in 1986

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 09:21pm PT
The Flakes, 1993 with Nick.

Picked this route because we were from the gunks, and all the vertical faces were freaking us out. We wanted roofs!
The Warbler

the edge of America
Mar 2, 2011 - 10:33pm PT
I believe it was Kloberdanz with none other than The Kloberdanz Kid, in 1974 or 5.

He gave me the beta and I lead the roof first try.

Great route, really liked the second pitch too.

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 10:45pm PT
Blind Faith.
Bold FA, fun route.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 4, 2011 - 12:04am PT
I was there, Kevin, when you led Rain, so easily, so
fluid and smooth, not even a whimper... You were a real
tooling machine back then...
The Warbler

the edge of America
Mar 4, 2011 - 12:54am PT
I would have whimpered but I was so gripped I couldn't breath, Pat.

Hah! smooth?

I'll never forget you yelling up to me that the bolt 15 ft below me was only 1/2 inch long and advising me not to fall!


Funny now in the comfort of my armchair.

I love Eldo...
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 4, 2011 - 03:04am PT
I did the first ascent of that route, to test out
a new cagoule I was told was really rainproof. I was
getting ready to do El Cap, and on so many climbs I had
been rained on and gotten fabulously soaked through my supposed
waterproof cagoule or rain jacket. I waited until the most horrific
downpour I'd ever seen hit Eldorado and raced up with my young
companion Tom Ruwitch and led upward. Not only was the rain
"bucketing down," as they say in England, but that line on
the Bastille becomes also a waterfall. I climbed straight up through
the waterfall and the torrents of rain, and I had to place
a couple quick bolts, the kind we used back then, dinky things
that probably would hold body weight if placed well. I can't
imagine how difficult that climb must have been in those
conditions, but I was pretty good and really ready to rock,
so to speak, on the rock... Now it's obvious that, like every
other line in Eldorado, it's a natural free climb... I have
since returned and free climbed it, of course, but I will say
that's the easy way to do it!
Yes I have the same sentiment. I love Eldorado...

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 4, 2011 - 03:34am PT

I don't know why but I have only a hazy recollection of the names of most of the climbs I did in Eldorado. T-2 was pretty hard as I recall, so I'm wondering now why you had the boldness to think Dean and I could climb it? I'm guessing in fact that we didn't?

Mar 4, 2011 - 03:42am PT
Country Club Crack, around 1989 or so. Having done some 12a's in CA, I thought I would cruise it. My attempt was unsuccessful.

Edit: I mean Supremacy Crack.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 4, 2011 - 03:51am PT
"He gave me the beta and I lead the roof first try" and Rain as well - burly.

Mar 4, 2011 - 08:37am PT
T2 and I thought it was pretty stiff. Don't know how we decided that was a good route to try Eldo for size.

had the practically worthless bluey at the start, stiil, don't botch the sequences.

Then wisdom, P1 and 2...but not 3...


Trad climber
Reno, NV
Mar 4, 2011 - 09:13am PT
The Wind Ridge on Wind Tower.

5.6 my ASS! I was in for a harsh reality check on route grading after this bad boy.

Funky 3rd pitch
Funky 3rd pitch
Credit: sieczk
Rockin' Gal

Trad climber
Mar 4, 2011 - 09:25am PT
Bastille Crack with some random Aussie, about 1979.

Social climber
chicago ill
Mar 4, 2011 - 11:08am PT
Kings x

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Mar 4, 2011 - 11:56am PT
Werk Supp, all pitches . . . 1987. Met Yabo in the parking lot!

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 4, 2011 - 12:01pm PT
Don't know.....caaan't remember. It was in 1967, I came south from the Teton's and climbed with Bob Polling. I do remember it was rated 5.8.
steve s

Trad climber
Mar 4, 2011 - 10:52pm PT
Super Slab, then Wide country to Outer space,1978
peace and fuk-nes
Captain...or Skully

The Seas of Stone.
Mar 4, 2011 - 10:56pm PT
I'm at the pre-prancing stage, as yet.

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Mar 4, 2011 - 11:03pm PT
Breakfast in Bed (I *think* that's the correct name?? Breakfast something or other .10ish)

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Mar 4, 2011 - 11:21pm PT
Blackbird, Breakfast in Bed 5.8+ PG is on the west side of the Bastille and Breakfast of Champions 5.11a R is on the lower ramp of the Redgarden wall

My first was the Bastille Crack back in the days of steam powered guitars.

Bastille Crack in 1964. I held a long leader fall with a 3/8th goldline on the last pitch when one of my partners pulled a big block off and rode it to the ramp below.
Ewww brutal!
Captain...or Skully

The Seas of Stone.
Mar 4, 2011 - 11:23pm PT
Steam. It's a beautiful thing. Steam Rocks!

Mar 5, 2011 - 01:21am PT
Bastille Crack, 1983. Eldo rules!

Mar 5, 2011 - 09:56am PT
Bastille, probably about 1985. I had no partner for it and waited by the telephone pole asking everyone if they wanted to do it. My Barbara was observing all of this like a new mother watching her child's first time at a playground. Finally a climber from Arizona said alright, he would lead the first two pitches, to which I replied no I want to, and I did. Seated at the belay a mash style chopper and a slew of rescue vehicles begin coming up the road, at that point I began questioning what a flat lander was doing there, but I persevered and had a great climb, at the top the unknown climber said now be careful on the descent. Found out the rescue business was about a false call about someone falling into the river.

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Mar 5, 2011 - 09:59am PT
Blackbird, Breakfast in Bed 5.8+ PG is on the west side of the Bastille and Breakfast of Champions 5.11a R is on the lower ramp of the Redgarden wall

woah - Obviously its been WAY too long since I've touched Eldo rock! THANKS for settin' the record straight Philo!! Guess I need to get back out there and refresh myself...

OK, so then, my 1st lead/route was B in B; flailed/seconded up B of C! Would have been somewhere in early 2000ish... Tar, if you're lurking and feel like chiming in do you remember better than me??

Second route was Darkness til Dawn (something like that...??)

Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Mar 5, 2011 - 10:18am PT
T-2 , then the Northwest Corner of the Bastille, both with Billy Westbay, 1978.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 5, 2011 - 05:56pm PT
Yes that was the year you and I climbed a lot, Rick, and I
took you and Gerry around the secret waterfall, and all that
stuff. We did XM to Outer Space, if you recall, and some others...
am trying to remember...

Jan, yes I led up the first pitch and came down and fixed a rope
so you and Dean could try the first pitch, but it was a little
too stiff... I have a photo of you two sitting there pondering
the moves...

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2011 - 08:20pm PT
The Bastile Crack-early 70's

My 1st climb there and it was raining. My second didn't follow since it was raining real hard. My memory is so bad, I can't even remember who I was with.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Mar 6, 2011 - 11:03am PT
Yes, Pat, that was a great summer for Gerry and me. Our first trip to Colorado was memorable, so much so that we moved out two years later and never looked back. Always thankful that you let us stay on your floor until we found a place.

Credit: Rick A
The Warbler

the edge of America
Mar 6, 2011 - 11:18am PT
That's a great photo of Pat, Rick!

I especially like seeing the little Dogpatch town of Eldorado Springs far below.

XM to Outerspace is an exciting outing - really a shame Eldo isn't in Southern California - you'd probably still live here, and I could climb there more often ;-)
Keith Leaman

Trad climber
Feb 16, 2012 - 02:58pm PT
While reading the Naked Edge thread, I was reminiscing on some good times in the Canyon and thought I'd get some input on where this picture was taken and so, dug up this thread. Eldorado was a frequent destination for our group of Pre-Prancers in the '60s (can you tell by the attire?)

My friend here is on Bastille, but which route was I on when I took this photo? Almost looks too close for Werk Supp? We didn't use a guidebook, just picked a line and went up about 2-3 pitches of fairly stiff climbing. 'Been wondering this for a while. Thanks.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#237782

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Feb 16, 2012 - 03:16pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#213467
That there yellow spur was some good fun climbing.

Thanks again Brass I had a blast.

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Feb 16, 2012 - 03:18pm PT
werk supp

Feb 16, 2012 - 03:31pm PT
outer space, but didn't lead a single pitch that first time...first lead at eldo was green spur

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Feb 16, 2012 - 04:17pm PT
Allosaur, on the W. Ridge. I moved to Boulder about 6 weeks later, and have lived here for 24 years. I've climbed most of the routes, except the ones that are too hard, or too scary, (or both). Some dozens of times.

And I still can't ever get enough of Eldo.

Aridzona for now Denver.... here I come...
Feb 16, 2012 - 04:40pm PT
some time in the not so distant future

Trad climber
Feb 16, 2012 - 05:10pm PT
Bastille Crack. 197(2?). It was probably my second climb. I led it all. Thought I was gonna die!

Social climber
Feb 17, 2012 - 03:34pm PT
I moved to Eldorado Canyon in 1971 and I did "Pseudo Sidetrack" with Duncan Riley shortly after.
The next climb I did was Redguard with the Bird Walk start with Deek Cook. We were climbing in those grey Kronhoffer shoes in those days. What a time to be in the canyon.
o-man on "Pseudo Sidetrack" in Eldorado Canyon in the very early 70's ...
o-man on "Pseudo Sidetrack" in Eldorado Canyon in the very early 70's
Photo: Duncan Riley
Credit: o-man
big ears

Trad climber
Feb 17, 2012 - 03:34pm PT
Calypso, blind faith, then Bastille.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 17, 2012 - 04:15pm PT
T2. The Edge. XF. That hard traverse on the Bastille Crack, and a couple other things on that first day climbing with Bachar, who had the place sort of wired back then (1976??). We're were on a bouldering tour and went there just to do a few Gill problems (Gilbert problem??) and ended up roping up. Didn't leave till dark. Met Dan Michaels and Breshears and did a bunch of bouldereing at Horsetooth with that crew later. Very fun times and a great group of people.


Trad climber
Louisville, CO
Feb 17, 2012 - 04:18pm PT

heck man, i'm gunna go do that climb again soon just for grins.
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Feb 17, 2012 - 04:20pm PT

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Feb 17, 2012 - 07:13pm PT
A better question is what was the first climb that got your attention in Eldo. It wasn't The Bomb or even Calypso for this noob. I found Rewritten to be the first eye-opener. We had seen pictures of the 3rd pitch traverse and thought that was way cool. We did the 5.8 start to Great Zot, by far the most interesting choice. I think I followed that one. It took years before I even got to lead pitch 3. Everyone wanted it. And hey, I had moved to Colorado, so I was happy to oblige.

Back then, the death block at the end of pitch 3 was still there. I distinctly remember my partner that day building an anchor behind it(!) Holy sh#t, when I came to the belay I just grabbed the gear and set off as fast as possible. Fun arete finish, too. Not too long ago a friend of mine accidentally trundled that rock and fell with it. Miraculously he didn't get the chop, but it rattled his nerves about the route for a long while I heard. That's Eldo for you!
gonzo chemist

Fort Collins, CO
Mar 5, 2012 - 12:22pm PT
my first climb in Eldorado Canyon:

'Gonzo' on Cadillac Crag. Just yesterday afternoon, in fact. I felt that it had to be my first, in honor of my nickname.

Pretty casual, but very fun.
Todd Eastman

Bellingham, WA
Mar 5, 2012 - 01:05pm PT
Calypso followed by Tagger in 1977 during first western road trip...

... Niwot worked his powers!

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2012 - 04:23pm PT
Gambit- Great fun. The only Shirt Tail route represented so far? Must be the hike.
Beatrix Kiddo

Mountain climber
Mar 5, 2012 - 05:29pm PT
Calypso to Reggae

The next was Rewritten which I climbed like 7 times in a row because I loved it so much. :-)

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 5, 2012 - 06:21pm PT
Ruper, must have been 68 or 69. A pigeon flew out of the crack and nearly caused me to fall.

Social climber
Eastside (of the Tetons)
Mar 5, 2012 - 08:05pm PT
Whales Tail, and it was my first roped climbing ever. April of '82.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Mar 5, 2012 - 08:31pm PT
Bastille early 70s, with the direct finish rather than going left and finishing up the corner.

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Mar 5, 2012 - 10:31pm PT
My partner (and mentor) went to Eldorado to do the bastille crack for my first Eldo climb (second trad climb), but as always, there was a long line. My partner sandbagged me to go up Werk Supp to March of Dimes, calling it a 5.8. (actually a 5.10c) Though I didn't lead that day, I was still flailing, as it was my first offwidth and first finger crack. Needless to say, it was the ass kicking I needed to get myself prepared to climb in Eldo.

Boulder climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Mar 5, 2012 - 11:01pm PT
Germ Free Adolescence, sometime in the mid '90s.

It was winter and that was the only problem snow-free.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:17am PT
Whale's Tail W. Face Right (5.3) Aug. 1980
Supremeacy Slab (5.9) Aug. 1980
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Mar 6, 2012 - 05:53am PT
Bastille Crack, my first lead, with Lenny Coyne, circa 1974, with my new set of Choinard hexes.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 6, 2012 - 06:45am PT
Calypso, Tagger, and the Bastille Crack in early '75 and the Bastille Crack was my first roped solo later that year.

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
Mar 6, 2012 - 08:00am PT
Bastille Crack, late Spring of 1998.
rick d

ol pueblo, az
Mar 6, 2012 - 08:09am PT
After an all night drive from phoenix with matt and andy, they passed out and I found a guy in the parking lot and did xm to outerspace. I did a couple other routes then ditched Matt and located Kelly Bell and headed for widelands at vedauwoo...

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Mar 6, 2012 - 08:18am PT
Not the very first climb but soon after. Me & Steve Weaver coiling goldline on the summit of the Bastille, 1969.

steve shea

Mar 6, 2012 - 11:29am PT
Bastille a 5.6 chimney on the west side, then the Bastille crack. Great day. May 1967

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Mar 6, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
Dihedral Two on the Whale's Tail, followed by Werk Supp, then a solo of West Overhang on the Wind Tower. 1981.

Trad climber
Central Coast
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Yellow Spur 1997
Allen Hill

Social climber
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:08pm PT
Same as Hank. Northcut Direct. Fell off Ruper the next day.

Trad climber
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:13pm PT
Bastille, '73. Or was it '72?

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:16pm PT
1972 - Wind Ridge, Calypso, and then the Bastille.

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Apr 5, 2012 - 04:19pm PT
Bastille crack this morning!!!

Trad climber
Red River NM
Apr 5, 2012 - 04:41pm PT

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Apr 5, 2012 - 04:56pm PT
Never been. Gonna try to get out there this summer.

Trad climber
vagabond movin on
Apr 5, 2012 - 04:59pm PT
Calypso as well

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 5, 2012 - 05:52pm PT
Well, my friend Beth (whom you have seen in other photos recently) will be able to answer this question this Saturday. Still not sure what route we will do yet, but it is sure to be a supra-mega-classic.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 5, 2012 - 05:52pm PT
George Hurley guided my buddy and I up the Bastille Crack in 75 or 76. Our parents wanted us to get some instruction, so allowed us to hire him for a solid week.

Learned all the basics necessary to fuel a lifetime of epics. He was a really good guy. We were 14 or something, and had been using all sorts of home made stuff.

The entire gang would go there every summer after the heat settled into the valley. Eldo was a very important climbing area at that time. You would see Wolfgang in the valley and then you would run into Wolfgang at Eldo. Dude was everywhere.

I loved the rock and routes there.

Trad climber
Stockholm, Sweden
Apr 5, 2012 - 06:14pm PT
Bastille Crack, in 1979, with somebody who called himself Jason.

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Apr 5, 2012 - 07:23pm PT
T2 (first p roof only) Then the Contest. After that all heck broke loose!

Apr 5, 2012 - 07:27pm PT
Well, my friend Beth (whom you have seen in other photos recently) will be able to answer this question this Saturday. Still not sure what route we will do yet, but it is sure to be a supra-mega-classic.

cool, this saturday eh? That's PapaJoto to you Son!!! is heading up to visit. We'll be out Prancing both days. he's never been.

Bastille Crack three weeks ago.

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Apr 5, 2012 - 08:31pm PT
Rewritten - I felt like I was re-written after I followed that climb. Especially the traverse on the 4th pitch looking at all that exposure between your legs, smearing feet on next to nothing. Hands are awesome though. Really secure as I remember. Then on the 5th pitch my partner yelled down that I had to do the arete or he wouldn't belay me any further. So I was obliged to looking over the right side to see the 700 ft. vertical drop off. Then there is the river waaaaaaaay at the bottom of the canyon. I love exposure and it really gave me a thrill to be on that arete.
One of the most memorable climbs EVER!
The walk off was a nightmare.
We climbed it 5 or 6 times. Always a thrill.

Trad climber
Apr 7, 2012 - 08:09pm PT
Yellow Spur. Today. My partner did #'s 1, 5, 6 and I did 2-4. Got stuck at the base from 9 - 11am. Then stuck on the ledge above the third for about an hour and a half while a couple yahoos sorted out which way to go... my vote for best pitch is the fifth, though I really enjoyed the traverse below the roof on the fourth. Had no wires or stoppers. Had Masters 1-5, BD #'s .75 - 3 and some gusto... made for some sporty climbing...


Social climber
State of decay
Apr 7, 2012 - 10:05pm PT
Bastille Crack! Wow what an intro to Eldo. Had it all to ourselves. Seems like a million years ago now.
Bubba Ho-Tep

Evergreen, CO
Apr 8, 2012 - 01:23am PT
Not just first climb in Eldo, but first ever. Calypso, spring of 1970. Bastille crack that afternoon. Goldline tied on a bowline and liberal use of over driven pins. I remember well that there was one other party in the canyon and it was a Saturday....

Trad climber
Apr 8, 2012 - 10:52am PT
West Butress of the Bastille. Pretty good climb as I remember.

Gym climber
the secret topout on the Chockstone Chimney
Apr 9, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Snider and I climbed the Bastille Crack, came down and went up the West Face, and then ran up the Yellow Spur. That was it, we were hooked!
Magic Ed

Trad climber
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Jul 11, 2013 - 01:38am PT
Late Fall, 1967. Jim Erickson learned that I had climbed a couple of the lesser Mexican volcanoes so he invited me to go climbing.

He takes me to the West Buttress of the Bastille and tells me that's what we're going to climb. I thought he was joshing me--I'd never even seen a photo of someone climbing vertical, blank-looking rock. When I realized he was serious I panicked and talked him into going across the creek to the Wind Tower. At least that looked like it leaned back a bit and had some steps and ledges to it. He reluctantly agreed and we went and climbed one of the easy routes (The Bomb, I believe) to the top. We had no harnesses or belay devices, tying in with a bowline around the waist.

Now that I saw that he knew what he was doing I agreed to try the West Buttress. I struggled but got up it and have been hooked ever since.

Todd Eastman

Bellingham, WA
Jul 11, 2013 - 01:44am PT
Late Fall 1977 - Tagger with Jerry Hoover on a road trip from the Adirondacks.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2013 - 11:34am PT
I still recall many "epics" in Eldorado during the early 1960's when we had the Canyon "all to ourselves." About the only person there other than a few solitary climbing duos, was Bill Fowler in his old black pickup truck out to collect some spare change for admission. It started out at 50 cents, but got up to $2.00 later on.

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Jul 11, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
XM-Outersapce in 88 with Ruckman. He gave me the second pitch, said I would like it.
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Jul 11, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
Just last spring I climbed in CO for the first time. My first, and only, route in Eldo so far was Jules Verne. What a fun intro to the rock! It was solid adventure, just the way I wanted it! I haven't thought I was off route that many times in quite a while. I'm spoiled by CA granite splitters I guess!


Social climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Fall of 1983, I was real fit from a season of Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite.

Inspired by the book Climb! plus one or two recent magazine articles about soloing and entranced by the steep juggy, colorful faces I think my first routes were a few free solos--Touch and Go to Anthill Direct and the very first route may have been a solo of the West Buttress of Bastille. No one else around.

T2 to Anthill Direct, ropeless, soon became a favorite.

After the insecure Tuolumne face climbs the Dakota sandstone felt safe and solid and comfortable. Dragging a rope along seemed almost unnecessary.

A lifetime ago....I'll bet I can barely pull myself off the ground on T2, now.

Trad climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 03:04pm PT
For the life of me I cannot remember my first route in Eldo. However, I do remember my first time in Eldo. Growing up in Boulder with athletic parents is a blessing. My parents were marathon runners and would take me hiking when I was younger. My mom took me to eldo once when I was about 4 or 5 and we hiked rattlesnake. I saw climbers on the west crack of the whale's tail and I just remember the feeling of inspiration (even though it is only 5.2 it looked so rad!).

Then experiencing eldo as a teenager and learning to climb there. One of the first climbs we did was blind faith but before we did that one I think I did a few climbs on the wind tower and then on the bastille. After BF we did yellow spur in the summer when I was 17, wow was that a mistake! Such a great canyon I appreciate it so much everyday. I love that canyon so much it hurts sometimes!

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Jul 11, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
My first, and only, route in Eldo so far was Jules Verne.

Nice. I caught a huge fall on that. We had no idea of the route's reputation, just picked it out of the guidebook, lol. I think my first route there was soloing the Bastille Crack.

Trad climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
chianti on a cool misty day in an empty canyon...perhaps '92?

thanks dave, wherever you are :-)
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jul 11, 2013 - 04:00pm PT
XM to Outer Space -- probably with Wilford (or maybe Ken Duncan). Also did Yellow Spur and some other routes I can't remember that trip (1978?).
Alan Rubin

Jul 11, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
I'm pretty sure it was the Bastille Crack with Kevin Bein and Bob Harding in June, '70, though it is possible that we top-roped Supremacy Slab the evening before right after we arrived in Eldorado. Back then you could actually camp in the canyon and did so---and I don't recall that we molested any of the locals.

Trad climber
Menlo Park, CA
Jul 11, 2013 - 04:40pm PT
Bastille crack Spring break of 92'? We drove out from UNH. Started too late, 3 in party. Finished in the dark, couldn't find the trail back down and so scrambled down through spring snow. Made it back to rental car and discovered that we had dropped the keys somewhere along the way. Loved it!

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jul 11, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
Yellow Spur April 1986 with Charlie Gray. Must have been a tricky move at the start of P1 protected by a red tricam because i remember that. me on top. photo by Charlie Gray.
Top of yellow Spur 10a variation april 86 photo by Charlie Gray
Top of yellow Spur 10a variation april 86 photo by Charlie Gray
Credit: tradmanclimbs

Jul 11, 2013 - 08:07pm PT
My first route in Eldo was my first time on a rope. Whale's Tail. (I've told this one here at least a few times before)
Did the 2 5.easies, pulling a hold off the 2nd one and making it harder. (Verified)From 5.2 or 3 to a *solid* 5.4. snicker

Next up, the easiest route by Calypso, then Calypso itself. Nice day out for the first day climbing roped up.
I went on to climb Calypso about 20 times, eventually soloing it. (Not that day)

I say "climbing roped up" because I grew up by the Santee boulders and climbed all over them as a kid.

How I got from Santee to Eldo is a whole nuther story

two miles from Eldorado
Jul 11, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
I climbed The Hot Spur on the Redgard with Hajny-baba in the '70s. Hard to believe it was the beginning that has seen no ending. Many miles have followed.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jul 12, 2013 - 01:18am PT
Ruper, around 1964 or so. The crack was an epic slippery struggle. When we got down, we heard that someone had gotten their knee stuck several days (and maybe a thunderstorm or two) before and the RMRG had to pour motor oil down the crack to extricate the jammed limb.

Been back a few times since, including an entire month, but now not for thirty years or so. I loved the place. The rock with its weird sloping strata, the fluorescent lichens, the river roaring in the bottom, the poison ivy...well, not so much that part. I thought poison ivy was an Eastern plant. Who knew they had it in Colorado?

One year Bragg and I drove out to Eldorado non-stop from New York, day and night. We rolled into Eldorado, stumbled out of the van, and did T2. The combination of something like 24 hours sitting in the van driving, followed by the severely overhanging initial moves and then the rest of the route, caused my back to lock up like a vice, and I spent the next day or two more or less continually in a bathtub full of hot water feeling extremely sorry for myself.

Gold Canyon, AZ
Jul 12, 2013 - 02:28am PT
The Northcutt Variation in the mid 80's, unwittingly believing it was the usual Bastille Crack start and thinking it was awfully hard for 5.7 after getting to the first belay.


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jul 12, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
There was some fun bouldering and two hand dynamo (rare back then) stuff over by the Cinch Crack. Bachar was like a wizard looking around for stuff to do. Wish I would have gotten on Wisdom but we went to Horsetooth insead. Then onto the bouldering at Split Rocks. Great times.


Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Jul 12, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
Summer 72, 1st Wind Ridge, 2nd Calypso, 3rd Bastille. Those were all pretty straight forward, until I got on The Bulge, that scared the bejeezus out of me.

Crunch: not the Dakota formation, it is the Fountain Formation, shed off of the East side of the ancestral rockies, the equivalent formation on the West side is the Maroon Formation. The Fountain is substantially more solid than the Dakota, whis is lighter in color and makes up the spine of the hogback at Morrison Co.

Front Range stratigraphy
Front Range stratigraphy
Credit: ydpl8s

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jul 12, 2013 - 02:37pm PT
Bastille Crack for me on 8 August 1978. First route in the States, too. I'd driven an old VW beetle from Philadelphia to get there. Must get a prize for that...

Trad climber
Jul 12, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
ydp8s that is a sweet graph! where else does fountain sandstone exist in the world?

Seems like nothing else comes even close to the uniqueness of fountain sandstone.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Jul 12, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
The front range of Colorado and Wyoming are the only place that that particular formation name exists, flatirons, Red Rocks (where the amphitheatre is) to name a few.

As with many formations, it is more solid in some places than others. That type of rock is formed from and ancient alluvial fan that has been buried and then indurated (squeezed) by overburden pressure. There are many such formations in the world, with varying degrees of solidity and color. The Fountain formation is late Pennsylvanian in age, just under 300 million years old. It is a specific type of sandstone known as an arkose, which generally means it has a higher feldspar content than normal sandstone.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Jul 12, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
There was a radio interview with Bachar, online somewhere, where he talked about his trip to Eldo. I guess then you could drive on the road through the park, and they drove right by wind tower, etc. looking for the climbing area. "Dude, that WAS the climbing area." I guess coming from Yosemite it would be kind of small. But it's actually bigger than it looks, the Naked Edge must be over 500' which to most people is big.

I think Derek Hersey's first route in Eldo was a solo of the diving board. Crusher or Mic probably knows if that's true.

two miles from Eldorado
Jul 12, 2013 - 07:52pm PT
Yeah, Don I think that Derek story is true. Thanks Scott... subduction causes orogeny.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 13, 2013 - 07:59pm PT

Actually Fowler started by charging a quarter. It later went up
to 50 cents. I remember his truck being blue. He would chase after
you early in the morning, if you managed to get in and up toward
the rock without paying your quarter. Once he saw Layton and me,
and he just smiled and turned around and drove back home.
We treated him with respect, and he liked us, for some reason.
Another time, he was having a chest-butting contest with Breashears,
because David would go to any extreme to avoid that quarter,
even climb way up around the top of the Bastille to get in, and
Fowler's nose hairs were about an inch long (outside the nostrils).
It was intimidating....

As for my post above, I don't think I made it clear what my first
climb was. I honestly don't remember. I think Pseudo-Sidetrack was
certainly one of the first. It's a great easy route, with huge
holds everywhere, but it leads you up and left up over lots of
exposure right away, so it's fun. At one point, if you peer around a
corner to the left, you get the most incredible view of the Naked
Edge. I happened to take that look, around that corner, one day,
maybe the day I first did Pseudo-Sidetrack, and saw Stan Shepard
Bob Boucher on the Naked Edge. No one had climbed the Naked Edge yet,
and there was quite a mystique about it. Boucher was dressed entirely
in green, and Shepard in virtually all red, against the bright
yellow rock.... I had no idea Boucher would be my partner for the
Diamond, a few years later,in 1964.... Those are such fond
memories.... the early days of Eldordo. There was so
much excitement for us in Eldorado back then, everything new, and
everything unclimbed.... To lose Layton recently, well, it's the
end of an era, the end truly of the golden age. Damn, it's painful
just to think about.

Social climber
Jul 14, 2013 - 12:12am PT
Psyched to be the next post after Mr. Pat Ament.

It was Anthill Direct in 1993, and I was terrified following. The position was the stunner.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 15, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
If you were to come to Eldorado and focus only on the hard climbs,
you would miss some of the best climbing on the planet. Eldorado
has perhaps the best moderate climbing anywhere, routes such as
Ruper, where you traverse out over a wild vertical drop, and that
route is 6 pitches. The top three have wonderful vertical
climbing where nice little finger buckets keep turning up.... One
of the best 5.10 routes in the world, in my opinion, is Super Slab,
a gorgeous place to be on any afternoon. It's a strenuous 5.10,
though, and might be bottom level 5.11 in some other climbing
area. And of course the Yellow Spur... it doesn't get any better
than that. I made the first free ascent of the Yellow Spur,
with Royal Robbins, in 1964. It was not too hard
and did not tax us, really, but that didn't
matter. To move up those gorgeous pitches and then the final
near-vertical headwall, with about five hundred vertical feet
below, and the rest of the canyon opening below that, to the river....
I've done that route probably fifty or more times, and it's always
fun in a good wind..., which happens a lot in Eldorado... The
Grand Giraffe is another wonderful classic, with a crux crack
close to 5.10, but the rest just lots of very steep enjoyable
rock. The second pitch is a lovely almost vertical wall..., but
the upper pitches, above the big Upper Ramp, are really superb
vertical climbing with finger pockets and buckets everywhere....
T-2, another hard 5.10 (the overhanging start) is a fantastic
route. Maybe it's best pitch is that first pitch above the Meadow,
and the traverse left, across a vertical wall, to the left-angling
finger crack. I have so many good memories of all those climbs.
Rincon and Over the Hill, also, two of my favorite routes....
gorgeous sandstone almost as clean and good as Yosemite granite....
Rincon has one little 5.11- section at the top, but most of it is
moderate and beautiful. Over the Hill is just like your first
love, something so infatuating and wondrous, well, maybe I'm
getting carried away.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 15, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
Pat Ament, first pitch of T2, Eldorado, about 1972, photo by Jeff Schw...
Pat Ament, first pitch of T2, Eldorado, about 1972, photo by Jeff Schwenn
Credit: Patrick Oliver

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Jul 16, 2013 - 11:39am PT
Now that's what I'm talkin about! It doesn't get any more iconic Eldorado than that, Pat on T2, in 1972, with the Bastille in the background, almost makes me want to move back there.
Whitehorse Jeff

Trad climber
Fairfield, CT
Jul 16, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
Like a number of others, Wind Ridge on the Wind Tower, on my first trip west of the Gunks, summer of 1971. I had found a partner thru the bulletin board at Culp's Boulder Mountaineer and after getting to know him on a couple of routes on the west face of Castle rock, I led Wind Ridge, then Calypso. Like another earlier poster, I remember belaying near the anchors to Ivy Baldwin's wire across the canyon-- just looking across that wire gave me vertigo. When I returned to Eldorado the next time in 1980 with some French friends (and equipped with Wild Country friends) I was sorry the wire was no longer there, as I had been telling them (the French friends) about it as we drove across country from the east coast.
Climbing last July on a small crag in NH with George Hurley, I raved about Rewritten, which I had just climbed in June three weeks earlier. George said " I think that's one of my routes" to which I replied: "that's one of the main reasons we did it!" Its reputation had preceded it and it lived up to the hype many times over-- like many others here, on the recommendation of local friends, we also used P1 of The Zot to start, and found the whole route superb!
Since my first visit in '71, I've made 6 or 7 climbing trips to Boulder, and continually want to rinse and repeat! So many climbs, in so many places, and so little time to do them!
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 17, 2013 - 11:53am PT
One of my earlier climbs was to follow the master, Bob Culp, up
Grand Giraffe. I will never forget how smooth he was, how with
that long lean body he stepped left, half way up the second pitch,
and did those vertical balance moves..., and the actual crux
crack. He was the first person, really, to teach me that one could
find all sorts of hidden holds and tricks to solve some impossible-
looking section. He seemed to know the crack inside and out and
used little flakes far within that you could only feel for. He
didn't hesitate. He didn't whimper, as other climbers did. He did not
say much at all, just moved methodically, exactly upward, kind of the
way Pratt would, in tune with the rock, there for the pure pleasure
of climbing and not for any notice.... When later I became a strong
leader, gymnast, and such, I often repeated Grand Giraffe but
never could quite feel I had the mastery Bob did.... The name, by
the way, if I recall, was another of Layton's, a play on Grand Jorasses
(spelling). I loved Layton's names. I still think Guenese was his
mis-spelling of gneiss.... The rock had that gray look in places....

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jul 17, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
It's true Pat, that we can't think of Eldorado without remembering Layton. I can remember beautiful spring days when the three of us were the only three people climbing there. For sure, we had the place to ourselves during the winter. It's hard to even imagine that now. Paradise lost.
goatboy smellz

Jul 17, 2013 - 12:26pm PT
One of those cracks next to Rincon, don't remember the name.

Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 17, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
Ahhh, Jan. Yes. Life will never be the same, but Layton remains with
me. I see him daily. I laugh with him, talk with him still. We went
very deep, literally got in each other's psyches during those
psychedelic '60s. He is a part of us. I was thinking about all the
contributions and fundraisers and how many people helped him during
these last few years. I mean, even just to make some loose count in
my mind it was somewhere around $50,000., but I imagine more. The
fundraiser they did for me, well, that was very generous and raised
about $6000., but I sense whereas there would have been no end to
the help Layton would be given, there is a real and true
limit on how much I mean -- far far less, I think.
Layton and I joked that we were bottomless pits of need, but I have
never seen anything like the love people had for him. A couple of
weeks ago, right after the Memorial for Layton in Golden, I was
sitting here with my two young daughters, and suddenly tears started
flowing from my eyes. I had simply been thinking about how much I
loved Layton. I still keep that little scrap of paper he left on my
car in Eldorado one afternoon on which he wrote, "Oliver, see
you later today, can examine routes then and work on the walls
tomorrow." Doesn't that capture his spirit? I have been thinking
of late how many moderate routes he and I did around a lot of harder
ones. We walked all the way up one day to do Green Slab. It was
sunny with a lot of snow on the rock. The crux, normally 5.9, was
icy with snow patches and probably a grade harder than it should
have been. We wore sweaters. I think he had a light cagoule and his
red hat, those same gray knickers and knee-length socks, and Kronhoeffer
shoes.... I remember how he stemmed out on that difficult section. He
hoped he didn't slip on the ice. He was truly a master alpinist
and could climb icy rock. I will never forget how when Larry and I
got caught in that vicious snow storm on the Yellow Spur. We had
decided to wait it out on a stance. Layton came roaring up the
scree slope in dark, with Jack Turner his partner, and led the Dirty
Deed or whatever that west crack is called, and it was plastered with
ice and snow. I don't know how he did that, honestly. Go up there,
friends of Layton, and imagine in kletterschue climbing that pitch
all plastered with ice and snow. Impossible. One day Layton,
Dean Moore, and I made the first ascent of Grandmother's Challenge,
another colorful Layton name.... All those times he had me skip
school, so we could do some first ascent somewhere.... Yes,
I often think of him, speak to him. Layton, see you later today,
can examine routes then and work on the walls tomorrow.... Oliver.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 17, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
I believe it was the direct start to the Bastille Crack in 1975.

I can't wait to climb there again in September.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 17, 2013 - 01:44pm PT

I still recall first meeting you in Eldorado on a cold 1962 Winter day, along with Bob Culp, to do the Ruper. Sadly I was home on leave from the Army, in really rotten shape, and on my way to Ft. Dix, NJ, Brooklyn Army Terminal, a troopship to Bremerhaven, and Germany for 2 years. I couldn't climb the Ruper Crack at that time, and it ate at me for nearly 3 years. It became an obsession for me, and I finally climbed it with Steve Thompson sometime in Spring, 1965. Another memorable ascent of Ruper was in Spring 1981 with my GF Anne Carrier; we did the lower Ruper after work in the evening wherein I led the Ruper Crack and she led the traverse pitch; we made it down via Exit Stage Left to a pizza and beer in Boulder.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 17, 2013 - 02:08pm PT
Crunch, Nothing important, but just to let you know the Eldorado rock
is not Dakota, rather Fountain, like the Flatirons. Some of the
rock in Eldorado, such as Rotwand Wall, is Lyons Formation. And of
course you have the quartzite of Supremacy Slab and Supremacy Crack.
It might be possible to find some little section of Dakota somewhere
in Eldorado. I have wondered at times if the Wind Tower has a
little Dakota in it, as its south wall seems like Dakota in places....

Rodger, I have almost a photographic memory for the zillion climbs
I've done, though a few seem not to have been recorded by my mind.
I remember doing the Diagonal 4th ascent with you, and you were
my belayer when I did Supremacy in spring 1965, but I do not
remember Ruper. I find it difficult to believe you were ever that
out of shape, but I guess sometimes we get that way. Barry Bates
used to walk up and down Generator Crack and, after a long layoff
couldn't do it one day, he told me.... So I guess it happens. But
I also can't imagine doing Ruper and not remembering Culp. Every
climb I did with him, I watched and studied and learned. He was
the master free climber. As I mentioned above, he and I did
Grand Giraffe, but I can't recall him on Ruper. As I sit here,
though, a memory seems to start to manifest... of him walking up
those moves of the crack.... If it's any solace, Larry fell of
Ruper one day. I had decided for some reason to belay at the start
of the crack. When he fell, he slid down, and his legs straddled
me. So I caught him by virtue of the location of my belay. Had
I not belayed there, I suspect he would have taken a very serious
fall and a great deal farther....
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 17, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
Mark Hudon in Eldorado. Wow, I wish I had been your partner.
One of the great ones...
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 17, 2013 - 02:14pm PT
Jeez, Pat, thanks, I went there with visions of you in my eyes all the time!
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 17, 2013 - 05:39pm PT
When I think about Eldorado I think about how many people I
and others have connected with, how a single exhilarating
climb can bring people together and then remains a memory that
unites them through the years. With some people I did countless
climbs, such as Larry Dalke, and with others it was a whole
lot of climbs, such as Layton. With some, such as Royal, it was
his yearly visit. Still others, well, one climb was that one
really good experience not to be forgotten.... I had so many young
kids, such as Christian, Roger Briggs, Eric Doub, Cam John.... who
listened to the pied pipe of the Patrick Oliver piper, and we
did one climb after another.... I often think of individuals
I climbed with who no longer are with us, such as Warren Blesser.
That was quite a story in and of itself, the day Larry, Rearick, and
I rescued Blesser off the Grand Giraffe, when he took a huge
leader fall, soared past his belayer, Tom Quinn, and crashed hands
and arms first into the wall. He broke both wrists in about
ten places each and smashed his head (which turned out to be only
a minor injury but at the time was very bloody and worried us).
Well, that's another story for another moment.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2013 - 06:57pm PT

I recall hearing the stories about the massive Warren Bleser whipper, but I was away in Germany at the time...wearing a free green suit of clothing. The Grand Giraffe is not to be underestimated. I recall doing it with Bob Culp as well. The chimney/OW has really gained a reputation over the years, hasn't it? I think it was about 1966-67 that Bob and I climbed it; we were still driving and pulling pitons and wearing Kronhofer's.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2013 - 08:12pm PT

Re: Our time on Ruper...somewhere in my "archives" (i.e. pile of junk)I may have about 5 minutes of 8 mm movies of that day in December 1962.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 18, 2013 - 09:17pm PT
Wow, please find that stuff Rodger. I love that sort of

I think Bob made it a regular practice to climb the Grand Giraffe and
took many of us up it. He made it a work of art, as he did every
boulder I watched him do.

I could tell the Bleser story (can't recall if it's spelled with
one "s" or two). Larry and I were kids, and one day after a climb
we were gazing up at the wall from the road, when the huge arc-ing
fall took place. I moved my eyes away for a split second and missed
the actual fall, but heard Larry say, "Did you see that?" I turned
my eyes again to where the climbers were, and Bleser suddenly was
far below his belayer, when a second before he had been rather far
above, at that last bulging section of the Giraffe crack. We told a
person on the road to run as fast as possible down and contact Dave
Rearick. Larry and I ran up the talus slope, climbed the west side
of the lower ramp, and I led both the short first pitch and tough second
pitch, in one long lead. As I pulled up to the square, slightly sloping
ledge at the top of the second pitch, with just my head
peeping over, there lay Warren. His belayer Tom Quinn had
lowered Warren to this precarious ledge. But it was a ledge.

Warrn was in great pain but smiled and said he was glad to see me.
He kind of half chuckled at the same time he agonized. He
held his forearms up in a position somewhere in front of his face,
as he lay on the ledge, somewhat on his back and somewhat curled up.
He held his forearms up in that position near his face
as though to elevate his clearly broken wrists. I got him anchored and
belayed Larry up, giving a little tension on the rope here and
there to speed his ascent. Very quickly the Rocky Mountain Rescue
Group arrived, ran up the talus, and Dave Rearick too arrived
at the start of the route. Everyone set driving speed records
through Boulder and out to Eldorado.

Larry and I pulled Rearick as he climbed speedily up the wall. Whenever
there was the slightest difficult move, Dave simply said, "Pull." We
got him up fast. Now, though, there were three of us on this
small ledge, too many. Tom Quinn rappelled to us, so it was
a very cramped, overcrowded place.

Jonathan Hough was at the bottom of the climb and wanted to come
up. He was the head of the rescue group at the time, but there
simply was not room for another. He seemed a bit miffed when we
said no to his request to come up. We tried to think of how to deal
with Warren's injuries, and later we would learn he broke both wrists
in about ten places each. It would take a great deal of surgery
to get those arms and wrists back into a state of repair. An
ugly, serious-looking head injury turned out to be nothing more
than a scratch, but it gushed blood and made us wonder if it was
the injury of most concern. Warren would not let us
touch him or try to clean any wound. He screamed if
we moved him even the tiniest bit. Very quickly it became apparent
it was best simply to lower him into the waiting hands of Hough
and the group below. Again and again, as we tied Warren in or
did anything, if we touched him, or in the smallest way flicked
a rope or leaned an arm or thigh against any part of him,
he let out another terrible scream. We hauled up a metal litter. With
Warren screaming in pain, we managed to get him into the litter. We
had little to no experience with litters or lowering. Quinn now
insisted he go down with the litter. So we hooked him with a sling to
the side of the litter and had a separate rope on him that
Rearick would belay. Larry and I each would hold a rope tied to one
end of the litter. This was not exactly right, because as soon as
Warren and the litter went over the edge, the litter tipped
downward and outward, and Warren was lying on his left side and
almost downward, horrified as he looked at all the exposure below.
Quinn ended up in a hang from his arms, as from a pullup bar, from
that side of the litter, about at Warren's waist. Both were tied
in and safe, but it was horribly airy and open to be lowered
virtually face down, and with Quinn below him in a dangle from
his arms. Fortunately no rope jammed, and we lowered this
circus affair into the care of the waiting Rescue Group.

Warren was a very likeable fellow and often came around my parents
house to see if I could climb. It made him somewhat irritated when
I introduced him to my parents as "Warren Bleser, the guy who
fell off the Grand Giraffe." I remember him looking into my young
teen eyes and saying, "How about, Warren Bleser, the guy who
climbed Mount McKinley." Warren soon after died on the North Face
of the Matterhorn.
Casey Bald

lower refuse, NH
Jul 18, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
Blind Faith, I think it was the easiest hand crack to find after werks up and we climbed that after. Both amazing routes.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 18, 2013 - 10:13pm PT
My first climb (Bastille Crack) was in 1968....shooting for a last climb (Perilous Journey) in 2068.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2013 - 10:20pm PT

You probably recall that Warren Bleser (only one "s" needed) was a certified Canadian Mountain Guide from the Lake Louise area?

Jonathan Hough was the best man, my first marriage, to Catherine Burnett (RIP).
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 19, 2013 - 12:17am PT
I did not know any of that. I think Jonathan was a competent
rescue man. He always seemed to be there, when they would
call me out, which they did often... even when I was not a member
of the rescue group. I wanted for a time to be a member of the
rescue group, but when I took the required first aid course, it
was taught by Jane Culp.... and Bob would come and sit in the back
of the classroom. I wanted to sit next to him and talk bouldering,
instead of pay attention to first aid. Thus I did not pass that class.
They finally realized my climbing skills made up for any lack in
first aid, and I could be a rope monkey, as needed.... Is Jonathan
still with us?
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 19, 2013 - 06:44am PT
I apologize for the times in this thread I have digressed.
The subject is the first climb we did, yet just to say the
word "Eldorado" triggers so many memories for me, arouses
such a variety of sensations, that pure exhilaration and
friendship. To Eldorado I attach in my very blood those
oot-ooty-oot pigeons, strong wind filled with smells of
pine, a scent of the white mountains to the west, that high
country great wind streams brought down through the canyon.

First impressions, of
course, are so vital and beautiful, and give us our keen sense
of the world. For a climber so lucky as to have made his young
home a canyon so brilliant and imaginative as Eldorado,
there are countless little autographs of the soul. The
snap of a carabiner. A freight train that roars through
tunnels of a mountain high and to the south. As I wrote in
another small piece, "Acquitting oneself well in a first attempt
at a leading role," the rope hangs down vertical rock. A
quiet goes inside its own softness to an inner stillness.

In Eldorado in spring, each hold is a new
incarnation of the world. About fifty climbs seem to fall into
that sense of the first climb. I have clear flashes of the
steep moves up the initial pitch of C'est La Vie, of which Larry
and I made the first ascent, a little step around right, out
of a tiny, shallow dihedral with a bent over, soft-iron piton
I placed and, at last visit decades later, is still there. Then,
a move or three higher, the lieback against that big hollow flake.

I remember my first lead (and climb) of the Bastille Crack. I went
about a hundred feet without protection up that dark, shadowy
north wall. I was under the strange notion one was
not supposed to place a piton unless at the verge of
a fall. It was such a wondrous surprise to find so many ready
hand and footholds. They were everywhere on that perfect sandstone.

I remember our first ascent of Tagger, in a frigid, eardrum-
piercing, nose and finger numbing, wind, the temperature
somewhere around zero or below. That day I had the small maroon
camera my parents gave me. I still have a few of those snapshots.
We climbed in our lightweight down jackets and hammered in

There was Redguard Route, and I emphasize the word "red."
It seemed indeed there was the color red in the rock, as yellow,
green, orange, purple, white, black, and gray all joined the
visual palette. Pseudo-Sidetrack, a route given the strangest
name, indeed had some false sense about it. One could get lost.
Route finding was part of the essence of the Eldorado
experience. This route, like many in Eldorado, was simply a
land of holds on steep rock. Pseudo-Sidetrack follows
a long upward, leftward traverse above great drops. We moved
toward the sun, I recall, blinded somewhat by the glare of
the sky that afternoon....

Larry and I did our first climb with Layton in Eldorado. On a
wintry Thanksgiving day we made the first known ascent of
Calypso, that light-colored, tan sandstone, that shallow
dihedral up to an overhang, then a lovely, wide step or
two right, across smooth, near-white rock, and up a
steep slab.... The climb was of less interest than the tall man
who took us to the canyon that day. That was the beginning of
a lifelong friendship with a most amazing friend and probably
Colorado's greatest climber.

Always, there was the great wire, a steel cable, far
above our heads, where the aerialist Ivy Baldwin strolled
some 89 times. He last crossed that three hundred-foot high,
five hundred-foot long, wire on his 82nd birthday!
The whole canyon had a spirit of adventure to it, no matter the
climb, no matter the difficulty. Every Eldorado climb has an airy
sense about it, even today. And there is the roar of the river...,
which seems to thrust a person into the full effect of nature,
the reach to the next hold, how one positions the edge of a shoe,
aromas of lichen and air, pure exposure, a canyon where youth
was not wasted on the young, a sense of balance, and a sense of
the promise of so much unclimbed rock.

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Jul 19, 2013 - 11:34am PT
Over the Hill with a partner I met in the campground....1983 I think
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 19, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
That would be a great first climb, though somewhat removed
from the main part of the canyon (a blessing when it's busy
in Eldorado).

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Jul 19, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Bastile Crack, 1976.

Arrived on road trip from Wyoming. Stepped from car seat to first pitch. Immediatly impressed with steepness of El Dorado Canyon, having just climbed in the Tetons, Winds.

I ran into Kevin Worral living out of a VW van, as I remember. We didn't talk. He was a climbing GOD; I was just another "Chuck Climber" - and I still am. I was traveling with a great Brit, Paul Bell, who was amidst a two-year round-the-world walkabout. He left England with $700 in his pocket and indeed stayed on the road for two years. After two days in Eldo, we drove to SLC and Little Cottonwood Canyon, then Yosemite.

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Jul 19, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
My first climb in Eldo was out of the car. It was all up hill after that.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 19, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
Those are two climbs with which I'm not familiar, "Out of the Car"
and "All Uphill."

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Jul 19, 2013 - 05:12pm PT
LoL good one Pat.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Jul 19, 2013 - 10:03pm PT
Crack 1977, with Jim Angione.

I would have rated it 5.8+.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 22, 2013 - 01:08pm PT
Yes it's definitely a good 5.8 route, probably the crux being
the first pitch. But if you do the lieback (right variation)
at the top, then that's the hardest part.

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Jul 22, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Pat I love the classic pic of you in your youth leading the 2nd pitch of the Bastille Crack.

Jul 22, 2013 - 01:21pm PT
I arrived there for the first time after having led a few 11s and thinking I was pretty badass. Stepped up to Supremacy Crack, and got humbled.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 22, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
Philo, yes I ran those first two pitches together, thinking that
was how it was supposed to be done. And as I said I didn't put
in any protection. I guess that's what makes it such an
interesting photo. Cleve McCarty took the photo from across the

Supremacy was strangely difficult, especially if you didn't have
any experience at hand cracks. I had to teach myself how to
hand jam and how to use footwork to take some of the weight off
my hands. Later, though, the climb just got easier, what with
nuts and Friends to easily slide in. I've seen people climb the
Web, a 5.13 to the left of Supremacy and then not be able to
figure out Supremacy. One day I was ambling through the canyon,
not thinking I would climb, and some people were trying Supremacy.
They were swinging off and hanging around, and water was
dripping out of the crack -- which made it much more difficult.
I walked up and at one point casually made a suggestion about a
technique they could try. The guys looked at each other, and
one said, "Maybe you'd like to give it a try." I was in my
hush puppies, not very good for crack climbing. "Ok," I said. They
smirked and were prepared to teach this old know-it-all a
painful lesson. I did manage to climb it, even though it was
easily 5.12 with the slimey water. They were quite amused
and mystified.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 15, 2014 - 11:20pm PT
Credit: mike m
I don't know the history that well but my brother thought we did a bunch of your routes this week in Eldo and Boulder Canyon. We did an 8 on Elephant buttress that was really great, a route on the Dome to the left, and a few routes in Eldo. All were really great crack routes from top to bottom. I am definitely taking my son there for an extended stay just need a place to crash(anyone willing to put us up in the back yard would be greatly appreciated}Eldorado is such a great place this thread should really be a huge feature on Supertopo. I think a lot of people don't post pictures or stories because so many great climbers go there and not too many new routes get put up, but it so chock full of classics it should be a long lived highly posted upon thread.
Credit: mike m

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Apr 16, 2014 - 12:20am PT
I'll trade yard space in CO for yard space near Custer.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 16, 2014 - 12:28am PT
I'm about an hour and a half from Custer but if that is close enough you got a deal. We are only an hour from devils tower though. I can hook you up with som good free spots down by Custer as well.

Trad climber
Apr 16, 2014 - 01:40am PT
Pics are standard route 5.7

This mean the 3rd buttress has reopened?

Here's a pic of my dog on the first pitch of pseudo sidetrack last week

Credit: fluffy

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 16, 2014 - 01:51am PT
Took the SO up something called Wind Ridge or Windy Ridge? I recall a fun 5.4 or 5.5?
Then the Brit said, "There's got to be something better 'n that 'ere!"

Social climber
boulder co
Apr 16, 2014 - 10:37am PT
Mine was calypso to reggae in 1995. I was 18 and plenty gripped but eldo is awesome!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 16, 2014 - 09:00pm PT
Pretty sure mine was the very mellow Wind Ridge with Brad Udall about 1974.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 16, 2014 - 09:18pm PT
Bastille Crack then, long john wall, and the yellow spur. Not bad for a complete newb just coming off the flatlands. I think I met Pat Ament in the Boulder Mountaineer where I purchased the history of North American mountaineering. One of my favorite books of all time. Pat told me about watching the first pitch on the Bastille as a lot of people didn't protect it and grounded from about 20 feet up. It was good advice.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
Aug 2, 2014 - 07:39pm PT
Dont remember my first climb in Eldo but took these pictures of the Diving Board today.

Credit: Don Paul

The Diving Board
The Diving Board
Credit: Don Paul

Credit: Don Paul
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Ojai, CA
Aug 2, 2014 - 08:43pm PT
Reggae, 2006
I had been hitchhiking to the top of Flagstaff and met a dude that was psyched to try climbing although he had never been. I hadn't made it out to Eldo yet since I didnt have a car. But I had some extra gear at a pad I was flopping in on Table Mesa so we swung through and grabbed it, then headed to Eldo. The corner at the top of the route was so good! And the guy actually followed it pretty well.
I'll never forget chatting with some chick at the belay above and her expression when I told her this my was my partners first climb. She just gave me this disgusted look and rapped off. HA!
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Aug 2, 2014 - 09:59pm PT
Green Spur, 1974.
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