Crimson Chrysalis, Cloud Tower 5.8


Red Rocks, Nevada USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 4-6 hours
Approach time: 1-1.5 hours
Descent time: 1-1.5 hours
Number of pitches: 9
Height of route: 1000'
Crimson Chrysalis could quite easily be the best 5.8 in all of Red Rocks. The north-facing route is perfect for warm fall or spring days when the climb is blissfully in the shade. The route is predominantly a face climb as bolts allow you to wander onto the face to avoid the wide climbing. Regardless, runouts will be encountered and the route is sustained at 5.8—be comfortable at the grade if leading this route.
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The first ascent was completed with four fixed ropes by George and Joanne Urioste in October 1979. The name stems from the red coloration of the rock and physical resemblance of the pillar to a huge butterfly’s cocoon. George recalls the first ascent as a fairly bold undertaking. There were fewer bolts placed than were mentioned in the red book. Some leads were runout enough that one could be seriously hurt in a fall. George says they worked pretty hard to avoid bolting by tying off small horns and flakes, and placing nuts in shallow surface features.

Shortly after the fixed ropes were pulled, Joanne and Randal Grandstaff returned and did the first continuous ascent. In the following months the route was repeated by several other parties, and some felt that more bolts were needed. George and Joanne were of the opinion that the route was “too beautiful not to share,” so they went back and added a few protection bolts, and beefed up the belays. The route was thus brought up to the state reported in the original 1984 guidebook. The subsequent popularity of the route with ordinary climbers as well as guided parties has led to the addition of even more bolts. If the route has lost a bit of the commitment element, it has become a highly accessible and magnificent climb.

One irony of their ascent became evident to George as they rappelled from the summit of the tower. On their last pitch, they had climbed through a small overhang then veered right. The rightward...   [full history for SuperTopo members only!]

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Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff Last update: May 18, 2009
Cloud Tower - Crimson Chrysalis 5.8 - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click to Enlarge
The classic Crimson Chrysalis ascends beautiful Cloud Tower.
Photo: Sarah Felchlin
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