Climbed Olive Oil with my son on 3-26-13. We went up late morning and had the route to ourselves after pitch 3. One of the best 5.7 multi-pitch routes I have climbed. I loved the absence of fixed anchors or gear. A few 20 to 30 foot run outs on easy terrain. Pitch 5 is very fun. Good pro on left just below 1st pitch crux (I had no tri cams as suggested by others for pitch 1). Sucks up stoppers especially HB Offsets. Linked pitch 2 and 3 with 70m rope. You can eliminate the short 4th class to the summit after pitch 5 with a 70m rope (just barely).
The descent is off right. Look for the cairns. Two short steep steps to the north gully trail. The first one is an easy down climb. The last step is either a 5 foot jump to a slab or a muscle down over an overhanging lip. The north gully trail is easy to follow and in good shape. Leave your pack at the base of the descent gully to make the return trip easier.
Near the belay on pitch 4 Olive Oil.
Looking down from the roomy 3rd pitch belay ledge on Olive Oil.
Did Olive Oil on Saturday 3/2/13 and could not have asked for a better day. I concur with the previous poster's comments on gear - tri-cams in the pink, red, brown size were useful, doubles in the .5 - #2 range were almost essential to protect and build an anchor for pitch 2, and 2-3 hour climb-time is ambitious.
In addition, I'd add to bring your pack on the climb. It was my first time up and we left our packs at the base. The gully that returns to the base is much harder to get to and is filled with scratchy bushes. In contrast, the gully on the other side of the formation is easy to get to, looked nicer, and gets you well on the way back to the Pine Creek parking lot.
I climbed Olive Oil in February of 2013. As is often the case, the very beginning of the first pitch protects beautifully with a tri-cam (can't remember pink or red) in a pocket. All anchor bolts are still chopped (just downloaded the newest Supertopo and there are no updates on that) and evidence of the epoxy can be seen at the top of (Supertopo's) P3. Linking P2 and P3 up the crack sounds fun but beware of rope drag and the crack goes away for the last 50+ feet and gear gets tough, especially if you use Supertopo's recommendation with barely any doubles. That might work without trad anchors but doubles of 0.6-2" seems like a safe minimum and I could have used a triple 0.5 and 0.75 Camalot. The moves were never too tough but P2 was a pretty fun and sustained 5.7. I climbed back down to build an anchor at the end of the crack (30' above the old P2 bolts) with my last couple pieces, instead of running it out since I wasn't sure if the rope would make it. I enjoyed the squeeze on the final pitch and did enjoy the security of a #4 when I first got there but a #3 BD C4 would have been fine just a couple feet higher up. The last 50' of "4th class" is "3rd class" at best. It's worth simulclimbing or bringing a 70m rope to avoid building an anchor in the low angle, bushy part of the route. The trail down from the summit, after the two short down climbs, is well traveled and easy to follow. Also, 2-3 hours to climb for 4-5 pitches would be really impressive, at least for me. It was fun, nonetheless!
This climb was great. Nice to climb something in Red Rocks that is totally clean, no bolts. There is no tree at the top of pitch 1, which threw us for a bit of a loop, but it looked like the route went so we kept going, the guidebooks could use some updating with respect to this. I agree with stashing your packs at the base of the right-side descent gulley so then you don't have to hike back up to the base of route up the left-side gulley to retrieve them. The descent is trivial, just walk off the backside of the formation (with a little beached whale downclimbing on a couple slabs to the get to the notch, marked by a cairn pile). The rest is pretty much a path. The exposed traverse and step across into the chimney up high gets the adrenaline going. The pitch 2 handcrack is classic. There is etching in the wall at the base of the route that says "bolts chopped" and "no walk off." Bolts chopped - yes, no walk off - not correct, there is a walk off, you just can't bail on the route without leaving some of your rack behind.
I also climbed olive oil last week. I felt the lack of bolts to be a good thing, especially since the first bolted anchor was an unnecessary hanging belay. A 60m rope reaches (just barely) the nice ledge on the left where the second bolted anchor used to be. I had to break down the anchor prematurely to give enough slack, but you're in that bomber cave slot so it's no big deal at all. Supertopo calls the link 195' which felt accurate. We climbed the route as 4 pitches with no simul climbing. The fourth class up top is very very easy and short.
Note: Don't leave your packs at the base, you descend a different gully and will have to hike back up to get them. Instead, ditch them somtime after you break off the main trail. If you do have to return to the base, it's not a big deal, but will add 30 minutes.
I climbed Olive Oil last week (1/3/08) and had a great time. Weather moved in and I finished the last pitch in the rain. The final chimney turns into a nice bubbling waterfall, so you can climb and swim at the same time. Unfortunately retreat from the route is now difficult because all the bolted anchors have been removed. The bolt holes are even nicely filled in so it is not too obvious where the belay stations once were. The route is still very good with natural pro, but setting up the 3rd station is a little tricky. Spread the word.
Wow, this was a lot of fun. The 2nd and 4th pitch are really outstanding. This is my new favorite. Nice summit, easy walk off. As per the bolts, whoever removed them did A great job the holes were not even noticeable.
Another wonderful moderate... I thought the p2 was 5.7, but everything else a bit less... and the runout was managable.
Finding the base was the crux as we went way too far, around the Geronimo buttress, and worked our way back. Didn't feel too bad after talking to locals who had been up it twice but couldn't quite describe where it started (!).
As you walk around from Pine Creek, go around the toe of the first buttress, the next gully is the descent, and the gully after that is the start.
josh- nope, but i havent really poked around to find out anything about it- just noticed the total lack of bolts (or bolt holes, for that matter) on the route. whoever chopped 'em did a good job, though- filled the holes and left no trace......
Key note for those considering the route- there are, as of yesterday, no bolts on this route. The bolts at the top of 2,3, and 4 are all missing. Please be aware of this! Natural anchors are no problem at the top of 2 and 3. Creativity is required at the top of 4.
Also, definitely do this in 4 pitches- link 2 & 3- it barely works with a 60m. The second may have to climb for a foot or two, but its easy on both folks right at that moment.
I climbed this route on February 25, 2005. Fortunately, it didn't rain on us that day.
We climbed Olive Oil in four (4) pitches with a 60 meter rope but it can be easily be done in three (3) pitches if you simul-climb about 10 feet on the second pitch to the belay anchors on the large ledge. (This is called belay #5 in Swain.) From there you can get to the top in 200 feet.
I never used my #4 Camalot (purple) but was glad to have the #3 (blue) and the #3.5 (silver). The walk-off involved a little route finding and a couple of down climbs. Not hard, but not as trivial as Swain implies.
My partner led pitch 1 all the way up to a bolted anchor with a rappel sling on the face. There is no tree on pitch 1!
I led the second pitch past the belay anchors on the ledge to the left. I clipped one of the anchors and slung it out 48 inches to eliminate rope drag. Then I traversed up and right across the face to the corner in the left facing open book described by Swain. This pitch is runnout. I set a belay using my own pro in the corner.
The third pitch was about 20 feet of climbing up to the large belay ledge. This pitch could be eliminated with a little simul-climbing over easy terrain.
For the fourth pitch I went straight up over the belay anchors and then traversed right on a little ledge to the large dihedral. I waited until I was up in the dihedral to place my first pro. This way the rope ran at a 45 to 60 degree angle to the horizontal to my partner and eliminated rope drag.
At the top we unropped and climbed an easy crack on the right up to a flat spot. From here we continued on over until we could see the gully going down and then we turned left. After a couple of down climbs we saw a duck marking a nice use trail for the decent.
A fun climb. I would do it again.
This is one of my favorite Red Rocks climbs--I have done it three times! The "R" rating does not really seem justified; I found the Swain rating of "PG" to be more appropriate. The short section of chimney climbing on the last pitch can be bypassed by easy but unprotected face climbing on the right.
This route can be done in 4 pitches with a 60m rope: p1 to the ledge, p2 to the top of the crack, p3 up & over through the notch to the huge ledge, p4 to the top of the dihedral (p4 requires about 10 feet of 5.0 simul-climbing).
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