Crimson Chrysalis, Cloud Tower 5.8

 
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Red Rocks, Nevada USA

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Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.6)
Your Rating:     (none)
Rating Distribution
19 Total Ratings
5 star: 58%  (11)
4 star: 37%  (7)
3 star: 5%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 25, 2003 - 11:08am
 
The American Safe Climbing Assn. may have replaced anchor bolts on this climb. To find out visit the ASCA Replacement Page

The ASCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to replacing unsafe anchors. To learn about helping the ASCA click here


DONATE NOW
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John Wahlund

Mountain climber
Eugene, OR
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   Nov 17, 2004 - 05:43pm
We got six pitches up Crimson on Monday, 11/15. The party ahead of us cost us about 90 minutes,or we would have made the top in perhaps 7 hrs, but rappelling in the dark held no interest for us. Calm day. Not bad with 4 layers on the upper body, two on the lower.

SUPERTOPO topos are usually super but the one for this route badly misstates pitch lengths. Nearly all are overstated, but pitches 3 and 4 in particular. Pitch 3 is 60 feet, not the 100 stated. Pitch 4 is 90 feet, not the 160 shown on the topo.

I am surprised to see no previous comment on this discrepancy.
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Greg Barnes

climber
Oct 16, 2005 - 01:38am
 
Spare Rib is good fun, use the old Urioste guide to find it since there are multiple routes over there. Karin & I replaced all the bolts on Spare Rib last year except the bolt on the low-angle last pitch, and the bolt on the first pitch (which we removed, there is bomber pro with modern cams).
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Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Apr 14, 2009 - 01:22pm
 
Did this route Easter Sunday. we were first at the base, at least 6 parties behind us within 30 minutes. We started at 7:30, topped out around 12:30, base at 2:30.

A poster below suggest you can do this route with draws only if you don't mind big runouts. This is true except for pitch 5 which only has one bolt up about 90ft up the pitch. Also, many of the cruxy moves on the route are protected with natural gear. Was surprised to see so many bolts near bomber cracks. bring a small rack.

With a 70m rope you can rappel the following pitches with one rope:
p9, p8, p6, p5, p4(stretch)
p7, 2+3, and p1 require 2 60m

This route seems to be in a wind funnel! Fun sustained 5.8
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regiroo

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 18, 2009 - 08:56pm
 
My partner and I did this route yesterday so here is the latest from this famous Red Rocks Classic.

We spent a lot of time wondering how early to get up and after much deliberation decided a 3 a.m. start was in order!

Yes, we started from the campsite at 3 a.m. and left the car park at the exit at 3:30 a.m. for the moonlight hike to beat the crowds.

The hike was glorious, well lit by the moon and the temperature was warm with a light breeze. We hiked for about 2 hours or so and arrived at the climb around 6 a.m.

And despite all the hype we were the first party on the climb!

We made a quick start and after some strenous five eight climbing we were well on the way upwards.

The climbing was fun and sustained 5.8 with some stuck gear along the way to add to the placement possibilities. Someone somewhere must be mourning the loss of the number 4 cam left on the route....and yes, like everyone else I tried to unstick it, it seems like all it needs is just one good wiggle...no chance... it is stuck!

The route was shady most of the day so despite temperatures of almost 100 degrees the weather was perfect. Later in the afternoon the wind picked up and made for more challenging leading conditions.

We eventually bailed after the 7th pitch due to the wind and wories that our rope would be eaten on the rapel down. There was a very ominous 20 foot length of cut rope which hurried our decision to avoid making another contribution to the rope eating cracks.

All in all the climb was fun and sustained with excellent views.

Our (freakishly) early start gave us the advantage of being first party on the climb and the hot weather and lateness in the season gave us the unique honour of being the only ones to climb the route that day.

The hanging belays take a star away from this climb and be aware that the animals at the base will eat through any bag to find food or what they perceive as food.

Crimson Chrysalis is worth the early approach (especially to avoid the heat in late season). If you are doing this later in the season please bring lots of water for the hike out as the temperatures are very high and you will get dehydrated and sunburnt if you are not careful.



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alramadan

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
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   May 4, 2003 - 05:32pm
Climbed this route with 3 others on Apr 28th 2003. Its totally awesome. Some hopefully helpful data points:

1. Pitches 2 and 3 can be combined with a 60.
2. The climb time is more like 5-8 hours (more if crowded)
3. The rap is more like 3 hours (if you don't get a jam)
4. If you get in the gate at 6AM and are fast, you can get to the base by 7:30AM. My partner and I swapped leads and we topped out at 1:20PM.
5. Pitches 1-4 are in the shade all day and if there is any wind its cold. Definately take a wind stopper and a headlamp.
6. The rap is more difficult that you think. There are some monster rope eating cracks for the rap lines.
7. Take comfortable shoes, the hanging belays kill your feet.

Its a very worthwhile climb, but its very committing. Get there early and climb fast. I know a lot of people who have rapped in the dark, even with an early start.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Apr 21, 2003 - 02:00pm
Made an attempt to summit on 4/20/03 .. (bailed at the top of pitch 6)

About crowds: we were in the loop at 6 am .. first to the parking lot .. first on the trail .. got passed by a very fit pair of hikers while on the approach ramp.. when we got to the base we found out that another pair of climbers had started hiking at 4am from outside the loop .. so were 3rd in line ..

.. another group of 3 showed up about 2 hours later..

About the climbing: ..stellar! ..some very memorable moves .. specially the wide chimney moves on the 3rd pitch .. and the hand jamming over the bulge on the 5th pitch .. the 6th pitch is airy and run out but enjoyable at 5.6 ..

This was my first 5.8 at red rocks. -- the gear i brought was

1 set of nuts - only used the smaller pieces
1 set of tricams - .5 to 2.5 -- only placed the .5 and the 1.5

camalots
.3, .4, .5, .75 (2x), 1 (2x), 2 (2x), 3 (2x), 3.5 (2x), 4

the only pieces i'd leave behind next time are the extra 3.5 and the extra 3.

we bailed on the 6th pitch because we didn't want to rap in the dark -- as it was we still had to use headlamps to hike out to the car ..

a group of 3 behind us pushed on to the summit --

    ricardo
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Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 4, 2004 - 12:18pm
 
Couple years back. Started climbing at 7am, topped out at noon, and, we're pretty darn average.

Comfy 11 hour day, car-to-car, with time for lunch and site seeing.

Smallish rack, set of cams, set of nuts, qd's and sling to match. Fun fun.

Brian in SLC
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Jake M.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
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   Nov 1, 2002 - 08:24pm
We carried far too much gear up this route, expecting a yosemite-style crack climb. It's more of a face climb, and next time I would probably take only one set of cams, nuts, and a 4-4.5 camalot for one of the first couple of pitches. A large rack of QD's and runners is primarily what is needed. You can link a lot of the pitches, and we made it down in six raps. Obviously, get an early start to beat the crowds.
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YosemiteCamp4

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 14, 2003 - 09:52pm
 
We climbed Crimson Chrysalis on April 14, 2003. The approach is straightforward but strenuous and will take most parties a full 90 minutes. We climbed on a Friday, and even though we entered the park before 6AM (they opened early that day) were still the 3rd (and last) party. Luckily all three parties on the climb were experienced, so we never had to wait. I've read horror stories about 5 or more parties being on the route -- In my opinion that would take most of the fun out of the climb. If I was the 4th or 5th party I'd strongly consider doing Ginger Cracks instead, which is only a few hundred feet away.

The climb is steep and sustained. The first 4 pitches appear to be slightly overhanging, but huge, positive holds are everywhere and I found the climbing to be relatively easy 5.8. There is plenty of protection, and the rack recommended in the Supertopo is perfect (although I didn't place any nuts). I brought the optional 4" cam and used it 2 or 3 times. I also strongly recommend 2 long slings if you want to link the last 2 pitches. We were the only party to link these pitches that day and the the key is to use long slings low on pitch 8 to keep the rope drag in check.

As noted in the guide, all of the belay stations except the 4th are very uncomfortable but quality of the climb more than justifies the discomfort. All of the pitches are so fantastic that none really stands out.

I think most parties will take at least 6 or 7 hours to complete the route. Add in 1.5 hours for the approach, 2 hours for the rappel, and 1 hour for the hike back down and you're looking at a 10 to 12 hour day not including lunch time on the summit.
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PT

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 7, 2003 - 07:33pm
 
I don't think you can call Chrimson Chrysalis a commiting route. You can rap from any pitch, No commitment required. Just try to beat the crowds and have fun - it is a great route and shouldn't be missed.
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johnkitt

Trad climber
San Diego, Ca
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   May 19, 2003 - 01:12pm
I just climbed this route last weekend (5/17/03). It was an awesome line!

Don't let the temperatures out in Vegas scare you away. It was something like the mid 90's in Vegas, but on the route it felt like it was more like mid to high 70's. The route is north facing and gets a nice breeze that keeps everything comfortable. Just be sure to bring lots of water - it's easy to get dehydrated and not even realize it.

It took us about 5 hours to climb the route (including time to allow another group to rap past us) and another 2 to rap down (the rope gods smiled down on us that day).

The view from the top is pretty awesome... :)

-john kitt.
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esq

Trad climber
san francisco, ca
May 31, 2003 - 11:54am
 
I'd love to do this route, but after three trips to Red Rock, we've been beaten by the crowds or bad weather! It doesn't help matters that the BLM rockclimbing brochure totally hypes the route. I don't doubt it's a classic, but even being first on the route you'll be rapping down over several parties ascending. I'm surprised I haven't heard about any epics or bad incidents just because of the raps and rope-catching rock edges. One strategy may be to start late, and get down late, taking advantage of the BLM "after hours" telephone number.
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madmax

climber
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   Mar 19, 2004 - 03:31pm
A great climb, but kinda ruined by the bolts on the first three pitches. It would be a lot more engaging if you had to bring a #4 Camalot, or two. I think I placed five pieces on the whole climb. Definitely not a committing climb, as you can rap anytime. We did it in four pitches, with a little simul-climbing after pitch 3 (pitch 3 in the guidebooks).
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malabarista

Trad climber
Sep 8, 2003 - 05:44pm
 
Unfortunately, had to bail off this climb. My partner started getting sick midway up and wasn't feeling well enough to continue. I look forward to returning and finishing it properly sometime.

It's wonderful steep sustained climbing, but never scary.
It felt like being on a big wall, it's steep and exposed. The occassional jams are a nice interludes between face climbing. You can see straight down to your bags and the whole way out to the vegas strip once you are above the third pitch.

We climbed using twin ropes and I wouldn't do this next time. They snagged constantly on the rappels on every little edge and of course more to organize at the hanging belays. Next time I'll just bring two regular ropes.
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Mountain Man

Trad climber
Outer space
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   Jan 10, 2004 - 12:57am
We were concerned about the short day on December 7, 2003, and wanted to be first on the rock. We got up at 4:30 AM . We already had our packs and gear ready. We drove to the Red Rocks area, expecting to wait until 6 to get past the gate, but were let in at 5:50.

The hike in was very tiring. There was one steep climb out of an arroyo, then another horrendous long ascent to the base of the climb itself. We were climbing by 7:30. The day was dark and cloudy, so after two sun drenched days at Joshua Tree, it was rather gloomy. Adam led off, trailing a second 60 meter rope. I was carrying a pack with clothes, water & food.

2 pitches of 5.6, 2 of 5.7 and the other 5 either 5.8 or 5.8 +. The first several pitches go right up the crack, until it gets too wide, then escapes right onto the face. The rope drag was terrible the first few pitches, but got better as we got onto the face. The climb was very vertical, and all the belays were hanging. Only one even had a tiny flat area for a stance. The wind got very strong on the upper face, and at the top, we immediately set up the rappel. I had to hold onto the pack to keep it from being blown away.

There were 2 and usually more bolts at all the belays, and the pro was good. Pro in the crack, and a lot of bolts. It's famous for getting the rope stuck on rappel, and we did. So with our early start, moving quickly and efficiently, we still weren't down until 4:15, and hiked out by moonlight. It was a magical 11 hour day.

You do need 2 ropes. It might be a good idea to lead on a double 60 meter rope.

This is an incredible route
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dmitry

Trad climber
the evil empire
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   Apr 23, 2004 - 11:03am
A wonderful route!
Gets you up and exposed quickly and pleasantly.

Stoppers and hexes alone would do: most stances are comfortable.

Surprising to see bolts four feet above a bomber placement and three feet below one.

The rappel with the endless horns to snag the ropes is the crux of the climb.

Cheers!
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vegastradguy

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV
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   Nov 18, 2004 - 08:19pm
You can do Crimson in six pitches. link 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 8 & 9

Its a bit of a stretch for 5 & 6, and 8 & 9 need long slings or rope drag will kill you.

I think if you have a 70m, you could link 1 & 2 as well.

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TheHip

Trad climber
Squamish, BC
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   Nov 24, 2004 - 12:21am
Best 5.8 route I've ever done.....although having the route to ourselves the entire day probably increased my enjoyment factor
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TIM SHEA

Trad climber
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA
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   May 24, 2005 - 04:10pm
Fantastic climb, too bad we were 3rd in line. I think a lot of people are over there heads on this one. Sharing belays on the up & down was a drag. But when I was climbing I was having a blast. 5.8+ seemed about right. Crossing the geologic discontinuity was interesting. I want to climb it again with out the crowds. Super Topo was excellent.
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vegastradguy

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV
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   Oct 16, 2005 - 01:01am
If you find yourselves waiting in line for this thing and need to kill some time, head up Spare Rib- a neat little 5.8 to the left of Crimson. If you're strong at the grade, it's only two pitches and you do 4 raps with a single line to get back down. If you're quick, you could easily do this and Crimson in a day.
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Joshua8200

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
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   Oct 17, 2005 - 03:26pm
One of the best climbs I've ever been on. Sustained, but never strenuous. I carried WAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much gear for this route. Heard that it could be done RUNOUT with just draws and I completely agree with that now. Give or take a cam or two: #0,2,3 Metolius #.75-3 Black Diamond and #5-9 BD stoppers was all I used. Take 5-8 over the shoulder slings (unless you're linking the pitches in which case the beta is to take like 15 slings).
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Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
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   Feb 7, 2006 - 04:44pm
Did this last week as my first route ever in Red Rocks. Great rock, nice location and plenty long. Linked 2/3, 5/6, 8/9 with a 60m rope. Had to do about a 12ft simo on pitch 5/6 to reach the anchors. If you are pretty solid and have your lead head together you can do this route with only slings/draws. Be prepared for some giant runouts (like full pitch??), but real positive holds.

Thought the last pitch was the crux ie: hardest moves and smallest bolts, circuitous.

Anchors and raps stations are bomber but hard to find in the dark.... rope problems are very possible so be careful with the chickenheads and rope eating cracks.
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rockgirl

Sport climber
Bend, OR
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   Mar 26, 2006 - 01:02am
This is a great line. I'm glad all those bolts are there so I don't have to carry a #4 cam (or two! Oh, the weight- I'm actually considering selling mine.) Anyways, bring a normal rack if 5.8 is your trad leading limit, otherwise go sparse, run it out and clip bolts.
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flamer

Trad climber
denver
Dec 11, 2006 - 12:43pm
 
Well if you're there over a holiday and trying to do one of the most popular, moderate routes in the country you can expect lines.
Try doing East butt. of middle over memorial day!

Try climbing something alittle more obscure....there is plenty of good stuff out there.

Noraml weekends aren't to bad. If you're wanting to get on something popular...get up early. Be the first one thru the gate and hike fast.

josh
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sofia

climber
Dec 6, 2006 - 08:03pm
 
How crowded is Red Rocks on a normal weekend? My friends went to Red Rocks over Thanksgiving and it was a horrendous experience. Made Yosemite look deserted. People fighting over routes, waiting half a day to do a climb, etc. If I go on a weekend in December will it be crazy ( the weather appears to be cooperating )? Thank you for the input. I do not want to wait for a climb, though I don't mind switching what I am climbing to another similar climb or variation.
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le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Dec 11, 2006 - 08:44pm
 


A friend and I climbed this on a Friday morning in early-December a few years ago. We were dropped off at the gate an hour before dawn, hiked across the plain and made it to the base around 7:30, no one else in sight. Not another soul showed up that day - we had the whole thing to ourselves.

I'd suggest taking one pair of warm gloves and one warm jacket for the belayer, since even in good weather you'll be in and out of the sun, and even a slight wind can really numb the extremities.
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Gordon Larsen

Sport climber
St. George, Utah
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   Dec 13, 2006 - 10:54am
Just got back from climbing this awesome route ( Saturday Dec 9,2006). Yes it was in the shade and it was somewhat cold, but had the route to ourselves. It took us 6 hours to top out and rap down. Used my down jacket up to the 2nd pitch and then stashed it at that point. My partner, Dave Bywater and I thought the climb was deserving of its hipe.
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Wheatus

Trad climber
CA
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   Apr 26, 2007 - 07:12pm
Last Tuesday morning we arrived at the base to find three parties of two in front of us. I would recommend that you get to the gate by 5:45AM to make it to the base first. This is probably the most popular climb in the RR.

The climb is on excellent solid rock and is pretty steep for a 5.8. Wear a comfortable harness...you get to hang in it most of the time. It was fun to get on such a long relatively casual route. The Brock guidebook states that the approarch is one hour. You would have to run up to the base to make it in one hour. Old farts like myself take about 1-1/2 to 2 hours with a pack.

We waited for the parties in front of us and then climbed to the summit. The only bad part was having the three parties rap passed us. However, the three bolt bomber rap anchors were set nicely and made passing very easy. Remember to just clip the bolt hangers and leave the rap rings clear if someone needs to rap past you. Everyone was very courteous, pleasant and understanding when passing us on their way down. Overall it was a fun day.

Everyone but us was wearing helmets. Probably a good idea if there are multiple parties on the route. Watch out for getting your rope caught pulling the rappel. The route is so featured that it is a good idea to coil ropes for the rap and slowly release them as you go down. The wind can send your ropes into cracks that eat ropes.

It is a long day but well worth the effort.

(Rack: one set up to 3" and 12 draws)
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realnicemark

climber
Berkeley
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   Nov 18, 2007 - 10:46pm
Blake Gleason and I climbed CC for the first time Saturday of Veteran's Day weekend, 2007, arriving at the gate at 5:55 (first), leaving the TH concurrently with another party, and finding the approach to take only ~70 min. (And we're not speedy.) We were on the wall first, had a terrific climb, and passed four (!) parties on rappel. I don't know how typical that scenario is, but wanted to put the information out there in case it's useful to anyone.

As a 5.8 climber who was concerned about the difficulty level, I concur with the other posters that the crux is actually making sure you're first on the wall. And as one who was concerned that even if we met the technical challenges, we'd nevertheless be benighted in these days of waning sunlight, we were happy to find ourselves finished climbing around 11am. (And again, we're not super climbers by any means.) One thing we did have was good preparation (gear, route knowledge, partner knowledge, determination to top out, and all that), which I suspect may have been somewhat lacking in some of the other parties, most of which didn't top out the day we climbed, despite some folks waking up as early as 4:30am!

I naively think the average 5.8 climber can afford to be less concerned about the length or difficulty than they might feel is appropriate, but should take relatively greater steps than they might consider necessary to ensure they're prepared and first on route.
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nirmalsv

climber
Gaithersburg, MD
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   Jun 8, 2008 - 04:15pm
Approach: Supertopo tells us to walk from the Pine Creek parking lot, past the two entrances of Fire Ecology Trail and take the left trail just past the homestead. There are many left trails now that are just past the homestead. The one that Supertopo is referring to is marked by a trail sign which says "Arnight Trail 0.1 mile". Go in the Arnight Trail direction.

Equipment: If possible, climb with a 70m rope. It's very useful for rapelling certain pitches with just one rope (because the climb is a notorious rope-eater).

Climbing grade: The crux pitches are 2 and 3, not pitch 5. Pitch 5 is just a romp compared to 2 and 3. The so-called bulge on Pitch 5 is very easy to navigate. After the 3rd pitch, the climbing becomes much easier.

2nd & 3rd pitches: Contrary to what supertopo suggests, the 2nd pitch is about 110ft long and the 3rd about 60 ft long. So, it would save time to link pitches 2 and 3 with a 70m rope.

Pitches 8 and 9: Can also be linked with a 60m rope and will save time. Pitch 9 wanders right and then back left again. This is the route set up by the Uriostes. But this pitch can also be climbed straight up. There are good holds going straight up and good protection. Alternatively, you can clip the far right bolt on pitch 9 with a really long sling to reduce rope drag. Read the climb's history section on how the route came to be set up this way. Note that the history section also mentions that there is a line of holds that go straight up and that the Uriostes thought that would have been the better (and more obvious) line.

Ledges: The ledges on top of pitches 4 and 5 and 7 are good... not great but good... especially if you are a party of just two people. We were three and we found them just fine, compared to the rest of the belay stations. Only the ledge on top of pitch 4 gets a "good" rating by guide books.

Summit anchors: There are two sets of anchors at the summit. Supertopo labels the left anchors as "loose". They are not loose... not anymore anyway.

Rapelling: If at all possible, rappel a pitch with just one rope. Pitches 9, 8, 5, 3 and 2 can be rappelled with just one 70m rope. Rapelling with just one rope will greatly reduce the chances of getting the rope stuck.
 When rapelling the 5th pitch, you'll need 2 ropes. Pull the rope left because the crack will be on the right. In this case, don't follow the supertopo recommendation of pulling the rope to the right and away from the crack.
 When rapelling the 4th pitch, you'll need 2 ropes again. This time the crack looks like it's on your right and it may seem that it's better to pull the left end of the rope. That's wrong. You'll be angling right of the crack as you rappel the 4th pitch. In this case, follow the supertopo recommendation of pulling the rope to the right and away from the crack.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Apr 6, 2009 - 02:58pm
 
Nice photo trip report here

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=826359
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poser

Trad climber
emporium, pa
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   Jun 2, 2003 - 01:34am
If you're like me and you don't like people (and don't mind heat/are a little crazy) go back in july. After spending the night in a deserted 12 mile campground we had the route (and the rest of the park) completely to ourselves. Get high on the route early before the sun starts pounding and you'll never realize it's hot. I wore a long sleeve capilene and pants and was happy (route is exposed and windy). When we drove into vegas to eat that night the temp was 111 degrees. Warning: I deal well with dehydration and didn't bother with water and felt fine, but my dad drank a liter or 2 and looked pretty drained after the climb, so unless your a wrestler and have a weight cutting backround be smart and bring lot's of water. Oh yeah, and bring a small rack; route has unnecessarily large number of bolts.
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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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