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Wind Ridge (5.6), Eldorado Canyon, Colorado

July 17, 2003

Author:  Larry Earley

Trip Participants:  Larry Earley and Ed Carney

The weather report was for very hot temperatures so we planned an early morning shade climb. Eldorado Canyon can get crowded so we arrived at 7:15 AM and took the short 5 minute hike up to Wind Tower to climb the west facing mega classic Wind Ridge (5.6). We were the first climbers on the rock in the canyon. Soon after we saw about two dozen climbers arrive and head to different climbs around 9 AM. Directly across was the Bastille and people were climbing on four routes. It too was shady facing north. A nice breeze was blowing and it was a perfect morning. The Wind Ridge is three pitches of trad climbing with excellent pro, cool exposure and some interesting moves along the way.

There is a choice on the start of either a 5.6 ramp or the 5.8- direct start. The direct start is not difficult and is more interesting. There are only a couple of moves and you are on the ridge. The climbing has nice cracks, flakes and face holds for the whole pitch. Belay at a nice ledge. Pitch 2 starts with a hand crack angling up and right. This entire climb has so many textbook hand jams its hard to beleive. The second pitch has great exposure on easy climbing mostly 5.5 with a few 5.6 moves. Ed has never climbed on anything like this. Belay on another nice ledge. At this point you can walk off left or try the amazing third pitch. The start is a very strange overhang with a huge flake. At first you say no way its 5.6 and then after you try it you say no way its 5.6. Beginner trad leaders will likely back off this section of ten feet. One should be a solid 5.8 trad leader for this section. A #2 Camelot protects the overhang in a bomber placement. There is also a spot for a half inch cam. Ed and I each did the overhang differently. I have seen a web photo showing a third way also, so think about how you would like to do this overhang. The exit move is also tricky to the face above. This is the first overhang Ed has ever tried. The rest of the pitch is 5.4-5 but also nice. Great rock and pro to the top. Belay a few feet from the top of the Wind Tower. View at top is fantastic. Downclimb 3rd class to a two bolt rap station. Its 60 feet down to the good trail which brings you right back to the start of the climb.

It is now getting hot. We watch a few climber on the Bastille from the shade. There was a perfect example of how not to belay on Werk Supp (5.9+). The leader was about 90 feet up. The belayer was standing 15 feet out from the rock with huge slack too. The first piece was 20 feet up. There was so much slack the rope almost was touching the ground. If the leader fell he would have gone 30 feet at least and the belayer would have hit his head on the wall. No anchor. There was no fall. Thanks. I was torn deciding if I should tell this idiot he could kill someone. The leader quickly made the first pitch. Both were older guys and climbed well but scary. (Experienced ?)

We were tired from a busy week and there was a line for the Bastille Crack (5.7) and it was getting hot in the shade. We packed up and went to lunch in Boulder. The Walnut Street Brewery was excellent.


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