Redgarden Wall; "Icarus / Yellow Spur", 5.6

Eldorado Canyon, Redgarden Wall.
"Icarus / Yellow Spur", 5.6(S?)

by Lloyd Garrick

With Steve Johnson (guide, Colorado Mountain School).

Eldorado Canyon State Park is one of the wonders of Colorado, indeed it is world famous as a tourist destination, and is primarily known for it's absolutely world-class technical rock climbing. People come from all over the world to climb here. (Sure glad I live only 20 minutes away).

From Route 93 (Broadway) just South of Boulder, head West on Route 170. After a couple miles you will pass thru a small town, break your car axles, and then enter the park. The rocks will grab your attention immediately.

Redgarden Wall is a huge formation, over 1000 feet long and up to 700 feet high. It is just across (North and West, right across the road) from the Bastille. There are many climbing routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.13; the one we did is called "Icarus" and it is graded as 5.6 or 5.6S; it is a classic. As with many of these climbs, there are a number of variations of the route. We did 4 pitches; it can be done in less.

Some have opined that the "crux" of many of these Redgarden climbs is the hike up to the base; I am inclined to agree. And getting back down from this one was harder than the climb!


P1: We took a 5.6 route called "West Chimney".
    It is next to the "Great Zot" (5.8) pitch
    which can also be used to access Icarus.

P2: A short traverse then leads over to Icarus.
    It is more of a scramble than a climb, so I
    don't count it as a pitch. The "real" 2nd pitch
    is actually the start of the Icarus route.

P3: Is actually the 2nd pitch of Icarus.

P4: This is the incredibly exposed arete, the
    reason for the climb. It is also the final
    pitch of the neighboring "Yellow Spur" route.
    The exposure and views from this pitch are
    awesome, downright scary even.

Tower One and Lumpe Tower
of Regarden Wall
Seen from the Rewritten route (Rebuffat's Arete), a couple years ago. The West face of the rock with most of the climbing on this route is nearly vertical, but you can see the arete slopes in and is actually only about 50* angle near the top.

P1 West Chimney
Looking strait up P1, the chimney is at the bottome rite. Claw your way thru, up and across to the dihedral area and go up to the Red Ledge. It is a long pitch, about 150 feet.

This first chimney is rite off the deck, and there is another one near the top of the pitch. I don't like chimneys! I like to be on open exposed rock high up, not squeezed between two dark slabs like a freakin' cockroach. But a variety of skills and experience is always cool.

Looking down into Eldorado
Canyon from the top of P1

Looking West across Eldorado
Canyon form the top of P1
At the top of P1, on the Red Ledge, we go rite (South), a short horizontal traverse, more of a scramble than a climb. And this takes us to the base of Icarus.

View from the Red Ledge scramble
This is nearly vertical, pointing the camera strait up just makes it look funny. The dihedral seems obvious, but the actual route is up the large crack to the rite, and then veering off to the rite on to the slab before the trees.

P2, the start of Icarus

Starting up P3
This is also nearly vertical, the camera shot makes it look weird. The route is kinda near the dihedral most of the way.
That ledge in the upper left is for your feet. A bit of side straddling at first to get on the route.

P3 at a more accurate
angle shot

Looking strait down from P3.