Redgarden Wall; "Rewritten", 5.8

Eldorado Canyon, Redgarden Wall.
"Rewritten", 5.8

by Lloyd Garrick

With Steve Johnson (guide, Colorado Mountain School), and Dave See (client).

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. Even if you don't climb, you can hike a number of excellent and scenic trails such as Rattlesnake Gulch, Eldorado Canyon, and Fowler. Heck, even if you don't hike, you can just drive in and hang out and picnic for a day, and enjoy the sights of some of the most impressive rock formations you have ever seen, and which will convince you that God is indeed a showoff!

From Route 93 (Broadway) just South of Boulder, head West on Route 170, which is quite a scenic drive itself. 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 "Rewritten" and it is usually designated as 5.7 or 5.7S; it is known as a world classic. There are a number of variations of the route. The "classic" Rewritten route is 6 pitches with the crux being the 4th pitch; a unique horizontal traverse followed by a vertical crack, both with considerable exposure. It can be done (barely) in 3 pitches; we did 4 pitches and used alternate routes for the 1st and 4th.

Some have opined that the "crux" of many of these Redgarden climbs is the hike up to the base; I would not necessarily take issue with that sentiment. And getting back down kinda sucks too.


P1: We did the alternate route just to the right of the classic Rewritten
    pitch; it is called "Great Zot" and it is rated 5.8. Most of it is not
    particularly difficult, but about 20 feet from the top there is a
    slab overhang which may be a bit of a challenge; it actually defeated
    me on my 1st attempt earlier in the year. But I done it this time!

P2: We did the classic Rewritten pitch here; short and refreshingly easy
    at 5.5

P3: We combined the classic Rewritten pitches #3 and #4. Pitch 3 is about
    5.6, not especially hard for the most part, but is has a chimney up
    against the dihedral which totally sucks and I have no desire to
    repeat it! Pitch 4 contains the famous horizontal traverse and
    vertical crack, rated 5.7. This is usually called the crux, but I am
    inclined to differ. The traverse can't be more than 15 feet, and it
    isn't at all difficult. The vertical crack is not difficult either,
    however, the exposure on both is incredible.

P4: This took us to the summit. Rather than the "classic" Rewritten route,
    we took an alternate path up a sharp arete, called Rebuffat's Arete,
    rated 5.8. It is a solid 5.8, a bit challenging (at least for me);
    The exposure and views from this pitch are awesome, even a little
    scary. This was my favorite part of the climb.

Steve leads the 1st pitch, Great Zot. He is just over that pesky overhang. You go to the right and do a lieback-type thing to get past and over it. A bit tough but it's cool.
Dave follows me up the Great Zot, 1st pitch. Swanson's Arete (5.5) is off to the left there.

Looking down from P1.
Not too high yet.
Looking up at P2 and beyond. Almost vertical vertigo.

Steve leads up P2
P2 is short and EZ, like 5.5. A nice break after P1.

That suckie chimney is off
to the right here.

Looking down from P2; a nice resting spot with a big bolt in the rock to tie into that's kinda loose and makes you feel not so safe but it's cool anyway.
Looking out South-Eastish from P2. Here you get a good perspective of the incline angle and texture of this rock - pretty much like that all the way up.