Boulder Direct. Wind Tower 5.5

Boulder Direct
Wind Tower 5.5
Eldorado Canyon

by Lloyd Garrick

Guides / Instructors, Colorado Mountain Club:
Mark Scott-Nash, Eric Haye, Chris Grosshans

Stacey Root, Laura Turley, Krissy and Stuart Kaplan, Lloyd Garrick

The Wind Tower is the first rock on your right as you enter Eldorado Canyon, just across the road from the Bastille. There are many routes of many ratings; most climbing is done on the prominent West face. This one is called "Boulder Direct". It is rated 5.5, relatively easy, an excellent beginners climb, but still way fun enough for experienced climbers. It is just to the right (South) of the well known Calypso route.

This was the "graduation climb" for the Colorado Mountain Club's new Basic Rock School course, a totally excellent course for beginner and intermediate climbers, and at $85 for CMC members, a fantastic deal!

Stash your wheels in the Eldo parking lot, and after a horrendously torturous 5 minute hike, you are at the base of the Wind Tower.

The big boulder in the top right effectively divides the two routes.
Under the boulder to the right, near The Bomb route, we gather to plan the climb.

To the right is a prominant crack, accessed from the right and behind the big boulder. This is The Bomb route, 5.4, which Mark, Eric, Stacey and Krissy did. Left of it, accessed by going over the boulder and a little left, is the Boulder Direct route, which Chris, Stuart, Laura and I did.

And in the upper left two unknown climbers working the Calypso.

Eric takes the lead
on The Bomb

For the Boulder Direct route, you scramble up the flakes on the boulder, then get on to the top, which may be a bit of an initial challenge. It is smooth, like a flatiron, not very steep, but not much to grab on to. Use friction.

Chris takes the lead!
He's just about to get on to the slab face of the big boulder, IMHO the crux of this climb.

After the slab is a dip into a little valley, then the real climb begins. (I suppose you could just go around the boulder...)

Stacey follows Eric
up the bomb.

Chris at the first belay, Boulder Direct. Look directly above him. You see a dark trapezoid shape area. That is "the arch", a cavernous area directly on the route. Climbers will be tempted to procede in and try to climb the facing rock. Don't. There's an easier way. Do not go in, but climb up on the rocks directly to the right and procede from there.

Someone even planted a big poison ivy bush right where you climb up to make it more interesting.
Stuart working the big boulder at the base of Boulder Direct. He was given the honor of following the leader and cleaning the pro.