Land of the Earth-born Spirit
The entire Fall Wall Area
Perhaps Fall Wall is the most popular crag/area at Vedauwoo – everyone just seems magnetically attracted to the place. Fall Wall is the rightmost (eastmost) component of the South Face of the Central Massif (CM in the above topo), the others being the Coke Bottle and the Walt’s Wall Area. It certainly has a long history of old, bold leads resulting in spellbinding tales (see examples). It has a wide range of climbing grades (from light to difficult) and climbing styles (from trad to sport). Fall Wall gets sun most of the day, is usually protected from the ever present wind and parking is convenient. It is also the wall most tourists see, so even if you’re on a 5.5, you can show off and they will think you are a hardperson.
The LOWER TIER is somewhat low angle in places and steeper in others. It offers mostly slab climbing with features like shallow scoops, dishes and edges, yet its penetrated by a smattering of cracks. There are solid anchors at convenient locations, so routes can be toproped. The UPPER TIER is mostly wide, water-carved troughs featuring thin exfoliation edges, protruding crystals and inclusions of many sizes. Accordingly, most routes located here are stiffer in rating.
Try Fall Wall during the week because a ‘take-a-number’ machine has recently been installed for weekend use (not really, but it seems to get that crowded sometimes). Nonetheless, its a great place to gather, enjoy the expansive 180 degree panorama, and jump on some excellent climbing.
THE LOWER TIER
* Note: Rap anchors = red dots
1.) Fallout (5.9) “…. we started the water streak just right of TM Chimney. The first part of the crack is spooky and unprotected – and then you lie-back up to where the flake curves left into the chimney. Here, a wild reach gets a huge knob. Once atop this knob, I drove a bolt. About 5.8 so far. Then I went up and started another hole and the drill broke, so I climbed down.” (From Paul Piana’s Diary, 10/25/79). Start in the Spider God Alcove shown to the right,, go up a crack just right of the intersection of Coke Bottle Right and Fall Wall, to an obvious flake and continue up the well-defined waterstreak to a rounded ledge. One bolt near the steep crux. Belay at ‘lower’ Mickey Mantle Anchors. Rap off or choose a second pitch on the ‘Top Tier’. ( Piana, ’74)
The SPIDER GOD ALCOVE (topo to the right). The Weber Brothers are climbing FALLOUT and the leader (red arrow) has just passed the only bolt on the line. The top anchors are about 15 feet above the leader. Also shown are other climbs that are found here. Unfortunately, the numbers on this shot do not correspond to those in the descriptions….. sorry about that. These routes are (2) TM Chimney, (3) Space Oddity, 4 (Young Guns) and (5) Spider God….
2.) Spider God (11b) [*NOTE: #5 in Spider God Alcove Topo to the right] Start in the Spider God Alcove, scramble atop boulders, stem across the void onto a rising corbel to the horizontal ledge. You may want to protect in the horizontal crack – the crux is just above you. Climb the wide scoop on thin edges clipping 4 bolts before joining the Fall Wall Route, continuing to the Fall Wall Anchors. Rap off or choose a second pitch. (Piana, ’85)
3.) Fall Wall Route (10a) Classic, gets better every time you climb it. Traverse up and left across a tenuous no man’s land (without pro – falling is not allowed), put a cam in behind a flake and take a deep breath. Head up past 3 bolts (crux after 3rd bolt – shown in photo below) to an undercling. Think seriously about quickly protecting here with a .75 Camalot – before going over the bulge on crystals to the Fall Wall Anchors. (Koedt, Becker and Mathiesen, ’65)
4.) Fear and Loathing (5.9+) Take it straight on if you can. If not, climb ‘5.11’ Crack, clip the 1st bolt with long sling and traverse into the route. Pass 3 bolts, follow the handcrack in the short left facing dihedral and mount the ledge to finish at the Fall Wall Anchors. (Pousch and Kopishka, ’75)
5.) ‘5.11’ Crack (5.9+) “One of the first attempts (at this climb) ended when H. Lahti and C. Serfoss reportedly both fell from a hanging belay, as the hanger came off the bolt. Both were lucky enough to walk away from the accident.” (Note: 1st aid solo, 1965, K. Fisher; FA, 1968, M. Parker and M. Chapman.) Take the thin, left facing dihedral that continues even thinner past 2 bolts, protecting the bottom section below the first bolt as well as possible with small gear (*Do not pass up pro here!). There’s a good anchor set below the roof on the left wall. Very popular, but getting slippery. (Parker and Chapman, ’68)
6.) Gunga Din (11a) Climb the fingernail thin crack to the first bolt. Puzzle out near vertical moves on thin edges and indentions past 2 more bolts to the anchors. Superb. (Cowan and Ilgner, ’83)
7.) E. O. Lieback (5.5) A great practice route for liebacking and placing pro on lead (see the photo below). Good anchors at the top. (ffa ?)
8.) E. O. Friction (5.5) Take the face (just to the right of #7) straight up past 2 bolts to the anchors. (Fischer, ’68)
9.) Cold Finger (5.7) “This is probably the third or fourth most frequently climbed route at Vedauwoo.”
(NOTE🙂 Date of this statement clear back in 1971, J. Halfpenny. WHOW – hard to believe! Climb a neat, wandering line of smears and dishes past 4 bolts beginning about 5 yards right of #8 to a solid anchor set. Very popular. (Koedt and Fisher, ’66)
10.) Drop Zone (5.9+) Furthest route to the right (east), begin on a thin rail 3-4 feet below a line of 3 horizontally placed bolts. Then climb up on thin friction moves past another 6 bolts to a set of Fixe Rings. Really backs off after the corbels. May be overbolted (according to some, but look at the fall potential off that start / bottom rail), but still exciting, sometimes thin and challenging at the grade. Don’t land in the drop zone below. (Harper and Thomas, ’98)
11.) Hole (5.7) Adventurous and novel trad route at its grade. Use route # 7, 8, 9 or 10 as a start. Then, following the topo, do a right traverse around a shallow corner, go up a short, easy crack, up a flared chimney and belay. Pull the lip/roof of the ‘cave’ with contortional moves and take the steep crack in the right facing dihedral corner. Belay on gear over the top in a convenient scoop. Rap down from the Upper Fall Wall Anchors. (Koedt and Fisher, ’66)
12.) Clamshell (5.5) Jump on the sparsely protected vertical lip of the giant Clamshell Boulder that underlies most of Fall Wall. Can be done as a top rope problem.
13.) Mystic Psychosis 9 NOT SHOWN. This route ascends the SW side of the topmost boulder / capstone above Fall Wall. (Orenczac, ’02)
COKE BOTTLE RIGHT
The SPIDER GOD ALCOVE
C1.) TM Chimney, aka Thomas – Magary Chimney (5.7) [*NOTE: #2 on the Spider god Alcove Topo above] Not ‘on’ the rock, but inside it. Go to the bottom of Fallout in the Spider God Alcove and look directly left into the cave – that’s the start of this famous 2 pitch cruise into darkness. Go straight up and you will ‘see the light’ to your right – BUT then go back left past a big chockstone and belay on an obvious ledge. Continue up and then left until you can exit and belay. Hint: don’t go straight up from the belay or you may stay in darkness forever (you’ll find out what this means when you get there). Headlamps are for sissies. (Thomas and Magary, ’63)
C2.) Space Oddity, aka Significant Locals (5.12a) [*NOTE: #3 on the Spider God Alcove Topo above] A real space odyssey. You want a steep, continuously sustained slab that will blow you away? Give this one a try. It goes hard – and then worse up killer feldspar crystals using delicate, balancy moves. Go to the Spider God Alcove, take the chimney up to the start and have a go. 12 bolts and a bolted belay/anchor on Sphinx Ledge above. 2 ropes to get down. Great contribution. (Frank Dusl, ’90)
C3.) Young Guns (5.13a) [*NOTE: #4 in the Spider God Topo above] Same start as C2, shares first bolt, but the route goes with even more difficulty. Lots more crystal pinching and dance – like footwork. The well – known crux is at the 5th bolt. 11 bolts, and same anchors as C2. Go for it if you can. (Frank Dusl, ’90)
UPPER / TOP TIER
13.) E. O. Traverse (5.8) Cool route that traverses the tops of several routes (blue dots). Beginning at the top of E. O. Lieback and ending at the Fall Wall Anchors. (Shaap and Koedt, 65)
14.) Colonial Rule (11a) Starts at the top of ‘5.11’ Crack, goes out the thin roof crack past an old piton, ( * See photo at top of page ) around the corner and up Route # 19, Middle Road. (Karl Mueller, ’86)
15.) Neon Madman (10a) Furthest route to the left on Fall Wall’s top shelf. Thin and sparsely protectable with small gear. (Piana, ’80)
16.) Mickey Mantle (10c) Challenging face climbing past 4 bolts in a big, steep trough. Top anchor/rappel chains are found here. (Cairnes and Roberts, ’77)
17.) Krypton Sociopath (11a R) Similar to #15 but thinner and run out. (Harper and Kelman, ’92). Careful: Usually done as a top rope problem.
18.) Argon Depressive (11a) Similar to #16 but thinner yet. Top rope this one if you want to live!!
19.) Upper Fall Wall (5.8) This route is courtesy of the painful, pioneering efforts of Rex Hoff who fell backwards and broke both ankles while attempting the first ascent with no bolts. This area was known early on as the ‘Falling Hoff Slab’. (NOTE: FA, 12/2/65, J Mathiesen and J. Halfpenny) Wander up the face above and right of the Fall Wall Anchors using lots of friction and small edges past 2 bolts.
20.) Middle Road (10a) Takes the 2nd trough over from the Fall Wall Anchors and directly above Colonial Rule. There is one old bolt on the route and pro is sparse and shakey. (Koedt and Mathiesen, ’65)
For More Information see other Citadel Posts