Land of the Earth-born Spirit


  Hey dude, where is this place??

Holdout is a superb formation literally bursting with climbing delights. The first documented ascent of this formation was on April 11th, 1954 when John Lund and Walt Sticker made it to the summit. They carried a register to place on top, but they weren’t the first to get there! They found old pins placed by someone who had been there before them!! Since then, some of the most aesthetic lines in Vedauwoo have been put up on Holdout by dedicated, experienced climbers with true vision. Even today, vertical athletes aspire to ‘have a go’ at lines like ‘Currey’s Diagonal’, ‘Eleven Cent Moon’ and ‘Arch Stanton’ (amongst many others), each with unique and outstanding qualities not found elsewhere. Treat yourself…. or put it on the line…. at Holdout


1.) Through Thick and Thin 10a Starts about 60′ west of the large cleft seen on the topo. It goes OW to hands past a roof and belay. Again, 2nd pitch goes OW to fists and hands and finishes on a wide ledge below the top of the formation. Belay on gear. (Harper and Kelman, ’93)

2.) Right of Thick and Thin 7 Starts inside a wide cleft as seen on the topo. Continue up a chimney on the right and belay. Climb the crack in a right facing dihedral to the top. Belay on gear. (Kelman and Wright, ’93)

3.) Flaming Blue Jesus 10b-R Take the vertical groove and then a hand crack in a right-facing dihedral near the west end of Arch Stanton. There is no pro for about 30′, so instead of screaching, think about clipping the bolt on Arch Stanton. Be prepared to ‘stretch it out’! Don’t pass up any pro, get something in as soon as possible. Continue on gear. Bolts at top. (Piana and Cowan, ’86)

4.) Arch Stanton 11d Totally classic, continuous under clings along a rising arch, clipping bolts as they come into reach. Consider carrying a couple of medium/large cams to save yourself from a big, spring-loaded fall!! YES, it’s very sustained and somewhat runout. At the fourth bolt, the climb starts up bolted vertical face to the top. Rap anchors at top. Definitely a pumpfest on a one-of-a-kind line. (Piana, Skinner and Badaracco, ’82 to ’90)

5.) Mandella 11a Absolutely choice fingers on a short but stout, right angling line to the top. It begins 2/3rds of the way up #3 and will add hot sauce to an already spicey journey. (ffa ?)

6.) Wide and Ugly 11a Jam your way up that wide, right-angling nasty gash using whatever appendage you can. It’s a wide crack behind a roof, a slamma camma game. Don’t miss or it will get ugly! Join #7 to finish it off. (Friedrichs and Moe, ’86)

7.) Narrow and Ugly 8 Start below the right end of the Wide and Ugly roof, continuing in a hand and finger crack in a right facing dihedral and belay from bolts at top. (Kelman and Wright, ’93)

8.) Bushwhack 6 A 10′ high off with ends in an easy traverse to another easy, left-leaning off with. (Stiller, Long and Schenck, ’71)

9.) 19th Nervous Breakdown 9+ A big, left arching crack that finishes with Bushwhack Crack. (ffa ?)

10.) Up the Down Chimney 5 It used to be the old descent line, grovel up an arching, east facing gash found between a big, exfoliated flake and the main formation. (somebody actually wants credit for this thing????)

11.) Existential Dilemma 8 Climb another wide gash moving into a left facing dihedral to the top…. really??? Gag.


1.) Oslund’s Delight 8 Furthest left climb, the original route done by Pete Oslund and Jim Olsen (1966) was the crack beginning on a ledge in a left facing dihedral. Today, many use the crack below and left of the dihedral as a start. (Oslund and Olson, ’66)

2.) Rainbow In The Dark 11a Starts with a finger crack about 30 feet right of the lower Oslund’s crack. Then follow the left – arching roof. Finish off in Oslund’s. Good luck. (ffa ?)

3.) Reading Raymond Chandler 12a A left-leaning thin crack line with one piton. Requires lots of technical expertise and commitment – a very demanding line. (Piana and Rolofson, ’82)

4.) Static Cling 11d Another knife blade thin seam starting from the top of a large pointed flake. It starts leaning right, but then goes left. Suck it up, get amped and go for it. (Skinner and Schassberger, ’82)

5.) Currey’s Diagonal 10b Sheer bliss. Considered by most as one of the best climbs at Vedauwoo, this is the elegant right slanting line up the middle of the face. The pinkish tint to the rock below the crack indicates the amount of traffic on this climb, it’s feldspar showing through the grey granite overlay – worn off by decades of scuffing. It’s basically lie backing a thin edge, clipping two old pitons and placing your own pro as well. The crack opens up near the top where larger cams can be used from there to the top anchors. Just do it. And PLEASE leave the little tree alone – it has managed to maintain itself in this route ever since the first ascent (drawings by Halfpenny, ’66). That kind of tenacity deserves ultimate respect. (ffa Matous and Cairns, ’74)

6.) Eleven Cents Worth 12a R The harder, sparsely protected alternate start (12a) to Eleven Cent Moon. Found about 20′ left of the Eleven Cent start in a small right facing depression. You can protect with the two smallest RP’s in three places if you can find them. Use of load limiters is recommended. Exciting. (Harper and Diamond, ’94)

7.) Eleven Cent Moon 11d This is the distinctive line formed by the left facing dihedral dropping straight down from Currey’s top anchors. A favorite of many Voo afficionados, it will test your finger strength as it gets steeper and steeper past a piton and a bolt on the face. There are two alternate starts: One, a left arching crack shown at #7, and a more difficult start about 20 feet right that goes up a shallow vertical pocket, traversing right and up on dime-thin edges. Ends at Currey’s top achors. (ffa Piana and Skinner, ’81)

8.) North Shore 13b Whether Maui or Vedauwoo, this is one wild ride. Not often done, but quite refined at the grade, this bolted line will challenge the hardest of climbers. Starts at the top anchors of Silver Surfer, and be prepared – it’s all crystals. Top anchors. (Bechtel)

9.) Pipeline 12a The Bonzai Pipeline is NOT this steep and sustained, is it? Try surfing UP this one. Begins at the top anchors of Silver Surfer, goes out right and up on crystals. Top Anchors. (Bechtel)

10.) Silver Surfer 9 Starts in a wide crack formed by two large, stacked flakes and the main wall. Top anchors. (Piana, ’80)

11.) Beefeater 10b A USDA choice cut of prime beef, this is a definite classic. It’s sought after as the “hands” testpiece at its grade. Usually done in 2 pitches. P1: start at ‘ground level’ on a face just right of a dihedral with a huge roof. Climb up to the roof, traverse it to the right and set up your belay at the base of the crack/second pitch on a convenient shelf. P2: Climb the hand crack (that gets thinner up high – see the shot) straight into heaven. Top anchors. (ffa Bruce and Hesse, mid ’70’s)

DESCENTS:  Many routes have top anchors in one form or another.  If not indicated on the topo, belay using gear on these routes, but use the top anchors on other routes for descent.


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