Frogland if one of the more popular routes at Red Rocks. However in early 2008 when I finally ascended Frogland with a friend from Sweden, I was not overly inspired. Thus on return to Frogland Buttress with a young man who drove all the way from San Diego to see some classic Red Rocks, after he and I ascended the not so classic and uneventful There and Back Again (Oak Creek), we decided to mix it up a little. The result? The Frog who drank too much Bourbon…I give you the Drunken Frog!
Frogland runs up six pitches to the top of Frogland Buttress. The best pitches are its two 5.8 leads on the 4th and 5th pitch. The first of these (4th pitch) is a wicked traverse (for the grade) to an arête. The second (5th pitch) involves a crimpy face to a classic corner with a unique squeeze finish under a huge chock stone.
Bourbon Street runs up to the right of Frogland by intersecting Frogland at the first belay (7 pitches total). Its best pitches are its 1st and 2nd. The first pitch is every bit as interesting as Frogland’s first pitch. Bourbon Street’s second pitch is one of the best pitches at its grade (5.8) at Red Rocks, a fantastic parallel crack system that teases the hell out of you if you are climbing Frogland. Frogland’s second pitch is uneventful and follows a ramp out left, where Bourbon Street’s 2nd pitch starts up the ramp, but then enters the first of two vertical cracks you ascend to its next belay.
Therefore, we connected the best of both routes on Frogland Buttress, the 1st and 2nd pitches of Bourbon Street with the 4th, 5th and 6th pitches of Frogland, the Drunken Frog. The 3rd pitch we made up to link these routes is a run out left traverse between the top of Bourbon Street’s 2nd pitch and the top of Frogland’s 3rd pitch.
Route Description820’+/-, 6 Pitches, 5.8+
1st Pitch- 120’- 5.7/ Start just to the left of Frogland up an obvious finger crack. Climb the corner over a bulge (crux of the pitch) and continue up easier ground to a short face section on the right with large holds. Follow this face to the same large tree and ledge that serves as the first belay for Frogland. Do a gear belay at the top in a nice crack and move the belay over to Frogland for the start of the 2nd pitch.
2nd Pitch- 120’- 5.8+/ For the grade, considered one of the best pitches at Red Rocks. Start up Frogland’s 2nd pitch up a ramp to the left (I placed no gear through this section to avoid rope drag) and enter a beautiful varnished crack on the right wall. Place gear at will as you ascend this crack with plenty of rests (it is 5.8) until you reach a horizontal break in the wall. Maneuver to your right and finish up the next crack above which is a little tougher climbing on more suspect rock. It eases up and lands you on top of a large and comfortable ledge (gear belay).
3rd Pitch- 190’- 5.7R/ This is the link up of the two established routes Frogland and Bourbon Street. Start up the 3rd pitch of Bourbon Street which consists of easy blocks above. Move left at a diagonal on somewhat suspect rock at times until you are on the good varnish just to the right of the 3rd pitch of Frogland and still well out of that corner. Climb up to a small ledge and set up a gear belay at the top of the 3rd pitch of Frogland.
4th Pitch- 100’- 5.8/ This is the crux pitch of Frogland. Climb up easy ground to a bolt. Traverse left on the blank face. The guidebook suggests staying low, but the protection and thus climb actually go better high. Place gear in a roof and traverse left on a finger ledge with no pro or feet to the arête. It is best to make a crux move up to a good hand hold by using a finger hole to your left and pushing off up high with your right foot. Once you gain the arête, the climbing eases. You continue up to a small ledge and will have to place .75” cams up high in the corner and downclimb to fix the belay or move over to your right and set up a belay in suspect boulder cracks there with smaller gear and 1” cam.
5th Pitch- 90’- 5.8/ Climb up the face via a closed crack past a bolt and make several crimpy moves up to a loose block on top of a ledge above. Move into the corner at the left and enjoy bomber pro as you ascend this dual crack feature underneath (squeeze) a huge chock stone. Set up a gear belay on top of the chock stone to the right.
6th Pitch- 200’- 5.6R/ Careful how much pro you place here or you will have to simul-climb to reach the summit. Make a fun move up and over the roof above to the right. Continue up the easy corner and then start climbing the run out face to the right, moving right to gain easier climbing, up and over a bulgy crux and then up easy holds to another short chimney-corner (climb the face to the right) that leads to the top and a tree belay.