This is another Urioste classic from the early 80’s. The route features a great, fun mix of climbing styles, from slab & crimp climbing to chimney climbing. Other than pitch 1, protection is bomber and on-demand and with exception of P4, all belays are bolted (all bolts on route are new). The route receives exactly zero hours of sun in winter months so come prepared. It should be noted that there are huge discrepancies in the ratings for this route – essentially from 5.9 to 5.11- (see discussion on mountainproject page for this line)! The guidebooks put the rating at 5.10. It may well be that indeed the crux is height dependent, though neither one of us (I’m 6’7” & my wife is 5’3”) thought it was harder than 5.10-.
I will quote the ratings given by the guidebook (references coming) in my write-up below.
Follow the directions on the main Bridge Mountain page to reach the entrance to the Red Rocks scenic drive (one way). Take the drive and look for Icebox Canyon trailhead (clearly marked) beyond Willow Springs turn off (mentioned on Bridge Mtn. page).
Hike the trail toward the mouth of Icebox Canyon and Frigid Air Buttress. The trail stays on the right side of the main wash in the Canyon. Hike past Frigid Air Buttress staying on the main trail. Within a few minutes, the trail drops into the main wash and at this point you’re more or less directly beneath the Refrigerator Wall (look for 2 or 3 large pine trees at its base). To reach the start of La Cierta Edad, hike uphill aiming for the left side of the pedestal above which the route starts (see photo). There is a faint trail that minimizes the bushwhacking but it’s hard to find on the way up.
This photo (taken on the hike in just out of parking lot) shows the Frigid Air Buttress route. However, at the far right edge of photo, 1st pitch of La Cierta Edad is also visible.
Pitch 1: 5.8, 140 feet. From the top of the pedestal, climb up and slightly right toward the first bolt. The climbing then angles up and slightly right past 3 more (well-spaced) bolts. It’s 4 bolts total but they’re in all the right places. Some gear might perhaps be used near top to supplement? Belay from bolt anchor at mouth of wide chimney.
Pitch 2: 5.9+, 140 feet. Climb up the chimney clipping a bolt. Pass the ceiling and climb the crack (typical Red Rocks affair where more face & flake climbing is involved vs. jamming) to a good stance and another bolt anchor.
Pitch 3: 5.10a, 100 feet. Climb straight up a stem-box with a crack on the left. Crack gets wide in places. Hanging belay from bolts at the top.
Pitch 4: 5.10c, 160 feet. We did not think this was any harder than the pitch below but opinions vary greatly. Climb 12 feet up the easy OW and pass the short section where the crack constricts to tips. Above, easier terrain but with chunky rock will bring you to a large ledge (you’ll use this ledge on the way down). Keep climbing up some easy but hollow rock (following line of least resistance) till you’re at the base of a nice looking widish crack in varnished rock (top of a pedestal). Gear belay.
Pitch 5: 5.8, 100 feet. Climb up the nice left-facing dihedral & crack. Things get wide near top but stemming saves the day. Watch for bolt anchor on right wall just above the wide section (continuing up the easy-looking terrain to top is apparently not recommended as it complicates the rap’s).
Two ropes are probably mandatory (we had 2 60meter lines).
1. From top of P5 rap to left edge of ledge mentioned above (one you passed on P4).
2. Move to right edge of ledge (20 feet) & rap from bolt anchor down gully finding another bolt anchor at a stance on climber’s right.
3. Rap down and climber’s right to a small stance on right wall of gully (bolt anchor).
4. Rap down to another bolt anchor.
5. Rap to ground. Note that with 2 60 meter lines, the last two raps can be combined.
3. Rap straight down the gully, locating a bolt anchor (~20 feet) below the obvious large ledge.
4. At least one (probably 2 raps) would be involved here as well.
We used option 1 as there was significant ice in the gully (in February).
Two ropes. Light set of nuts. Set of cams from blue TCU or Alien to #5 Camalot. Doubles in #0.5 to #4 Camalots. Strong leaders can trim down on the widest cams.
(1) Mountainproject page for this route is here.
(2) Nice TR with nice photos from ericandlucie.com.
(3) Nice TR from fivenineclimber.com.