Route Finder: Sport climbing Quandary Peak’s Streak Wall West
Special to the Daily
Streak Wall West
Type: A three-pitch sport route, plus nearby bouldering and trad routes
Distance from trailhead: 10-minute hike
Signature climb: Keystone Boys
Season: Late June to October
SUMMIT COUNTY — As Summit County’s warm weather came to an end, we went in search of one last multi-pitch route to climb in mid-October. Mother Nature attempted to keep us inside by covering Summit in rain, but, as we continued our drive to the Blue Lakes at the base of Quandary Peak, the clouds began to part, shining a bit of warmth in our direction.
Climbing websites like Mountainproject.com note that there is little beta on the area. However, it is the most aesthetically pleasing climbing area I have been to in Summit County. The first of the Blue Lakes stretches out wide below the three-pitch sport route, and you can hear the discrete sound of a waterfall all the way to the top of the last pitch at Streak Wall West. In short, a pitch is considered one ropes length (50-60 meters).
I took one more glance at the view below us, still amazed by what we can find in our backyards, and then began following Dan Caro, of Breckenridge, up the wall. The granite wall tops out at a 5.7 rating, offering novice climbers a decent area to practice building anchors and giving afternoon warriors a quick, scenic climb just after work.
The three-pitch route, called Keystone Boys, is made up of 13 bolts total. The first two pitches can be easily linked together, although you might have to stop at each belay station on the rappel down if you are using a 60-meter rope. The second pitch features the crux (the hardest part of a climb). The area is made complete by a few other sport routes, bouldering spots and traditional routes.
To access the trailhead from Breckenridge, drive 8 miles south on Highway 9 though Blue River. Turn west onto Blue Lakes Road (road 850), which comes directly before a sharp left-hand turn that begins taking you up Hoosier Pass. The trailhead lies 2 miles up Blue Lakes Road. There is parking below the dam.
The 10-minute approach to Streak Wall West begins with a bit of scrambling northwest of the parking lot. From the parking lot, walk back down the road for about 300 yards. The trail follows a rocky drainage to your left and is marked by a few cairns to get you going in the right direction. There is fragile alpine flora in the area, so climbers are asked to stay on the trail.
The trail will take you to the Keystone Boys route on Streak Wall West. If you continue on the trail, you will find Streak Wall Proper marked by recognizable black-water streaks. Streak Wall Proper has a few other good, single-pitch sport routes that can be set up on top rope.
This is the last of the Summit Daily’s Route Finder beta, so get out there and climb one last time while you can. For those interested in climbing Streak Wall West and other routes in Summit County, consult mountainproject.com or any of the Summit County Guide books for more information. I’ll see you on the slopes!
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