Crimson Chrysalis 5.8
Cloud Tower, Juniper Canyon
About the Climb
This is one of Red Rocks most popular climbs. The route goes straight up a red capped tower via a wide crack system for its first half, only to be followed by 4 more pitches of stellar face climbing. It’s long (9 pitches), the rock is solid, and it requires a variety of techniques. The steepness of the tower gives you a nice feeling of exposure. The view from the top is stunning.
Even if the wide crack system looks intimidating, the route feels relatively safe overall. The wide crack is mostly avoided by face climbing next to it and many bolts are found along the way. Face holds abound, and protection is generally good, although it can feel a little runout in places.
Unfortunately, the only way down is to rappel the route, and most belay stances are pretty uncomfortable. If the route is busy, do yourself (and others) a favor and go climb something else. This being said, come prepared to climb another nearby route. The route should only be attempted by confident 5.8 leaders who can move quickly and efficiently.
Although you might fall in love with the good edges and positive holds on the way up, you might think otherwise when rappelling down. Watch your ropes on the rappels as they easily get stuck around horns, flakes and cracks!
The route can get very windy and cold, so you should come prepared. It is a good route for a warm day, but on the way to and from the route, you will be in full sun.
There are many great routes in the area that you can climb if Crimson Chrysalis is too busy, or if you want to add even more pitches to your day. Ginger Cracks (5.9) is a very good alternative if Crimson is busy, and is only a few minutes away. If you combine the two routes you can make a very full day of 16 great pitches of 5.8ish climbing.
If it is within you capabilities, you can climb Unimpeachable Groping (5.10b) or Power Failure (5.10b) after 'warming up' on Crimson Chrysalis. These routes can also be good alternatives if Crimson is too cold, because they get lots of morning sun.
At a lower grade, Olive Oil (5.7) and Geronimo (5.6) are great routes that can serve as an alternative or to fill your day. If you park at the Pine Creek Canyon parking, both routes are not far from the trail to Crimson Chrysalis.
Ginger Cracks (5.9) is quite similar to Crimson Chrysalis in steepness and exposure, although it is a bit shorter and has more crack climbing. The route does not normally have big lines, and the descent avoids the climb. There is only a short 5.9 section, and the rest is mostly sustained 5.7-5.8 climbing.
The other very popular 5.8 classic in Red Rocks is Frogland (5.8). This route has more varied climbing but at a less sustained level than Crimson. It is a great route with nice views of the Black Velvet Wall form the top. If you have never been to Black Velvet Canyon, you should put this route on your list.
If you are looking for great routes with mostly face climbing, you should look at Birdland (5.7+), Unimpeachable Groping (5.10b) or Prince of Darkness (5.10c). The sport climbs in the Calico Hills also offer many great climbs to test your face climbing skills on small positive edges.