Royal Flush, Mt. Royal, Frisco, Colorado (5.10)

Aug 20, 2010. With Bill Briggs who led it all. More info with interesting comments is at:

This is a new (2009), thoroughly bolted climb on the N face of Mt. Royal in Frisco. It was set up with quite short pitches; and we did it with 11 climbing pitches. Some very high quality rock-climbing here and the first ascenders bolted the route well, and presumably cleaned it a bit, making the route very enjoyable. All belay stations are two-bolted.

I had not done this sort of climbing in a long time, so Bill led the whole thing, save one easy pitch. He is very good!

The first half starts just above the bike path a short distance W of the parking lot at the W end of town and heads up. We did the first 5 pitches in the description as 3 pitches, including the "5.10 out left" which I think is 5.9 the way I did it (small low nubbin followed by big reach), but 5.10 for leader Bill (who smeared higher).

Then two straightforward 5.6-5.7 pitches and then we did a 5.10 variation (hard for me; fell) on the web-guide's Pitch 11. Then an easy 5.2 for me, then walking, so after 6 pitches we were at the huge flattish area at the base of the classic central chimney climb (which I had done twice).

We then had a hard time finding the continuation. There was one misleading "leaver biner" (someone's retreat?) and Bill went up and down a wrong-way area. We finally found it a little to the right (W) of the low-angle ramp that starts the prominent and well-known central chimney route. A quality 5.7-rated (but maybe 5.8?) pitch there with "memorable holds".  Then a traverse left and up across the central dihedral's base -- only 5.6 and sharp holds but very steep: steepest section of the day! From there came some "tricky" 5.9 grooves with "interesting moves". I hate seeing that word on a 5.9, but it went okay. Certainly easier to follow than lead even though the route is well protected. The seconder can lunge a bit from time to time.

Then our pitch 10: the "Gunks-like roof" to "Yosemite Ledge". Well, solid 5.8 Gunks-like roof. It was harder than, say, the wonderful 5.7 roof high on Fairview Dome. I pushed through it with all my strength and balance: a second try would have been problematic.

Then two more pitches, but Bill led them as one (our #11). Lots of 5.8 here on some lower-angle rock and then steep blocks. A register in a contained is found here. This climb was done a LOT this July (5 or 6 times at least). Easy ground from here, though we belayed the first pitch and walked the second to the summit.

So: beautiful rock, a confident and skilled leader, and bolts every 6 or 8 feet on the hard sections (including the variations). Peter Krains and Tim Toula did a lot of work to install this route, and we are grateful!

First picture: nearing the end of the "interesting grooves pitch, 5.9". Just below my position was a tricky move left and up. Photo: Bill Briggs.


Here is a picture of Becky Hall scaling the memorable Gunks-like roof near the top. (Photo: Charley Mace). It's easy enough to get one's left foot on that good hold, but one cannot then go up. One has to "rock over" onto that left leg by pushing away. It worked. Strenuous.


Here is a shot of the whole route. The start is at bottom right. The central dihedral is the classic Central Chimney route. The face right of that is pretty easy (5.6).


The upper face, which had six very interesting pitches:


With route shown. The Gunks-roof is marked with an arrow. The final hard part is the heavily shaded roof area which is passed through large blocks.


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