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Better Lock Next Time 

YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 450', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Charlie Fowler and Kyle Copeland
Page Views: 5,249
Submitted By: Bryson Slothower on Jun 21, 2003

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Pitch 2.


This excellent route climbs through the left side of the South Face of The Sun in 4 great pitches. To locate the start of the route, look for a clean crack rising up and left from the ground with a wide spot about 15' up. The Upper pitches are hard to spot from the ground but it is fairly obvious where the only weakness through the sheer face could possibly be. The route can be broken up several different ways and climbed in three to five pitches depending on how you choose to do it. This is the way we did it....

Pitch 1, 220 feet. 5.8+: Locate the clean crack that begins on the left side of the formation and angles up and left. Pass a wide spot early on (5.8s without a Bigbro) and continue on via a nice finger crack that leads to a long, arching, corner system that sweeps up and left. Either belay at the top of the finger crack or continue up for another 150' to a good stance atop a large flake just before you are forced to step left into another crack system. Intense for 5.8.

Pitch 2, 85 feet. 5.9-: Make a slab move left into the next crack system and follow the low angle crack for about 40 ft. to a steep corner formed by an enormous block. Move around right via good hands, pass a bush and power up the corner either by offwidthing or liebacking and belay on a large flat ledge atop the huge block. Better than it looks.

Pitch 3, 75 feet. 5.10b: Climb the obvious overhanging hand crack above you via jams and liebacking. Either continue to the top or belay at a very unique rock "saddle" that makes for a comfortable seat with a great view of the next pitch. Stenuous.

Pitch 4, 85 feet. 5.9: Climb the beautiful corner crack up and right with perfect hand jams, good crystals and knobs for the feet, and great pro to the top of the rock. Pure fun!

Walk off either side.


Stoppers and cams up to a #4 Camalot, extra #1 through #3.

Photos of Better Lock Next Time Slideshow Add Photo
Pitch 4.
Pitch 4.
Pitch 3.
Pitch 3.
Pitch 1.
Pitch 1.
Pitch 1.
Pitch 1.
Pitch 2 traversery.
Pitch 2 traversery.
At the final hard moves of the P4 crux crack. You really have to milk the (only) several rests on this pitch. I did not successfully do that on this attempt. <br /> <br />Photo by Paul Rezucha.
At the final hard moves of the P4 crux crack. You ...
Pitch 1 is not visible.  Pitch 2 requires a few slab moves to gain jams/laybacks up the left-angling flake and crack in the middle of the photo.  Pitch 3 traverses left and up across more slab to the shadow-casting block.  The top dihedrals (hard to see) cruise up the grey rock between the two prominent, orange-streaked headwalls.
Pitch 1 is not visible. Pitch 2 requires a few sl...
At the top of the last pitch you can turn left with back against the right wall and get a break from the jamming. The crack gets wider, and the last moves to the top are cruxy.
At the top of the last pitch you can turn left wit...
The whole climb with a good shot of the upper edge deal pitches.
BETA PHOTO: The whole climb with a good shot of the upper edge...
Jack cranking up the final pitch.
Jack cranking up the final pitch.
The P3 "5.9" layback was the easiest part of the climb. If you're into that sort of thing, you may be able squeeze through the slot and avoid the layback. The P4 crux crack is visible at the top left of the photo, and above that is the left wall of the final corner. <br /> <br />Photo by Paul Rezucha.
The P3 "5.9" layback was the easiest part of the c...
Heel toeing in the strange slot. The rope runs into the "cave" to some gear deep inside. You can tunnel up further and totally top rope this first crux. <br /> <br />Photo by Paul Rezucha.
Heel toeing in the strange slot. The rope runs int...
Still hard! Getting through the "A"-shaped alcove below Paul is quite hard. Where Paul is is straightforward splitter jams but sustained. Higher up it gets a little strange as it gets wider. You really want 4 or 5 gold Camalots for this pitch. Paul lowered almost to the belay to back clean. Chuck Graves, on a subsequent ascent, lowered twice to back clean.
Still hard! Getting through the "A"-shaped alcove ...
You can squeeze through (maybe) from the inside to this position, or you can climb the outside and then swing into the squeeze. From here, it's a struggle to reach the jams at the base of the crack. <br /> <br />Photo by Paul Rezucha.
You can squeeze through (maybe) from the inside to...
The incredible top dihedrals seen from the left side descent.
The incredible top dihedrals seen from the left si...
The thin hands to fingers crack is gnarly with sharp knobs. As it leans to the left it gets easier. <br /> <br />Photo by Paul Rezucha.
The thin hands to fingers crack is gnarly with sha...
Photo credit: Dancesatmoonrise. <br /> <br />Micah Morgan belaying Matt Bruton up P2 on a windy day.
Photo credit: Dancesatmoonrise.

Micah Morgan bela...
Midway up this long second pitch you move right to the other crack. The entire pitch is quite difficult and awkward. It felt like 5.9 to me when I led it this year.
Midway up this long second pitch you move right to...
Near the start.
Near the start.
Cleaning the second belay at the start of P3. The start of P3 is a 5.9 traverse straight sideways from the edge of this ledge/flake. If you lack the hand-sized gear to belay here, you can place some small gear high and right and do the traverse left as part of P2 (but then you need the proper gear to belay further left--#4 Camalot and #0.75 Camalot will do it).
Cleaning the second belay at the start of P3. The ...
The two upper, dihedral pitches. Absolutely stellar climbing.
BETA PHOTO: The two upper, dihedral pitches. Absolutely stella...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 29, 2014
By gumbi
Sep 24, 2003

There is also a bolted route to the left of the first pitch. about 5.9+ face climbing. bring a couple of large cams for the top. there are no bolts to belay from the top.I rope soloed the route 9/21_03. the last two pitches are crazy! don't forget your tape gloves.
By Anonymous Coward
Jul 26, 2005

The bolted route to the left is Halogen Angels and makes a hella worthy start to Beter Lock...
By Christopher Jones
From: Denver, Colorado
Jul 27, 2007

Fun route. Good pro all the way up. I don't recommend doing the first 2 pitches together as the description suggest, too much rope drag.
By Bill Duncan
From: Jamestown, CO
May 28, 2008

Worthy route. Try the Halogen Angels start.
By G8rFtBall
Jun 23, 2008

Just did this climb yesterday for my birthday. Great Climb! A must if you like bushwacking your way up to a crag. We recovered a cam that was fixed in the 10b pitch. If you can describe the cam you can have it. Looks to be a pretty cool trophy cam, someone almost tore the lobe off a brand new C4!
By John McMullen
From: El Portal, CA
Apr 25, 2009

Charley Fowler and Kyle Copeland did the FA/FFA of this route.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 20, 2009
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Triples are not too much! We carried triple Camalots from .75 to 3 and double 4s (old 3.5) and ran out of gear on P2 and P5. On P2, after placing a mediocre small piece--almost my last piece of any size--up and right of the belay, I downclimbed about 40' to retrieve enough gear to belay off to the left. On P4 I used all of the hand-sized cams despite trying to skip pieces. P5 really wants 4 or 5 gold Camalots. We had three this year, and Chuck had to lower twice to back clean.

This climb feels hard to me. Having done this twice, P1, P2 and P5 feel like 5.9. P3 feels like 8. P4 feels like hard 10.
By Wally
From: Denver
Apr 15, 2010
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

GREAT! route. Climbed it for the fourth time on Saturday April 10th. As usual, no one was there. Gear:

Stoppers - none! Leave them at home.
Aliens - single set green through red.
Camalot juniors - double set.
Camalots - 3 ones, 3 twos, 2 threes, 1 new style four.

I agree with the post above, the 5th pitch does soak up #2 Camalots - but that pitch is 5.8 most of the way. If you prefer to place more gear, add in another #2 Camalot.

I agree with Chris Jones, no way I would link pitch 1 and 2. Even though a couple of the pitches on this route are short, the route is best climbed without linking pitches.

A 70 meter rope is nice for pitch 2, but not necessary.

The first three times I climbed the route, I walked off left. Last time, I walked off right. Walking off right is more direct and easier.

If you want extra credit - finish up on Teepee Tower Crack for 2 more awesome pitches.
By Shane Zentner
From: Colorado
Sep 23, 2010

Classic. Undoubtedly the finest 5.10 (and perhaps the most strenuous 5.10) in the Platte that Iíve discovered. We carried (4) red Camalots, (4) gold Camalots, (3) blue Camalots and a standard rack with a full set of BD stoppers. The original starting pitches are worth the effort as they are fun and offer a gradual warm-up for the upper pitches ahead. Pitches 4 and 5 are sustained.
By Dan G0D5H411
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 18, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Fun climb, just wish all the pitches were as good as the last 2 dihedrals. Different style but felt easier than the crux of Rambling Rose to me. I found myself grunting more on the first couple of insecure pitches than the last two for some reason. We found the following rack to be useful: 1 set of nuts/tricams for belays pieces, singles in the small cam sizes (green Alien to green Camalot), triples in the red, yellow, blue Camalot sizes and 1 grey (#4) Camalot.
When walking off left, we encountered a long wet slab. It was possible to rap ~most~ of the way down this with a 70m, but still had to scramble down 15 feet of crud.
By pfwein
May 29, 2013

A few random comments, skip if you don't like info:

Description is good except to combine the first two pitches--that makes no sense to me. May be possible with extra long rope and/or simulclimbing (I think even longer than a 70m, although not sure about that) but only in the same way that almost any pitches can be combined. The "second pitch" (when splitting them up) is long and sustained, and not totally in line with the first.

Gear: an atomic rack would be something full set of nuts (didn't use RPs but used some small, medium, and large, especially at the belays), 1 green Alien, 2 #0.4 Camalot, 3 #0.5 Camalot, 3 #0.75, 4 each #1, #2, 3 #3, 1 #4 (and save the #4 until you are pretty high on the second pitch). Obviously the climb can be done with much less gear, but remember there is no fixed gear, and at least one pitch is long.

We walked down to climber's right and it wasn't great--not super long but rugged and loose.

I could see 3 stars instead of the 4 I gave, but I bumped it up due to a very nice setting, interesting natural feature with no fixed gear, and each pitch had at least something interesting.
By LawHous
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 29, 2014

Seriously one of the best multi-pitch, South Platte climbs I've been on. It is very sustained, exposed, and a ton of fun. The 10b pitch is scrappy and is followed by the most sustained pitch of the climb. It's only 5.9 but will keep you working, so be solid at the grade.

What everyone has said about the gear is pretty spot on. Triples from BD #0.75 to 3 makes the climb very well-protected. We also had two 4s which was nice ,but we could have lost one. I would definitely take a set of nuts and singles of 0.3 to 0.5 (I used them a few times).