2014 Update: The U.S. Forest Service has reopened Eagle Rock and Security Risk climbing areas in Boulder Canyon which have been closed since Feb. 1 to protect golden eagles during their nesting season. Blob Rock and Bitty Buttress areas remain CLOSED.
Each year, Boulder Canyon raptor nesting area closures are in effect starting February 1st through July 31st at Eagle Rock, Security Risk, Blob Rock, and Bitty Buttress. However, the area is monitored and closures are periodically lifted early (due to no active nest, nest site failure, or early fledging). This monitoring program is a partnership with the Forest Service Boulder Ranger District, Boulder Climbing Community, and Audubon Society. Check back periodically during times of closure for updates. More info at www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/arp/recreation.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
This is a great line up the exposed and interesting buttress.
P1: Start at the low point by a fallen tree and head straight up the crack systems. The exact route is probably the line of least resistance, but many variations are possible. This is the longest pitch and the best of the three. Belay on a big ledge.
P2: Take the corner to the right and crank up the large dihedral.
P3: Continue up the right-facing dihedral. The technical crux occurs after #2 Friend placement. This is your last placement for the next 15 feet. Move up through the thin, balancy crux and finish left on a large ramp.
This is one of the best, if not THE best route in Boulder canyon that Ive climbed. 3 sustained, steep, exposed and FUN pitches.....half face and half crack....I wouldn call the 3rd pitch a dihedral (as Rossiters book says) but a flake/finger crack that peeters out with the awesome balancy crux above the crack......GREAT Route....Highly recommended....
This sunny route has some steep and varied moves on it. Leave the big gear at home, most of the pro is finger to thin hands. Extra finger sized cams and the smallest tricams are useful. The descent is a walk off to the west along a 3rd class ledge system.
A perfect #1 Camalot made the crux seem protected. This has to be my favorite 5.8 in Boulder Canyon. The first time I did it, I got juked and lost the toss for the first lead. Dave hollered down "it's 5.9 sport climbing with no bolts." After returning and leading it all, I'd agree, splendid.
Usually not one to make comments about routes, but...
There's a sweet #10-ish stopper placement 5-10 feet up, several places for small nuts/micro cams near the dihedral the next 5-10 (ok, some of these are a little shady...), and big block to sling 5-10 feet aout the above mentioned gear. R? nah. Just sporty.dave brannon
There's a giant nest on the far far right of the ledge at the top of the first pitch. It's very visible if you walk off from the top of the route around to the East (towards Boulder) and down a gully (the second inviting gully, the first one is a cliff).
By Ron Olsen From: Boulder, CO Sep 30, 2003 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
A wonderful, thought-provoking climb with adequate, but less-than-perfect pro on the first and third pitches.
An optional fourth pitch, up a 5.7 overhang directly above the third belay, is highly recommended. Short but fun. Run out the rope and belay near the top of the summit slabs. Tag the summit of Bitty Buttress on your way to the descent gully.
By Ron Olsen From: Boulder, CO Sep 30, 2003 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
One comment on the gear: on the third pitch, I get in a #2 Camalot low in the corner, a #.75 Camalot several feet higher, and then a red #1 Lowe ball nut in the thin parallel-sided crack just before the crux.
Regarding the approach: I use the gully directly below the rock that starts about 50 yards downstream from the Cob Rock parking area. It is a little loose in spots, but there is a reasonable climber's path all the way up, after an initial scramble past an easy steep rock band. The danger of knocking down loose rocks is minimal, and it's a lot faster than traversing over from the Blob Rock trailhead.
This route is incredible to do on sunny winter days. It was a no shell or jacket day.Getting off the ground just above the fallen dead tree log feels a bit challenging. After moving six feet up, I found myself moving left to step up a few ledges before traversing back right. The majority of P1 is pure bliss....fun climbing with great gear placements. You just keep moving up and the route will push you to step left out onto the face (near the end of the pitch).Getting off the ledge on the start of P2 can also be challenging if you are short. I have one lay back move with wide leg stemming action before I can grab good holds and feel solid. The rest of P2 is fun and again full of good gear placements. The crux is defnately on P3 just before you top out and if you are a relatively new 5.8 leader bring a rope gun or be super confident on your feet and have great balance. I want to follow P3 one more time before leading it as the crux feels like a 5.9 move to me. Enough said, perhaps too much said. Enjoy!
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Mar 25, 2004 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
This is an excellent route. Great position. I've led this route once before and it ranks high for best in the canyon for the grade in my book.
IMO the first 20' is no harder than (8) with good pro.I would guess this start was harder when the fallen tree wasn't there. Moving left onto the slab in the final 15' of P1 is a bit balancey and runnout.A .5 cam under a hollow flake/undercling was my last placement in that last 10', but its easy climbing.
I could see where the start of P2 could be troublesome for some shorter people, but the upper corner in the last 2' felt like the crux on the pitch to me. No harder than (8) though with good pro.
P3 is spicy in the last 10'. Fun varied climbing with good placements up to that point.As Ron mentions, a .75 cam is bomber just below the crux. A black alien will fit a foot higher, the blue does not fit.IMO the crux sequence felt (9) moving up and left.
You can protect the opening moves with a small cam (1-1.5cm). I had my belayer hand it up to me after I got another piece in.
Did anyone else find pitch 3 ambiguous? I've done it twice, the "wrong way" both times. The first time I headed left. It couldn't have been more than 5.7, considering it did it at night with a headlamp (we were delayed by my diabetic partner's hypoglycemia). The second time (yesterday) I headed right because I'd used the cams that would have protected the crux. It felt a full grade harder than pitch 1, so I'll call it 5.9. It also puts you too far right to belay - your partner won't appreciate being poorly protected on the traverse left to the belay ledge.
You can link pitches 2 and 3 with a 60m rope - but watch the rope drag and save some cams for the crux.
By Ron Olsen From: Boulder, CO Jul 4, 2004 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
There is a 2-bolt anchor atop the first pitch that wasn't there last year. No rap rings, however.
After 40 years with no one putting the drill to this climb, the best 5.8 in Boulder Canyon, why did someone deem it necessary to drill two bolts next to decent cracks? If I routinely carried a crowbar, there wouldn't be anymore bolts. You should be embarrassed.
They are right at the top of the first pitch of BB. The bolts are on a small (~1-2') ledge on your left, not the huge ledge below the 1st move of P2. I would guess that they were placed for BB, and not the sport climb on the left, but I have not done the sport climb. They were there sometime back in April or May when I last did this climb. You can't even see them until you are standing at the ledge, and they're actually placed quite conveniently for belaying up the second. I had done this climb 2-3x previously, and I didn't feel they changed the nature of the climb itself. However, I will agree that they serve purely as a convenience anchor.
[I'm] surprised that you [didn't] mind the bolts, [Stefan], since you refused to clip the bolts on the [Dominator] at the [Avalon] (short, now cleaned, good but not a three star route), which seems less of an issue to me than adding bolts on a 40 yr old 3-star classic in the same canyon. If these bolts are for a sport climb, the author of that sport climb should have had the respect for the hardmen that led these pitches in 1964 with leather boots and pitons and probably a rope tied around their waist, and placed the bolts off to the side of the existing climb. These bolts are right in line with the climbing on [Bitty Buttress], except for that the better belay is up another few feet on a comfy grassy ledge. I guess if you need the killer photo op to look down and shoot pics of your second you should belay from these bolts, but i would think you could even get gear on this ledge if you wanted to. Besides the fact that the bolts were added (and if the bolter can vouch that Pat A. said go for it, [I'll] shut up), they [don't] have rings to rap on. Plus, who carries two ropes up this kind of climb, except a party of three? What seems likely to happen is that an inexperienced party would think they are finished with what probably seemed a spicy 5.8 pitch, decide there is a second anchor below since they [don't] see an obvious 2nd pitch and then rap into oblivion since you would need two ropes to get down. So in my opinion the bolts are not only unsightly and unnecessary, and possibly disrespectful, but they may serve to add further danger to the route.
By Ron Olsen From: Boulder, CO Oct 23, 2004 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
The belay bolts at the top of the first pitch have been chopped, some time in the past ten days.
I [didn't] chop the bolts, but I am glad to hear that they have been removed. I was actually hoping that whoever marred the route would speak up, but that [didn't] happen either. Thanks to whoever did this communtiy service. Judging from the few comments that were posted about these bolts, the majority of the community seems to agree, there [isn't] a home for bolts on Bitty Buttress.
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Oct 26, 2004 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
Hi Ron, Why didn't you ask me personally if I chopped the bolts on Bitty? We've already discussed that. Now here I am, back from the desert (Yes, I've been GONE) and I find myself called to question for this. I think my M.O. has already been well established that I don't *CHOP* anything, so I'm surprised I've been so accused.
As you know Tony, "chopped" is a figure of speech. Were the bolts actually CHOPPED or were they REMOVED and the holes filled/camouflaged?
In any event, chopping them would be a nice way for a bolt-remover to cover his tracks? Maybe the bolt-remover was under a time crunch. Maybe they were on their way out of town. I'm not accusing anyone, but I am familiar with Occam's Razor.
Occam's Razor: A sort of credibility test that holds that all things being equal, the simplest reasonable explanation for a phenomenon is probably the right one.
I was up there on Sunday. The hangers were already removed and the studs pounded back in, as if it really matters. I was ready to remove them anyway if they were still there when I did the climb.
This didn't need a majority consensus. The bolts were not necessary, were not even arranged for a rap anchor (vertical pattern, no chains/rap-rings), at a height more than 30m, and the normal belay is 15 feet higher on a grassy ledge with bomber gear.
I shouldn't be wasting my arthritic fingers even typing all of this, the issue is simple: the anchors served no purpose on a multipitch trad climb that has been established probably about 40 years ago.
So, what is the argument in the first place?
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Oct 26, 2004 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
AC:I see Darren Mabe answered the chopped/removed question for you. Looks like neither happened.
Occam's Razor is a crappy concept touted by those who wish to forward their over-simplied suggestions to entertain personal endulgences and to push private agendas.
Properly applied to to this situation, it would say that some other random climber pounded the bolts in, not that I did it on my way out of town to Indian Creek last weekend.
Properly applied to your assertion here, it would say that you must be anonymously grinding a personal axe since you have no real knowledge of the situation.
Or you can break free of this O.R. crap and look at it more logically. People have a need for a visible enemy. They like to know who they are fighting, so you blame the situation on me so that you are not fighting an invisible foe. Makes you feel better regardless doesn't it. I don't like the old "someone must hang" mentality though. I think you better get some facts first. But I hope you don't get any, I like watching you suffer the unknown.
I have climbed this route with and without the bolts. I have also used the bolts, but even if they were there I would not use them again because of the bad location when starting the second pitch. I am glad the bolts are gone. This is a unique and incredible natural line for the grade. Very Fun.
No consensus? Well, then I'll cast my vote. I'm glad the bolts are gone, though it doesn't make up for them being there in the first place. After all, the holes remain, no matter how anyone tries to camouflage them. I was annoyed when I saw them last spring. I don't think I even clipped them because they are in a lousy location - they'd just have added drag for belaying up my partner.
This route has everything you could want in a moderate trad climb -- great position, fun moves, solid rock, beautiful views, and a couple of moderate runouts to keep you focused. I have no idea why someone saw fit to drill a couple of holes into the middle of it. The bolts, and now the holes, serve only to eliminate the pleasant illusion that you were the first one there, with no significant benefit to safety. Chopping them partially restores the route.
Very quality route, I didn't see the chopped bolts that everyone talked about though. Anyway, I thought the crux was on P1 right at the top on the face. I must have been off route or something because I had to transition to another crack from left to right and that move was much more difficult than the crux on P3. Ron Olsen mentioned above that "the protection is adequate but not ideal" which I found to be perfectly accurate on P1. I felt the crux on P3 was pretty easy. I put in a purple Alien right before the crack ran out and it fits bomber. I tired to put in a blue alien above that but it was just a waste of time as I am certain it wouldn't have held had I pitched off. I was also able to place many times below the purple Alien so the gear protection is pretty good on P3. You just have to suck it up at the crux and climb through; afterall you're only a few feet above your last piece so it's no big deal. A very good climb!
With H. McIntypre 5/21/06. Rossiter guidebook topo suggests a start in the 'Orange Dihedral' and an airy but easy traverse about 40 feet up. We climbed P1 this way and found the pro to be adequate and the traverse fun. P2 start is bouldery. A direct line can be liebacked on the upper part of this pitch and is harder (and more fun) than the 5.6 advertised in the guidebook. P3 follows a flake (didn't look like a 'dihedral' to me). Crux sequence is balancy, a bit subtle, and solid 5.8; take a moment to work it out.
Didn't look like the route has seen all that much traffic this spring, maybe it's the long (for Boulder Canyon) approach. No chalk was visible the day we climbed and it had kind of a 'wild' feel to it.
By Fred Keith From: Portsmouth & North Conway, NH Sep 15, 2006
Never climbed it with the bolts...or when there were .75 Tech Friends or black Aliens.
This route has a very nice direct line, although one can never really see the whole route until you get on it. Hats off, once again, to the good ole boys that sniffed out this snoopster. Standard rack with some extra smaller and possibly off set camming devices for the 3rd pitch crux. Exciting and enjoyable.
By Stich From: Colorado Springs, Colorado Jul 28, 2007 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
The route description doesn't mention the descent, so here's one way to go. At the top of P3 under the small roof with the 5.7 crack in it, move carefully to the left. With the exposure, you'll almost want to try and squeeze on by on this ledge, but you're better off hanging your body off the edge and just keeping your hands at that level. Look down the steep wall and locate some footholds to allow you to get your body in a better position. The big gear you brought will protect the traverse nicely.
Keep your hands level with the ledge, getting jams and face holds as you go. A ramp will start to reach up below you and you can eventually get onto it and scramble to the large, grassy ledge with a dead tree. Build an anchor here to belay your second across the traverse. You won't be able to talk to your second unless you move all the way to the edge looking back. We did this exit today while it was lightly raining and we were really glad to have pro in.
Right where the dead tree is, climb up the rocks and keep to the left. You'll see a clean slab that goes to the summit, but if you keep left you'll better access the large ledge system that gets you down into the gully between Bitty Buttress and the next formation over. Note the various bolted sport routes on the steep, clean wall in the gully on your way down.
The start of the route is essentially an arete in case you can't see that in the photos. There is a large, dead tree directly under the arete. As some others mentioned, you can stand on it to start the route. When you get to the top of P1, move around to the right and then up again until you can see the dihedral that starts the second pitch. This gets you in a better position to belay that. If you belay down lower to make it easier to talk to your second on P1, the rope will be having to turn a corner for belaying P2. Plus, the belay up here is really flat and cush. Two large cracks intersect where you sit that will take large cams and your leg as added insurance.
Climb this route, and then hike over and do "The Young and the Rackless" for an extremely fun day. Three fine pitches, 100 yards of scrambling, and 3 more fine pitches. Bitty Buttress is mentally more challenging, but the moves on Y and R are slightly harder. A great warmup for the season if you have been lounging on the couch for a few months. Or if you have out of town visitors, a great way to introduce them to life in Colorado. One of my favorite days in Boulder Canyon.
Here's another recommendation. Climb Bitty Buttress, then walk uphill a ways, and climb On Ballet on upper Blob Rock. This gives you 6 pitches of nice trad 5.8 and 5.9. I think On Ballet is about the same level of difficulty as Bitty Buttress, and the quality of climbing is also similar. Pitch 2 of On Ballet is a wee bit run out, but if you're comfortable with Bitty Buttress it won't be a problem, since there are also a few wee runouts on BB.
By prod. From: Boulder, Co Jan 22, 2012 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c PG13
Jan 21. Climbed BB in 60 degree temps, sunny, slight breeze, perfect Saturday. We were the only ones at the crag.
The start of pitch 1 is tough to protect, but I did not find it to be a R route. The crux of the first pitch, for me, was the small roof near the top of the. You can cheat out to the left on the slab, but the straight up move is nice.
Pitch 2 was ok.
Pitch 3 protects well. Commit to the moves you see, it's 5.8+ or 9- (whatever). The holds are there.
We found a single grey Miura (size 41.5) on top of Bitty Buttress today. The shoe is in good shape, so I don't think it was intentionally left behind. Contact me at 303.909.4559 if it's yours. - Scotty Nelson