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 ADVANCED
The Bastille - N Face
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bastille Crack, The T 
Coach's Demise T,TR 
Cross-country T 
Crossfire T 
Derek-Tissima TR 
Direct North Face T 
DNF 5.10 variation T 
Hairstyles and Attitudes T,S 
Independent Study T 
Inner Space T 
Interceptor T 
Lilliburlero T 
Madame Guillotine S 
March of Dimes T 
Marie Antoinette T 
Model Citizen T 
Nexus T 
Northcutt Start T,TR 
Northeast Corner T 
Northwest Corner T 
Outer Face T 
Outer Space T 
Prow Finish T 
Saturnalia T 
Shatek's Ramp-age T 
Space T 
Space Invaders T,S 
Spice Tour, The T 
Werk Supp T 
Wide Country T 
Wide Times T 
X-M T 

Direct North Face 

YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c R

   
Type:  Trad
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 2,683
Submitted By: Steve Levin on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (17)
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A mediocre photo on a mediocre gray day. I'm near ...

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Description 

April and May are the official start of "Bastille Season", and there is no better way to usher in the warmer days of Spring then to climb one of the true Eldo classics, the Direct North Face of the Bastille. This three pitch combination of Wide Country, XM, and Outer Space is a time-honored favorite for many local climbers, and should not be missed by anyone capable of climbing at this grade. The climbing consists of exquisite face work with adequate protection where it is needed.

P1: Wide Country. Begin right of the Bastille Crack, at a shallow left-facing corner system. Climb this (5.9) with thin but adequate gear, being mindful of a large semi-detached block 50 feet up. Above this, at a bolt, climb up and left (crux, 5.11a if you have it wired), then back right to an obvious overlap (hand-sized cam) which you turn on the right, then up to the chain anchors at a nice stance (a 60m rope just makes it to the ground). There are several ways to climb the short face between the crux and the overlap; the further you move left the easier.

P2: XM to Outer Space. From the belay stance, head up and slightly left, past a couple of fixed pins, to a short, steep wall where the seam fades (small RP here). This is the traditional third pitch of XM. Pull this move (5.10b R), and head up forty feet into the Outer Space dihedral (5.10a) and the large ledge below the headwall, and belay.

P3: Outer Space. Now undercling up and left to the prominent crack system splitting the upper headwall (this is the last pitch of Outer Space). Follow the crack as it zig-zags up, finally reaching the top at some solution pockets.

Note that when first climbed on aid by Layton Kor and Steve Komito in the early 1960s, a hanging belay was made at a sloping stance midway up the headwall on the final pitch. If you look carefully around at this stance an "LK" carved into the rock might be found- initials Kor carved out of boredom waiting for his second to follow. This bit of rock art inspired a sixteen year old Eldo local in the mid-60s to carve his own "RB" at a belay ledge on another famous route in Eldo- but I'll leave it to you to search this one out on your own.

Protection 

Standard Eldo bag-o-trix.


Photos of Direct North Face Slideshow Add Photo
The start of the 5.9 approach. The worst pro is the first few pieces--I had some small brass and 2 ballnuts. Above that gear is reasonable. <br /> <br />Photo by Luke Clarke.
The start of the 5.9 approach. The worst pro is th...
A bunch of small gear adequately protects the first half of the approach. The route steps right just above me and up the easy face to the left facing flakes up and right fom me. The crus is above the leftward slanting celing at the top left of the photo. <br /> <br />Photo by Luke Clarke.
A bunch of small gear adequately protects the firs...
At the stance at the crux. The climb angles left from here And then angles back right to the top center of the photo. This climber approached the crux via the start of XM. It's simpler and quicker but more run out this way as compared with the original route up the left facing corners.
At the stance at the crux. The climb angles left f...

Comments on Direct North Face Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 7, 2012
By Andrew Wellman
Jan 1, 2001

I looked around for the initials on Outer Space today(4/18), but couldn't find them. I stopped and looked at every conceivable sloping stance where a hanging belay would be possible. Any hints, how big are they.
By Patrick Vernon
From: Albuquerque, NM
Jan 1, 2001

The first pitch of this feels quite hard for .11a, very cool footwork intensive crux.
By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001

On the second pitch (the 5.10b R pitch of XM) it is also possible to climb straight up from the belay (hidden fixed pin) to a hand traverse left, then up. This is the original XM aid line, and avoids the RP-protected 5.10b move where the seam fades.
By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Jan 1, 2001

I love how some people, when adding routes, describe the pro. Its not scary or poor protection - it's "exciting", or "a little spicy." :-)
By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001

The Kor initials are not very big, and it may take some searching to find them.
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 1, 2001

For those who want to be more precise about their spice, the 10b crux on the second pitch is protected by the smallest rp I own. Even with a screamer, I doubted it would hold. The next piece down, a pin, is maybe 8-10 feet below your feet when you make the crux move. Tom Isaacson
By Anonymous Coward
May 8, 2002

I climbed this yesterday and was able to figure out the (yes, very footwork intensive - look around for awhile to find the key nubbin) 11a crux of the first pitch - but ended up falling three times on the 10c crux (you can see the huge shelf but how the heck do you reach it!) of the second pitch! Maybe I just couldn't figure out the moves, but it seemed a degree of magnitude harder then the 11a crux.
By Bill Wright
May 9, 2002

Nice job, AC, on figuring out the 11a face move. I've only followed this pitch once and I didn't figure it out. I think the runout above this move is horrendously scary looking. I need to follow this pitch once move before I'd lead it.

On the second pitch, the key is matching on a small, insecure hold up and right. You get it with your right hand first, then delicately step up and match - very insecure. This move is hard, but not as baffling as the move on the first pitch. At least for me. I've led this second pitch before and followed it and haven't fallen off this move. If you fell three times, it must have been a descent fall since the gear is well below your feet as you reach for this ledge. How'd the fall turnout? Did you fall on the fixed pin or put in a higher RP?
By Joe Collins
Sep 23, 2002

I did the first pitch of this (Wide Country) the other day and I have to say that the section past the bolt is one of the hardest low-11's I've done at Eldo. The 10ish section above at the overlap is exciting. The 'hand-sized cam' that protects this section is a bit sketchy as it is wedged against a loose block. However, the block doesn't flex, nor does it look like it's going anywhere. One can back this piece up with a bomber yellow alien up and left (if you are tall enough to reach the placement). An awesome pitch!
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 26, 2002

The Wide Country pitch would be 11d/12a as a Boulder Canyon sport climb
By Steve Orr
Jun 29, 2004

2nd PITCH HAS LOST A FLAKE: Today (6/29/04), I fell about 15 feet above the belay on the 2nd pitch (variation to the right), and my two cams pulled off a medium-sized flake. This was not the main undercling/lieback feature that you follow the the right, but a smaller undercling flake above the main one. I don't believe it will affect the overall rating of the climb, as the route really goes to the right of the flake before traversing back left above it. It does eliminate a couple of protection opportunities (which apparently weren't very good). Fortunately, my partner and I only suffered minor abrasions and a good scare. The flake landed in his lap, and is now sitting fairly securely on the ledge up and left of the belay. I'd hate to thing what would have happened if that sucker had fell to the road!
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 24, 2004

The LK initial carving comment is truly interesting trivia. I'l have to figure out where ol' RB made his mark.
By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 15, 2004

For those 2 or 3 trivia buffs still wondering about the name of the climb with the "RB" initials, here are some hints to lead the way...

"RB" followed one of the 60s Eldo pioneers up this route on the declared FFA. Name the lead climber.

Many consider the route was NOT climbed completely free on this ascent. Why?

One of the heros of a prominent East Coast climbing area almost refused to follow the overhanging direct finish on the FFA of this pitch. Name this East Coast climbing legend.

The leader of the direct finish was "the man" in the 70s. Who was this climber?

The greatest soloist in Eldo history was filmed on this climb. During this ascent (and captured on film), the climber was surprised by what?
By Chris Archer
Nov 15, 2004
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Very entertaining and great clues, Steve! Hopefully it will pique the curiosity of a new generation of Eldo history afficionados....but isnt the answer to the last clue a different climb, namely Rosy? I haven't seen the film in many years, but I seem to recal the incident that I think you're referring to occurring on the traverse.
By Greg Hand
From: Golden, CO
Nov 16, 2004

Here is the story as told by PA in High Over Boulder:"I was wearing a pair of big mountain boots which Cub Schaefer gave me to try out on rock. I was using a stretchy nylon rope I didn't trust, I was belayed by a 14 year old kid I wasn't sure could catch me, I had no chalk. I had to hammer in all the pitons climbers today have the benefit of clipping, and I managed to climb the 5.11 move my first try. Dalke told me he'd done the upper section of the dihedral free and that it wasn't much harder than 5.8. So when I got the hard moves, and as all of my assorted adversities began to wear me out, and giving myself the benefit of the doubt that I could--under normal circumstances--lead 5.8, I started resting on carabiners on relatively moderate moves. Perhaps I shouldn't have listed it as the ffa. When people complained that I had cheated or been dishonest or some such, I returned and climbed the pitch in much more exact style."

Also, Bob, I think you meant to type DH instead of DK.

The old days are fun to reminisce.

By the way, Steve, do you remember when and where we first met??
By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 16, 2004

Bob D: you get a "B"; first answer is incorrect (read the question more carefully), all others are correct.

Chris: good point, but I think the footage of Derek was from this climb. Can anybody out there verify?

Greg: memory not so good. Seneca 1976?

So anybody want to name the climb, and where the RB initials are located on the climb??
By Greg Hand
From: Golden, CO
Nov 16, 2004

Steve,

I was climbing at the Gunk's with Howard Doyle and we came across a crumpled mess at the base of Karma Sutra. I don't remember the date but I am sure you do.

Greg
By Bernard Gillett
Nov 17, 2004

"So anybody want to name the climb, and where the RB initials are located on the climb??"

Steve - isn't it on Vertigo, and the intials are at the belay below the direct finish roof? That's where I see those initials in my mind's eye, anyway.

You can send me a bag of your left-over halloween candy for a prize if I got it correct :-)
By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 22, 2004

Bernard- correct.

I guess the footage of Derek was from Rosy...
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 8, 2005

I first did the DNF around 1978 when I followed Rich Goldstone up it. Rich also led me up Rain which seemed pretty bold in that pre-cam period.

Did the first pitch yesterday in much worse style. The approach was fine. Lots of gear, but a bit dicey at the bottom. The crux was frustrating. It looks pretty easy, but the problem is, I think, the holds, although in reach, are in the wrong places and the balance and sequence are difficult. After a few falls and hangs, I tightened my shoes and did it, only to get pretty scared on the easier ground. Got a tiny brass high (that later fell out) and moved far left. Good gear the rest of the way. The 10 finish seemed straightforward. Strong winds and dropping temperatures convinced us to abandon our plan to continue to the top.

The crux is a bit problematic for the second because a fall swings you far left. Next time I'll climb double ropes (as I did this time) and after the crux not clip the right hand rope until the end of the 10 finish. This should provide a good TR for the second.
By superjosh
Aug 2, 2006

This is far and away the best line I've done on the Bastille. An elegant and sustained directissima.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Sep 7, 2012
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R

Very excellent route. The climbing is very continuous throughout all pitches with varying degrees of difficulty on all. Above the crux on P1 is pretty spicy! I balked numerous times over the course of many minutes but finally wiggled in a #2 BD stopper and 000 C3 and did the moves. Pretty decent distance above the pin without this gear.