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.
Huston Crack begins on the bottom left side of Cob Rock in the middle of the buttress to the left of the North Face Center start. It is an obvious wide crack that goes straight up for 50 feet.
It starts out with a few hand jams, quickly goes to fists for about 10 feet and then goes to a wide (arm-bar) crack for the remaining 35 feet (crux). The end of the crack starts to narrow to fist and hands again and then ends on a ledge....continue up steep but easy face to top of block with good cracks to set up belay/toprope.
From here you can set up a TR for the 10d finger crack (hard) just right of Huston Crack (it's called Old Aid Crack) and 11a face climb to the right of Old Aid Crack.
Mid to large cams. The crux needs at least 1 #4 Camalot or equivalent. A second big cam (4-4.5) might make you feel better.
I made the mistake of assuming the crux was in the thin crack section near the bottom and foolishly decided to tackle the wide section with no pro. Needless to say things got a bit desperate when I reached the crux and my last piece was 25 feet below me (clearly in decking territory)
The crux comes about 40 feet off the ground where the wide crack narrows enough to force your leg out of the offwidth jam. As stated by Ben, to pro this correctly, 2 number 4 Camalots would be needed (unless you care to walk one of them up with you).
All this being said, this is a fun route, sustained and technical.
Yeah, this is a good route, fun and frustrating. From the ground the rock around the wide part of the crack looks like there might actually be some good holds but the rock was pretty polished. The leg jam was harsh. I got stuck!!!
Be careful on this climb! You need large pro for the top (i.e. BD #4). I saw a guy deck from the top yesterday as his pro zippered, then got hauled out on a litter.. Other than, that VERY cool climb..and the 10d is also way cool..
Good Clean Fun!!! First your jamming hands, then fists, then sideways fists, then arms and legs. Very nice crack clinic.
By Dave Fiorucci From: Boulder, Colorado Nov 5, 2007 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
I thought that the crack was heinous, I got spanked tiring to go up this off width beast, my feet didn't fit in the crack, and I ended up jamming knees and arm bars, prying apart the crack up toward the top, then I ran out of big gear and had to lower and TR. But I tell you my arms feel great today, guide book calls it an 8, but I have to disagree, and would bump it to a 9... I really like most cracks (and usually breeze up them) but I guess I have to learn a better technique for these off widths, I really wanted to do a toe-heal, but I wasn’t finding the right place for that, and most of the way my hands just felt too small. I will probably do this again until I get up without much trouble.
By Mark Cushman From: Cumming, GA Nov 5, 2007 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
I climbed this last month on a whim after getting done Empor. I didn't have the requisite big cams and I ran it out on lead to groundfall potential at my leading ability (not good). I walked a 3.5 Camalot up with me to about 1/2 way until it was too tipped out to function, then shot for the top. Well, I didn't actually shoot for the top, more like oozed up the crack to the top, sometimes gaining 6 inches then losing 2. At the crux I was fairly pumped, overgripping (oh feck, oh feck) and I ALMOST tried to face climb to the left to an inviting bolt I could fall from. I'm glad I didn't, I probably would have peeled. The moral of the story is to bring big cams.
By Dave Fiorucci From: Boulder, Colorado Nov 5, 2007 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
This was also a whim climb for our group after Empor, so after flailing all over this thing I didn't go home thinking I was the king of the mountain. #2 moral is not to try this after Empor.
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Nov 5, 2007
I recall back in the early '90s Scott Parazinski, aka the vampire to John Glenn & one of the two astronauts on the recent record setting space walk, jumping onto this route on lead with my meager rack at the time with a #4 Friend as the biggest piece. =[:~o
This is a classic, in part because of the great crack, but also because of the rating! If this were done today, it would be listed at 5.9. Back then, 5.10 was the hardest there was, so if you could climb it at all they gave it a 5.9, and if you did it first try it was listed at 5.8.
By Dave Pilot From: Boulder, CO Jul 11, 2008 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
This is the quintessential wide crack primer. You can even get a couple of chicken wings in towards the top. Resist the urge to use facial features. I left the #4 Camalot in the car since I was just planning to do Empor. Luckily I had #3.5, #3, and #2 Camalots and a Trango MaxCam about the same size as the #3.5. The #2 worked well in a horizontal crack toward the top of the wide section and protected the weird mantel move getting out of the wide crack. Enjoy!
By YDPL8S From: Santa Monica, Ca. Jul 11, 2008 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c
First time I did it I got a big old Chouinard hex (8 or 9) stuck in there, had to rap to get it out. Gave me a big cramp in my foot.
Sewn up? I'll tell you about sewn up! Take two #4 Camalots, and a #5! You could practically aid it. And if you accidentally kick the 5 on the way past, so it's tipped out and worthless, you'll still only be 6' or so above the top #4! Groveling in style!
I found the knee jams on this one to allow for some rest breaks. I walked a #4 Camalot up about 20 feet through the middle section of the crack. I found it rather strenuous and around the crux I tested a 3" cam by weighting it from a few feet above. Lieback the crux. After resting a moment, I tried this and cruised to the belay. This climb made a fun step up from 5.7 for me. Hard, but not unreadable, and in the solution there is great satisfaction.
By SeanKuus From: Steamboat Springs Aug 28, 2010 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
The new guidebook for Boulder Canyon (Wolverine Publishing) gives this a 5.9 rating, which I generally agree with. For comparison, use the OW on pitch three of Central Pillar of Frenzy in Yosemite. It's signicantly easier (same size, but lower angle) and rated 5.8. (This is relevant if you consider Yosemite's routes and their ratings a benchmark).
I attempted this route with just one #4 and quickly realized that doing so is downright dangerous through the wide section up top. I ended up lowering and TR'ing. For a safe lead, I would absolutely want at least two #4 Camalots, if not a #5 too for the top.
By NickinCO From: colorado Aug 29, 2011 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
My first off-width done today with 1 #4. Definitely wanted another one!!! I walked it up as far as I could which made the climbing a little harder, left it as high as I could and was still looking at a good 25'er. To do this climb safely, bring two #4s and even a #5 if you want to sew it up.
I brought a #6 because, well, I own one and I've only placed it once before. Found a great spot for it up high...but you can sew it up just fine without. Two #4's and a #5 will get you through the crux.
By Andy Hansen From: Longmont, Colorado Oct 12, 2012 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
I wish there were more cracks like this in Bocan. I didn't think the OW difficulties were all too bad... felt pretty secure with only one #4 Camalot. I guess another and maybe a #5 would be nice, but if you're solid in the OW, it'll be fine with a single #4. The crux is a surprising few moves near the top of the crack at the exit....
By Justin Brunson From: Broomfield CO Jun 10, 2013 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
Do you guys tape up for this one?
By Andy Hansen From: Longmont, Colorado Jul 6, 2013 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
It's not really worth the effort of tape in my opinion. There are good hand jams low and good knees in higher, and I mostly gastoned the outside edge while sliding my legs up. I'd say pants over shorts though.