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Pine Tree Route 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

Type:  Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 105'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 3,681
Submitted By: Tony B on Jun 1, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: The Elephant Buttresses. Most routes start off th...

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This route climbs a short distance up the dihedral between the Second and Third Elephant Buttresses a few feet before traversing left into a good crack system. Then, (about halfway up the pitch) the route takes off upwards, then left on multiple easy cracks toward a large pine-tree on a ledge. Good jams, good face-holds, and good feet. The gear is quite reasonable, although there are a few spots between cracks where it will not be overhead.

This system appears at the right hand edge of the attached photo.


Bring a standard rack with doubles of 1"-3" cams for beginning leaders.

Eds. From time to time, slings and rings/links appear on the tree for rappel.


Eds. There are at least 3 descents possible here:

1. Scramble/walk off left to the gully between the first Elephant Buttress and the Dome. This is probably the safest way off.

2. If there are slings here, you can rappel 85-100' from the tree.

3. You can also down scramble to the aqueduct between the 3rd & 4th Elephant Buttress. When it is dry, it is casual. When it is wet, it can be invigorating to intimidating.

Photos of Pine Tree Route Slideshow Add Photo
Second Elephant Buttress  1. Tough Situation (5.9+...
BETA PHOTO: Second Elephant Buttress 1. Tough Situation (5.9+...
Looking up to the pine tree from the base of the r...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up to the pine tree from the base of the r...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 25, 2014
By Dmitriy Zinchenko
Aug 31, 2002

This is a good warm-up/beginner route since the angle is less than vertical and all the jams/jugs are bomber. I led it with 1 set up to 2.5" and was ok. Unless you follow a straight line here, bring long slings and place judiciously to avoid rope drag hell. Do it in the winter w/a pack for an alpine feel.
By Jonathan. D.
May 5, 2003

Fun climb !!! Good beginner route, plenty of pro and good holds. About 10 feet below the pine tree, there is a choice of two crack systems.... I thought the right-hand option was easier.
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 27, 2003

A good choice for a beginner leader though will make the beginner think in places, takes a variety of pro well. The route does end at a Pine Tree with some rappel rings, but perhaps a better choice for belaying your second is to sling the huge flake a few feet behind the tree. (this can also be backed up with pro) this puts you in a more solid position for belaying rather than hanging off the tree.
By Kevin Currigan
From: Lakewood
May 26, 2005

This is a good route-fun!

You can reach safe ground, barely, with a 50m rope from the tree.
By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 15, 2005

As of 8/15/05, someone has removed the rappel anchor (multiple slings and two rap rings) from the tree atop this route. I hope to get back here later this week and replace the anchor.

I wonder why someone would do this? Pine Tree Route is a standard rap route; these weren't bail slings. The 4th-class downclimb between the 2nd and 3rd Elephant Buttresses is tricky and exposed; not a pleasant alternative.

I wish the people responsible for this would act in the spirit of service to the climbing community instead of making things more difficult and dangerous for others.
By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Aug 16, 2005

The walk-off between the Elephant Buttresses and the Dome is casual and not very far. The slings wear away the tree and could/will eventually kill it. There is no reason for a rap station to be there.

By ac
Aug 16, 2005

Don't forget the irrigation tunnel if you want a second alternative for an easy walk off, water or no water. If someone needs to bail off of EB, let them leave some gear. Things can get pretty desperate up there when a storm blows in.

Anyone could leave some slings if they had to rappel off the tree and found no slings, so it isn't making it more dangerous....
By Charles Danforth
From: L'ville, CO
Apr 9, 2006

I was looking for something casual on the Elephant Buttresses (and something in the shade) and found this one. Pretty straight-forward, with a couple of bulgy moves where height doesn't hurt; my 5'5" wife had a lot of trouble with the first bulge. 10' below the tree, I headed far to the right on an airy, thin ledge which added a nice finish to the route. Still no rap slings, but the walk-off through the tunnel is easy and lots of fun!
By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Oct 3, 2008

Multiple slings and a rap ring on this tree as of today.
By farkas.time
From: Sheffield, SY
Aug 17, 2011
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Great route. Pro is abundant, but placements can be tricky since the cracks are pretty irregular. Bigger gear than recommended can be useful-- I easily used both my #3 and #4 BD C4s.
By Sean Haney
Nov 13, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Seems like the one move at the headwall with the hand crack that widens in the back is harder than 5.5, and quite a bit harder if you're short. At 5'11", I was stretching for the bomber hold up and left. Great pro though. I was practicing with hexes, and placed all 3 I had borrowed. One sling, and one thin (aluminum I think) rap ring on the tree, but the walk off up top was easy. Fun route!
By Joshinator
From: Longmont, Colorado
Jun 29, 2012

Not a bad route. Maybe a couple moves I would consider harder than 5.5. Currently a very new looking sling around the tree.
By The Blueprint Part Dank
From: FEMA Region VIII
Jul 25, 2014
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Phenomenal 5.4. Probably the best first lead for anyone ever, or, as I like to do, mix it into your Boulder Canyon soloing circuit.
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