2014 Update: Blob Rock, Bitty Buttress, and all seasonal raptor closure areas on U.S. Forest Service land will be re-opened August 1, 2014 for climbing.
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This outstanding route is also known as Jackson's Wall Direct and shares its last pitch with that route. One of my favorite 9s in Boulder Canyon.
P1 begins about 50 feet (?) left of Athlete's Feat beneath a short right-facing dihedral about 15 feet off the deck. Climb the clean crack in the dihedral until you can traverse left to the obvious ledge (P1 crux - 5.8). Move left along the ledge until you reach a bolt. Optional belay here, or continue left and then up (5.6) until you get to a fair-sized ledge with a couple of fixed pins.
P2 (or 3) moves straight up to a left-facing right-leaning ramp. Go up the ramp until you can make a delicate traverse left (5.9) to another ramp leading to a fixed pin. Note that there is an off-route bolt on top of the first ramp that you can clip with a long sling - it's up to you whether you would rather risk a pendulum into the ramp or a 15-20 footer straight down onto a good stopper. Move straight up past the pin to a short slabby section (also 5.9 - possibly an RP placement) and belay on the ledge.
Rossiter rates this a 10a in the more recent BC guide. Interestingly, he puts the 10a crux at the initial traverse out of the hand crack, where I indicated "P1 crux (5.8)". OK, maybe the move was harder than 8, but I'm not sure its 10a. I might go along with 10a on the upper pitch, though.
Also, I noted that the bolt on top of the right-leaning ramp was "off route". This is only partially true. It is off route if you take the 9+ traverse in the middle of the ramp and climb to the pin. It is right on route if you climb to the top of the ramp and then make a 10a traverse to the same point. Apparently there used to be an old star-drive located at this spot, replaced with the current bomber bolt a few years ago by a civic-minded Neptune employee.
P2 variation: instead of going right into the left-facing flake and then up to the traverse(s), go directly up from the belay to get on a good ledge (left of flake). Above is an upside-down V cracks in the slightly past vertical face. Climb the left crack (way thin... RPs and small Aliens) and some face holds to the left of that. The crux is at the top of the V, pulling over the bulge (.10+?). This ramp goes to a ~.8 crack (with crappy bush in the middle) for about 15 feet to the normal belay. I am not sure what this variation is, but it is difficult and fun (please confirm). I think is a more direct option than risking the scary pendulums....
Thanks for bursting my bubble, Steve - and I thought I was just a better climber than I was when I did the route the first time a few years ago. Actually, I was perfectly happy to keep the rating at 9, and wasn't even aware of the "new" 10a rating until I looked at someone else's BC guidebook. There are still plenty of good and honorable sandbag 9's left, though. 5.9 is a bit ephemeral anyway - could be anything from 5.8+ to 10c. The only thing more uncertain is "easy third class".
Geez Darin, is that P2 5.9 or 5.9+?? Inquiring minds want to know!
Interestingly, the lower traverse appeared to have two options: traverse on the heavily chalked holds with bad feet (hard, I think those are sucker holds) or higher up with feet on the chalked holds and thin hands. If you have a long reach, you might be able to reach from the bomber right hand over to the left edge, but it was a balancy move for short lil' me.
The bolt, if you're a scaredy cat, will protect the 5.9 moves. Just climb up, clip it with a long runner, and then back down and do the traverse. This works best with double ropes, but there is pretty much no gear for the left rope except for a shitty nut placed in the worst of the sucker holds. I thought P2 of this route was tough, a bit hard to protect and "definitely 5.9"...whatever...YMMV
Kreighton, you must have been a lawyer in a past life :) I haven't been cross-examined in a while. As noted in a previous comment, I'm happy to leave the grade of the whole climb as 5.9. That said, and since you asked for it: P2 will be 5.9 if you have a simian wingspan. If you have a normal wingspan and are out of shape like me, the pitch will still be 5.9, but it will feel a whole hell of a lot like some 10a climbs you may have done, with sparse and finicky protection throughout. A budding 5.9 trad leader is likely to be uncomfortable.
Now, Mr. Lang, I'm no city slicker, but I know my way around a brain teaser. Are you tellin' me that 'with a simian wingspan' the move is 5.9, and for shorter folks, who can't reach across to the good left edge, it is...5.9? C'mon now, you're a dodgy coot! Well, it'll get upgraded soon, good thing I led it while it was still 5.9. 5.10 is hard.
Am I back to budding? nuts.
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Nov 6, 2001 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a PG13
I too thought that the initial "crux" moving out of the crack and on to the ledge was easier than 5.10a. I said 5.8+ as well. My shorter partner disagreed. On the upper crux, the traverse past the bolt, I felt the move was 5.9+, but was insecure enough to be ennervating at any grade of difficulty. I mover up, clipped the bolt, then moved back down and did the move. I and my partner both agreed that while this move was not terribly difficult, that it seemed slick and a little off-balance. It seemed more likely that you might slip from it than fall for lack of skill. BTW, I am 5'10" and have exceptionally long arms. Dianne is 5'5", I believe.
Hopefully this does not start some huge flame war.
Steve, I couldn't agree with you more. With regard to this particular route, moving/adding the bolt would completely change its character - it might still be a 5.9, but it wouldn't be Jackson's Wall Direct. While the upper crux isn't what I would call "well-protected", it's not a death fall by any means.
I'm sure I'm biased in this regard because of my perspective. The "rush" I get from climbing comes when I am tested on multiple fronts - climbing ability, ability to quickly place reliable protection, route-finding, and perhaps most importantly, judgment and common sense. The routes I aspire to lead are ones that present all of these challenges in varying degrees - an approach that doesn't always equate to pure climbing difficulty. Even if I never have the ability or nerve to climb them, it's nice to know that 7 Arrows, Jules Verne, The Lion, and many others are still around in something resembling their original state - it's what keeps me coming back.
I don't know the name of this variation, but there is a fun and interesting 10c roof/dihedral about half way down the ledge on the first pitch, that leads to anchors above Boot Lead & Close To The Edge. These anchors provide a way to rap down and, better still, TR those 2 excellent (and hard!) routes. Also, the face to the right of this variation is another interesting option. The Falcon Guide suggest 10d for this, but it felt harder to me (esp. comparing it to the 10c), more like 11b at least. The gear is sparse, a single button head protecting the tricky crux high on the face being the only pro above the ledge.
The 10c variation you mention is the 2nd pitch of Corinthian Vine. The first pitch of this route is the Boot Lead. The 3rd pitch is rated 12c/d and is bolted. I agree that Corinthian Vine's 2nd pitch makes a great variation to the South Face. When I did it, I combined it with the first pitch of the South Face (still not that long of a pitch). My partner then traversed left to rejoin the regular South Face. There are three different ways to do this traverse.
Did the route today, and all I have to say is the traverse is a good 5.9 lead to do if you think you're ready for a 5.10 lead. It'll certainly put things in perspective. 10a seems right, with solid 9 for the rest of that pitch.
Re protecting the traverse: there is a good TCU placement (like Metolius #0 or #1, can't remember) under the small undercut that's at waist level when you're at the stance to begin crossing. It's a good hold too, but I found I was a lot happier using it as placement than as a hold. And I know it's good because it held my fall as I was trying to work out that sandbag traverse. I would recommend that placement to anyone -- unless you're into a "20 footer on a good nut".
I can relate to what you wrote. When I look at some of the things I climbed and how I climbed them twenty years ago, it just scares the heck out of me. How did I ever live to see grandchildren? Isn't it funny that when we are young, with so much life ahead of us, that we take so many chances. Then, when we get older, and have less years left, that we take less chances and become so much more conservative in our climbing practices?
I climbed this great route yesterday, it was an eye opener at the crux section. On the last pitch, instead of going right and finishing on the ramp, I wandered left and up and got caught on some slopey area. In the book it looked like there was a 8 variation that way. There was a big undercling that I used to continue left - I think the 8 section went strait up from there but don't know. I think I went too far left and then tried to finish up two different cracks - the left one had a medium bush/tree at the top near the big ledge. It seemed that this area doesn't get alot of traffic as there was dirt and a bit of rock exfoliation. Does anyone know if this is an upper pitch to another climb?
Just led this route today. Took a 5 ft whiper on the first pitch crux when I was fumbling for a draw for the piton - shouldn't have, but it felt good to take another whipper on gear. Led the third pitch and thought the left crack (the upside down V) looked harder than the left facing crack on the right - so I went right. Well, I think I was wrong. I saw the lower traverse left, but then saw the bolt and thought that the "proper" traverse was a little higher up - and figured I'd come back again later for the lower traverse left. I got up into the pod above the bolt and had my left hand about 6" from the "good" hold and backed off because I thought the feet were sketchy. I then put together a new game plan went back at it again, only to back off again. The third time was the charm, back to the original game plan - a right gaston pulling hard to keep the hip in and a left reach for the visibly worn hand hold. The hold wasn't that good, but it was good enough to pull through the crux. Trust the feet, they are good enough. I was very relieved to get to the point and wrap a sling around for my second. Anyway, I have no clue what I did or how to rate the pitch, but after reading these comments and since there was a ton of lichen on it, I don't think I did the "normal" traverse and I don't I think it's a 5.9+ - but I could be wrong. I would love to get back for the lower traverse - it looked sweet. Oh yeah, the 3rd pitch has a nut on the ramp that my second couldn't get out - if someone gets it, of course, enjoy it and let me know how you got it out - I worked on it for 15 minutes on rappel to no avail. Anyone have a clue what I climbed?
A great and confusing finish.... It seems that I could find many finishes with great variation in there difficulty. I found that route finding tough and interesting after (P1). Such a fantastic wall!! As the cold and darkness set in, we had to bail just 40ft from the summit because we took so long on the route finding provided how much time we had left of good sun and day light. So, we rapped out with a new found respect and interest in the many possibles of routes on the (2nd & 3rd) pitches. What a great, huge wall to play on. This January day was a tough one, but we had a great time!! A fantastic route that should be explored more!!!
By Dragin Jun 16, 2010 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a R
Climbed this today with a friend who suckered me into leading the second pitch. I enjoyed the climb but got really tweaked out about the traverse. That swing looked daunting, but the stretchy move is there. Really wished there was some pro below besides a sketchy notch (one piton could prevent a serious injury, but alas). Take your pick...run out or pendulum - but as far as the rest of the climb...amazing.
By Marty Combs From: Boulder, CO May 23, 2012 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
I thought the route finding was tough after the 1st pitch, and I never thought anything was that run-out.
By NickinCO From: colorado Jun 27, 2012 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a PG13
Did this today and it felt awfully hard. Harder than the 10a's I've done at Eldo. Also, why is that bolt even there? If you're going to add a bolt, might as well do it where it would help and not cause a big pendulum. Just my $0.02. I also felt the gear wasn't very obvious, small, and fairly run-out. Not for the new 5.9 leader.
On pitch 1 when jamming the crack right before the traverse, something in that crack was hissing at me.
By Andy Hansen From: Longmont, Colorado Jun 30, 2013 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a
The Corinthian Vine P2 is probably a better option than traversing. It offers better climbing in my opinion. It's decently protected despite D'Antonio's "R" rating for that pitch. Protected by what seems to be a glued in copperhead.... It seems logical to fire up this corner/roof and then traverse into the remaining P3 of South Face. Or, instead of moving slightly left as for South Face, continue straight up a thin corner protected by a pin. Good line, good funk, OK gear to boot.