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The Maiden
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Unsorted Routes:

South Face 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c R

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Gerry Roach and Jeff Wheeler, 1958
Page Views: 4,149
Submitted By: George Bell on Aug 7, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (26)
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BETA PHOTO: 2 unknown climbers on the South Face of the Maiden...

Climbing areas reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

This is the second easiest route on the Maiden. It is "spicier" than the standard North Face route and will test your route finding skills, but it is nowhere near as hard as the East Ridge or West Overhang.

Scramble up the south side of the rock, and look for a ramp which rises diagonally (left, facing the rock) onto the south face. Also look for a thin crack (the route South Face), which starts about 50' east of this route. Begin near a big block, and climb the ramp, until the terrain above it steepens and you can see a good place to move back right. Belay here (slings visible from below).

Here is where many people get lost. The face above is steep and unprotected, and it is not obvious the easiest way to climb it. Move up and right, following a weakness past a (very) small tree (you can belay here at a flake or continue).

A few feet above you should see an old bolt. Clip it and contemplate your fate. From here, a ramp ascends up and left, ending at some slings where people have bailed. This is not the way to go. If you look straight up, you will see what looks maybe like a knob/jug(?) on the skyline. This in fact is a jug and marks the end of the crux. Move straight up, placing a TCU in a crack. Ponder your moves carefully, and fire up 10'-15' to the jug. It is not really that hard, but the two times I have done this route I was not sure this was the right way.

Belay on the East Ridge, and do one more easy pitch to the top. Enjoy the raps down. Both the raps can be done with a single 60m rope, although the first will end with less than 10' of extra rope.

Protection 

Standard rack.


Photos of South Face Slideshow Add Photo
Eddie crimping high over Boulder on the exposed th...
Eddie crimping high over Boulder on the exposed th...
On the 2nd pitch traverse.
On the 2nd pitch traverse.
Bill Wright leading the crux 3rd pitch of the Sout...
Bill Wright leading the crux 3rd pitch of the Sout...
Warren Teissier on the first pitch traverse on the...
Warren Teissier on the first pitch traverse on the...
photographer is Jeffe C. from vermit.  Really fun ...
photographer is Jeffe C. from vermit. Really fun ...
Bill Wright about 50' up the South Face route on t...
Bill Wright about 50' up the South Face route on t...
Eddie beginning the P1 traverse. Easy going but no...
Eddie beginning the P1 traverse. Easy going but no...
Final rap on the south face.  Be warned you come u...
Final rap on the south face. Be warned you come u...
Cindy Following the first pitch.
Cindy Following the first pitch.
Eddie halfway up the P1 traverse. The crux of the ...
Eddie halfway up the P1 traverse. The crux of the ...
Brandi shot this one as I pulled over the lip of t...
Brandi shot this one as I pulled over the lip of t...
Heading down after a successful climb of the South...
Heading down after a successful climb of the South...

Comments on South Face Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 20, 2013
By Ben Mottinger
Founding Father
Aug 27, 2001

Just to update/add some beta for fixed gear on this route, there are several fixed pins on the first traversing pitch, two on the second (rising traverse) pitch, and three, count em, three nice bolts for the 5.8 crux over the bulge. Also, the final rap station has a CMC marker that says 105' to ground, but a 60m reaches fine. You may have to swing slightly left to higher ground though.
By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Aug 27, 2001

I'll add my own pocket change here. Pitch 2 traverses right probably 40-50 feet with maybe 10 feet of total gain in height, so THAT tiny tree. Nice double bolts on the spire just above the tree provides a good belay ledge for the crux pitch.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 27, 2001

Wow, 3 bolts now on the crux pitch? I guess that makes the routefinding easier, and perhaps we should take the S rating away?
By Andy Moore
Sep 13, 2001

IMO, the crux pitch is still a serious pitch. The three bolts are in a horizontal line, only a few feet from each other, directly to the right of the two-bolt anchor at the top of the spire above the tiny tree. Because of their horizontal orientation and proximity to each other, they are largely redundant. I suppose having three of them might keep you from swinging back into the spire, but one bolt (the original?) would have sufficed. (Could they have been placed for a rescue? Otherwise, they look ridiculous.) Besides, I felt that the crux was just beyond the bolts, and above that there is a short runout on steep terrain with small holds and lichen. A leader fall here would be serious, as you would hit the sloping ramp below the bolts.

By the way, a couple of feet above the first bolt, I found a fixed pin, as well as both a small nut and cam placement. (I had been wanting to do this climb for a while, in its condition before the added bolts, so I led this pitch using only one of the bolts.) Also, there is a two-bolt anchor at the end of the this pitch at the notch on the east ridge.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 17, 2001

I did this route again last Thursday to see how it has changed. Two bolts were added to the third (crux) pitch since 1994. These are the second and third bolts on that pitch, which are only about 3' apart and head up diagonally right from the belay (and first bolt).

Before these bolts were placed, it was not clear which way to go. My original description (followed in my ascents in 92 and 94) goes straight up from the first bolt (the same bolt as the one in my description above). Now the new bolts lead one right of this line. The hardest section is around the 3rd bolt.

After the 3rd bolt, you can follow an awkward (and unprotected) ramp back left to the hold mentioned in my original description. However, this time I tried something new and moved up and right from the 3rd bolt, then up and left on an easy slab. Done this way, this pitch is probably still 5.8, but much less serious than it used to be.

What disturbs me most is the apparent blatant disregard for the bolting ban in the Flatirons. It reflects poorly on all climbers if Boulder Open Space managers discover that anybody has been secretly placing new bolts (but I am for replacing unsafe old bolts).
By Mike Sofranko
Oct 9, 2001

RE: The new bolts.

These are documented on the ASCA website, and have been for quite some time. They were apparently placed in 1999 by Darran Bornn.

safeclimbing.org/colorado.html

It would be interesting to get the story behind these bolts, but at the same time I am very wary of bringing it to the attention of the authorities.
By Ray Snead
Oct 10, 2001

I've clipped the bolts, but don't have much in the way of personal knowledge of their history.

Though this fact is not widely known, it *is* possible to obtain a permit and legally replace fixed hardware in the Boulder Mountian Parks. Darran is a stand-up guy - if he replaced these bolts I strongly suspect that it was like-for-like and with a permit.
By Francisco Manzo
Oct 29, 2001

I agree with George Bell in that the "S" rating should now be taken away. I did this route back in 96 before the two additional bolts were added and it was damn scary then. I just repeated this route on Saturday and found it much easier. I did not know however when I started this that they(the new bolts) were there, but I did find comfort in them being there because I did not forget how scary it was the first time.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 2, 2003

Since my last comment I have talked with Darran Bornn, and I now believe he DID simply replace existing bolts. According to Darren the bolts I thought were new were old chopped studs, it makes sense I might not have noticed them, I don't remember even going over to where they were. Anyway Darran has replaced bolts on many Flatiron routes (with a permit and approval from the ASCA) and he has done an excellent job from what I have seen. For this reason I take him at his word when he says he replaced studs on this route. My previous comment should be crossed out, I do not believe anyone has placed new bolts on this route.
By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Aug 17, 2003

Old message deleted! Brad, once I figured out that I could delete old comments, I got rid of the story about Marvin. He would have agreed with your posting and also was put off by the whole trad vs sport thing. Thanks for your input! (March 3, 2007)
By XOG
Apr 9, 2004

There was at least one other fatal accident on this climb - I don't think it's the same one mentioned above, but I could be wrong. I climbed it in the early 90s and when I got back someone told me that they'd read in the paper that just 1-2 days before someone had fallen from the first pitch (where it traverses right after diagonalling up left). I was a beginning leader when I did it and I probably woudn't have done the climb if I'd known I was following on the heels of an accident. I also remember being a little scared traversing there, because the last piece was back down in the diagonalling part, and there were quite a few traversing moves well above this piece. I think in the accident the leader fell and pulled enough gear to make it a ground-fall. Does anybody else know anything about the accident I'm talking about? Sorry I can't be clearer about the date, but it was probably '91 or '92.
By shad O'Neel
Feb 23, 2005

Exciting route, We both felt still spicy even with new bolts. The first pitch seemed much more challenging than it looks to be from the ground. I found the runout on P2 to be exciting, as was the crux above the bolts. Continuing up the E face in nuclear winds was great fun, a really exposed step around to get started....
By Eric Goltz
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 4, 2007

The first pitch is no joke at 5.5, particularly just before the end of the pitch. However, the second pitch really gets you thinking. Clip the pin just right of the belay, then go straight right with good feet and bad hands, until you can reeeaccch a good yellow Alien placement. Once you get this the pitch is basically over. I was reassured upon seeing the double-bolt anchor below the 3rd pitch, along with 3 protection bolts; however once you get past these there's nothing until just before the anchor. Don't be a 5.8 climber and try to do this thing, there are many places where a fall would be nasty/lethal! I can't imagine the FA party back in the day when men were men, w/o sticky rubber, micro-cams, and 3 fat bolts at the crux, where there is no possibility for other gear! Several of the chopped bolts I saw were in logical places that would make the route quite safe, yet the second two bolts at the crux can nearly be clipped from the first bolt! Still r-rated for me!
By percious
From: Bear Creek, CO
Feb 24, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

There are three bolts heading right from the pitch 2 crux. I am not sure why these huge bolts are there, but I think the climb actually goes straight up. There is also a pin next to the good TCU placement.

Indeed, this is a very serious climb for a 5.8 climber. I would say the first pitch goes at 5.6, it is a pretty serious lead as well, as it traverses with PG gear placements and possible ground fall should your placements fail.

Amazing rappel.
By Hillary Nitschke
May 16, 2010

This was a stiff route for a 5.8.... In many instances the holds (esp. hands) merit the grade, but the rock is loose and breaks in places, the route is covered in lichen and there is very little opportunity to protect. Even the second climbs looking at big pendulums in many spots if they should fall. I'm not sure I've ever been so scared and I wasn't the leader. My partner is a very experienced leader who is comfortable on lead at much tougher grades, and he got his money's worth and then some!
By YDPL8S
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
May 17, 2010

I once saw an old black and white fuzzy movie of John Rosholt (The Gambler - Gunnison, Red Rocks and Arizona hardman that is MIA) taking a whipper on this. John was in his early teens, it was one of his first leads, and one of his two partners was a young, teenage Dave Breashears. I wonder what ever happened to that piece of film?
By Steve Annecone
From: boulder
Jun 23, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

Wild route and well worth the hike and effort! The first pitch felt like 5.8 R and the second pitch to the saddle felt like 5.9 R to me. I've done it a few different ways, and I'm not seeing the line that goes at 5.8 up there. Maybe we're all sand bagging each other? Either way, awesome climbing with plenty of excitement!
By Patrick Betts
Feb 6, 2013

I wasn't sure where the start of the route really began, and I could not see the first pitch belay slings from the ground, so I just picked a line and went. I ended up starting straight below the first pitch belay slings. You start by pulling a small roof while traversing up and left on chickenheads; then once you've surmounted the roof, you climb lichen covered slab until you get to blocky, red rock, a fixed pin, and then to the slung hole for the first pitch anchors. I thought this way was 5.8R/X, maybe 5.9R/X (the hardest part was pulling the roof 8 feet off the ground). Couldn't place a piece of pro for the first 75 feet, basically until the fixed pin. Is this the actual start?

Also, anyone know what the bolted route is that continues up from the first pitch belay of the South Face route?
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 6, 2013

The actual start is considerably right of the first pitch belay slings. It follows a ramp up and left, following the line of least resistance (5.5).

Eye Of the Storm heads up from this first belay, although it has no bolts on it. I only remember seeing bail slings above and left of the first belay from people who were lost. Perhaps you saw these slings and assumed they were attached to bolts?
By Steve Annecone
From: boulder
Mar 1, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

Patrick, that first pitch you describe is the most direct and probably the best way to start the South Face. Turns out it's the (now) first pitch of the Kor Dalke added by D. Light and G. Miller not too long ago. There's plenty of gear down low and where you need it, it's just tricky... bring RPs if you want to sew up the crux. I consider it 10a-PG. The bolted line above is Hasta La Hueco.
By doze
From: Denver, CO
Apr 7, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

I expected some tricky route finding and adventurous climbing on this one and was rather underwhelmed. First 2 pitches to the first bolted anchor are 5.4. Then there's a 30-foot pitch to the ridge. The moves were easier than on North face, but the rock wasn't as solid.

There was a couple working on a bolted line that goes straight up from the first belay (that Steve mentioned above). It has just gotten a FA and the red tag is now removed. They said it goes at 5.12d. Looks like an instant classic.

Also I tried traversing up and left from the second belay on a sloping ramp. By going there, I was hoping to reach the bolts on a face above the 5.12d pitch. Lack of protection and 5.10-ish move around 30ft from the anchor made me back off, but the rock quality was good and moves were fun.
By C Miller
Administrator
Apr 7, 2013

That would be Hasta La Hueco (5.12), doze.
By Eric Klammer
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 20, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Still R rated in my opinion despite the added bolts. P1 is run out on easier ground with the harder, steeper climbing above better protected but climbing through many scary flakes and some choss. P2 has little pro and climbs across crispy and lichen covered rock. P3 is run out above the bolts on easier ground.

Overall a very fun climb in somewhat of an anti-classic sense (lichen, crispy rock, somewhat run out over old pins...). Definitely a great adventure! Route finding wasn't bad, just use common sense and follow the path of least resistance. And don't forget, this climb isn't over until your feet are back on the ground, that rap is a doozy!