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Teepee Tower Crack 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 250'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Ken Trout and Eric Winkelman, 1984
Page Views: 4,260
Submitted By: Brian Milhaupt on Jun 13, 2003

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Luke getting into it between the first and second ...


Climbed this route on Friday the 13th, so the hailstorm shouldn't have been such a surprise. This route receives no praise in the guidebooks in the form of stars, but we thought it was a great two pitches of mostly wide hands with a few wider sections.

Hike up to the start of the gully on the left side of Wigwam Dome. The route starts in the first left-facing dihedral you come across. There are several leftward bulges in the crack ~50' up.

Climb 100' to a sling belay on a ledge on the right. Pitch two continues up the crack through a fun roof for about 150' to a bolted belay on the face to the left. A more comfortable belay can be had on a chockstone in the crack. Rappel down and over the overhang on the left, to the gully. Our 60m made it on rope stretch. It would also be possible to rappel down the slab. I'm not sure if a 60m would make it.


Camalots #1-4, small Big Bros are nice.

Photos of Teepee Tower Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Luke laybacking and jamming on the lower angle start. There are lots of knobs for your feet.
Luke laybacking and jamming on the lower angle sta...
John towards the end of pitch 2 of Tee Pee Tower.
John towards the end of pitch 2 of Tee Pee Tower.
Ivan starting up P2. Strange but beautiful light in this photo highlights the crystalline granite. This easy start is followed by a lot of deceptively difficult wider crack climbing.
Ivan starting up P2. Strange but beautiful light i...
The top of P1: rock horn has been used as a rap in the past (old tat and leaver-biners). I slung this and back it up with a 0.75 and stopper in the crack to the RIGHT of the next pitch (I also used this as my first piece of pro and led high up into the second pitch before placing an absolute nuclear bomb proof #2 Camalot. The initial 30 or so feet of P2 is good hands. <br />Another option if weather is threatening OR if the first pitch gave you ANY trouble is to bail from here.
BETA PHOTO: The top of P1: rock horn has been used as a rap in...
Luke laybacking the first "ear", which turned out to be much easier than it looked.
Luke laybacking the first "ear", which t...
A little higher up on P2. Still easy. There are knobs for a while for our feet, but then they mostly run out.
A little higher up on P2. Still easy. There are kn...
The top of the second pitch (very photogenic!!!); however, I debated on trying to move left into the crack in the center of the photo (this would have required a tiny bit of slab on the traverse into it), and since I was "on-sighting", I wasn't sure how difficult the crack would be since you cannot really see into it from your position. <br />Never fear as you hit the "roof", smaller-medium gear works really well (there was a bomber fixed stopper leading up to the roof as of 4 July 2014). After negotiating the "roof", I place a red Camalot and made the easier than expected traverse across to the new anchors. This was an excellent route.
BETA PHOTO: The top of the second pitch (very photogenic!!!); ...
The luxurious anchor atop the second pitch. (Thanks to those who put in the hard work & effort to install this.) The end of the second pitch is thrilling all the way to the anchors. We used a single 60m & a pull cord to rap with; it seemed you could go with a 50m and a pull cord and have no problem rapping to the ground. Although from the comments, folks have made it down with a single 60m without too much problem....
BETA PHOTO: The luxurious anchor atop the second pitch. (Thank...
Luke attempting the second ear via wide crack grovelling. This didn't work--laybacking did.
Luke attempting the second ear via wide crack grov...
This is a picture of the turn off for the climber's trail. The trail becomes very easy to follow and is marked further up with cairns- this well established climber's trail will deliver you to the left side base of Wigwam in the "Teepee Tower Crack" vicinity.
BETA PHOTO: This is a picture of the turn off for the climber'...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 6, 2011
By Kenny P
From: Woodland Park
Jul 6, 2014
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

This was my first trip to the area (4 July 2014). My wife and I were trying to find a place away from the crowds - we definitely found it! Directions listed here were generally accurate; however, I noticed there are "four" creek crossings mentioned; not sure if Mother Nature has changed anything, but my wife and I counted exactly "five" crossings and then encountered the "hairpin" in the trail (incidentally this is the SECOND hairpin). I mapped it out prior to our trip, and it was approx. 1.3 miles to the turn-off (off the main hiking trail). The initial 50m of the climber's trail isn't exactly invisible, but it's not overly obvious either. However, armed with all the prior beta as well this "update", you should have no problems finding this junction. Once on the climber's trail, we found it very easy to follow - we performed a bit of trail maintenance where a massive tree had fallen and obliterated a bit of the trail. We also did our part to rebuild a few of the cairns which had obviously fallen over.
We hiked in armed to camp for a few days (there is a suitable site with a modest fire ring on the opposite side of the hiking trail at the junction with the climber's trail, and it's next to water).

THE ROUTE: the gear beta was quite helpful, and believe the prior posts - it's considerably longer than it looks from the ground! I would also offer this as far as the route breakdown: P1: 5.9 awkward, takes an assortment of gear - don't worry about "saving" your #3s if you want to use them on this part - the anchor can be all-natural with a nice backup with smaller gear. P2: 5.10 (let's call it like it is.... I've climbed enough "Old School" rated routes to always keep a high degree of suspicion as well as routes in the South Platte.... It's 5.10 and somewhat sustained AND fantastic!

GEAR: I took medium stoppers & Singles in smaller cams up to #0.75 Camalot, THEN: two #1 Camalots; two #2 Camalots; three #3 Camalots; two #3.5 Camalots; one 3.5 DMM Dragon Cam (blue Camalot size equivalent); and two #4 Camalots
With careful planning and "strategery", you should be able to manage the second pitch, think running it out a bit (either by ability or walking cams). Down low it's generally hands - the middle section all the way to the second "pod" is the biz, afterwards you should be able to use gear other than a blue Camalot!!!!!
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 23, 2003

Great route! we definitely felt it was 3 stars. Couple notes (or opinions):

Bring 2 60 meter ropes to get off (by rapping off of the 3 bolts at the top). As Brian said, rap towards the climber's left, and you will go over a wild, exposed arete and into an overhanging corner. There is one little spot where there is a slight crease in the arete that the ropes will settle into and keep them form grinding on the lip of the arete.

I think the first pitch was about 120'. This pitch felt 10 times harder than any 8 at Turkey. YMMV.

Second pitch. Wow. This felt about 10 times harder than any 9 at Turkey. Again YMMV. The pitch is deceptively long and more strenuous than I would have guessed. If you are even remotely challenged at 5.9 (such as myself), you will want to carry your body weight in #3 Camalots and #4 Friends. We had a double set of Camalots and 2 #4 Friends. I lead the first 60 feet and was pretty much out of wide hand/fist gear. I wussed, and my partner lead it. He cleaned one of the #3 Camalots and shoved it for about 100' (I think he was able to dump one or maybe 2 pieces in the #1 to #2 Camalot range.

The anchor was ok, but not the best. One 1/4" Star Dryvin, one 1/4" button, and one 3/8" that looked ok. Probably won't kill anybody in the next 6 months.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 24, 2003

First pitch felt 10 times harder than any 5.8 at Turkey, second pitch felt 10 times harder than any 5.9 at Turkey. Second pitch is deceptively long and fairly uniform in the big-hands to fist-range for gear. from the ground this pitch looks like a piece of cake, but it has weird awkward geometry that makes it kind of strenuous (for me anyway). Most people will want to carry a lot of #3 Camalots and #4 Friends. We had a relatively small rack in this size, and my partner shoved a #3 Camalot for the last 100 feet. I think he was able to dump a #2 Camalot and a #1 Camalot along the way. Damn good route.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
Nov 1, 2006

The Trout guide says, paraphrased, "Your happiness on this route will be in direct proportion to the number of #4 Friends you carry." He's referring to P2.

Here is the massive amount of gear we used (wide crack masters can ignore this):
P1: singles to red Camalot, doubles to #4 Camalot.
P2: Triples from .75 to #3/blue Camalot, #4 Friend, 3.5 Camalot, double #4 Camalots. I used 3 .75 Camalots and a #1 plus a couple of Aliens for the belay at the top of P2 (I didn't want to delay at the sketchy rap bolts on the slab). And with all this gear I had to leap frog a long way below the low-angle trough. I should have started leap frogging from the the start on P2. The pitch is long!

The rap bolts on the left are pretty bad. There is one 3/8" bolt sticking way out plus 2 old 1/4" bolts. We rigged the rap from the gully rather than have 3 of us hanging from the bolts at one time.
By Jonathan White
From: littleton, co
Oct 15, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Fun climb; however, you need a 65m+ rope to rap and bring extra 2,3,4 Camalots for the second pitch.
By Trevor
From: Cottonwood Heights, UT
May 19, 2008

Among the best in the Platte! It is possible to rap hard to climber's left from top of pitch 2 with a 60m.
By Alan Searcy
From: Pine, Colorado
Jun 2, 2008
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

Can be done as one very long pitch if your second simul climbs the first 30 feet. Not recommended that you do it thataway. It's a bonafide runout, burn-your-underwear, feels like 10b, asswhuppin' horror show if done as one.
By Sergio P
From: Idaho Springs, CO
Jul 14, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

You can rap off the 1st pitch with one 60m rope at the sling belay.
By John Maurer
Jul 30, 2009

You can rap from the anchors just left of the end of the 2nd pitch with a 60m rope IF YOU GO TO THE TREE 40 feet below and rap again from there. Two of the anchors are 1/4 inchers (one Star dryven, if I remember correctly) but the 3rd is bomber. Be sure to have your mid-point pretty precise and you can get down the hanging gully, too (on stretch).
By justin watts
From: Golden, CO
Jul 31, 2009

A 70m makes the rap down the slab, the direct rap. Be careful though it just barely reaches the second set of bolts.
By Wally
From: Denver
Apr 15, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

GREAT route! Here is our gear list:

Stoppers - none! Leave them at home.
Aliens - single set green through red.
Camalot juniors - double set.
Camalots - 2 ones, 3 twos, 5 or 6 threes, 2 or 3 fours (either old style or new).
The second pitch is the money pitch. Long and pretty darn sustained!
A 70 meter rope is best for the rap. The rap bolts are mank but at least there are three of them.
By Jesse Morehouse
From: CO
Jun 21, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

The rap anchor has been replaced. Two 3/8 by 3 3/4 inchers w/chain. Didn't include the "better" bolt from the old anchor as there was no way of guessing how deep it actually was seated. A good excuse to hide in the shade instead of man up and go climb something in the sun....

A few thoughts on the route - I'm not as comfortable with my manhood as Alan, so I'll stick to the 9+ rating on the topo with the caveat that if you don't know what an old school 9+ means then you better come with your game face on!

Did I say awesome? Maybe better than awesome is more accurate. Especially P2. Can't say enough good stuff about it!

Wally's gear list above seems pretty good, but I also brought, and both me and my partner used, nuts and even, gasp, a hex on both pitches.

Belay at the end of P2 sitting on the chockstone off a gear anchor if you are a lazy bastard like me or just don't like standing on a slab in the sun in climbing shoes forever. Lots of anchor options.

GREAT SHADE ROUTE!!! Late June and it was in the shade till early afternoon.

Finally, I'd bring a 70m or two 60m for the rap. It seems you *can* reach the ground w/a single 60m but you are in for a pendulum from hell if you blow it.

If all you have is one 60m, you can rap straight down from the rap station 40 feet to the spruce in the crack and from there you can easily reach the ground with plenty of rope to spare, but it is a bit of a hassle.
By GMBurns
Nov 9, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Save your #4 cams for the upper section on P2, otherwise you'll be running it out about 40 feet.
By jmeizis
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jan 6, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Although it looks like you could combine pitches from the ground, don't try it. Both pitches are a lot longer than they look from the ground. The first pitch is super fun with a bit of an awkward finish.

Bring a #4 for the second pitch, and save your #3s for later in the pitch. I didn't bring a #4 and placed my #3 too early. After running it out for about 40 feet, I placed an under cammed #2 (the biggest piece I had left and ran it out another 20 feet or so till I got good gear near the anchors. That's what I get for not planning more carefully.