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The 37th Cog in Melvin's Wheel aka Melvin's Wheel 

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

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Bob Bradley
Page Views: 15,695
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (170)
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Pennie Schwalm jams up the second pitch.
Season raptor closures MORE INFO >>>

Description 

This is a great route at an even grade. Hike around to the west side of the large (100 feet) flatiron that leans up against the rock. The route begins where the flatiron ends.

P1 - Climb a left-facing corner with two small trees (or perhaps one?-bad memory), continue up cracks and turn the right side of a roof, and traverse right to a good ledge (5.8, 150 feet). The cracks just to the right, behind the flatiron, are bushy and not nearly as fun.

P2 - Climb the beautiful hand crack in a blank slab and belay at a horn (now gone) (5.8, 100 feet).

P3 - Climb over a 5.8 bulge into a flared chimney that leads to the top.


Protection 

Standard rack to a #3 Camalot with optional #4 for pitch 3.


Descent 

Per Nick Wilder: Easy West Descent - 60m rope only.

From the very top, easily walk down the ramp 20 feet to the north, then scramble (4th class) west back into the chimney and cross over to some stout bolts on the west side of the chimney. One bolt is just visible from the summit. The bolts face north and have a chain but no rings. We slung the rope through the quicklinks.

Rap 15 feet to a ledge, and continue 80 feet more to a large boulder with another rap station hidden underneath. Use knots - you'll be near the end of the rope, but a 60m reaches fine.

Another 50' easy rap from there and you're on the ground with an easy walk back.



Photos of The 37th Cog in Melvin's Wheel aka Melvin's Wheel Slideshow Add Photo
Climber in profile on a beautiful day at Lumpy.  Photo by Lon Black.
Climber in profile on a beautiful day at Lumpy. P...
Ahad Sabet on the classic 2nd pitch of "Melvin's Wheel", Lumpy Ridge, CO.
Ahad Sabet on the classic 2nd pitch of "Melvin's W...
Mike Borkowski working up the flared crack on the second pitch.
Mike Borkowski working up the flared crack on the ...
Route tracing...suggest rapping after p2, to avoid nasty OW finish.
BETA PHOTO: Route tracing...suggest rapping after p2, to avoid...
Beautiful 5.8 handcrack on P2.
Beautiful 5.8 handcrack on P2.
Low on the first pitch.
Low on the first pitch.
Mike Borkowski jamming past the roof near the top of the first pitch.
Mike Borkowski jamming past the roof near the top ...
Looking down from the middle of the third pitch.  Fun wideness!
Looking down from the middle of the third pitch. ...
Someone sewing it.
Someone sewing it.
Just over the little roof on P1.
Just over the little roof on P1.
All sewn up.
All sewn up.
Adrain bringin' up the rear.
Adrain bringin' up the rear.
Good advice in the comments,  link P2 with the start of P3 (there is a great stance above where you can see in the photo).  That way you can use a #4 for this crux and then use it again later, and skip the poor belay spot.
Good advice in the comments, link P2 with the sta...
The wide, easy, upper part of the third pitch.
The wide, easy, upper part of the third pitch.
Melvins Wheel
BETA PHOTO: Melvins Wheel
At the roof on the first pitch.
At the roof on the first pitch.
Mike Wysuph climbing the superb second pitch of Melvin's Wheel.
Mike Wysuph climbing the superb second pitch of Me...
Another shot of the amazing 2nd pitch....  You're not tired of looking at it yet are you? <br />This pitch would be good practice for J-Crack.  Very similar flared crack but a little easier....
Another shot of the amazing 2nd pitch.... You're ...
Climbing the first pitch.
Climbing the first pitch.
Dan, cleaning the 2nd pitch.
Dan, cleaning the 2nd pitch.
Comments on The 37th Cog in Melvin's Wheel aka Melvin's Wheel Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 11, 2014
By Chris Fisher
Jul 9, 2001

I agree. It was a great climb with excellent rock. I did think that pro was more difficult to place on the first pitch than the second. I just let the third pitch run out.

By Anonymous Coward
Dec 13, 2001

This has been one of my all-time favorite hand cracks on the ridge in my 6 years of climbing there. The second pitch is one of those that you wish could go on forever!

By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 13, 2002

Great climb, but the 2nd pitch hand crack is more like a hand flare/water groove. Don't expect tons of sinkers like the 3rd pitch of Pear Buttress or Country Club Crack.

By Warren Teissier
Mar 14, 2002

I have to agree with Leo, the second pitch is cool, but the so called crack is shallow and not very consistent. [Definitely] a tricky lead for the level....

By justin dubois
From: Estes Park
Mar 25, 2002

That thing is the definition of a 5.8 Lumpy Splitter!

By Ryan Miller
May 16, 2002

A light rack is all that is needed, a few cams in the 00, 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 a set of nuts and a few larger cams 1, 2, and maybe a 3 off the belay above P3. I over-racked for this route when I did it last.

The west rap will run short with a 60 meter rope. However, there are some slings and rap rings slung around some boulders in the west gully at the end of the first rap (as of May 15, 2002) making for a short 50-foot rap to a walk off.

By Anonymous Coward
Jun 7, 2002

Don't skip this great route just because of the flaring chimney. It is possible to rappel from the slings at the end of the hand/finger crack on the second pitch using a single 60 meter rope. This will get you back the two bolt anchor on Library Ledge that is at the top of the first pitch. From here, you can rap to the big boulders on the ledge below where there is another rap anchor made up of two bomber stoppers and a piton connected by a chain. Look for it off to the left. This rappel will take you right back down to your pack where you'll discover that voracious chipmunks have chewed a hole in it.

By Anonymous Coward
Jul 9, 2002

I climbed this route again for the first time in a few years. I was astonished at some bolts at the ledge at the end of the first pitch. Perhaps there was some previous discussion as to the necessity of these bolts. But the plentiful cracks and the slung flake would sway my opinion to thinking that they should never have been drilled.

By Brice W
Jul 9, 2002

This is a classic climb. The finger/hand crack on P2 is flared, but it is fun to climb and takes gear well so you can sew it up. The chimney on P3 is not bad at all. Smaller cracks allow you to protect it well (though it is nice to have a #4 Camalot or equiv. to sew up the bulge as stated above), and the awkward section is not sustained. The climbing after the chimney is easy, but interesting.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 30, 2002
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Several comments: 1. Bring a 60-meter rope. This lets you belay the first pitch from the ground and make it to the bolt anchor. With a 50-meter rope, you have to scramble up 30 feet to a tree for the initial belay. 2. With a 60-meter rope, you can also extend the second pitch through the roof and continue about 50 feet to a good belay stance on the left, just before the route becomes continuous wide grooves. This avoids the cramped belay at the horn below the roof. If you brought a #4 Camalot, you can use it at the roof (2nd pitch) and in the final wide grooves (3rd pitch).

By Anonymous Coward
Sep 16, 2002

Spectacular climb. I agree the pro on pitch 2 is sorta tricky. I used several small nuts.

So, I got a little confused at the very top. As you make your way up the chimney on the 3rd pitch, you'll come to a large flat alcove-type place very near the top. You'll want to climb up to the right (east) side to get to the top with the rap rings. Although there may be rings on the left (west) side, I didn't see any. If you set your second belay at the slung horn just beneath the chimney, you can stretch a 60 m rope JUST BARELY to the rap rings at the top. Also, I recommend making a short rappel from the very top and then mostly downclimbing (easy) to the second rappel station at the slung chockstone. There's lots of chances to get your rope stuck if you continue the rappel to the ends of the rope. mike.

By shad O'Neel
May 4, 2003

The nut/pin anchor thing describes wasn't there, but we rapped down a bit further to the east and scrambled off. Then walked around and it was good. If it wasn't snowing like mad today, I would have climbed the third pitch, but now it gives me an excuse to do this classic again!! Superb climbing.

By pete cogan
Jun 28, 2003

Regarding pro and the 2nd pitch: i thought it was easily protected with stoppers. This was not an easy pitch for me to lead, but I felt very comfortable slotting in medium and up stoppers along the way. No need for small ones.

By Hayden Yurkanis
Jul 22, 2003

This climb has a weird exiting pitch, go up the easy groove-chimney until it brings you into a cave with a flake in the middle. Climb up the right side of the flake and walk on top until you see the bolts. Your rope will likely get stuck after you rap.

By Dustin Bauer
Jun 19, 2004

Fun Fun Fun !!! no complaints here ran out the first pitch 5.6 the second pitch the thin crack but very well protected in my [opinion] and little exposure [considering] how much air's under your toes. Wouldn't do on the weekend though, very crowded route, [considering there is] sooooo much else to do at Lumpy in the this range and quality.

By Shane Zentner
From: Colorado
Jul 12, 2004
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed Melvin's Wheel yesterday. Every pitch is good with good pro. P2 reminded me of the first pitch of George's Tree-very fingery with decent protection. I sewed it up using small stoppers, #1 Metolius TCU/FCU and #2 Metolius TCU/FCU. A classic crack. Climb the right side of the fin in the alcove to the top and rap down a series of rappel anchors in the gully.

By Michael Kullman
Aug 1, 2004

Great route. Not quite as nice as Pear Buttress, but fun with fairly sustained climbing at the grade.

By Be Esperanza
From: Asheville, NC
May 7, 2005

This route is about as good as it gets. I liked the first pitch a lot, too. I led the 3rd pitch and found the bulge awkward but not too bad. After moving into the wide gully, I cut hard left and up through a flared crack. This is not the standard route, is harder at 5.9, and a little mungy. Let me just say one more time, this route is GREAT!

By Lee Willcockson
From: Denver, CO
May 19, 2006

Just did this climb yesterday, first two pitches were a lot of fun. Third pitch was alright, but we found the descent from the top to be rather cumbersome; we rapped off the bolts on the east side, scrambled down to the tree anchor and rapped off that, then scrambled to a sling anchor underneath a large slab in a wide crevasse, rapped, and scrambled the rest of the way. Anyone have a quicker way to get down? I would recommend bailing after the first two pitches just because the descent is so much easier.

By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 22, 2006

With H. McIntyre 5/21/06. This is the most enjoyable easy/moderate crack I've climbed at Lumpy. P1 defines the grade 5.fun and has the ultimate total couch belay. P2 is sustained at the grade but the pro is solid and adequate.

By Nick White
Jun 10, 2006

I did the first pitch yesterday and then rapped off. As I rapped, I noticed a bolt protected route directly beneath the bolts on Library Ledge. Does anyone know what this bolt protected route is and what it is rated? It looks like some awesome face moves! BTW the first pitch of Melvin's was GREAT!

By David Champion
From: Centennial, CO
Jun 25, 2006

Info on the east gully descent from Melvin's Wheel: If you rap the north anchors from the top of the third pitch (into the slot from which the east gully descent begins), scramble east down to the next rap anchor (slung rock), rap this anchor to the base of a tall free standing pinnacle (can't miss it), you will--as of June 24th, 2006--find a long section of orange webbing with two rap rings slung around a stout rock. WARNING: IF YOU RAP FROM THIS ANCHOR ON A 60M ROPE BE VERY CAREFUL--YOU WILL *NOT* REACH THE TREE-SLING ANCHOR VISIBLE FROM THIS POSITION. On a 60m rope you will end up about 15 short of the tree on easily downclimbable, but loose, terrain. BE CAREFUL! Perhaps it would be best to remove this anchor, or at least replace it with webbing of a different color because it is really ugly.

By the way, as spectacular as were the first two pitches of this route, the last pitch + east gully descent were equally, if not more, annoying. Rap after the second pitch (on a 60m rope) if you want to keep the pain-in-the-ass to fun ratio low.

By Nick Wilder
Site Landlord
From: The Bubble
Jul 30, 2006

Easy West Descent - 60M rope only

From the very top, easily walk down the ramp 20 feet to the north, then scramble (4th class) west back into the chimney and cross over to some stout bolts on the west side of the chimney. One bolt is just visible from the summit. The bolts face north and have a chain but no rings. We slung the rope through the quicklinks.

Rap 15 feet to a ledge, and continue 80 feet more to a large boulder with another rap station hidden underneath. Use knots - you'll be near the end of the rope, but a 60M reaches fine.

Another 50' easy rap from there and you're on the ground with an easy walk back.

By kirra
Jun 4, 2007

Bolts/chain/quicklink visible from climber's left around northside of rockwall slightly below summit. Best to rap directly north facing rap station against rockface instead of off to east and free hang where rope seems to get hung up. We skipped ledge 15ft down and continued to a lower ledge inside tiny rock alcove. Added bright orange sling and additional ring to rap station slung on rock. Second rap got us down to easy scramble to trail. Linked P2 crack with offwidth roof to next stance. Recommend not to wear any Patagucci or delicate stuff after flared crack on P-2. Watch afternoon thundershowers (and hail) that arrive as predicted at 1pm. Get early start. New trail & parking nicely done.

By Phill T
May 13, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Great overall climb. The third pitch should be renamed 'REI crack' based on the abundance of gear/water bottles hopelessly dropped into the abyss! Use the rap chains located NW of the summit (not the cave). It's a bit of a scramble to get to them.

By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
May 22, 2008

P2 is not splitter, nor is it a handcrack. But if you are looking for an excellent climb with a little bit of everything, this is your climb.

By James Beissel
From: Boulder, CO
May 26, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This is my favorite climb at Lumpy to date. All three pitches are excellent. A single set of cams should be addequate as long as you take advantage of opportunities to place stoppers and utilize the fixed belay stations. A long piece of accessory cord and a hook will probably score you at least one peice of booty out of the bottom of the P3 chimney.

By - - -
Jul 18, 2008

Splendid climb. Nick's descent beta is spot on too! The bolts you want to rap from (NW corner) at the top have chains, the other one's on the middle of the N side that you don't want only have rings.

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 25, 2009

The original name of this climb was "The 37th Cog in Melvin's Wheel."

By Julius Beres
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 13, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I highly recommend ignoring the comments to rap off after the hand crack! Pulling the fist crack bulge into the offwidth/chimney section was super fun and well worth doing (I thought it was the crux of the whole climb, but well protected with a #4 BD C4). I continued on P2 past the bulge on to the nice belay ledge up on the left. Done that way P1 and P2 are both almost 60 m and full of fun climbing, and both have comfortable belay ledges (belaying by the horn at the top of the hand crack as the description here suggests would be far less pleasant). Then there is a short P3 easy chimney with a few interesting moves near the top followed by a fast, easy rap that deposits you right at the base of the classic Left Book climbs.

This route has a bit of everything. Stemming, jamming, offwidth, and chimney.... I just wish it were longer than 3 pitches!

By Ammon
Jun 9, 2010

I would have to agree with Dubois-this is one of Lumpy's finest (albeit few) 5.8 cracks, and the gear on P1 & P2 is sinker all the way. You could definitely sew this one up, with the possible exception of P3. P3 is about 150+ feet, awkward, but secure feeling.
MW is easily protected w/out a #3 Camalot, although there are a few spots for it if it makes you feel better to carry it.

By Freddy.Mondale
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 19, 2012

Led pitches 1 and 3 and was happy to have a #3 for the flaring chimney on p3. Group in front of us stopped at the slot just short of the summit and as a result totally missed the rap station on the other side. They were trying to rap the route but, not surprisingly, got their rope stuck deep in the flaring chimney of p3.

By michael voth
Sep 29, 2012

The bolts on the NW side of the summit are the worst bolts I have seen in my life. I could twist the actual bolt itself (not just the hanger) on both bolts. The other bolts are much more solid, and the downclimb is not bad. Then there are two giant slung flakes for the next rap.

By Ryan Stefani
Jul 7, 2013

I can't add much other than a VERY firm second of Nick Wilder's descent instructions. They are spot-on. I wish I read them before we climbed it!

I did hear several parties talking about how "most people" don't do the third pitch. That saddens me. The third pitch might have been better than the crack pitch!

I agree with the guide book's original 8+, but I disagree with where: the P2 the crack is not an 8+. Maybe more like 8- or 8. The bulge, on the other hand.... Definitely Eldo/Lumpy 8+ for about 15 or 20'.

4 stars though. Wonderful climb!

By Nat Thiem
From: Boulder, CO
May 27, 2014

We did Nick's descent today and could not find the second rappel (though there were a few webbing scraps). I did not have webbing along, so I was not able to replace the rappel, but with a 70m rope one can almost make it to the bottom (with a short downclimb). The cracks do seem to like to catch the rope though.

By C. Archibald
Jun 11, 2014

This climb was awesome! Chimneys normally really scare me, but P3 was fun. Plenty of holds in and around the wide crack. Also lots of smaller gear is available. I had nothing bigger than a number 3. I also loved P1.

We used Nick Wilder's descent, and it was great. One piece of beta: at the top of P3, you can exit climber's left onto a pointy summit or climber's right to a rounded summit. You can only see the rap chains if you summit to the climber's right. Once on this rounded summit, look west and you should see the chains.

The second rap station was in good shape as of this week.