The Bastille - N Face Rock Climbing
BETA PHOTO: The north and west faces of the Bastille. 5. Werk...
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A mega-classic rock. The Bastille and, in particular, its North Face, is a cornerstone of climbing in Eldorado Canyon State Park. According to P. Ament in High Over Boulder
this was once called Chimney Rock and may have been named The Bastille by Stan Shepard in 1957. This modest, 350 foot crag can be divided into The N face
and the W face
for organizational purpose. The N face
is steep, shaded, and has exceptional routes for intermediate climbers and advanced climbers who seek out the mental challenges in addition to the physical. There are those who count the seconds attempting to set solo speed records here. There is probably little for the lower end difficulty climber nor the high end climber here.
Once, the summit provided an anchor point for the cable upon which crossed Ivy Baldwin
on many death-defying crossings of the canyon. Today, the cable remains testament to a disappearing breed of adventurer. Climbing here began at least in the 1950s. There are legends of Frenchmen swilling champagne during an ascent up The Bastille Crack
on French Independence Day. Today, this remains a crag that holds a special place in the hearts of climbers who have progressed to climb some of the great walls and peaks of the world.
Amazingly, this face had some early high standard climbing with Stan Shepard and Allen Bergen freeing the upper 4 pitches of the Bastille Crack in 1957; however, the most amazing feat is likely Ray Northcutt's 1959 freeing of the Northcutt Start
, 5.10d, after being told, incorrectly, that his competitor, Layton Kor, had just freed it.
This crag has been a proving grounds for some of Colorado's finest including: Layton Kor, Steve Komito, Pat Ament, Larry Dalke, Ray Northcutt, Dudley Chelton, Rob Candelaria, Roger Briggs, Kevin Donald, Jeff Lowe, Charlie Fowler, David Breashears, Duncan Ferguson, Christian Griffith, Mic Fairchild, Derek Hersey, among others.
Some of the finest routes on this face include: The Bastille Crack
, 5.9+; Outer Space
, 5.10c; Northcutt Start
, 5.10d (likely Colorado's and possibly the US's first 5.10); X-M
, 5.10d s; Northwest Corner
, 5.11a s; Wide Country
, 5.11a s; The Spice Tour
, 5.11 s; & Hairstyles and Attitudes
There are so many variations, linkups that it may be hard to list them all and unmotivating for most to submit these to the database.
Descents off the top traverse along an exposed-at-times break/ramp near the top to the N side of the rock and gain a 3rd class ramp down to the Fowler Trail. From here, descend the West Face hiking trail (3rd class near the bottom) back down to the base. A few of the routes have rappel descents, but they are the minority.
Come and climb here, but realize that many share your passion for the experiences found on this stone.
The most arduous approach in Eldo by far...At least a 1 min. walk from the parking lot to the West.
Once you enter Eldorado Canyon State Park, you will hopefully find parking within 200 yards in one of two areas. Park. Walk uphill to the obvious bridge across South Boulder Creek. Look up and left. This is The Bastille. The N face is accessed off the road. The W face
is accessed off a 3rd class trail just around the corner and up the steep slope.
Weather station 0.2 miles from here
33 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',13],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in The Bastille - N Face
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Bastille - N Face
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Bastille - N Face:
Werk Supp 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, 2 pitches
Outer Face 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
R Trad, 1 pitch, 70'
Outer Space 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
R Trad, 2 pitches
X-M 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
R Trad, 3 pitches
Space Invaders 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
R Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 70'
Wide Country 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
R Trad, 2 pitches, 230'
Saturnalia 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
PG13 Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Featured Route For The Bastille - N Face
Northcutt Start 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b CO
: Eldorado Canyon SP
: ... : The Bastille - N Face
Northcutt Start is a beautiful, short climb with a terrific tempo. Follow the crack in the corner of the left-facing dihedral 10 feet to the left of The Bastille Crack. Fantastic jams and laybacks gradually grow more strenuous up the steep corner. Then move to the right and turn the corner (there's a trick - if you can't figure it out ask someone, and they'll probably be able to tell you). The first time I got this one I got to the ground and was grinnin' from ear to ear....[more] Browse More Classics in CO
© 2013 Ken Cangi, All Rights Reserved.
BETA PHOTO: View of Bastille from Wind Tower. Showing Werk Su...
BETA PHOTO: Looking across at the North Face. Notice the tiny ...
On this beautiful day, the Bastille reminded me of...
BETA PHOTO: Bastille West Buttress
Bastille Wall after ice storm. © 2015 Ken Cangi...
By Chris Dawson
From: Denver, CO
Feb 5, 2002
This is a comment about the marking of the first pitch of Outer Space (#14) in the above photo. The actual route takes the heavily chalked dihedral that is 15 ft. or so right of the one marked in the picture. The only reason I bring this up, is that I have seen people attempting to climb Outer Space who have wandered up this first corner by accident (I believe it's part of Wide Country). So to any of you who are uncertain about how far to traverse from the Bastille Crack to Outer Space, it's not the first corner, but the next one to the right with tons of chalk.
By David Warriner
Aug 13, 2002
I was climbing on Wind Tower on 8/9/2002 and photographed a party on the Bastille on what *appeared* to be Wide Country (my best guess - it was to the right of the Bastille Crack, and within spitting distance of it at the bottom).
I got some great shots of you guys. One was wearing a bright blue jacket, the other a bright yellow/green jacket. If the party who climbed that route reads this, contact me and I will email you the pictures.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 1, 2003
Don't expect to find bolted anchors at all of the double white spots on the picture above.