The Bastille 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 counts 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. The W face
provides a wonderful afternoon exposure for the cooler months. Topping out provides a wonderous view of this spirit-elevating canyon.
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 this rock on French Independence Day. The legendary, Jim Erickson, elevated himself to the challenge of an onsight, solo, first ascent of Blind Faith
on the W face. 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.
Our climbing history shows the first recorded ascent within the canyon when two Army climbers ascended the Bastille Crack in 1954 according to P. Ament in High Over Boulder
& R. Rossiter in Boulder Climbs South
This crag has been a proving grounds for some of Colorado's finest including: Layton Kor, Steve Komito, Ray Northcutt, Pat Ament, Larry Dalke, Dave Rearick, Bob Culp, Stan Shepard, Roger Briggs, Jim Erickson, Art Higbee, Duncan Ferguson, Dudley Chelton, Jeff Lowe, Kevin Donald, Rob Candelaria, David Breashears, Ed Webster, Christian Griffith, Colin Lantz, Derek Hersey, Mic Fairchild, Steve Levin, Chris Archer, among others.
Some of the finest routes here include: The Bastille Crack
, 5.7; Hair City
, 5.9 s; Werksupp
, 5.9+; West Buttress
, 5.9++; Blind Faith
, 5.10a; Outer Space
, 5.10c; Northcutt Start
, 5.10d (likely Colorado's first 5.10 in 1959 by the gifted Ray Northcutt); X-M
, 5.10d s; Rain
, 5.10d s; Northwest Corner
, 5.11a s; Wide Country
, 5.11a s; Sunset Boulevard
, 5.11b/c; The Spice Tour
, 5.11 s; Hairstyles and Attitudes
, 5.12c/d; Your Mother
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.
Note, there is still significant amounts of loose rock on this crag and pedestrians & cars lie below. Also, there is much aging fixed hardware here.
Descents off the top traverse along a 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.
57 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',22],['2 Stars',17],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',1]