West Side aka West Chimney
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I am tempted to give this route the bomb. When I climbed it, it was covered in bird shit, cold and damp. I'm sure the route is slightly better under different conditions however so one star is probably appropriate.
Start up the Blind Faith crack on the west side of the Bastille. After about 50 feet, the West Chimney breaks off to the left along some obvious holds. Stop when you reach the base of a right-facing dihedral (5.5 a little loose/manky).
Pitch 2 heads up the corner which turns to left-facing. Pull around the corner to the right at the top (crux moves) and into the large chimney that makes up the last part of P2 of Blind Faith. Cruise to the top. There is a little bit of crack climbing at the crux that is interesting. So, if that's your bag, give it a go.
|Photos of West Side aka West Chimney Slideshow
Unknown climber on West Side.
Lyn Lammert leading the second pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Upper pitch of West Side, left of Blind Faith.
Kimberly arriving at the 1st belay.
Roth halfway up the first pitch.
On the 5.8 crack variation, second pitch.
In the 5.8 handcrack (variation), 2nd pitch.
The offwidth below the fun hand crack. FAT!
|Comments on West Side aka West Chimney
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 11, 2002
I remember this route being better than Chris indicates. It also contains (on pitch 2) one of the few "easy offwidth" cracks around. If you are leading at your limit, you might need some big gear to protect this well.
On a historical note, I believe it was this route that was downclimbed (in error) by Beth Coates and Pete Takeda. Beth fell and is now paralyzed from the waist down. Be careful!
|By Anonymous Coward|
Feb 12, 2002
If I'm not mistaken, the aforementioned party did not attempt to downclimb West Chimney, but had climbed P1 of Blind Faith and from the belay ledge opted to traverse unroped right and off on the downsloping rotten band/ledge. There is one lower 5th class move with 30-40 feet of exposure on this downclimb, and the rock is poor.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 12, 2002
Check out Pete's account of this accident on members.aol.com/ptakeda1/writing/the_fall.html He does not give details on exactly where they were. This is just the easiest route on this face and I was assuming they were downclimbing it, but I don't really know.
|By Darren O'Connor|
Jun 10, 2002
Doing this route yesterday, my partner and I gave the first pitch a 5.5++, and the finishing pitch a 5.7++ (rather than the 5.5, 5.7 of the guidebook). I wish I'd read George's comments to bring big gear--leading out for pitch two and finding my #4 Camalot not up to the task made me glad this was not one of my first outings of the year. Other than being, IMHO, a sandbag, this was a very fun and varied route.
|By pete cogan|
Aug 5, 2002
One more thought on this route: it's got clean crack climbing, a funky loose rock traverse (P1), an easy roof (again P1, but maybe we were a bit off route), an off width, and an airy traverse. I thought it was different and well worth it. And except for the OW, I thought the pro was all there.
|By Bryon Baker|
Aug 13, 2003
I did this climb as my first on-sight lead last night. I think Richard Rossiter's guidebook understates how far left and up you need to traverse on the first pitch. There is a little green shrub at the base of the "right-leaning, right-facing dihedral with a wide crack" that can be easily spotted from the ground. Look for that to get an idea of how far left and up you need to go before you start. The crux was excellent and had a couple of very "balancy" moves on it - nothing extraordinarily difficult, but great fun with a lot of air beneath you. IMHO, I think Chris has done this route a disservice with his evaluation above. While it certainly has a lot of pigeon shit on it (and pigeons that can scare the shit of you as they fly out of their roost) in a couple of spots, the route has some excellent features: + Off width crack that is good for beginners + Varied moves - balancing, traversing, chimney (second pitch), layback. All in all, I think this route should be upgraded to two stars. I am definitely going back.
|By Scott Conner|
From: Lyons, CO
Aug 13, 2003
I agree that this climb is much better than the description suggests. P1 is a good warm up with steep climbing on big holds, mildly runout. P2 offers a fun, easy OW, a steep corner, a delicate step around move, and a fun chimney finish. It also pretty much rounds out the difficulty gamut for Bastille climbing. Worth doing!
|By steve dieckhoff|
Aug 13, 2003
That's an impressive "first-lead-ever" and not really one that I'd recommend as such. One thing worth mentioning is that the 2nd pitch is a good alternative to the 2nd pitch of Blind Faith (up & left from the belay and joining it just above the OW). As P2 of Blind Faith is a bit dodgey at dusk, there is no fixed rap anchors atop P1, and they didn't know about the West Chimney, Beth chose the dubious descent route toward the right.
Apr 15, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b
I've done this one twice. It is good in parts, however both times that I've been on this there has been a ton of bird poop and birds. All of the doo doo is concentrated at the second pitch crux. The smell up there was so foul that I did not want to stop to place pro. Plus the last time I climbed it I thought that I was going to be attacked by the two pigeons that flew out of their perch right when my face was even with them. Other than that, the climb is good.
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jul 10, 2005
Just climbed this route for the first time today, with a group of three even. First of all, it is a much less secure 5.7 than the Bastille Crack. The traverse after the first part of Blind Faith leads you to one of the many angled rock layers. This traverse has rather crappy gear, but if you stay low until it nearly intersects the upper crack/ramp, you are rewarded with a fairly new piton near your feet. Climb straight up from there and get a small cam in a crack through the rotten, red rock. If you were lucky enough to still have some cams in the #2-#3 [Camalot] range, you can build an anchor on this larger part of the ledge. If not, you can traverse right to a smaller crack that eats nuts and small cams.
I had nothing that would fit the offwidth above, so I opted for the deeply inserted left leg style of climbing this section. Your second will enjoy staying out of the offwidth and instead stepping on dainty footholds on the slab. After the offwidth, there is a large boulder perched at the top of the crack. I went around right andplaced my first piece of P2 in a crack behind it. Go up above into the continuing crack about 20ft where good gear awaits. At the traverse right, you will see a ring piton that is easily clipped before committing to the traverse. A second piton can also be clipped while into he traverse. Rope drag for me was insane up above this, so be careful of that. You'll come to a small cave above the traverse. Instead of going straight up out of the cave, look around to the face out and left and see a nice spot for a mid size cam. The rest of the climb tapers off in difficulty and route finding tasks. No birds nesting. -Tim Stich
|By Cody Munger|
From: Carson City, NV
Nov 3, 2005
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a
Oh man. That traverse under the gnarly-looking, right-facing dihedral on P1 was horrendous. I didn't trust any of my gear placements and I was fearful that my hand holds would simply pop off. Aiding up Blind Faith probably would have been safer than this crappy traverse.
As far as the off-width, I didn't bother with it. The face climbing to the right was much easier. Unfortunately, the biggest cam I had was a number 3, and that went in right below the crack. The rest I ran out. In fact, I only managed to get in two pieces from the diversion of the route from Blind Faith to the top of the off width. Spicy.
From: Golden, CO
Jun 16, 2006
I think this route deserves three stars. There is that seemingly loose section on the first pitch, but you can’t discount the first 35 feet of beautiful hand jams. This section seems to often get overlooked??
P1) Place a nice #2 Camalot at the top of the hand crack, and start working your way up and left. You’ll see a big block with a fist size v-slot in the back of it. I placed a red Alien there that I would’ve felt comfortable falling on, but the climbing was seemingly safe and easy here. I stepped down 2-3 feet and continued up and left and found a piton nailed in the back of a small shelf. Just above that piton was a small blocky overhand (sort of) that had awesome nut and small cam placements behind it. Pop over the easy block and climb straight up or traverse out left and then up to the ledge. Save a #4 and #0.5 Camalot for the belay. The #0.5 Cam can be nicely placed underneath the huge block sitting on the ledge. You can also sling a small block sticking up out of the ledge.
P2) Some folks mentioned this pitch being run-out, and if you don’t have gear for a 10-12” offwidth crack it may be just a little. But a seasoned Vedauwoo climber would disagree. I placed a #3 Camalot in a groove (probably would’ve held) above the block at the start of the offwidth and climbed the offwidth 15-20’ to its end. Underneath another big block at the finish of the offwidth, I equalized a #0.75 and small nut, trucker! I highly recommend climbing the offwidth, just stick a leg in it and start shimmying…you’re not going to fall. It is awful tempting to climb the face to the right of the crack, but the route name has “Chimney” in it, and this is it, so enjoy! Once completed, continue up the small dihedral before the crux traverse and place that red Alien, again. I thought the traverse was relatively easy, great hands, good feet, just moved through it quickly and you’ll be fine! Avoid placing gear at the end of the traverse in the big chimney for rope drag, but if you have to, put a really long sling on it. When you get out on the face, just to the left of the large chimney you can slot a #10 nut and .75 Camalot just above it. From there its easy ground, but really fun climbing to the top with more beautiful hand jams.
|By Steve Levin|
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2007
The correct name for this route is "West Side", a name used since the 1967 High Over Boulder.
|By Gary Schmidt|
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 22, 2008
There is some very good climbing in the initial right angling crack (though I thought pretty stout in places for 5.5). Not for the beginning 5.5 leader. However, I would not repeat this climb because for me the traverse left on pitch one and the moves up to the belay are just too dangerous for my liking. All those flakes jutting out look so tempting to grab but I was fearful the whole way that at any time the holds would come off. (A few even moved when I started to weight them). Anyways, it is an adventure and gives you great views and expose, just be super careful. If you do climb it I would also suggest a couple of extra pieces in the 1-2 cam size range.
|By Greg D|
Jun 2, 2008
Climbed this Sat. Definitely a decent route, great exposure, and quality rock except for the traverse. There is a good fixed pin on the traverse if you go far enough. At least twice I was tempted to go straight up to the ledge, but my gear was iffy and so was the rock, so I continued traversing and found a good pin.
P2 was more exciting as we did not follow the route description very well. After the OW we continued straight up (no traverse) following the crack system. It steepens, then you must move around right and up to stay in the crack system. You automatically merge with Blind Faith/West Chimney after that. The gear is good and the rock is excellent. Felt like 8+ or 9 for a few moves.
|By Allen Hill|
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Jun 3, 2008
This route would be a typical Eldo forgettable moderate for me at best. Well it sure kicked my ass once in the form of weird timing at 13 years of age. I got the stomach flu and puked my way up the climb. It is the hardest climb to this day I've done in Boulder!
|By Rodger Raubach|
Mar 12, 2011
Overall, just another mediocre route on the Bastille; my climb notes stated: "Not one that needs frequent repetition." Almost, but not quite, a bomb.
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 29, 2011
+1 for birds flying in my face. I stood up in the crack on the second pitch and birds were right in front of me. I held on tightly while they ran into me and the wall for probably 10 seconds before they found their way out. Poor birds! While there were a few fun moves on this route, the combination of the terrifying choss at the end of the first pitch, the run out at the beginning of the second pitch, and the birds flying into me, made this a route I don't recommend.
I stayed left, and climbed the 5.8 crack on the second pitch, out of fear of encountering more choss (I could see that the 5.8 had good gear). I'd recommend staying left, because the moves were fun and well protected.
|By Clint Locks|
Jul 19, 2011
Don't know why people are bagging on this route. Sure, there's bird crap from time to time. If you can't handle that, just don't climb it in bird season. I think it's a great route for someone who isn't quite climbing at the 5.10 level, but still wants a nice summit route. The lower and upper portions are really fun and protect well. There's another option if you want to avoid the off-width: traverse right past two dubious pins, which dumps you a bit earlier into Blind Faith.