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Hallett Peak

Colorado > Alpine Rock > RMNP - Rock
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details

Description

This is a somber, 1000 foot, northeast-facing wall which looks the part of a classic, craggy alpine face. It feels like it, too. The Culp-Bossier is probably the best route. The standard classic, the Northcutt-Carter (formerly 5.7) lost its first two pitches in 1999. It now goes at 5.10 R through the scar, or in the 5.8/9 range if starting on the route to the right. Ironically, it's now a great way to avoid traffic on the second buttress routes. Getting off-route, runout face climbing (on or off route), and steep climbing at remarkably moderate grades are consistent features of most people's Hallett experience.

Hallett's north face divides neatly into three buttresses. The chimneys dividing the buttresses are Hallett Chimney and the Slit, respectively, which are generally climbed as winter objectives. The first buttress is more broken and the routes are not as long, difficult, or sustained; the vast majority of the traffic centers on the Great Dihedral route. The second buttress sees most of the action with a variety of good routes in the 5.8 to 5.11 range. After the rockfall, the third buttress is seldom-climbed and is the spot for a day of adventure and solitude while other parties infest every nook and cranny of the second buttress ;)

Descent: there are two descents. The best descent for any route that tops out on the first or second buttress is to head down the ridge until a rappel is required from a bolted anchor (two ropes or a single 70 works; there is also a solid intermediate sling anchor if you have a 60 meter rope). From here, a well-cairned 3rd/4th class route weaves back around through trees, gullies, and short steps to the base of the first buttress.

The other descent is much looser, but is the best, or certainly the quickest choice for any route on the third buttress. From the top of the third buttress, descend to an obvious notch (marked by a cairn), and follow a steep, loose gully which bears NW. Head down it, taking the left fork 2/3 of the way down to avoid getting cliffed. Then walk back to the base of your route. The loose rock is mostly just an annoyance but could be dangerous if others are in the gully above you.

Within this subarea, you will find only the rock routes.

Getting There

Drive to the Bear Lake parking lot, follow signs to Emerald Lake (about 1 and 1/2 miles), and scramble up to the cliff. Most of the climbs are on the second of three buttresses which make up the face.

For a quick link to Hallett mixed/ice routes

Routes from Left to Right

5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 1
Point Five Buttress
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 80
Great Dihedral
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 20
Standard Route aka 1st Buttress…
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 6
Center Route
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 9
Finch Route
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
 1
Bold Is Love
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
 2
Love at First Sight
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 61
Better Than Love
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 69
Love Route
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 27
Englishman's Route
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 21
Hesse-Ferguson
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 13
In Between (aka Right Dihedral)
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 332
Culp-Bossier
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 14
Second Buttress Tour
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 20
Jackin' the Johnson
Trad, Sport, Alpine 8 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
 3
Storm Riders
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 22
Direct Second Buttress
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 45
Jackson-Johnson
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 1
Day Trippin'
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 23
Northcutt-Carter
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 1
Kor-Van Tongeren
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 2
Anderson-Magill
Alpine 9 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 1
Collins Donn
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Point Five Buttress
 1
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Great Dihedral
 80
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Standard Route aka 1st Butt…
 20
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Center Route
 6
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Finch Route
 9
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Bold Is Love
 1
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Love at First Sight
 2
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Better Than Love
 61
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Love Route
 69
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Englishman's Route
 27
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Hesse-Ferguson
 21
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
In Between (aka Right Dihed…
 13
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Culp-Bossier
 332
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Second Buttress Tour
 14
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Jackin' the Johnson
 20
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, Sport, Alpine 8 pitches
Storm Riders
 3
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Direct Second Buttress
 22
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Jackson-Johnson
 45
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Day Trippin'
 1
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Northcutt-Carter
 23
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Kor-Van Tongeren
 1
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Anderson-Magill
 2
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Alpine 9 pitches
Collins Donn
 1
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad, Alpine 6 pitches

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

First ascent of "Lost in the Woods" Hallett Peak.<br>
<br>
Climber: Olaf Mitchell.<br>
<br>
Photo: Bruce Sposi.
[Hide Photo] First ascent of "Lost in the Woods" Hallett Peak. Climber: Olaf Mitchell. Photo: Bruce Sposi.
Photographed just after the first snow of 08/09 season.<br>
Photo by: Dave Fiorucci
[Hide Photo] Photographed just after the first snow of 08/09 season. Photo by: Dave Fiorucci
Cool clouds over Hallett Peak.<br>
Photo by Blitzo.
[Hide Photo] Cool clouds over Hallett Peak. Photo by Blitzo.
Hallett Peak above Emerald Lake.
[Hide Photo] Hallett Peak above Emerald Lake.
Hallett Peak from Emerald Lake.
[Hide Photo] Hallett Peak from Emerald Lake.
Perfect morning.
[Hide Photo] Perfect morning.
The definition of a good morning on Hallett Peak. Photo by Tony Bubb, 1997.
[Hide Photo] The definition of a good morning on Hallett Peak. Photo by Tony Bubb, 1997.
Hallett Peak.
[Hide Photo] Hallett Peak.
The First, Second, and Third Buttresses of Hallett Face from left to right.
<br>

<br>
Taken (6/3/18) from Emerald Lake overlook (Flat Top Trail) or just down the trail a switchback or two.
[Hide Photo] The First, Second, and Third Buttresses of Hallett Face from left to right. Taken (6/3/18) from Emerald Lake overlook (Flat Top Trail) or just down the trail a switchback or two.
Hallett Peak at sunrise. Snapped by yours truly, 6/3/18.
[Hide Photo] Hallett Peak at sunrise. Snapped by yours truly, 6/3/18.
Hallett from the Flattop Trail.
[Hide Photo] Hallett from the Flattop Trail.
Great early morning route highlights the features on this face
[Hide Photo] Great early morning route highlights the features on this face

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] The descent described above is the upper descent. An alternative descent is as follows:

Once on the summit ridge, head east down the ridge for a couple hundred feet. Stay close to the crest, and near the east side of the First Buttress you will come to a bolted rappel (could use a modern bolt). One rope will get you to a second short rappel, or a 60M rope will get you to easy scrambling terrain. Scramble down the gully for a few hundred feet (heading NE). Then, head left over a rise (NNW, cairns), and aim for a scree gully. Follow this to the base of the Hallet Chimney (between 1st and 2nd Buttresses.) If you racked up here in the morning (near the mossy area) you won't need to walk the couple minutes back up to the base of the routes. You can scope out the lower half of this descent before your climb.

I've done both descents, and the descent I just described (from Gillett's new guidebook to the High Peaks) is vastly superior. Jul 16, 2001
Kurt Johnson
Estes Park, CO
[Hide Comment] The thing I love most about [Hallett] is the short 2 mile approach. With no need for an alpine start, you can drink more beers the night before, sleep late, and still get back to the parking lot in time for a late breakfast. Dec 18, 2001
Brian Milhaupt
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] The Norcutt-Carter route is about 10c now. However, the biggest difficulty comes in route finding. The climb was indescript at best before the rockfall, now it's even more fun. A great place to find booty! Whichever of the two descents described you take, make sure you follow the ridgeline, DO NOT head away from the cliff or you will be promptly cliffed/lost. Mar 13, 2002
[Hide Comment] There are new bolts & a chain for the rap off the east end of the first buttress. The chain is set too far back from the lip & is likely to make pulling your rope impossible from below. On 6/29/02 I found a party stranded at the bottom of the rappel unable to pull their ropes. They were lucky I showed up or they would have had to climb back up to the rap anchors. I left a sling & biner in order to correct the situation but it would be nice if the rap station was equiped with chains that went over the lip in order to keep ropes from getting stuck. Jim Berg Jul 1, 2002
Malcolm Daly
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Interesting rec.climbing post on someone hand-drilling on [Hallett]...

groups.google.com/groups?hl… Jul 24, 2002
[Hide Comment] The sling and 'biner referred to by Jim Berg [were] gone by Aug 10th. I added a doubled 1" tape sling and two rap rings. I hope these last longer than Jim's sling! What the hell are people thinking, stealingfixed gear from a rap anchor? Kudos to the ASCA for placing the bolts, even if they are a little far back. Aug 20, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] We had no problems pulling the first rap, I don't think there is any problem with the chain length. However, rap with only one rope, it may be that doing the 2 rope rap makes pulling much harder. The second rap anchor is a solid horn, but rodents have been chewing through the slings, check them carefully! It would be great to put a cable or something more permanent here. Aug 25, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] [Hallett] is made of some of the coolest rock I've ever seen. It is generally quite solid and has lots of face holds. Does anybody know the geological name for this rock?

Every time I do another route on it, I'm amazed by all the face holds. It is a lot of fun until you realize that cracks are not that common and you just ran it out 20' to what you thought was going to be a placement. Great climbing, but it tends to be a bit runout in spots. Aug 26, 2002
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
[Hide Comment] I agree George, this is very gneiss rock! Aug 26, 2002
[Hide Comment] The rap chains on [Hallett] seem fine. We did a two rope rap that worked great. I suggest moving the knot well over the edge as the ledge and the face of the wall are full of features that may catch the knot. Aug 28, 2003
Jim
[Hide Comment] [Hallett] has gneiss rock, but don't take it for granite!! Sep 4, 2003
Martin le Roux
Superior, CO
[Hide Comment] If anyone is planning to climb here mid-week, the trail from Dream Lake to Emerald Lake is CLOSED for reconstruction (as of July 2004) on Tues, Wed, Thurs and Fri from 8am to 4:30pm. Scheduled completion is September 2004. The trail is open before 8am and if you want to come back down before 4:30am you'll be allowed through. Jul 19, 2004
[Hide Comment] Based on our experience on the [Northcutt-Carter] the other day, the route goes at 5.8 these days. Start right of the white scar, ie right of the point where the first 2 pitches fell off the cliff some time ago. Climb up and right for about 40 meters and belay. (I may have forgotten an intermediate pitch here). Then climb up and left around a short, steep, somewhat loose arete, and join the original route at the bottom of the 5.8 crack (variation) on the 3rd pitch, at a now-hanging belay. Beware - it's not clear why the flake, around which this belay's fixed slings are draped, did not fall off with the rest of the first 2 pitches. The 5.6 climbing to the left of the 5.8 variation fell off with the first 2 pitches, and the 5.8 variation is now mandatory, resulting in an upgrade of the route from 5.7 to 5.8. There is another belay stance, with room for 2 climbers, above the steep section that lies at the top of 5.8 crack. From that stance, traverse up and right, fighting your way past 2 small shrubs, and climb up and left at a small arete, then back left to a comfortable belay when the angle subsides. There is a direct line between the stance above the 5.8 variation and this comfortable belay, but there is little protection, apart from a fixed wire, and this line seems to be about 5.9. The balance of the route follows the original line. I use the term "line" loosely. There are several really long runouts while slab climbing on steep ground in the middle of this route, and the line wanders quite a lot. Keep an eye out for widely spaced old fixed pins, which show the way. This route is not a reasonable objective for the average 5.8 climber. I recall that there are fixed stances, consisting of slings around flakes, at many of the belays. Jul 18, 2005
Benjamn P
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Found an old white Petzl Ecrin helmet today in Emerald Lake near the climbers trail to Hallet Peak! Contact me through my account here for its return. Jun 16, 2007
James Beissel
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] High resolution panorama of Hallett Peak (2,315 megapixels).
You'll need to have Adobe Flash to use the GigaPan Viewer.

jamesbeissel.com/gigapan/ha… Nov 19, 2010
Dan 60D5H411
Colorado Springs, CO
[Hide Comment] The relatively short approach is both a blessing and a curse. On a bluebird, summer day, on the weekend expect Eldo-like crowds (or worse...Gunks-like crowds) leaving the parking lot shortly before sunrise. Either be at the base at sunrise, risk storms arriving later in the day, have a backup climb planned or expect to wait in line for the popular climbs. Be aware that many of the alternative routes on the second buttress either start in the same place, end in the same place or cross each other at some point. Rockfall can be a very serious and likely hazard. Jul 25, 2011
George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
[Hide Comment] Our party left a bunch of gear on the upper pitches of the Hesse-Ferguson and Culp-Bossier routes, on 7/7/2019. Two of our group rapped the entire face urgently from the top and the last pitch of the H-F route in order to assist and help lower a climber injured in a ~70' lead fall on Culp-Bossier's P6 or P7 (hold broke, and 1 piece + a "fixed" pin pulled). We were able to use existing "tat stations" from the White Band down. Be nice to have it back (pm me or call me 5o579544o4, I'll pay you back in some way), but hey, we did the right thing based on the info that was initially yelled to us. We were too lazy to get it ourselves before we had to go home from our vacation the next day. So if you think you deserve it, keep it. More importantly the injured climber will be okay.

Other than that, we had a great time on Hallett! It's totally dry! Very impressed by and appreciative for the other RMNP climbers, rangers, rescue team, and Estes Park hospital staff we met on our trip. Jul 9, 2019
[Hide Comment] Recovered a dropped cam at the intersection of The Love Route and The Englishman's Route Sunday 9/22. Describe it to me and a PM, and I'll get it back to you. Sep 26, 2019