Type: Sport, 40 ft
FA: Dan Hare and Matt Fetbrod, July 2002
Page Views: 6,955 total · 36/month
Shared By: Chris Archer on Sep 6, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Located between Splitting Hares and Centennial is this entertaining 9 bolt sport climb. The 12a grade is a tad soft, but not completely out of the question, especially on the onsight. Centennial seemed to have a harder crux move, but A Tall Cool One is more continuous, and a more enjoyable route.


9 bolts.


Climbed it 10/29. Good route with several crux-like sections.Grade 11+/12- seems about right. Traffic noise is horrific. Oct 31, 2003
Chris Archer
Chris Archer  
A key flake has ripped at the second crux, making the route slightly more difficult than before. Jul 6, 2004
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
Peter Beal   Boulder Colorado
This is a pretty tricky climb and if it's rated 11d I doubt it will be downgraded. A must-do climb if you thrive on hi-octane exhaust fumes and burning brakes. The ambience is definitely worth a bomb. Jul 18, 2004
Lon Black  
Excellent route with some problem solving. Would be a three star if it weren't so close to traffic noise. Myself and two friends did the lower crux differently a couple days ago. The upper crux was good for me. I almost hung because of the difficulty of the clip, but I downclimbed three moves pseudo-rested and then went back up and did it. It was one of those spots and moments where you can screw yourself by having a negative mindset: thinking about a fall, fear, etc...but it was good for me because I was able to keep that at bay. Maybe that's why I liked the line so much. Sep 27, 2004
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
If I were sending pals to the crag I'd tell them this is one of the better routes, so I'll give it 2 stars. As for difficulty, I found it not so bad except for the one left hand side pull around the 4th bolt, which also is not so bad once you find it right. Felt easier than the route just to the right, "Centennial" (11c/d). May 21, 2005
Bruce Pech
Bruce Pech   Boulder
The nut on the sixth bolt (protecting the second crux) is loose. I was only able to finger tighten it today.

Two stars despite the route's proximity to the road. Sustained, very puzzling climbing. Even after I wired the cruxes, it felt like .11d to me. And when you think the climb's over (after the mantle to the rest ledge and a few juggy moves) there's a surprise before the anchors. Jun 27, 2005
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
This route is "A Tall Cool One", 5.12a, first ascent by Dan Hare and Matt Fetbrod, July 2002, according to Mark Rolofson's new guidebook "Boulder Canyon Sport and Adventure Climber's Guide Volume II - The Upper Canyon". Aug 27, 2005
Chris O'Connor
boulder, co
Chris O'Connor   boulder, co
11d/12a sounds most accurate. It is a beautiful route, with nice dihedral moves at the begining, stellar face climbing in the middle and juggy cruiser moves at the top. For the rock and the moves, it's classic, and for the lazy person or time crunched like myself, the close proximity to the road is a good thing. Feb 14, 2007
This makes a reasonable climb to do some quick aid practice, right by the road. You can basically climb the entire pitch as a bolt ladder, with a few mandatory free moves that are pretty easy, but still require getting out of the aiders. Don't need any gear besides draws when done this way with a few easy free moves. Mar 28, 2007
Joshua Merriam
Boulder, CO
Joshua Merriam   Boulder, CO
The low crux, on review, wasn't bad at all, just tenuous. Actually the second was the same. I felt that the moves were very footwork and body position dependent, not so much strength. Jul 30, 2008
11d sounds about right - just a bit tenuous at times. Great climb for the location - I love fumes.

Seriously, very enjoyable and keeps you on your toes. Aug 25, 2008
Curt MacNeill
Boulder, CO
Curt MacNeill   Boulder, CO
I am surprised that this route does not get better ratings. The rock quality is pretty darn good (most of the route is bullet hard granite), and there are lots of thoughtful movements. Many people seem to bash the noise and fumes from cars passing by, but most people including myself go to The Bowling Alley to get a quick workout when they are short on time. If you want to be further away from the road, well just look at the million other crags in the area that sit high above the road. This route gets 3 stars and, in my opinion, is one of the better routes at The Bowling Alley. Apr 6, 2011
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Strangely enough, Curt, while you argue that it deserves 3 stars, right by your name it is revealed that you rated it 2 stars?!?!? Apr 10, 2011
Evan Deis  
+1 to TB. A great route. It seems odd to me that so many would turn up their noses regarding traffic noise. It is sport climbing at the Bowling Alley, after all. I think that 11d/12a makes sense if you stick to the bolt line; I believe that many cheat left at both the lower and upper crux. Jul 1, 2012
Adam Brink
on the road
Adam Brink   on the road
Last time I was at this route, an 8 year old girl looked at it for a minute with a puzzled look on her face. She then turned to me and said in a confused voice, "Why are there so many bolts on that route?" I about spit out the water I was drinking.

If an 8 year old girl thinks it's over-bolted, you know it is. At the crux, there is a bolt at your feet, knees, and face. Sep 23, 2012
Ken Cangi
Eldorado Springs, CO
Ken Cangi   Eldorado Springs, CO
Just did this route again, after a three-year climbing hiatus, and it took several tries after a month of fitness training. Then I did it two more times - once as a warm-up, and once at the end of the day. 12a feels more accurate than 5.11. It's definitely not 11b or c. I've climbed hundreds of routes in those ranges, all over the map, so I have a pretty good idea what they feel like. It would be interesting to know how many calling this route mid-5.11 actually onsighted it. I'm inclined to believe that it wasn't many, and for those who did, it wasn't near their limit. All routes feel easier when we wire them. The Web felt like 5.11 when I finally sent it.

More importantly, the moves are classic and sustained all the way to the traverse up high, and then it's still interesting. Clipping the chains is not a giveaway if you're pumped and at your limit on this route. The bolts, overall, are a bit closely spaced, although this takes nothing away from the quality of climbing, nor does the route's proximity to the road.

As a friend used to constantly remind me, too much comparative analysis can suck the fun out of almost anything worth doing. Oct 31, 2013
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
I would have to agree with everything that KCP just stated. Perhaps most important is the fact that this thing is really fun. 12a? 11d? Meh, whatever. I did onsight it but didn't downgrade it...I guess I have a lot to learn about being a Boulderite. Next time I will have to channel my inner eight year old and get all grumpy about the bolting; perhaps then I can comfortably call it 11a. Oct 31, 2013