Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Routes in The Bastille - W Face

Blind Faith T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Breakfast in Bed T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Bridge-it Bardot (aka Hat Trick) T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Chance of Rain T,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c X
Cream T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Early Riser, The T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Hair City T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Implied Consent T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Let Them Eat Cake T 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a R
Neon Lights T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
New Chautauqua T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Out to Lunge T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Out to Lunge ... with Dessert T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Rain T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Serengeti Spaghetti T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Stem Gem T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Sunset Boulevard S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Sunshine Daydream T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b X
Voodoo T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
West Arete T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
West Buttress T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
West Face T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
West Side aka West Chimney T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Your Mother S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Type: Trad, 310 ft, 3 pitches Fixed Hardware (5)
FA: Jim Erickson, John Behrens, Stand Badgett, 1969.
Page Views: 19,890 total · 91/month
Shared By: Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

363 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


I like this route even better than the adjacent and more popular West Buttress. It is steep, not too hard, and on positive holds the whole way. The first pitch has a reputation for being runout; this is only mildly true. The hard moves have good pro, and even the parts that look runout from down below have hidden stopper placements. There are multiple variations to the route above the 2nd bolt.

The first pitch is long, has a couple 5.9 moves at the start, and several more .8+ moves. 130 feet.

The second pitch climbs a steep .9+ crack over a bulge on positive holds. Heads up on this section though as it climbs loose unprotected rock up to the crux move which is well protected with a single stopper. Above the crux there is runout but cool .7 face climbing to the top. 180 feet. Great route.


This is a slightly runout route. It has a pin & 2 bolts on the first pitch, the rest of the pitch takes medium stoppers, an RP, a couple TCUs and I slung a hole in the rock (quite bomber actually). There is a pin right of the final leftward traverse. The first belay is a double bolt anchor.
I did this route today (3/9/01) and liked it very much. I led the 2nd and 3rd pitches. I thought the 1st was the most difficult and was glad I did not lead it (so I wouldn't have to clip any bolts not because of its difficulty). Jan 1, 2001
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
Note that this (phenomenal) route starts just right of West Buttress, below a large block which is located a little ways up the steep talus that rises up the west wall of the Bastille. Another locator which has been there for a while is an old cable slung through a tunnel near the base of the route. Jan 1, 2001
Chris Dawson
Denver, CO
  5.9 R
Chris Dawson   Denver, CO
  5.9 R
Near the top of the first pitch, just before it gets overhung for a few moves, there is a really solid #9 Stopper placement. This is directly below the left-slanting undercling crack in a little slot. This piece provides a little reassurance as opposed to placing iffy cams in the crack. Nov 26, 2001
The aformentioned "loose and runout climbing up to the crux" at the start of pitch 2 is only runout if you choose not to place gear. There is a good small cam placement before entering the steep section below the crux. Use long draws on this and the next piece and you can reach the top in one long pitch with no rope drag. I Don't bring anything larger than a .75 Camalot for this route, it's one of my favorite. Apr 22, 2002
I have done this route many times and feel it does not need to be rated serious. Reason being is that the first pitch can be well protected w/ some creative pro just left of the second bolt, the 1st pitch headwall also can take 3 to 4 placements, again w/ a good eye for the placements. Oct 6, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I find the hardest move on this route is the mantle near the start. Once I was not concentrating (having led the route several times) and nearly lost my balance doing the move. As I recall there is a pin 5' below you here, but if it pulls or your belayer is asleep you could hit the ground. The middle of the first pitch is runout but it is very easy there. There are some large solution pockets in this section that will be full of water if you climb after a heavy rain (no problem, just unexpected). Oct 7, 2002
Did this today and loved it!! Another Eldo classic! While I would agree with everyone above that the runouts aren't that big a deal (the climbing is solid, you can find occasional stoppers, etc.), I would disagree with the idea of not calling this an "S" rated climb. It IS a runout route. In general, the climbing is not harder than 5.7 in the runouts, but this ain't no sport route with a piece every 6-8 feet (and I'm glad it isn't). The fact that we all feel comfortable on it is great, but lets keep in mind that the purpose of this site is to provide beta. If you are just breaking in to 5.9, this route will most likely scare you. But, if you are used to Eldo climbing and haven't done it, go do this route! It earns its 3 stars. Apr 21, 2003
I seem to recall clipping a fixed pin near the bottom right side of the big belay flake (near the West Arete belay cleft), moving more or less straight left and slightly up from the pin, and then gaining a line of good holds near the left arete of the flake, which is followed to the belay spot. Just good old devious Eldorado face climbing, not crimps of death. May 7, 2003
To AC - regarding routefinding.... you make a good point. Looking up at the wall, find the large block/ledge a rope-length above you. The first pitch finishes by surmounting a bulge at the base of this block and angling left (runout except for a funky big stopper placement) and then up just left-of-center. To get to this block you'll find the 'bucket ladder' directly beneath. Getting to the first bucket is a bit runout but 5.6ish. It sounds like this is the point you reached. If you get to the bulge at the base of the block and don't like the looks of it you can easily escape to the right. Good luck. May 7, 2003
David Conlin  
Regarding the rating:

One comment said it is 5.9, NOT 5.9+. I think the first pitch is maybe 5.9-, but lots of 5.8. It is the second pitch roof that is 5.9+.

Another disagreed with the S rating. If you are a solid 5.9 climber, experienced with tricky pro and confident in your placements, you may not "feel" runout on it. However, the S rating is to warn those that may be breaking into the grade or less experienced with pro of what they may be getting into. This is definitely warranted in this case. You MUST feel comfortable on 5.8 terrain, you MUST place pro opportunistically and in somewhat tricky ways, and you MUST NOT fall.

I think part of the fun is just finding your way up the wall. Who needs a detailed description on this route? It isn't tricky, just look for the easiest way and go. May 12, 2003
The first pitch might be my favorite in the canyon. Jun 22, 2003
David, with all due respect, saying you MUST NOT FALL does not really help anybody assess a climb unless it has no pro. Otherwise what is the point of placing protection? Do you mean that you would not want to fall at any point on this climb? If so did you not trust any of your placements?

It sound like you are suggesting someone who attempt this should either be very confident that they will not fall except perhaps on the protected crux(s) or that they should be very good at placing pro. Sep 15, 2003
I succeeded on the first pitch of this climb yesterday evening. I found it to be more challenging than other comparable 5.8/9 Eldo climbs. The middle section of the p1 meanders a bit and the path-of-least-resistance isn't obvious.

The headwall of the first pitch still has me scratching my head. There is an obvious crack/gash trending left from the stance up the headwall, but it quickly peters out to crimpers. In contrast, the climbing to the right of this gash is much easier. I took the path of least resistance and moved up the right part of the headwall (almost to the exit on the right), then traversed left across the face before heading up the slab to the top of the flake. This seems to be different than the guidebook's route description.

Where do most people generally climb to get through this section of Hair City? The way I went was so close to the exit, that it seemed contrived to traverse left and then move up the face to the top of the flake. -Matt Findley Sep 15, 2003
Executive summary for Hair City: where a solid 5.8/9 climber needs gear, it is there and obvious. Where the difficulty eases, there are runouts ... none of which are too scary for again - a solid 5.8/9 leader. Probably not the best lead for someone who isn't a solid leader at the grade, but an absolute MUST DO for Eldo enthusiasts. If you need more info to feel comfortable about this one, follow it first to make sure you've got it in the bag. Being solid on 5.8 terrain and confident on 5.9 and even 10 will be a plus for the leader and not take away from the experience and exposure.

One of the best at the grade PERIOD and probably among the best 50 routes in Eldo regardless of the grade. Sep 15, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Matt, I believe you followed the standard line. I recall maybe going somewhat right to get over the roof, then heading back left. Following the path of least resistance is the way to go there (follow the buckets!). It seems to me this is what Rossiter's topo indicates although he does not have his line going right over the roof (more like straight up). Sep 16, 2003
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
Matt, I've led and followed it both ways, and it is perfectly doable to go straight up, but a bit harder and more poorly protected. Stepping right, up, then traversing is the more natural line, although as you say it seems odd to do so--when you step right, why not just continue up the easy chimney?

In fact, that's about the only thing I don't like about this route--it's a bit contrived (on both pitches), and therefore not as committing as comparably graded Eldo hair-fests such as Metamorphosis or Alice in Bucketland. But purely for the climbing moves, it can't be beat at the grade! Sep 16, 2003
David Conlin  
Ed-In response to your comment in response to mine, you are right. I am suggesting that someone climbing this be confident on such terrain at such grade and experienced in placing pro. Otherwise it would not be safe.

I guess I slightly misspoke when I said you MUST NOT fall. I definitely wouldn't have wanted to fall. I trusted most pieces of gear I placed and with so much rope out, the fall factor would be low. If one was to fall during one of the runouts, the benefit of placing gear is that you probably wouldn't die (i.e. hit the ground). Rather you would take a large, scraping, swinging fall and may find yourself with significant injuries--something I strive to avoid. However, that sounds better than death. Oct 9, 2003
Mic Fairchild
Mic Fairchild   Boulder
One of my top 10 in Eldo, probably above W Buttress, because of its clean line. A wonderful lead, and a fabulous solo because the holds are so positive.

Did a nice line a couple weeks ago: up Hair City down Bastille Crack total time 19min 12sec from backpack-to-backpack.

Enjoy! Sic Mic

Don't slap rude and sail if you're shaky at the grade. Nov 3, 2003
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
Tie in Mic. You're giving the kids the wrong impression. Nov 8, 2003
tim naylor
  5.9+ R
tim naylor  
  5.9+ R
Best rock quality I've seen in Eldo. Lots of traversing and awkward moves. Eldo is funky. Good route for the area. May 10, 2004
Mike McKinnon
Golden, CO
Mike McKinnon   Golden, CO
I did this route last week for the first time. I think overall it is a harder climb than the West Buttress. Definitely more sustained. I started the opening moves by using the small ramp for my hands and traversing under the layback. Once under I shot right up through it to the bolt. I have seen other people walk precariously along this ramp as well. I tried both and felt much better traversing underneath and firing straight up. I was also able to place a #9 stopper in the small flare at the bottom of the lieback before the pin. Makes the opening moves a little easier if not safer. The rest of the climb was great. The run out is not that bad as it is on solid buckets the whole way. There are definitely some places where you could get off route especially when approaching the end of the 1st pitch on the detached block. On the right is blank face so stay left for the easier ground right to the anchors. Jun 16, 2004
Climbed this route for the first time yesterday, what a treat! Runout for sure, but the pro is there at the difficulties. The first pitch is a gem, but don't miss the roof on the second pitch! Though it looks loose and chossy from below, some care on the lower foot holds gets you to super solid hand holds with great moves over the roof, and it's well protected with a bomber sideways #6 Stopper. Sep 14, 2004
Marcel and I climbed it on Friday, June 24th. Great climb. Someone left a draw on the second bolt - maybe a result of the rain on the 23rd. If you want it back and can identify it, do so here with a phone number and I'll call you back. Otherwise, thanks. Jun 26, 2005
Eric Goltz
Boulder, CO
Eric Goltz   Boulder, CO
I won't add to the gear-beta-blog-pile. Climb this route, it's fun! Oct 1, 2005
Finally climbed this, great route. Ac on Sep15 2003 comment nails the pro/danger issue.

I now understand what 'safe IF you are comfortable at the grade' means. Aug 9, 2006
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
  5.9+ R
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
  5.9+ R
Although the mantle move down low may be the crux, the balancy move just above the second bolt, was a bit hairy too. Once you figure it out and move up, good small stopper placements are there. Up high on P1 I went to the right side, placed a #1 cam in a crack , traversed left to that little horn in the far left upper corner, and up to the top of the block, a series of moves made more exciting with that much rope out! Sep 9, 2006
Mike Robinson
Grand Junction, CO
  5.9- R
Mike Robinson   Grand Junction, CO
  5.9- R
Great route! Run out but you can get gear where you need it, any 9 leader should be fine on this route. The crux is on the first pitch and although it is run out the falls are clean. Get on it! I would agree with Mic, and by the way Mic, good job on the time!!! Aug 22, 2007
erik wellborn
manitou springs
erik wellborn   manitou springs
Best 5.9 in Eldo. Aug 27, 2008
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
  5.9+ R
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
  5.9+ R
Fantastic climb on great rock. I only did P1, as my partner wanted to lead the far right upper pitch. On P1, the holds are mostly big and positive, and really the only tricky move is at the pin starting the pitch. I do think you want to be comfortable at the grade, but if you are.... get on this route. There is gear where you need it, and sussing out the path-of-least resistance is pretty straightforward (of course, everything was all chalked up for me). If it feels too hard, there is probably another way..... May 19, 2009
Smoulder, CO
  5.9+ R
jcntrl   Smoulder, CO
  5.9+ R
What a phenomenal route! I was glad to lead it today. I do think that the S/R rating is appropriate due to the runouts, but the hard moves on the first pitch are well protected. The 15'-20' runouts between bolts and gear force great focus!

As an interesting variation, I setup a belay to the right of the block after the aesthetic pockets section. Such a nice belay seat--reminded me of a motorcycle seat (slightly less padded, though)--with a great view to bring up your second. This is followed by a nice but short squeeze chimney to gain the top of the block.

The roof that is above this block is the money. Heading right, then up to gain a nice zigzag fingercrack was worthy of 9+ IMO. Now that I know the sequence it might feel easier next time, but onsighting was, for me, pumpy to commit and place gear; the ledge underneath looked unpleasant. The zigzagging fingercrack is 7ish, and fun the whole way. Jul 9, 2009
Rodger Raubach
  5.9+ R
Rodger Raubach  
  5.9+ R
My second-favorite route in Eldorado! Definitely commiting, though. Jun 14, 2010
Charles I.
Boulder, CO
Charles I.   Boulder, CO
First pitch was incredible.

The second pitch has some seriously sketch-ball blocks at the base of the roof. One block has been deservedly marked with the white X of death, and I second that motion. Aug 15, 2010
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
  5.9+ R
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
  5.9+ R
Led this route for the second time yesterday and remembered it well as one of those trad routes that really grabs your attention right from the start. The first pitch has so much climbing variety in it, mantling, thin crimpers, jugs, mini laybacks, traverses, and runnout in a nervey 130'. The finish of P1 can be done 3 ways...straight thru the jugs, over to the right then into the squeeze chimney (highly undesireable IMO), or to the right side of the finish block, then traverse left 15-20' to the corner and up (the money IMO)...very exciting finishing that way (runnout .7ish with BIG exposure there)!
So cool.... Oct 15, 2010
A little history ... we made the first ascent on a very cold December day -- hours before Royal Robbins showed his slide show of the first ascent of Tissaack on Half Dome. I led the first pitch wearing Royal Robbins shoes and, of course, no chalk, maybe with a stopper before that first mantle. After that it was just the 2 bolts. I then placed a small stopper near the lip of the roof. It gave me the heeby-jeebies, so I climbed down and the three of us tugged on it to test it. Jim then went up and led the over hang, and the rest was a walk. Jan 3, 2011
This line is scary. Nov 11, 2012
Golden, CO
gumbotron   Golden, CO
P1 is pretty spooky, keep it together out there...I'm no Eldo chossmaster and did not like the looks of P2, instead opted for the line out right which was really nice. Jan 27, 2013
Jay Eggleston
Jay Eggleston   Denver
Pitch two is fun and protects well with stoppers. We used two, and the second one was super bomber. Hard for the second to remove. Do it! Aug 28, 2016
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
Currently a fixed stopper on P2 roof. Sep 15, 2016