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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, 200 ft, 2 pitches, Grade II
FA: Jim Erickson, free solo (hence the name), 1972
Page Views: 28,125 total · 130/month
Shared By: Andrew Wellman on Dec 31, 2000 with updates from James Schroeder
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This exquisite crack can be found in the middle of the West Face of the Bastille. Considering that the first ascent was done free solo by Jim Erickson in 1972, the name seems to have some true meaning.

The route is not hard to recognize, it is a hand-sized crack that runs diagonally up and right for about 100 feet. Start P1 by jamming up an easy crack to some more technical moves in the middle of the pitch. Eventually move past a short chimney and the crux becomes quite apparent. The crack splits into two options, the left crack is solid hand size and easily swallows pro as it ascends an overhanging bulge (5.10a). The right hand crack is a very thin crack that probably takes very small TCUs or nuts as it ascends the same bulge (5.10c). Belay on a ledge right after pulling the bulge. This entire pitch has some exquisite climbing that is never desperate and easily protectable. Good stuff.

P2 starts out by ascending a blocky bulge that is more overhanging than it first appears (5.9). Make off balance move to pull over a bulge. The pro is good and the pitch gets easier as it scales a wide chimney to the summit (5.6). This is a short but really good quality route. I recommend climbing it once first before trying it in the original style, though.


Standard rack of cams and nuts. No RPs or cams larger than a #2 Camalot are needed.

Eds. some suggest that #3 and even #4 C4s, while not necessary, are useful.
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
Patrick Vernon   Estes Park, CO
This is probably a good route for the first .10a trad lead, it is well protected and not too hard for the grade, and an enjoyable route (better than it looks from the ground) Jan 1, 2001
Maybe it's handsize-dependent, but for me this really is a good breakthrough route into Eldo 10a. The gear is great, you can place all the high pro you want and back down to a ledge to rest, and, for me, I feel it's one of the easier 5.10a routes in the canyon (and I'm the guy who HATES when people say that about a route they have wired). But it also fits my own style - dumb and strong, no footwork, and like I said it fits my hands (average male). A tiny bit of beta helps - at the overhang, jamming high with the left hand allows use of a big hueco in the crack and also sets you up to reach the blind crimper over the bulge (at about 2 o'clock) which helps the mantle. Two steep jams, a mildly grunting mantle (all with good pro) and it's over. Sentimental favorite for me, my first Eldo 10a and a confidence boost when I've needed it. May 25, 2001
After climbing BF the other day, my partner & I watched a party top out on Cream - looked like great climbing, really neat position (summits a slender pinnacle atop the Bastille's West Face), and some rather spartan use of small wires or RPs. Not a bit of chalk on it - looked like a good adventure, though the leader was solid and conversing with us while casually runout. May 25, 2001
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
I disagree with the comments that this is a good first 5.10 lead, although of course everyone is different. The moves over the bulge seemed awkward and desperate--that was the crux, not the straightforward crack moves.

My advice-- try Chockstone (one tricky move, textbook nuts from a good stance), Break on Through (ditto), P1 Outer Space (if you like stemming--great pro but the sequence is kind of bizzare). Of course I'm revealing my biases toward climbing that has tricky, short sequences with good stances to figure them out--but most people I know prefer routes like that as breakthroughs. On the other hand I believe Ben M.'s first ten lead was Tagger which I don't want to lead even now and I don't know what category that fits in, so what the hell...

I'll shut up now :) May 29, 2001
Chockstone "textbook nuts from good stance?" Ouch! Better be tall or good at blind placements - I use a black Alien which I can't confirm until I'm into the move. There's a good nut placement but I can't reach it (I'm 5.10, or should I say 5'10"). At least the crux on Chockstone is short - I agree with that - and the pitch is really good. (Sorry to detour from Blind Faith, just following the collective train of discussion.)

I should mention too that I'm impressed by and jealous of these young gunners with the sack to go after Tagger and the Northcutt for early 5.10 (give or take!) leads... May 30, 2001
Break on Through is harder and less protected at the crux. Jun 27, 2001
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
I had the pleasure of catching Ben M., mentioned beforehand by Charles Vernon, taking a nice whipper attempting to flop over this top mantle. Left a healthy dallop of blood on it as well. Jul 16, 2001
Whew! It is refreshing to hear that maybe Blind Faith is as hard as I thought it was. My 2nd 10 trad lead in Eldo. I fell a few times trying to exit the crack, and it even felt hard on TR the second time. I tried Northcutt today as my 4th Eldo 10 can read my comments yourself, but hey, the ring pin holds!

For the record, if anyone wants to email along their idea of easy eldo 10s, I'd love to hear. Xanadu wasn't too bad, but I don't think Over the Hill is for the faint of heart...but it sure ain't pumpy! Jul 20, 2001
Ben F
Benfield, Kolorado
Ben F   Benfield, Kolorado
Geez, time to get the discussion forum section going on this site. Anyway, I did only P1 of BF last Nov. - my partner insisted that she was done upon reaching the ledge. Anyway, it is neither the best nor the worst choice for a first 10 lead. It does sew-up very well. Due to the overall steepness of the route, especially the top, any half-way competent leader should be safe taking a fall. Also, one can tell by looking at the route from the ground (or reading the detailed beta in the above comments), that it is essentially a cake walk until the upper section. The statement about the "5.12" sport climber does not surprise me and hopefully does not lead anyone to believe that the route is sand-bagged. Someone I know who boulders harder than me fell seconding this route. My overall evaluation of this route (P1) is it is 2 stars, plenty safe and 10-. Jul 29, 2001
Jeff Lockyer
Canmore, AB
Jeff Lockyer   Canmore, AB
A lot of bickering over such a short route. My take on the situation is this, the first pitch of the route is very very nice and gives a surprising pump at the crux. Hopefully you can reach high enough to place that piece before committing to the crux. (especially if this is your first 10 lead). Pull down on the hueco and left hand jam, throw the right foot up high and DON'T look straight up for something positive, the good holds are to the left of the little roof two parallel crimps which can get your feet over the 10c variation and up to the anchor, which is quite a masterpiece in itself. The second pitch is decent but nothing to the first, a little more difficult than it may appear at first, watch for loose block for first 20' of P2. We were 'Blind' indeed, doing the last pitch in almost pitch black ! Damn dayight savings time. Nov 5, 2001
I can't disagree with any of the previous remarks....I'll just say that I find it much easier to set up for the last move by.......... jamming with the right hand at the top of the crack, moving the right foot as high as possible and then reaching up and over with the left, jamming in the slot towards the back. This allows me to palm with my right with my weight already above the bulge.

I think any 5.10 with protection as good as this one has is a good one to choose for your first. You may not flash it but you can always come back another day.

One note: I've known people to get in trouble on the second pitch for one reason or the other. A GOOD ALTERNATIVE is to climb up and left from the belay and connect with the WEST CHIMNEY route. After 30' or so look for the little traverse to the right past a fixed pin. If daylight is fading this may be a better choice that the regular second pitch. A better fixed anchor for rappelling would be worth considering too. Nov 6, 2001
I agree with Steve's comment and most others except for the bitching ones.It is also a reality that everyone climbs with differant techniques and syles based on experience and strength, and possibly luck. Maybe when someone puts a comment in here ,or for any other route that the writer should keep their opinion of whether it is a good first lead of that grade to themself as we are all differant in our own styles. Jan 23, 2002
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
I found the gear and holds on the beginning of the second pitch to be of poor quality. I was new to Eldo the first time I did it, and although I was on-sighting 5.11s, and a lot of R rated routes, but I had some concern for my safety on this route for gear quality.

A few years later I did it again. Peter Spindloe lead it in the snow and took a few nice falls off of the P1 crux. I lead P2 and don't recall being as intimidated by it that time, but that was after doing 100s of routes in Eldo. Since then, I've lead it all as a single 60M pitch 3 times and had no concerns. I guess that just means it is in the eye of the beholder.

And who is the Joker? After climbing the "5.10c" variation I'll pipe up. It's 5.9 if you are over 5'9". I can imagine a tough reach for short people, but the right-hand variation is pretty easy, and well protected. It would be a good first 5.10 for someone who is climbing 5.9 and is confident of their gear. Jan 30, 2002
All I can say is that I had a damn hard time with the crux on P1. I had to hang twice before I found a greasy crimper out to the right of the crack. The second time I climbed it, it wasn't much easier. For me, it is certainly one of the meanest 5.10a's I've done in the canyon. I've had far less difficulty with Chockstone, Grand Course, etc. Jan 31, 2002
I definitely agree with the two Steves' comments above... The fact is that this climb is exceptionally well-protected for an Eldo climb and for that reason it is a great first .10 lead. Also, it is really not as hard as Charles makes it out to be...for a crack route that is. Of course, everyone should be aware of the fact that crack climbing requires different technique, greater stamina, and a vastly different repetoir of moves than sport climbing. This is probably why this climb might be difficult for the sport-master who finds climbs like Rosy and .12 bolt-ups easy but struggles on this fine crack-fest. For those adept at cracks, its a great first .10 lead, with "jam, jam and jam some more" being the best beta I can offer. Obviously, if you havent climbed .8 or .9 cracks yet, this ones probably not for you...but it certainly won't hurt to try it. Feb 17, 2002
I climbed Blind Faith yesterday and it was my first 10a lead in Eldo. I have to say that I found the bulge below the belay to be surprisingly hard. Now I am not a very strong crack climber and I also took my first fall, on gear I placed,leading trad from the crux. I admit that I felt this was a good first 5.10 lead for me because it was so easy to protect and it actually boosted my confidence knowing that I could take a fall on a cam I placed. After going back up to the crux, I realized, as with so many aspects of climbing, that if you get your feet up as high as possible it makes the crux a lot easier and getting super good foot jams will relieve some arm pump. Anyway, enjoy this route. It is definitely a challenge and an experience worthy of your time. And that's what we're all here for right? the experience Mar 24, 2002
David Hous
Boulder, Colorado
David Hous   Boulder, Colorado
I read this discussion with great interest and went out to do the route yesterday. I hadn't done for it 15 years and remembered it with pain on the backs of my hands. Still painful, still 3 stars! My only comment is that I would reverse the ratings of the regular route and the variation. I think the handcrack is 10c and the roof on the right is 10a! (we did both while we were up there.) On the question of whether this is a good first trad lead, I would say that it is, but only if you've followed a bunch of handcracks first. It's tough to learn hand jamming technique on the sharp end on this one since it's fairly steep/stenuous. Apr 15, 2002
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
My 2 cents on the first pitch: fun climbing, 5.9+, nice hand crack, bomber gear, tricky topout, and BAD anchor. The anchor consists of an angle, a fixed tricam, and a knotted cord - all equalized to a single rap ring (part of the webbing can be used to back up the ring). The only nice thing at the belay spot is that you can back it all up or just put in your own anchor. It would probably be better to set a new anchor and continue on so you don't have to use the bad anchor. This whole mess should be replaced OR removed entirely (it is amazing how two bolts *the B word* would clean this up nicely). Also, if you love cracks you will cruise this one grinning the whole way. Crimpmasters will suffer. Casey Bernal Jun 3, 2002
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
THE FIRST PITCH ANCHORS ARE GONE. Well kind of; the anchor now consists of a knotted cord and a flexing pin equalized to a single piece of webbing with no rap ring. Now you have to do the second pitch (which is quite fun) and rapping after the first is more or less out of the question. This anchor should really be entirely removed or a better fixed anchor put in place.casey bernal Jun 25, 2002
Dan St. John
Castle Rock
Dan St. John   Castle Rock
Very nice climb with short crux. Thier is a faring hand jam at the very top which will get you over the top with ease, not obvious. Aug 26, 2002
Those of us who have gotten our butts kicked at indian creek should not worry about the "crack climbing" which is often optional (except for one move). Once you get to the overhanging section there are nice holds and one huge jug to place a bomber cam. Reach up from the jugg, get a hand jam, and grovel your way up to the top via sketchy insecure moves (with a beautifully clean fall(s), trust me I know)....also don't get suckered into the offwidth before the crux, there is protected face climbing to the right of it. Feb 18, 2003
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
As of 2/22/03, the first pitch "anchor" consists of a single angle piton and a knotted cord. Be careful on the second pitch about 20 feet off the belay - there are a couple of loose, wedged blocks that people have clearly been yarding on. Feb 22, 2003
IMHO, if anyone is searching for a good first .10 Eldo lead, try Handcracker on the West Ridge. It is a great summit route, with two pitches of moderate .9 climbing before the 10a crux pitch to warm up on. It also protects as well as any of the other 10- climbs mentioned here. The moves are much more straight forward (hand jams) than B.F. may even be a bit soft for the grade, an Eldo rarity.kc Apr 22, 2003
Well, it's not just sport-wankers that may get worked on BF. If you've been climbing mainly in Eldo (where real crack climbing is rare), this could seem pretty tough as a first 5.10. First time I did it, it felt p.f. hard for a 10a (I **thought** I was a good crack climber). About a month later, after my first Indian Creek trip, I did it again, and it felt downright E-Z for it's grade. Someone with lots of mileage on Lumpy 5.9 cracks would probably cruise it as a first 10.

BTW, my first 5.10 was Break On Through, and I thought it protected very well -- maybe too well, as I got got overly pumped sewing it up like crazy (got the onsight though). Also, my 2nd 5.10 was the Tagger roof (also onsight). Why do people think it's dicey? There's a perfect 2.5 friend right at the lip. It's a stretch to place it, but you have a primo #1FR 1/2-way out the roof protecting that move. May 11, 2003
I climbed this yesterday. I have just recently been breaking into 5.10s, at Eldo and Lumpy primarily. This was my 3rd Eldo 5.10 and I had yet to take a lead fall at this grade. But this one did it!

I think it is hand-size dependent, a little. I have thin hands and it was getting a little wide for me at the top. Also, would have helped to have known about the crimper to the right, which I didn't use, even when I reascended and topped it off. Also, don't bother placing too much gear in the bulge crack, which saps energy and isn't very beneficial--the fall is super-clean and I didn't feel a thing. Well-protected, so that is a plus for early 5.10 leads, but steep, overhanging, and strenuous, so not that great if you are used to "typical" Eldo climbing, which isn't very crack-y. Maybe good practice for an Indian Creek trip.

Oh, easiest 5.10 at Eldo (for breaking the grade): Positively 4th St. This was my first and I had no problem. Steep, juggy, well-protected, short. May 12, 2003
I hesitate to add anything since there's already a veritable book going on this climb, but I didn't see any mention of the variation to the second pitch. (Maybe it's a different climb?) Try traversing up left from the belay station at the end of the first pitch. After 15 feet it heads straight up a nice dihedral that will give you a little more crack time. It felt solid 5.9 to me, then lets up to 5.6ish stuff the last 30 feet to the top. Enjoy... Jun 1, 2003
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
I found the crux crack jams are a bit slippery, (although that was probably my sweaty fingers). I got worked pretty good busting thru, even with the security of a rope from above. I found it to be an awkward crack, and once in it, not easy getting off your arms, since your out of balance, leaning backwards. There is a stem for the left foot higher up, and a crimper out right halfway thru, but still quite pumpy. I want to work this again, to see what I'm missing. The P2 crux is not as strenuous, but just as awkward. A great, reasonably long route, where you're technique will be challenged in a few spots. Great exposure...look forward to getting on the sharp end of this route. Erickson's FA 1972 solo of this climb is remarkable... Jul 25, 2003
I gotta make another post on this route...I have since learned how to hand jam, and I must say that this is the easiest and most secure 10 that I've done. No crimping or anything except jamming should be going on here, and there are jams to get you over the end of the overhang as well. With adequate crack skills, every jam should be a jug! Oct 16, 2003
Yeah, that last rattler half-in half-out jam with loose little pebbles and sand scrunching around in it is sweet if you know proper crack climbing technique. Whatever! Oct 17, 2003
I'd agree with the previous comment. Maybe some comments don't explicitly specify this, but it IS the mantle at the top that is the crux, not the crack below (although strenuous, which saps energy for the crux). It is during this mantle that I fell on my onsight attempt. The jam at the back of the ledge SUCKS. Oct 21, 2003
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Casey, the knotted cordalette combined with the piton holds just fine. Rapped off it yesterday (though nervous) and it held. However, the stoppers that Jackie mentions haven't been there since mid-summer to my best recollection.

Not a bad route to practice/learn aiding on. I aided the roof on the right yesterday evening late and had a good time. Were I to do it again, I would place a nut in the crack above the roof (Tony's salvation hold, though the climb would still go free as a good .10b) and put a nice runner on it. That way, there isn't horrible rope-drag from the green alien that protects the inside of the roof, and your second will have two clipping points for the roof proper (aside from being the same piece). It was just too damn cold to get the free onsight... *I know... excuses, excuses...*~Wm Nov 8, 2003
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
William, we rapped off it too. I would NOT recommend making a regular practice of rapping off bad anchors. This is the worst fixed rap anchor I have seen in Eldo.

casey Nov 10, 2003
phil broscovak
phil broscovak  
I really like this route! However the anchor atop P1 is BULLDOOKIE! It is worth considering doing this route in one nice long pitch to avoid lingering at a crappy anchor. It annoys and amazes me that on a route of this quality and popularity that the anchor has not been fixed. It is not a nostalgic honor to the style of the 1st ascent to leave this anchor as is, as the 1st ascent was 3rd class. It is negligent lunacy! If you want dangerous anchors and adventure go climb in the Black Canyon or Bugaboos. But this is the front range and a very public area. Let's all get real, survivable anchors are a GOOD thing. Dicey and Spicey are great but not on this route! Nov 10, 2003
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
Is it too much to expect you to put in some gear to make the anchor safe, climb to the top (interesting), and do the easy walk off? Nov 10, 2003
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Casey, I'm inclined to agree with you in that this is one of the worst anchors in the park. Has someone submitted a request for bolts/chains yet? This was my second time up the first pitch of Blind Faith (one variation each), and both times I have felt the anchor was safe. Something ANY party should do if rappelling off this anchor is to back it up with trad gear, but don't equalize it. This will give confidence to the first brave soul and assure the second climber that the anchor holds. Obviously if one equalizes the anchor, this is not possible, so place the back-up in 'leading-style' below the webbing that is the anchor.

Ivan, I also found that when I seconded the first pitch I was too tired to lead or even second pitch 2. This was before i was climbing nearly everyday and before I had the same endurance I have now, but it is a challenge to get on that effectively stiff 5.9 after the first. Hey, sometimes you just gotta go for the one-pitcher!Cheers!~Wm Nov 10, 2003
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO

If you're not ready for the route as is, you are responsible for getting down. Leave gear if necessary. Else wait until you are ready. This is an unnecessary convenience anchor in my opinion.

In any case, this discussion should be continued in eldo fixed hardware (Editorials (Ranting)).

Ivan Nov 10, 2003
Scott Conner
Lyons, CO
Scott Conner   Lyons, CO
In keeping with the flow, I'm putting this here, though the last several posts should be moved to the Eldo Fixed Hardware thread.

I don't want to see a bolted anchor go in on top of P1 of Blind Faith. This would be strictly for convenience. The "anchor" that is there now is an ad hoc job and should probably be removed all together. It wasn't built for the masses. There are enough gear placements on that ledge to build your own anchor and leave your own gear if you need to retreat. Do those in favor of a bolted anchor here want to bolt the first pitch of all of the multipitch climbs in Eldo?

I say no bolts on Blind Faith and here's why: Eldo is a trad area. This is a two pitch climb. The quality of the second pitch is as good as the first. The difficulty of the second pitch is less than the first. The walk off is easy. Nov 10, 2003
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
If you take this discussion to it's logical conclusion, then either a new anchor has to be placed, or the old one removed completely.I for one would prefer to completely remove the old one. Like people have said, it's bogus.Since you can build a good anchor on trad gear there in the first place it's unneccessary and just leads to people calling for bolts.

There are plenty of multi-pitch climbs in Eldo that don't have or require bolted anchors on top of P1. This is just one more of those. So I suppose I could totally fix this problem by removing the in-situ anchor... just as well as we could by adding bolts. Or maybe we could just leave it as it is and people can just place trad gear to suppliment it.

I don't see any precident for bolting more of the park so that we can turn more climbs into 1-pitch TR's. If a pin and a bad cord set the precident, we should start removing the pins and bad cords, not just bolting stuff.

I'm not anti-bolt. I'm just anti-bolt-everything. Nov 10, 2003
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
Scott Conner and Tony Bubb's comments are spot on. A bolt anchor atop the first pitch of Blind Faith would not be approved by the FHRC unless there was overwhelming public sentiment in favor.This is highly unlikely. More likely is the complete removal of fixed anchors from this spot.

Bottom line: don't start up Blind Faith unless you plan to do both pitches. If you want to rappel after one pitch, be prepared to leave some gear behind. Nov 10, 2003
phil broscovak
phil broscovak  
Whoa... I didn't mean to stir up a hornet's nest. I never suggested bolting the stance. I for one would encourage removal of the existing crap anchor. THAT WAY CLIMBERS WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN CHOICES, ACTIONS AND SAFETY. I for one firmly believe that if a piece or anchor is to be FIXED it should be SAFE. BAD fixed gear, particularly anchors invite the very real potential for serious injury. Make it safe or don't make it at all! Nov 10, 2003
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Holy Crap... I'm gone for eight hours and people have saturated this page with caustic remarks. My posting was placed here to help others that ran into the same predicament as I create a confidence inspiring set-up for a rappel in case they HAD to. Ivan, perfect example of my point is that my girlfriend and I climbed it the other day and in the process of clipping up an etrier, a carabiner shifted and pinched the crap out of one of her fingers. We thought it MIGHT be broken, therefore she was in no position to climb pitch two. Are you saying I should have told her to suck it up and climb on (rhetorical)? I understand the suggestion of leaving gear, though read my comment about backing up the existing anchor again...I simply posed a question. The implication within my question was that the FHRC would deny any motions towards shiny new hangars atop pitch one. I didn't make a suggestion.This truly doesn't have to be a bolting-brawl. I just made a vain attempt at providing helpful hints to those who might find themselves in a less-than-ideal situation. Leave the damned anchor as it is. It defines the top of the first pitch, it CAN be backed up, and digging out that knotted cord would be more of a pain in the ass (and potentially scarring to the rock) than leaving it.Forgive me for attempting to use the comments forum as an educational tool for others to use *read "What information would someone who has never climbed this route find useful?"* Nov 10, 2003
A bolt anchor at the top of the first pitch will never be approved, so it's not even worth debate.

What is worth debate is the current set-up and whether it should be removed.I think its pointless to remove the current anchor. People like to climb the first pitch of Blind Faith. If you remove the anchor, I'm certain that a new, similar set-up will reappear. This presents another question: is a bolted anchor more visually unobtrusive than a nest of ratty slings? Nov 11, 2003
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
"... is a bolted anchor more visually unobtrusive than a nest of ratty slings?" As you well know, Joe, one of the early goals of the FHRC was precisely to remove the unsightly mass of slings that had decorated Eldo for so long. In wilderness areas we are not even "allowed" to leave those slings. While I have no feelings one way or the other for placing anything on Blind Faith, a well concealed Fixe anchor has the advantages of durability and reduction of the nest of ratty slings. The bottom line in this debate should be directed toward the consideration that making any change constitutes an improvement to the climb - in all regards and dimensions. If you rap off a tree that has a nest of ratty, and often rotten, slings, what will you do? You will add to the mass of slings, that's what you will do, and that is part of the problem of having so many people climbing these routes. An analogy: did the trails up the Redgarden and the West Ridge help in any way? We had all humped around the nasty climber's trails for years, and that worked well when the population using the trails was limited. But, with the hordes came more erosion, and the new trails stopped the erosion. Nov 11, 2003
Kenny Gruchalla
Denver, CO
Kenny Gruchalla   Denver, CO
I too would recommend the route for the first .10a trad lead, it was my first .10a trad onsight. I certainly found Blind Faith much easier than Break on Through, but then I feel very comfortable on hand jams.

The fixed "anchor" at P1 is definitely sketchy. I certainly would not rap from it. Finish the climb with the second pitch and walk off. P2 is alittle easier and less consistent than P1, but still worth doing. Nov 17, 2003
No need for any anchor at the top of the first pitch. Carefully traverse off climber's right on exposed, inobvious class 4 ledges.

5.10, huh? I must have been better than I thought I was 20 years ago!! Maybe it's just that my hands fit the crack... Apr 21, 2004
I think it should be pointed out that Erickson originally rated this route 9+. I think what Alan Nelson refers to as the "Valley Daze" is the trick for this one. Most climbers in Boulder are not so great at pure cracks as we don't have any. A few months at the Creek or in the Ditch will make this route feel easier.

An anchor on this route will not pass. I say pull the pin and stuck cordalette. If anyone needs to bail, they'll just leave some booty for us. It is also possible from the top of pitch one to climb up and left to the second pitch of West Chimney (5.7). Apr 22, 2004
Hey ac- If we adhere to the old school ratings, Boulder climbers not only can't climb pure cracks but overhangs, slabs, pure face, corners or anyother type of climb. Here are some ratings from Ament's 1970 edition of "High Over Boulder": Gorilla's Delight 5.9 "Layback a flake to the 5.7 or 5.8 slab above," Country Club Crack 5.10, Cussin' Crack 5.5 or 5.6, Final Exam 5.10, Skunk Crack 5.8, Tagger 5.9, X-M 5.9, Black Walk 5.8, T2 5.9 "Start under the overhang and climb out and up to a bolt, "Rosy Crucifixion 5.8, Ruper 5.7, Grand Giraffe 5.8, Super Slab 5.9, Vertigo 5.10, Grandmother's Challenge 5.9, Grand Course 5.9, Break on Through 5.9, Rincon 5.9.

Advances in technology should easiliy make up for any broken or polished holds, missing fixed gear, etc. Thus the only conclusion to be drawn is the the modern Boulder climber is simply a pathetic wuss. Apr 23, 2004
Followed P1 yesterday... at the crux, feet up as high as possible, palm-forward fist jam with right hand, lay-back left edge of crack with left hand and, with commesurate body position, step up with right foot to surmount bulge. Strenuous, but went well. This will be my strategy when I go back to lead this pitch, along with tape, after looking at my hand today. Should have rested a bit longer before grabbing the lead for P2 as it continues to be quite pumpy. Awesome climb. Apr 27, 2004
...or you can lead it in one pitch with a 60-meter rope with no simulclimbing.

Great route! Jul 10, 2004
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
Don't forget to bring your hex's for the first part of the route. (# 7,8,9) You can then save your cams for the crux. You can place a #3 Camalot about 2 feet below the top out. This is a fun 5.10a route up to the topout, which I won't try to rate. I finally had to traverse to the right to get over the bulge.

The anchor now consists of a piton, 2 knots, and a bomber nut, which you should backup. There is no reason to rap, the 2nd pitch is fun and only has 1 well protected hard move. Aug 31, 2004
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
Blind Faith was a difficult lead for me, one that I would not consider a novice 5.10 leader to attempt. The crux moves are harder than Tagger, Over the Hill, and March of Dimes in my opinion. I climbed the crack on the left (with a nice big fall!). The crack on the right looked easier, though.

Place a #3 Camalot in the crack near the top of the bulge, work your way up the crack, crimp like crazy on the holds above the bulge, and try to find foot placements under the buldge (I didn't find any which made this very difficult for me).

Good fun! Sep 7, 2004
Hmmm.... what would the perfect entry level 10 be. Xanadu would be my first suggestion. Nothing devious, pro above your head and soooooo good!!!! Sep 7, 2004
Mike McKinnon
Golden, CO
Mike McKinnon   Golden, CO
I did this route yesterday 8/31/05. The anchor atop pitch one is nowhere near as bad as I expected from the comments. Maybe it was recently replaced. Now it consists of a pin (solid) and a nut (solid) equalized with a sling. I think the discussion of an anchor is moot since it is a giant ledge for you to belay from. Protection abounds or just plop down on the ground and wedge your body between rocks with some gear behind you. Now for the actual climb, I went left and found it a little more strenous than the rest of the low 10s I had done in the canyon. I used the crimps out right while I had a bomber left hand jam. Protection is awesome so if you are thinking of doing 10a. This is not a bad one as you do not need to worry about protection just the climbing. Sep 1, 2005
I followed this in 98 and fell. led it in 2003 and fired the whole thing. Just make sure to rest well before the crux and don't hang out in the middle of it for too long. I think the start to the upper pitch is just as hard if not more as you need to place pro from an overhanging stance. Wonder when I'll get the nerve to do it again... Oct 21, 2005
Brandon Bogardus
Scottsdale, AZ
Brandon Bogardus   Scottsdale, AZ
I onsighted the first pitch today (I have to brag 'cause I'm stoked) and it is awesome - good pro and your fall will be clean at the crux. However, the final move to the belay is f@&*ing desperate. I seriously almost puked. The only other place that this might be a 5.10a is at Vedawoo. So, sweet climb, but a definite sandbag. Jim Erickson is a bad ass. Oh, and the first 20 feet of the second pitch has some scary loose blocks. Cheers. Apr 21, 2006
Wanderinfree Chrislip
Boulder, CO
Wanderinfree Chrislip   Boulder, CO
Climbed this two days ago. Just to update, the only remaining fixed gear for the P1 anchor is the old piton. Everything else is gone--no cord, no nut. Jun 28, 2006
Stefanie Van Wychen
Denver, CO
Stefanie Van Wychen   Denver, CO
We took the left-side (10a) variation on pitch 1, and I thought it was maybe 5.9+. If you have good crack technique, there is actually a good hand jam (for your left hand) right over the edge where you have to mantel and a handhold off to your right. I happened to think the second pitch move over the roof right off the belay was more 10a than the first pitch crux - I'm only 5'5" and I had to really lay it back and reach to get a semi-good hand jam in the crack before I could step over right, spicy and exposed!! And I agree that like a lot of Eldo climbs, some of the rock is a bit questionable - you're pretty sure it's solid, but ............ Aug 7, 2006
Holly **** Stephanie! Maybe I was a bit tired from doing (leading) both Hair City and West Buttress, but having done quite a number of low 10s in Eldo, P1 crux completely shut me down, and I had to aid it (and yes, I can climb crack, no I'm not a 5.12, or even 11+ sport climber). P2 is straightforward 9, even pumped. I think there is a 'bad' way or trying to do the P2 crux, though my partner inexplicably fell multiple times seconding.

Discussions on route difficulty never cease to amaze me. When I did West Buttress a couple of years ago, the 9+ crux seemed hard - I had to deadpoint for it - and definitely felt sandbag 9+. This time it felt quite straightforward (footwork being key), as did the 10a straight up (although did feel 10a). People talking about Xanadu being 'hard' for 10a, Uhhh? It's just stemming with good gear. Technique and how you feel on the day seem to make a big difference in Eldo.

Then, others are like "Blind Faith is a good first 10", and I fell multiple times - something I haven't done in Eldo before. The pro is decent, but strenuous to place, and I was looking at a 10+ footer trying to top out without placing the last cam up there (I got pumped placing that last piece).

A really good, fun climb though, and I wouldn't hesitate to get back on it, even if I did not expect to make the crux. The bulges before hand and P2 are just a delight.

Then again, who knows, maybe I'll find it "easy" 10a next time! Aug 9, 2006
Dan Dalton
Boulder, CO
Dan Dalton   Boulder, CO
A pretty solid and classic 10a. Definitely would be good to follow to figure out the mantle/bulge sequence at the top before leading. Quite awkard mantle on some loose stuff with not-so-bomber jams. A really fun route though, I high recommend it. Watch out for some loose flakes near the second bulge, would be a bad place to put in protection to protect the crux. Mar 21, 2007
It was too difficult to sort through the comments above, so I thought I would quickly recommend the 10c variation over the 10a variation.

The climbing on the 10a side is a bit of a grovel (though well protected).

The climbing on the 10c side has much more aesthetic movement and gear that is just as good. Yellow and green Alien and or nuts can sew this up. Give it a shot! May 14, 2007
I am relatively new to Eldo (30 routes or so). I think the anchor at the top of pitch one is uninspiring. The anchor spot consists of a large block wedged into the crack. It is possible, though unlikely, that it could move and spit out your gear. I did not have one piece I trusted 100%, much less three, so I put in 7 pieces in five different cracks around all the loose junk. Yes, it was overkill, but an anchor is supposed to be overkill. Especially in this case where the first 25 feet of the next pitch has no great gear. I guess you could sling one of the massive blocks lodged in the crack, but I didn't want to touch it, much less be attached to it. Before you get the first good piece (a crack formed by two large walls rather than a crack on either side of a loose looking block) I pulled hard on a torso-sized block that had no visual means of attachment. I can't believe it hasn't fallen out yet. For this reason, I think there should be one bolt placed a few feet left of the pin. This would make the anchor bomber. At this point, it might be good. I will not belay at this spot again if I can avoid it. Doing it in one pitch is a good idea if your experienced enough to alleviate the ropedrag and can run it out enough to conserve gear for the whole pitch.
BTW. I don't think a fixed anchor is necessary for the first pitch, but one good piece would be nice for the possibility of a forty foot factor-two fall from pitch two. Jun 4, 2007
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
A fixed anchor is not going to happen given that you could climb up a few more feet and get multiple good pieces above the alleged loose block. The climb can also easily be done in one long pitch, but then you might be asking for a bolt at the top where an anchor is hard to arrange if you've used all your big pieces. Jun 4, 2007
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
"For this reason, I think there should be one bolt placed a few feet left of the pin."

The bolt you suggest would violate the entire premise of the climb and the park as well as the rules of the legally chartered FHRC.
With time, you will get used to Eldo and what is good and what is not and will probably feel more secure about climbing in Eldo.
My comment on Jan 30, 2002 (read above) may have once spurned a sentiment somewhat like your own at this time, but as it says, I don't climb like I once did, but I feel safe there now. Jun 4, 2007
Paul Hunnicutt
Boulder, CO
Paul Hunnicutt   Boulder, CO
I think this would be a great first 5.10 lead in Eldo...especially if you know how to hand/foot jamb. The pro is excellent...except for going over the bulge maybe, but you can put a super solid #3 or #2 Camalot in right before the move. I've never crimped or mantled up over the crux, but just keep jamming until I'm over. I found the 5.9 move on P2 harder than the P1 hand crack actually. No bolts needed can build a great anchor at the top of P1, and it's a two pitch route. Sep 19, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Most people probably assume Jim Erickson simply walked up to this climb and free soloed it. In fact, Jim is a shrewd and calculating fellow and climbed up and down the start numerous times over many days before he committed to the crux section. In the 70s in Eldo, most climbers were experts at climbing down as well as up difficult sections. These days it is all too tempting to yell "TAKE!"

This route was climbed last weekend by Jim Logan and Wayne Goss, together with one of their sons! I was hanging out at the base chatting with them, which is where I got the info on the first ascent. Sep 19, 2007
Meredith DB
Boulder, CO
Meredith DB   Boulder, CO
If you have small hands you may find the P1 crux rattly and spooky. Oct 28, 2007
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
This was my first onsight 10 in Eldo, not bad IMO I got a Brown Point on Northcutt Start yesterday as I rested on the pin at the crux, but that was the first ten ever in Eldo, so not bad. As a solid crack climber I found this one to be pretty easy. I thought some of the jambs were shaky at first with my skinny hands, but upon readjusting, the jams held quite well. Ran it out a bit to the crux (not necessary, but I didn't have many long runners), then threw a #2 in at the start of the crux, and thought I would run it out to the lip jams were so good I hung in there and put in another #2 and a #1 then turned the lip on a good jam high with the left and I think the right hand crimp with feet high in the crack. Then stepped onto a nice little edge on the arete and it was done. The anchor really sucked, and I was a little scared for my life. Went left from the belay to a 5.6 exit with nice cracks, because I didn't want my "green" partner to try to lead his first 5.9 trad route on chossy rock above a manky anchor. One pitch next time with a lot more long runners, and I will take the right variation and the original 2nd pitch. Oct 28, 2007
Paul Brooks
Paul Brooks   Boulder
We did the route yesterday and it ruled. The 10c variation went without hitches. Crux Beta: step high enough to gain a jug with the left hand and jam your fingers in the 10c crack. Reach higher with the left or just cross through to a nice two-hand shelf. There's a good nut placement above the 10c jam. My partner noticed a loose hand-hold near the start of pitch 2 in the chossy looking rock. Mar 4, 2009
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
You rule. Mar 4, 2009
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
A great, well protected route. You can throw as much gear as you want on the first pitch, but I recommend saving some #1-#3 Camalots for the top bit. The p1 crux felt right on at 10a - definitely pumpy, but the jams are good. The first 40 feet of P2 has some creepy rock, but the gear was good. May 16, 2009
mtoensing   Boulder
I have been to The Creek a lot recently and this climb was a fantastic Creek-style climb. One of the best I have climbed in Eldo. Easier than Handcracker. I just wish it was a little longer, but don't we all? May 21, 2009
Jay Eggleston
Jay Eggleston   Denver
Did the right crack variation today. It is certainly not 10c. I would call it 5.9. It is certainly easier than the left crack. The moves are, however, worthwhile and fun. Jul 22, 2009
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
Just noticed the route description says this route is 250' long?.... I climbed this yesterday for the first time and had no problem linking both pitches with the use of long slings, and the occasional runout. More like 155 feet of awesomeness. Sep 14, 2009
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Being that I've lead this climb as a single pitch on most occasions, with a 60m or a 70m rope, (the 70m leaves you more room at the end for anchors), I can assure you that this climb in just under 200' in total.
It would be nice to change the main description that says 250' to accurately reflect this possibility/opportunity. (EDIT: Done) Mar 15, 2010
Nate R
Boulder, CO
Nate R   Boulder, CO
Found it quite thuggish for 10a. Aug 4, 2010
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
I would give this route 4 stars if it had a better finish. A more enjoyable finish in my opinion is to head left after P1 and climb the 8ish corner. It finishes in the same 5.6 chimney as the standard finish does, but with better quality rock and a few more fun moves. Definitely a great climb though. Very worthy of 3 stars - so close to 4.... Nov 3, 2010
Jason Antin
Golden, CO
Jason Antin   Golden, CO
Superb climbing. A great intro to Eldo 5.10! Apr 19, 2011
NickinCO   colorado
Lead it today and took a good 20'er from the top of the hand crack. Got it clean 2nd try. This was my 2nd 10a in Eldo. Felt really good and protection was excellent. Nothing bigger than a #2 C4 needed. Jun 12, 2012
Albuquerque, NM
farkas.time   Albuquerque, NM
Got a #1 BD cam stuck low down today [blush]. Pretty wedged. I'll go back for it with some tools soon, but if you manage to get it out in the meantime, please call 303 621 4250. Thanks! Aug 12, 2013
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
Did the route this morning in one pitch with a 70m. Was great. Two fixed nuts on the route, so all in all pretty clean. Jul 22, 2014
I left a couple of DMM offset nuts on an oval biner at the bottom of this today. I came back, and the people there told me whoever found them was trying to give them back. If you found them, pm me and a sixpack is in your future.

Thanks Apr 24, 2015
Black Hawk, CO
mountainhick   Black Hawk, CO

I have loved this climb since I first climbed it in the '80s with hexes and stoppers! P1 is the purest crack climb I can think of at the grade in Eldo, and P2 is a really nice compliment with very different climbing. Just wish it was more continuous. When on the west side of the Bastille, Blind Faith is almost mandatory every time. Jun 17, 2015
Belayed like a POS on P2, gear stuck (0.75), beer in it for return. :( Jun 26, 2015
Left a yellow BD nut, dyneema sling, and green cordlette at the top of the first pitch when we had to bail due to nightfall yesterday. If you get them back before I do today, please return in exchange for beer. Mar 13, 2016
Alex Vidal
Boulder, CO
Alex Vidal   Boulder, CO
I climbed the .10 variation last night. I think it has better and more interesting climbing. It's more technical, but if you stick the correct sequence, it's less work than the 10a crux. Those well versed in the "Eldo dance" will probably execute it easily. I still, however, think, that it is probably a 5.10 pitch and not 5.9, but I don't have much grade sensitivity in this area. Apr 8, 2016
Rob Baumgartner
Rob Baumgartner   Niwot
There's a bird's nest in the crack about 10' up from the belay atop P1. Lots of bird shit at the belay and an obviously unhappy bird. It may be best to bump out left to West Crack for the time being. Aug 18, 2016
Russ Keane
Asheville, NC
Russ Keane   Asheville, NC
Bad ass climb! One of my faves of all time. Even the second pitch is cool. Dec 9, 2016
Hey guys, on my way down from the climb, somehow one of my climbing shoes feel out of my backpack. It’s a pink/yellow La Sportive Otaki. If you find it, send me message, and I’ll return the good deed with a few beers, thanks! Apr 25, 2018
Dillon Blanksma
Golden, CO
Dillon Blanksma   Golden, CO
Eric and Heather whom I met on Blind Faith 6/25/18. I got a pretty good shot of Heather leading the crux on P2! If you are interested, shoot me an email. Contact me by going to my profile.
Such an awesome climb for anyone getting on it. Perfect first 5.10 lead in Eldo. Jun 26, 2018

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