Type: Trad, 5 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 21,356 total · 95/month
Shared By: Ben Mottinger on Dec 31, 2000 with improvements by Carl Schaefer
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Season raptor closures Details


Superb route. Start on the flake right of the popular Pear Buttress.

P1. Thin lieback corner (9) and hand-traverse left (8) to a ledge, belay just up from a crystal dyke.

P2. Traverse 10 feet or so left to the second thin crack up the face. The first one is 10b. Start with a few difficult and insecure jams (9) then continue this pitch at solid 5.8 to a nice ledge past a flake.

P3. Lieback the nice, left-arcing, left-facing dihedral (9) to a big ledge.

P4. Continue up and right on easy, blocky slab climbing to a nook under The Cave (5.2?)

P5. Exit The Cave through the slot to the left of the large block. There is one tricky move, but the holds are there....

Descent: Downclimb a gully to the east. The downclimbing includes steep slabs and some 5th-class moves, so follow cairns and look around for the safest path to them. Don't head downhill immediately after the Cave exit, instead traverse until a worn path down the gully comes into view and scramble over to join that.


Full set wired nuts, Friends from #0.5-#4 with doubles in #0.5-#2, some micro cams or TCUs, and a few medium hexes.


One of my favorite routes anywhere. Hard to imagine 3 better pitches of 5.9. There is a trick to starting P2 that will make it considerably easier than jamming the crack straight on... Jul 10, 2001
justin dubois
Estes Park
justin dubois   Estes Park
The 5.9 first pitch is one of the best pitches on the Book. Sustained and steep!!!!!! It keeps you thinking all the way to the anchors. Feb 24, 2002
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Big fingers makes the 1st pitch feel stiff for 5.9. Still, a great climb! Mar 13, 2002
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
If you are looking for a climb with a lot of liebacking this is the route for you! You'll love every pitch! Apr 9, 2002
WOW! great route. continuous climbing the entire way on high quality stone. a must do for the grade! Sep 29, 2003
Kirk Woerner
Kirk Woerner  
This is one of the most fun climbs I've ever done. For a solid 5.9+ leader who can climb 5.10, it's perfect. The 5.10 crux pitch I thought was one move on bomber pro, sort of a boulder problem more than anything. Pitch one is tricky and difficult to do nicely especially first thing in the morning and is now my favorite warmup pitch on the wall. Bring lots of nuts and enjoy sinking them perfectly into good rock. I think Pitch 3 is the psychological crux simply because the big arching dihedral is intimidating, yet it protects well and the feature is beautiful on the walk down as well. Simply a must do in my book. Sep 30, 2003
Errett Allen
Errett Allen  
A variation to the third pitch is to go a bit less than halfway up the leaning dihedral, then traverse left across slab about 20-25 feet under a small overlap to a straight in, straight up crack. Then follow this crack (1 to 4 inch pro) back to the final few lieback moves in the leaning dihedral. Probably 5.9 also and good quality climbing. Oct 17, 2003
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
Awesome route. I led the first, third, and fourth pitches and enjoyed them all. Not one bad pitch on 'Loose Ends'. The second pitch, however, was the best pitch of the climb. Fun finger jams with good gear. Apr 6, 2004
Holly Barnard
Holly Barnard  
This is a great route, that doesn't seem to get as much spray as J-crack and Femp. P1 has perfect finger locks and high friction for your feet. It was one of my first 5.9 leads and protects really well. It seems like the crack always tends to have about 2 pieces of fixed gear in it. A hint for P2 would be to think about your hand placements before slotting in gear. My partner made it much more difficult for himself than it needed to be by filling up his jams. Overall, every pitch is great fun. This route shouldn't be missed! Aug 2, 2004
Lon Black  
Wonderful route. Be sure to bring long runners.

If you want to finish the climb with some spice, the right facing dihedral that a few meters left of the cave entrance. Above the little roof (where the dihedral ends), there are three cracks. All are flaring, and the pro isn't inspiring. Maybe there's an easier way up one of these cracks, but the way I went was scary. Just so you know what you're getting into, my girlfriend and I guess the dihedral part was 10a and the upper part went at 11b. Sep 9, 2004
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
Running pitch 4 and the exit together seems appropriate, ONLY IF you eliminate rope drag by doing the 'Cave proper' exit which is, by the way, really cool, powerful, easy to protect-incl. a pin-and easier than it looks. Jun 28, 2005
Climbed this last year and again the other day. Awesome climb. However, since last year someone has put a nest of slings with a couple of rap rings at the top of the first section (50 or 60 feet up). What is up with this?? Is this now a Top-roping area? If someone had to bail and left them I understand, but if these are intended so groups can now camp out on the first half of the first pitch of a 5-pitch climb then that's B.S. Jul 20, 2005
Due to weather, my party and I decided to just do the first pitch of Loose Ends. It is one of my most favorite 5.9 leads ever. The pitch eats nuts- in fact, the whole pitch was lead with nuts. The cam placements just never felt good. Good thin finger placements the whole way with friction for feet. What a great climb! I enjoyed the slings at the top as it allowed us to do a single pitch and still enjoy Lumpy- weather and all. Jul 28, 2006
W. Spaller  
3 very different pitches of tough 5.9. I felt the 3rd pitch was by far the hardest as it is difficult to place gear on the lie back. Awesome route. Apr 12, 2010
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
Great route. If you're looking for a little harder 50 star link up:
1. Climb the first pitch of Loose Ends, belay.
2. The first pitch of Visual Aids (10b).
3. The third dihedral pitch of Loose ends. Belay on a ledge.
(belay move) Run it out up the slab and belay on the nice ledge left of the cave.
4. Climb the excellent Cheap Date (10b).
5. Then finish with the last pitch of Outlander (10c)!

Makes for a 50 star 5 pitch link up on the book!
Visually Loose, Outlandish Dates! Jun 4, 2010
Brighton, CO
plantmandan   Brighton, CO
Fantastic route with lots of variety and great rock quality. Pitch 2, an awesome finger and hand crack, was the highlight for me. The holds and pro are all there, but the route is quite sustained and does not go easily. Just when you think it's over, the cave exit gives you one last bit of excitement.

I brought some smaller cams (C3 size 0 and 1 and C4 size 0.3 and 0.4) and found them all to be useful. Jun 21, 2015
Al Pino
Al Pino   Boulder
I found this route to be physically demanding. It required a good combination of technical skill and good relaxed mental game. We did it in 3 pitches. The layback in what was P2, after the finger crack, was the highlight of the climb. Stay relaxed, and try to execute each move with good posture and self composure.

BETA: the roof at the cave finish can look slightly surprising, trust the flake on the right side (looking out), and work your way up. There is a piton that can be clipped as well. Probably the best way to finish this CLASSIC line!!! Jul 4, 2016
Dom R
Bend, OR
Dom R   Bend, OR
Pitch 1 of this route has become one of my favorite 5.9s anywhere, good for a quick hit after doing some other routes in the area, a better start to Pear Buttress, or just good to continue the rest of the route afterwards. Haven't done pitch 3, but pitch 2 is fun for sure. The other day I left two biners on the rap slings at the top of the pitch one corner, there were some on it like a month ago, and when I came back last week, they were gone. I don't know if this is necessarily what people want, but I think it's worth having the option to just do pitch one of this. Jul 18, 2016
Eric and Lucie
Boulder, CO
Eric and Lucie   Boulder, CO
IMO, P1 has been getting harder as it is losing texture, at least in part due to TR traffic. I don't think it is a good idea to encourage the use of this pitch as a single pitch TR. If you leave an anchor at the top of the corner to bail, that's fine, but expect others (myself included) to clean this anchor off when we pass through, just like any other bail anchor. Oct 24, 2016
Dom R
Bend, OR
Dom R   Bend, OR
Pretty positive the cord that's been fixed at the top of the corner was left to facilitate a belay for those linking this into J-Crack. It's pretty beefy and appears to be more than just a bail anchor. Conveniently it also allows for a quick lead lap on the corner if one desires at the end of the day. I've never known Lumpy to be a place where people go and top-rope session a bunch of pitches nor is that the intent of the anchor to my understanding. A lot of routes at Lumpy have these mid-stations where you can rappel from, for example Melvin's Wheel, which has an anchor after pitch 2 that you can rap off to bolts at pitch 1 to descend to the ground (but that pitch 2 anchor was also removed the last time I was there), and Pear Buttress has a fixed anchor below the third pitch that you can rappel from. White Whale has slings on the tree at pitch one. Conad's has a fixed rappel. These things aren't uncommon here. Dec 7, 2016
Max S
Steamboat Springs, CO
Max S   Steamboat Springs, CO
Whatever rap/TR anchors were put up at the top of pitch 1 are now gone. I assumed (stupidly) they would still be there the other day when we wanted to give just the 1st pitch a go (as it was late in the afternoon). Anyway, I traversed far left to try to find them and ended up having to leave a BD double length sling and carabiner around a horn right around the end of the 1st pitch of Pear Buttress to rap off. Sep 24, 2017
Pink Thunder
Sacramento, CA
Pink Thunder   Sacramento, CA
There are now two fixed nuts on the first pitch, thanks to a couple of solid lead falls. Kudos to anyone who can booty 'em.

Great route. Oct 7, 2017
Carl Schaefer
Boulder, CO
Carl Schaefer   Boulder, CO
The fixed nuts on P1 are now gone. There's a fixed cam toward the top of P3.

Next time I'm bringing doubles 0.4 - #1, plus single 0.1/0.2/0.3/#2/#3, and extra medium-small nuts (for P1). We found no need for a #4. Offset cams were sporadically useful.

The hardest moves were at the start of P2, but overall P1 felt like the crux because of how thin and sustained that corner is.

The Cave Exit may have an elegant stemming solution that I missed, but it goes cleanly as a roof problem entirely on the right side. Sep 21, 2018