Type: Trad, 6 pitches Fixed Hardware (3)
FA: Layton Kor, Bob Culp, Ed Risley, 1961
Page Views: 65,218 total · 294/month
Shared By: Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Subject to Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is my favorite 5.8 route in the canyon. It is long, sustained, and has a variety of types of climbing. The route is broken into two sections both three pitches long, one below the Upper Ramp, and one above. You can rap off after the first three pitches. For the second pitch, you can take the rover variation on the left side of the block, this is a lot easier than it looks, but still solid 5.9. The other variation is the Ruper crack, an offwidth that requires a #4 Camalot at the beginning. (You can pro in cracks on the side of the offwidth higher in the pitch) The other pitch of note is the last pitch. This is has one short .8- move on it, but the protection sucks. There are two pins protecting the move, one wiggles around when you touch it, the other would not hold a fall. You can back them up with some weird TCU placements, all the same be solid at the grade. The top of the last pitch is runout 5.5, and if it has rained or snowed lately will definitely be wet. Every pitch on this route is awesome and classic.


Bring a standard rack, a #4 Camalot is mandatory for the Ruper crack.

Getting There

Find the start to the route by approaching the Roof Routes area. You park at the lower parking lot, hike the trail around the W side of The Whale's Tail. Follow the trail across the concrete pad, take the switchbacks, take the right fork. When you get to the rock, you head left, past the Roof Routes. Here, you will find a Flatiron like slab requiring 4th class to low 5th class climbing for 200+ ft. Use a rope if you might fall. Ascend this to the top of this slab. Find a large flattish area. Gear up, rope up. Two options: 1) you go up a short RFD, then traverse right, catch a ramp up and belay. 2) traverse R, go up to the same ramp, follow it & belay. To find the R-facing Ruper crack, you must traverse/downclimb R about 30 ft.


Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
A pitch-by-pitch account. What the hell, I'm bored. Read or skip.

To get to the base: Hike up to the Lower Ramp, which is the long, low-angled ramp that rises just beyond the long, low rising roof. This area is a bit uphill from Cest la Vie: follow the streamside trail, then cut uphill on another trail shortly after passing the huge concrete slab below the Whales Tail. Or go round the corner to the west and uphill from Cest la Vie. Scramble (or belay) up the ramp to trees and blocks at its top, and then go right to a level spot below a clean, short corner with a good crack in the back.

Alternate approach: Hike the Streamside trail around to the West Face of Redgarden and follow the climbers access trail up some switchbacks. Stop just before a clean arete (Superarete), with the route Superslab and Vertigo towering overhead and slightly uphill. Directly above, and right of Superarete is a broken area with trees on top. Scramble into a scoop and head sharply up right to gain the top of the Lower Ramp, then head left to the start.

P1 - Climb the short corner, nice 5.8, and head up and right to an alcove below a large overhanging corner. Avoid the 5.8 if desired by climbing over an overlap to the right at about 5.6 or so. The large corner is the Rover variation; belay here if doing it. If doing the Ruper crack, continue up right to a platform and belay there or further right on a sloping ledge directly beneath the wide crack.

P2 - Rover: climb the fantastic corner and head right at its top to a 2-bolt belay. Ruper: climb the wide 5.8 crack and when it ends, head left (also 5.8) on flakes to the same belay.

P3 - Traverse right along a loose ledge, climb up right through short, clean corners, into another shallow corner. Go straight up to a tree and the Upper Ramp, passing a VERY loose flake (which appears solid) just before the belay. Great exposure and thought-provoking climbing. Traverse across the upper ramp to the west end of a large cave (4th/5th class).

Hike down past the cave to the first continuous corner system (left-facing). Climb that for two more excllent, vertical 5.7-5.8 pitches (or one 200 footer) to a large roof above a rotten band. Though there is a fixed pin belay right at the roof, I recommend belaying 10-15 ft. lower on much higher quality rock.

The last pitch traverses around the roof by going up left through the rotten band (with rotten pro) at 5.8, then up easier, though somewhat runout rock to a tree at the top. Jan 1, 2001
You can also do a nicer first pitch by taking the clean right facing dihedral with thin crack about 15 feet left of the original start. This is the Art's Spar start and is 5.8..... Did this yesterday as well as the Rover variation 2nd pitch...AWESOME overhanging crack in a large left facing and angling dihedral...., SOLID 5.9 with no rests. Jan 1, 2001
T. Maino
Denver, CO
T. Maino   Denver, CO
Has anybody heard the story of the knuckle-head that got his knee stuck in the 2nd pitch and hung for 7hrs? If so then please email me with your version. Thanks in advance! Jan 1, 2001
Steve Marr
Colorado Springs, CO
Steve Marr   Colorado Springs, CO
Quick note of caution - as of Memorial Day 2001, one of the two ancient pins just below the roof at the top of pitch five is no more. I think the right one is sheared off now. Definitely look for that area of good rock 10-15 below the roof that Charles mentioned. If you have a 60m rope and manage it well pulling around the roof, it's possible to combine P5 and P6 and make it to the top (possible, but not recommended - we had about 2 feet of rope left). Jul 13, 2001
Ruper is also my favorite 5.8 in the park. If one has all day, i would suggest avoiding the slab approach up from the roof routes by going around the corner and doing two 5.8 pitches of The Slippery Spoon (5.8) to the top of the ramp, and starting the route with the art's spar 5.8 start. This makes for eight great pitches of varied 5.8 climbing: clean dihedral, squeeze chimney, finger crack, offwidth, overhangs, face climbing, and exposure! This is the only 8 pitch route i've found in the park, and every pitch is 5.8! Aug 1, 2001

Glad you enjoyed this route. It is indeed some great climbing. The Rover dihedral is lots of fun. Of course, you didn't really climb Ruper. I mean, you can't say you climbed Ruper without doing the Ruper Crack! The traverse is cool, airy, and intimidating, but the meat of the route is the Ruper Crack. Indeed one large piece is nice to have for that crack. It all depends on how bold you are. It is indeed nice to climb with a small rack. The size of the crack seems to be in indirect proportion to the size of your...uh...risk tolerance. Jun 17, 2002
Right after the Ruper "traverse", when you start going up again there is a decent sized flake that you can get a perfect fistjam in. DON'T USE IT !!! I put my fist in it and the whole thing moved out, that was freaky!!!!! Jul 30, 2002
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
Led P1-3 of this yesterday for the 1st time. If you like sustained .8 crack climbing with exposure, its hard to beat. Suggest bringing two #4 cams for P2 if you have them. Thought P3 upper section to be sandbagged at 5. Great route and challenging for the grade. Sep 16, 2002
I finally got around to climbing the first three pitches of this route. What an awesome climb it is indeed.

After the climb I came back home and thumbed through Pat Ament's "High Over Boulder" to see what he had to say about the climb.

To my surprise on page 11, there is a picture of Kor (FA) just after completing the traverse. Upon closer inspection I noticed he has NO gear in place through the whole traverse! His first visible piece is on the 5.5 crack that marks the end of it.

Now, those who have done this traverse know how extremely exposed it can get out there...

Kor, what a stud...

WT Oct 9, 2002
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
My beta for upper ruper:

Do a 150' pitch to an alcove about 20' below the roof. As I remember it, I made a move out and left then back up and right around a bulge to gain this ledge.

From here, go 164' to the tree at the top. Be judicious in your runners, especially at the start of the roof and any pieces after the rotten band (My rope was about dead vertical from last piece over the entire 5.6 section).

The roof, while loose, is not that scary protection-wise. I got a 00 friend in a great placement by the first pin. Just left of pins 2 and 3, there's a great yellow alien placement.

If I recall, I think pitch 4 is called 's' by Rossiter. I'd disagree with this; 20 feet up you can get a bomber #6 stopper in above you, and then it's four moves to a great stance where you can get a solid yellow Alien in a slot. I thought this section was the only possible 's' area, and even then it seemed very safe.

Upper Ruper is incredible! It's very steep, yet a very forgiving weakness in the wall. Do it. Oct 21, 2002
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Hey Warren. Read on and see what Ament says about Layton and his 40' whipper on crappy rope. He just brushed it off and finished Rogue's Arete (10a) at Overhang Rock. Yeah, we all might say that Kor was a VERY talented and dedicated climber for use to emulate (note the knee boots on page 11 of "High Over Boulder..."). Dec 15, 2002
Best 5.8 climb in the universe!! make sure you do all 5 pitches. If I had one route to do on the last afternoon before the world blows up, this is it! Jan 28, 2003
A little gear beta for the wide crack on P2. At the base of the crack, the #4 fits beautifully. Looking up, I thought I might need it later so I back cleaned it after getting a slightly higher piece. I didn't place it again on the pitch. You could leave it at the bottom, but it might make for some bad rope drag. The OW opens up to a squueze chimney about half-way up. Right before opening up, there is a perfect 3.5 Camalot. With that in place you can lie-back the squeeze section (perhaps a litle spicey for the 5.8 leader) rather than grovel up it. Other than that, a standard rack works fine. I'm sure you could do it without the 3.5 or the 4, but it would take a little more creativity and run-out.

Don't miss the upper half of this route, it is superb! The beta for linking pitches 4 and 5 was much appreciated. Put together, it was a fantastic pitch of climbing. Definitely stop 20' short of the roof to belay. The rock at the roof sucks. Apr 12, 2003
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
Is the East Face Descent the only alternative to descending the route when you have just 1 rope? Apr 15, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Tracy: No, you can rap down with one rope west of Vertigo, the "Vertigo Rap Route". It is best to have a 60m for this, from the top of Ruper follow an exposed ledge west up through a notch, then down to the first rap anchor. Look at the first comment under the Yellow Spur for more info or do a search on this site for "Vertigo Raps". This is the best way to get down from anywhere in this area, IMHO. Apr 15, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
What I call "The Vertigo Raps" really starts with a rappel down the Upper Ramp route "Chockstone Chimney" (this route is in Rossiter's Guide but not yet on this web site). One 60m rope works perfectly for this rap. I have done it with a single 50m, but you have to be real careful to go off rappel before the rope ends and downclimb the final 15'. From here you scramble west from the very end of the Upper Ramp, down a short crack to a tree with slings (just west of the final pitch of Vertigo). Two single rope raps get you down from here. Apr 15, 2003
Tonya Clement
Boulder, CO
Tonya Clement   Boulder, CO
I must comment about this route....I thought I was a solid 5.8 leader until this! I just struggled up P2 on follow...I found the feet to be quite polished and the lay back to require brute strength. Then I took a leader fall on P4. I was able to find protection all the way (including the runout section) and it is a good thing. I just popped off since it was so vertical and I was tired by the time I got there.

As everyone says, the route has a bit of everything and it is tiring. For those of you that have led the entire climb...kudos. I think it takes a lot of technique and experience. I would say, save this one until you are comfortably leading 5.9's or else just call me a feable weak female.

Having said all of the above...it was my BEST DAY of rock climbing ever. The last three pitches are pure joy.

At last, on this trip we found the vertigo rap line and it is the BEST way off. Three raps on a 60M and your on the ground near the Yellow Spur start. May 31, 2003
Thanks to Charles Vernon's comment I set the belay for pitch one at the bottom of Ruper Crack. No rope drag and your belayer can watch you. I highly recommend it. Fun route! Jun 2, 2003
There are many ways to descend from Upper and Lower Ruper. Here is a link my personal notes describing in detail the rappels down Chockstone Chimney, Song of the Dodo (Vertigo), Predator (Rosy Crucifixion), T2, Redguard, etc. _A HREF='http://www.dwebsoft.com/Will/Climbing/RappelRuper.html'_http://www.dwebsoft.com/Will/Climbing/RappelRuper.html_/A_ Jun 5, 2003
The picture of Tonya Riggs below serves as an excellent example of why you need to either use quite long runners or preferably double ropes on this route.Of course this applies to almost any Eldo route because of the angles of the natural features. I'm not surprised you got tired, Tonya, it looks like you were already experiencing significant rope drag half way through P4.

Personally I don't understand why so may people continue to use single ropes in Eldo when the routes and gear placements are so often not in a straight, vertical line. There is not a single pitch on Ruper that is not significantly easier to manage and safer to climb with doubles than with a single. (An exception might be P2 if you belay from the bottom of the crack). I'd rather climb most Eldo routes with two 10 mm ropes and have the extra weight than mess around with ridiculously long slings and/or the potential for zippering my placements. Doubles aren't just for pasty-white Brits with hangovers! Jun 30, 2003
Honestly, felt more like 5.7--but, this was a lot of fun!!! The first pitch...? I guess we missed it. We just cruised up some ramp to this corner with extreme exposure and ended up at the Ruper Crack. The crack itself was fairly polished and my cams just kept walking back--but, definately earns the 'three-star' rating! Jul 8, 2003
Agree with Edward's comments about double ropes, but make it 8.5mm instead of 10mm and you have the perfect set up for Eldo or any multi-pitch climb. And, by the way, Ruper is indeed the best 5.8 in Eldo, closely followed by Gambit in my book. Going up the Rover dihedral on P2 makes a better, albeit slightly more difficult route. Jul 11, 2003
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
While belaying on Rosy C. today, watched a guy lead the first three pitches of Ruper into one very long pitch, using a 60 meter rope. Jul 31, 2003
Kevin Currigan
Kevin Currigan   Lakewood
No worries about that very loose flake described in one of the comments above on the third pitch. My second rode it off the wall yesterday morning. I thumped it as I went by. It sounded real hollow. He gave it a good tug and both he and the flake came off the wall. The rock exploded on the lower ramp. I could see fragments ripping into the trees around it. This thing was a killer-around 150 lbs at least. Everybody was lucky on this one. It was pretty early; around 0800 so there weren't too many folks around yet.We were able to finish the route-whew! I hate it when that happens. When we came down two climbers were in the middle of the ramp... Aug 25, 2003
Mike McKinnon
Golden, CO
Mike McKinnon   Golden, CO
I did this route for the first time on Sunday. The day started out really foggy but ended very sunny and hot. I got stuck behind a party on the first three pitches so I broke these up the same way they did in to the three that Rossiter suggests. I could really see doiong these three on one or two pitches. Definately two as I ran the first pitch to the base of the crack and slung a flake and belayed at the base. With this stance it would be easy to run the second all the way to the top of lower Ruper. As long as you use some long runners on the traverse. We did the Upper in two pitches thank to the beta on this site. Awesome climbing for two pitches. I stopped the belay abotu twenty feet under the roof. The pins under the roof are horrible, I could probably pull them out with my hands. There are a couple of loose blocks that groaned when I pulled on them. BEWARE: Some of this stuff is going to break off soon. It is probably best to not hang out at the base of the climb when someone is negotiating this roof. One you pull over th roof I got in a great .75 cam (green).

Next time I think I might link Rover to Alice in Bucketlands.

Must do for anyone climbing at Eldo. Sep 15, 2003
Erik L Ahrn_  
I loved this route. No question it deserves three stars. Descending in the dark really sucked though. Oct 29, 2003
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
An all-time classic and one of the best routes in Eldorado.

The easiest approach is via the trail to the West Face of Redgarden Wall. Take this just past the turnoff to the Kloof Alcove. There's a good flat spot to gear up. The tree below the start of Ruper is directly above you. Climb up to the shelf below Suparete, then scramble right and up following the path of least resistance. Cut back left across the slab to the start of the climb.

The best start is in the black-washed corner. It's hard right from the start; get good pro. Aliens and small TCUs work well. After the crux, step right and continue up the corner all the way to its top, then traverse straight right to the belay. Don't traverse right too low or you'll miss some good climbing. I like to belay right on the arete at a small pillar.

A #3.5 Camalot is fine for protecting the start of the second pitch; no need for the #4. About 6 feet above this is a good placement for a finger-sized cam; there was a fixed piece here on 10/29/03.

On the Ruper traverse, think "good hands and poor feet". Don't step up on the ledge at the start of the traverse or you'll be too high.

Use long runners on the fourth pitch (1st pitch of upper Ruper) to minimize rope drag.

I like to do upper Ruper in three pitches, and set the last belay right under the roof. The belay pin can be backed up with small to medium cams. This spot provides a good photo angle of the leader at the last-pitch crux.

After the crux on the last pitch, head straight up the corner to a roof instead of traversing left on the ramp for more fun climbing. The final headwall to the top is runout 5.5. You can also climb a little farther left and get pro in a small corner system.

The easiest descent is via the Chockstone Chimney and Vertigo rappels; see George Bell's and Will Clopton's comments for details. Bring a 60m rope for the Chockstone Chimney rap. Take the Vertigo ledge uphill until it intersects the West Face trail, then amble down to your packs. Oct 30, 2003
Mic Fairchild
Mic Fairchild   Boulder
What can you say about going up that hasn't been beaten to death? This is one of the great climbs of Eldo, and one of the best 5.8 anywhere.

But Derek turned me on to climbing down the lower Ruper to descend from climbs like Rosy Crucifixion at the Upper Meadow.

According to notes, my own Rosy up / Ruper down loop was 6 Sept 88.

Surprisingly, climbing down is easier on the lower Ruper than going up. The traverse is much more secure, and the crack submits to toe-heel pretty easily.

Bridge to bridge speed record for Ruper is 44 minutes

luv ya sicmic Nov 1, 2003
Another good loop is to go up the Rover dihedral and down Ruper.... Nov 2, 2003
Downclimbing - yes, I've always thought that would be an interesting way to lead an entire climb - from the top to the bottom. The leader is now the second and the second is now the leader from a risk perspective. Probably a more interesting alternative to spice up easier climbs than speed climbing them. But, it would be tough on a busy day... Nov 3, 2003
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
As of 3/9/04 each of the first three pitches has fixed gear (cams). On P1 its 2/3 up the crack, and been there for many years. The piece on P2 is newer and 15' up the crack near where a #4 placement might go. On P3, high in an upper corner, just before the Ruper traverse, is an orange TCU.

Also, on P6 the lower of the two pins is still there and still moves, doubt it would hold a fall. The upper pin is in better condition and can be backed up with a green Alien in a seam just to its left. Mar 15, 2004
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
A good alternative for the second pitch is the Rover Dihedral(5.9). Fun, clean, not polished, good position, good gear placements, and a direct line. Apr 19, 2004
We did upper Ruper in two pitches, we linked 4 and 5 into a 190ft pitch, really cool to be on lead that long. I used a ton of long runners, got to the roof and got to belay in the shade. My partner then got to climb the whole upper Ruper in one shot. Aug 21, 2004
Tim Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tim Stich   Colorado Springs, Colorado
Got to lead the Ruper traverse on the way to the upper ramp today. Damn left leg started a sewing machine right after the traverse. Annoying as hell! In any case, there are about four fixed, manky cams just before the committing move, three in one place. You can see a chalked up, vertical handhold at about eye level. Reach out with your right hand and extend your right foot to the good foothold just beyond. You should be able to shift your weight onto the foot and be right at a shallow 1.5 inch crack about 7 inches long. I plugged a cam in this cruddy spot and made the mistake of going further right at that level. Don't. It's obvious that a crack now goes directly above you. Better gear placements await you up there, so move on up. Jun 19, 2005
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
Did this with the Rover variation today. Solid .9+ if you do the Rover variation in 1 pitch. Did the whole route in 4 pitches with minimal rope drag. Highly recommend it, nice if you want a finger crack and not an offwidth. Jun 8, 2006
Did upper and lower Ruper today, ultra fun climb!!!!!! The gear sucks through the upper roof, I found lots of pieces to slot, but the rock is so bad I doubt they would have held a fall. The last piton looked ok, my advice, just go for it. As the roof ends you can put in a 1 or 2 Camalot that's solid, you just have to hold on till then. FYI, there was plenty of rope left for the last pitch, so you don't have to set up your belay right under the upper roof. It's better to belay 20-30 feet below the upper roof. I only had 20-30 feet of runout at the top and the climbing is easy (5.5-5.6ish). We also did upper Ruper in two pitches with a 60m rope which I recommend. Don't miss this one!!!! Jul 22, 2006
Boulder, CO
claytown   Boulder, CO
As good as it gets, this climb was fun and varied. Some face, some wide crack, some easy slab soloing and a good amount of air. My first climb in Eldo, this was a great start to the day.

I was surprised how much fixed gear was on the climb. Sep 26, 2006
Joe Leonhard
Denver, CO
Joe Leonhard   Denver, CO
Fantastic route. This one has it all. One of my favorites in Eldo. Mar 21, 2007
Cody Cook
Colorado Springs, CO
Cody Cook   Colorado Springs, CO
Climbed Lower and Upper Ruper yesterday. Fantastic route! Ran P4&5 together as everyone mentions and found that to be one of the best pitches of trad leading I have ever done. It makes for one long pitch with a little bit of everything (face, vertical crack, lieback). Great call!
Even better, I talked my partner (a strong sport leader) into attempting his first trad lead on P1. After cruising that, he felt so good that he volunteered for P3. After cruising the traverse, and after I linked 4/5, he offered to take P6. As expected, he cruised the roof and runout section to the top without a second thought. I was quite impressed. The exposure on P3 and P6 match just about anything you can get in the park and he sent both like a pro.

As a side note: we were unable to retrieve the standard #4 in the Ruper crack. I placed it about 10 feet up from the belay, and during the pitch it walked its way back into the crack, and closed itself up such that my second couldn't get it out. He worked on it for over 5 minutes, and even took a nut tool to it, but to no avail. With a growing line of parties at the bottom of P1, we decided that we must move on and call it a loss.
If anyone was able to extract the cam, and reads this, it would be much appreciated if you could return it.

Thanks in advance. Apr 2, 2007
Dane Casterson
Dane Casterson   Boulder
One of the pins on upper rupper in the rotten band is now gone. I think it was the middle pin. My second gently wiggled it out, and it now resides in my back seat. I hope that nobody has clipped this thing in the last ten years, as it wouldn't have held any weight and is actually S-shaped. Still better than some of the fixed pins I have seen in Eldo. May 22, 2007
A couple of comments on this route related to other input above; It seemed very contrived to set a belay at the bottom of the Ruper crack as it is semi-hanging unless you carry gear bigger than what is needed to really protect the climbing. The route itself has a lot of good and sustained climbing but there are some logistics that take away from the experience, such as the 3rd class approach (not bad but tedious), and the 3rd class traverse and down climb to the beginning of the standard 4th pitch. I lengthened the 4th pitch to almost 200 feet and ended in a semi hanging belay about 15 feet below the roof traverse and then easily finished the climb with probably 30 feet of rope left over with a 5th pitch. The beta on the rappels is excellent, just wander from the tree at the top of the climb, avoiding the exposed edge and then when you are above the gully at the top of the ramp you can scramble easily back down a east trending ramp and then find the bolts which leads down to the ledge behind Vertigo. Two more raps and you're down. Much better than the East Slabs descent. Jun 21, 2007
Just did Ruper again. Was stunned at how nice it is.

P1&2: Needing to make a pass at the start (Ruper is busy), we zig-zagged right, left, right on easy ledges (skipped pro), then up Ruper Crack to the belay bolts with rope to spare. The Crack is great, and I think is the exact same difficulty as the Bastille Crack (which is rated 7). I used an OK #3 at the bottom (too lazy to carry a #4).
P3: Dang, that traverse is remarkable!
P4: This seemed like the crux today, wandering up continuously steep rock the first 50' looking for placements.
P5: More really nice continuously steep climbing with surprisingly large and juggy holds.
P6: We thought the "rotten band" was pretty good! Except for the Crack, which sews up with big cams, the team should be solid at the grade, and this traverse is no different. The belay at the start was in the shade while sitting down with good view.
We might try the upper section in 2 pitches next time, but the traditional 3 seemed fine.

We love going down the East Slabs! Jul 14, 2007
Avery N
Boulder, CO
Avery N   Boulder, CO
Pins on the upper traverse... today there were three, and it looks like the second one (an angle) is pretty recent + solid. You can get a smallish cam near the third pin, but that seems to be the only decent placement, until you make it above the traverse. Ruper is the definition of classic. May 5, 2008
Mike McKinnon
Golden, CO
Mike McKinnon   Golden, CO
Did this route again for about the 5th time. There is absolutely no reason the upper section should be done in 3 pitches. It goes like a gem in 2 pitches.

As a matter of fact, I am now convinced that you can do the lower in 2 pitches as well if you do your first belay at the base of the Ruper crack.

Great route, there are no 8s better than the upper section. Jun 30, 2008
SirVato   Boulder
Aaaaaactually. . .You CAN do the lower in 1 pitch with a 60m rope if you don't over-do your pro. The upper definitely goes in 2 pitches or 1 long if you simul a bit. Jul 16, 2008
Gold Plated Rocket Pony
Boulder, CO
Gold Plated Rocket Pony   Boulder, CO
Got a blue (#1) Metolius master cam stuck under the roof on the final pitch on Ruper today. If you happen to get it out, it'd be cool to get back. Oct 4, 2008
Matthew Kennedy
boulder, co
Matthew Kennedy   boulder, co
Michael, I have a gift for you. Matt625@gmail.com Oct 15, 2008
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Great route, with varied climbing. Ron Olsen's beta (from comment above) on where to start off the West Face trail is excellent, and when combined with the Chockstone/Vertigo raps works perfectly,

We did the Rover dihedral to pass a party. Bummed to miss out on the Ruper Crack, but the dihedral is super fun and protects very well. We linked P1 of Ruper into the Rover dihedral and belayed at the bolts.

We did Upper Ruper in two pitches. We belayed at sloping stance about 20 feet below the roof. The belay at the corner of the roof looked really bad gear wise with bad rock, so use caution if you decide to belay there. Our belay at the sloping stance had bomber gear and was super comfy. There is a ledge about 30' below the sloping stance, and I thought about belaying there, but the gear didn't look that great so I kept going - and was glad I did. 50m pitch or so.

The pins+rock on the traverse below the roof are pretty sketchy, but the climbing is straight forward enough. A fair bit of rope drag topping out in one pitch, but manageable.

Head up and climber's left to a big gully and descend about 70' to find the Chockstone Chimney raps. Oct 26, 2008
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
Well, I'll beat this climb to death a little more. #11 hex (does anyone but me carry them???) fits nicely in quite a few spots, most noticeably the OW pitch 2 crack since I'm too cheap to buy a #4 Camalot. Make sure you make the traverse around the right to the base of the ow before setting up your first anchor; otherwise rope drag sucks. Upper Ruper is incredible (DO IT) and can be done in two rope stretching pitches. I didn't really get any substantial pro in on the traverse to the left under the roof and was ok. Oct 31, 2008
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
The last three pitches are spectacular. Not to be missed!

FYI: The chockstone rap leaves you looking up hill at a small slab to the left of a good sized pine tree. The vertigo rap rings are just on the other side of the slabs arete right in the middle. Get to the rings from the lower left side of this arete. Another set of chains follows.
Best way off the wall IMO allowing you to hit dirt in two single rope raps from the upper ramp.

mountainproject.com/v/color… Jun 29, 2009
Gary Schmidt
Boulder, CO
Gary Schmidt   Boulder, CO
So far, my all time favorite climb! Nothing but pure fun the whole way (yes don't skip the upper section). My favorite pitches were 4 and 5. Didn't find the belay under the roof on pitch 5 to be that bad, but there is definitely loose rock around. Found some bomber cam placements to back up the pin. I guess I must have missed the spot people are referring to here below the roof.

One more alternative descent just in case you get confused like we did. We scrambled up n.w through the obvious rock filled gully to the top of the Dirty Deed rap between Yellow Spur and Swanson's arete. Did the first two raps (bolts then a tree, 60 meter rope) and then traversed over on the red ledge to the top of the West Chimney. Two more raps from chains deposits you at the base of Rewritten in case Ruper didn't give you enough excitement for the day! Jul 28, 2009
Top Rope Hero
Was Estes Park, now homeless
Top Rope Hero   Was Estes Park, now homeless
Yes, a fine route. No doubt.

But I'll stop short of giving it three stars because of the contrivance factor. First, there's the weird, ramp up to the start. (Someone said start low on "The Slippery Spoon," but I couldn't find that, either in the Falcon or on this site...) Then there's the hard right, boot scoot traverse you have to make just to acquire the Ruper crack, instead of taking what seems the natural, Rover line up. Then another traverse, the big 'un. Then that BS ramp weirdness that separates the lower half from the upper. (Big Hint: If you have to change into hiking shoes just to find the rest of the climb, it isn't a "classic.") Finally, a crux "roof" section that isn't really a roof sequence at all, since you cheat it by traversing the face under it. Finally, finally, the whack walk way around the backside, then up again to the beginning of the ramp just to retrieve gear?

In my book, I'm thinkin' this isn't all that "classic." Bastille. Yellow Spur. THOSE are Canyon classics. North Chimney of Castleton, now THAT is a classic. Ruper, for me, was just a fine, fun day in Eldo. A "good," two-star climb. But not that much more.

DON'T GET ME WRONG. Each individual pitch was delicious, and as a new-to-Eldo climber, this is fast becoming somma my favorite granite on the planet. But lacing the whole of Ruper together was, let's admit it, a bit artificial. It’s no Anthill Direct.

So why do I care? Because I'm allergic to how softly some stars are tossed, as though every good climb was an instant, all-time classic. This pollutes the ratings pool; and I was expecting far more from this supposed 4-banger. Happy I did it, yes. But likely I will be happy to look for something more before roping up on Ruper again.

LEADER’S NOTES: Forget the hype of how hard Ruper is. If you’re comfortably sending trad 9s, then you can do the entire 5/6 pitches in your approach shoes. If you’re great on 8, just bring some Powergels and you’ll escape. Ruper is steep, sure. But they’re approximately one or two or a gabillion quality, no-hands rests along the way. Don't tie the Subaru to your harness, and you’ll do fine.

And don’t fret about the roof. Sure, the protection is shit, but you’re on your feet for all but three marvelous monkey moves, all well chalked.

Lastly, get on it early and beat the heat; belaying below the P6 roof is like baking your face. Aug 27, 2009
What a great climb. Thanks to the Bolder Boulder for letting us have it all to ourselves! I plugged in my #4 once and probably could have left it in the car.

Linking P4 and 5 was the highlight for me. I thought the pro was pretty good all the way up. I was also able to stuff a #0.4 beside the manky pin on P6, which made the move "feel" easier. The powergel beta is right on...the sun is a bear on the upper three pitches.

FYI, we left a gray nut on P1 (partner forgot his nut tool). Should pop right out if you tap it from below. Jun 1, 2010
Julius Beres
Boulder, CO
Julius Beres   Boulder, CO
Holy carrying extra weight, Robin! Leave your large cams at home!

So, I'm a total wuss. I read the descriptions here and saw so many people saying you NEED a #4 or #5 cam for the Ruper crack... some said you need 2. And I'm the biggest coward ever, so not knowing what to expect, I lugged one #4 and one #5 up there along with a large hex. At the top of the extremely well protected crack, I still had all the big pro dangling from my harness. In fact, I did not place anything larger than a #1 on the Ruper crack pitch! It took a couple of 0.4 and 0.5 cams, along with many nuts. Save yourself the hassle and do not waste energy lugging the big stuff up there.

The only place you might want a #4 (new style C4) is at the very beginning of the crack where you can walk it up until you place smaller pro higher up... even then you probably want to take out the #4 to reduce rope drag. The #5 is completely pointless. Jun 10, 2010
Durango, CO
IanA   Durango, CO
Top Rope Hero, it is actually sandstone not granite. Sep 1, 2010
Cam Reade  
Gear for lower Ruper. 1 60m rope. No gear needed for belay stations (can sling natural protection or clip bolts on the 2nd), 8-10 2'sling draws, (2) 48" runners, (1) cordellete, one set of small to medium wires, double rack of cams through #1, then only (1) #2, #3, #4. Leave the #3.5 at home (never used). Only used the #2 once one the first pitch. Could probably do without #2 as well. Sep 23, 2010
I just climbed this today. Amazing climb. One of the best 5.8s I've ever done. I disagree with the "mandatory" #4. I did this climb without one and felt fine. It is possible to get a good #3 low in the "Ruper Crack" then many good placements for smaller gear begin about 8 feet higher. Even if you don't have the big stuff, this climb is do-able and totally worth doing. Nov 4, 2010
Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett   Michigan
Mic Fairchild said:
"Bridge to bridge speed record for Ruper is 44 minutes"

I did it today, bridge to bridge, in 32 minutes and 11 seconds.

It'd be cool to get it under a half hour. Any takers? Nov 23, 2010
Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett   Michigan
As with all soloing, always climb within your ability, stay in control, and don't fall! Nov 28, 2010
Rodger Raubach
Rodger Raubach  
I led the first 3 pitches to the Meadow after work with my GF, using just passive pro. No larger pieces. We climbed Exit Stage Left to get off and down before completely dark. Mar 19, 2011
Dr. Ellis D. Funnythoughts   Evergreen, Co
What a fun piece o' rock! Fun little approach as well! Jun 11, 2011
I get the unfortunate honor of ending the debate regarding the upper pin on the roof pitch. It will hold a fall. How do I know? Because it did. Why? Because I suck. I followed my partners advice too literally. He suggested I stay low and left and avoid the sucker holds chalked up higher beneath the roof. So I tried to balance out on the polished rock to the left above that bent up manky pin. Didn't work out so well for me! Scariest thing I've ever fallen onto. Apr 8, 2012
As of today, John and I noticed a loose rock the size of a of an espresso machine just at the end of the crux move on the last traverse pitch (pitch 6). We marked it with a white X, but obviously it will not last forever. So, please all be careful!! Apr 21, 2012
Eric Klammer
Boulder, CO
Eric Klammer   Boulder, CO
Got kind of psyched out before leading the roof traverse only to find.... it's pretty easy! By staying low, you can basically walk across the ramp below with small but good hands. A pin and okay cam will be at your chest for the crux. While the pro is generally pretty bad for the stretch under the roof, I found the climbing to be only around 5.7 or so.

Overall an amazing route and possibly the best 5.8 in the park. We did the Rover variation for P2, and while a little polished, we both thought it was a great pitch! And don't stop after P3, some of the best climbing lies above! May 6, 2014
Kevin Dahlstrom
Boulder, CO
Kevin Dahlstrom   Boulder, CO
Despite what other comments say, the Lower Ramp approach is definitely the fastest, most direct approach. The west face approach involves significantly more hiking and the scramble to get to the base of Ruper is pretty dicey without a rope (and if you rope up, you'll waste time on junk climbing).

Rack up at the car, hike 10 min to the base of the Lower Ramp, put on your climbing shoes, and enjoy the 5.0 warmup. When you get to the top of the ramp, you're at the base of Ruper and you're ready to climb.

The pitches are super short, so linking them adds to the climb. Linking 4/5 is a no brainer, and you can also link 1/2 or 2/3 if you're extra careful about rope drag. It would be a fun challenge to link 1/2/3 as mentioned in other comments.

Rack is a set of nuts and single cams to #4. Maybe doubles of 0.5 and 0.75 if you want to sew it up. The #4 isn't mandatory but will make you feel better on P2. Jun 21, 2014
Mark Oveson
Louisville, Colorado
  5.8 PG13
Mark Oveson   Louisville, Colorado
  5.8 PG13
Climbed this route before work this morning. Three words: fun, fun, fun. We did the lower section as two pitches (P1+P2, P3). This works well if you use long slings to avoid rope drag as you go around the corner. We also did upper Ruper as two pitches with a belay on a sloping stance about 30 feet below the roof (P4+P5, P6). This worked out so well it seems the natural way to do it.

The 150-foot combined P4+P5 has got to be one of the great 5.6 pitches in Eldo or anywhere. Consistent, steep, interesting, and festooned with wonderful holds. I believe if that pitch were easier to reach, it would be the most popular pitch in the canyon.

What a classic. Can't wait to go back. Jul 1, 2014
Alex Vidal
Boulder, CO
Alex Vidal   Boulder, CO
This is a really nice climb and frankly the 5.8+ rating seems a little soft. The climb is generally well protected except the beginning of the 4th pitch (which is easy) and the 6th pitch with the traverse (the difficulty can be minimized by focusing on the good feet, instead of the "good" looking chalked hands up high). I think it's important to note that the piton more so flexes than wiggles. I'm still not overly interested in taking a fall onto it, however. Aug 16, 2014
Pink Thunder
Sacramento, CA
Pink Thunder   Sacramento, CA
Climbed this route again just today, and I highly recommend starting with Slimy Spoon, for a couple of reasons. First, it cuts out the slab approach, in favor of two pitches of warmup 5.7-5.8. Secondly, if you descend via the Vertigo rappels, hiking back down that trail will take you straight by the start of Slimy Spoon, so you can just bring packs with if you want and leave them at the base. If you do the ramp approach, you need to rack up at the car. Third, it makes the entire route into an 8-pitch funfest, instead of just six.

For the start of Slimy Spoon, we followed this beta, and it steered us right:
mountainproject.com/v/the-s…. Mar 29, 2015
Adam Fleming
Adam Fleming   Moab
The lower slabs may look Flatiron like, but they are anything but. For whatever reason, they're super polished. It took great care to find appropriate feet. Not every 5.8 climber may be comfortable with it. The second slab had much more friction and felt a lot better.

As for the climbing, it was spectacular. We linked P2+P3 as well as P4+P5. The traverse on P2 was airy and fun. P4+P5 was a 200' jug haul with easy to find bomber pro. We did Bastille before this climb, and Ruper blew it out of the water. This might be my new favorite moderate. Sep 13, 2016
Do not belay directly beneath the roof after P1. It is quite the chosspile. Oct 30, 2016
Denver Co
climbfofun   Denver Co
Climbed this route yesterday, and it was great! I can't give enough credit to the old school that led this without Friends back in the day.

P1. The first 20 ft are the hardest part on this, but it didn't feel too bad. Fun pitch.

P2. Ruper Crack, I was glad I had the #4, and that is because I'm not the best crack climber. We ended up sinking the #4 on the third pitch as well. This crack felt pretty burly to me, and it's because of all the laybacking I did. You can sew it up, so take some breaths, and go for it.

P3. Ruper Traverse, somebody else posted this, and I can't emphasize it enough, don't go to high on the traverse where the high up chalk marks are. You will be at a good stance, and use the wide ledge with the hands (the feet are there and are pretty good, but you have to look for 'em). Then you hit a nice hand traverse crack.

The whole climb felt harder to me than 8+, but it's old school ratings, I'm not the best crack climber, and I'm not in the greatest shape right now. Feb 14, 2017
Luke Toillion
Longmont, CO
  5.8+ PG13
Luke Toillion   Longmont, CO
  5.8+ PG13
Just a heads up for anyone planning on doing this route in the near future: there is currently a massive pile of bird poop and an old nest in the crack just below the roof at the start of pitch 6. It's avoidable, but I would extend your placements here so your rope doesn't rub over the crack and turn white.... Aug 14, 2017
Matt Hagny  
Lots of beta in the foregoing. Here are my observations:

We did the approach via Slimy Spoon. Both pitches had some interesting climbing. Definitely worth doing. We didn't encounter any loose rock.

P1 of Ruper: strenuous lieback off the deck. Fun. Good pro.

P2: definitely the money pitch. It probably was 5.8 back in the day when it actually had good friction,but now is horribly polished. Need to be a 5.9 crack climber to handle it gracefully. There is good pro but not enough to aid it. You do want a #4 down low and no need to back-clean it.

P3: aesthetic, definitely. Only one moderately hard move, somewhat committing. Might be challenging if you're no taller than a hobbit. Excellent pro.

We rapped down the Upper Ramp to rejoin the route. Fast and safe.

P4 & 5: I linked them. They are very easy 5.5 - 5.6 climbing with fairly good pro (slight shortage of pro the first 40 ft, so don't skip any placements). Extremely fun to climb nearly 200 ft in one go; fun movement. Place the anchor 25+ ft below the roof. I made the mistake of thinking I wasn't yet 20 ft below the roof, so climbed up one more ledge -- directly into the bird poop. Plenty of small gear for an anchor there, but we might've been a little more comfy at the lower ledge.

P6: I didn't lead it, but it looked like there was enough pro + pitons. Only one spot that was somewhat insecure, challenging climbing. In general, don't worry about all the previous worrisome comments on this pitch, because it really didn't seem like any big deal unless you really aren't up to doing Eldo 5.8 leads.

We rapped out via Chockstone & Vertigo Raps. The entrance to the gully for the Chockstone is only about 100 ft above (northwest of) where you top out on Ruper -- it's just behind (North of) the small pinnacle. There's one somewhat exposed move to get there, but it's safe enough even in trail shoes. Climb down a short way into the chasm (easy) behind the pinnacle to locate the rap rings. From the bottom of that rap, you climb up onto a ridge that's about 20-ft tall to the West, then downclimb carefully to the first set of rap rings for Vertigo. At the bottom of the Vertigo Raps, hike to the N along the cliff, which eventually makes a switchback onto the main trail taking you past the start to Yellow Spur, etc. You walk right by the packs if you left anything at the start of Slimy Spoon.

I agree with the others that P4 - 6 are definitely worth doing. Fun, fun!

As to whether this is a classic, or too contrived -- well, I certainly had fun, and thought it was more interesting than Anthill overall, but I must say that I've never before had to rappel in the middle of a route to get to the continuation of it! It would be more aesthetic if the Upper Ramp wasn't there, certainly, but it's all good and probably still a classic ;-) Aug 17, 2017
K Hill
Denver, CO
K Hill   Denver, CO
Climbed behind a party of two today (03/24/2018) who got a cam stuck around the top of P4 and asked us to get it out if we could. Well, I got the cam but didn't see you guys at the top, so if you pm me and tell me what the cam was, I'll gladly return it to you. Mar 24, 2018
crackatoa Spiesbach
crackatoa Spiesbach   Boulder,Co
Being the forgetful idiot that I am, I left my shoes on top of Ruper...just a few feet back and to the right of the topout. Anyone spot them? If so, I'm willing to trade some beer for shoes. PM me if you have any info. Apr 26, 2018
James Rein
James Rein  
Do yourself a favor, and leave the #4 at home. Place a #8 Metolius (#3 BD) low, and you can easily step up and place a smaller cam. Also, don't make it harder by liebacking it. I would recommend linking 4&5 into and amazing single pitch of cruiser climbing, makes it worth bringing doubles. Jul 9, 2018
Kelty Godby
Spokane, WA
Kelty Godby   Spokane, WA
For a really fun linkup, climb the first two pitches of “Rover” (do as one pitch) then the third pitch of “Ruper.” Walk all the way to the top of the Upper Ramp. When you look around the corner from the highest point possible (as in what most people would be comfortable with unroped), you’ll see a small tree. Set a trad anchor, and carefully, (some loose rock) traverse 20 feet climber's left onto a large ledge (the tree can be slung for natural pro, 5.easy). Set another trad anchor. Up and to your right will be the giant dihedral pitch (pitch 4) of the “Yellow Spur.” Take the “Yellow Spur” to the top. Sep 3, 2018