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Candelaria's Crack

5.12a, Trad,  Avg: 2.5 from 13 votes
FA: Rob Candelaria, c. 1975.
Colorado > Boulder > Boulder Canyon > Rock Island II
Access Issue: Seasonal Closure - 2018 Update Details


This is a really nice overhanging finger crack that is only about 15-20 ft high. Really more of a boulder problem, but it is also a nice crack to practice some clean aid. You can downclimb to the left of the route. There is another rinky-dink "route" to the left with a single 1/4" bolt halfway up.


Some mid-size stoppers, TCUs, Aliens, or micro cams for the thin crack.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Working to spot on this crazy crack problem.
[Hide Photo] Working to spot on this crazy crack problem.
Michael Murphy, trying to put the moves together high above his spotters.
[Hide Photo] Michael Murphy, trying to put the moves together high above his spotters.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] I love this is great when the kids fall asleep in the car and I can pull over almost right under Candelaria's Crack and do some easy but fun bouldering for 30 minutes. There is a great hand crack/lie back corner down the wall about halfway, there's an old piton protecting the upper moves (in case you want to lead it....great beginner lead but short, 25 feet topout). It is maybe 5.6 but great to just work on jams eliminating feet (only in crack) and toping out and down climbing it.....I like climbing it in the rain for fun. There is another traversing lieback crack that joins another sweet easy arete, easy slabs, some huge roofs (if your strong and like those scary high balls), a couple easier finger cracks just to the right of Candelarias. Most of the bouldering here is pretty easy with some hard and scary (the roofs, Candelaria's Crack) ones also.....very close to town and fun for killing 30 minutes while the kids are napping. Jan 1, 2001
[Hide Comment] In my experience, the crack only accepts small (up to .75 cams) and stoppers are pretty hard to work in there. Also, if you want an interesting bouldering (or TR) problem, climb the broken crap just right of the crack (it's no harder than 5.8, if that). If you want to set up a TR, there is really only one solid way, and that is to hike up the loose slope to the top of Rock Island and sling a big horn. Then hike down or "rappel" to a ledge just above and right of the crack to belay.

You can also put in some nuts or TCUs at this ledge, but I think the placements aren't exactly top-rope worthy. Jan 8, 2002
[Hide Comment] This thing is brutally hard. It looked so easy from the ground, but the fingers were either rattly or too tight. When I whipped off (numerous times) it felt like my fingers were gonna stay in the crack. Whatever else people may say about the ratings in Boulder Canyon, it seems like the 5.12 cracks are really solid for the grade. Jun 30, 2003
[Hide Comment] C'mon, man. It's not THAT bad. I climbed it the same day as you. It was hard to stick on the upper fingerlock and the feet because of the low friction. Big deal. Jun 30, 2003
[Hide Comment] Haha. Good comeback, AC. I like. Have you seriously done this thing, though? I really did think it was a lot harder than antagonism (assuming that's what you're paraphrasing), which must be the trickiest 12- sport climb in Boulder Canyon. Jul 5, 2003
Adam Brink
on the road
[Hide Comment] Could someone please give me some good directions to this crack? Thanks. Jan 22, 2004
Ben Mottinger

[Hide Comment] In response to the location, use the directions from the rock page:… Jan 22, 2004
Adam Brink
on the road
[Hide Comment] Is this the right pull out with the west facing boulder problem crack called road warrior in the original horan bouldering guide? it is vertical for eight feet or so and then goes over a big overhang split by a finger crack. if so where is the candelera crack? Jan 22, 2004
Greg Hand
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] Adam asks: "it is vertical for eight feet or so and then goes over a big overhang split by a finger crack. If so, where is the Candeleria's Crack?"

That's it!

If you've got a pickup truck, you can probably put your bouldering pad in the truck and do it as a boulder problem. I always thought that would be a good place to set up a trampoline. Jan 22, 2004
Adam Brink
on the road
[Hide Comment] While this is a sweet line, it isn't even as high as Germ Free in Eldo or a number of problems on Flagstaff. I'll agree that it's a bit highball but it seems a stretch to give it the mighty title of being a 5.12 trad route. No offense to anyone. Jan 23, 2004
[Hide Comment] This route is currently closed due to a nesting porta-let at it's base. Sorry for any inconvenience. Boulder County Road Maintenance Dept. Aug 13, 2004
[Hide Comment] If you want to set up a top rope you can place several good pieces (hand-fist sized cams) in the crack a few feet above the lip for an anchor to avoid going up the loose slope above. May 22, 2005
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] The route is pretty good for its length. To give it 2 stars means that that 20' of climbing is truly good climbing, and would be 3-star if it were long enough to be a route. It would be a great boulder problem, right? 3 stars then? So, I'll give it 2 as a route.

As for difficulty, there are plenty of V9s that are no taller and that's what, 5.13? So anyway, I don't think that the height changes the difficulty.

That said, I don't know if the route is 5.12a or not, but I doubt harder. My first go with one busted-up ankle (foot in a splint) I got over the roof and jammed into the hand-crack. Fully dangling off of said jam, I was able to campus above. At the time, not knowing what the route was suggested to be, I had guessed possibly 11c or 11d. 12a is fine, too.

The real difficulty is in ignoring the pain of the finger-wrecking locks. 2 days later, my arthritic knuckles are still aching. Aug 4, 2005
Jason Haas
G1 Climbing + Fitness
[Hide Comment] For anyone thinking of bouldering this route, it is a clean fall from and above the roof. You should miss the slab below the roof, as well as the big rock by the parking area. I bouldered this route yesterday with a couple of friends and hit the pad cleanly everytime, even slipping off on the top out when I was above the entire crack when my feet greased. Also, as for the route being soft, I'm not sure that I agree. I felt that this route was harder than the Gill Crack, which I'm willing to argue is 5.11+, making this route at least 5.12a. Both cracks made for awsome boulder problems though. Leading them seemed kind of lame for how short they both are, but the moves are great! Apr 17, 2006
Chris O'Connor
boulder, co
[Hide Comment] I found the crux to be right above the lip of the overhang, where the crack opens up. I mostly used face holds at this point, making full use of the arete on the right. TR rope solo was my choice for pro, but it seems like placing pro would be strenuous to say the least. Jul 30, 2007
[Hide Comment] Very fun. My vote would be solid 5.12 compared to Gill Crack and Thunderdome as far as area grades are concerned. If Gill Crack is an eleven, I need to go to corner. This area get blazing afternoon sun. Curious how people do it. I stayed in the right hand crack - straight in the whole time. Jun 21, 2008
David Cummings
Grand Junction, CO
[Hide Comment] I think this is way more appropriate as a boulder problem than the gill crack. The gill crack is more fun on a rope if you finish on black crack. This is a really cool roof crack however you decide to play on it but I think a bouldering pad is all you need. Jul 14, 2009