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Routes in Hallett Peak

Anderson-Magill 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Better than Love T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Bold Is Love T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Center Route T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Collins Donn T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Culp-Bossier T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Direct Second Buttress T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Englishman's Route T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Finch Route T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Great Dihedral T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Hesse-Ferguson T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
In Between (aka Right Dihedral) T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Jackin' the Johnson T,S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Jackson-Johnson T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Kor-Van Tongeren T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Love Route T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Love at First Sight T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Northcutt-Carter T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Point Five Buttress T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Second Buttress Tour T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Standard Route aka 1st Buttress Route T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Storm Riders T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft, 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Dale Johnson, Dallas Jackson, 7/4-5/57
Page Views: 6,468 total · 38/month
Shared By: Charles Vernon on Dec 31, 2004
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is not as good as the neighboring Culp-Bossier, but it is still a worthwhile route on a sublime alpine wall. More of a mountaineering route than Culp-Bossier, it wanders around finding the path of least resistance until running smack into a superb, exposed 5.9 pitch at the top. The middle section of this route is often simul-climbed and overall, I'd say its the easier of the two routes.

To approach, park at the Bear Lake trailhead and hike for a mile and a half on well-marked trails to Emerald Lake. Hallett's Northeast face looms overhead, and if you're lucky, you'll be just in time for alpenglow. Scramble up above the left side of the lake to the base of the face, aiming for the second of three distinct buttresses. A vague prow divides the upper part of the second buttress in half; the route starts directly below this prow, about fifty feet to the right of a huge, broken, corner system.

P1 - climb up light-colored 5.6 rock and enter a prominent, right-facing, left leaning dihedral. After 30 feet or so, traverse right, climb a short crack, and belay on a ledge (5.6, 140 feet).

P2 - climb up past rappel slings, follow a crack over a roof, and head right across a slab to a belay (5.6, 120 feet).

P3 - traverse right around the corner on easy rock, go up an easy groove, and stretch out the rope into a recessed area (low fifth class).

P4 - continue up and right on broken terrain to the base of a giant flake/pillar (with a yellowish tint when viewed from the ground).

P5 - climb the corner formed by the pillar's left side in one long 200 foot pitch or two short pitches (5.6).

P6 - from the ledge atop the pillar, cut back sharply left up a corner system, passing a confusing section of down-climbing in mid-pitch (5.6, 160 feet). Belay on another good ledge. (Many do 2 pitches here to avoid rope drag).

P7 - climb the beautiful corner above the ledge past old pitons and worthless bolts--your own pro will give you more confidence--and belay on a ledge at its top (5.9, 130 feet).

P8 - a short, meandering 50 feet finds the top of the wall.

Descent: the easiest way involves hiking up talus until a gully appears leading down to the northwest. Follow it down to the base of the cliff (bearing left about 2/3 of the way to avoid getting cliffed). This gully is EXTREMELY LOOSE and being in it with other parties should be contemplated with considerable trepidation.


Standard rack to a #3 Camalot.
Route finding in the mid section can be a problem on this one. The crux pitch is great but the bolts look like they e about to fall off under their own weight. What the guidebook doesn mention is that there are two tallus gullies close to one another. We took the wrong one which looked easier and ended up rapping. We saw many rap slings so people must get confused often. Take the first gully, even though it appears steeper! Jan 1, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
A better descent in my opinion is the East Ridge of the First Buttress as described in Rossiter. Walk left (east) from the summit along the ridge. Soon you reach a point where your are forced back right a little, go out to this point and look below you for a rap anchor. Do one 75 rap, then scramble down a gully, eventually winding back north to the base of the face. From here you are about 5 minutes below the start of the route. Ive not done the standard descent but have heard lots of complaints about it. Jan 1, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Also, it can't hurt to mention that this route starts in the same spot as the Culp-Bossier. Unfortunately, this makes for considerable crowding on that first pitch. Jan 1, 2001
I climbed this route today but I got off route on the last two pitches. From the right edge of the ledge at the top of the yellow flake, I climbed a right-facing corner 5.6 to a ledge. From the ledge, I looked for some sign of the route (preferable the old bolts) but I didn't remember much and I had forgotten the guidebook. There was a small ledge to my left and below, which I now realize I should have followed. Anyway, there was a crack that led out over the exposed wall on the right at an angle of 45 about degrees. I took this crack. It was the best pitch of the day. As soon as you leave the ledge, you have 700 feet of air beneath your feet! There is some fixed gear but it was highly questionable. I pulled out two pitons with my fingers. The crack turned upward after about 50 feet and a shallow right-facing corner took me to a wonderfully exposed pedestal of flat rock where I belayed. Think _pizza pan_ belay. The final pitch climbed over a series of small overhangs and then followed easier corners to the top of the wall. I would love to know what this is if anyone knows? Or what it's rated? I thought there were a couple spots of 5.9. We used 60-meter ropes. If you look at the topo on page 230 of Rossiter's High Peaks guide, I believe it is the crack that goes up and right (unrated on the topo) from the ledge _ pitch above the top of the yellow flake. Jul 28, 2002
That last sentence should read...

I believe it is the crack that goes up and right (unrated on the topo) from the ledge one half pitch above the top of the yellow flake. Jul 28, 2002
The 5.9 rating on this climb is misleading. As one route description that Walt Fricke did get right in his old guide he says, "Most of the climbing is low fifth class with spots of medium fifth. The 5.8 (apparently easier back then) move on lead 8 is sufficiently out of character with the rest of the climb that it is normally faked with a spot of aid." Considering the climb in that light it is a terrific alpine outing. I thought the hardest move was at the end of the first pitch up a steep crack before the belay. It's a long reach to good holds and if you're tall not a problem, but for me it was the only portion to give me pause. The 5.9 move near the top is just that, a move, grab one piece of pro and you're past it. Sep 26, 2003
Did the variation that Brad B. talks about ([unnamed] crack in topo of Rossiter Guide-Headwall variation 5.8?). The first pitch, is very exposed up and right to a good belay ledge (old TCU and a few ancient fixed pins), the final pitch was loose, mossy and dirty, [definitely] not as memorable as Brad B.'s experience. Anyhow, that's my 2 cents on this variation. Cheers! Aug 31, 2005
Boulder, CO
Lordsokol   Boulder, CO
Climbed with Phil Wortmann this Saturday. We started on "in between" aka Right Dihedral. After three pitches, we decided to traverse right and finish on Jackson Johnson. We climbed the last 4 pitches of that route. The only things to say are; route finding is a bit more tricky than most big walls in the area, the top 5.9 move feels much harder after a long day of climbing (the bolt is way too old and spooky to trust but there's a nice place for a #1 cam several feet above it). Also, we did not really look at the descent beta as closely as we should have, and ended up dropping down into Chaos Canyon. Though this was a bit tiring on us, it wasn't the end of the world, and a little bit of perseverance got us out safely and back to the car well before dark. Finally, the route was completely dry this time of year, even with the heavy winter snowfall this year. After having done it now once, we will definitely have an easier time route finding next time out! Jun 26, 2007
Re crux: not sure if I climbed this properly... I went up the left corner, well left of the rusted 1/4" bolt with the spinning "gunsight" hanger. All I can say is getting back out of that corner and above it was a hell of a lot harder than 5.9, that is, without "grab(ing) one piece of pro". I would also add: DON'T get stuck up in that corner. It was most unpleasant. Jul 9, 2007
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
I had a great time on this route and thought it was really good. The crux pitch is wild, but not that difficult, with good gear. Fun stemming looking down between your legs 800' to the ground. Route finding was easy with info from here and from the Gillett guide--keep angling right until you have to angle back left. One hint that was useful was the "step down" in the original post. At the point where you can make a short step down and keep moving left, there is a corner directly above. The step down hint convinced me to move left to the next corner which leads to the crux corner. Aug 3, 2008
Boulder, CO
tooTALLtim   Boulder, CO
The last several pitches are amazing, among the best on Hallett, but the first pitches are just ok.

It'd be great if the direct start was better. Aug 21, 2009
Roger Harris
Boulder, CO
Roger Harris   Boulder, CO
Sad to see that Dale has passed. Obit -(…) Best regards to his friends and family. Mar 14, 2012
Dallas Jackson and Dale Johnson made the first ascent of the 2nd buttress of Hallett Peak on July 4th and 5th, 1957.

On the 4th they had hiked up to a vantage point across the valley from Hallett Peak to have a look at the face. After some study, they picked out a possible line and decided to hike over to the face and climb a few pitches to see what the climbing was like. They had only brought along a lunch and a canteen of water each as they had not planned on doing any serious climbing that day.

The first few pitches were not difficult and they ascended rapidly up an inside corner of a feature they called the Yellow Buttress. They continued up crack and and small holds with good belay ledges at the end of each pitch. They were enjoying themselves and the lack of any real difficulties led them to climb beyond where they should have turned back. It then became evident to them that they should turn back if they were not to be caught by nightfall. They discussed the matter and realized they did not have enough pitons for all the necessary rappels and decided to push on in hopes of reaching the top before dark. A few more leads brought them to the most difficult section of the face and still a couple of pitches from the top.

Dale climbed up a steeply sloping ledge only a few inches wide. He ran out about 80ft. of rope before realizing the ledge was leading nowhere. With no cracks or handholds to continue and with his only protection being two pitons he had placed back at the beginning of the pitch, he realized that he was not going to be able to downclimb without a possible long fall. Dale was able to take his pack off and dug out a bolt kit he had inside and put his pack back on. He spent the next half hour drilling a single hole in the granite and eventually manage to insert an expansion bolt and clipped into it for an anchor. Because it was beginning to get dark, Dale tied one end of the rope to the anchor and rappelled down to where Dallas was belaying and they spent the night sitting on a ledge, with no warm clothes and out of food and water.

After a long night huddled together for warmth, they waited for the sun to arrive and warm them up a bit. Dallas ascended the fixed rope using prussiks to reach the bolt anchor. Dale followed in suit and they set up a belay. Dallas took over the leading and managed to climb a smooth slab to reach a huge, thin flake above. After a few more moves off the flake, the climbing eased and Dallas climbed the full 150 feet of rope to a good belay spot. Dale followed and led the final 50 foot pitch on easy rock to the top.

This information was taken from Dale Johnson's book titled; Calculated Risks, an autobiography of his adventures. Mar 27, 2012
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
Patrick Vernon   Estes Park, CO
That's an incredible story Brad, it's cool to know where the old bolt came from on the crux dihedral. I couldn't imagine climbing the Jackson Johnson with a hemp rope and mountaineering boots.

-Patrick Mar 28, 2012
My partner lead the crux pitch in the rain -- that was a little intense for me. As mentioned, the bolts need to be backed up.

As for route finding, I think the main waypoints are find the leaning dihedral for the first pitch that also has thin to medium crack leading onto the ledge above (1-2 pitches), then ramping and traversing right to the thumb on the Giant Flake to your R.

After your 1-2 pitches to ledge/ramp, go up the ramp to the right off of the ledge (usually p3). Traverse to the "Giant Flake" - (it is giant but not Kor's Flake big) (our p4). Top out the flake (our p5) and then head up the right-facing ->, left-leaning \ dihedral with much better rock than the last pitch, we continued up into the crux right-facing, overhanging dihedral on the same pitch (p6) with manky bolts.

We used 70m ropes. Aug 7, 2013
We left a #2 Camalot (and biner) inadvertently at top of p3 or p4 belay (depending how you do it) and did not go back for it due to hail/rain at top of next pitch.

Obviously, would appreciate its return.


Thanks! Aug 7, 2013
Fehim Hasecic
Boulder, CO
  5.9 PG13
Fehim Hasecic   Boulder, CO
  5.9 PG13
Did it today. Middle of the climb was mediocre, but the last pitch was worthwhile. After the 2nd pitch, we went to the gully up right, below big caved in roof towards the chimney on the right described in the guidebook. Make sure to set the shop after the second pitch as close as possible to the gully. My partner shortened it up, and I wasn't able to reach belay stance below the chimney with a 70m rope. Linked the 4th and 5th pitch and belayed on top of the huge flake. After that, just follow the guidebook description to the money pitch, but be careful of the rope drag. Linked last two pitches too. Aug 16, 2014
Steve Annecone
Steve Annecone   boulder
I thought this was an excellent climb with high quality rock. Pretty mellow outing in spite of its 8 long pitches. The crux pitch up high felt like 5.10 to me and rather squirrelly, and those nasty old bolts belong in a museum. Jul 3, 2015
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
This is a decent route. Bring a lot of double length runners or suffer the consequences. The "5.9" pitch felt easily like 10- in my opinion. The bolts are, as noted previously, rather worthless. Standard rack to 3" with doubles in the #0.5-#1 Camalot size seemed sufficient. A lot of the advertised grading in Rossiter's guide felt a little sandbaggy but fun nonetheless. Aug 17, 2016

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