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Colossus Crack

5.8 R, Trad, Grade II,  Avg: 2.7 from 6 votes
FA: Kurt Johnson
Colorado > Alpine Rock > RMNP - Rock > Fern Canyon Rocks > Lost World
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is an excellent and unknown route. Hike the Fern Lake trail for 1 and 1/2 miles to a bridge. Scramble up the hillside to the right; the Colossus is a dome with its east side seemingly shorn off, left of a prominent, orange prow. The walk is long enough to induce one to do other routes in the area as well.

P1-just up from the SE corner of the Dome, find a clean, 100 foot long vertical hand crack--classic 5.8. Belay on the ridge.

P2-climb steep and blocky but flawless rock above the belay (5.8 R), and continue more easily up nice cracks to the top.

Descend to the west.


Standard rack.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

[Hide Photo] 7/25/10.
Charles Vernon on the first pitch of Colossus Crack, 5-22-2005. Poor picture quality is due to the slide being scanned on a cheap scanner.
[Hide Photo] Charles Vernon on the first pitch of Colossus Crack, 5-22-2005. Poor picture quality is due to the slide being scanned on a cheap scanner.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Kurt Johnson
Estes Park, CO
  5.8 R
[Hide Comment] Here's the description that I wrote after doing the first ascent with Charles on Sept. 14, 1998:

On the left side of the east face of the Colossus is a crack-filled wall covered by green lichens (the Green Wall). Climb the left-most crack - the largest of the cracks - to the top of the Green Wall (5.8). Belay on a sloping ledge just left of the top of the crack (very small Aliens or TCUs helpful for the belay). Climb straight up from the belay - you are now on the south face - and continue up and diagonally left across some right-facing dihedrals (no pro) until you can find some solid handholds and gear (5.8, runout approx. 20 feet). Continue up broken features on good rock straight up the south face [note: in the new guidebook, I incorrectly said to climb up the right side of the south face] until you come to a short but perfect finger crack. Climb the crack and work your way to a big ledge near the top. Scramble to the top and walk off west.

Note: the first pitch crack is splitter but varies in width, mostly hands with some fists and maybe even some fingers (as I remember, there may be a section of parallel cracks near the top? which gives it some variety), and is anywhere from 80 to 100 feet long. Definitely one of the finer cracks around. On the second pitch, you climb a short section of steep face right off the belay which puts you on a slabbier section where you climb diagonally left past a couple of dihedrals. This is essentially still face climbing as there are no cracks in the dihedrals large enough for gear or fingers. I believe it's at the top of the second (possibly third? - it's been a while) dihedral that you can get in some protection and the climbing gets steeper and blockier. If you were to fall before getting in gear, you'd most likely hit the low-angled slab at the bottom portion of the south face, just below the belay "ledge" which sits on the arete between the east and south faces. Jan 9, 2002
jason seaver
Estes Park, CO
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know anything about the STEEP corner/crack line up and 100' or so right from Collosus Crack? It has a sling anchor on top, and it looked to be difficult and interesting. Collosus Crack was very fun, by the way; good steep jamming with a tricky section 2/3 of the way up. The 2nd pitch is not as good but worth doing nonetheless. Feb 22, 2002
Charles Vernon
Colorado megalopolis
[Hide Comment] Kurt and I had our eye on that line when we did Colossus Crack, but there was no sling anchor at that point. Looks like it might go at about 5.10. I remember a scary looking detached razor flake about halfway up. There's a lot of potential in this area. Jason, did you do anything else around here (or Days of Heaven)?? Mar 4, 2002
jason seaver
Estes Park, CO
[Hide Comment] In August, we did Days Of Heaven, which I thought was hard for the grade, and then got spanked off of Greensleeves. In October, I did Night Of The Unicorn and Collossus Crack. Although there does appear to be some areas of suspect rock up there, I agree that there is definitely some potential. Unless the installer of those slings replies, I guess we'll just have to go up and check out that steep crackline for ourselves. Mar 5, 2002
Ross Swanson
Pinewood Springs
[Hide Comment] The 5.8 crack on the east face is nice but only 50 feet long. The route looks to go up the arete, but with no obvious gear above, we bailed as a fall would land you on the belayer.

We took a look traversing right and could see the ledges with no gear, then we traversed right and saw some gear placements but could not tell if it would go.

So probably a better plan would be not to set a belay at the end of the crack, instead continue up the arete, a fall would be clean.

BTW, the guidebook we used incorrectly showed this climb on the west face in the picture of the area instead of the east face.

More importantly, I would not reach the base of this climb by way of the gully. It is very loose and washed out probably from the 2013 flood. Instead climb Welcome to the Jungle (WTTJ) a beautiful looking corner crack climb on the slab below, then plan on rapping back down WTTJ on your way out (going west sucked). Aug 18, 2019