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Routes in Sundance Buttress

Adrenaline T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Banana Peels T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Betwixt'em T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Bonzo T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Bushes T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Cajun Capers T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Chain of Command T,S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Covert Action T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Curve Grande T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b C1
English Opening T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Eumenides T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Firebird 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2
First Lady T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Grapevine T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Great Roof Bypass T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Guillotine, The T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Hemp Necktie T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Hurley-Neri T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Idiot Wind T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Jet Stream T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Kor's Flake T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Last Gasp T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Laura Scudders T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Mainliner T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Mr. President T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Nose, The T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Precipitation T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2
Progression T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Redman T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Sidetrack T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Slim Pickens T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Turnkorner T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Turnkorner Direct T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Under The Sundress T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Under the Big Top 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Upside Down Race Car Kitty T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
Whiteman T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Type: Trad, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Jim Disney & Gary Moore, 1962
Page Views: 3,470 total · 17/month
Shared By: Charles Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

37 Opinions

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Sundance Buttress is seasonally closed for raptor nesting. Click for details. Details
Season raptor closures Details


A highly varied route with some unique climbing which I enjoyed more than the highly acclaimed Mainliner just to the left. Contains by far the wildest 5.7 pitch I have ever climbed. The route is easily identified on the approach by a rectangular inset (the left of two similar ones) high on the wall, which forms a huge roof containing the massive hanging "blades" of the guillotine. The route starts below them, at a thin finger crack which opens into a more prominent system. Hike up past the large overhang of Turnkorner Buttress and past the long chimney system containing the first of the two rectangular insets.

P1-Climb the finger crack (crux), and continue over a bulge with a fist crack. Belay at a stance (120 ft.).

P2-Continue up the obvious system for 100 ft. to an alcove known as the Bay Window (5.7).

P3-Climb a fist crack in a corner to the right, then head up a thin crack to an adequate ledge at the base of the guillotine. The interesting looking cracks and chimneys to the left are said to lead to an expanse of low-quality rock. (5.9+, 80 ft.)

P4-Climb the dirty corner formed by the right side of the inset, then tunnel behind the very blades of the guillotine. I had to remove my helmet to fit through. Belay after emerging from the maze-"5.7"

P5-Continue to the top on 200 feet of easy climbing.

The descent is a short way east.


Standard rack; bring a fist-sized piece or two.
focoderek Esposito
Fort Collins, CO
focoderek Esposito   Fort Collins, CO
Climbed this today, got a 6am start from the TH, fortunately as weather rolled in around 2pm on our hike back to the car. Tough first pitch off the deck without being warmed up. Definitely a wild 4th pitch burrowing upwards through the guillotine. It's a tight fit through there! Jul 27, 2012
I had a ton of fun on this route today, but the description and other people's comments lead me to believe that many people are climbing a less fun variation of P3. The fist cracks in the corner off the 2nd belay look decent, but not great. The original line of P3, as indicated in Gillett's guide and the picture above from Jim, climbs the face around the arete from the wide cracks in the corner.

P3: From the Bay Window belay, walk out to the edge of a big flat boulder and find the fixed pin on the south face - I couldn't fit a biner in this pin, but girth hitched it with a runner and got a nut in just above. Commit to the face and pull up on decent holds (5.9, fun exposure) to easy ground. At a grassy ledge, move up left through scramble-y terrain or climb a fun 5.7/8 corner directly above you to a good ledge at the lower right margin of the guillotine slot.

More generally, this climb is sweet, the crux tough but over quickly, and the rock quality excellent with the exception of some loose stuff in the guillotine. Jun 21, 2009
kyle kingrey
kyle kingrey   Loveland
Great pictures Jim. Thanks. May 25, 2007
Just a point of clarification ... somehow the guide books have my partner on the first ascent listed as Dean Moore. My climbing partner was Gary Moore. May 14, 2006
This was an extremely fun route, and though I agree with Mr. Bartlett that it does have it's tedious moments, I think it best done with a view of it as a more alpine route...a little route finding, a little moisture, a little lichen, and a great roof! All in all, I think it a much better route than some curmudgeons ascribe it to be.:)The fingery crux down low is mis-leading as one expects more of the same, and the climbing afterwards is considerably easier. However, safe to call the crux pretty solid 5.10.And the grungy, offwidthy type short section just below the guillotine pitch adds nice flavor to the licheny sections of the route, but isn't harder than 5.9 if you get your ducks (or cams) lined up right, and can stand on your feet. Admittedly, the rock here is far from the best quality Sundance has to offer, but I found the quality of rock on the route to be generally quite good to excellent.By the way, as a Gunks veteran I really believe the roof or blade of the guillotine is meant to be climbed on the outside; in other words, at the right side of the blade you should be able to pull yourself out into the open abyss - as the guidebooks imply - and come out onto the face (instead of wriggling up behind the blade). Staying in behind the blade cheats you of the wonderful exposure and intention of the route, by writhing up behind the blade you rather cleave off the meaning of the pitch.Have fun! CGray Oct 9, 2005
Fort Collins, CO
nolteboy   Fort Collins, CO
Apart from the 4th class-ish sections on p.3, the climbing is continuously good. The big roof on p.3 is wild and intimidating for the grade (or for ANY grade). From the belay ledge immediately up and right of the Guillotine roof, a 60m takes you close enough to the top to 3rd class the rest... Oct 1, 2005
Joseffa Meir
Joseffa Meir  
Great Route! What a blast tunneling through the guillotine! I surely wouldn't have wanted to be any bigger. Jun 20, 2005
Errett Allen  
We did a nice alternate to the 5.7 'Guillotine' pitch. From the bottom of the Guillotine recess, go down and left to the start of an obvious short chimney. 1. Acend this (5.8) and scramble up to a broken ledge. 2. From the high point of the ledge, step up and hand traverse right on a perfect flake to a perfect vertical hand crack (5.7). This pitch is very clean and high quality. Oct 20, 2004
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
I thought the third pitch was way harder than the first pitch - hardest 5.9 pitch i've done at Lumpy Ridge. The guillotine pitch is as weird and hard as 5.7 gets - no fun with a camelback, which i had to jettison onto a long sling.

Other than that, i'd agree it is a good route but certainly not great and sortof disjointed. Sep 5, 2003
Matt Juth
Matt Juth   Evergreen
The Guillotine itself is one of the neatest features I have ever climbed. Other than that, is was of lower quality than its neighbors. Sep 5, 2003
This was a great adventure! The first pitch was dry, we did it yesterday, but I think harder than 10.b. But don't be fooled, the rest of the first pitch was pretty sustained. I have to say the dihedral starting the 3rd pitch was the hardest 5.8+ I have ever done in my life! It was the one that is offwidth with crappy feet. Man I had to work hard! I also had the chance to lead the guillotine pitch. I stayed in the chimney up to the roof, used a 3.5 camalot, then pulled out onto the roof and went out on the arete. This was well protected, really fun! Jul 13, 2003
justin dubois
Estes Park
justin dubois   Estes Park
One night last fall, my friend and I ran out to Sundance at around 6:30 pmwe simulclimbed the entire route in one pitch and I followed. I had never climbed the route before, and was just following the rope's path by headlamp. When I approached the Guillotine itself, I saw the rope running through this tight, insanely small looking opening. Unsure if it was the right line, I wiggled up into it, thinking all the while that , the lack of protection placed by my partner,had allowed the rope to simply fall in there, and I was heading for a trap.In the dark with your partner 200' above in the blackness somewhere, your only link the rope at your waist,pulling tight,It seems really frightning in that blasted flake. Needless to say, the flake allowed passage, and I lived to see the moonriseover Sundance,showing a flawless evening.

Jun 11, 2003
I climbed the outside of the crack, like a roof crack, instead of tunneling through the guillotine. It was classic, pretty easy, and in the event of loose munge back in there, the obvious choice; I thought it was the line. Jun 10, 2003
We just did this climb (July 2002). I would agree with the other comment about this route being disjointed and disappointing. The only pitch I really enjoyed is the guillotine itself. I thought the first pitch crux was quite hard (big fingers?).The rock on the second pitch was somewhat crumbly. We did the right arete variation mentioned in the previous comment; this avoids the squeeze (which I am sure is fun too, just wasn't sure I would fit)) and makes for fun airy climbing at about 5.8. I thought the pro was fine on that variation, maybe just slightly runout as one transitions out onto the arete but nothing serious. Jul 8, 2002
My favorite way to do this one avoids climbing straight up the mungy guillotine itself, but instead climbs the exposed arete on the right side of the guillotine's left-facing dihedral, on cool buckets w/ out good pro except for a slung chicken-head. Apr 27, 2002
Charles Vernon
Tucson, AZ
Charles Vernon   Tucson, AZ
Greg, I'm so curious to know when precisely you climbed it--if it was after my ascent. The rockfall doesn't surprise me somehow--as I was tunneling through the squeeze, some part of the back of my mind was wondering if the whole blade of the Guillotine was going to give way. I sure won't climb it again knowing this, though I'm glad to have done it once!

I was thinking about this squeeze pitch, which is rated 5.7+, and it really felt harder to me (it's quite possible that I was simply doing it wrong, but in several places it seemed a true squeeze, with the added challenge of route-finding!)than a lot of other chimneys on Lumpy with stiffer ratings, e.g. Wolf's Tooth, Penis Chimney, Turnkorner (above the big roof), 1st pitch of Crack of Fear, and others. Feb 25, 2002
A cautionary tale .. A couple of years ago I climbed this route. Our party of 3 had just been through the 5.7 guillotine pitch, with 2 of us sitting on the ledges just above the exit from the chimneys, belaying the 3rd, who was leading the next pitch above. Suddenly there was a large natural release of rocks from the chimneys we had just climbed through (it is logical that we somehow loosened the rocks while we were climbing through, but none of us had noticed anything unusual). Fortunately it didn't happen while we were in there or below, and there was nobody directly below (although there were people approaching the base). We didn't see the rocks, but from the sound and what the people approaching told us, I'm guessing there was a big rock in there ... ~50 pounds. So be careful about rockfall when climbing or in the vicinity of this route!!! Feb 25, 2002
Charles Vernon
Tucson, AZ
Charles Vernon   Tucson, AZ
OK it's probably only 2-stars, but I still really liked it. An adventure climb with some really memorable sections. Feb 17, 2002
Sorry to sound like a party-pooping curmudgeon, but I thought this climb was real disjointed and disappointing. A short, hard and slippery crux right off the ground followed by hundreds of feet of 5.tedious filler. Definitely not 3-star material. Feb 17, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The first 15' of this route are often wet, as rainwater tends to get funneled into the crack. Avoid climbing this route in early season or the day after a big thunderstorm unless you relish the challenge of slimy finger locks. Aug 12, 2001
P1 is probably harder for those with bigger fingers. We did the standard P3 - found the bent piton out on the face to the right of the Bay Window and climbed that crack. Very dirty, very exposed, very 5.9. Wild P4 - similar to the Cave on the Book. We belayed right at the top of the tunneling (short pitch), and did 2 more pitches to the top. Jun 18, 2001
Small variation for pitch 3 (also known as being off route). The standard crack looked weird so we took one to the left, which turned offwidth after about 20'. Thrash up this a little longer, then you can step right and join the regular pitch 4. I can't remember if we belayed before the usual pitch 4 or combined 3 & 4. May 29, 2001