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Kor's Flake

5.7+, Trad, 800 ft (242 m), 6 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 3.6 from 338 votes
FA: Layton Kor and Chuck Alexander, 1950s
Colorado > Estes Park Valley > Lumpy Ridge > Sundance Buttress
Access Issue: Season raptor closures Details
Access Issue: Sundance Buttress is seasonally closed for raptor nesting. Click for details. Details


A 5.7 route of this length and consistent quality is rare. Kor's Flake is hard, sustained, and exposed for the grade. 

Hike up west past the large overhang of Turnkorner Buttress to a point shortly beyond the deep chimney separating it from the Guillotine Wall. Scramble up onto an outcrop below a deep, narrow chimney with some loose rock and a large chockstone about 30 feet up.

P1 - squeeze up the chimney, go right under the chockstone, and emerge to climb moderate rock for about 50 feet to a belay ledge. The namesake flake, a massive, left-angling 150 foot high exfoliation forming a long, right-facing, left-leaning corner, is visible up on the left.

P2 - climb the corner above the belay to gain the namesake flake, and go up it about 30 feet to an awkward belay (5.7).

P3 - finish off the flake, which turns into a wide crack/chimney, go over a small roof, and belay on a slab, about 150 feet.

2017 Edit: there are two ways to climb this pitch, both of which I've done on lead. If you stay out of the crack, it's 5.8 R (possibly R/X) stemming with *occasional* gear in incipient cracks. If you squeeze into the crack, it's a tight grunt but much more secure. Either way, bringing gear larger than a #4 Camalot is up to your discretion based on your honest assessment of your abilities on chimneys and/or 5.8 R face climbing. (Sorry if I sandbagged anyone pre-2017. When I first climbed this around 1999 or 2000, there was no mountainproject, the existing guidebooks did not recommend anything larger than 4", and I think it was probably rare to bring bigger gear on the route, but I could be wrong.)

P4 - climb up and left into a right-facing corner, but traverse left out of it after about 20 feet. Climb a continuous hand and finger crack to a good belay below a dihedral/roof (5.7, 130 feet).

P5 - climb around the overhang to the left (5.7), and stretch the rope out to easier ground. Finish up and right to find the descent gully.


Standard rack to a #4 Camalot or larger depending on comfort level on the chimney pitch. If unsure, the comments below contain more gear beta than you can shake a nut tool at :)

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The spoils of the summit!
[Hide Photo] The spoils of the summit!
Topping out.
[Hide Photo] Topping out.
Route overlays for some routes on Sundance.
[Hide Photo] Route overlays for some routes on Sundance.
Wise climber staying OUTSIDE the crack approaching the wide section.
[Hide Photo] Wise climber staying OUTSIDE the crack approaching the wide section.
Me looking sexy (thought this might be useful for those looking for the start of this climb. Go up, in, and out to the right.).
[Hide Photo] Me looking sexy (thought this might be useful for those looking for the start of this climb. Go up, in, and out to the right.).
Route tracing.
[Hide Photo] Route tracing.
End of the flake and climbers below in the meat of it!!
[Hide Photo] End of the flake and climbers below in the meat of it!!
For the follower, the "easy face climbing" is more of an option. It is mostly bear-hugging the arete and inside edge, stepping into typical Lumpy Ridge scoops. Really makes the leader resent the 2nd.
[Hide Photo] For the follower, the "easy face climbing" is more of an option. It is mostly bear-hugging the arete and inside edge, stepping into typical Lumpy Ridge scoops. Really makes the leader resent the 2nd.
Grand exposure at the 4th belay (Erik Marr working the ropes).
[Hide Photo] Grand exposure at the 4th belay (Erik Marr working the ropes).
I didn't think many of the photos really represented the flake. I noticed a lot of comments talking about easy face climbing; totally true. HOWEVER, if you are on it for the first time, I really doubt you will be out there. For the runout though, you can be in the chimney far enough that the only place you will be falling is further IN.
[Hide Photo] I didn't think many of the photos really represented the flake. I noticed a lot of comments talking about easy face climbing; totally true. HOWEVER, if you are on it for the first time, I really do…
Kor's Flake - front and center!
[Hide Photo] Kor's Flake - front and center!
Kor's Flake seen from approach trail.
[Hide Photo] Kor's Flake seen from approach trail.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] A great route. Nicely exposed for a 5.7 with an exciting hand traverse (find an undercling and plug the #4 BD Camalot, then hangout and enjoy the exposure). Two roofs make this an exciting 5.7. The moves are fun, the protection ample. A #4.5 Camalot would be useful for the namesake flake. Good luck and enjoy. Jan 1, 2001
[Hide Comment] Agree this is excellent and exciting.....but I plugged a perfect #5 Camalot for the traverse. Jan 1, 2001
[Hide Comment] Length, position, and relative solitude (only two other parties on Sundance this Saturday morning) add up to the best 5.7 I've ever done or heard of. One note for those using the Gillett guidebook - the fixed pins referred to at the end of P4 are conspicuous only in their absence, so plan accordingly. May 29, 2001
[Hide Comment] An excellent and historic oddysey with lots of variety and good climbing of many different types. I would caution the new leader to have his or her act together here: Kor's Flake is a lot of route for 5.7, more than it looks on paper. A 5.10 gym climber or budding trad leader feeling confident after Calypso or the Bastille Crack will likely find the chimney interesting (maybe more so than the oft-mentioned traverse). Also, be careful about trying to stretch pitches - I forced myself into a cruel belay in the dihedral above the chimney. Great route, lots of fun, and a gentle prelude to a lifetime's worth of classic and challenging Kor creations. May 30, 2001
Brice W
Front Range, CO
[Hide Comment] I don't recall using big gear for the hand traverse, but I did use some on the squeeze chimney. For the chimney, trying to stay at least partly outside is the way to go, I think. I stayed too far inside and made it hard on myself. The 4th pitch is classic. That and the 2nd pitch (both 5.7+ in Rossiter's guide) felt about ten times easier than the chimney. Don't bother looking for nice ledges for the belay after the 2nd pitch, there aren't any. Aug 7, 2001
[Hide Comment] One look at the huge crack and it was stemming and face work for me. I never got into it once. However, it's about 5.8 and there isn't any pro till after the flake gets closer to the face. Aug 29, 2001
[Hide Comment] Just seems weird that I didn't have a comment on this route, since it is one of my favorites anywhere. Having done it with and without the #5, I would say if in doubt bring (borrow?) it, but if you find yourself wanting it, you will probably want it several times. I think the squeeze chimney and the ramp/crack leading up to it is my favorite part, though the whole climb is great. Seems like I stayed mostly inside the squeeze, but then again I like squishing myself into weird holes in rocks. Aug 30, 2001
[Hide Comment] [definitely] THE BEST 5.7 i have done. long and exposed.go send.however, don't believe the "squeeze chimney [stuff]" this section is easily face climbed with much less thrutching. Nov 24, 2001
[Hide Comment] "Squeeze chimney [stuff]"? Sure you could face climb it, do what you want. Personally I like the squeeze. May 6, 2002
[Hide Comment] I think I would put this at a 5.8 as well. Adequate pro? I think the higher part of the ramp/chimney qualifies as an nasty off-width, with more than a bit of a run out; unless you typically carry big bros. (That #11 Hex that's jammed into the crack up high, with the rappel ring on it... that's mine, you are welcome to it) Anonymous Coward? You bet! But we made it down alive, learned a lesson in pride, and that beautiful climb will be ours someday. The rock isn't going anywhere. Budding trad climbers, heed the words of these other alpinists, it's a nice climb but, more that it looks on paper. (I should have read this page BEFORE I went out... duh!) PS... I did scarf a #6 hex from another "bailer", so I didn't make out too bad. May 20, 2002
[Hide Comment] Note that in the back of the chimney, there is an old fixed rope with loops tied in it. I was able to hook it with a friend and then used it to clip in for pro. Don't count on it though as it may be out of reach and you CANNOT see what it is fixed to -- might be an old squirrel turd for all I know. May 28, 2002
[Hide Comment] In short one of the best 5.7s I have done.

Thanks for the to Hexes, banged them out this past Memorial Day Weekend. The rope is tattered and lost in the back of the chimney now.

Special note to new 5.7 leaders.

The run out above the 2 belay on pitch 3 might be more then liked, especially with no big gear. I had to run it out 30 feet on the anchor to the fixed hexes mentioned above. Great stemming and lie-backing can be had and once above the squeeze good gear is available. Also, do not take this lightly.

Reality check: After the pitch was finished my partner told me about a girl he knows that fell 40 feet out of the squeeze to the ledges below the belay, with less then optimal results. So, it is possible to fall here. There is possibility for a tipped out #4 above the belay and a shitty micro cam where the squeeze forces you out on the face. May 28, 2002
[Hide Comment] Just a quick comment about the second pitch: some guidebooks list this as a 155 foot pitch. It is NOT! It is more like 80-90ft: you ought to set your belay right before the first wide section, otherwise you'll end up out of rope (with a 50m) right in the middle of the wide stuff, with little option for a decent anchor. Pitch 3 goes thorugh the wide section to the very top of the flake and is about 150ft. Jul 16, 2002
[Hide Comment] Confirmed, the third pitch is run out. Stemming works for the first third, then a few chimmney moves, then the OW crack to the crappy slab belay. Gear-wise, about 1/3 of the way up the crack, there is a small [vegetated] crack at climbers right. If you stem between the wall (on right) and the outer lip of the flake, it is possible to place two aliens, a green and a yellow. The next piece is a number 4 when the flake constricts back to OW. The rope in back of the chimmney is unreachable as of 9/15/02. A sweet route. The "undercling traverse" is not such a big deal. Enjoyable climb! Sep 16, 2002
[Hide Comment] The mental crux is the OW section which is runout, but I found, and I am sure that others have too, is a marginal #4 stopper in the small seam to the right of the OW section. The placement in blind to place it fast until 4" cams are feasible. I personally enjoyed the pitch after that the most. You know, the most exposed 5.7 traverse in the world. The first time I climbed this, I was forced into a nut belay right after the the left traverse, on that exposed overhang. #2,3,4 stoppers. What a rush! Jan 29, 2003
[Hide Comment] When face climbing the chimney, just be aware of the rock texure to the right. It has been climbed many times and is getting very polished. Jan 29, 2003
[Hide Comment] Climbed this for the second time yesterday. What a climb. Although accurate, the 5.7 rating gives little indication of the reality of this route. There is some rope in the back of the dreaded chimney section for pro, though it's way back there and I didn't have the energy to get it. Also, this climb can be strung together as three 200 ft. pitches with relatively little rope drag. Climb a full 200 ft. pitch into the flake, climb another 180 foot pitch through the chimney to the top of the flake, then do another long 200 ft. pitch past the roof to the top and belay from a tree. Mike. Jun 30, 2003
[Hide Comment] Very good route. We lead the wide section in one 180ft pitch, belayed just below the dihedral.Used a 3.5 and two 4 Cams for pro and some small stuff at the start. Stemming is the way to do it, scary but not as draining.Pay attention to the picture taken on 8/18 notice it avoids the had crack and traverses under it, much easier!!! Descent is rappelling into gully, bring 2 60m ropes and make it easier on yourselves. I agree with a previous comment, not for the new 5.7 leader. Great route lots of varied climbing with excellent exposure! Jul 21, 2003
[Hide Comment] Did it a third time yesterday. Had great weather and only saw one other party all day. Was quickly reminded of the "reality" of this climb, but man it's fun. Sep 16, 2003
Tonya Clement
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I wish I read this site and set a 2nd belay 30 feet up the flake just before the O/W so that my partner would end up doing the O/W instead of me. I started up the O/W and didn't see any gear placements....all the way I wished I had a couple big bros as they would have been perfect. For the bulk of this O/W I stayed on the outside but I didn't quite make it to the top of the flake. After what appeared to be 30+ feet of runout I got a bit freaked out and decided to do a body wedge into the thing and set belay near that mangled rope with the loops. I used a large hex and two 3.5 cams. I can't name a harder 5.7 that I have done. This one is a character builder. Sep 21, 2003
[Hide Comment] I am the budding young tradster of the comments above. I have climed North Chimeny on Castleton Tower, so I thought this route would be cake. Yeah, right. If you are trying this route, make sure you are very comfortable leading 5.8 maybe even 5.9, the runout is pretty big. Well anyways, one of my buddies and I tried this route Friday. The weather was nice for November, but the rock was cold as hell and my hands were freezing. This made the crux pitch really difficult to stem. After hanging out stuck in the chimney, I grabbed the rope in the back and pulled myself up, it was really, really embarrassing. By the end of the fourth pitch it was dark as hell, which also sucked. The last pitch was in the dark, and very very scary. If you do this route in the winter, get an early start. Don't forget your number four! Nov 11, 2003
[Hide Comment] Now, that's some 5.7 cuz......the crux is by far the squeeze. You fellas lie backing that run-out are bigger than me. Some slippery rocks climbing through there. I found the wee lil' nut, puckered [and] said ok. The yellow Alien though, I missed that one. After you are done groveling, the route gets real nice. Nice job, Layton, you hard boy climbin' this in your hob nails with a hemp rope tied round your waist. Damn. Note that Tim in the pics below is doing some harder starting chimney than most folks do. Mar 26, 2004
[Hide Comment] Superb route! Did this easily in four pitches with a sixty meter rope. Found the off-width to be the crux-a number five BD Camalot proved nice for this section. Rossiter mentions stemming. but once in it I found it very difficult to exit. Sep 20, 2004
[Hide Comment] Definitely not an entry-level 5.7 ;-) P1and 2 are so-so, but once you get into the OW on P3 it has your full attention until the very end. May 23, 2005
George Bell
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] The wide pitch on this climb is completely different from the rest of the climb. If you don't have big gear, you'd better be prepared to run it out. Seconding I stayed out of the crack and found this to be rather insecure. Had I been leading I'm sure I would have been inside the crack. Anyway it's pretty cool thinking of Layton Kor forging up this pitch. May 31, 2005
John Korfmacher
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Climbed 8.27.05 with J. Blumberg. This is a classic and a must for those 'collecting' Layton Kor's projects. It's the best 5.7 I've done in Colorado and compares well with Corrugation Corner (Lover's Leap, CA; my favorite at this grade). I didn't feel like there was anything harder than 5.7 on the route, but agree that P3 would be stiff for an inexperienced leader. I would recommend one big piece (4.5 or 5 Camalot) for P3 but my partner sent the pitch without it.

An important side note--the descent will take you past the absolute mother of all raspberry patches, a very tasty treat indeed this time of year. Aug 29, 2005
Eric Rak
North Bend
[Hide Comment] We racked up to a number four Camalot, but a #5 and/or a Big Bro would have been useful for the P3 squeeze chimney. My partner led this pitch wedged in the chimney grunting like a redneck in the sheep pen, running it out over a tipped-out #4. Seconding, I managed to stay out of the crack/chimney by doing a bit of stemming, laybacking and slab technique which felt like solid 5.7. P4 is outstanding and, IMO, more memorable than the flake itself. The hand traverse kicks in the exposure and the horizontal takes a perfect #4 offering bomber pro below you as you cruise the fun hand cracks to the belay ledge. Sep 20, 2005
Chris JD
Golden, Co
[Hide Comment] Great climb... As I had only a #4 Camalot at most, I placed it as marginally as I possibly could and then proceeded to shove myself into the chimney, instead of gracefully stemming the chimney as my partner did.The 3rd pitch is wild and tons o fun. Oct 18, 2005
[Hide Comment] I climbed this route for the first time on Monday, August 21, 2006. It was a great experience, as I led all of the pitches. I would concur with previous posts that this climb should not be taken lightly, even though it is rated at 5.7. I am quite confident leading trad at the 5.9 - 5.10 range. However, we took only one #4 Camalot. I stayed out of the chimney with a combination of face, stemming and laybacking to get up pitch #3. I tried to place my #4 at the beginning of the wide stretch with no luck. A #5 Camalot would have been ideal and a #6 midway up would have been excellent. I waited to place my #4 until the crack started narrowing back down. By then, I was looking at a runout of approximately 35 feet while making what felt like 5.8+ moves. The moral of the story is that you should have a #4, #5 and a #6 Camalot to adequately protect the wide areas of the flake. I realize that is a lot of rack weight. However, I just can't imagine a novice leader on that pitch without adequate protection.

Also, the belay stances at the end of pitch #2 & #3 were very uncomfortable and challenging in regards to rope management and protection. At both stations, I had my second anchor in about 5-10 feet below me to alleviate space, stance and rope handling issues. Again, in my opinion, I think novice leaders would be challenged with these issues.

That being said, I thought this was a wonderful route. The experience certainly solidified my admiration of Layton Kor's vision and spirit.

Don't let the 5.7 rating "sandbag" you! Be prepared with the proper protection and under the right weather conditions. If in doubt, do Mainliner, which I thought was a lot safer and more relaxing than Kor's Flake. Aug 28, 2006
[Hide Comment] For all of you sickos who say big gear isn't necessary- y'all crazy. I didn't even lead the third pitch on this, and I was nervous just watching my buddy crank the offwidth sections. I would suggest, to anyone who loves getting solid gear in, to bring at least one #6 Camalot, at least one #5, and perhaps a few Big Bros. Trust me, you'll be glad you brought the extra weight. Otherwise it's going to be a nerve-wracking pitch for the leader.

That being said, it's an awesome route and should not be missed. May 22, 2007
[Hide Comment] I lead KF on 7-24-07 (it was my partner's rest day). Great climb. 5.7+ is about right (mentally, a 5.8, if you don't do OWs). Coming from Boston 4 days earlier, we were definitely sucking air. But this is the best 5.7 I've ever done. The OW runout was a surprise, but pretty solid despite the runout, with right leg in and left leg out. Plenty of places to rest by slotting yourself in. There are two decent #2, #3, stopper placements just inside the flake edge up about 30 ft from the lower angle flake section. At the transition out of the flake, a No. 3 Camalot was marginally useful (a #4 or 5 would have been better). The rest of the climb is grandly structured, with great gear. Don't pass this one by. Plenty of trees to rap off of into the gully to the right. Viva Kor. JP Jul 28, 2007
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] This route is why you have a trad rack. This is the reason to climb trad. Amazing rock, wild exposure, nut numbing runout, it's all there!

Besides the #4 cam (used three times) and #3 RP (only pro on the face of the OW), I found Tricams to be very useful in general. I just have the lowest four, but used them quite a bit. Instead of bringing your big cams and Bros, just bring your two big nuts :-P

Oh, and when you get to the hand traverse, throw your head back and SCREAM your thanks to Kor! Aug 14, 2007
[Hide Comment] My #2 Camalot was left at a belay after the wide pitch. I'm willing to buy it back from anyone who finds it. 903-821-7070. Aug 30, 2007
Josh Giblin
Philadelphia, PA
[Hide Comment] I just returned from a four day trip to Boulder with KF being the climb we most wanted and most feared, based on the description and the weather when we got there. The overcast skies almost turned us around just paces from the sign for the Sundance trail. We are SO glad we stuck to it!

This climb was worth every penny. From beginning to end, this route hardly let up and was exhilarating. The namesake flake was a piece of work due to altitude, layers and emerging sun. We had a #4 cam, but its placement sure took its sweet time coming. A 5 or even 6 would make this much less intimidating, but if you're comfy in a chimney don't let the lack of pro stop you. The belay after the chimney was nothing but views of the snowy mounts of Long's Peak and its neighbors, and was priceless.

The exposed hand traverse after the flake is not to be missed. I also managed to easily clean a hex on the easy climbing at the top. Booty! We ended up rapping off our own sling to reach the two fixed tree rappels lower down. It was a long day though - almost 11 hours car to car - and boy was that parking lot a welcome sight!

Prepare for a long day, one which will test your mettle as a 5.7 leader but reward you with a climb you will remember for a long time to come. Jun 12, 2008
- - -
[Hide Comment] We brought a number 5 and 6 C4, but I didn't place the number five. The six came in handy though. All these comments make it sound a lot harder and scarier than we found it. Jul 25, 2008
Julius Beres
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Wow, all the comments here really scared me. Other sites had this listed as a 5.8R. I did this today and didn't think it was harder than other 5.7s in the area. In fact, aside from the original grunt to get off the ground, this one did not seem bad at all.

I did bring a #6 BD Cam and walked it up most of the flake pitch (combined pitch 2 and 3). With a number 6 cam it isn't run out at all. Aside from the walked cam, I left a #5 a bit lower down and placed a few more pieces in the flake.... Not at all scary. I admit, without a #6 it would be far scarier and run out.

For the way down, we found a slung tree with a rap ring (off and to the right above the descent gully). I added a carabiner to back up the ring and rapped with a 60m rope down to a small ledge where someone left an anchor with 3 nuts, webbing, and 2 biners. The rap from there took us to the ground and then a rather unpleasant walk down through bushes until it turned into more of a trail. (Note, there is a slung rock with a rap ring about 10 feet above the 3 nut anchor. Don't use it if you have a 60m rope. You can get to the nuts and from there the rope just barely reaches the ground.)

Long hike in... long day, amazing route, lots of fun! Don't let the comments here scare you. If you are worried about run out, bring a #6 cam and do this route! Sep 16, 2008
Green Mnt
[Hide Comment] Having read all the beta here, I have to admit I was more than a bit apprehensive about this one. Having done it now, I would say most of the comments are spot on. Getting stuck in the chimney of the offwidth is not for me. I used a variety of layback, stemming, and face techniques to get up it on lead. I even reached out to the corner/arete several times. Despite the warnings, it is protectable. I placed a #4, then a #5, then a #6. Then, soon as the OW ended, I plugged a #3. It is however, still a bit runout on some tricky moves. Save some smaller gear for the hanging belay though. I felt the traverse to be easy, but after the roof, there are some tough moves.

An incredible route. It has everything and you can't get better scenery the RMNP.

I'll have to try this again someday when it's not wet and see if feels more like a 5.7! Sep 23, 2008
The Fucking Moon, man, the…
  5.8- R
[Hide Comment] P3 requires #5 or #6 Camalots. Sep 24, 2008
David Yount
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] Kor's Flake 5.7+ 5P G **** - Sundance Buttress - Lumpy Ridge - Colorado.

Hike west a little over 3 easy miles on a wide trail from the parking lot, turning right at a sign for Sundance (Buttress), continue for about 30 minutes steeply uphill, with some talus block scrambling. Locate the beginning of the route about 200 feet left, west, uphill from a huge block leaning against the face.

A #3 Big Bro fits nicely as the crack widens in Pitch 3. A #4 Big Bro fits well 10 feet later. A #5 Big Bro fits well another 8 feet. Then a Camalot old #3.5 or old #4 fits at the top as the crack reduces from a squeeze chimney width to an offwidth crack. With appropriate protection pieces, this pitch has no runnout.

Fall 2008 there is a rope in good condition with a rap ring and a runner higher up likely for a good handhold, in the back of the squeeze chimney Pitch 3. Unless you're very small you'll need to swing a cam to fetch the rope. No idea how the rope is secured?!?!

I began the squeeze with chimney technique, then 1/3 the way up, placing the #4 Big Bro, I got out of the crack a bit and face climbed to the left, finally used the left side of crack and the far left arete in a comfortable bear hug.

Descent. After reaching Class 3 territory, continue scrambling up and right, then slightly down, reaching the major saddle. The descent goes through this saddle, going down the backside of the Sundance Buttress. Now through the saddle, there are several trees on the right, fine for a single rope rappel and 2 or more of these trees will likely be equipped with webbing and ring. Prefer a tree furthest right, perhaps 60 feet from the saddle, requiring some exposed ledge walking. A single rope rappel brings you nicely to a large ledge, with several trees, some likely equipped with webbing and ring. A second single rope rappel brings you to the ground, with a trail which follows the base of the rock down, around, and back up beneath the huge block leaning against the front face and finally up to the start of the route. Oct 7, 2008
Phill T
[Hide Comment] Hike in was about an hour and a half. Awesome route. There is a rap/belay station at the beginning of the wideness of pitch 3. We had a #5 and my partner did not place it on the flake pitch, he wishes he had a #6 though. Scary watching him run it out grunting up the flake, I followed using much easier face/layback/stemming, but no chance I would be doing that on lead with 40 feet of runout. The 'pro' rope was still hanging in the back of the crack, but we couldn't get to it The p4 hand traverse was straight awesome, SUPER huge jugs in the back, 1 move and you are secure feet, crank up one move into the hand crack for an awesome rest and fire the rest. Belay on the right under the final roof with larger nuts and mid sized cams (used 2 #13 nuts and a #1 C4). Crank the roof and it goes to 5.3 slabbing out til the summit. Have fun! May 18, 2009
[Hide Comment] Sweet climb. can be done in 3 pitches with a 60m rope. just run the full length of rope on pitch one, same as next pitch. you belay just past the end of the flake. Then run the rope to easier ground above the hand crack and roof.

Great climb. Super classic. didn't bring a camelot 4, 5, or a 6. Biggest gear was a BD Camelot 3, I just ran it all out on the flake. Jun 18, 2009
[Hide Comment] My wife and I climbed Kor’s Flake over the weekend. My good shoes were in the shop getting a resole, so I wore a backup pair that did not have the Five Ten Stealth rubber I’m used to. Luckily, I had placed a #6 Wild Country at the start of the crux off-width chimney, because as I worked up outside of the off-width, six feet up from the WC, one foot slipped and I came off. We were using a new Edelweiss 9.6 mm rope, which is still pretty slick. So, with a little slack in the rope, rope stretch, and a hard jerk when I came tight on the rope which pulled a little more rope out as my wife tried hard to break the fall, I tumbled down the flake around 25 feet. One elbow was cut pretty bad, and I had a deep chunk of skin cut out of one hand, along with a half dozen other lesser injuries, and my wife burnt the crap out of her hands breaking the fall. Still feeling relatively OK, we finished the climb. This time I climbed well into the off-width to avoid a repeat slip.
This is a great climb, but I think it’s very important to have something big to protect the crux. While there are supposed to be incipient cracks around, I don’t remember seeing any small pro opportunities, and personally, I have found that the #5 & 6 WC are extremely reliable. Jul 12, 2009
Top Rope Hero
Was Estes Park, now homeless
  5.7 PG13
[Hide Comment] What marv-a-losity! First-time Lumpy climber still gathering in his jaw. Heady 5.7

Forget the six-pitch suggestion; do this sucker in an alpine-lite four and save yourselves some grief. (More rope drag, yes. But in the high(ish)country, time can be your bigger enemy.) We were packing a 70m spaghetti noodle, but the team above us said they were doing the same description below with a 60m rope. Y'all correct the ignorant if'n I'm wrong, I'm sure.

P1-squeeze that opening chimney, gather ye sack and pop LEFT of the (F'ing steller 5.8ish?) chockstone with super fun, super generous underclings, then immediately start unpacking the slings, humping up and right, up and right, over awkward but easily protected, rightward-leaning ledges, not even thinking about stopping until you reach the bottom of the magic. Set camp.

P2-Look up and witness doom. KIDDING! The long, low(ish)-angled 5.7ish flake/crack system/ramp/OW is 100+ feet of pure joy. Take it ALL in one gulp. Protects like a mutha for the first and last third (hey...they said this was run out?), but that middle OW section will spike your blood pressure if you're used to cozily spaced bolts. Still, leave the OW technique and the #6 at home--instead, say "no" to tunnel vision, stay out in the sun and stem wildly, delicately (but fairly easily) off both walls and/or get some of the finest bear hugs with max exposure off that left ramp and keep your head until you can jam a THANKGOD #5 (or #4, if you can wait another 3 meters).

IMPORTANT NOTE ON PRO: No one yet has mentioned it; everyone must be spelunking hard for that deep, seemingly critical #6 slot buried in the largest pocket of the OW, BUT IF YOU STAY HIGH AND ON THE OUTSIDE, there is at one brief but critical point, a blessedly perfect, short, vertical flake/crack that emerges on the right wall (it's usually chalked, so SOMEBODY is using it, a bit above and before the deepest fissure) that suckes up a yellow(?) Alien like you were desperate to hang a Cadillac. Slot that baby(or a .75ish Camalot) deep and you effectively cut the big bad runout by halfish. Keeps the rope high and out of the crack, too. No prob. Sunshine smiling.

P3-Take that freaky, blocky, vertical dihedral at 11 O'clock to the very short but OSHIT traverse left (sink those fingers deep and you'll find handcrack perfection) and then 10+ meters up the 5.6 crack system to the obvious belay ledge before the obvious roof. It's all so obvious!

P4-Sail the 5.3 roof (OK, it's not THAT easy...but far, far less intimidating once you start jamming easy fists up in there...) and then take whatever slabby, nubby, 5.3-5.6 features to the top. Then make sure your will is in order and downclimb the backside. YIKES! Unless I was wicked offroute, it's far more desperate than that silly OW.

Epilogue: I'm not sure why anyone today (meaning we most of us all climb with longer cords) would break that baby up into 6 short, time-consuming pitches. As described, a leader can jam two, possibly three perfect cams BEFORE the runout, eliminating falls onto the anchor.

And? OK, Bring the BIG gear if you're squeamish. But? If'n you're a budding 5.7/5.8 leader, then a committing, runout, OW Lumpy multipitch is PROBABLY not where you belong. Just sayin'.

Anyone plugging and chugging 5.9s should be able to tackle the rampy 5.7 runout without chucking their lunch. ESPECIALLY if they find that yellow Alien placement. Honest, for all the hype, I thought the "walk-off" (base jump off?) the backside had more pucker factor than the mighty, mighty OW everyone kept squawking about.

That's just my take. Be safe, enjoy. Jul 22, 2009
Ross Purnell
[Hide Comment] So I have read all the above comments about the scary 30-foot runout offwidth on Kor's Flake. I really want to do this climb in Sept. but Im not crazy about running it out that far into unknown terrain so I picked up a #4 Big Bro and #6 Camalot (previous biggest gear was #4 Camalot) just for this climb. Did I get the right size of gear? In the East we don't do many off-widths. Aug 2, 2009
Rob R.
Chicago, IL
[Hide Comment] I just climbed this with a friend, and I followed the SQ pitch. Climbing on the face is nice as a follower, but my partner found himself in the crack pushing a #5. I think your #6, in conjunction with the notes on the vertical crack on the right (above), will make things more comfortable for you. Not sure how useful the Big Bro will be. Aug 4, 2009
Colin Kenneth
Fort Collins, co
[Hide Comment] First off...You don't need anything larger than a #3 Camalot. 2 of them is not a terrible idea. There are hardly any placements parallel enough that a #6 would stay in place anyway, the rock kind of undulates. We brought one #4, and I placed it at the first opportunity I could, but there were more solid #3 placements only a few feet higher. At that point, I was completely behind the flake, nowhere to fall, and already 60 feet off the belay. 3 feet is really inconsequential and a #4 isn't required anywhere else on the entire climb.

If you are climbing inside the chimney, the only place you will fall is further in. If you are shooting for that "easy face climbing," it is paid for with the greater risk. It is your call. In my opinion, even if you take the large gear to use while climbing up the face, it's going to be terrifying to try to lean in far enough to place it.

We used a 70m and connected the first and second, I started on the (guidebook) 3rd. I found a #3 stopper placement, but about 40 feet up, but it was just to goof off. I was wedged in there so well that I used both hands to get my camera out of my buttoned back pocket and take the photos in the gallery.

Don't get me wrong, it is not easy. And if you are in the chimney, you will be safer, but be you need to be responsible and willing to pay child support someday, because you and that rock are going to be INTIMATE. I am not telling anyone to run up there unprepared...just that if you don't HAVE anything larger than a few #3s or don't want to carry big pieces up that stupid approach, you don't need to, and you can still be perfectly safe.

The one thing keeping this from being "classic" in my opinion, is the short pitches after the namesake flake. The (guidebook) 4th is nice and exposed, a couple of tricky moves then a nice crack. The final pitch is 10 feet of climbing with a cool roof, but then typical Lumpy 5.0 slab to the top. Left me a little hot and bothered after all of the work up. (you know?)

We found 2 rap slings pretty much straight over from where we made the summit. WAAAAAAAAAAAAY better than scrambing down the back of the saddle. From the first sling down the gully to the 2nd could JUST be done with a 60m, but we had a 70m. The last rap is easily done with either. The rest of the descent was still just a really long walk off. Jun 7, 2010
. . . CO
[Hide Comment] Our thoughts:
Bring a #3, 4, 5, 6 Camalot, and a small regular rack.
The #4, 5, 6 can be placed to keep from too long a RO in the "squeeze" on P3 - and stay out of that darn thing, it's pretty easy and you'll find gear on the opposing wall.
P4 is the best by far. Run the rope up thru the upper (small) roof to a good belay stance, and enjoy a nice, lengthy pitch of sustained 5.7/6 on quality stone with fun exposure, good gear and crack jammin'.

The trail is looking pretty good and all the signage is up. It took us nearly 2 moderately-paced hours from the new parking lot (thanks for that extra up-n-down hour round-trip hike, RMNP!). Jun 26, 2010
Paul Szymanski
Park Ridge, Illinois
  5.7+ R
[Hide Comment] I did not like this route at all. The approach is long. The squeeze requires large pieces for protection cams 5 and 6 or Bigbros. It is not fun at all unless you like runouts. I have heard that some people use Nalgene bottles to protect the squeeze. There is a rope that can be used as a pro. Nobody knows how this rope is attached to the rock, but it is quite useful. I liked pitch 2 and 4. The rest of them are not worth the effort. The descent is easier if you rappel from the tree. It is a classic and must be done, but I was disappointed by this route. Sep 26, 2010
Chris Plesko
Westminster, CO
  5.7 PG13
[Hide Comment] Everyone has to give their opinion, so I will too. Stop now if you don't want beta.

We did this today in 4 pitches w/ a 60m rope and zero simul, the last pitch being gimme 5.easy. The 1st 3 pitches were awesome IMO. Long, good gear, fun climbing, great position and every pitch has multiple classic moves. I led the offwidth and had one #3, one #4 and one #6. I pushed the number six for a while and then got bored and left it behind in a solid placement. Higher up near the end of the OW the #4 goes in perfectly, then the #3. You could place a #5 somewhere in there if you wanted to. I've been climbing a lot of OW this summer (I do like them) and it would be an easy Vedauwoo 6. Lots of rests with chest, knee, leg, heal-toe whatever. A few chicken wings or arm bars, a little chimney technique, lots of cheater edges and a perfect fist jam pulling out of it at the top. I took pictures with both hands on lead. My partner doesn't like OW as much as me and quickly followed the pitch as a lieback. I just don't think the pitch is R rated. If you don't climb a lot of OW, take more big gear to sew it up and DON'T go in far enough to even think about using that old rope. Part of your body should be out of the crack. Right side in and rack the big cams and a few slings on a shoulder runner and you're golden.

Hardest part of the day was finding the descent for the first time at Sundance! Oct 3, 2010
[Hide Comment] For future guidebooks:

FA: Layton Kor and Chuck Alexander. Jun 1, 2011
Alex Washburne
  5.8 PG13
[Hide Comment] 5.7+ PG-13 with the rack described. Sure, the fall on p3 would be "only farther in the slot" (claustrophobes beware... or anybody who has rational fears of being trapped and injured in a granite crevasse) or "not on the anchor" (= factor < 2) if you slide down outside the OW, but either way a fall at the crux OW by a leader carrying only up to a #4 would almost definitely end in injury. If you have big-enough Big-bros and a #6, then you can make it G.

For p3, definitely save the #2 Metolius/0.4 BD for that flake on the right face (as mentioned above, it could hold a Cadillac... provided it doesn't pry off the flake in the event of a fall). I even doubled up a #1 and #2 Metolius in a magic-X for some highly desired peace of mind.

Again: treat this as a 5.7+ PG-13 unless you have gargantuan pro. Don't let strong climbers with a very different level of acceptable risk trick you into thinking this is an easy climb (less than 5.8!) with only a "mild" runout. To the champ who made this page (thanks! the topo was spot-on and greatly appreciated), I'd recommend the either changing the pro-rating or the recommended rack. Jun 27, 2011
[Hide Comment] Took up to a number 4 and wish I had my 5 and 6 on the flake pitch. I don't enjoy climbing slab and OW 30-40 ft up with no pro (kept going in and out of OW). Also, did the route in 3 pitches with a 70m, so no way it is 900 ft. We started late and got hailed on and hit by 70 mph winds on the last pitch, the frightening exposure for us was the lightning striking nearby. Luckily this last pitch ended in a gully where we got hit by a waterfall but were not as exposed to the hail/wind/lightening. Route was fun but don't start at 11am like we did unless you climb fast. Jul 1, 2011
[Hide Comment] So much hype about this route.... I'm going to try and get on it next week. I have singles to number 6 but access to another full set up to #6 in addition to a full set of Big bros if I want to borrow them. Is there anywhere to place a Big bro? I don't mind running it out 10-20' if I'm secure.

The only other offwidth I've done is the Ruper in Eldo, but I stayed outside of the crack. Opinions? Jul 18, 2011
justin dubois
Estes Park
[Hide Comment] Well, in my opinion, you need a set to #4 and some determination.
You'll be fine. Jul 18, 2011
[Hide Comment] Despite the rather large number of comments, I’ll add another. I did this climb for the second time yesterday. The first time I swapped leads with my partner. He agreed to lead the chimney (he seems to enjoy groveling). We had only up to Number 4 C4s. It is runout without big gear, and I probably would have felt a lot better in the chimney than climbing the face. However, I was wearing the pack and could not fit into it.
This time I led all the pitches and borrowed a number 5 and 6 C4. With the big gear, you can shuttle the cams up the chimney and off-width sections. I would wedge myself in securely, then move the cam (either the 5 or the 6 which ever fit better) from below my waist to head level, and then move up, and repeat. I didn’t leave the number 5 until I was past the old rope in the back of the flake (maybe 1/3 or 1/2 way up the flake). The number 6 was left shortly after that. I would recommend you take an honest assessment of your confidence with runout, moderate chimney and off-width climbing, and bring gear to suit your comfort level. I know how to climb chimneys (if you have good technique it feels very moderate, definitely not harder than 5.7), but I would not have liked running it out as my partner did last time. As long as your actions do not affect the experience of those who follow you, climb it any way you want to, pull on gear, aid sections, or sew it up, etc. It is better to bring a piece and not place it than to really want it and not have it. Consider hauling those big cams training weight for even bigger objectives. The goal should be to have fun and get back on X-axis safely. Don’t let peer pressure or the worry of not measuring up to other people’s standards lure you into a situation beyond your level of risk acceptance.
Oh, and this is one of the best 5.7s I have ever climbed. It offers a huge variety of climbing styles and techniques. Super fun and worth the approach. Jul 24, 2011
  5.7 R
[Hide Comment] Pitch 3 does not have adequate pro. Bring big cams to feel comfortable. If you bring big cams (#5), you can stay out of the off-width, not a chimney. Sep 13, 2011
[Hide Comment] It's been said before, but it bears repeating: bring a #5 and/or #6 for the chimney/off-width. Without those, it can be a bit heady.

If you don't have any big gear, you can actually stay in the OW for nearly the whole thing until you can the decent #3 at the end of it. I speak from recent experience. :) Oct 3, 2011
Garrett B
  5.8 R
[Hide Comment] Bring a #6 or #5, and a #4,

You'll be happy you did. I wish I had a big cam, I had 1-#4, and it didn't feel like enough. The route's not cool enough to justify a 40+ foot runout. Risk reward, people! Aug 13, 2012
[Hide Comment] Spectacular climb. Link P1 and P2 all the way up the left-leaning ramp to the start of the business on P3. There's currently a lot of slung webbing at a good belay stance. For P3, someone said to rack all of your gear on your left side. DO THIS. The flake is really very secure, and there's nothing heady about it since its so tight. Used two #4 Camalots and never placed the #5, thinking I would use it when things got really spicy...but then it was over. The hand traverse on P4 protects with either a #4 or #5.

I would not bring a #5 if I did it again. You'll hate your life if you bring a #6! Sep 22, 2012
Fehim Hasecic
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] If it's your first time on the OW take bigger pro, C4 #5 works good, #6 would be even better, and stay in the OW. Jun 2, 2013
Albuquerque, NM
  5.8- R
[Hide Comment] Despite rumor of mid-way pro, the upper half of the flake is hugely run out with rack up to #4 C4. If leading this: 1) be solid at 5.9, and 2) don't climb it in the heat/sun -- it's a friction/stemming slab climb with very few proper holds. Going IN the OW seemed like a bad idea to me -- I climbed on the outside of the flake. The 60m of climbing following the flake was 5.7 PHENOMENAL. Enjoy. Jul 29, 2013
Joe Pyle
Estes Park, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Amazing, stellar climb on Lumpy. Do Mr. Kor a favor and stay in the crack. It goes well. It was a pleasure climbing this route on the one-year-anniversary of his death. Proud line.

A 60m rope will get you three long pitches, and it's not bad at all. Enjoy. Apr 21, 2014
Ryan Henderson
Denver, CO
  5.7+ PG13
[Hide Comment] Great route. Horrible descent. Oh wow. The descent was half the adventure!

But yeah, the 4th pitch was amazing (especially in 20mph gusts!). And the 3rd pitch was great OW practice (yes, I got stuck in there). On the OW section, I'd say a PG13 with just a #5, my partner ran it out 30ft with a #5. With no #5, holy crap, I have no idea. I bet with a #5 and #6 it'd be pretty safe! So it's up to you what to bring.

Great route though! I'd say more heady then Bastille (as a comparison). More exposure, more run-out, more committing.... May 5, 2014
[Hide Comment] Climbed this on Sunday 6/22. Midway up the namesake pitch, a red #1 C4 jumped off my rack and landed somewhere near the top of pitch 1. If you find it, I would trade a 6-pack for the pleasure of having it back (for nostalgia's sake... I wouldn't trust climbing on it after a fall like that). Jun 24, 2014
[Hide Comment] My 14 year old son and I climbed the route last week. Without a doubt, one of the best moderate, multi-pitch rock climbs I have ever done. The flake is very easily protected and the two final leads are outstanding. There is certainly a bit of 5.8 mixed in just to keep us all humbled that Kor was the real deal, but every pitch is well protected and classic. Jul 28, 2014
Tom Fralich
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Very happy that I took a #6 on this one. We found a well-equipped series of rappels on the descent. From the top out, we walked about 20 m around to the right and spotted a large tree with multiple slings and rap rings. A 25 m rappel with an easy pendulum to climber's left led to another well-equipped tree anchor. A second 29m rappel to a good ledge, followed by 10m of easy walking, to a final 25m rappel put us on easy terrain and an obvious trail back to the base. Aug 18, 2014
Andrew Locke
Louisville, CO
  5.8- PG13
[Hide Comment] I just got home after doing this classic climb today, and while I agree that the climb itself is spectacular, I found the hike in/out and the descent to really detract from the day overall. I'm certainly not in the best shape, but the trail that branches off the main trail leading to Sundance is worthy of its own segment in a hiking guide. That thing is hard.

The descent is easy with the rap stations, but I still had jelly legs from the hike in and found the trail leading down really unpleasant, with a lot of loose dirt making it slippery and insecure.

I'm not a seasoned hiker, but everyone else has commented on the difficulty and awesomeness of the route, all of which I agree with, but don't write off the approach and descent. Aug 30, 2014
Steve Jones
Fayetteville WV,
[Hide Comment] Big gear or no fear...are pretty much the choices. We climbed the off-width flake without ever getting in it. Used a #5, #6 and a blue Big Bro. There is a marginal, shallow red tri-cam placement and an even shallower #3 RP where the widest section begins, so you could skip the Big Bro if that shallow gear is solid enough for you. Moderately polished but still a good climb. Challenging for the grade. My partner suggests not getting a PMS girl on this route who doesn't love squeeze chimneys and off-widths. She may be right, but then the world (and I'm pretty sure the world heard it) would have missed all that fine growling and cussing. Sep 14, 2014
bonnie bonbits
colorado front range
  5.7 PG13
[Hide Comment] ^ Still chuckling over the growling and cussing bits above. :) I climbed this back in June 2014. For the record, you can easily link the first two pitches with a 60m. Oh, it's a rope stretcher for sure, but it can easily be done and with little rope drag. and as for the flake bit, I honestly say leave the #6 at home. I'm not quite sure where some have found it to fit without being tipped out??? Honestly, for it's boat anchor size, no bomber placement, and the gruelingly lengthy approach, you'll be happy you left it and borrowed and brought that blue Big Bro instead (and this coming from a girl who leads most everything hauling a double rack to #4!). Once you get into the flake, you can place a bomber #5. After that, only a tipped out #6 or beautifully placed blue Big Bro will fit until you make it to the top of the flake, where a #4 (or perhaps a #3) will protect you as you pull up onto the slab ledge belay for the fourth pitch (or, in our case, the 3rd). If you don't have that Big Bro, or if you're not cool with a tipped out #6, the flake will likely feel and truthfully be, a bit run out. Luckily I'm 5'2" and tiny, so the flake engulfed the whole right side of my body (I faced out, with my back to the wall). I figured if I fell, the only way I'd actually go anywhere was if I were to cartwheel out left (climber's right), and I wasn't about to bust out any acrobatics. Actually, I was more concerned with the irrational fear of falling straight down into the flake and getting wedged like a fat Santa in a squeeze chimney, and yes, I saw daylight while in there, and I don't believe it was my life flashing before my eyes. This route was even more fun than I imagined it would be! Then again I dig OWs, 4s, battle axes, and boat anchors. Mar 19, 2015
Boulder, Co
[Hide Comment] I leap frogged a #5 and #6 for most of the chimney. I follow the "keep 2 pieces between you and the hospital" mentality. Unless you feel comfortable soloing chimneys, take at least one each of these. Mar 22, 2015
Eric Thomas
  5.8 PG13
[Hide Comment] I found leapfrogging a #5 and #6 was not working well. The #6 had good contact all the way, but the #5 would be good for one spot and then bumping up put it into a marginal placement.

If I did the wide crack pitch again, I'd protect the lower wide crack with two #6s and the top wide crack with two #4s. Sep 27, 2015
Denver, CO
  5.8 PG13
[Hide Comment] On the above suggestions, we took a rack of assorted nuts, C3s, double C4s to 3, a 4, a 5, as well as a yellow Totem.

It was too much gear, singles in cams would have probably been sufficient, though the 3, 4, and 5 were all handy sizes to have. As I got into the flake, I placed the 5 where it fit low and then realized there was another decent place for it about 10 more feet up.

I climbed the flake with my back to the rock, as Bonnie above did. I don't have a ton of OW experience, so it got a little desperate about 1/2-2/3 of the way up the flake, and I tried jamming a size 0 C3 into a pin scar on the back side of the flake that I was facing. Only two lobes fit. What I didn't realize is that I was right at the crack everyone else mentioned. Had I turned my head around, I could have placed a bomber piece (yellow Alien, or something similar).

Needless to say, the #4 at the end of the flake was a Godsend.

The roof move before the final pitch looks more intimidating than it climbs. The holds are there, and the sequence is fun. Sep 26, 2016
[Hide Comment] Great climb! Trying not to post redundant gear beta because there are so many posts already, but the P3 description "Adequate pro can be had in incipient cracks" seems wrong and potentially dangerous. I was looking hard and didn't see any incipient cracks. If you don't bring larger than a #4 Camalot, you will be free soloing the crux 50ft above the belay. (I think Grand Giraffe with one #4 Camalot and small gear is totally fine, but I was pretty scared leading Kor's flake without larger.) Aug 7, 2017
Mitchell Svendsen
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Although it was a very challenging follow, I really enjoyed this climb. I understand why disagreement over grading persists - it will require a variety of skills for a wide range of climbing styles. From the beginning chimney, you will have to navigate a roof or two, handcracks, fingercracks, an offwidth, and exposed, slabby face climbing, but it is definitely worth it if you are comfortable with these techniques. It seems like the offwidth trips up a few, but the holds are definitely there and the movement is a lot of fun. A #4 or #5 will probably come in handy unless you are very comfortable running out the offwidth for a while.

The descent, however, was a bit tricky. From the top, head right. I'd read to head through the saddle, but I found 2 saddle-like features. The higher one may have been navigable with 2 60m ropes, from comments I read. We had only a 70m rope.

We went through the lower of the 2 saddles and descended in 2 rappels. You may want some extra webbing and definitely a quicklink to leave: cord and webbing around the trees are aging and can use reinforcement. The gully was an unpleasant hike. I highly recommend this classic for anyone wanting to test a range of climbing styles as they transition to high-altitude, multi-pitching. Aug 29, 2019
[Hide Comment] P3 is X-rated without a #6. With creative use of micro-stoppers, you can use a single 6 to protect yourself all the way to where 3s and 4s will work. Next time I'll actually leave the #5. Sep 15, 2019
[Hide Comment] Has anyone tried using a BD C4 #7 on this route? Would it add considerable protection (was reading about 6s being tipped out at points). Aug 30, 2020