Type: Sport, 95 ft
FA: F.A.: Ken Trout in Feb. 1994. F.F.A.: Henry Lester in April 1994. Finished added (F.A. of entire route) by Mark Rolofson in July 1994
Page Views: 8,422 total · 38/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Mar 29, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closure / Update Details


Boy, oh boy, what a chance to spray about a great line! I am surprised that this route was not described here previously. First, the Upper Security Risk Crag is a great crag, and second, Ken Trout has put up some of the finest climbs anywhere. With Mark and Henry completing the picture, Plan B was guaranteed to be a classic, and it is all of that.

On a cliff with nothing but great lines, this a really great line. Plan B starts just to the right of a grungy, little off-width on a short pillar. It takes the face straight up crossing a pegmatite dike and climbs largely on good edges and side pulls. The route reminded me of Ten Digit Dialing in Clear Creek, only longer and with no move harder than 5.12b. The cruxes start coming right away, first at bolts 2 and 3 and shortly later at bolts 4 and 5. The whole route is relentless with nearly every non-crux move at 5.11. Good, not too tricky climbing after the second crux at 40 feet takes you to a small overlap just before the first anchor. Pulling a 5.11 overlap and a couple more clips to the upper anchor just prolongs the fun. Plan B gets three stars for the super rock, the complex climbing, the continuity, and the superb job putting it all together.


QDs only. 13-14 draws will get you to the top. Actually, this route has two anchors, one at 75 feet and one at 90-95 feet. Double ropes for the higher anchor or a single for the first.


4 stars on a 3 star scale. Oct 2, 2002
The climbing is fun and the hand holds are good, but the feet are rather slippery. I dont reccomend trying this route in warm weather even if its in the shade, but it is a great route. It is worth the hike! Jun 9, 2003
Joe Collins
Joe Collins  
Best mid-5.12 and under sport climb in the Canyon? Two 5.12 cruxes with a good shaking hold between them. Lots of other mid to hard-5.11 cruxes. Sep 19, 2003
Chris Archer
Chris Archer  
Sport climbing in Boulder Canyon doesn't get much better than this route and Hot Flyer. Oct 28, 2003
Ken Cangi
Eldorado Springs, CO
Ken Cangi   Eldorado Springs, CO
Don't miss this one. Jul 26, 2005
Kevin Neilson
Kevin Neilson   Boulder
This is a superlative route. I have made it my goal to redpoint this route; if I do, I shall be able to retire from climbing and life. The route is very aesthetic, on a nice granite face with the starkly-delineated pink dike running throughout, yielding many crystalline holds.
The extension brings the pitch closer to a full 30m, but contains much easier climbing and is still fairly dirty. It can be skipped.
The route begins to receive sun shortly before noon.
After working through the 5th-bolt sequency crux many times, I can provide some beta: clip 5. Do not go right to the dike; on this path lies only despair. Put left hand on L-facing arete; bring R foot down to ramp directly underneath you. Lieback to R; get L foot high and left to very small edge. Crank up on arete and L foot to get 2-finger undercling flake with L hand. Move R foot higher up ramp. Get R hand high to diagonal crimper. R foot higher. Match L hand to crimper. In a balancy move, reach R to sloper under 6th bolt. Switch feet, clip 6 with L. Sep 7, 2008
Mark Wiranowski
Mark Wiranowski  
Fantastic climb - best I've been on in Boulder Canyon. Great cold weather climb - gets the sun around 11 am until sunset. Nice suntrap in the corner. 1st clip is reachy if short - consider a stick clip. Can skip the 3rd bolt. Nov 1, 2009
eric larson
aurora, co
eric larson   aurora, co
This feels like the Front Range 12b benchmark... absolutely stunning route... stoked to check out the two other highly rated 12s @ this wall. Nov 8, 2010
Ken Trout
Golden, CO
Ken Trout   Golden, CO
A climbing friend was questioning me about the name of Plan B: "So Ken, is it Plan B because you couldn't do it and went elsewhere?"

No! After a long winter of bolting and brushing the dirt off both Plan B and A Little Insecure alone, I finally came back with a belayer, Marsha, June of 1994, and red-pointed both.

It was Mark and Henry's Plan B. Their Plan A was to hike into Slave to the Rhythm (13b). At the trail head, rangers changed Mark and Henry's plan by closing the Fourth Flatiron for the first time. Because there were not many sport routes to choose from then, Mark took Henry Lester up there instead to check out my newly bolted project. Henry's very good and sent it right away. Mark too, just a little later. Me too, but several months later.

Henry was never out to claim sole credit for this route. Not known as a mad bolter, he gave the route credibility. I set both routes as stick clips, with high first bolts, hoping to keep the choppers at bay. Mark and I were facing harassment at the crags. Additionally, we had both already had several routes chopped (Price for Fire, Balkan Dirt Diving, Scratch 'N Sniff, Deck Chairs, Silver Bullet...). Many of my old friends dumped me after Balkan Dirt Diving, so I needed all the help I could get.

Twenty-three years later, neither Mark nor I get any credit at all for Plan B in the Achey, D'Antonio, Brink, and Beal 2017 guide book. Sixteen years before that publication, Richard Wright was able to squeeze a complicated story correctly into a tiny Mountain Project FA text box.

I would like to thank both Richard Wright and MP for getting it right!!!

PS, Mark, I took out the word sneaking - Sorry! (Updated 8/27/2018) Aug 25, 2013
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
This route is essentially 3-4 awesome boulder problems linked with OK rests between. Super fantastic and well-protected route. Bakes in the sun and is actually kind of slippery if not below 50 degrees. Nov 12, 2013
Wow, what a fantastic line that just doesn't let up until bolt 6 and even then isn't a gimme! I definitely agree that this is a temperature dependent route. I gave it a near onsight at 50 degrees in the shade, and 30 minutes later at 60 degrees and in the sun it felt much more difficult. I'll have to go back to get this one. Oct 12, 2014
Mark Rolofson
Boulder, CO
Mark Rolofson   Boulder, CO
Plan B has been one of my favorite climbs since it was established in 1994. It is always a super pump with fun moves. Here are the first ascent facts: F.A.: Ken Trout in Feb. 1994. F.F.A.: Henry Lester in April 1994. Finished added (F.A. of entire route) by Mark Rolofson in July 1994. Most people still stop at the first anchor. I find the finish, even though not as hard, rounds out the pump. It climbs the entire 95 ft. face rather than ending it on a slabby section. Ken was using 50 meter ropes so it made sense to put the anchor here.

Now I would like to make one very important correction to Ken Trout's comment. Yes, the name comes from being our Plan B of the day. However, Henry & I were not planning on SNEAKING into the Flatirons to climb Slave To The Rhythm on the East Ironing Board. In fact, until that very day, the East Ironing Board was never closed. I used to climb here in Spring 1991-92 until I redpointed Slave To The Rhythm in June 1992. Henry had not yet redpointed the route but was close in Spring 1994.

At the time, the Third Flatiron's Southwest face was closed for a prairie falcon. When it was discovered that a peregrine falcon was nesting there, an emergency closure was put in place. We & other climbers were turned around by a ranger at Bluebell shelter. The peregrine was on the endangered species list at the time, so the seasonal closure was expanded to include the Third Flatiron & everything for a 2 mile radius. It still is this size even though the peregrine falcon was delisted in 1999.

My point here is that even though I am a strong critic of both seasonal closures of the Security Risk & the East Ironing Board, I have never violated or attempted to violate any raptor closure. In fact, such actions reflect negatively on the entire climbing. Feb 27, 2015
Jeff Welch
Denver, CO
Jeff Welch   Denver, CO
"Relentless" is right on. I don't think there's a single move easier than about 5.11d for the first 60ft or so. Fantastic climbing.

I won't put a grade vote in until I redpoint it, but I'll say this: it's for sure every bit of 5.12b, and felt harder than many 12b's I've tried in Rifle, RRG, etc. In fact, having just been on Ten Digit Dialing a couple weeks ago, I'd say the hardest move on Ten Digit is harder, but this is more sustained. Aug 8, 2015
Brett S.
Brett S.   Colorado
Maybe my favorite mid .12 sport climb in the Front Range. For real, this climb is just about as good as a single pitch route can get. Very solid at the grade. Dec 1, 2015
Aaron Furman
Eldorado Springs, CO
Aaron Furman   Eldorado Springs, CO
What a route!!!! Jan 6, 2016
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
The climbing to the 2nd anchor is great... and there has Mussy hooks to lower from. It is obviously not climbed much judging by the lichen, but get on it. May 22, 2017