Type: Trad, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: FA: Layton Kor and Jack Turner, 5.8 A3, 1962, FFA: Royal Robbins
Page Views: 18,355 total · 85/month
Shared By: Charles Vernon on May 11, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Sundance Buttress is seasonally closed for raptor nesting but is NOW OPEN. Click for details. Details


Although this route is rated (accurately, I think) 5.10a, it should not be thought of as an easy 5.10. The climbing is steep, physical, sustained, with wide cracks on both 5.10 pitches. The second 5.10 pitch has a very long strenuous, flared 5.9 chimney after the offwidth. The route was originally called the Kor-Turner; Royal Robbins renamed it after the first free ascent.

Another word of caution: the rock quality on this route is some of the worst at Lumpy Ridge (although the protection is for the most part excellent). So why does this route deserve three stars? All you have to do is look up at it from the base: it is perhaps the longest, steepest, most intimidating looking and most obvious line anywhere on the Ridge. The 5.10 pitches are pretty burly and the 5.9 pitches below are delightfully funky.

Hike out to Sundance. The Turnkorner Buttress is visible for most of the approach. As you hike up the approach path, the massive upper overhangs are visible. Turnkorner takes the continuous wide system on the left, where the overhang becomes three-tiered; another wide crack, Icarus, is visible to the right of it (5.11+). The route starts about 100 feet to the right of where the path reaches the cliff and is very easily identified by a right-facing corner between two prominent, ~50 foot high flakes that lean up against the cliff (the right flake being much larger, offering a cavernous shelter for many climbers in case of rain). From the start of the route, the OW through the upper overhangs is visible up to the left.

P1. Climb the corner and head slightly left at its top to a belay ledge.

P2. Take the left crack, and follow it and other cracks up and slightly left (5.9) to a narrow ledge composed of blocks, with an old bolt.

P3. Take the left of two left-facing corners (5.9) (again trending out left from the belay), and when it ends. traverse up and left to a scary semi-hanging belay beneath a roof (an old bolt and loads of birdshit). This can be combined with the next pitch.

P4. Take the obvious fist/OW crack over the roof, and head up to another hanging belay beneath the next roof, 5.10a.

P5. Grunt up past three offwidth roofs (first two are the hardest) at 5.10a, fortunately with rests in between, and continue up a flared 5.9 chimney (with a good crack in the back of the flare) to its end. Belay.

P6. Head straight up the easy slab, or take a 5.6 groove on the right up to a giant ledge.

P7. Walk left to another 5.6 groove near the left edge of the buttress, and climb it for a ropelength. From its top, climb easy rock to the summit of Turnkorner Buttress.

Carefully downclimb west to the descent gully. A direct finish takes a 5.8 fist crack off the giant ledge (directly above the P6 groove) and hand traverses up and left (5.9) after about 50 feet along a thinner crack.

Special considerations: there are several sections on the route where the handholds seem about to break off--climb carefully. That said, the protection is generally quite good. Pitches 3 and 4 are often combined; we combined 2 and 3 with a 60 meter rope and that seemed reasonable as well. The crux on pitch 5 may be racking and placing your gear!

One final note: for the second roof on P5, there is a definite "trick", otherwise it may seem quite a bit harder (Royal Robbins reputedly fell several times here on the FFA). I won't give it away, but I'll throw out a hint-think of the name of the climb....


Rack to a #4 Camalot with doubles from number one up and optional larger cams depending on comfort level on wide cracks and/or desire for overhead protection through a couple of the cruxes.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I don't remember as much offwidthing as Charles indicates. The section on the 4th pitch is pretty short, and there is a bolt there. On the 5th pitch (I remember only 2 roofs?), it is possible to face climb around the OW crux(?) on the right. This is not indicated on Rossiter's topo. Basically, right at the roof, reach right for some small face holds. Pull right, then climb more of less straight up the face for 15 to 20 ft to rejoin the crack. This avoids much OWing, HOWEVER it is also 5.10 and completely unprotected, until the end when you can reach back left into the crack and place a big cam. Then, all that is left is the long 5.9 big hands/fist crack! Jan 1, 2001
Just bring some cams and go for it. I would say that if you want to climb this route and your hopeing you can skirt around some of the off width sections, you'd probably be better off skipping it all together. The only reason to climb the route is because the cracks are long, wide, and intimidating and you happen to think your man enough to do it (most people aren't.) May 25, 2001
Well maybe I'll be speaking differently early next week (planning to climb this route on Sunday).

Keep seeing a lot about climbing around the offwidth with 10a face. I notice the Rossiter guide mentions 10a on right wall .i.e. face). Gillett's guide (and beta from a friend) says the offwidth isn't that bad. Certainly can't image it could be close to as hard as Big Baby (which I have looked at, but not tried). May 31, 2001
Ok just one more quick one (hmm it would be nice to be able to go back and edit/combine comments). Like I said, I'm hoping to go through OW style (mostly because I prefer being smashed into some horrible offwidth to balancing up a scary face). Hoping to have some pictures to post, I have been wanting to climb this route ever since I saw it. Hopefully something other than a pic of me falling off of the scary face after bailing out of the offwidth method, hehe. May 31, 2001
Wasn't trying to downplay an ascent skirting the 1 OW section. The essence of the route is a long "hard man" crack route. People not familiar with the area should know that just because you can avoid one section doesn't take away from the fact that there is tons of hard wide crack climbing above. I'm an avid crack climber and may have started up somewhat blinded by enthusiasm but I didn't know the half of what I was getting into when I started up Turnkorner. It was an awesome route and I worked for every inch of it. I remember feeling almost inverted on one of the OW roof sections trying to pull thru. I think it's kinda cool to have routes that we're proud we've done. The fact is most people will not do Turnkorner, nor want to, I think the peole who do it by any version are cool. Peace May 31, 2001
We did it! Very happy to say that we got through the offwidth. Was postponed one week but we got there yesterday. Looking up from the base, I was happy to see it looking as imposing as always.

Joseffa led the first pitches (did as 2, up to under the first fist roof/dihedral, w/the bird crap on slab). Definitely agree the rock quality on those was pretty scary!

I led next 2, and found the 3rd pitch (first OW) much different than expected, with more layback and use of face holds. Fell once on it backcleaning a piece from a rest. Hold that I was using for left food just broke. Unexpected but small fall. Found the OW on the 3rd pitch not bad and quite enjoyable, with just a couple of chimney-type moves there.

This brought us to the big roof. Off the belay through the first small step was great! Loved the cool move there. We brought a #4.5 and 5 Camalot. The 4.5 is definite luxury, but I'm certainly not complaining about having it.

Got up into the main roof, faced wrong way (I usually put my back to the "good" wall) but then realized there were holds I would need in a few feet, so climbed back down and turned. Got into it, even managed a weird/bad fist way deep in (good for holding position too deep to move up on). Through feet sidewise under me and went for the wallow/grunt. Got to the part where I could squeeze/mantle through (edge of roof) and realized I was stuck! Gear on me would not let me move up and felt like I was being pulled down. Tried to throw hips out farther, but it didn't work and I fell out (more of a slide really, good thing we brought the #5 Camalot).

Hanging just out from the bottom of the crux, got back down to rest and tried it again. Better gear positioning and a lot of grunt / squeezing got me through it. The #4 cam I managed to throw in and shove up quickly after finishing the crux helped with the extra confidence (falling off the roof edge and down into the thing didn't seem like a good idea). Rested a while after finishing the crux. Found the 5.9 flare/crack above tiring, especially after pulling that roof. Jo had the same problem (stuck) first time but cruised right on through after that.

It was a beautiful day and I am very glad that we finally got to do this amazing climb.

Pictures coming soon (here) and hopefully a trip report w/pictures on my web site. Will post as soon as I can. Jun 11, 2001
If one is creative there are ample opportunities to find supplementary cracks for gear - I used a #1 TCU, and a #2&3 Camalot as my primary pieces on the initial part of the 4th pitch! I lead the entire route when I was sixteen, and I was totally fine with a set of cams (up to a #4 Camalot) and a set of stoppers. Sep 24, 2001
Someone recommended this to me back around 1990 and told me it was all nice moderate finger cracks (thanks Michelle!) I stupidly brought a regular rack up to some kind of hand size only (maybe a couple #3 Friends, and one #4 Friend). Seemed to protect sorta OK anyway. I found (by accident) the devious face climbing to avoid the hardest OW. I can still remember the moves, on huge flexing crusty biscuits. Wild. A great climb, about the best 5.10 Lumpy climb I've done, sustained, exhausting, very memorable. Perhaps, it was better to have expected something easier. . . Feb 17, 2002
Dan St. John
Castle Rock
Dan St. John   Castle Rock
I thought the rating was close to acurate, possibly 5.10c. The crux of the route is the gear management. On the first roof (5.10b), place the gear primarly on the right side. One the second 5.10 pitch, you will need to evenly distribute the gear on both sides, since it is advantageous to switch back and forth from left side to right side in. And, if possible, run the pitch on out to the top when the big ledge (5.5 scramble) is, since the semihanging bely is uncomfortable. I recommend this route to any one in the 5.10 lead range, even 5.9+ since the gear is so bommer. The first three pitch have some weirdness to them but are in the 5.9-5.9+ range. Every pitch was excellent. Good Luck! Jul 22, 2002
Did this route this weekend... pretty fun but not sure its 3 stars fun.

Some beta: the route is not sandbagged, but, let me put it this way... you would be very unhappy without a #5 Camalot on this one. Pitch 2 (P3 if you don't link 2 & 3) has lots of loose faceholds that you absolutely have to use... the "turncorner" move on pitch 4 has some pretty sketchy ones as well. The start of the 5.9 chimney/flare is a good warm-up for the Wilson Overhang on the Steck-Salathe (or is it vice-versa)... I had to take my helmet off from a very awkward position to squeeze past this part. The rap route to climber's-right of The Nose can be reached from the ledge after the chimney/flare.

Also, the flare ate my buddy Jon's #1 Camalot... he spent over an hour trying, unsuccessfully, to clean it. Sorry Jon. So, first one there... Aug 12, 2002
Stefan Griebel
Boulder, Colorado
Stefan Griebel   Boulder, Colorado
This is a fantastic route. The offwidth isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I'm far from being a proficient offwidth climber and I didn't fall or hang once on this pitch. Compared to the 5.10a offwidth pitch on The Rostrum (which I flailed on), this is a walk in the park. The rock is very grippy and textured and many hand/fist jams can be found way back in there. I led this pitch exclusively with Camalots - 1 #4, 1 #3.5, 2 #3s, 2 #2s, 2 #1s + some smaller stuff. I didn't run it out at all with this amount of gear - this thing takes a surprising variety of sizes! In fact, I walked the #4 up maybe 5 feet at the bottom expecting to be short on wide stuff, but towards the top I placed the #3.5 just to get rid of it. When I do this climb again, I would break it up as follows:

P1 - Climb the first two short 5.9 pitches as one pitch. P2 - Combine the next short 5.9 pitch with the short 5.9 offwidth. P3 - Do the 5.10a offwidth as a single lead. It feels like a long pitch. P4 - Simul-climb the 5.4-5.6 stuff to the top. It is probably 250'. Jun 23, 2003
Reclimbed this route today, doing the Under the Big Top variation. Part of the main flake in the crux bypass had recently broken off. After cleaning up the debris, a pretty good edge was revealed. This edge makes this passage mentally, if not technically, easier. Jul 2, 2003
Josh Janes    
This is one fine, fine route.

We did this very conveniently in three, 70m pitches: P1: climb the two 5.9 pitches to nests of slings on the blocky ledge. P2: climb up to the start of the roofs, climb all of the roofs, belay at the end of the 5.9 flaring section. P3: easy climbing to the summit w/ 20' of simulclimbing. There was no rope drag and I'd definitely do it this way again.

You can leave behind small cams on this climb, but I'd bring a full set of stoppers. Our gear was perfect: stoppers, single Camalots from 0.5 to 4.5 (including a 3.5 and a 4), double 1s, 2s, and 3s.

Dang this climb is good. Sep 21, 2003
John Stoddard
John Stoddard  
Went up and did this route last weekend - memorable indeed!

I'm a few months short of 50, and I've looked at this route for probably 25 years. Back in the day, I was always too intimidated - the idea of going up there with nothing but a set of tube chocks *still* seems awfully scary. But with modern gear (i.e. big cams), the whole thing was really quite reasonable.

The most surprising thing to me was the minimal amount of actual off-widthing needed. Yes, there is a lot of off-width-sized crack to climb; but I don't think I actually arm barred more than one or two moves on the whole thing. Lots of chimneying, lots of heel-toe, lots of face holds on the side walls, lots of hand jams deep in the crack... but very little actual offwidth climbing.

The initial pitches up to the bird-shit belay seemed like the crux to me, with funky pro and somewhat suspect rock (although not as bad as some of the descriptions made it out to be). I ran the two crux pitches together (4 and 5), and was surprised how easily it went.

While a couple of big cams are needed, what really helps is a lot of medium-sized stuff - I could have used several #1 Camalots. There's a lot of inobvious protection available - even at the crux where you "turn the corner," you could actually get a stopper and/or small cams in and only lose maybe five feet off what you get with the huge cam.

My only added advice is, save some of your bigger stuff for the belays. The bird-shit belay takes a #0.5, #2 and #3 Camalot. The belay at the top of the hard climbing (top of pitch 5) needs some medium sized cams; I'd used up pretty much *everything* at that point and was stretching the rope, so I had to belay off some funky small pieces and wedge my butt way down in the slot for security.

Oh yeah, and - rack everything on a gear sling so you can switch shoulders (twice!) during the crux sections.

A really beautiful, high quality route, and not anything like the wide-crack horror its reputation suggests. I wish I'd done it years ago! Jun 20, 2005
The bolt at the top of the third pitch next to the bird poo could stand to be replaced. So could the others; however, I don't really see them as necessary, and a fatty at the bird shit area would be nice. Aug 29, 2005
This is the best route at Lumpy, and one of my favorite of all time. Don't miss this one. Jul 25, 2006
Danny Inman
Danny Inman   Arvada
With a 60m, we climbed it as follows: combined P1 & P2-full 60m pitch; did P3 to bird crap belay just below first 10a bulge 30m pitch; combined P4 and P5 full 60m pitch, then one last 5.5 pitch to rap slings. Two double rope raps puts you on the decent trail. Very exciting route-I will echo the sentiment that P1 through P3 is spooky. As for the OW sections, there are some good rests, I found the crux of the route to be enduring the flared 5.9 chimney after having pulled the strenuous 10a bulges-I thought it would never end. We followed Josh Janes's rack recommendation, and it was perfect-no more and no less. Very good route. Oct 9, 2006
Eric Goltz
Boulder, CO
Eric Goltz   Boulder, CO
A strikingly direct line up Sundance, the short length of the climb belies its strenuous nature. I should think that a #5 is obligatory for the 2nd OW pitch (which I felt to be harder than the tech 'crux' after the bird poo belay). Sep 3, 2007
Estes Park, CO
ABaxter   Estes Park, CO
Agreeing with Tishmack, this is the best route at Lumpy. It is well-protected through all the hard climbing. Don't pass this one or any other route on Sundance up. Nov 25, 2008
Boulder, CO
claytown   Boulder, CO
WOW, this thing was absolutely amazing! And not nearly as difficult as intimidating... well let me qualify that, if you're a 5.10 leader maybe it will feel difficult and intimidating, but if you're solid at the grade it's not that bad. And to be honest I never felt like I was climbing offwidth. Maybe an armbar or two but more chimney technique and cupped hands than actual fists, etc. I didn't even stack once, and the "turnkorner" roof was pretty casual too with the sport holds and all. I'm also surprised that people commented that this was chossy. Maybe it was worse and everyone cleaned it up over the years, but I thought the rock was no worse than any typical multi-pitch / alpine route and the gear was bomber throughout. So, there go any excuses you might have had, get on this route!

We linked P1&2, belaying at the slung pillars/blocks. Linked 3&4 (through the first roof) and belayed at the pin under the main roof. Pulled the turnkorner and kept going up the flaring offwidth until out of gear. Easy from there to the top.

Josh's gear beta would work just fine. You could really sew it up with two #4 Camalots and a #5. I also placed a green Alien in a couple of spots. Jun 20, 2010
Boulder, Colorado
Dr. VARMENT   Boulder, Colorado
Not that bad of a route, in fact F'N glorious!!! If you're climbing 5.10, do it. Battle through the OW or get spooked on the face. Have fun. Sep 18, 2010
Awesome route! Definitely would recommend a #5 though for the second roof, maybe I was just ignoring other placements because I brought one, but I probably would've fallen onto my belayer had I not brought it. This thing is burly, and you definitely don't need a lot of offwidthing skill (I for sure don't lead 5.10 OW), but it's a wild ride and keeps you working for every inch. It's an amazing route, you just gotta go for it! Jul 30, 2012
1rsties4life   CO
This route is amazing. Each pitch is better than the last, and with 6-8 long runners, the whole thing can be climbed in 2 enduro pitches. Next time I climb it, I will leave the #5 in the car as there is a small cam on the left wall just before the crux slot. Jun 16, 2013
Greg Cameron
Greg Cameron  
After doing this again for maybe the 5th time on Sunday (over a span of 30 years) with Rick Accommazzo, I'm going to go with the other commenters who suggest that this is the best climb at Lumpy. C'mon, it's a beautiful, long (for Lumpy), and intimidating line that goes at 5.10a. The historical fact that Kor did the first ascent in 1962 and Robbins the FFA in 1964 is a bonus. Jul 2, 2014
Garrett Miller
fort collins
Garrett Miller   fort collins
This anecdote is waning from the main topic, but I think it is a coincidence worth sharing. After climbing Turnkorner for the 4th or 5th time several weeks ago, I came home and saw that the August 2014 edition of "The Sun" magazine (has nothing to do with climbing or the outdoors generally) had arrived in the mail. I flipped it open, and there was a 10 page interview with Jack Turner. Most of us that head out to climb on the Sundance are very familiar with Layton Kor, but I knew little to nothing about the first ascensionist Jack Turner. It's worth checking out if you like naturalist type stuff or just like to know where the roots of modern climbing originated, and the types of people that were climbers before climbing was an X games type extreme sport.
Definitely my favorite longer route at Lumpy. Although there is no real offwidthing required on this route, it definitely has a thuggish Vedauwoo-type feeling on the upper two pitches. Unless you are solid 5.11 climber, you will probably want the #5 just to be sure. Best done in three pitches in my opinion, linking 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and do pitch 5 and belay before exiting the dihedral to the right so you can stay in communication with your partner. Aug 8, 2014
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
Wow. What a great route! This thing definitely felt in the solid 5.10 range for me personally, and I guess I consider myself a decent OW climber but don't let the intimidating nature of the route deter you from climbing this. It protects well with a fairly normal rack of cams. I thought each pitch was relatively demanding gear wise so do take the little cams with you- especially for the pitch leading up to the first 5.10 pitch. My rack beta: (1) #0.1-#5 Camalot, (2) #0.5-#3 Camalot, and Stoppers. The rock quality is decent and reminiscent of rock quality on the Saber or, dare I say it... The Diamond... but my client did break a hold on the 2nd 5.10 pitch... so, beware. Aug 14, 2015
Ryan Kempf
Boulder, CO
Ryan Kempf   Boulder, CO
Andy's rack recommendation is perfect. You could actually leave the #4 on the ground. It protects the initial moves on P4 in this description, a #3 works equally well slightly further in the crack. Does not fit on the wide section of P5. It's definitely nice to have doubles from #0.5-#3 for the long 5.9 flare on P5. Aug 3, 2016
Regarding the gear on crux OW section of the 5th pitch: you want the #5 for the Turnkorner move, because you will be climbing on creaky flakes. If you leave the #5 in the first roof or rely on the 1/2 inch cam you placed in the horizontal, you will probably hit the ledge if you fall at or above the turncorner. Sep 20, 2016
dannyn norton
dannyn norton   Longmont
Just to keep the comments coming, this route is radical and fun. You look up and it's so imposing, but as you gain the overhanging offwidth sections, the route reveals itself in very reasonable, yet physical sections. So worth doing, definitely one of my favorites at Lumpy.
Bring a #5, not much bigger than a #4 and so useful. Aug 26, 2017
Owen Murphy
Fort Collins, CO
Owen Murphy   Fort Collins, CO
Everything and then some. Definitely felt like a solid 5.10b comparable to Vedauwoo offwidth grade. Oct 9, 2017
Mitchell Hodge
Lyons / Fort Collins CO
Mitchell Hodge   Lyons / Fort Collins CO
On Jan. 14, the ancient ring piton came out in my hand from the belay beneath the final roof. Clearly from one of Turnkorner's early ascents, but if anyone knows more specifics about it please message me! Can be replaced with a small cam. Jan 16, 2018