Type: Trad, 3 pitches Fixed Hardware (6)
FA: Layton Kor, Pat Ament, 1962. FFA: Larry Dalke, Cliff Jenning
Page Views: 8,442 total · 39/month
Shared By: David Benson on May 25, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This is a serious lead and even more serious for the second. Let me jump ahead to the crux second pitch. The second pitch contains a 20+' traverse after the crux. To protect your second consider a) double ropes, b) solo the pitch, c) rappel and clean the gear, d) have the best climber follow the pitch and hope they don't come off.

Start about 20' right of the start of the Bastille Crack, 10' left of the cave at the base of the Bastille.

P1. Climb up through a series of runout, left-facing dihedrals (7 vs) to an ramping left facing corner. This section contains three pitons of marginal to poor quality, it is very easy to back these up. Continue up the hand crack (10b) and move right at a piton. At this point you're stepping into the base of the detached X-M pinnacle. Grovel up the chimney to the bolted belay on the top of the X-M pinnacle.

P2. From the bolts move back left and down to the left most edge of the X-M pinnacle. Place small wires (RPs) as best you can here. Step onto the left side of the arete and make the crux face moves. The crux is relatively short, then you have 10-15 of 5.9 traversing before you reach easier ground and gear possibilities. Rossiter shows a pin on the topo, but I did not see it. At a shallow, right-facing corner, continue up easier terrain to a bolted belay (watch for bird poop here).

P3. You can either climb up and left or out easier terrain to the right. I lead the right hand variation. From the belay climb up, clip a piton and hand-traverse left. Mantel up on the narrow ledge. From here I continued up to the base of the 10b section of Outer Space.

Rossiter describes a different finish, but continuing onto Outer Space provides a great linkup.


Rack up to a #2.5 Friend, RPs.
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
Have not done this route, but I distinctly remember a Bill Wright TR where he describes falling on the P2 crux as the second climber, and not swinging at all. His partner, he said, was able to creatively place a stopper back right after the crux. Unfortunately this TR was only on my e-mail inbox and somehow got deleted...it isn't on Bill's website. Anybody familiar with this? May 31, 2001
I did not see any nut placements out right post-crux. I have led and followed the second pitch and found it scarier to follow. If the second is really worried, it's not that hard to tie off short, use the extra rope to thread the anchor atop pitch one and give yourself a back belay (probably easier with a grigri). It's the same idea as lowering yourself out from an anchor on an aid route. Tom Isaacson Aug 1, 2001
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
There are 2 possible brass-nut placements just around the corner from the flake-belay. I used 2 HB micronuts (not offsets) These can be placed from a good (not pumpy) stance at the corner if you can do a near-splits (or are very tall, which I am not) or from a slightly off-balance stance once arount the corner on the face holds.

A few more things- yes, the old KB's on Pitch 3 will hold a 30' fall. That was me on Sunday. It might be a little harder in the heat/sun. Do it before the sun hits in if on a summer afternoon.

The route should get 2*'s. Great route, but not the best. Aug 1, 2001
for pitch 2, the climbing becomes easy after the crux, and so if the stronger climber is leading, it would be advised to run it to the belay or as far as he/she finds comfortable. this will make the swing of the second less substantial (more like a toprope than traverse) and will make it easy to get back on the route after the fall. even better, climb the route with two solid 5.10 leaders, no falls, no worries. Aug 1, 2001
As Charles states above, it is quite possible to place good gear for the second on the 2nd pitch. After completing the crux, climb up and set left a few feet to a good stance. From here it isn't hard to reach back to the right and place good gear directly above the crux. The second is completely safe now. I did indeed fall off while following the crux. I went only a couple feet to the left and was able to get back on and do the crux the second time. My advice on the crux - step onto the wall as low as possible. Once that is done, heading up involves only a single hard move. Sep 13, 2001
If you don't have HB's there is a really solid #3 Black Diamond Micro Stopper (steel-head) in the seam at the crux. Reach up high and slide it down until it catches. Nov 1, 2001
On P2 the leader can back-clean even to the point of clipping the anchor and downclimbing the easy dihedral....after that it's fairly easy to climb out right from the belay and clip into the bolt on INNER SPACE (the only real use for that bolt)--this will give the second a good toprope. They take a little swing but it's not as bad as they think it'll be.

On P3-the left-hand var.--I usually place a very small but solid RP next to the crux 'long reach' move. It goes into a perfect little slot formed on one side by a crystal. After the long reach it's nice to get a good piece in and I think the best might be a tri-cam! Nov 1, 2001
Chris Dawson
Grand Junction, CO
Chris Dawson   Grand Junction, CO
I must say that this route deserves atleast two stars. Good rock, good moves, good line. Plus if you combine it with Outer Space, it's one of the most fun/best 5.10's in the canyon if not the front range. Nov 11, 2001
I'm with Chris on this one...fantastic quality rock, technical movement and exciting position. Nov 12, 2001
TWO STARS!!!.... Jan 25, 2002
Quinn Stevens
Denver, CO
Quinn Stevens   Denver, CO
If the first two pitches are lead together, then it is definately scarier and more dangerous to be on lead during the crux. I followed the pitch, thank god, and pulled the crux moves before cleaning the disturbing RP. I'm fairly confident that had I fallen during the crux, the rp would have kept me from the big swing. However, the above advice for the leader to reach back right, following the traverse, and placing something for the second is good. It's impressive to link pitches 1 and 2 together, climbing directly into the crux from the chimney. Mar 23, 2002
Joe Collins  
X-M__Outer Space is one of the best 5.10 routes I've done in Colorado, along with the Scenic Cruise, Yellow Wall/Forrest Finish, and the Book link-ups at Lumpy. As stated above you can get two RP placements right at the crux, but it takes some work to find the optimal placements. The nuts are decent, that is they'll probably protect the crux but I certainly wouldn't want to take a big winger (or an 8 footer for that matter) on them. Be solid!! If the leader fires the crux then he/she should have no trouble finsihing the pitch without placing any more gear. The leader can then clip the Inner Space bolt to protect the 2nd as stated above. Jul 25, 2002
I just noticed that this route has only one star. Bogus! Two stars at least when you combine it with Outer Space.

As stated above, if you combine the first two pitches, it appears to be quite dangerous for the leader. Also, as stated above this route is NOT dangerous for the second even if the leader fails to place the stopper above the crux as indicated above.

Here's the new information. If not combining the second pitch with the first there is a good way to protect the leader. The belayer clips into the bolts at the top of the pillar with a long length of rope and climbs back down to just above and right of the crux moves. Braced in the slot by the pillar and the wall, the belay can now give the leader nearly a toprope for the crux moves! In fact, I wouldn't even bother placing the RP's - the belayer is above you. If you step out low (tricky and balancy), then there is a single hard move to do. Jul 25, 2002
Joe Collins  
Hey Bill- isn't that the wussy way of doing it?... just kidding. That actually seems like really good beta for those who want to do the route but might not be the most solid at the grade. I have heard of people linking the first 2 pitches, but clipping the chains for crux pro... big, big swing potential.

FYI- I think linking the 1st and 2nd pitches is actually much safer than belaying at the chains on top of the pinnacle. A belay from the chains would likely put an outward force on the delicately placed RPs at the crux, possibly pulling them out. With the rope running straight down the RPs are more likely to stay put... as it is, the highest RP pulled on me anyway as I did the easy traverse part. That next piece of gear sure is a long way below the RPs though. Jul 25, 2002

I guess it is the wimpy way, but the way you describe leading it (linking the pitches without using the belay anchor), the risk is way too high for someone like myself. I have also heard of people linking the pitches, but clipping the chains with many long slings. Seems like too much hassle to me and your method (of just using the RP's with the next piece way below that) is just too dangerous for me. Hats off to the guys like yourself who have the mental control for such feats!

I should probably also say that I haven't even led the pitch in question! I have belayed two people using this method, though. I need to go lead it. I followed it fine the last time up there.

Bill Jul 26, 2002
If you're gripped about the nut on top of the flake, string additional runners over to the two-bolt anchor to back it up -- the nut would keep you from swinging inside the flake if the micronuts were to fail.

I think it's better to lead this way because if you were to fall on the micronuts, the catch would be very dynamic and they are more likely to hold. If you belay, you're looking at an awkward pull on the nuts as Joe desribes or placing nothing -- either way, a nasty fall for both the leader and belayer. Jul 26, 2002
I just led the 2nd pitch this morning and I didn't place any RP's at the start of the route. With the belayer positioned correctly, this feels quite safe. Don't fall after the crux move, of course, but then it is easy. Place the stopper underneath the small flake - tricky to find and place because it isn't obvious, but it's there.

I led the third pitch as well and after clipping the three fixed pins, you can place what appears to be a very solid #2 steel RP (might be a #1 - anywhere a really small nut). This placement is not immediately obvious as there are to other placements that are larger, but not very secure and I doubt would hold a fall. This tiny RP doesn't inspire much confidence, but if it held, this pitch would be well protected. If you fell and it pulled, that would be bad, as the pins are well below your feet the crux move.

Great climb!

Bill Aug 30, 2002
That is a sneaky little #2 RP placement on the third pitch! I once managed to slip off after the crux and fell about 10 feet onto it and it held. Glad I didn't find out what woulda happened if it didn't. Scary. Aug 30, 2002
Joe Collins  
Three stars when combined with Outer Space. The first pitch (10b) is a quality stop on the Bastille 1-pitch cragging tour. Sep 30, 2002
Doug Redosh
Golden, CO
Doug Redosh   Golden, CO
if you are tall, like me, the crux could be the move out of the handcrack on P1. The crux moves on P2 are tricky to figure out, but once you work on it, it's not that bad (fortunately for me, my partner's gear popped after he passed it, giving me an effective toprope). The crux on P3 is a reach problem, but not pumpy, like on P1.Don't make the mistake, like we did, of thinking that you can downclimb the ramp to the left from the top of P3. This led to some rappelling in the dark! May 18, 2003
From ramp at top of pitch 3 climb around the corner right to the easy (5.0) exit pitch for W. Butt, Hair City, etc. Takes about 2 minutes to the top. May 19, 2003
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
  5.10c R
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
  5.10c R
This is one the best multi pitch 5.10's in Eldo when combined with Outer Space. When done in 3 pitches, every pitch is 10c and every belay ledge is great. It has a little bit of every type of climbing that Eldo has to offer. (squeeze chimney, liebacks, technical face, steep cracks, mantels, runout face, and overhanging jug pulls) Oct 27, 2003
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
Unsure of whose advice to heed regarding linking P1 and P2, I used double ropes with one rope clipped with a long sling to the bolts above the pillar, and the other rope going straight up to the brass nuts. This worked pretty well, but I had a lot of drag trying to rock over onto my left foot after the crux. That was pretty tenuous. With double ropes you can just run the right rope straight up from the P2 crux to the bolt right of the belay that Steve Dieckhoff mentions above. Looks like a big Crack'n Up will go in above the higher brass nut. Next time...

I actually had more trouble on P1. The first 25' or so are really slick and no gear for a while (but I placed a piece high on Wide Country, and then pulled the rope through after getting gear on route). The moves leading to the step across are awkward. At the step across it's reallly pumpy. I hesitated at the step across, put in a cam above the last pin. Downclimbed about 10'. Tried to rest, went back up, then had to hang.

On P3, the 9 way makes the most sense to me and is the original aid route. It's straight up above the belay, and the gear is good until the hand traverse. But beware! I followed this pitch, and a small Alien was really stuck. Chuck said, "Maybe the flake expanded when I leaned out on it." Sure enough, I used my nut tool as a mini crowbar, and I could visibly expand the flake (not the smartest thing to do, as I was hanging on another cam in the same flake while working on the stuck cam).

After cleaning the gear, I downclimbed the 9 variation and TR'd the 10 variation on the left. Didn't see that trick wire. Had to pop for the ledge. May not be leading that variation any time soon. May 16, 2004
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
I really wanted to do the original 4th pitch rather than finishing on Outer Space, although Outer Space sure looked tempting.

We had neglected to read the guidebook, but I knew it went up a dihedral right of Outer Space. I thought it was the dihedral just right of the Outer Space dihedral, but my 1980 Erickson and Ament guides now make it pretty clear that it's the green dihedral much further right.

And that is what we climbed. From the belay above P3, climb up about 20' to where Outer Space traverses in from the left. Move right on the red band to below a small dihedral with 3 pins. I thought I was going to climb this up to the dihedral just right of Outer Space, but it looked way hard. Continue right to a tenuous stance. I had a real hard time here letting go with either hand, but eventually got gear. Make one more hard move up and right to better holds and easier climbing. Continue right to the base of a left facing dihedral with a good crack (finally!). Thinking I was home free, I was surprised to find a hard move half way up the dihedral. The crack runs out, and I had to step left onto a sloped hold on the arete with not much for the hands. One more hard move back right into the corner, and easier climbing to the top.

Erickson says this of the pitch: "Move up a little and angle 30' right, then climb a dihedral . 5.9". Felt harder, 10a S? Ament says, "...with marginal protection traverse right (5.9) across a steep band of rock. Ascend a left-facing dihedral 5.8 [felt much harder to me] near the west edge of the wall. Rossiter's topo looks correct but his text makes the rightward traverse sound short.

Questions: What's the dihedral just right of the Outer Space dihedral? Below that dihedral, what's the dihedral with the 3 pins a short ways right on the XM traverse? Just right and up from those 3 pins is a left facing flake with a pin. What's that? There are lots of routes and variations on this wall. It's hard to figure it all out. May 16, 2004
Joe Collins  
Here's another testimonial for the quality of the small RP on the 10c variation to the 3rd pitch, and the insecurity of the move. No need to risk a 25 footer... my foot slipped off the mantle and the RP held... basically a 5 foot fall. The move isn't that hard, but you mantle with your weight fully on a polished, slanting hold... a strange, insecure move. Look around for the placement... it isn't immediately obvious, but it's there. Jun 23, 2004
Steve Orr
Boulder, CO
Steve Orr   Boulder, CO
FLAKE ON P3 HAS MOVED! Today (6/20/04), I fell on the right-hand/straight-up variation on P3, pulling two cams and the flake under which I had placed them. This is the flake that Ivan Rezucha mentioned on 5/16/04 as being loose. I'm not sure how this has affected the rating on this pitch, as we bailed and did not finish the pitch. The flake is now sitting (marked "XXX" with chalk) fairly securely on the ledge just up and left of the belay ledge Fortunately, my partner and I only suffered minor abrasions and a good scare, and the flake landed in his lap. I'd hate to think what would have happened if the flake had fallen to the base...

Jun 29, 2004
Steve Orr
Boulder, CO
Steve Orr   Boulder, CO
WRONG FLAKE! In my previous posting, I said that the flake I blew was the same that Ivan mentioned above. The flake that blew was NOT the hand-traverse flake, but a much smaller undercling flake about 10 feet directly above the belay. Jun 30, 2004
  5.10c R
SirVato   Boulder
  5.10c R
This is a "heady" route!! Awesome rock and cool moves.
My partner led p1&2 together which seemed pretty bold. I was pretty worried about the big swing following the moves off the pillar.
For p3 I tried to go up the left var. but backed off, gear wasn't great, and I couldn't find anything that would keep me off the ledge.
so, I went up the right side. All was well, I got to the base of the O.S. dihedral and kept moving right. I clipped a pin (shoulda clipped two) and started the looong upward traverse right. I got a ways past tht old janky slightly downward driven pin (about 10-12ft out) and lost a foot on some lichen. This sent me for a freaking long ass ride!!! We guestimated about 30-35ft!! By far the longest fall I've taken! If that pin pulled it would've added another 30ft to that (my last piece was a good 15ft below). I finished the pitch but still found no other gear 'til the dihedral. A lot of lichen and not much chalk tells me most people don't do this pitch. It's a scary pitch I think but well worth doing, and it is part of the original climb. Outer Face is aloso a good exit option if you don't want to do O.S. again or if someone is on it. Jul 6, 2006
Wyatt Payne
Littleton CO
Wyatt Payne   Littleton CO
Link P1 and P2. You can use a cordalette to clip the anchors above the pillar just like it was a long draw. This allows the leader to fall straight down on the nuts if they slime off, and if they do fail you won't take the full ride b/c you will hit the bolts. when I lead it I didn't have anything long enough to pull off this trick. So I had my belayer up on the pillar. That situation would have pulled the nuts around the corner hard to the right if I lost it. Not confidence inspiring. In fact I wouldn't put a rice cake on them if they pulled into that orientation. Have fun. Aug 12, 2007
Brian Weinstein
  5.10c R
Brian Weinstein  
  5.10c R
After contemplating the crux move on p2 for a good twenty minutes I ended up committing to the higher variation with two tiny sidepulls. Either way, it's one move that is quite exciting. The RPs there are mental gear. Oct 14, 2007
mike c
mike c   golden
Let's not kid ourselves. In the description, it is written that this climb is a more serious for the second when in fact I have seen many climbers fall from the crux and just swing left 15 feet or so. Yes, I assume it is a little scary to fall from there as a seconding climber. If the leader were to fall and his little manky stopper actaully hold, they'd hit the edge of the big old flake/chimney and it could be nasty, and if for some reason that piece failed they might never walk again.... So, I don't agree that it is more dangerous for the second. I do think that if you do X-M to Outerspace in 3 pitches, it's one of the best 5.10s in the canyon, if not the best. Jan 17, 2010
Boulder, CO
Ian   Boulder, CO
Linked the first two pitches, which made sense to me at the time, because if the micro nut blows at the crux, you'd fall down instead of swinging onto the bolted anchor and the pillar. Of course, you're likely to fall further, but I didn't test the theory. The swing is not a big deal for the follower if you place a nut loosely after the traverse. Everything will pull out when you move up and you can claim that you soloed the second pitch. :) Aug 7, 2010
Wally   Denver
Mike C. is totally spot on. The second pitch is very serious for the leader - with bad fall potential (suspect RPs with a bad landing if they blow). A ballsy lead. If the second blows the crux, no big deal - a top roped swing to the left with nothing to hit - I've had two seconds take this fall - they were able to swing back into the start and try again. The suggestion to solo or backclean the pitch doesn't make any sense (i.e. is crazy) to me.

Wally Sep 2, 2011
Max Joseph
Boulder, CO
Max Joseph   Boulder, CO
Wow, I'm surprised to see almost no mention of the offwidth variation (original free variation?) to the first pitch. The way most of you guys are going sounds a bit hairball. Got up there the other day and it was great! Pretty secure and featured, while still physical. The chockstone seems like it's not going anywhere, and if you want to you could potentially bring a big cam to push through the crux. Doesn't seem to get a ton of traffic, but I'd recommend it for a bit of old school fun. Jul 5, 2012
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
The tat around the chockstone at the bottom of the Dalke offwidth will hold a fall. A few months ago, I led the offwidth after clipping the chockstone tat with a sling. After feeling a bit insecure due to grease and funky beta, I started to downclimb from 25-30 feet above the chockstone. I was unable to downclimb the entire way and ended up taking a 40-footer onto the tat and ending up eerily close to the ground. I then grabbed a #6 Camalot and reclimbed the pitch clean. Someone might want to tie some new cord there sometime soon, but it is good enough for now. Aug 10, 2016