Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: Ament/Mayrose, 1964, FFA Ferguson/Poling, 1970
Page Views: 18,592 total · 85/month
Shared By: Charles Vernon on May 31, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closure / Update Details


This is one of Boulder Canyon's best moderate routes, although a new guidebook gives the route 5.10a--watch your definition of moderate. Most people do the first pitch and then rappel (one rope) from 2 new bolts.

Bell Buttress is split by a large chimney. The left half offers several right-facing corners; Cosmosis is the large right-facing corner, about 70 feet high, which overhangs at the top. Shortly right of it, the wall bends inward to the large chimney. The second (or third) pitch finishes in a large, left-facing corner above. The route is further identified by the beautiful bolted arete just to its left - Verve - though there are a lot of bolts on this cliff.

It should be easy to cross the river on a huge tree that lies across it. Cosmosis is directly above, but broken 5th class bars access to the start. Go left on a path, then back right when feasible up a ramp that leads to the ledge going under the base of the route.

The crux is the thin bottom section (site of a small, chalked up flake), solved with interesting stemming. More excellent stemming lead to the beautiful hand crack finale. Belay from bolts just above the corner.

Eds. Do not think of The Route That Dan Missed as a reasonable alternative finish. It does not have bolts!

Rappel, or continue up a crack, up easy but unprotected face, and then back right into a large, left-facing corner to the top-- a very long pitch, rated 5.7-5.9 depending on where you go. Descend SW and then go down when feasible. Or look for rappel anchors east of the finish. Rappel from there, bypasses another set about 50' down and far left. Find a somewhat hidden intermediate station about 80' down. From there, rap to the trail.


Bring a standard rack to a #3 Friend. Maybe a couple RPs for the start.
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
There's a fixed #2 Camalot at the top of the hand crack with black tape on the sling. I used but did not fall on it....

Anyways, that's my excuse to also compliment this route. Great stemming up the steep dihedral up top! The pro at the lower crux: geez, I found three places to put pro, but all three felt pretty sketch. Fortunately as Charles says, you can crank up to the crux, and then reverse the moves easily back down to a rest to check your mind before going for it. Aug 12, 2001
Wow! The only reason I thought about bolting "The Route That Dan Missed" was that nobody did it (too runout) or cared about it. I've only done it twice, back when I was much braver, and thought it was fun but not too significant in the big world of hard climbing. I will leave the route as is forever. Thanks for your suggestions/objections. By the way, MG and I TR'd the route once first (mainly to check rock quality), and then MG led it. Apr 18, 2002
AMAZING!!! Trad is where it's at. Small RPs protect the first 20 feet well - I put two in low and equalized them and then a number 5 RP in the crack a little higher. Right after the first crux throw in a #1 Camalot...the rest of the climb protects great with some bigger Camalots (I used a 2, 3 and 3.5). Enjoy! Jul 4, 2003
Gumbies beware: Pitch 2 (assuming 3 pitches) is really run-out 5.6.

I tried the old "I'll lead the easy pitch" routine, and got scared walking up the easy 5.6 after flailing up the P1 dihedral on TR. Perhaps I was off route, but I went left on the face as noted in this description and shown in Rossiter's photo. I got in a #1 Trango cam (1-1.5cm) about 30'+ above my first placement, which was right off the belay. It felt similar to the First Flatiron P1 run-out.

Regardless, a good fun climb. Jun 25, 2004
I took a fall trying to place gear at the crux about 5 years ago (my first trad whip). After getting my head together I realized that if you make 1 or two more moves past the crux, a good dropknee/stem can be found with your left foot on the jug you just passed, which lets you place gear pretty easily. It's nice to know that you can get in gear at the crux, but if 5.9 is your trad limit, it will be very pumpy to place gear there. The piece I fell on was a #3 Black Diamond nut, it held about a 12 foot fall, I weigh about 190, so the gear is pretty bomber! Aug 6, 2004
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
Followed this route last year...lead it today for first time...spicey and sustained for the grade IMO. Pumpier than neighbor West Face for sure. The black Alien fits the upper corner before the lower crux. Placed a .75 cam above the crux and down climbed, then went back up for the clip.The move half way up, off the corner, is a high reach, sloping layback, sans pro from above...kinda sketch. That move is equally as hard for me as the lower crux. Got a good #4 BD stopper in a chalked crack near the corner before this move. Bring a #2 and #3 for the last 15'... Oct 3, 2004
Two or three cruxes and sustained hard between them! My pro: three stoppers, a TCU, a #2 and a #3 Camalot in the upper crack and then I ran it out a bit to the anchors. This route made me think more than I'm accustomed to. That may not have come off right..... Oct 18, 2004
Rob Kepley
Rob Kepley   Westminster,CO
Climbed this amazing route again yesterday. One of the best pitches in Boulder Canyon. Too bad it's not longer. Just make sure you protect the crux move before committing to it. A small BD micro nut works well in the lefthand seam and if you climb up high enough you can put in a really good #1 Camalot before executing the crux move. Four star quality! Jun 4, 2006
Boulder, CO
Stephanovich   Boulder, CO
Love Cosmosis, lots of fun, I used a #4 stopper, after that reach up and squeeze in a #1 Camalot, clip the old angle piton, get up into more vert. climbing, place a yellow Alien, and then gun it to the anchors, (one can also get a solid #2 Camalot placement in the handcrack up top).
Yes is very nice. I rate it 5.9**** (super fun). Mar 18, 2007
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
Small wires protect the crux, however, it can be a bit heady making the move to the good finger jams above. Good gear placements throughout the entire route. Similar to Curving Crack but harder, not as sustained as West Face to the right. Rp's to a #3 camalot, concentrate on small/medium cams. The crux felt 5.10a with sections of 5.9 throughout the climb. Jul 4, 2008
Christina kalb
Boulder, CO
Christina kalb   Boulder, CO
Good route. If you have small hands, watch out...the top section becomes an off-hands, not quite fists crack. Small gear at the bottom. Aug 25, 2008
Nick Wilder
Boulder, CO
Nick Wilder   Boulder, CO  
Done this 5 or 6 times but never the second pitch until today. Very worthwhile! A bit easier, but the pro is not as good. Nice long pitch to near the top. From there, find a rap station to the east; two raps gets you back to the trail. Jul 10, 2011
Boulder, CO
5.10- PG13
Hamlet73   Boulder, CO
5.10- PG13
I climbed the first pitch yesterday and did not find the piton, which I guess might have fallen off or was removed. There was a purple BD fixed nut at the crux, which I found a little scary, because if you blow it and the nut pulls, you are likely hitting the flake below you.

Overall, the route is great and, except for the crux move, protects easily and is a lot of fun. Nov 7, 2011
reboot   .
Found a set of nuts 8 ft off the ledge. Seem to have been there for a while (and a little blood stained). Describe correctly and they shall be returned. Jun 5, 2012
Curt MacNeill
Boulder, CO
Curt MacNeill   Boulder, CO
Great route and one of the best in Boulder Canyon! Amazing position, perfect granite and just plain awesome. Do it!!! Jun 27, 2012
Great stone and a wide variety of movement make this a damn fun outing. The gear is good at the start, just a bit small. Aug 4, 2012
Stephen Nance
Boulder, CO
Stephen Nance   Boulder, CO
Been looking to do this route for a while now. This climb protects much better than what I have heard if you have small RPs. I got two good nuts on the left side of the pillar. I still didn't want to commit.... But just after the pillar slightly (where the pillar turns juggy), there is a perfect slot for a large RP. It is a SLOTTER nut that protects the crux. From here, you hike your foot up onto the pillar's juggy top and place a bomber #1 cam.... When you get to the top of the ramp where the route steepens, it can seem devious on how to protect the moves to get up into the steep corner and to the ultimate prize (the chalked up juggy flake). Place another small yet bomber nut in a small slot close to the corner.... It's hard to see, but it's there. You can also place a marginal 0.4 Camalot in a slightly flaring crack.... Lieback the greasy slopers and go to an incut crimp up and left, and then latch the jug... over from there. Hope this wasn't too much beta.... Aug 14, 2012

IIRC, you can get a pretty good (but inobvious) #3 Camalot in just before the lower crux. Aug 14, 2012
Jason Albino
San Francisco, CA
Jason Albino   San Francisco, CA
Wow, wow, and wow. If you did not give this pitch 4 stars, you simply do not like granite dihedrals. Combined with the sweet Tyrolean traverse approach 5 min from the parking turn-off, it is perfection. Jul 4, 2014
Awesome route! The pro isn't scarce, it's just really small and often shallow. So, for unseasoned trad folk like myself, it's a bit of a heady lead. That said the position, exposure, and moves are AWESOME!

Did this yesterday and had to leave quickly when the weather came in. I had to leave a cam that was stuck about 1/2 way up. Blue cam. Please email me if you are able to pull it...climberboy228@gmail.com. Jul 12, 2014
Joe Brannan
Lyons, CO
Joe Brannan   Lyons, CO
Second pitch makes this an even better outing. From a great hanging belay atop P1, it adds interesting face climbing to thought provoking dihedrals to hand crack (fixed #1 C4) to an offwidth (old #4 C4 was welcomed) and then even a short chimney move to top out! We did the walk off, I would rap next time for sure. Aug 1, 2014
Jake Web
Denver, CO
Jake Web   Denver, CO
We had a climber fall on the first 25 feet of the first pitch. There was a nut and a 0.1 camm and they both popped out. Search and rescue was called. Fractured vertebrae, and ankle....

There are a few pieces of gear left on this route consequently due to all the craziness. Please contact me if you have found this gear.

610 209 9176. Jun 23, 2017
Gregger Man
Broomfield, CO
Gregger Man   Broomfield, CO
The second pitch is worth doing. Regarding the length of P2, I noted yesterday that the end of the final dihedral is just over 35m from the bolted anchor at the top of P1. Jul 9, 2017