Type: Trad, 5 pitches Fixed Hardware (2)
FA: Layton Kor and George Hurley, 1960, FFA - John Thomas, ~1962-63
Page Views: 27,754 total · 100/month
Shared By: George Bell on Aug 7, 2001 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

You & This Route

297 Opinions
Your To-Do List: Add To-Do ·
Your Star Rating:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty Rating:
-none- Change
Your Ticks:Add New Tick
Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.
Warning Access Issue: Rockfall Access Effect & Subject to Seasonal Raptor Closures DetailsDrop down
Warning Access Issue: 2023 Seasonal Closures - lifted DetailsDrop down

Intro and Approach Suggest change

This is a famous route, not often done these days because of the dreaded word - "Offwidth". The name is a play on words of the even more famous Grand Jorasse in the Alps. It protects well with some big gear and is not at all runout like some of those Yosemite monster cracks.

Find the start to the route by approaching the Roof Routes area. Park at the main lot east of the Bastille, cross the bridge in front of the Bastille. Follow the trail along the north side of the creek across the concrete pad, take the switchbacks and then a right fork. When you get to the rock, you head left, past the Roof Routes. Here, you will find a Flatiron-like slab requiring 4th class to low 5th class climbing for 200+ feet. Use a rope, if you might fall. Ascend this to the top of this slab. Keep in mind you will not be returning to this spot after the descent.

Description Suggest change

P1. This route starts from the top of the lower ramp, the same place as Ruper. Climb the obvious crack up and gently trend right until you reach a crack with two pins that parallels the large, sloping Rover dihedral, 5.9+.

P2. This is an easy pitch (5.4) which follows a ramp and wide crack leftward to the base of the dreaded, right-facing corner of the Grand Giraffe (which breaches the roof left of Art's Spar).

P3. This is the crux, and the difficulties start immediately. The first moves are protected by an ancient piton. At the start, you can chimney the crack with your back against the left wall, but soon the footholds on the right disappear. If you are a weenie like me, place a big Camalot above you at this point, which gives you a toprope for the crux. Struggle up through the crux and place your other big piece.

Although the upper part of this crack looks intimidating, I found the crux to be the first 15'. Near the top you have to climb the main part of the overhang, but there is good pro and holds here. Belay at the Upper Ramp.

From here, the route continues above the Upper Ramp via two more fun pitches (5.7, but mildly runout). Cross the upper ramp to the upper end of a huge cave, 4th class (lower end is the start of upper Ruper and Alice in Bucketland). Downclimb the ramp towards the left corner of a large cave.

P4. Climb up alongside the shallow, right-facing corner, then make your way to towards a pink alcove with a single bolt.

P5. The final pitch angles up and left, crossing a roofline at its left edge then continues up and right to the saddle between T1 and T2.

Protection Suggest change

Standard rack to 3", plus some big gear will make this route comfy, say a #4.5 and a #5 Camalot.

Descent Suggest change

From the top of the final pitch, travel uphill (climber's left), and downclimb a large gully to the bolts for Chockstone Chimney located on the southern wall. After this rappel, continue up the large slab with a small tree. Look over the edge for two bolts which will require a short downclimb to reach. 2 rappels will take you to the base of Vertigo. Travel back uphill until you find a place to descend into the Redgarden drainage.

History Suggest change

Jamie Logan: "in 1968, the Grand Giraffe was rated 5.8, and I climbed it with Pat Ament and Royal Robbins. Royal announced that we were going to take no pitons and use only chockstones that he had brought back from England. This was to be the first time nuts were used in Colorado. After thinking over the fixed pins already in place, I thought it would be OK and joined them. We never protected the 5.8 offwidth at that time, and it turned out to be Royal's lead. He stopped in the middle of the crux, turned around and looked down at us, and said " this is the hardest 5.8 I have ever done." He then turned back around and finished with no problem. I believe the gear we had were mostly Pecks and Moacs as stoppers and hexes were far in the future."