Type: Sport
FA: Alan Nelson
Page Views: 4,978 total · 24/month
Shared By: Alan Nelson on Aug 8, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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At the far left end the Wall of Justice is a seriously overhung wall with three crack/seams. This route tackles the middle line that is far more seam than crack with a complex sequence of tip jams, layaways, and face holds. At the time I thought it was significantly harder than anything else on the wall so I rated it .13a. The lack of traffic in the ensuing years relative to the awesome quality of the moves and the stone makes me think it might hold its grade, but I could be delusional. It only took four days of effort to put it away, but I was running laps on Anarchitect that season and Finger Prince seemed far more technical. For those who're capable but haven't given it consideration, I say "Check it out and tell us what you think".


Six bolts to a two-bolt anchor with goldshuts.


Quinn Stevens
Denver, CO
Quinn Stevens   Denver, CO
I don't know Alan, 'far more technical' than Anarchitect sounds more like a warning than an invitation to check it out! ;-) Aug 8, 2001
I have been nervouse about this one for a while, it looks to be quite a challenge. Good to know that you have the sausage finger gene as well. Aug 9, 2001
Jesse Ryan
Jesse Ryan  
Threw down on Finger Prince for the first time on Sunday. Certainly is significantly harder than anything else on Wall of Justice (Great Escape, Slammer etc) and other hard twelves / soft thirteens like Y2K, Ten Digit D., Sucking and Road Warrior. It's apples and oranges when comparing with Sonic Youth, yet feels as hard in a different way. In fact the only route I've been on that it compares to is a 13b I've worked a bit at Buttonrock, Brother from another Planet, both short stout powerful routes. Solid 13a in my book. Thanks again Alan, excellent route! Apr 16, 2002
Quinn Stevens
Denver, CO
Quinn Stevens   Denver, CO
Finger Prince is a great climb. To me, the name implied a climb that would be a lot more delicate than some of the grinding finger jambs allow. (There's a right hand finger jamb that could break something if you fell on it.) But as a whole, this route has a variety of cool, powerful moves that lead into sinker hand jams in the roof, adding up to 13a, whatever that means. May 4, 2002
Checked this one out with Quinn yesterday, thought it was a stout climb with great moves. Tough sequence that takes quite a bit of technique. Definitely the hardest route at Wall of Justice, probably more powerful than Anarchitect, but shorter. The grade seems on par with other comparable climbs (Twitch, Anarchitect, Evil, etc) all within a letter grade or so. Sweet route that should see more traffic than it does,if you haven't tried it yet, give it a go! May 4, 2002
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
For what it is worth: I had a chance to run through this on Alan's red point day and came away with a healthy dose of respect for what awaits. I thought the jams were very sharp and painful and the steepness of the route reqires a lot of reliance on weighting the jams. What this indicates is getting the fingers well taped but not too thickly. The route is short enough that if you can bear down on the locks, the best strategy is simply to blitz to the end. There is no rest, and it is going to hurt. Also, it seems important to sequence the jams so there is no hesitation in the movement. When Alan got it, his net time on the route was under two minutes. May 6, 2002
Good route; sausage fingers don't matter; but soft at 5.13a. maybe it compares to other Clear Creek routes, but this wouldn't hold the grade at Rifle or Eldo. Aug 3, 2003
Yes, I did redpoint it. Quickly. And I have climbed loads of 5.13s throughout the country, beginning in Eldo in the 80's. No offense, but grades have really softened over the years. And this one is REALLY soft. May 1, 2004
Surpisingly, I am with Fred and since this is an open forum where opinions are the norm I will contribute mine. Soft for .13- when I climbed it 5-7 years ago on my second point run. I personally found The Web and Rainbow Wall harder. Do these facts make my opinion any more valid or do I need to paste my entire resume? For me it was soft and that is the only statment I can make. May 3, 2004
to the ac "guidebook publisher" .... saying that the grades are a consensus doesn't help clarify the issue. A consensus now isn't the same as what a consensus was 5 years ago - that's the essence of grade inflation. Maybe guidebooks should try to preserve an historically consistant set of standards rather than cater to the whims of ADD and route-setters in denial of their declining abilities. May 3, 2004
OK... I'll try to contribute more than downgrades. In fact, after reading these comments I, in fact, decided to contribute beta on some other routes. Grades are funny and I wish I could explain why the new trend in soft grades bother me. I'm with Dan, I don't want to post a resume, but I would agree with The Rainbow Wall or the Web as good solid examples. A lot of folks should climb these routes or Shelf's The Example or Rifle's The Beast or any of the 13s at American Fork. Use these as a barometer.

Also, as a publisher, I let writers determine the grades -- even if I think they're soft.... May 3, 2004
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
Peter Beal   Boulder Colorado
Maybe climbers should worry less about 13a and wonder why there aren't more routes here at that grade or higher. There hasn't been a new 5.14b or harder on the Front Range since Vogue (1999). Is it because we're speculating about whether we can climb 13a in a few tries or whether it should feel really hard, like the Web, which is now almost 20 years old? May 3, 2004
The question was posed -- why no routes in the Front Range 14b or harder since 1999 -- seems to me it's a numbers game. There are probably less than 10 climbers in the Front Range that redpoint 14 b/c or higher, and how many of those 10 climbers are new route developers? There are certainly some Front Range Teenagers cranking the V equivalent, but they are not typically into putting up new routes -- they would rather find new bouldering problems. The rock would lend itself to that grade in CCC, BC, Flatirons, and Eldo -- however, the routes would be ultra thin face...which is no longer in vogue. May 3, 2004
Peter, do you really think anyone who writes into this website cares why there are no new hard routes. I would have to say no, the fact is that no one who posts here can crank that hard. Maybe you should stick to posting about your attempts at a 2 move variation sit start on some 15 ft tall pebble. May 4, 2004
Whoooo there Hank...more .13's then the two of us put together? That is an affront to my extreme climbing prowess and I require an apology and a complete resume so I can verify/debunk your claim. If your claim is true then I will ignore the facts and continue to spray and if it is false I will do the same. I think all your climbing is a myth...even the sends I have seen with my own eyes.

On a more serious note..."There are about 8 guys who put in all the sport routes in the Front Range. And none of them can climb harder than 13a." Where did that come from...remove your head form the sand and have look around.

I am also with Peter, Matt et al on the hard route thing. I think it can also be attributed to the short drive to Rifle where hard routes abound, the lack of interest in putting up a hard route and the effort involved, the popularity of bouldering and the position of the tea leaves in the bottom of some hippies mug in Boulder. May 4, 2004
How many potential 5.14's were chipped/pocketed to make 5.12's? May 4, 2004
ac wrote: "How many potential 5.14's were chipped/pocketed to make 5.12's?"

Probably none. Is this topic about chipping or grading????

As for my .01$ on grading... To me, and since everyone is a little different, grading is a close approximation and that is all. Grades let me know if I should try something or move on. I mainly look for the quality ratings for the climb.

And, although I like to climb at my limit, having fun is the main goal. So... it doesn't really matter if it is .13 or .10

By the way, since I have only done a few second [ascents] and not FA's, I thank ALL those who put up routes, no matter what they are. It has allowed me to climb. May 4, 2004
What am I thinking. I'd feel terrible if my only 5.14 was that soft. May 4, 2004
It seems as if rational thought processes are getting a toehold. Anyway, the best way to rid ourselves of grade inflation is to define the Front Range or CO standards. A lot of people will say this is a stupid exercise in worthless grademongering, but at least hear me out before you do so.

As you are all too aware, half the problem with grades is the importance the media and our egos place on them. Up-and-comers are constantly trying to climb bigger numbers while some old timers are in denial about their diminished skills. Other seasoned climbers, many of whom believe they have reached an enlightened phase of their life, either discard ratings entirely or nonchalantly downrate everything just for fun. I know a lot of the latter type, but maybe that's just the circles I occasionally run in. The other half of the problem is that grades are relative, impacted by many factors, and there are NO absolutes.

That said, IMHO (and its quite humble), the standard routes COULD be defined. It COULD be a methodical committee-like process OR someone COULD just propose some (~10 for each rating) and the rest of us could suggest others and the removal of others. I'm sure if we started a separate thread about this, it would be hundreds of posts long within a week. There would be plenty of input without a doubt. It seems like a diverse selection of standards including slabs, vertical faces, slightly overhung, super steep, short cruxes, endurancefests, etc. would be most useful.

Until this happens, whether problems are stiff or flacid will depend on what problems they believe 5.XXx relates to. Grading is difficult even when you are lowering from the shuts. I find it amusing when people chime in about routes they haven't climbed or - almost as bad -climbed 5, 10 or 15 years ago. In addition, even though we all know grades are relative, people's opinions about a route's difficulty are criticized at the drop of a hat. Circular debates with no climax or resolution are the norm.

The sooner WE define the standards in CO, the sooner WE can all quit wasting bandwidth on this topic every week or so on another route. If someone adds BlahBlahBlah 5.12d to the system, everyone has the standards at their disposal to compare BlahBlahBlah to and it seems it could be reasonably resolved within a couple comments.

This is not an effort to put any more focus on ratings. It is an effort to take the pettyness out of our message board comments and - if grade inflation is a fact - to rid ourselves of it. With the standards at our disposal, Finger Prince could be compared to similar climbs that the climbing community has begrudgingly agreed to to call 5.12c, 5.12d and 5.13a.

Thoughts? May 4, 2004
Looks like a lot of people are awfully concerned by the imaginary difference between new and old sport climbs. I think this is bullsh!t, but that's beside the point. Perhaps Fred, Hank, and the ACs should ask themselves why this bothers them so much. Is it ego? Does the fact that people are climbing these supposedly soft-13a's and saying, "I climbed a 13a," make you feel like your climbing resume/prowesses are being threatened? Does that make all your 13a/b sends feel a little less impressive, or something weird like that?

Ego can be poison, and all this angst about the softness of newer sport climbs sounds a little like saying, "I am a badass. You are obviously not as rad as I am, so the grade of this route you put up is wildly inflated."

This isn't the 80s anymore, you guys... don't base your self-esteem on what level other people climb. May 4, 2004
AC may have a point. There used to be precious few climbers who could climb 5.13. Now, it is hardly an exclusive club.So the original "club members" seem to diss on the new arrivals.

The funny thing that folks around here don't seem to notice is that NO ONE GIVES A RATS ASS ABOUT 5.13a!The grades have moved on 2 full number grades past that.Bickering about whether or not a route is 12+ or 13- isn't much different than bickering about 10+ versus 11-. No one cares.

A genuinely cutting edge climber like Tommy Caldwell probably couldn't discern the difficulty difference between Sonic Youth and Finger Prince - they would both just seem easy.

Sharma would onsight either of them in clogs. May 4, 2004
I love these ratings debates! They are engaging and hilariously entertaining. When I do/try a climb, whether 5.9 or 5.12, I look through every guidebook that I own or can lay my hands on to give me info on it. I look in "High Over Boulder," Rossiter and Rolofson's books, I go to Neptune's and look through Knapp's books (sorry Fred, I haven't purchased them). I look at the range of grades presented, who did the FAA, and sort out how that meshes with my experience of the climb. Usually I settle on the middle, sometimes I downgrade, rarely do I upgrade. Let's look at some climbs at Animal World, one site of this ratings war of words. Animal Riots Activist- Rossiter 12a, Rolofson 12a, Knapp 11d/12a; Piles of Trials- Rossiter 12b, Rolofson 12b/c, Knapp 12a/b; Animal Instinct 12b/c, 12c, 12b(on this site, I think 12b/c in his guidebook), Hands of Destiny 13a, 12c/d, 12c. All the ratings are within a letter grade or 2, and one could argue all day over a letter grade. HOD's 13a is probably a hold over from the days when protection consisted of 4 fixed pins and thin gear instead of 12 bolts. Sport Park and Lower Boulder Falls are also target areas. Four years ago my friends and I came to the consensus that most of the "harder" climbs at SP are overgraded by 1 to 3 letter grades. The comments on this site seem to bare this out. The same type of grade consensus seems to be emerging at LBF. Bob D. has agreed with much of this settling as the routes clean up and receive more traffic. Both of these areas receive minimal traffic before the guide was published or routes advertised online. It's no wonder there are grade debates over these areas. While we're pissin', I'd like to piss in the living room. Hank, I have your new 13a for you. It's Green Panther on Eagle Rock (equipped Rolofson, FFA Beal). IMO this route is soft. I worked it sporadically in the Fall of 2000 with some friends. My hardist redpoint at the time was Piles of Trials which I did that Fall. I had 3-4 one fall or hang attempts before school and a new career pulled me away from chasing the grades. I felt it might be 12c/d for me. I'm 6'2" with a positive ape index so that the "crux" throw was a subtle hip kip and deadpoint for me whereas my shorter but stronger friends had to full-on dyno. They redpointed the climb and also felt it soft for 13a ( and they tend to downgrade less than I). Go eat it guys, and while you're at it do publish a list of 5-10 Front Range routes from 11+ on up that you feel are benchmark for the grade. Where are Hill, Erbesfield,and Bensman's comments on this issue? Oh yeah, They're to busy having/raising children and sending our sorry asses to condescend to this discussion.

Love to all, Dave May 4, 2004
First off, sorry about my screwy text. I recently went Mac and don't have the bugs worked out of my browser yet. So please bear with me.

Guys like Hank DO NOT get their self esteem from climbing a number. They get it from doing what they do extremely well. And they do what they do so well for themselves not for the numbers.

Admittedly I am one of those stale old has beens many of you have been raggin' on in this thread. True I had my better days before most of todays climbers were, as Hank would put it, poopin' green. And honestly I wouldn't know a 5.13 from D'Antonio's poop shoot. So I quess, by the standards of today's elite, I have nothing to say. But I have seen three decades of climbing standards continuously blow past the generally accepted notion of what is impossible. Countless times over the years (including just last week) I have argued that there are no limits except those that the mind imposes. The Number of the day is transitory what really matters is the experience. Trust me in ten years or less some spindle legged pimple pussed teenager will fly up the hardest climbs of today and wonder why they put in so many bolts. Does that diminish anyone elses' experience? F... No, oh course not. It just means we fragile humans are continuing to push the envelope of the impossible. And that is a very good thing!

It is kind of too bad that Hank and Bob had to go kiss and make up. I mean I was already printing tickets and everything. It would have been a good "battle bots" kind of fight. For the record my money would have been on the Hankster. No offense intended Bob I just know what Whack Daddy is capable of when he puts his tiny brain cell to task.

Anyone care to take the gloves off for a few rounds of disagreement? Just kidding. Can't we all just get along? May 5, 2004
Hey, it's no news to me that I'm not a good climber by 2004 standards. And I know that even back in the 80s, Hank never claimed more than being the shittiest of the good climbers. I've seen the next generation and they're way more talented and determined and tthese routes are their onsights. But, as someone mentioned earlier, this site can be used to hammer out consensus grades. I don't badmouth the overgraders or try psychoanalsis. It's good to hear from everyone if consensus grades are to emerge. Sorry to open the can of worms.

May 10, 2004
D@n Morta
Boulder, CO
D@n Morta   Boulder, CO
Micah, nice send. Contact me for the rest of the photos.
Dan Nov 1, 2008
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
I definitely have to agree with Kaelen. I got this on my 2nd go, too. I think this is easier than most 12d's in the canyon. Excellent route though, really beautiful sequences on excellent stone. Jul 7, 2010
Keith H. North
Englewood, CO
Keith H. North   Englewood, CO
Got on this route today. I thought it was super fun, really short, so that made it kinda easy. I also know how to crack climb even though I am a sport climber. Got the route 3rd go.

FUN!!! Apr 16, 2011
Tyrel Fuller
Denver, CO
Tyrel Fuller   Denver, CO
My draws are on this as of 9.6.14. Please don't take them. Sep 7, 2014
Your draws are still there, Tye. Safe and sound. I used them. Got the route second go. Nice line.
Let me know if you'd like me to come out and belay you on it soon. Sep 30, 2014
Tyrel Fuller
Denver, CO
Tyrel Fuller   Denver, CO
Good work, Chris! Thanks, man, I went back and did it last weekend. Oct 12, 2014
Boulder, CO
Train4life   Boulder, CO
I think that if you are a boulderer that can tolerate pain...this thing really falls into the 12d/13a range. It isn't too hard, but you DO need a high pain tolerance. Left finger gets stuck around the second clip on a sidepull, so be careful to get it out before you fall. Cool sequences but certainly no more than a 2 star route. If you like to boulder and have done all the classics, then get on this thing! May 18, 2015
Nolan Robertson
Nolan Robertson  
I thought this route was fantastic, Short, but incredibly sustained, power endurance climbing. Definitely one of my favorite 12+/13- routes that I have sent in Clear Creek Canyon! Jun 27, 2017