Type: Trad, TR
FA: Roger Briggs and Art Higbee, 1972
Page Views: 5,891 total · 28/month
Shared By: Quinn Stevens on Aug 12, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

65 Opinions

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closure - 2018 Update Details
Access Issue: Reopened after rockfall Details


Cool route with interesting moves. My limited trad experience kept my evaluation to a modest two stars.

The route starts about halfway up the 4th class gully between the second and third buttresses. The climb itself is on the third Buttress. Begin by traversing right across a ledge into the obvious dihedral. Some small, good placements will get you up to a new bolt that protects a few feet below the roof and the first crux. Clip this and then a fixed Friend in the overhead crack. My buddy whipped on this, so the Friend holds, but you may want to back it up with a #0.5 Camalot. Crank through the crux, and resist placing gear in the shallow undercling crack, as it may not hold anyway. Once back on good holds, place some gear and traverse left through the second crux, a left, diagonal undercling crack. The moves on this are sweet and kind of sporty. Pull through this to a no hands rest below a roof. Put in a #1 and crank through the 5.9 roof to 20 feet of easy climbing. Protect the top mantle, and once on top you can set up a great anchor and TR some of the other climbs, or this one.


Rack up to a #1 Friend. You may be able to place a #2 somewhere, but this isn't really necessary. Doubles on .5, .75, and #1 cams is nice.


A very worthwhile route. I found that a #2 Camalot protects the "sporty" undercling well. There is a good flake where you can place the cam and milk a rest before launching up and left through the undercling section. Aug 15, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
This is my favorite route on the Elephant Buttresses and I probably have done it at least 4 times. Finding reasonable rests is key as the route will pump you out fast. I always struggle trying to rest before the second crux (undercling left). Aug 15, 2001
Quinn Stevens
Denver, CO
Quinn Stevens   Denver, CO
GB is right on in his comment about rests. Even though you get a juggy ledge before the second crux, the time you spend placing gear and looking at the undercling saps you. At the ledge, I put my left arm across the hold and as I remember it, I did an inverted (?) right foot knee drop in the vertical crack just below. Inverted meaning drop your knee as if you were sitting indian style, not the more common knee drop. Hug into the rock and the rest is great! Oftentimes sport climbing style makes trad climbing far more difficult than necessary (ie., doing 5.12 face moves next to a 5.8 crack). It's nice when the two styles reinforce each other. Aug 15, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
As Quinn mentions, there is a juggy ledge, and it looks like it should be a pretty good rest. However, the wall overhangs above this ledge, and it can be hard to get off the arms.
Aug 15, 2001
This is a tough route both physically and mentally. After I pulled the 10c crux, I wanted a piece real bad before I did more laybacking to the jug...but you are in this really strenuous laybacking position and it is very hard to place pro--it took everything I had to place a "textbook" red Alien at my waist, but the friggin' rock was so greasy that when I gave her a tug she just slipped right out. This ended any thoughts of a clean ascent (although good gear is available)! QS or GB, do y'all just run it out past the crux to the jug to place gear?? Quite a whip if your foot popped! The second crux is short and powerful, there is a big foot out left that saves you, and a no hands rest afterwards. Sep 19, 2003
Ben Mottinger    
I'll give it 3 stars so the average increases a little--easily 2.5 stars in my book. To follow on Jay's comment, I think a key for this route is not stopping to place gear from those bad stances. You only need the fixed piece at the first crux, a couple pieces in between before the traverse--then go.

And oh BTW, Quinn really is a sport climber so his rack advice up to only #1 Friend is a little skimpy--you can place several pieces in the 2-2.5 range. May 4, 2004
What a great route! I happened to choose one of the hottest, most humid days of the summer to get on it, which added a little excitement, but still didn't find it to be greasy (as mentioned above). This is one of the best 5.10+ trad lines in the canyon IMHO. The fixed friend near the first crux no longer has a sling to clip, so plan on placing a red Alien or equivalent next to it. I think the red Alien / 0.5 Camalot is the only size that I placed more than one of (possibly 2 0.75 Camalots). Jul 16, 2005
Louisville, CO
StanL   Louisville, CO
Cool route with varied and interesting climbing. You can place solid pro from good stances but expect some pretty run-out climbing in between. Great after work climb. Sep 2, 2005
Matt Chan
Matt Chan   Denver
Pretty sustained pitch. Off the belay ledge 5.8 face move lead to another stance below the crux which really zapped me of arm strength for the rest of the pitch. Good gear under the roof lead to a series of underclings to the flake, which is scary feeling. As mentioned above, the jugs at the top of the flake are a relief, but don't really provide much of a rest stop. Place a #1 Camalot in the undercling and jet through to the corner. I fell from this point, as I was totally blown out. The rest is cake. Really good route. Jul 5, 2007
Seattle, WA
danelle   Seattle, WA
Really great climb! I placed mostly nuts and small TCUs (one blue and one yellow). I don't think anything bigger than a #0.5 BD cam is necessary unless you protect by the fixed piece. Also you can find some rests by jamming up and then using that position to place gear. Definitely worth doing. Jun 10, 2008
Boulder, CO
tooTALLtim   Boulder, CO
Take the #2, leave the doubles. Jun 16, 2008
David Youkey
David Youkey  
I did this very fun route again a few days ago, after a decade-and-a-half hiatus. What's up with the "new bolt that protects a few feet below the roof and the first crux"? Don't want to start a bolting spewfest, but I don't think this bolt was here in the old days, and I didn't see any reason to clip it; the protection in the crack is fine. It's not that I was in some heroic run-it-out mood; that bolt just isn't particularly well placed. A useless retro-bolt on a historic route, or am I missing something? Aug 4, 2008
I'm pretty sure the bolt has been there for at least 20 years. Sep 22, 2008
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
Man, what a great route! I went out the Elephant Butt to do it a few times over the past couple months, but it was always wet! It was finally dry this morning, and I jumped on it. What a treat in Boulder's backyard. I think move for move this is easier than Wingtip, but the distance you have to climb before finding a good rest makes them similar in grades. Very, very strenuous.

Take a single rack of BD up to #2 and some smaller stuff, and you'll be fine. I placed a green C3 before the second crux layback up high in the crack above your head (not the one you are liebacking) and basically got a toprope.

And what is up with that bolt? There's a perfectly good nut above it and a bomber 0.5 by the fixed Friend two feet above that nut. Aug 26, 2010
Jon Griffin
Glenwood Springs, Co
Jon Griffin   Glenwood Springs, Co
So, sometime this summer, after climbing Left Wing a handful of times, I decided to replace the old green single piece of one-inch webbing with a rusty link at the top of climb with two new pieces of red one-inch webbing tied with water knots with 4" tails equipped with two links.... So, I was up there this weekend, and it looks like someone has cut out that anchor without replacing it, (not that it needed it at all).... This makes it really fun to get off this climb, even though fun is what climbing is all about, that is why they make webbing for anchors.... Nov 9, 2010

Fair amount of poor quality rock as well as several ledges detract from the classic status. Good rests though throughout if you can relax. The gear on the final traverse is trickier than it looks. It is easy to stuff a piece up into the crack such that it won't fall out when you let go of it, but placing a piece that would actually hold a fall is a different story. Take your time to place good gear here. Aug 29, 2011
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
A fairly bold lead on really cool features with some questionable flakes. There is good gear to be had, but it is not always where you want it. Climb this in the shade. I almost greased off a few times in the hot sun! We built a small anchor on the ledge with the two smallest offset Mastercams, placed two offset DMM nuts early in the corner, a yellow-blue offset Mastercam with a long sling above that, clipped the bolt (although some small nuts or RPs could protect the moves adequately), placed a C4 0.5 next to the stuck Friend (although yellow-orange offset Mastercam would have been easier to clean and even more bomber), and then got a #2 and #1 C4 in the undercling traverse. Make sure you take a good look at the gear in the undercling traverse. The crack is quite flared with some more parallel spots. Gear will rip from flared placements, and you will traverse a ways to the left and up on nontrivial climbing before you can get more good gear in.
Felt like solid (hard) 10+ in the hot sun. Would probably feel much easier in the shade. My partner had to hang to clean the 0.5 C4.... I recommend a yellow-orange or yellow-blue offset Mastercam in its place. Jul 15, 2016