Type: Trad
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,252 total · 6/month
Shared By: George Bell on Aug 29, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

16 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


Scramble up the gully east of Onoclea. Pellaea and Onoclea (named for two genuses of ferns) are separated by a deep notch, but this dies out into a crack at the base of the east face which is only a few inches wide. It is easy to hike too far, because it is hard to see the tops of the formations through the trees.

Start the climb either up this crack, or up the face to it's right. This is the most unpleasant pitch of the climb as there are many pine needles on this face. I climbed up a scruffy face (over a dead log) about 20' right of the crack. After about 80' you come to a tree where you can belay.

Here the route becomes more obvious, you should see the separating crack widening to your left (if it is to your right you are off route on Pellaea!). Follow the crest up easy low angle rock past several small trees. In one section there is a smooth slab (crux!). Finally you will arrive at a small tree under a short, steep headwall. Walk left and crank over this headwall easily on big holds. Pass another tree, and wander on up to the summit.

To descend, scramble down the northeast for about 75' to a tree and rappel 25' north to the ground. From here you can hike east and then back down the gully you came up (very easy and simple), or head west through the second notch north of Onoclea. From the notch, you should look down onto a huge chockstone and the top anchors of the two sport climbs "Rads for Rookies" and "False Gods, Real Men". You can rap these routes to the Fern Canyon trail, or continue north to the summit of the Nebel Horn.


Light rack.


I climbed this route today. Really nice scramble.

We were soloing it and I felt that the crux was rude to solo: the exposure is severe and you need to friction your way up a steep slab with not so good holds (at least I couldn't find them today).

After a serious case of the "chicken shits" a rope was made available to me and instantly the difficulties subsided... Funny how that works.

Anyway, great rock, great setting.

WT Dec 17, 2002
To find this route, don't turn off the main trail before the trail narrows--else you will be climbing Fiddle Head. Also note, the route is significantly run out in many locations, more than the typical Flatiron. I found that the headwall mentioned in the description to be best climbed up the middle, not the left. At least the middle had some protection which really affects my rating criteria. The crux slab is runout--I hit it up and then transversed left and up. I thought the multiple headwalls made the route tougher than 5.3, but maybe that was due to my frustration about the route be runout with out being labeled as such. The scramble down to the rappel and the rappel tree are fine. Aug 1, 2010
Brian C.
Longmont, CO
Brian C.   Longmont, CO
Roach describes after the rappel off Pellea, you can scramble down the gash to reach the east face of Onoclea. We tried this, but the gash is steep/fern-filled, so we climbed a short, vertical wall directly up just a short distance down the gash. This put us on a great belay ledge on Onoclea and 200' from the top. Good way to combo the two, but it bypasses the smooth crux below. Aug 10, 2014
Jamie Princo
Boulder, CO
Jamie Princo   Boulder, CO
If the slab crux isn't your cup of tea, follow the little ledge to where it peters out hanging over the gash. There's a wall full of bomber holds that will get you 2/3rds of the way up the slab, at the small, half-dying tree to climber's left as viewed from below. One solid handhold and a decent foot will bring you home free, big footholds to the main headwall.

jamie Aug 12, 2014
Just south of the tree with the rap anchor there is a funky flake/body-width chimney thing going down to the west that narrows into a fingers/hand crack about halfway down. If you squirm down through the off-width, this goes pretty well, with a few additional holds available on the face on the north side of the crack. Probably cruxier than the actual east face scramble, though. Maybe 5.4-5ish? Dec 3, 2014
The downclimb Anton talks about is only about 30 ft tall and perhaps 20 ft south of the rap tree.

Agree with the description - wriggle west down a chimney for 10 ft to flared but secure hand/finger crack for 15 ft to good jugs. Lower off those to the ground or a licheny boulder. Sep 7, 2018