Type: Trad, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: assorted
Page Views: 38,136 total · 179/month
Shared By: slevin on Sep 25, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


5 stars. This may be THE best crack climb in the South Platte region. If you have not done this route, get after it ASAP. The climb takes on the awesome, striking crack and corner system which splits the south face of Cynical Pinnacle.

Hump up the hill, and find the steep corridor which leads to the start of this and the Center Route. The route described here is "The Complete Wunsch's Dihedral", which avoids the original first pitch.

Pitch 1: the Breashear's Finger Crack, 5.11d. Climb the tight, straight-in finger crack that splits the end of the alcove. It is hard right off the start, with a tricky move through a pod and bulge. The crack remains strenuous most of the way to the end of the pitch. Protect with many wireds and TCUs to 1 or 2 inch cams. Belay on an excellent ledge (fixed anchors). This is a long pitch and is outstanding.

Pitch 2: 5.10d. Climb the sustained, brilliant hand crack directly off the ledge to a semi-sling belay in an alcove below a roof (fixed anchors). Bring extra hand-size cams. It is incredible.

Pitch 3: 5.11a. Awkwardly surmount the roof (possible 4" cam), then stem and lieback your way up the incredible corner. Use wired nuts and TCUs for protection. The corner opens up to a wide 5.8 hand-fist crack higher, so have a piece or 2 in this size also. Belay on a large sloping ledge below a bolt ladder. This is brilliant.

Pitch 4: 5.12b. Ascend the bolt ladder directly. This is very thin, steep nubbin climbing. It is easily (and often) aided. It is also possible to diverge left at the 3rd or 4th bolt and climb the unprotected face at 5.11 (the original free variation). It is stupendous.

If you brought 2 ropes you can rap to the shoulder above the Center Route (one rope to shoulder), then do 2 double rope rappels down the front side (read Center Route comments). With one rope, you can rap off the back side into the gully, then thrash down to a sneak passage back to the front side of the formation.

Per Tim Hare: you can descend from the summit of the Pinnacle with one 60 meter rope. First, use the rap station to the NE, bringing you to the shelf at the top of the Center Route. From there, you can descend the front side face, to the climber's right of the center route on new bolt anchors. The rappels wander slightly but reach the ground in 4 clean and simple rappels.

This formation is closed Feb. to end of July for bird nesting. It can get pretty hot up there in August, and this is doable even mid-winter on a good day.

If I were to list the 4 must-do, classic 5.10-5.11 multi-pitch routes in the state, they would be: Wunsch's Dihedral, The Yellow Wall on the Diamond, The Naked Edge, and The Scenic Cruise.


2 or 3 sets wireds to 3" cam, two 3.5" and one 4" cam.
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
I found the original first pitch to be easier than the others, perhaps due to my hand-crack habit, probably 10c. The smaller your hands are, the better.

The pitch up through the "awkward" roof is not so bad at the roof part. Again, this may be due to what I am used to. I would give the roof 5.9. Once you start up the dihedral to follow, however, the difficult and sustained nature of the pitch will sap you. I found about 40' of sustained fingers to be very pumpy- and the more pumped I got, the more I wanted gear. The more gear I placed, the more I got pumped. The route is a classic and should go on any solid 5.11 climber's "to do" list.

Take a lot of small TCUs to avoid getting pumped placing or cleaning nuts.

Yes, the bolt ladder at the top is safe and can be easily aided by pulling on a few draws. Sep 25, 2001
Ben F
Benfield, Kolorado
Ben F   Benfield, Kolorado
This may be the best route I have ever done (or that has done me). Don't do this route on a hot August day like we did. I found that trying to lead both the 2nd and 3rd pitches is a good way to be sore for the next 2 days. What a great route. Nov 6, 2001
Agree with above - what a route. Everything about it is good. For those without the superhuman fingers (me) I thought the 5.10 start was good. Great positions, each pitch is worthwhile, the summit is very nice.

For the descent, we did get off just fine with one rope into the gully on the back side. I don't know if I'll bring a second rope next time or not - the gully was full of poison ivy, but I really like not having to bring two ropes. Jan 14, 2002
Dan St. John
Castle Rock
Dan St. John   Castle Rock
Super Climb. Here is the easy variation 5.11b:

P1: 5.8 climb up to the base on the stunning hand crack in the corner with the deluxe ledge with fixed anchor (one bolt, fixed nut and slings). Pro to # 4 Camalot, 100ft.

P2: 5.11a climb the stunning hand/fist/finger crack to a small belay one two fixed pins with slings. Back up the anchor with 0.75 Camalot, 70ft.

P3: 5.9+ climb up an awkward flaring chimney with a finger crack in the back. The pitch climbs like a back and foot chimney to fixed slings in an alcove below the roof, 50ft.

P4: 5.11b (Aliens + TCU Metolius + nuts + (3.5, 2x3, 2x2, 1, 0.75, 0.5, 0.4 Camalots). Turn (#3.5 Camalot) the roof which is not bad at all, a bit awkward, 5.9+ or 5.10-. You will want a #3 Camalot after pulling the roof, good stance. Then the crack become fingers. This is the business, and efficient climbing is a must. I felt no move was harder then 5.10+ yet I was stopped on this pitch by the pumpy nature and gear management was difficult. I climbed the 50 feet of fingers by stemming, layback, and counter pressure into the corner you must rack you gear on a sling so you can swing it from side to side, this is critical, and I will not make the mistake on the RP attempt. In addition, for comfort you will want 2 #3 Camalots and 2 #2 Camalots to finish out the easy hand and fist crack. I walked one #3 the total distance, so it is not mandatory. At the top of the pinnacle, belay of a old quarter inch bolt below the bolt ladder. If you wish back up the anchor with a big piece, #4. Long pitch.

P5. Descent: Getting off, aid the bolt ladder to the top of the pinnacle to achive the summit and the rap route. Hi-Five, rap down to the Center Route finish, Rap the Center route Rappel Route.

Remark: P1 & P2 often combined by stronger climbers. P3 described is easier than continuing in the corner proper. Sep 23, 2002
Ok so this route is amazing.....hard to imagine a route better than the Center Route in Colorado, well it exists and it is on the same rock. The second pitch is one of the most aesthetic and physically demanding pitches of climbing I have ever led, if you can have four or five pieces each in the number one and two size. I had triples and even with 8-12 feet between pieces I ran out of gear and had to step right 2/3 of the way up the pitch. The crux pitch is also a gear eater, you're gonna want Aliens.All and all if you love karate chop jams, pulling cool roofs, being terrified and spicy laybacks....do this climb, but be in shape. The second pitch is soft for 11a but the crux pitch is full on 11a/b and they are both long and sustained. Nov 19, 2002
A Colorado top three climb. I've done it many times and it still delights. If it were in Yosemite, it would be a classic just a shade below this Rostrum -- pitch for pitch, it's at least as good.

This route is climbable on cold, sunny days. The valley below, where you park, is much colder than the route. I've left the car at around 9am on a February day with the temp at -5F , yet been comfortable on the route.

WARNING: this route, as well as Center Route next door, is a rope eater. Be careful at belays and especially if you have to rap the route.

I agree with Steve's rack recommendation, but don't forget quickdraws. Long slings are useful for aiding the bolt ladder. The first 60' of P2 is a strenuous hand crack where it's nice to have extra hand size pieces.I like having the smaller Rocks for the dihedral above the roof -- I trust them more and they don't block key fingerlocks.

The Breashears Finger Crack is the highest quality of the first pitch options, but it presents a crux right off the deck, well before you're "firing on all cylinders." One possible solution to this problem is to warm up on the lower half of Monkeys in the Forest. Another is to do the easy (right hand) start for about 30 ', bypassing the finger crack, and then switch to the left crack ; from this point, the left crack is three star easy 5.10 while the right is one star 5.9. A third option is to do Breashears after climbing and rapping the route; you can establish an anchor at the 30' point from which point most people capable of climbing the BFC will be able to easily downclimb unroped back to the ground. For the record, I feel the BFC is easy for the grade, even at 11d.

The second pitch can be broken up by belaying at a ledge on the right after about 60'. This ledge forms the start of Fender's Dihedral, an easier (5.9+) alternative to the upper part of the second pitch; I don't recommend this variation -- it hurts the toes, is covered in birdshit and bypasses an excellent stretch of climbing which has always felt easier than 11a (10c?).

The roof feels like solid 5.10 or 10+ and is probably harder for shorter people or those with small hands. There is a decent stance just above the roof, which is nice because from there you've got 50' of continuous climbing and protecting until the first good break. If you're gassed, out of pro or just want to savor the route a bit more, this ledge is a good belay. Nov 21, 2002
justin dubois
Estes Park
justin dubois   Estes Park
Does anyone know if the closure is in effect this year as of March 10? Mar 10, 2003
Yo Justin, I believe the closure is in effect every year, but check the Access Fund's website first before you trust me. CLIMB ON!! Apr 28, 2003
Kre   Colorado
  • *WOW** What an amazing route!! This is a must do for anyone who loves to crack climb. The Breashears finger crack is fantastic! And the rest is even better!! Recommended gear:pitch 1: double green (.5) and yellow (.75) Aliens for the beginningpitch 2: bring extra #2 friends (#1 Camalot) pitch 3: #3 Camalot is useful for the roof, and save a #4 friend (#3 or #3.5 Camalot) for the toppitch 4: Long slings are useful (if you or your partner plan on aiding)
Sep 23, 2003
Oh my God! I just did this route this weekend and now I can't wait to go back and do it again. Every pitch on this route is stellar, and the gear, bomber. Be sure to be the one to lead the first pitch. The belay ledge that you will arrive at is top notch. Bring a pillow. Sep 29, 2003
Stefan Griebel
Boulder, Colorado
Stefan Griebel   Boulder, Colorado
Colorado's own mini-Astroman! The 5.12 slab is a welcome substitution for the Harding Slot....

Double ropes would be nicer, but you can rap back to your starting point with a single 60m rope in 5 rappels. There is a bolted face climb to the right of Wunsch's and Center route that wanders up the face and has beefy bolted anchors every 100 feet. The anchors are not in line with each other, and you'll have to swing over a bit to reach 2 of them.

Rap 1: from the summit, west to the shoulder (top of Turf Spreader). Rap 2: climber's right down to the top of the perfect crack splitting the face. Rap 3: climber's left down to visible anchors on the bolted climb. Rap 4: straight down to another set of anchors on the bolted climb. Rap 5: to the ground. Sep 13, 2004
SirVato   Boulder
For full value, try linking the crux pitches it's tough. Feb 12, 2007
Link which crux pitches, Breashears FC && the 12c slab 350' higher up? Feb 12, 2007
Kevin Stricker
Evergreen, CO
Kevin Stricker   Evergreen, CO
The hardman linkup is as follows.

Breshear's to ledge - 5.11+;
70m linkup to the shoulder - 5.11+;
Final bolt ladder - 5.12b.

You can also linkup the entire route in 2 60m pitches if rope soloing. Feb 13, 2007
Nate Moore
On the road
Nate Moore   On the road
I took some photos of somebody on this route on Aug. 11th, and I forgot to leave my email address on your car. If you still want them, PM me and I will email them to you. Sorry about that.
Nate Aug 13, 2007
Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett   Michigan
We took advantage of the stellar weather today and climbed the route in t-shirts and shorts (in January!) All I can say is WOW, this climb is amazing. It had a few of the best crack pitches I've ever been on.
I especially loved all the great nut placements, these cracks really seem to eat them up. I would recommend bringing a few extra med. and lg. nuts if you're a fan of bitchin, no-brainer placements.
I found that protecting the first cruxy part of the Breashears crack was tough with cams, since the crack was so irregular, and my advice to anyone going for the send would be to rack a few nuts (maybe BD size 8-10) on draws on the front of your harness.
-Scott Jan 21, 2009
Everybody's hands are a bit different so saying "hand-sized" pro is a bit ambiguous. I would recommend taking a few extra #3 Camalots (or similar sized pro in your favorite SLCD) for the crack on pitch 2. Also, there are some very conveniently placed scoops on the right wall about every 20-25 feet on that pitch which afford nice stem rests. Dec 3, 2009
Kat A
Boulder, CO
Kat A   Boulder, CO
If you "French Free" the bolt ladder, it feels like solid 5.11 climbing between the bolts. Unless you've got Go-Go-Gadget arms. Oct 10, 2010
Petaluma California
stevecurtis   Petaluma California
This route, and the top half of the Rostrum, have my votes for the best crack climbs in America. Come to think of it, in traveling the world, I haven't seen better. Breashers can be painful. Not a good warm up. Then again, starting the Rostrum from the midway ledge, one is presented with a similar problem. Nov 7, 2010
Kat A
Boulder, CO
Kat A   Boulder, CO
My partner and I did this route twice recently, and after each leading all the pitches we decided a good rack for this route is as follows (taking the 5.10 P1 variation): 1 blue Alien, 2 green Aliens, 3 yellow Aliens, 4 #0.5 Camalots, 4 #0.75 Camalots, 4 #1 Camalots, 3-4 #2 Camalots, 3-4 #3 Camalots, 2 #4 Camalots. P1 doubles up to #3 is sufficient (5.10 variation), P2 1 yellow Alien, 2-3 #0.5 Camalots plus everything up through a #4 Camalot for belay (save a #1 Camalot for near the top of the pitch!), P3 all small gear through #0.75 plus 3-4 #1 Camalots, 2 #2 Camalots, 2 #3 Camalots and a #4 Camalot. The leader will appreciate you using a large nut and a #4 cam at the start of the P2 ledge belay instead of a hand-sized cam. Nov 8, 2010
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
It is completely possible to rap with one 60m rope off the top of this climb.

1st: rap from the summit to the shoulder at the top of Center Route.
2nd: rap off the normal anchors at the top of Center Route, trending climber's right to the top of the third pitch of Turf Spreader. There is one bolt and a slung nest here that you can rap off of. ~90ft!! Tie knots!!!
3rd: rap off these anchors and trend back left to a double bolt anchor. Big pendulum here!
4th: rap straight down to a hidden anchor ~60-70 feet below.
5th: rap straight down to the 4th class ledges ~100ft.

I would recommend an autoblock. I did not use an autoblock and resorted to heel-toe cam acrobatics to traverse the large horizontal crack to get to the anchor at the top of Turf Spreader. ALSO, TIE KNOTS!! The end of the rope is not far away on a couple of these raps. Nov 9, 2010
Tommey-James   Boulder,Colorado
I got a #4 stuck at the top of the third pitch belay. We were running out of light, so I had to leave it. If someone gets it out, I will gladly buy you any 6 pack of your choice. If not, it is a good cam and I hope it comes in useful for you. Nov 28, 2011
reboot   .
Tommey, the cam was still there 12/10. The bad news (for you) is we left it, as it's a good belay piece (with 1st bolt of P4) for those with no wide gear left at top of P3. It didn't look very stuck at all though, so get back on it!

As for the rap, I remember there used to be a nest of gear on Center Route, so you can do 4 raps with a 70m (now about the only thing 70m is good for is linking P2 & P3). Try to hand traverse a bit on the 2nd rap Phil described to get to P3 of Turf Spreader; there are enough things in the way to kill the momentum if you try to penji. Dec 12, 2011
Great day up on Wunsch's on Thursday, 8/16 although my partner was unable to clean a yellow TCU 1/2 way up the 3rd pitch and somehow a purple BD c3 worked its way off my harness and fell (presumably) onto the 1st pitch ledges.... If anybody finds one/both of these, I would be EXTREMELY grateful. Thanks! Aug 18, 2012
Peter Yakovchuk
Tempe, AZ
Peter Yakovchuk   Tempe, AZ
There was a fixed BD #9 right before the awkward slot on Breashear's. I removed it yesterday. I can give it back to the owner in exchange for a beer or for free if you live in Boulder. I only TR'ed it, and all I can say it feels slightly harder than Gill Crack (on TR). Any other thoughts? Sep 30, 2012
Hey Tommey-James, I have your #4. It came out really easy. I sent you an email as well. Be glad to get it back to you. Sep 30, 2012
You can rap off the front side with one 70 meter rope using the fixed sling belay below the 3rd pitch of Center Route. Nov 4, 2012
We got a #0.75 Camalot stuck on the last pitch, and it was getting cold & dark quick, so we didn't spend too much time trying to free it. If anyone is able to get it out, I'd love to get it back in exchange for beer, hugs, & general goodwill (or a cash prize). Nov 12, 2012
Ryan Chelstowski
Colorado Springs, CO
Ryan Chelstowski   Colorado Springs, CO
Can anyone tell me how this would be for an aid solo? Pretty well protected the whole way? Feb 16, 2013
Santa Monica, Ca.
YDPL8S   Santa Monica, Ca.
Why in the heck would you want to do that? Feb 16, 2013

All but the last 10 feet. You would want to do it on a day when it is snowing or something, as there would probably be a lot of annoyed people trying to pass you. Feb 18, 2013
Jay 1975
Bonedale, CO
Jay 1975   Bonedale, CO
Gotta start on the 12 tips! A bit of a flash pump but waay worth it. One of the best climbs around for sure. Sep 23, 2014
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
Here is some useful gear beta if you can walk cams (including Breashear's crack):
Doubles from tips to C4 #2 and 1 C4 #3, 1-2 sets of stoppers. If you would like more gear on the hand crack, bring triples of #1. No #4 is necessary for leading the enduro hands corner or the next pitch. An offset nut or two is useful for Breashear's. Sep 14, 2015

Full on brutal sun until about mid day, then shaded until the last pitch. Aug 29, 2017
Owen Murphy
Fort Collins, CO
Owen Murphy   Fort Collins, CO
Had a blast on this as a team of three. Nothing like having a couple hecklers to give you shit from a hanging belay. Don't worry, we climbed fast, and nobody was behind us. Hard to imagine a more perfect line in CO. Oct 9, 2017
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
It's weird to me that everyone calls this 5.11. It's 5.11 A0 or more specifically, mid-5.12. Seems like calling it 5.11 is a holdover to a period in time when 12b was a futuristic grade (that was a very long time ago in case anyone's wondering).

Also calling the bolt ladder steep is pretty misleading. It's all less than vertical and is pretty straightforward as slab climbing goes (and is pretty fun climbing!). Regardless, a beautiful line! Nov 7, 2017
Michael Underwood
Broomfield, CO
Michael Underwood   Broomfield, CO
This climb is rad, but the rappel anchors are not. The anchor at the summit is a bunch of tat slung directly through the bolt hangers - not bomber. Even a beefy pair of quicklinks through the hangers would be a great improvement. Weather-beaten cordelette (which no doubt sees a good dose of UV exposure daily) going straight over 90 degree metal hanger edges is something we should probably avoid. I'll bring links or perhaps some chain next time I get on this, but if one of you beat me to the job, please let us all know.

Also, the little alcove you have to stop at halfway down the face has had the same old tat on it for quite a while now, too. The solution here is to replace it with new webbing or cord. If you have a wrench, there are two quicklinks already there and a rap ring too, if memory serves. Once again, I'm happy to do some public service and replace that stuff myself, but it might be a while before I get back on the climb, so consider improving the anchor for good karma if you happen to be going up. Feb 7, 2019 · Temporary Report