Type: Trad, 100 ft
FA: Doug Cairns with Diana McWilliams belaying, 1970s, Bill Roberts?
Page Views: 11,350 total · 54/month
Shared By: Joe Collins on Sep 2, 2001
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Aeon Aki

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Access Issue: Dirt roads reopened as of June 2014 Details


Located about 50 feet left of Stinkzig, this line goes through the prominent, overhanging slot/stem box. Due to the enormous ledge between ground and the slot, it is best to do this climb as 2 short pitches though the full climb is probably only 100 feet. The guide calls this one of the best pitches of 5.10 at Vedauwoo. It is strenuous, technical, awkward, and can be made much more difficult if you don't work the back wall of the slot. I found it difficult compared to similarly graded mid-10s at Vedauwoo and Lumpy. Start in the flaring hand crack below the slot.

Pitch 1: Jam the strenuous 5.8 crack 20 feet to the ledge.

Pitch 2: Jam the overhanging crack and stem the slot (crux) on super-polished feet up and out to a 5.7ish OW finish. Belay and enjoy watching the 2nd struggle. If the 2nd isn't solid, consider placing more pro to protect the big swing out of the slot. My 2nd had difficulty getting back on after falling.


A single set of nuts and cams should suffice. Bring a #4 Camalot to protect the final OW moves. Some extra hand sized pieces might help for setting up an anchor on top.


This route has been my nemisis at Vedauwoo. Its the huge arching overhang in the middle of the Nautilus. The second pitch is definitely technical, although the first pitch is short and easy. A better start is the crack in a corner to the right around the end of the higher ledge. On the second pitch the leader needs to go through the offwidth and back over the top of it to belay. This can cause some rope problems (read shreded and stuck)because a cam in the offwidth finsh will flip over if its weighted from where the belay is above and behind it, especially if the second falls. The best option here is actually a Big Bro (size 2 or 3), which will keep the rope running cleanly without moving. This route is kind of a pain in the ass, but the climbing is really fun! May 3, 2002
Most people swear up and down that this is one of the biggest sandbags at Vedauwoo. If you try to on-sight this climb, think more like a sport climber than a crack climber. This route is very sequential and probably the most important moves on the climb are face moves. There are some excellent rests on this climb so keep your eyes open. Mar 15, 2003
Brian Weinstein
Brian Weinstein  
Stout! Utilize the face. Up high, it is rattly fists before the offwidth, a #3.5 Camalot will work well. New bolts atop P2. Enjoy! Oct 7, 2006
Billy Danger
Asheville, NC
Billy Danger   Asheville, NC
I have the utmost respect for this climb. I simply didn't think I could climb it from the base, but utilizing both walls I was able to squirm my way to the final offwidth, where I then proceeded to weenie my way to the top. I was still breathing hard when my partner reached the belay bolts. Great route-a little hard for the grade! Jul 23, 2007
Stephen Marsh
Thornton, CO
Stephen Marsh   Thornton, CO
Sent this last Saturday, had always had wanted to get on this climb. Looking at it from the trail, you wonder how it could be 10b? You have immediate vertigo upon looking up from the start of this and wonder what you've gotten yourself into. The last half was a battle, pure determination not to fall off - mainly 'cause I didn't want to reclimb to my highpoint. At the end, felt nausea and I think all the blood had left my arms. About gear, I'd agree with the 3.5 if you have the old school BDs, it was the last piece I placed. The best way for rope to run is bring a #2 Bigbro. I hung down a bit & placed it after I'd already made it to the anchors. Rope drag was no problem. 10b?, that's Vedauwoo I guess! Oct 1, 2007
Larry   SoAZ
FA by Doug Cairns with Diana McWilliams belaying, in the '70s. Oct 25, 2007
Dan Dalton
Boulder, CO
Dan Dalton   Boulder, CO
I have to agree with the previous comments. I tried to onsight this, and while I got to the top, it was not a clean redpoint. Very cool fusion of sport and trad climbing techniques, but very stout for the grade. Hardest 10b trad I've ever led! Easy to see how it is a classic. Apr 20, 2008
Marc H
Longmont, CO
Marc H   Longmont, CO
Great route. I don't think any single move is harder than .10b, but it's definitely .10b the whole way! When I weighted the rope to lower off (I belayed the second from the intermediate ledge) it flipped one of my cams 90 degrees so that the broad side of the lobes (instead of the narrow side) were against the rock. Sep 12, 2008
D. Shaw  
Compare this pitch to the first pitch of Friday the 13th, which is 10a. This pitch would then, at 10b, be suggested to be only a little bit harder than the other.... Whatever you do though, don't rock the status quo. Good luck, if you can only lead a real 10b. Jul 23, 2010
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
Friday the 13th is a bad climb to compare to, because it is so popular. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but bear with me. First, Friday is super polished, to the point that it will feel two or three letter grades off depending on the temperature and relative humidity. Second, tons of out-of-state climbers and non-regulars get on it first, so its grade is pretty well settled in a national sense. Flying Buttress, on the other hand, sees somewhat fewer ascents, and is therefore more subject to the area-wide sandbag tendency. Jul 23, 2010
Farmington, NC
Carolina   Farmington, NC
This one's got some of best exposure at the Woo. Be sure to jump on it if you in from out of town! Total Classic! Nov 8, 2010
This thing's easily 12-. Mar 9, 2013
"FA by Doug Cairns with Diana McWilliams belaying, in the '70s."

My old partner Bill Roberts suggested he might have led this first, for what it's worth. Who knows? I do know he stuck me on it, long ago (mid-1980s?), and I just flailed.... Dec 8, 2013
bart cubrich 1
bart cubrich 1  
If you get the beta down, I think this can go at 5.10-. No need to do two pitches on it. Bolts still good at top as of this posting. "Pitch 2" is considerably easier than pitch one. May 29, 2014
A fist-sized hex does a great job of keeping the rope out of the crack up high and is a lot less hassle than a big bro. Sep 28, 2014
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
Noah McKelvin   Colorado Springs
One of the better 5.10s out there. Sep 20, 2015