Type: Trad, 90 ft (27 m)
FA: Matt Samet, Steve Dieckhoff, Haven Iverson, 2000 I think; bolted by Steve Annecone and Lynn Hill 2016
Page Views: 9,571 total · 39/month
Shared By: Pinklebear on Aug 11, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


Primate is a mixed bolt-and-gear lead on the south face of Seal Rock. It was originally done as a gear lead, headpoint-style, with the gear pre-placed. This was in the era when bolting was banned in the Flatirons, so it was either toprope or headpoint or move on. Thanks to the Flatirons Climbing Council, OSMP, and the hard work and lobbying by Flatirons climbers, Seal Rock's south face opened to bolting in 2012. This route was applied for and approved through the Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the FCC and has since had bolts added to it to make it a more approachable lead.

Seven bolts plus gear. A spicy climb but by no means unsafe if you can wiggle the gear in to supplement the bolts. The route breaks naturally into two sections

First section (5.12a/b PG-13): climb up to a high first bolt and move into a faint corner. Here you sling a good horn and place a nut and/or TCU. Move right into huecos and stand tall to place a couple of TCUs at the base of a diagonal slot. Keep traversing up and left a few moves to find a good foot stance and clip a bolt; continue strenuously up and left past one more bolt to reach a couple of undercling cracks at a break midway up the wall. A #2 and #3 Camalot go well here in the right break, and you can even place a #4 in the left break if you don't mind carrying it. Use long draws as needed.

Second section (5.13 PG): Bust out of the undercling to a mini-jug and clip. Climb straight up the black streak on slopers and blobs to pass another bolt (crux). Run it out a bit up and left, clip a bolt off a good undercling, and move into the "pebble crux." There is one more final bolt in the groove, and you can place a bomber #1 Camalot above that to protect going to the anchors.

NOTE: you can also start on Choose Life/Thunder Muscle and move up and right into the undercling break from the third bolt; this is an easier, less committing link-up start, but it also misses about 45 feet of killer climbing on very unique rock and is not the original line, so... This is called "Puntmate" (Boulder 5.12d), so no fluffing the grade on your scorecard, hommies.

This route takes a direct line up the overhanging south face of Seal Rock, ending in a deep water groove which continues up the slab to the rock's summit. It starts more or less halfway along the south face of Seal Rock and has a large, flat boulder at its start. The line can also be recognized by a deep break at mid-height and by the bulging black streak which gives way to the upper water groove.

Start 15 feet down and left of the right-facing corner and boulder up past a horn into a left-trending band of huecos and pockets. Follow this to the break (12a s). Load the break up with as much as you've got (1-5" cams) and punch it up the black streak via continuous climbing on perfect stone (5.13 s/vs). A tube chock below the upper crux held a short whipper on toprope, but if it failed would deposit you on the deck 70+ feet below.

This route was done headpoint style and the gear was pre-placed on toprope prior to the lead. It climbs some of the strangest, most colorful water-sculpted sandstone in the Flatirons, yielding moves more akin to limestone tufa climbing than your typical Fountain fare.

It is a 90-foot pitch.


8 or 10 quickdraws, some trad slings, small TCUs (up to big fingers), stoppera, Camalots 1, 2, 3 (4 optional); 60-meter rope.

If you're setting up a top-rope, bring two 100+ foot lengths of static cord to rig the anchor. One you can tie off to a bomber horn high on the left (south) side of Seal Rock's slabby east face. Rappel down off this horn and rig your second rope to a set of old double bolts at the lip of the wall, just uphill from the watergroove which is Primate. Run the ropes into the water groove and run a 60 meter cord through them. Rappel down, placing directionals to help you stay in.

For leading: double cams up to 5", one set of RP's, one medium (green) tube chock, one #00 Metolius TCU, one (red) Lowe ball.