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Routes in Fiddlehead

A Shadow Sickness T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Castles Made of Sand S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Chains of Love T,S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
East Face/Fiddle Head T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Fertile Crescent. T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13
Irish Spring T,S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Leprechaun Promenade S,TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Lucky Charms aka Rip This Joint T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Men Only T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Stemadilemma T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Surfing Samarsa T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13
Unknown Dihedral T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Type: Trad, Sport, 2 pitches
FA: Colin Lantz, et al.
Page Views: 7,268 total, 37/month
Shared By: Pinklebear on Oct 29, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


This is the only route I know of that has made the cover of Time Magazine. Check out a back issue from about two or three summers ago to see Beth Wald's vintage shot of Colin Lantz busting a sick dead hang off the stonker huecos on the crux pitch whilst clad in radical 80's lycra!

Chains, while it does have an intermediate belay, can be done in one pitch with 70-meter rope. It climbs out the enormous, pocketed roof on the west side of Fiddlehead, about 70 yards downhill and south from Rip This Joint, Irish Spring, etc.

Pitch one climbs past a bolt below twin cracks in a right-facing corner zone. Above the bolt, you can move past two pins (5.9 or so -- use long slings to avoid rope drag if you're doing this in one pitch) and some smaller/hand-size cams in the right crack to reach another bolt, then a rightward traverse across the belay ledge. (Alternately, climb the left and wider of the two cracks -- bring up to #4 Camalot). You'll see a two-bolt and chain anchor out right, if you're pitching this out.

Pitch two climbs the stunning overhang above via 7 bolts, to double-bolt (and chain) anchors up and right over the lip. If you're doing this as a single pitch from the ground, I don't think you'd come over and clip this belay, as the drag would be awful.

This is one of the funnest, most gymnastic overhangs in the Flatirons and is a "must-do" for the grade.

If you do this route with a 60m and your second wants to follow it, you can lead it all in one pitch from the ground, tramming in while lowering to reach the belay atop pitch one (have him tie a knot in the rope end, regardless!). Belay your second up from here while he cleans the draws. Have him thread and lower back to you (staying trammed in), and then rap once to the ground. Bizzlin...


Lots of quickdraws, a few longer slings, and medium TCUs to hand-sized cams if doing the right crack on pitch one; hand to #4 Camalot size if doing the left crack.

70-meter rope if you plan to lower all the way to the ground off the top anchors, atop pitch two.
Colin Lantz
Nederland, CO
Colin Lantz   Nederland, CO
Chains of Love: I did the first ascent of this route on June 17, 1989. Greg Robinson did the second ascent the next day. Paul Pomeroy did the third shortly thereafter. Greg and Paul were there from the get-go also working the route and hanging out in Fern Canyon, a fun place to hide from the sun and the heat under the dense pine canopy that summer of 1989. We had lots of good times, found lots of new routes and had a lot of good laughs. I did this route (on a rest day) while I was working on the second ascent of Verve which I did four days later. The picture on the cover of Time Magazine was shot on August 6, 1989 from a photo session with Beth Wald. Photographers were always bugging you to wear bright colors for a photo shoot back then. At the time, I would have done almost anything to get my picture in Climbing Magazine. Little did I know... The Time Magazine cover came out ten years later. Evidently, from talking to Beth, Time called when she was out of the country. One of her staff pulled some stock photography to fullfil their request for photos showing "risky" outdoor activities like rock climbing. I am not sure Beth would have selected that picture as there is a bolt right next to my hip - yeah, not too risky at all. I'd often ask, "Did you see my picture on the cover of Time?". The quick witted reply, "Yes I did, but who is the climber?", was perfect. Got that one a bunch, i.e., I'm the monkey so who is the climber? I was also working on the first ascent of Violator during the same period. Wow, looking back at my log that was such a great time. I was working for Greenpeace part-time canvassing in the evenings and I was climbing almost every day. My Social Security statements tell me that my annual income was $3,314 that year. I had no money and was the happiest I've ever been because all I had to do every day was focus on what I loved to do, climb. Thank you Jason, Matt and the ARI for replacing the bolts on this route. We didn't have a lot of money for bolts back then and we used whatever we could find at McGuckin Hardware.

I bolted this route the day before the first ascent. I hiked to the top alone and got freaked out by a big swarm of bees hovering in the trees below the slab that leads up the backside of the route. As I started climbing up the slab the swarm of bees lifted, en masse, and started following me up the 100 yard slab. I started sprinting up the slab and just as I got to the top the swarm descended on top of me. Super freaked out now, I squeezed under a big potato chip of a boulder on the summit and waited it out. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably less than a minute, the swarm pulled away and flew back down the slab into the pine forest. I never got stung even though the bees where crawling all over me as I tried to burrow farther underneath the boulder. It took a few minutes to regain my composure but eventually I drilled the anchor and then rappelled and down-aided the roof placing the bolts in reverse. It was just one of those moments in life that get etched into your memory. I don't think I'll ever forget that day. This route just exuded quality from the start. The cliche was "instant classic", but this one really felt that way. The position, the movement, the rock quality, it was all four star. One of the best at the grade in the Flatirons in my opinion. By the way, we had fixed pins on the first pitch for protection, but over the years they have all been removed. Dec 18, 2009
A worthy days effort on Labor Day. Thanks for all the hard work rebolting these routes. Sep 2, 2008
Matt Samet and I replaced all eight bolts plus the top and middle anchors today with beefy 1/2" stainless bolts from the Anchor Replacement Initiative (ARI). Please support them if you don't already. Most of the old bolts were mismatched sizes and quality ranging from decently rusty and thick to sketchy skinny and loose. Three old bolts were a unique size that we did not have a wrench that worked for and so they are still in the rock next to the new bolts. We hope to return next weekend to remove them, sorry. The route is super safe and classic as ever though, so get on it. In my opinion, a top 10 sport route in Boulder. Sep 1, 2008
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner? Aug 12, 2005
Just after they did the photo shoot I was up there hiking and I saw this dude named Roland Thompson free solo this route.

He did the same sick hang that Colin did, only without a rope.

That dude was crazy - is he dead yet? Aug 11, 2005
Sounds like Lanzano may have chopped MORE than 5 feet off his rope thus necessating having his belayer climb up to the first bolt. Lesson learned: use a 70 M rope on this route or retire your old, worn out ropes.... Aug 8, 2005
Ted Lanzano
Boulder, CO
Ted Lanzano   Boulder, CO
A couple of thoughts on Chains of Love:

- We did this climb as one long pitch and a 60 meter rope did NOT get me to the ground. Even though our rope had been chopped about 5 feet, I was still about 10 - 15 feet from the bottom when we ran out of rope. The belayer worked his way up to the first bolt to get me down.Lower slowly and be sure to tie a knot at the end of your rope!

- There are two cracks to choose from on the first trad section.We chose the right hand one(which looked like the most direct line) and this felt like 5.10 to me. Not all that easy, but good gear.

-This route is fantastic and true [Flatirons] classic. Very nice steep climbing on cool crimps, jugs and pockets. Great setting. The trad pitch is fun too, and a good warmup for what waits above. Aug 8, 2005
Ken Cangi
Eldorado Springs, CO
Ken Cangi   Eldorado Springs, CO
I agree with Matt. This route is super fun. I easily did it in one pitch. The route looks imposing, from the ground, but it is all there. It has been a long time since I did this classic, but I remember the crux being a killer cross-over move from an undercling into good holds, then a sprint up the headwall. Just when you start to get pumped, the wall eases up to vertical, and finishes on small, positive edges. Jul 16, 2005
There is nothing quite like a good pumpy lip encounter. Sep 16, 2004
kind of ironic that the Time magazine article is about risk, and the picture shows a guy climbing a bolted route.

The fashion risk, on the other hand, is extreme. Dec 10, 2003
Time cover: Sept 6, 1999 (for story "Why We Take Risks")you can check it out at:… (at least until they change their web site) Nov 26, 2003