Type: Boulder
FA: Paul Glover, John Dunne
Page Views: 3,996 total · 19/month
Shared By: Pinklebear on Oct 25, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

14 Opinions

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


The Gutter is a fine alternative to the Ghetto during the seasonal raptor closure which runs from February 1 through July 31 each year. While not as big or inspiring a bouldering slot, it's a handy place to get a pump, and can be combined with the Satellite Boulders, the Yarbles or the Compound to yield a nice circuit.

The Gutter sits directly below and east of the large overhang on the very left (south) side of the Second Flatiron. Approach via the Third Flatiron trail, but once at the Satellite Boulders (BBC in particular) cut right into the trees and follow the gully up to the base of the Second Flatiron. The Gutter will be on your right. It is a dark, left-diagonalling slot (what else?) with tons of chalk on the lip holds. Approach time: 20-25 minutes.

The traverse can be done many different ways, the easiest being to stay more or less on the lip, the hardest being to say more or less as low as possible through the beginning and middle. You'll encounter some very cool holds along this 90 feet of climbing: huecos, iron-rock flakes, tiny pockets and the ubiquituous Flatirons crimpers.

The Gutter is good in the afternoons during the hotter months but perfectly viable mid-day during the winter due to its slightly southerly exposure and rock slab landing, which is quick to melt out after a snowstorm.


Since this is a slot a crash pad won't do you much good. Wear a thick t-shirt so you don't raspberry your back if you crater.


This is one of my favorite traverses but I think it's really overrated difficulty-wise. The most natural way to do it for me starts on the lip, moves down below the lip to a flake, rest after the flake, go almost straight up to a jug high on the lip, rest, move down off the lip to a hole and left on some slopers, then almost straight up again to another rest on big holds up high, then the crux section moving down off the lip again on crimps so low that it's difficult to keep off the slab below, then more hard moves getting back up to the lip, and finally some easier moves along the lip to the finish. Seems like this way is about a V3???? Jan 11, 2002
I've gotta say this is probably the coolest traverse in Boulder. Technically, it isn't too tough. There are two sections where the moves are difficult to find, but I think the rating is probably around V6-V7. No one move is tougher than V3, but its very long and pumpy. The best thing to do is just to go find it and have fun. Jan 28, 2003
This is a pretty fun traverse, reminiscent of some of the super long, little-known traverses (like Norwegian Wall) on West Mountain at Hueco. I have to disagree with the grade, however. A V6/V7 rating translates to someting like 5.13-. I think 5.12 endurance is about all that's required to send, so I'd be more apt to give it V4/5. Jan 29, 2003
keith story
Boulder, CO
keith story   Boulder, CO
I'd say it would be a V5 if you swung all the way through it without resting. Most of the moves are pretty easy though.

Love this piece of rock. Sep 6, 2009
Eric Carlos
Chattanooga, TN
Eric Carlos   Chattanooga, TN
If you stay low through the beginning and middle, this thing is definitely V7/13a. The gastons and crimps are pretty tough in that section. I would say there is a 10 ft V5/V6 under there. That, with the rest of the climb, it is Solid V7 IMO. Apr 1, 2012
Erik N
Boulder, CO
Erik N   Boulder, CO
This traverse has many variations. The three classic versions go at V4, V7 and V8. I’ll describe the routes as I know them. The V4 version is generally higher and scarier. The other versions are lower and safer.

Two prominent gaps split the traverse into approximately equal thirds. All routes start at the base of the ramp on a right-sloping hold.
(Optional extended start: walk 30 feet east, then traverse back west along the V0 slab.)

First third:
V4: stay high, using mostly holds on the vertical face all the way to the gap. You might use a hold or two at the upper lip as well.
V7 and V8: two thin cracks split the edge of the lower lip at about 10 and 15 feet from the starting hold. Option 1: at the second crack, move left into the cave. Climb good crimps and a sloping rail inside the cave all the way to the gap. Option 2: move left at the first crack to add a couple of V5 moves before joining Option 1. This version is harder but not as obvious. It does not increase the overall grade.

Second third:
V4: grom the gap, the height of the wall from the lower lip to the upper lip increases to about ten feet tall. For the V4, continue up and leftward near the lip for about ten feet. At about the middle of the height of the wall, leave the lip and span leftward four feet to a good hold. This is the crux. This is also the most exposed move of the route, as most people cannot smoothly step back onto the slab from here. Continue on pockets and slopers to the second gap.
V7: follow the lip as for the V4, but move left a few feet lower. Use a crimpy rail, a crimpy ear, and a crimpy V before rejoining the V4 on better holds.
V8: climb under the V7, avoiding the crimpy rail, ear and V and utilizing several small crimps, holds inside the cave, and a well-polished sloper that serves as the foothold for the V4 crux. From the sloper (under the crimpy V and ear of the V7), climb or dyno into the cave, and continue to the gap on the huecos. This path often does not have chalk.

Third third:
V4: about ten feet above the second gap the rock bulges southward. Use this bulge for your feet and grab holds near the lip. Continue to the tree and finish with a mantel.
V7 and V8: stay low and use the crimps on the bulge for your hands or heelhooks. Reach the large hueco, and try to fit your body inside. Option 1: Pulling out of the large hueco, use holds below the lip for another ten feet or so, then surf the lip to the end and mantel. This is slightly easier but more sensible than option 2. Option 2: stay low all the way to the tree. There are holds. The crux will be avoiding the dab, since your butt will be about two inches off the ground.

Each gap offers a good kneebar and the opportunity for a no hands rest. I have heard some climbers argue that using the kneebars weakens the grade. In my experience, milking the kneebars comes at a cost to core strength and right toe strength, both of which are crucial in later cruxes. I find that whether I milk the “rest” or fly right through the difficulty remains about the same. Of course, standing up into the gap for a full rest, or climbing over the top and sitting for a while, would reduce the overall grade significantly. Sep 5, 2017