Type: Trad
FA: T. Fender & J. Burbank. FFA: R. Briggs & L. Studer, '74
Page Views: 6,418 total · 31/month
Shared By: Andrew Wellman on Oct 31, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

39 Opinions

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closure - 2018 Update Details
Access Issue: Reopened after rockfall Details


This route is on the Third Elephant Buttress, on the north side. To access it walk along the pipe till you reach a gully between the Second and Third Buttresses. Scramble about 20 feet up the gully to the base of the climb. This climb follows a left facing dihedral that begins about 40 feet up. The route is to the right of Left Wing and starts up a short face to an obvious, chalked finger crack. Make some challenging moves to gain the finger crack (5.10ish) and follow the crack a few moves to a great rest below the steep part. You can climb up and left to reach higher and get in toprope pro for the start of the crux sequence, then downclimb and fire straight up from the crack. Pull a couple of awkward, strenuous and pumpy moves, mixed in with a few insecure feeling wide stems through the steep bulge. There are a few fixed pins in this section. Where the bulge enters the dihedral is the crux. From a slopey right facing lieback reach around a corner to your left and gain an elusive finger lock. Getting your feet anywhere and shifting into the dihedral is good and balancy, and will have you in doubt until the end. From here, rest and breath and then follow the dihedral up much easier ground to a nice belay ledge. To gain the top climb a short second pitch (5.6). This route has great pro and excellent, challenging moves. I really recommend it to anyone in the area who feels like climbing something harder than what The Dome has to offer.


Standard trad rack with emphasis on TCUs and small stoppers is good. You don't need anything bigger than a #1 Camalot. Bring some long slings and draws, because there are many fixed pins.


Chris Dawson
Grand Junction, CO
Chris Dawson   Grand Junction, CO
This route is called FM. Probably the best line on the Elephant Buttresses. Nov 5, 2001
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
There is a bizarre sequence to the crux where I climbed a full rotation. Anyone else do that, too?

Addendum: Anyone know why it's called FM? Mar 7, 2002
Chris Dawson
Grand Junction, CO
Chris Dawson   Grand Junction, CO
I got out in a really wide stem and was able to switch my hands into the dihedral with no problem. This made getting into the fingerlocks pretty easy, meaning the crux for me was the steeper climbing below. I have really long legs however, so this might not be feasible for everyone. Mar 11, 2002
FM is one of the BEST one pitch trad routes I have climbed. The rock quality and movement are exceptional!! In addition to the pitons, there are two fixed stoppers in the extended "old school" 5.11 crux section. May 30, 2005
Oh my gosh, you mean that that fixed stopper that was there back in '82 is still there?
Wow! Apr 4, 2006
Chris Sheridan
Boulder, CO
Chris Sheridan   Boulder, CO
I went up to FM today with a hammer, chisel, and a selection of pitons with the hopes of clearing away and replacing the piton that broke on me a few weeks ago. As soon as I got a good look at remainder of the pin, I realized there was no hope in replacing it. The pin broke off well inside the crack and reaching it was near impossible, so the hammer and chisel were never put to use. I did notice a good stopper placement a few inches above the pin and a very good cam placement above that, so the route is still well protected through the crux, you'll just have to work a little more for it. Aug 26, 2006
Boulder, CO
Ian   Boulder, CO
I remember clipping a number of fixed nuts and pitons on this climb a few weeks ago, but there are only the piton below the crux and another fixed nut higher up on the crux now. A green Alien will protect the traverse crux well. Aug 30, 2006
Rob Kepley
Rob Kepley   Westminster,CO
Hands down 4 STARS! This is an incredible route that eats great pro all the way up. Although, some is quite strenuous to place. Hats off to Briggs for this gem. Sep 3, 2006
FM means Frequency Modulation. Makes sense to me. Mar 12, 2007
Tommey-James   Boulder,Colorado
This route is GREAT! I got shit on March 11' trying this route and had to bail at the crux. I returned today and got it with one hang at the top of the "first pitch"/at the base of the crux dihedral. Do this route if you are able. The gear is really good the whole way and the climbing is so much fun, finger locks galore. Gear Beta: have a 0.4 camalot pre-drawn for the heart of the crux, you will be stoked. Aug 5, 2011
Amir erez
Boulder, CO
Amir erez   Boulder, CO
Fantastic climb. There are 2 fixed nuts and 2 pins left on the route as of today. Aug 13, 2011
No more fixed nuts. Two good pins. Jul 26, 2013
A brilliant climb with some unusual movement! The crux is steep and strenuous, placing the pro is half the battle!

If you have successfully reached the ramp above the crux corners and you are still wanting for some more then try this extension - work up and left around some huge detached blocks until you can step out left above the big roof, find a bolt runner and some cool face climbing (5.10+) which leads up an exposed headwall, follow finger and hand cracks to the top. Jul 19, 2014
Paul Hunnicutt
Boulder, CO
Paul Hunnicutt   Boulder, CO
We TR'ed this with a gear anchor at the very top of the cliff and a 70m rope. We belayed on a ledge right below the first crux. It felt ok without an anchor for the belay; however, there is still another 25' or so to the ground, so be careful. Tie knots in your rope rappelling, and add some directionals up until just past the crux.

Fantastic climbing, but seeping wet a couple days after a big snowstorm. Apr 20, 2016
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
2 pins and 2 fixed stoppers currently on this route. The 2nd pin is somewhat dubious, easily backed up with a 1" cam. Bizarre, unique, awkward, powerful, wonderful climbing.

For what it's worth, I stayed in the right dihedral of the double dihedral system. I didn't really find it necessary to step into the left dihedral system save for the very last move onto the good stance before the 5.9 climbing to the top. Perhaps a little hard for 11c? Nov 4, 2016
Chrissy Crushes
Boulder, CO
Chrissy Crushes   Boulder, CO
Recently projected / sent this route and LOVED it. Jun 6, 2018