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Curve of Binding Energy

5.12a/b, Sport,  Avg: 2.2 from 17 votes
FA: Chris Alber, 2000
Colorado > Boulder > Boulder Canyon > Sport Park > Surprising Crag > W Face
Access Issue: Seasonal Closure - 2018 Update Details


This route climbs just to the right of the left arete on the West Face of Surprising Crag. It starts up a large lieback flake to a crux pulling the lip. The second bolt is hard to clip. After the crux, there is a short hard section to much easier climbing to the anchor, which is up and right. The left anchor is for Pocket Fisherman.


7 bolts to a 2 bolt anchor.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Pulling the lip.
[Hide Photo] Pulling the lip.
Working the overhanging start.
[Hide Photo] Working the overhanging start.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] The guidebook suggestion to place a long draw on the second bolt is helpful. Otherwise, make sure your belayer is right underneath you and paying attention. Too bad I had to climb the miserable route to the left to set it up. May 6, 2002
S. F. Pitman
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I really enjoyed this route. Making that first clip would be much less frightening if you had a bouldering pad. The moves never really seemed to get into the .12 range to me, but I haven't climbed much at the grade in Boulder Canyon, so it could just be a matter of [lack of] perspective. Dec 23, 2009
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
[Hide Comment] Massive, drilled jug holds at the beginning. Way lame, and also completely unnecessary. Aug 30, 2011
Elijah Flenner
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] I did not notice the drilled holds at the bottom the many years ago that I first did the route. One is in a natural foot placement, but I don't use the others. I think the one can be avoided with the foot, but it is lame that it exists at all. Feb 4, 2013
Mark Rolofson
[Hide Comment] I struggle to understand Nathan's comment, regarding if the 2nd bolt was lower it would avoid breaking an angle. First, the landing is quite good, and if you blew the 2nd clip, it is not far to the ground. By bouldering standards, it wouldn't be too bad unless you landed on your back or head. Still avoiding a groundfall is always wise. I ALWAYS STICK CLIP THE 2ND BOLT TO AVOID A GROUNDFALL. Lowering the bolt would make the clip marginally easier, while not protecting the moves over the lip as well. It may even make it harder to work the moves pulling over the lip too. The bolt could only be lowered about 6" or less. Putting it below the handhold or in the roof would likely be putting a bolt in a hollow flake.

Regarding the quickdraw blocking the handhold, it has never been a big problem because the good part of the diagonal hold its upper left side. This is at least a foot left of the quickdraw.

I have climbed this route many times since 2000. The start is a powerful roof problem. Taping the right hand helps for a flared hand jam in the flake in the roof. Apr 6, 2017