Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: Olaf Mitchell & Maurice Reed, 1984
Page Views: 6,380 total · 31/month
Shared By: Anonymous Coward on Nov 25, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


Can you say best route in the South Platte? This is a two pitch route that will leave you gasping for more.

This is located on Poe Buttress, which is the clean, gendarme-like formation to the West of Cynical Pinnacle and Block Tower. It is possible to avoid the first pitch by climbing a 5.9 crack up the gully and to the right, but why would you want to?

The first pitch heads up the great finger crack and climbs insecurely left and then straight up to a ledge that you can put your LZ Boy on (11d). The second pitch starts off with a bang up an increasingly difficult finger crack to where it disappears into some hard face climbing (11d & fixed pins and RPs). Dispatch the crux, but don't smile prematurely because you have the overhanging handcrack above. Full value. David A. Turner.


Standard rack including RPs to several hand-sized pieces.


Alex Shainman
Rifle, CO
Alex Shainman   Rifle, CO
Miss. Half Step can be done with one 60m rope...The second pitch (longest pitch) is exactly!!!!! 30m to the anchor from the starting moves. For the best protected first pitch option: start in the same place, but traverse right at the horizontal to a stellar finger crack instead of left. Going left (as mentioned above) is more demanding than the second pitch's crux section (pumpy gear placements).

On the second pitch, be aware that the small flake you pull on with your left hand before the pins is very loose! Also, the first pin sucks. The second pin is better and you can place a good, but hard to place, nut (non-RP) just above it. As noted in any guidebook, the crux is face climbing to the right of the pins. Climbing the seam straight up through the pins does go, at 5.12.... One last note is to bring new slings/rings and a leaver medium nut/hex to fix the manky anchor for the second pitch. Also bring a bolt kit and crow bar to replace the junk bolt anchor on the first pitch....

After climbing this awesome route, give a go at Edge-of-Fright (5.11) to the right.... The gear is actually good, but expect some fiddling to set some of it! The moves are amazing and unrelenting! The scariest part is at the start. Then, continue toward the middle of three flared cracks. This is very similar to the second pitch of Never a Dull Moment in Boulder Canyon, but 3 or so letter grades easier. Basically the same rack as for Mississippi with emphasis on small-medium wires and TCUs. Cheers...Alex Nov 30, 2001
The third route in this trilogy is also very good. UpTown Toodleloo follows the line on the left arete. I did it a long time ago but I think we climbed the finger crack for the 1/2 step to the ledge, then traversed left on the ledge to get to Toodleloo. Dec 2, 2001
Steve Annecone
Steve Annecone   boulder
Did this last weekend and thought it was superb, and pretty safe for a South Platte route. The start is a thin crack with excellent 5.10 moves. We went left on the first pitch at the 2nd horizontal (the 1st horizontal looked devoid of pro and scary) which seemed like the way to go, and the pro was decent although a little pumpy to place. The crux there was turning the bulge at the end of the traverse (11c or d), but there's decent gear and a fixed pin right there.

The second pitch was even better, sustained finger jamming (11-) with occasional hands up to a pod, then a pretty hard facey crux section above that. Above the crux, there's a decent rest before heading into the final, overhung headwall, which is really more thin hands and fingers than hands. Fortunately, there are decent edges for the feet thoughout most of this final section, and the occasional thank god hand jam, I thought it was pretty sustained 10+ climbing up there.

Outstanding route overall! We had a 60m rope and wound up 10 feet short of the ledge when rapping the second pitch, which sucked since the downclimb wasn't trivial. Maybe a very stretchy rope or a heavier person might have made it all the way? Also, unfortunately, there's still a mank-fest of nasty slings at both anchors, especially the upper one. I regret not having brought new webbing. Fortunately, the nuts are quite good and it appears safe, it just takes quite a while to figure out what is tied to what in the big cluster of tat. And the last rap anchor is more deciferable, two bolts on a clean face although they appear to be very old 1/4-inch (?) bolts. Bring lots of nuts and finger and thin-hand sized cams. Sep 25, 2003
Joe Collins  
The lower traverse on the first pitch actually protects quite well with a 0.5" horizontal cam and then bomber gear once you reach the left seam. After that, difficult to place RPs from funky stances leads to a semi-rest below the two pins at the bulge mentioned by Steve. The Trout guidebook calls the RP seam 11d, but we found the bulge with the pins to be the crux of the pitch. An awesome and somewhat heady pitch.The second pitch is even more classic! Oct 13, 2004
Olaf Mitchell
Paia, Maui, Hi,
Olaf Mitchell   Paia, Maui, Hi,
Thanks for all the positive feed back on "The Mississippi Halfstep"!

Back in the early 80's Maurice Reed and I toped out on "Cynical Pinnacle" after an ascent of "Wunsch's Dihedral" and there it was "Poe Buttress"! It's awesome from that vantage point! After calling around, we weren't able to find out much about what was called "Poe Buttress", except that Peter Hubble had been looking at the line also.

We returned the next week with a pile of gear and gardening tools. Any thing new in the Platte had mega loose rock and was infested with nasty A.P.B.'s.

We scoped the line (with binos) and we discovered an old sling hanging from an old manky bolt/pin? (it was hardly worth clipping). The piece was a retreat sling from a prehistoric aid attempt. We found no other sign of climbing further up the face. I remember a completely loose pinnacle/spike that I had to climb through and not pull off or it would have killed my belayer! Maurice kicked it off as he was seconding the pitch.

Maurice lead the first pitch and I put up the second. The climb went up in a single day, entirely free except for placing fixed pins. In those days, we were all about style, and something that good, could not be tainted!

Maurice and I viewed that face as ours. We visualized it as a "Trilogy" and what a trilogy it is! Halfstep,Edge Of Fright,and Toodeloo, in the same day. Get there early! I would choose the easiest way to gain the 1st pitch belay ledge. Set up a comfy stance with belay chair/pad, a warm jacket,and plenty of food and water. You are going to be there a while. It's only four pitches but it makes for a full day. I did this with Peter Prandoni the day we put up "The Uptown Toodeloo". We did the second assent of "Edge of Fright" that day too.

Maurice moved away after we did the Halfstep. I grew complacent about the project figuring that I would wait for him to return.

My attention turned to other projects. One was "Bad Ju-Ju".
"Bad Ju-Ju" is a severely overhanging crack that Noel and Mike Bearzi(sp) had found and they weren't doing anything with. I guess that I was being an asshole when I told him that he had two weeks to climb it, or else I was going to. Long story short, Noel and I did "Bad Ju-Ju" two weeks later.

It wasn't long before I was informed that Noel and Rufus had climbed the crack on the right of Halfstep and called it "Edge of Fright". I didn't want to loose the crack on the left as well so I recruited Peter Prandoni and we did what we called "Uptown Toodeloo".
This completed the Poe Buttress "Trilogy".

I would like to acknowledge Rufus's lead on first assent of "Edge of Fright"! Prandoni and I did the second assent of Edge of Fright the same day we climbed the Toodeloo and Halfstep. We were armed with two complete sets of wired nuts and extra draws and biners. If my memory serves me well, we used most of that gear.

After speaking with Noel after their assent he told me that they barely had a full set of wires and some sizes were missing.
This means that Rufus had to climb some "sick" sections without the protection that a mortal man would need. "But, I have never heard of Rufus "Bam-Bam" Miller ever referred to as mortal!" Mar 28, 2007
Petaluma California
stevecurtis   Petaluma California
Onsight 1997. I remember a very difficult off hands jam at the crux. Apr 6, 2008
Kevin Fox
Kevin Fox   parker
I know that the ac that put this route in the mp forum calls the top part of the second pitch a handcrack, but there aren't that many places that you get a good hand jam (#2 cam). More like off fingers or that #1 or 0.75 cam. Still a cool route. Sep 9, 2008
Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett   Michigan
Wow, stellar route! A few comments:
We did the left crack on p1, this was pretty safe and fun, I definitely recommend it. I thought the crux on p1 was harder than any moves on p2, although less sustained and well protected with a fixed pin.
There are no more pins on p2, but the crux is still well protected with TCUs and wires.
Also, I'd be very careful trying to lower or rap off p2 with a 60m, we used a 70 and there wasn't much slack left.
Get out and enjoy this thing, the with the other two outstanding pitches on this face it makes for an amazing day!
-Scott Feb 24, 2009

Yeah, agree with what Scott said about getting off the second pitch with a 60m rope. When I did it, it seemed like a 70m didn't have much left in it. Feb 25, 2009
Os, great route, one of the best in the South Platte. Nov 1, 2012
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
Noah McKelvin   Colorado Springs
Absolutely amazing route. I found P1 harder technically but easier to OS. With no fixed pins on p2 (funky but good enough gear instead) and a devious crux, gravity took a hold. Not bad once you get the sequence. Remember the RPs and a black Alien. That hand crack at the top is mostly fingers and 0.75. Nov 9, 2015
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
What a stellar 2 pitches of climbing!!!!!

I had a single set of Totem cams, and they worked quite great in the smaller constrictions.

P1: devious downclimb traverse into flaring handcrack.
P2: wild face climbing where the crack peters out. A #3 would have been great to have after this section, but a 0.75 will do, bolt and then a crack tight hand crack.

RPS not mandatory, but I could see where they fit. Dec 15, 2016
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
1. A bomber yellow C3 fits perfectly into the shallow pinscar on the P2 crux above the RPs. I also echo Wade's comment about the #3 after the crux. A #2 isn't really needed anywhere on the route.
2. The 2nd pitch is almost exactly 35 meters.
3. If you insist on ticking holds, at least have the courtesy to brush off the tickmarks after you finish. Nov 13, 2017