Type: Sport
FA: Colin Lantz, 1989
Page Views: 4,170 total · 20/month
Shared By: Pinklebear on Dec 4, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

5 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


Though technically not on the East Ridge itself this route is on a big, detached block just up from the toe of the East Ridge, right smack dab in the middle of the Fern Canyon Trail.

As such, you may want to consider avoiding this route on weekends -- both for your own sanity and out of courtesy to the scores of hikers that use the trail to access Bear Peak.

Superfresh is about a third of the way up to the saddle at the top of Fern Canyon and is the obvious, well-chalked double-overhanging arete right on one of the steepest sections of the trail.

Start in the crack in the dihedral and stretch right to clip a bolt. Move out onto the face and clip a second bolt and away you go! Continuously powerful moves lead up the arete to the famous footless clip. A final sequence on small but positive Flatirons crimpers gets you to the anchor.

Eds. there had been photos not directly related to this route which have been removed by request and with the permission of the photos' submitter. Thanks for your understanding.


7 quickdraws.


Historical tidbit shameless plagiarized from Achey, Chelton, and Godfrey's "Climb!" (2nd ed, p218):

Most of the Flatiron's sport routes climbed the flanks of hidden crags, but Superfresh took a line up a giant boulder that overhung the Fern Canyon trail. One day at the height of Fern Canyon's development, with power drills whirring in the background, a baffled hiker passed through the canyon. He heard the drills, saw the chalk and the bolts on Superfresh, put two and two together, and complained to the Boulder Mountain Parks rangers. There had been previous uneasy rumblings about the goings-on with climbers in the Flatirons, and after the Superfresh incident things happened fast. Within months, bolting in the Flatirons was outlawed. Within the year, Eldorado Canyon was also under a bolting ban. It was the end of an era. Issues of style and freedom to climb were no longer mere matters of opinion among climbers. They had encountered the law. May 7, 2005
Madaleine Sorkin
Boulder, Colorado
Madaleine Sorkin   Boulder, Colorado
So, I understand that this is THE bolted route that was the final straw before bolting became regulated in the Flatirons. BUT what is going on with the actual bolts on this route? Is there a pertinent bolting-war story behind the awkward, frustrating placements of these bolts (such as the route was rap-bolted before being climbing and in the dead of the night to avoid clashes with park rangers). I tried climbing this route and found the movement and position to be great but nearly ruined by hard to reach or incredibly off-balance, strenuous clips. Can we modified this via a permit? I think at least the second and third bolts should be moved. May 5, 2009
Welcome to sport climbing on the Front Range, why should the actual climbing be the crux when you can make clipping a couple letter grades harder? You have to remember, when you are rappin' and drillin' just as fast as you can, there isn't time to do it right! May 6, 2009
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Appears you don't like it here in the Front Range, do you slim? May 6, 2009

I like it, but there are things that I don't like about it. My comment is directed towards doing things right, or the best you can. If you are going to rap bolt, why not take the time to put bolts in locations that interupt the climbing as little as possible, particularly for a person climbing onsight. Pretty annoying when you realize that the person who drilled, TR'd it 10 times and placed the bolt so you would clip off of some hidden feature, or in an unnatural position, when you could have clipped from a great stance one foot lower.

Might as well do it right, right? A good example is your guidebook. I can tell you took a lot of time, and put a lot of effort into it. I don't climb in Clear Creek all that often, but I think your guidebook came out really well. May 6, 2009
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Point taken, and I agree. May 6, 2009
Are you agreeing about the bolting, or that your guidebook is good? Just giving you a hard time. Have a good one. May 6, 2009
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Ha! I was agreeing about bolts needing to be clippable.

EDIT: Matt, my comments have nothing to do with this route but were general response to slim, and should have gone to forums or something. I never have been on this route. Thanks for the beta regarding Flatirons regs. May 6, 2009
Hank Caylor
Glenwood Springs, CO
Hank Caylor   Glenwood Springs, CO  
Superfresh is in my top 10 routes in Colorado, easily. If you're solid at 12+, the clips aren't so bad.

I didn't know that this route caused such a ruckus with BoCo. May 7, 2009
Colin Lantz
Nederland, CO
Colin Lantz   Nederland, CO
I did the first ascent of this route on May 28, 1989. The story about the route published in the book Climb (2nd ed) recounting the hiker witnessing the bolting of the route and then complaining to the Boulder Mountain Parks rangers is conjecture at best. Jeff Achey interviewed me for the book regarding this and other routes I put up in the Flatirons and the stories he has penned from these interviews take much in the form of artistic license. There was a lot of bolting going on in Fern Canyon that summer and a lot of active parties at work. Bear Canyon and the Ironing Boards had seen a lot of activity in the preceding years. The BMP was most likely well aware of the pace of bolted new routes going up in all of the Flatirons and acted quickly to ban all bolting.

It helps to understand what was going in the late '80s in Boulder on the social and political landscape. The BMP had just a few years back banned all mountain biking within the park system. The BMP was clearly siding with preservationist sentiment within the community. A precedent had been set regarding recreational use in the parks, i.e., rude and abusive user groups would not be tolerated. According to local lore, a powerful city councilwoman was loitering trailside one afternoon, enjoying the beauty of a ponderosa pine, when a fireballing gearhead clipped her elbow. The council convened soon afterward, and off-road biking in Boulder was history. In 1989 there was a heated public debate taking place within the climbing community concerning hang dogging, "rap bolting", and sport climbing in general, and I mean heated. Inflammatory rhetoric such as that found in CG's "Manifesto" piece printed in Climbing Magazine with provocative language, such as "The slaughter of the last bastions of traditionalism has begun.", helped fuel the fire. There were many traditionalists that were very angry about these activities and physical confrontations were not unheard of between staunch traditionalists and climbers clearly positioned in the sport climbing camp. Bolts placed on rappel on sport routes where being "chopped" and this lead to more confrontations and shout-downs often taking place at the climbing areas. Many of the local sport-route activists (myself included) got involved with a fledgling grass-roots group called the Colorado Climber's Coalition to try to represent climbers as a valid user group in the mountain parks and lobby the process to keep new route development open. This all was to no avail as the ban was railroaded through the public process and bolting was banned from the Flatirons. It didn't help that climbers were not presenting a unified voice at the organized public meetings where the infighting taking place between "trads" and the "rads" was made public at the microphone. Clearly, to the BMP, this was a user group that was out of control, and control is what they required. Soon thereafter, Eldorado Canyon State Park followed suite (January of 1990) and banned bolting also. The whole Boulder area bolting ban phenomenon was a real eye opener for me and by and large was the motivation to take a proactive approach when bolting concerns started to arise in the Rifle Mountain Park. Dope Party stories not withstanding, this effort was a success and climbing and sport climbing route development goes on here to this day. With some financial assistance and political guidance from the Access Fund, climbers have proven to the town of Rifle that they are an organized valid user group and that they can be good stewards of the land and the environment. Unfortunately, the Access Fund did not exist in 1989. If we knew then, what we know now, things might have turned out differently. The moral of this history? Support our climbing advocacy group, the Access Fund, if you want to keep climbing areas open.

Historical footnotes aside, the route is a lot of fun. If you are polite and considerate to other users, e.g., hikers and runners, you will have no problems. Don't unload your pack in the middle of the trail that passes by the base of the route and don't block the trail when belaying. Keep the volume to a minimum and politely greet other users when they pass by. My experience is that a little consideration and politeness here will actually engage hikers in conversation about climbing as they travel past the route. All the classic questions can be expected, e.g., "how did you get the rope up there?" The moves on the route are a little "thrutchy" and the clips a bit cruxy. The route is very steep and as such the feet are not always good at the clipping locations, e.g., the last clip is best made while hanging feet-free from a pinky-scum-sloper for the right hand. All-in-all its a powerful bouldery route that's best done as a sprint from the first move to the top. I took Patrick Edlinger there later in the summer of '89 and watched him flash the route without doing a warm-up route first. Impressive to say the least. The route name comes from the Superfresh chain of supermarkets found on the East Coast.
Dec 18, 2009
The bolts are definitely awkward on this route with some of the hangers in bad horizontal position. There were no quicklinks or rings on the anchor. I left 2 biners to lower off of, but it twists the cord and gives bad friction. If you're going to go up it, bring some links to straighten out the anchor, and bring a stick clip to clip the 2nd. Aug 25, 2018