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Routes in West Ironing Board

Cave Exit T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Crescent T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Crescent Variation T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b X
Dolmen, The T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X
Green Chimney T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
I Lichen Chimneys T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
I Lichen Offwidths T 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a R
Marine Life T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Pine Tree Pitch T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Seams Like a Crack T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Smoother T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X
Type: Trad
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,854 total, 10/month
Shared By: George Bell on Dec 9, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Some crags in this area are closed 1 February to 31 July: Details
Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details

Description

This is a fun route but requires lots of big cams to protect well. I doubt anyone owns six #4 Camalots for this one, thus the S rating.

Start in the large crack a few feet right of Smoother. This crack curves up and right and is rather striking from afar. Unfortunately, the crack is an offwidth size and is awkward to climb and only useful for protection. It is even awkward to protect as the easiest climbing is on the face a few feet right of the crack (where you can't reach the crack), and you may have to reach far inside it to place a #4 Camalot.

After about 120', you reach a sort of pod, and above this the crack narrows to about 3" for a short section. You can belay here off a #3 Camalot, or continue. After 30 more feet, the crack starts to lean right significantly and the climbing becomes much easier. After walking right 50' (using a 60m rope from the ground), you will discover you are out of rope (and the crack is still 8"). My second had to climb up about 10' so I could reach a section where the crack narrows and I could belay (save one or two big cams for the belay).

The next pitch follows another wide flarey crack which continues up. This crack is friendlier and offers several placements for small pro, although one section is filled with grass. Move left at a horizontal crack, traversing until it is easy to go up (this point is about 30' right of the "320' anchor" on Smoother). Continue up and right beside another large crack to the ridge crest.

You can do one easy pitch up the ridge, and downclimb or rap the Green Chimney, or continue two more pitches (when in doubt, head left) until the ridge become broken and very easy, and then walk off west. The actual summit of the West Ironing Board is just north of here and can easily be scrambled up from the NE.

Protection

The first pitch is a crack which is 4-8 inches wide for 200' (except for one spot at 120' where it narrows to 3"). To protect this pitch well would require many #4-#5 Camalots. Giant hexes and #7 tri-cams would also work.
Brian C.
Longmont, CO
  5.6 R
Brian C.   Longmont, CO
  5.6 R
A bit confusing where to go if you try and follow the ridge all the way to the top and easier terrain. We found a funky cave/tunnel thing right below the end of the ridge that led to the top and easier terrain that we squeezed through and worked well. Nov 6, 2016
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.6 R
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.6 R
A 70m rope still requires some simul-climbing to get to a solid and comfortable belay on a combination of 1ea #4 and old #4 Camalots. An 80m rope would reach better.
A second pitch get you completely off anything past 3rd class, and from there you can either set an anchor (large stoppers or 2nd knuckle-cams) to rap off East/Northeast (then scramble down to packs for another route) or find or improvise a rap off to the West and walk back around (15-20 min).
As for rack, I took #0.4-0.#5 Camalots (new C4) and was fine with that. I got enough pro to be OK. People who don't want to run it out 70' to the first piece might want to take the #6 C4.
To that end, my partner DID break off a cobble on second and slip 50' up. Yeah... not a great idea on lead. Most of the route is solid, but there is grounder potential if you are not careful. The #6 is probably a good idea unless you are under no illusions. It's no different than soloing much of the way without it. Oct 18, 2014
My partner and I did this on the morning of August 6th, before I had to go to work and he had to leave to drive to the East Coast. It really is a spectacular wide crack, though I mostly just face climbed next to it, only squiriming into the crack once in a while to place pro.

Here's my advice for this route:If you happen to have any 11 Hexcentrics, bring them along. Lots of partners have mocked my cowbells, but this is one route where it was really nice to have a couple big hexes. If your plan is approach this route in the dark and get up it before work, I'd recommend scoping it out ahead of time. Looking at the West Ironing Board from the summit of the Third, you really can't appreciate what a character-building experience the hike in will be, especially on-sight, in the dark. Luckily, my employers are pretty cool about this kind of thing, because the whole endeavor took something like two and a half hours more than we expected and I didn't show up for work until 10:00.

You can see this route all the way from Baseline, so it's a good one to have under your belt to impress attractive non-climbers in town. Aug 24, 2002