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West Owl Direct (aka Silly Putty)

5.12a C2 R, Trad, Aid,  Avg: 2.1 from 7 votes
FA: Bill Eubank and Brad Van Diver
Colorado > Estes Park Valley > Lumpy Ridge > Twin Owls
Access Issue: Season raptor closures Details


Located between Coyote and Anaconda, West Owl Direct was 1st free climbed by John Bachar and Douglas Snively in the '70s and renamed Silly Putty. As a freeclimb, it's still a Lumpy Ridge runout testpiece, but it's still an enjoyable aid climb, as well. West Owl Direct is a step up in difficulty from Anaconda; however, the quality of the rock is not as good. Much of the way you're dealing with banged-out pin scars, yet this climb also places you in one of the best positions on Twin Owls.


If aid climbing, bring a standard clean aid rack and extra TCUs. Lead one long pitch (60m?) to the roof, or belay on the top of the 5.9 flake and then fire to the roof from there. The anchor below roof has old bolts, but one can back it up with a crack above. From this belay, escape out left and continue up above the Wolf's Tooth column. P.S. Don't use the bunk anchors halfway up to the roof!

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The Owls West face routes.
[Hide Photo] The Owls West face routes.
Looking straight up the route.  Climber Gary Kilbourn is on pitch 1's 5.9 flake.<br>
[Hide Photo] Looking straight up the route. Climber Gary Kilbourn is on pitch 1's 5.9 flake.
The route follows the large grey dihedral to the obvious large roof, then left around the roof to the summit.<br>
photo:Greg Spors
[Hide Photo] The route follows the large grey dihedral to the obvious large roof, then left around the roof to the summit. photo:Greg Spors

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] The first pitch of this route is an excellent 5.9 flake crack. Definitely worthwhile by itself. In addition once installed on top of the flake, you can toprope the really cool (but not very protectable) dihedral to the right, which is about 5.11+. Feb 19, 2002
  5.12a C2
[Hide Comment] One can rap with a 60m rope from the anchor below the roof down to the top of the 5.9 flake. Plus, the anchor below the roof now sports a spankin' new bolt as of 02/2002. Feb 21, 2002
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] I wasn't too happy with the rap anchor at the top of the 5.9 flake. It's a bunch of decent slings over a big horn, but there is a horizontal fracture line at the base of the horn. Beware. Aug 10, 2003
Scott Matz
Loveland, CO
[Hide Comment] I climb the 5.9 flake, and it was worth it. It looks easy but is for sure a Lumpy 9. We did top rope the dihedral, Eric did a great job. The horn at the belay does seem sketchy, but I gave it a couple headbutts and it seemed to hold. Aug 24, 2009
Eli Helmuth
Ciales, PR
  5.12b C2 R
bob bradley
Estes Park, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Just a comment about changing names of routes. The name chosen by the 1st ascent party was to identify the line climbed, not the style of climbing. If there is substantial variation between an original aid route and a free ascent, no problem. If the line is unchanged, why does anyone have the right to change the name? Just askin'. Sep 20, 2012
topher donahue
Nederland, CO
[Hide Comment] I'm with Bob. Leave the original name and leave the original free rating of .12a R. Unless you practice it and rehearse the gear, it's a scary lead. For grade, it's about spot on with other granite, .12a, trad testpieces. The onsight lead deserves an R rating but is a lot of fun and can be made safe enough. Tri-cams do help in the square pin scars. According to legend, after the FFA Bachar first said it was .11a or so - me thinks he was climbing really well at the time.

Another good bit of trivia for this route is that Meg Noffsinger led the 5.11+ that it usually top-roped on the right side of the starting flake. I don't think she got it clean, but she still got up it on the sharp end without decking, which on that kind of lead is what really matters. Burly girly. Anyone else besides Meg ever led that pitch? Oct 11, 2013