Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: Jim Erickson, John Behrens, 1968.
Page Views: 9,853 total · 45/month
Shared By: Ben Mottinger on Feb 1, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


What a neat route. This starts left of The Unsaid, Washington Irving, and Chianti in a prominent, R-facing dihedral, just right of a large overhang. The ...R-facing dihedral 10 feet right of Break On Through is Chianti.

P1: The first pitch is a nice length with varied climbing. Some technical stemming and liebacking are the crux for this pitch (8). After the first steep section, continue up a ramp, then up through another steep dihedral. Belay at the tree off to the right.

P2: Climb easy ground across the rotten ledge to the base of the large right-facing dihedral. The crux here is some difficult stemming on thin edges to reach great finger jams. Several tough moves is all though. The pro is good here and easy to place at a rest before the hard moves. Descend around the back side then make a single 50m rap to the Unsaid anchors. Rap with a single 50m to a ledge, then downclimb an easy crack back to the base.


Standard rack up to #3 Friend. Some smaller nuts/TCUs protect the crux on P2.
I agree that a larger piece (#3.5 or #4 Friend) make the first pitch much easier.

From the belay tree the second pitch is the large right facing dihedral to your left. Straight above you is the second pitch of Chianti.

After topping out, if you look to your right and down about 30-40 you should see the rappel anchors. Climb around the backside to the anchors. Rappel down to another set of anchors, then youll end up on a ledge by the start of the Unsaid. Traverse back towards the start of Break on Through (left, facing the cliff) and then downclimb easy terrain.

The crux pitch is very protectable with small nuts (Wild Country #1-#4). Jan 1, 2001
As an added challenge, try to do the crux without THAT song going through your head. Jan 1, 2001
If you find the right route, (which you wouldn't just using this website), you might want to rack up to a #4 Friend or 3.5 Camalot, the layback crux on the first pitch is off a 4+ inch crack. You can get other good gear in, but I would [recommend] a four inch piece. Jan 1, 2001
Louisville, CO
StanL   Louisville, CO
I think the crux pitch of Break on Through is one of the bigger sandbags in the canyon. I found the moves to be way tricky and thin and it sure felt harder than .10b (.10a in the old guidebook). While definitely a classic climb, it's probably not the best choice for the leader trying to "break on through" into leading 5.10. Oct 31, 2001
Compare it to other routes. Break on Through is definitely harder than Cruisin' for Burgers (.10c). It's harder than Laughing at the Moon (.10b). def atleast hard .10c Feb 16, 2002
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Definitely a sandbag when I broke on through, thanks Steve. Teaches you to trust RPs or tiny wires. Not a great first 10 unless you like cranking on tips above tiny passive pieces. Mar 7, 2002
This was first time I'd been to the West Ridge and the first route I climbed there...If you do it on the weekend, and use the tree as the anchor for the first pitch--watch for others on Chianti, directly beneath rappel. Apr 12, 2002
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
If rapping from the tree after P1 with a 50m rope, be careful and tie the ends. It's damn close to not being enough rope to get you back to the ledge... Oct 12, 2002
I finally broke on back through to 5.10 this weekend after not climbing much this winter. I'd agree it's not one of the easiest 10s in Eldo and wouldn't recommend it to a beginning 5.10 leader. The pro is good, but there's still a ledge below you. Jan 28, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I wouldn't recommend taking any gear larger than a #3 Camalot. The crack on P1 is pretty wide for about six feet, but it necks down in the middle to fit the #3 Camalot. The issue here is that this piece takes up a good hand jam, but I found the jam wasn't necessary. Anyway, for sure if you are up for the upper pitch this wide section will give you no problems. The first pitch in itself is really good and worth doing.

As for the crux ... well it did seem devious and/or sandbagged. Suffice it to say we discovered it can be aided! Oct 23, 2003
David Conlin
David Conlin  
I don't think this was a sandbag at all.

P1 was some of the steepest, funnest 5.8 around. No need for anything larger than 3 Camalot.

P2 was tricky. Getting off of the ledge was the hardest part. Look for the opposing hold out right on the roof. Visually this hold is obvious, but it didn't seem useful until I tried about 5 other starting positions, none of which got me anywhere. By pushing on this with the right hand, you can begin to stem up the corner. I placed 2 stoppers and a microcam (blue Alien) before leaving the ledge, climbed up about 5 feet or so to the bomber finger lock, placed another microcam (green Alien) and moved to another, even better fingerlock, which ends the strenuous climbing. I ended up using some "chimney technique," i.e. scumming my hips on the right wall of the dihedral while facing left and stemming out on the left wall.

Worth doing, short route, good training. Nov 11, 2003
Lance Cockwood
Lance Cockwood  
Fun, Funky and well-protected. Great route and one of the first 10's in eldo. Feb 12, 2004
SirVato   Boulder
The first pitch is [Beautiful] and fun... as is the second pitch!! However, I really don't think that it's 10b hard...I led this onsight and then a few days later led Over the Hill onsight and this is just [too] short to be given a 10b rating (IMHO). The move getting onto the ledge [before] the crux was rather awkward, once established it's really only one tricky move to get going and then SOLID finger locks to carry you through. If you have an eye for stemming this is really not that hard. [Beautiful] route may try it in one long pitch like Chianti next time?? Anyone done this? Mar 23, 2004
I guess I must revisit this climb again and look harder for the "bomber" finger locks.

I simply did not see them, or maybe they are meant to be in the crack where my fingers didn't fit... I tried for a long time to get a good grip in the crack, but try as I may, all I got was a very thin "tips" .

Maybe my fingers are finger lock challenged.

WT Mar 24, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
These hints make me want to get back up there and try this route again! I do remember some finger locks, but the problem was I couldn't figure out how to get into the first stem and up to the first finger lock. But now with Rich's hint and photo I'm eager to try this. The route seemed much harder to me than Over the Hill, but maybe it is just harder to figure out. Mar 24, 2004
Greg Hand
Golden, CO
Greg Hand   Golden, CO
I had not done this climb in many years and did it a few weeks ago. The only finger lock I remember is the one you get after the crux move. With the left foot on the small hold and the left hand on a crimp, and you feel like you are going to fall, look down on the right wall for a small hold to outside-edge your right foot on. That stem gives you enough height to reach the bomber finger lock. It is not trivial after that, but the worst is over. Mar 24, 2004
Matt Chan
Matt Chan   Denver
Did the second pitch of Break on Through a couple of days ago and I must concur with George's statement that it seems much harder than Over the Hill. The "bomber finger locks" might be bomber if you have a 12 yr. old girl's hands, but I found the locks to be fairly insecure. Once off the ledge, it's a stemfest to the top of the dihedral. If you can get yourself off the ledge, you've tackled the tough stuff.

I must add that I did the route with a guy wearing two left shoes - comedy! Mar 25, 2004
Brian Weinstein
Brian Weinstein  
Instead of the palm smear out right, I utilized the handjam at about chest level to break on into the crux. The gear is solid throughout the three move crux sequence as stoppers and/or mirco-cams can be placed from somewhat strenuous positions. If comfortable placing gear at Eldo...a good intro 10 lead. Jan 3, 2006
Armin climber
Westminster, CO
Armin climber   Westminster, CO
Did the first pitch of this route today thinking it was the start of Chianti, (Whoops) as an 8 leader, I thought it was very stout but an awesome line. I took doubles in BD #1 and #2 and one #3 and #3.5, but next time I as well would only take up to a #3. If you are not familiar w/ the area, Rossiter's guide can be confusing! Feb 28, 2006
Chris Weber
Boulder, CO
Chris Weber   Boulder, CO
I'm with Stan on this. Stout for 10b (and the Rossiter topo even says 10a!). Did Chick On The Side (much shorter) after this, and felt it was easier... Break On Through is relatively short-length wise, but it is sustained. It also requires technical moves, power, and big reaches...great pro, but not the most comfortable stances. I got spanked. Nuff said. Nov 5, 2006
Danny Inman
Danny Inman   Arvada
Very good route. I felt it was very similar (but shorter) to Over the Hill. Protects very well with small nuts. Nov 6, 2006
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
I onsighted this and thought it felt pretty stiff for 10b, it felt like at least 10c to me. The crux is short but the moves are harder than other routes I have climbed at the same grade. Sep 24, 2007
Tim Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tim Stich   Colorado Springs, Colorado
The first pitch of this route is my favorite way to start "Long John Wall." Jun 28, 2009
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
I thought the 2nd pitch of this route was very difficult and devious for the grade. Once you get the "good" fingerlock about 9'(?) above the ledge, your troubles are not over. As a hint, I found the arete to the right to be of use. Mar 28, 2011
Ben Cassedy
Denver, CO
Ben Cassedy   Denver, CO
"The ...R-facing dihedral 10 feet right of Break On Through is Chianti."

Haha oops. I accidentally tried the Break on Through dihedral thinking it was still Chianti. Thought I was on the hardest 5.8+ on the planet and wanted to cry.

Also did the first pitch of Break on Through which was stellar. May 26, 2011
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.10c PG13
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.10c PG13
"Beautiful route may try it in one long pitch like Chianti next time?? Anyone done this?"
Yes, that's usually how people do it. But if so, you have to be solid. With 40M of rope out, the crux has ledge-fall potential. Dec 25, 2011
I thought this route was harder than Outer Space. Bring your small nuts/RPs for sure to sew up the crux. Oct 14, 2016
Matt Hagny  
P1 was great fun. We skipped P2 as it looked plenty stout and I had been spanked on Super Scooper earlier in the day. Aug 29, 2017
Black Hawk, CO
mountainhick   Black Hawk, CO
The crux has baffled me for years. I first led this in around 1981 and always break on through but still have no idea how I made it! Followed it a few days ago and the same. This crux feels harder to me than numerous 5.11a cruxes in Eldo.... Whatever, I just don't get this being 5.10. Dec 16, 2017