Type: Trad, 300 ft, 2 pitches Fixed Hardware (1)
FA: unknown
Page Views: 4,802 total · 23/month
Shared By: Chris Dawson on Sep 14, 2001 with updates from Dustin Hooten
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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I am tempted to give this route the bomb. When I climbed it, it was covered in bird shit, cold and damp. I'm sure the route is slightly better under different conditions however so one star is probably appropriate.

Start up the Blind Faith crack on the west side of the Bastille. After about 50 feet, the West Chimney breaks off to the left along some obvious holds. Stop when you reach the base of a right-facing dihedral (5.5 a little loose/manky).

Pitch 2 heads up the corner which turns to left-facing. Pull around the corner to the right at the top (crux moves) and into the large chimney that makes up the last part of P2 of Blind Faith. Cruise to the top. There is a little bit of crack climbing at the crux that is interesting. So, if that's your bag, give it a go.


A standard rack with a #6 cam to protect OW at the start of pitch 2.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I remember this route being better than Chris indicates. It also contains (on pitch 2) one of the few "easy offwidth" cracks around. If you are leading at your limit, you might need some big gear to protect this well.

On a historical note, I believe it was this route that was downclimbed (in error) by Beth Coates and Pete Takeda. Beth fell and is now paralyzed from the waist down. Be careful! Feb 11, 2002
If I'm not mistaken, the aforementioned party did not attempt to downclimb West Chimney, but had climbed P1 of Blind Faith and from the belay ledge opted to traverse unroped right and off on the downsloping rotten band/ledge. There is one lower 5th class move with 30-40 feet of exposure on this downclimb, and the rock is poor. Feb 12, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Check out Pete's account of this accident on members.aol.com/ptakeda1/wr… He does not give details on exactly where they were. This is just the easiest route on this face and I was assuming they were downclimbing it, but I don't really know. Feb 12, 2002
Doing this route yesterday, my partner and I gave the first pitch a 5.5++, and the finishing pitch a 5.7++ (rather than the 5.5, 5.7 of the guidebook). I wish I'd read George's comments to bring big gear--leading out for pitch two and finding my #4 Camalot not up to the task made me glad this was not one of my first outings of the year. Other than being, IMHO, a sandbag, this was a very fun and varied route. Jun 10, 2002
One more thought on this route: it's got clean crack climbing, a funky loose rock traverse (P1), an easy roof (again P1, but maybe we were a bit off route), an off width, and an airy traverse. I thought it was different and well worth it. And except for the OW, I thought the pro was all there. Aug 5, 2002
I did this climb as my first on-sight lead last night. I think Richard Rossiter's guidebook understates how far left and up you need to traverse on the first pitch. There is a little green shrub at the base of the "right-leaning, right-facing dihedral with a wide crack" that can be easily spotted from the ground. Look for that to get an idea of how far left and up you need to go before you start. The crux was excellent and had a couple of very "balancy" moves on it - nothing extraordinarily difficult, but great fun with a lot of air beneath you. IMHO, I think Chris has done this route a disservice with his evaluation above. While it certainly has a lot of pigeon shit on it (and pigeons that can scare the shit of you as they fly out of their roost) in a couple of spots, the route has some excellent features: + Off width crack that is good for beginners + Varied moves - balancing, traversing, chimney (second pitch), layback. All in all, I think this route should be upgraded to two stars. I am definitely going back. Aug 13, 2003
Scott Conner
Lyons, CO
Scott Conner   Lyons, CO
I agree that this climb is much better than the description suggests. P1 is a good warm up with steep climbing on big holds, mildly runout. P2 offers a fun, easy OW, a steep corner, a delicate step around move, and a fun chimney finish. It also pretty much rounds out the difficulty gamut for Bastille climbing. Worth doing! Aug 13, 2003
That's an impressive "first-lead-ever" and not really one that I'd recommend as such. One thing worth mentioning is that the 2nd pitch is a good alternative to the 2nd pitch of Blind Faith (up & left from the belay and joining it just above the OW). As P2 of Blind Faith is a bit dodgey at dusk, there is no fixed rap anchors atop P1, and they didn't know about the West Chimney, Beth chose the dubious descent route toward the right. Aug 13, 2003
I've done this one twice. It is good in parts, however both times that I've been on this there has been a ton of bird poop and birds. All of the doo doo is concentrated at the second pitch crux. The smell up there was so foul that I did not want to stop to place pro. Plus the last time I climbed it I thought that I was going to be attacked by the two pigeons that flew out of their perch right when my face was even with them. Other than that, the climb is good. Apr 15, 2005
Tim Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tim Stich   Colorado Springs, Colorado
Just climbed this route for the first time today, with a group of three even. First of all, it is a much less secure 5.7 than the Bastille Crack. The traverse after the first part of Blind Faith leads you to one of the many angled rock layers. This traverse has rather crappy gear, but if you stay low until it nearly intersects the upper crack/ramp, you are rewarded with a fairly new piton near your feet. Climb straight up from there and get a small cam in a crack through the rotten, red rock. If you were lucky enough to still have some cams in the #2-#3 [Camalot] range, you can build an anchor on this larger part of the ledge. If not, you can traverse right to a smaller crack that eats nuts and small cams.

I had nothing that would fit the offwidth above, so I opted for the deeply inserted left leg style of climbing this section. Your second will enjoy staying out of the offwidth and instead stepping on dainty footholds on the slab. After the offwidth, there is a large boulder perched at the top of the crack. I went around right andplaced my first piece of P2 in a crack behind it. Go up above into the continuing crack about 20ft where good gear awaits. At the traverse right, you will see a ring piton that is easily clipped before committing to the traverse. A second piton can also be clipped while into he traverse. Rope drag for me was insane up above this, so be careful of that. You'll come to a small cave above the traverse. Instead of going straight up out of the cave, look around to the face out and left and see a nice spot for a mid size cam. The rest of the climb tapers off in difficulty and route finding tasks. No birds nesting. -Tim Stich Jul 10, 2005
Cody Munger
Carson City, NV
Cody Munger   Carson City, NV
Oh man. That traverse under the gnarly-looking, right-facing dihedral on P1 was horrendous. I didn't trust any of my gear placements and I was fearful that my hand holds would simply pop off. Aiding up Blind Faith probably would have been safer than this crappy traverse.

As far as the off-width, I didn't bother with it. The face climbing to the right was much easier. Unfortunately, the biggest cam I had was a number 3, and that went in right below the crack. The rest I ran out. In fact, I only managed to get in two pieces from the diversion of the route from Blind Faith to the top of the off width. Spicy. Nov 3, 2005
The correct name for this route is "West Side", a name used since the 1967 High Over Boulder. May 15, 2007
Gary Schmidt
Boulder, CO
Gary Schmidt   Boulder, CO
There is some very good climbing in the initial right angling crack (though I thought pretty stout in places for 5.5). Not for the beginning 5.5 leader. However, I would not repeat this climb because for me the traverse left on pitch one and the moves up to the belay are just too dangerous for my liking. All those flakes jutting out look so tempting to grab but I was fearful the whole way that at any time the holds would come off. (A few even moved when I started to weight them). Anyways, it is an adventure and gives you great views and expose, just be super careful. If you do climb it I would also suggest a couple of extra pieces in the 1-2 cam size range. Apr 22, 2008
Greg D
Greg D   Here
Climbed this Sat. Definitely a decent route, great exposure, and quality rock except for the traverse. There is a good fixed pin on the traverse if you go far enough. At least twice I was tempted to go straight up to the ledge, but my gear was iffy and so was the rock, so I continued traversing and found a good pin.

P2 was more exciting as we did not follow the route description very well. After the OW we continued straight up (no traverse) following the crack system. It steepens, then you must move around right and up to stay in the crack system. You automatically merge with Blind Faith/West Chimney after that. The gear is good and the rock is excellent. Felt like 8+ or 9 for a few moves. Jun 2, 2008
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
This route would be a typical Eldo forgettable moderate for me at best. Well it sure kicked my ass once in the form of weird timing at 13 years of age. I got the stomach flu and puked my way up the climb. It is the hardest climb to this day I've done in Boulder! Jun 3, 2008
Overall, just another mediocre route on the Bastille; my climb notes stated: "Not one that needs frequent repetition." Almost, but not quite, a bomb. Mar 12, 2011
Boulder, CO
Berkeley   Boulder, CO
+1 for birds flying in my face. I stood up in the crack on the second pitch and birds were right in front of me. I held on tightly while they ran into me and the wall for probably 10 seconds before they found their way out. Poor birds! While there were a few fun moves on this route, the combination of the terrifying choss at the end of the first pitch, the run out at the beginning of the second pitch, and the birds flying into me, made this a route I don't recommend.

I stayed left, and climbed the 5.8 crack on the second pitch, out of fear of encountering more choss (I could see that the 5.8 had good gear). I'd recommend staying left, because the moves were fun and well protected. Jun 29, 2011
Clint Locks
Clint Locks   Boulder
Don't know why people are bagging on this route. Sure, there's bird crap from time to time, but isn't that just part of the Eldo Experience? I think it's a great route for someone who is not climbing 5.10 crack but is comfortable with the run-out, loose nature of the red band as you find on P1. It's a nice summit route, and the lower and upper portions (aka Blind Faith) are really fun and protect well. Jul 19, 2011
~200' of a route, with 50' of good climbing (5.5), then 30' of terrible climbing (5.6+), then 120' of good climbing again (with the 5.8 variation). A #6 protects the offwidth at the start of pitch 2 pretty well (about 5.5), though you'd need something bigger to have a perma-top-rope. For the 30' of terrible climbing, here's a hint: the lower route is better rock overall, but only slightly. Not a great lead for tentative or learning leaders. Mar 17, 2014
Eric Klammer
Boulder, CO
Eric Klammer   Boulder, CO
Really fun route overall, much better than the above description makes it out to be. Definitely do the 5.8 variation on P2! With that you'll get fingers, hands, offwidth, a roof, and some cool, delicate rotten band climbing over the course of the route. Great exposure and variation, you just need a little sense of adventure! Apr 12, 2014
Peep's republic
Dara   Peep's republic
Followed this today and saw not a single pigeon or a drop of bird poop, which was odd considering the ever-present swallows. (Have swallows replaced the pigeons?) Didn't encounter much loose rock either. This is a good, varied climb--never boring! And much of it was in the shade. A pretty interesting alternative to Bastille Crack, if you're feeling impatient and don't want to wait in line. Jul 10, 2014
Nathaniel Dray
Boulder, CO
Nathaniel Dray   Boulder, CO
Had a surprisingly really fun time on this climb. The 5.6 rotten traverse was exciting with a mediocre cam 20' below, but if you are patient and seek out good rock, it is (kind of) there. I thought it was exciting.

Otherwise, the fat crack was fun, and the 5.8 corner w/ perfect hand jams and a sweet move around the corner was great. Recommend doing if you can overcome the scary rock on the first pitch. Nov 1, 2015
Echoing the comments of some others:

Not really difficult climbing and not a bad route (overall), but P1's 30 feet of traversing on broken, movable rock over not-so-great pro detracts from the fun of this one. There were plenty of jutting flakes with Xs on them today and plenty more that moved when touched that should have had Xs.... P2 is considerably more entertaining. Jul 4, 2016
Loveland, CO
rob.calm   Loveland, CO
This is an interesting route with extremely varied climbing and none of the bird droppings mentioned above. Start of the first pitch is 50 feet of 5.5-6 crack that protects well. The traverse left is on questionable rock, but there are many opportunities for protecting with small stoppers. Best to traverse left on this pitch until you see the not-easy-to-see piton, and climb up from there. The 20 feet of offwidth on the next pitch is 5.5, but unless you bring a #9 Valley Giant or a #3 Bigbro, it’s not protectable. #5-6 Camalots don’t really do the job. To locate the traverse to the right, climb up the crack, which is past the offwidth, until it really steepens and see an old piton on the traverse to the right. The traverse is fun with gaping exposure. There are two pitons on the traverse, but the second is bent, and I was unable to clip it Petzl Star carabiner. The traverse ends in a cave on Blind Faith. Best to belay from there and not run out the pitch—for obvious reasons: communication with the second and rope drag. Jul 11, 2016