Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: C. Reveley & J. Serles, 1974
Page Views: 2,347 total · 11/month
Shared By: Tony B on Feb 14, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

58 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: Seasonal Closures Details


Bushwhack Crack is a fine climb on good rock. Despite its name, it is devoid of vegetation.

This route is the upper-most route on the South Face of the West Ridge, and ascends the dihedral and face on the top southwest arete of the West Ridge formation. This is between the more popular routes Muscular Dystrophy (on the right) and Prince Of Darkness (around the corner on the left). This climb is easily identified by a "cat claw" flake capping the dihedral, 50' off of the ground.

The climb starts from the ground as a low-angle left facing dihedral on good finger locks. Follow this dihedral up about 50' or so to an obvious "cat claw" flake. This flake is large, detached, pointed and is leaning outward. Close inspection revealed that the base of the flake was in a good socket, and in my opinion it is of little real threat or concern to anyone. Use your own judgement, however.

Pitch 1: Climb the dihedral through solid stone (5.8) for 50' before moving up and under the flake. Pass the flake on the right (5.8-) and up to a good belay ledge. Belay here or continue on Pitch 2.

Pitch 2: Ascend up and left to the left hand edge of the low-angle face above with no protection. Climb the line of least resistance (5.6) for 30+ feet until you reach a left facing dihedral, where gear is available (5.5). Shoot for the top.

A variation with harder moves is to go straight up the left side of the cat-claw flake on pitch 1, hand and fist jamming through the overhang it creates. This variation (5.9+) will set you up better to climb the entire route in a single pitch (less drag) if you use the right runners to keep your rope out of the crack.

If you are disturbed by the lack of protection on the second pitch, you can wander to the right and back, clipping the 2 bolts on Laughing At The Moon. It is 5.9 to do so, and you will be some ways from them. You could also simply finish on Laughing At The Moon (5.10b)

To descend, walk off in the gully between the West Ridge and Shirt Tail Peak.


A light rack with a few extra small cams.


Sam Benedict
Denver, CO
Sam Benedict   Denver, CO
Really fun route. I don't know why anyone would not climb the crack left of the "claw". It seems the most obvious line and is definitely the best part of the climb. To me, there wasn't really anything PG about this route. The first pitch protected incredibly well. As for the second pitch, my partner lead it (with only a couple of trad leads under his belt at the time) totally stress-free. He climbed BEHIND a giant flake that spits you out 25' left at the base of the little dihedral. The flake pretty much self protects and one would almost have to try to fall out of it. Nov 5, 2006
Danny Inman
Danny Inman   Arvada
The left hand-crack variation is definitely the most direct and obvious way to do this route. Doing this sets you up perfectly for Laughing at the Moon. Dec 11, 2006
The cat-claw flake is the best belay-lounger in Eldo!! It needs something so you can adjust the angle though, depending on where the sun is that can be sooo annoying...

This is an underrated pitch quality-wise it is actually very good.

Agree that it is the best set-up for LATM. Oct 1, 2007
Sergio P
Idaho Springs, CO
Sergio P   Idaho Springs, CO
If you only want to do the 1st pitch (I don't think your missing much by skipping the 2nd pitch), you can traverse right at the top and rap off the anchors for Muscular Dystrophy (70' to the ground). Oct 19, 2008
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
  5.9+ R
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
  5.9+ R
I had a hard time with this today. The start is not "good finger locks" as stated in the description, at least not for me, and I don't have sausage fingers. I could only get half a tip in at most until my feet were on that horizontal about 9' off the ground. Doing the hand crack up the left side of the block, my right hand got stuck, and I almost came off. Pulling on the block was scary. It seems solid, and looks real solid from above (at which point you can't see the narrow base). The runout above is definitely R in my opinion. It may only be 5.6, but it's not always positive, and if you come off you'll hit the big horizontal flake. A 5.8 leader would be wise to bypass the runout on the left. Nov 28, 2010
Brighton, CO
plantmandan   Brighton, CO
There is now a tree growing just to the right of the big flake/horn feature. If you go to the right at that point, you definitely will be doing some bushwhacking! Apr 8, 2012
Greg D
  5.9 PG13
Greg D   Here
  5.9 PG13
A quality line. But not even tips in the crack at the start for me making it feel more like at least 9 till the crack opened up a bit after 15 feet or so. Feb 17, 2014
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
YMMV - sometimes I forget to account, in descriptions, for my very thin fingers. Feb 17, 2014