Type: Trad, 5 pitches, Grade II
FA: C. T. and Peter Hubbel, 1980s
Page Views: 118 total · 1/month
Shared By: Julian Smith on Apr 26, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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User Friendly ascends the left side of the Bush League Buttress. Approach the bottom of the cliff and trend uphill to the left. Look for a gigantic left facing corner system. 20 feet left of the left facing corner system, look for a smaller right facing corner system that leads up to a roof and continues upwards as a right facing corner system.

Pitch 1 - 5.9 Climb the right-facing, corner system. The roof and crack above are the supposed crux of the route. Continue up until you find a good spot to belay. Either belay on the corner system somewhere or continue with pitch 2.

Pitch 2 - 5.7 Continue up the corner system to its top. Step left and go up. Step back to the right on a short but exposed traverse. Continue straight up to belay on lower angled rock.

Pitch 3 - 5.8 Climb up above the belay to a crack that goes out to the arete on the left. Climb the crack and pull onto the arete. Run out easier ground until you can belay on top of the arete.

Unrope and scramble upwards over moderate terrain to a ledge with a tree on the right side. Look for two bolts left an up.

Pitch 4 - 5.8 death on a stick - This is the meat and potatoes. Climb up and left from the ledge. Clip a quarter inch bolt and climb over ever more difficult slab to reach another quarter inch bolt. This is it for the entire pitch. Hope you ate your Wheaties or love run-out slab. Climb on faith alone above the 2nd bolt to reach thank-God holds. The rest of the pitch, while absent of gear, is not noticeable. Belay from a tree.

Run out the rope over easy terrain to the top. Trend left to a gully between Bush League Buttress and Rock Island. This gully will take you back to the base of the route.

The South Platte Climber's Guide by Peter Hubbel - 1997 gives this route 2 stars and does not say anything about the slab pitch with the discomforting run-out. The route deserves only 1 star for quality.


Pro from small stuff to 4 inches will be very nice.


The route description doesn't sound like what we saw on the route today (after the burn, some approach and sighting info may be diff now...). Perhaps this is a different route, but the ratings seemed intact. From the loop at the end of the Wigwam Creek road, you can now see very clearly the entire buttress. Identify the big orange rock mass in the middle of the formation. You'll be climbing on the left side of it.

Looking at the Hubbell topo, you'll see a very large right-facing dihedral that goes up the near-center of the crag. We started about 15 feet left of this, on a large, flat, obvious starting area. The topo shows a smaller, right-leaning right-facing dihedral that from the trailhead looks something like an eyebrow, and a larger dihedral slightly further left that has a small right-bent kink at it's top. Focus on the arching eyebrow. You'll cross the roof on it's very right.

The hike is easy now, no bushwhacking anymore. Take eyedrops, the ash is deep and rampant, and lots of boulders on the approach and descent are loose. You can ID the route pretty much the entire hike through the burn, about a 15 minute approach.

Start straight up what looks easy but quickly turns into a 9 chimney and then right-arced crack, with a cool single-point mantle before the right edge of the arch roof is encountered. Turn the roof, and move onto easier ground, 7ish - we found a super-convenient belay at about 165', nice seating for two straight above the only green bush on the face there. A second pitch, mostly 7 with a spot of awkward 8, another 165', took us to the top of the technical difficulties without undue drag, next to a big ledge and a dead, burnt tree. From here the next several hundred feet, mostly lateral and backward on the crag, were 5.easy and done unroped or with just hand-belays.

We turned right and under/past some large overhanging rocks, overlooking the crevice formed by the largest dihedral (the one you started 20 feet left of). Nothing was technical, or felt it, until we reached the ramp to the start of the last pitch. This one can be run out to the full length of a 60m and tops out, and the description in the main text is dead on. The first 'bolt' is a hammer-in. Both are pretty scary. The last hundred feet are 5.easy again.

The fire caused lots of exfoliation on the rock surface for the first pitch, but it's clean now (you're welcome). We used very little small gear, one each of .5, .75, and 1 camalots, but 3 #2s, 2 #3s, a 3.5, and a 4. Were most happy we had them all. Nuts don't work well on this variation to the climb, but tricams, red to gray, are exceptional. We carried and used ten trad draws on each of the first two pitches, and they're not optional. The pic supplied doesn't look anything like what we got on; just went by the topo and it felt very right. 8 pitches, Hubbell? No way. It can be done in 3 with some scrambling if you're happy on 5.4 rock.

Be cautious of flaking off surface rock, and rocks lodged in soil in the cracks. We trundled and cleaned a lot today, on the first pitch only; expect to get very, very dirty climbing up to and on the climb from soot.

My var's ratings were dead on to the book and other description - 9 to 7 first, 7 with some 8 on the second, and solid 8 through the face stuff up high, plus lots of easier 'scramble' time unroped.

The pin and bolt on the last pitch are scary. I give it a PG++ rating, personally. It's great!!! Jun 24, 2003
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.9 PG13
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.9 PG13
There is a discontinuous rack system that can be accessed to the right about 7 meters below the "roof" of P1. This is a little runout and a little harder, but it is an excellent variation to the climb. Maybe 5.10-, PG-13. The climbing gets easier as the runout grows. A few extra 1-2" cams might help if you do this variation.
The old bolts on the final pitch are less than perfect, but the crux is just above the second one, so it wouldn't need to hold too long of a fall. Footwork is key.
Contrary to the comment above, there are 2 very good chicken-heads a few meters above bolt #2 that can be slung for pretty good protection. May 29, 2012
Deke Doty
Fort Collins, CO
Deke Doty   Fort Collins, CO
Definitely Platte meat and potatoes 4th pitch. C.T. told me he and Hubbel put it up in late '80s. I'll bet drilling the second bolt on lead was exciting! Miss you, Peter! Nov 3, 2013