Type: Trad, 110 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 6,499 total · 30/month
Shared By: Charles Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

143 Opinions

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Access Issue: Season raptor closures Details


This route is on Hen and Chicken Rock, the 100 foot high buttress (with a pointy summit) just below the SE corner of the East Owl. Take the approach trail which branches left about 1/4 mile up the Gem Lake Trail, and lead right to the rock. Cackle Crack is the excellent hand crack in the large, left-facing corner on the rock's right side. Climb it to where it becomes a finger crack and belay on a ledge below the summit block; go north and hike down east to descend.


Bring gear to a #3 Camalot.
Kurt Johnson
Estes Park, CO
Kurt Johnson   Estes Park, CO
This is an excellent first 5.8 trad lead. Not too long, bomber gear, good rests, and very aesthetic. When I did it, I ended up rapping off a two-bolt anchor to the left and at the same height as the top of the Cackle Crack dihedral - a short but sketchy traverse that could send you swinging back into the dihedral, but an alternative way of rapping off. Dec 18, 2001
The Hen and the Chickens, ie cackle crack, yosemite crack(there are more) are not included in the raptor closure. This explained on the NPS closure notice at the twin owls trailhead. Apr 23, 2002
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Yeah, it is only 1 pitch, but I would give it 3 stars. One of the finest pitches of 5.8 hand jamming I have ever seen anywhere. Rapping from the bolted anchor is not recommended because you miss another 30 feet of great climbing! Sep 1, 2002
Brian Faulkner
Fort Collins
Brian Faulkner   Fort Collins
I agree that this climb is an excellent choice for a first 5.8. It only has one difficult section about 15 feet up, and the rest is easier. You only need a few larger pieces down low, and the rest of the climb takes smaller gear. When you reach the top create a belay so you can look out at longs and the rest of the Estes Valley. Its great! Its also quit a bit shorter approach than many of the climbs on lumpy so you can get there after dinner and climb till the sun goes down without trobule. Oct 11, 2002
What a great 5.8. I think this climb, although short, deserves a three star rating. I find myself coming back to this one. Nice jamming with the rest spots spaced perfectly. Oct 19, 2002
Did this route last year, thought it was great. The only problem with it is it didn't go on long enough. Great trad 5.8 lead. Belay is too cool. May 4, 2003
Jeremy Franz
Berthoud, CO
Jeremy Franz   Berthoud, CO
I'd bring a couple of larger pieces for this one. I left the #3.5 and #4 Camalots in the car and was longing for them on lead. I found myself scooting the #3 up with me as I went so it all worked out.

If you belay at the pinnacle at the top of crack, it turns into a two pitch route. A good option for practicing multipitch climbing. We rapped off a sling around the pinnacle. The traverse to the bolts looked pretty thin and dicey. Jul 10, 2003
Brian Faulkner
Fort Collins
Brian Faulkner   Fort Collins
I have seen a lot of people ending the pitch at the top of one of the blocks by the bolts. I think it seems kinda sketchy to move over to them. You can get about 20 feet more of good climbing if you keep climbing the crack that goes up and to the left and really top out, from which you can walk off of. That last part does not have good feet so its hard to stop and protect it, but the climbing is fun. Sep 25, 2003
Great route.. We also TR'd Hagakure from this route. IMO, it was not sketchy to stem over to the bolts. Just a stretch. Jul 31, 2006
Grand Junction
Merlin   Grand Junction
Superb lead for those working into the 8s, it gobbles gear. Apr 29, 2008
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Fun climbing, and a good single pitch, but don't stop at the bolts! There is more fun to be had above. Jul 6, 2008
- - -  
If you've got it, bring your #4, especially if you're a newer leader. Jul 23, 2008
Angela Mabe
Angela Mabe   Flagstaff,AZ
I'm glad I had the #4. Apr 12, 2010
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
While it is true that you could place a #4 on this route, you could just as easily place a second #3 a couple feet higher or lower. Also, crux location is determined more or less by hand size. If perfect hands is like a #2 or #2.5 Friend, the crux is the first 15 feet. If it's closer to a #3 or #3.5, the crux comes near the end of the dihedral.

Also, the upper crack is very doable, with incredibly good feet if you know what a good crystal on granite looks like. They aren't jams, but these feet are crazy good. Sep 12, 2010
Bomber gear, you can sew it up with nuts and a SR. Dont bother bringing the #4 Camalot. Climb out 25ft above the bolts in one single pitch and walk off the back - it's probably faster than rapping down. The last crack left above the bolts does have good feet and can be easily protected. Aug 30, 2012
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
Returned to this yesterday. Those bolts are in terrible shape! Someone please replace them! Also, there really is no need for a #4 anywhere. You can always go higher, lower, or deeper. The upper crack loves #0.75 and smaller, so make sure you pack more of that size. Oct 24, 2016
The bolted anchor on Hagakure has been replaced, but it is now quite far from Cackle, and people will have difficulty getting to it. The reason those bolts were a mess is that the original 1/4" anchor bolt had been left there, someone added a modern 2-bolt anchor near Cackle, then someone else tried to chop that modern anchor but failed to remove the right bolt (the one closest to Cackle). This meant that the partially pulled out, spinning 3/8" bolt, plus the original 1/4" bolt with thin Leeper hanger, were what people were using.

While some people may be annoyed that the bolted anchor is now too far from Cackle to get to, that's how it was originally, and clearly the "modern" anchor had been added close to Cackle Crack on purpose. Folks missed the whole upper 1/3 of Cackle Crack by stopping at that anchor.

Photos in the Hagakure route info. Apr 22, 2018
Austin Vogel
Los Angeles, CA
Austin Vogel   Los Angeles, CA
Loose piece on top of the first block, take care using it as a jug. Aug 27, 2018