Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Mark Hesse and Duncan Ferguson 1974
Page Views: 7,657 total · 38/month
Shared By: Julian Smith on Jun 8, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This is my favorite route on Hallett Peak. It is demanding both physically and mentally. The run-outs epitomize what climbing on Hallett Peak is all about, and it has some burly, physical cruxes. It shares the same start as the Love Route and the Englishman's Route. As with all routes on Hallett Peak, route finding and intricate gear placing skills are important. See the big white spot with the obvious roof at the top in the picture below. The Hesse-Ferguson goes up the white spot and climbs through the roof on pitch 3 or so. The following description is how we climbed the route, although there are many other possible variations to this route on almost every pitch.

Pitch 1 - Locate a pink band of rock to the left of a giant, right-facing dihedral. Climb through the pink band and go up a grassy, right-facing dihedral to a nice ledge with slings available for a belay. 160 feet, 5.6.

Pitch 2 - Step left from the belay ledge and face climb up to another ledge. Step right and continue up a left facing dihedral to a white roof that blocks the way. The dihedral starts out with a left facing and a right facing side with a crack on both sides, but the right facing side peters out eventually. Climb around the right side of the roof and make a belay with very small gear. Alternatively, go straight up the dihedral from the belay ledge until the left facing dihedral is reached and continue up to a belay above the white roof and to the right. There will be a slung block just below the belay where a retreat anchor has been placed. 200 feet, 5.8.

Pitch 3 - Climb a slab up and left, above the belay, to reach the bottom of a giant, left facing dihedral. Get into the dihedral and climb it to the top, beneath a giant, squared-off roof. It is possible to belay directly under the giant, squared-off roof. Climb out the bomb bay roof on the right side, and layback around the outside corner to get to face climbing on the right. Go straight up to reach a big terrace that is at mid height on the cliff and belay. 30 feet of slab climbing to the dihedral leads to 100 plus feet of climbing from the base of the dihedral, through the roof, and up to the terrace. 5.9 for the roof and 5.8 serious on the slab below the dihedral.

Pitch 4 - Climb straight up from the terrace, aiming for a small roof. The gear up to the roof is decent enough. Above the roof, either continue up over insanely run out face climbing (yucky) to a belay on a flake, or traverse up and right to join a left facing dihedral on the Culp-Bossier and belay at the top of the dihedral (better). 200 feet, 5.7 serious or very serious depending on the chosen path.

Pitch 5 - Continue face climbing up to the base of a white band and belay either at the base of the white band or go down and to the left for a few feet to a better belay. 150 to 200 feet, 5.8.

Pitch 6 - Climb up the left side of the white band through some small, acrobatic roofs and a shallow right-facing dihedral, heading to the top. The only fixed piton on the route is encountered in the first roof. Belay where convenient. This is the best pitch on the route as we climbed it. 5.9.

Pitch 7 - Continue up to the top if the rope ran out on the previous pitch. 5.8, serious.

It is possible to traverse up and right to join the Culp-Bossier from the base of the white band at the top of pitch 5. The entire route contains many variations and most of the pitches seem to be longer than indicated in the Richard Rossiter Rocky Mountain National Park guide to the High Peaks - 1997. The [Gillett] guide generally matches the same description. Bring large nuts and a friend. If your head is on right, this is a wonderful route up the middle of the 2nd buttress. It is definitely worth the finagling it takes to figure it out.


Take a standard RMNP rack with a few extra, smaller pieces, RPs definitely, and a 200 foot rope.


Dan St. John
Castle Rock
Dan St. John   Castle Rock
One of my most memorable climbs, max stars. The rout requires some composure. It is hard to tell what is what on pitch two,(not my lead) never the less all lines look about equal. Pitch three starts the business ( a great lead with some head control necessary). Julian's description is perfect yet I feel their need to be a foot note.

_It is my opinion that we were off rout since the guide book talk about a giant roof going at 10d. Fact; we were definitely under the biggest roof on the face.

_ Counter Fact; However the giant roof did not feel like 10d (but did not feel 5.9 relative to the other 5.9 pitches maybe 10a/b)

So do not discouraged if you end up there. The gear at the roof is GREAT, if you got their via the 5.8s you will turn it with a smile. There finish after the roof to the ledge is casual climbing but run out.

SuggestionsDouble up one the small gear (micro cams) and save a #4 Camalot for the lip of the roof. This will allow the leader on the second pitch off the grassy ledge to continue a full rope length. Bring some OFF bug stray for the grassy ledge. Aug 5, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Dan, I'm confused by your comment. The normal HF route goes through a giant roof "the largest in the area" on p. 3, why do you assume you were on the Roger Briggs 10d variation? I believe both tackle large roofs, but it seems to me if it felt like 10a it was probably the right (correct) roof for this route, as described above. I have climbed this roof as a variation to the Culp Bossier and it is truely wild! Aug 5, 2002
Alan Searcy
Pine, Colorado
Alan Searcy   Pine, Colorado
Good fun, I'm pretty sure we did most of the route. My partners Jess and Eric had shit-eatin' grins at every belay. On Hallett I've never been particularly confident that I've been on any specific route after about pitch 3 anyway but it doesn't matter, it's just great climbing. The large roof is certainly old school and only needs a #3 Camalot and a yellow Alien. It's in the top two on this rock. Aug 6, 2005
Did yet another variation on the same theme. From the top of pitch one stepped right to a large right facing dihedral. Climbed it to where it is capped by whitish manky rock and seta belay at a large detached block with rap slings around it. From this belay, climbed right out across a broken face (.9-) to where the large right facing dihedral of of Gillett's variation "b" bombbays out. Climb overlaps up into dihedral (.11+) and set belay. Climbed directly up dihedral referenced in Gillett's variation (.9). Continued as for Culp/Bossier. Except for the out of character .11+ overlaps this is a great way to do this route. Will have to go back and try the "regular" way of doing the route. Jun 26, 2006
Nick Pinto
Carbondale, CO
Nick Pinto   Carbondale, CO
Hopped on this 7/11/15 and had a great time. There was some sketchy tat in the roof, but good gear available too. Great way to skirt the crowds on the lower culp pitches. Jul 22, 2015
Drew Thayer
Denver, CO
Drew Thayer   Denver, CO
A great route and, as said, requires some composure! A good deal more serious than its neighbor Culp-Bossier.

P2: was confused by all the descriptions/options, so I climbed straight up from the right side of the 1st belay ledge: up a R-facing dihedral, past a L-facing roof, and up cool 5.8 face climbing to belay below the huge square roof. Pretty sure all options go; this option was fun.

P3: 5.9++.

P4: Caveat emptor, if you keep climbing straight up past the visible crack and rooflette, there is ~40-60 ft of unprotected but super high-quality 5.7 face climbing, quite consistent at the grade. A memorable pitch if you can stay calm and enjoy the movement.

Gotta love that featured rock on Hallett.... Jun 19, 2017