Type: Trad, 500 ft (152 m), 4 pitches
FA: FFA: Kevin Donald, Jim Walsh, Jim Erickson, 1970
Page Views: 8,370 total · 32/month
Shared By: Michael Walker on Sep 13, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

The Left Side could be a lost Boulder Canyon Classic. This is a very dramatic, challenging, and impressive route that takes the most direct line up the huge Wall of Winter Warmth. For a complete and rewarding ascent, try The Slit (9+, recommended and described below) or one of the newer bolted routes on the lower slab to the left (Alpha Bob 12a on the left or Leader of the Pack 11c/d on the right) as an approach pitch for a three star WWW outing. Every pitch has quality rock, with challenging, varying cruxes that range from wild hand traverses to balancey stems. Each has personality. The granite on this route is magnificent; a clean and smooth water polished white, sun bleached and reminiscent of high alpine granite. You'll certainly feel like you're on a big wall on the Left Side's 2nd pitch (3rd pitch here) belay.

Approach via the Boulder Fall's tourist trail, escaping uphill to the west once near the falls. Once at the "Keyhole" above the falls, the Wall of Winter Warmth will be oh-so-very obvious to the North. Follow the trail on the west side of the river and cross where convenient to the slab at the base of the wall.

P1: Start with The Slit (9+, see that route description for details) and run it out a full 180' to the huge pine tree directly above the Slit (not the one lower and to the left), crossing the slabby, grassy areas with caution not to dislodge rocks. Belay at the tree. P2 (Variation 10a): The traditional Left Side route begins from a slabby, grassy area below the impressive main Wall of Winter Warmth. The lower slab (which you just climbed) can be avoided by scrambling up a Class 3 gully on the climber's left (north) side; or an easy slog up the gully on the right and traversing left across the slabs to the base of the main wall. The original first pitch begins from here up a low angled slab with easy cracks that lead to a belay beneath a steep, black colored, grooved wall. A second pitch (the reported crux) ascends the Black Grooves to a nice size pine tree on a ledge. It appears these first two pitches could have been combined, but we chose not to climb them as we learned the Black Groove's signature colorings come from water flow. It did not appear to be very pleasant to climb when wet. We climbed this route in the driest year in decades and still found water in the grooves. I don't want to imagine what this would be like after a thunderstorm.

We began at the huge pine tree uphill and to the right of the traditional start. Work up left from this tree along easy climbing, trending left toward the Black Grooves. Step up onto a ramp of sorts and follow left along good footholds above a roof, passing good cracks for pro. The footholds disappear and a finger crack will just reach your position from above and to the left. The crux of the whole route was a series of moves to get up into this crack, placing gear and moving over to meet the Black Grooves of the traditional start. The climbing isn't over yet, though, continue another 30 feet straight up along the left side of the Black Grooves to a perfect belay tree on a large, loose ledge.

P3 (9+): From the belay tree, work right out onto an easy rib and then straight up following good cracks up to a steep slot of sorts with an overhanging finger crack on the left, and a smooth right wall for smearing on the right. To get into the slot, we worked a balancey, fun mantel problem up cool horizontal chicken heads in the middle of the face (careful - potential fall onto the slab or adjacent corner if you popped, plan pro accordingly), then stemmed up the wide slot using the left finger crack for pro (crux). Move left when available above the finger crack and belay from a nice stance on the arête.

From the perch on the arête, a roof caps the route above and North Boulder Creek is a good 400' below you. The position on this belay perch is fantastic.

P4 (9+): Work left from the belay through the roof (tricky) and continue leftward along discontinuous and flaring cracks toward another large roof that guards the top of the buttress. (Other variations exist straight up from the belay stance). The pro is tricky and the exposure is mind numbing on this upper face. Be sure to use long slings where appropriate to avoid rope drag. A crux 9+ section could be found smearing up smooth water warn granite. Wild granite folds and flakes are frequently passed. Once below the last roof, escape right underneath and follow cracks up to the summit. This is a very long pitch.

Scramble off the South side or rappel into the Berlin Wall to the north and scramble down a steep, wet gully to the creek.

Protection Suggest change

Bring a good selection of various sizes and types as the pro can be tricky to place among the numerous flared cracks, with the rock quality having a very alpine feel. Think RMNP and you'll be ok.