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Pin Route

5.5, Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches,  Avg: 2.4 from 33 votes
FA: unknown
Colorado > Estes Park Valley > Lumpy Ridge > Twin Owls
Access Issue: Season raptor closures Details

Description

The Pin Route start at the dirty chimney on the north side of Twin Owls. You will see a blocky ramp that traverses to the right. Climb the chimney to the ramp and start the traverse. Keep going past a pin until you run to a 2 pin belay. You can go straight up from here or do a variation Sky Route which keeps traversing right past a pin until you must go straight up a right-facing dihedral for 1 to 2 more pitches. Either way, the climbing is VERY exposed and is an unbelievable solo and a superb trad route for the adventurous beginner. Descend via through a tight slot to the Bowels of the Owls.

Addendum: There is a somewhat popular variation of P2 called Sky Route, 5.3, PG-13. From the P1 belay, you continue up the right-angling ramp about 20 feet to where you can move left around a flake. There is an optional belay. You can continue on fun, exposed, longer-reach flakes & scoops, pulling to the top. It is 140 feet if skipping the optional belay.

Protection

Stoppers and a set of cams to probably 4" if wanting to lead it safely through the chimney.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Hopefully, this helps with the lines on the NW face.  Link to [[original photo]]105911387.
[Hide Photo] Hopefully, this helps with the lines on the NW face. Link to View of the Pin Route/Sky Route. .
View of the Pin Route/Sky Route.
[Hide Photo] View of the Pin Route/Sky Route.
2nd pitch Pin Route.
[Hide Photo] 2nd pitch Pin Route.
1st pitch Pin Route.  The draw just above the climber is clipped to one of the remaining pins, and the only pin I saw.
[Hide Photo] 1st pitch Pin Route. The draw just above the climber is clipped to one of the remaining pins, and the only pin I saw.
Climb down this slot to get from the top of Pin Route to the descent down Bowels of the Owls.
[Hide Photo] Climb down this slot to get from the top of Pin Route to the descent down Bowels of the Owls.
Pin Route.
[Hide Photo] Pin Route.
New sling (black) and stainless steel quick-link added on October 3, 2009.
[Hide Photo] New sling (black) and stainless steel quick-link added on October 3, 2009.
Scott & Andrea on the Sky Route.
[Hide Photo] Scott & Andrea on the Sky Route.
2nd pitch Sky Route.
[Hide Photo] 2nd pitch Sky Route.
Jeff Gunter starting up P1. '05.
[Hide Photo] Jeff Gunter starting up P1. '05.
Jeff Gunter enjoying Sky Route. Photo taken from the top.  '05.
[Hide Photo] Jeff Gunter enjoying Sky Route. Photo taken from the top. '05.
The 2nd pitch, Sky Route variation.
[Hide Photo] The 2nd pitch, Sky Route variation.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] This is a nice climb for its grade. It's possible to access the traverse ledge more directly, avoiding the dirty chimney. The variation which continues the traverse - Sky Route- is easier but more exposed as it continues out to the west edge and gives a more open view of the valley below. Sep 25, 2003
Gary Schmidt
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Did this route today and was a nice way to reach the actual summit of the Owls after doing the Organ Pipes. (Easily reached by traversing left for about 150 yards along the Roosting Ramp). A good route, but even though some guide books call it a good beginner route, not sure I would bring too green a novice up here. There are some exposed traverses on both pitches which are hard to protect. Aug 7, 2004
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
[Hide Comment] This route collects snow on cooler, snowier days where more S-facing routes might not. Probably NW facing.

Addendum: Should we have a separate entry for the Sky Route? It has a distinct 2nd pitch. Jan 23, 2005
[Hide Comment] Sky Top (5.8) is a nice link up to Pin or Sky Way. In the overview picture it's the right-leaning dihedral below the Pin/Way intersection. It's fun 5.8 that traverses up and left into the dihedral and then pulls up to meet with Pin. This variation is seldom done. (Some "guide" up there asked me, "what the hell are you on?"). I climbed it a few years back and it was fairly dirty, but it wasn't a factor for the enjoyment or climbability. Feb 24, 2007
Chris Zeller
Boulder, CO
  5.4
[Hide Comment] Led this climb today. This is an excellent route--one of the best routes at this grade. The climbing is no harder than 5.4 as in the guide. Protection is good all around. Bring large cams to protect the offwidth crack on the second pitch. It protects well.

There is only one pin at the first belay not two. This confused us a bit given the description but the crack is obvious. There is an old scar so maybe the second pin fell out.

There is a great rap station (2 slings + 2 biners) hiding under a large block descender's right and just before the cave on the Bowels of the Owls decent. This is much easier than spelunking in the cave. 50 m rope is fine. Aug 2, 2009
Aaron Stokes
Colorado
 
[Hide Comment] Was up on the Pin Route yesterday (October 3, 2009) and added a new black sling and stainless steel quick-link to the chock-stone rap that descends into what I'm thinking is the Bowels of the Owls gully. Posted a beta-photo of new sling and chockstone. There is now an olive drab sling of unknown age, an old biner, and the new black sling/ss quick-link in place. Great route! Oct 4, 2009
Andy Novak
Bailey, CO
[Hide Comment] The 3rd pin encountered along the ramp on the Sky Route (after the pin route shoots up) is no longer there. I easily removed it with my fingers. It is regrettable this relic is gone, but I thought it was safer to remove it rather than have it clipped and fallen upon. Sep 16, 2014
Bobrunning Running
Madison, wi
 
[Hide Comment] The rap station has changed. It is no longer in the chimney. Hike down toward the chimney, but instead of turning left, look straight. There are a bunch of slings on a rock. It is a straight rap down. A 50 meter rope is enough. Sep 3, 2016