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First Overhang

V6, Boulder, 10 ft (3 m),  Avg: 3.4 from 207 votes
FA: unknown
Colorado > Boulder > Flagstaff > First Overhang


A Flagstaff classic! This is one of the more prominent problems at Flag due to its visibility and proximity to the upper parking area. Beginning on the large jug on the boulder's south face, make cool moves up and left to a positive hold for your left hand. From here, two super-thin edges guard the crux moves to the lip.

I have seen the problem graded in various guides anywhere from V5 to V7. The discrepancy is probably due to the fact that a key hold apparently broke in the last few years making it harder. I can't even get off the ground on other V7s at Flag, so I highly doubt it's that hard. Still, I found it more difficult than Flag V5s like Hagans, Eric Varney, Face Out, and Polling Pebble, so I'm tempted to believe its probably V6. Whatever: its a great problem!

A slightly harder variation (F.O. traverse) comes in from the lower right and finishes on F.O.


A crashpad. Spotters are also nice for the crux moves to the lip. Spot carefully: the area immediately below the fall-zone is flat, but uneven terrain lies nearby.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Before the crimps hit.
[Hide Photo] Before the crimps hit.
Said with some new beta sending First Overhang.
[Hide Photo] Said with some new beta sending First Overhang.
Moving up to the left hand crimp.
[Hide Photo] Moving up to the left hand crimp.
Entering the final crux sequence on FIrst Overhang. Such a great problem.
[Hide Photo] Entering the final crux sequence on FIrst Overhang. Such a great problem.
January bouldering.
[Hide Photo] January bouldering.
Mike B. getting to business on First Overhang.
[Hide Photo] Mike B. getting to business on First Overhang.
First Overhang. Quite the view.
[Hide Photo] First Overhang. Quite the view.
Cranking the small crimp.
[Hide Photo] Cranking the small crimp.
Said coming up short on First Overhang.
[Hide Photo] Said coming up short on First Overhang.
The starting holds of First Overhang from the left and also French Trumpeter from the left. Much different crux but same grade?
[Hide Photo] The starting holds of First Overhang from the left and also French Trumpeter from the left. Much different crux but same grade?

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Another hold just broke off this classic putting it closer in the realm of V7. The only "good" hold on this problem (the left hand edge half-way up) broke off accidentally yesterday. In order to send it now, the tiny crimp below the missing hold must be used, which makes this problem at least one grade higher. It's definitely a V6 now. Apr 21, 2003
[Hide Comment] Just a reminder. Flag is sandstone. When it gets soaked it gets much weaker, so it is probably a good idea to avoid the more friable problems after heavy rains. Apr 21, 2003
[Hide Comment] It is definitely harder then it was, the lower crimp brings you further away from the last bump. Don't know what to rate it, would love to hear what someone else thinks. A bit of beta though,,,, keep your hand left in the crimp..........a small crystal like piece is present,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, OUCH!!! Apr 29, 2003
[Hide Comment] Actually, I think it's still about the same level of difficulty...but that's only cuz I was shown fine beta that actually uses the lower (sharper) of the upper two crimps. If I tried to use my old beta (bump to lip), it'd be notably harder. The remaining crimp for the left is ok, however. May 7, 2003
[Hide Comment] I agree its about the same, just a longer bump. If done the old way... love to hear what your beta was for the lower crimp.... May 8, 2003
[Hide Comment] Have any of you done the direct start (starting with left hand on crimp three feet below new broken hold and right hand on pebble. Then going through the thin finger slot to the holds on the upper face) instead of coming in from the big ledge on the right since the hold broke? Getting from the right fingers in the slot to the crimp below where the hold broke seems quite hard. Am I just weak or is it much harder without that good edge to snatch? May 16, 2003
[Hide Comment] I haven't tried it from the holds you are talking about.... Guess I will have to try that this weekend. I don't think it's any harder with the broken hold. If your right hand is positioned correctly, it gives you all the time in the world to set up your left on the new crimp under the broken hold. Still a great problem!! Gonna try a few different variation ideas I have, this weekend. Let ya know! May 22, 2003
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] I got on this last Sunday for the first time since the large left hand broke. Over the past few years, I've done this problem several times starting on the big holds out right, from the sds traverse on the far right, from the sit-start directly underneath First Overhang and from the standing direct start (my favorite) you just mentioned. After my most recent visit, I definitely find this problem to be harder with the broken left handhold.

Maybe its just me, but the sheer size of the former left handhold made it easy to snag, easy to reach for the high thin razor crimp, fairly easy to reposition your feet and bump with your right hand again to the top. Even after I snagged the top, my left hand would still be camped out on the low left hand for balance/stability.

That hold is no more ... and what is left quite small making several moves in row more difficult. I'm not saying this front range classic became a front range testpiece on April 20, 2003, but IMHO it certainly is not V5 or soft V6 anymore.

One thing is for sure ... I look forward to battling this problem for supremecy again. May 23, 2003
[Hide Comment] I tried the direct start (beginning under the broken hold and not coming in from the right) and found it really hard to grab the broken hold with my left from my right in the finger slot. I don't know how hard this varation would be but it is well difficult and really good. [Definitely] harder than the standard v5/6 start. What a problem! May 27, 2003
[Hide Comment] I never use the little crack that you guys have mentioned, but have done a direct standing start this way (don't read if looking for a flash):

left hand gaston, right hand on th epebble around the corner, right foot high right on big jug. I rock onto the right foot and statically move up into the crescent hold out right for the good crimp. Then I knee scum my right leg, left leg still flagging and I go left hand to the old broken hold spot for the lower, sharper of the crimps. From there I actually just stand up to the first, smaller razor crimp on the face and have finished two ways:

1.I put my left foot on the starting gaston and bump with my right to the higher crimp and then save me god pop my left to the lip.2.I put my left foot on the starting gaston and hold on for dear life while I slowly bring my left hand up to the higher crimp and then casually deadpoint the lip (I say casually, but this one hurts like hell and took me many a try).

hope that helps! Jul 16, 2003
[Hide Comment] Found a new way today: do the normal beginning-left hand gaston, right hand pebble, rock onto right foot and grab the horizontal crescent out right. Go to broken hold with left and up to tiniest crimp on face with right. Then levitate left footto starting gaston, and put right foot on horizontal crescent. Deadpoint lip. This way worked the best of all, and saved my fingers from the pain of holding singularly onto the tiniest razor cirmp. Best o' luck. Sep 8, 2003
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] That's how I've always done it Adam and I believe that's still the easiest way. Its most definitely harder now that the huge left hand ledge is no more.

I used to own this problem, but now the final move is harder. It took me many many tries yesterday ... V7 seems fair, only because the huge left hand hold sheared off a year ago leaving a piss-poor hold for balancing the final thrutch move. Still fun after all these years.

As an aside, the absence of the huge hold appears to have turned French Trumpeter into a testpiece. Anyone done it since the hold broke? CG ... ? Apr 5, 2004
[Hide Comment] Chip or Adam H.- how much harder do you think the direct variation (skipping the rubbly cresent out to the right and going through the finger slot) would be? still v7ish? harder? thanks! Apr 6, 2004
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Bob said:

"Chip, what huge hold are you talking about. To my recollection, there was never a big/huge hold on this problem getting through the crux. The was a sloping crimp hold on the left that I use to fire to the top."

Bob, I guess it is sort of a long-winded thread that could be confusing to know what hold we were talking about. The edge I'm talking about was the large left hand shelf (maybe 3 cm deep) that you could easily snag from the right-hand crescent hold and move up to the thin sharp right hand crimp from.

For many of us, we would then move both feet up and pop right-handed to the top. When I did that move my left hand would push down and balance me while I snagged the right-sloping top with my right and my body wanted to barndoor off the problem. That hold is nowhere near as good as it was and provides very little stability for the "pop move" to the lip and holding on. I actually used the lower edge (which is a couple inches lower). I did manage it but just barely after "many many tries." I even have some doubts about my ability to ever do the traverse again or even the direct sds, as it was all I could do to just do it from the stand. Maybe the stars will line up one of these days. Apr 6, 2004
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] It's not entirely gone Bob ... and I would not have ever have called that hold small in its previous state. Hell, it was the biggest hold on the problem.

Anyway, what's left of that good left hand hold is miserable. Most people I've seen on it now, use a lower 2/3-finger crimp just below it (maybe 2 inches below where the GOOD left hand hold was).

If what I'm saying is still confusing, go check it out. Yes, holds continue to break on Flag. A few of us were joking last night that 48 hours after every rainstorm ... someone should just start asking:

"What broke on Flag last yesterday?" For better or worse, problems on Flag continue to evolve. Apr 7, 2004
Ted Lanzano
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] First Overhang is still a great problem even though some of the good holds have broken. I love the tenuous crimps on the top leading to the final chuck to the lip. Felt like V7 to me. Feb 25, 2006
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Someone has replaced the hold which broke in April of 2003. No glue is visible, but it is certainly there. Not sure the hold will last, but the character of the problem has been restored to its pre-2003 condition. Time will tell if this was a smart decision, but I enjoyed climbing it again a few weeks ago.

It's approximately V5 again ... at least for now. Not sure who did the glue job, but a lot more folks will do this one for fun again. Jan 1, 2008
[Hide Comment] The last crimp before the top broke today making this problem even harder! Mar 6, 2014
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Thanks for the info, Ryan. Not sure what people expect ... when you pull on small crimps on Flagstaff Mountain after all that rain and snow, BAD things happen to classic problems. Mar 10, 2014
[Hide Comment] This makes a lot of sense now. I did this boulder for the first time yesterday, and the last crimp felt real bad to me. My buddy who has done it in the past mentioned that crimps up top were good. I thought I was going crazy, lol. I think it feels solid for V6, IMO. The feet are still pretty good which makes dealing with the small final crimp reasonable. Mar 20, 2014
Tony Hosek
[Hide Comment]…

Great problem, I hope this video isn't considered "beta spraying".... Jul 12, 2014
Ashley Swenson
Pasadena, CA
[Hide Comment] Definitely a good boulder for one's first V6 send outside. It has a great landing, and the crux is at the tallest part of the boulder. Loved this climb. Jun 24, 2019
[Hide Comment]…
Great route, very fun movements down low (not too challenging) then finishing with the tricky crux at the top. Definitely tests your crimp strength and balance! May 10, 2022
[Hide Comment] The crimps at the top are challenging, but overall it felt like a somewhat soft V6 if you have good crimp strength. I won’t argue the grade, though. Nice climb with cool movements and a great landing. Go get on it! Sep 4, 2022
Aaron Willey
[Hide Comment] Took a few sessions to figure out the top. A bit on the harder side of V6, mainly the last two moves gave me difficulty. Hope my beta can help someone else!… Dec 10, 2022
Roberto Cepeda
Estes Park CO
Akesh Patel
Ithaca, NY
[Hide Comment] Here's some dyno beta if ya want nothing to do with that second to last crimp: What're the ethics on this also? Is this technically elimination? Gym Bro beta? Mar 19, 2023