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A Sphinxter Says What?

5.11a R, Trad, 200 ft (61 m), 3 pitches,  Avg: 2 from 1 vote
FA: Stefan Griebel and Alan Doak, March 2004
Colorado > Boulder > Flatirons > South > Sphinx
Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Raptor Closure Details


This route is a 1-pitch variation to the Lower East Face route. The first 2 pitches are shared with the Lower East Face route.

P1, 5.3ish - Climb from the base of the Sphinx up to a ledge system with trees and bushes. Traverse left.

P2, 5.5ish - Climb up and into a cool chimney. Crank out of the chimney on your left, and belay at a large tree. Watch out for big loose rocks on this pitch!

P3, 5.11a - From the big tree, climb up the ramp with no pro (5.6s) on your left about 50'. The ramp seems to hang in the air a couple hundred feet above the ground, and the exposure as you go up this ramp is awesome! Traverse right on jugs to the base of a short, thin, overhanging crack. There is good gear at the base of the crack (.75" - 1"), and OK gear in the crack (blue/green aliens and/or small nuts). Fingertip-lieback and funky-stem up the crack (crux) to bigger holds and better gear. The crux is over, but the pumpiness isn't! Hang on a little bit longer and crank over the steepness to a restful hand traverse. Traverse right and belay at a tree as for P3 of the Lower East Face route.

To summit, keep traversing, and scramble up an obvious gully to the top. This is class 3 in Rossiter's book, but I would give it a class 4/5. If you stay roped, it is probably 2 pitches to the top.

To descend, downclimb the gully, and rock hop North into Shanahan Canyon.


A single run of cams, and single set of nuts is plenty to get you up this route. Blue and Green Alien(s) very nice for the crux.