Type: Trad, Sport, 1000 ft, 12 pitches
FA: Ken Trout, Eric Winkelman, Brian Hansen, 1984 (with help from Robby Baker & Kirk Miller)
Page Views: 24,872 total · 138/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Jul 15, 2004 with improvements by doug haller
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Childhood's End nearly caused me to voluntarily quit climbing. Or maybe it was involuntarily. My partner and I found ourselves in the middle of a full blown thunderstorm 10 pitches up this thing. In a feat of amazing poise and, well, luck, he climbed one of the upper pitches, runout almost an entire ropelength and climbing directly through a veritable river of water pouring off the slab... ever wonder how those huge, vertical channels form? A pitch from the top, unsure of whether bailing could even be done from that high on the climb, we decided to anyway.

We did learn a few things though. First, nothing will take years off your life quicker than multiple double rope raps from star drives. Second, never forget to untie the knots in the ends of your rope before pulling them... Never! Third, if you take a crap on a climb, like my partner did, it will come back to haunt you. Especially if you have to rap the route. The good news? With enough spare biners you can bail off Childhood's End, even from pitch 11.

The climb is great though, and I'll never forget it. Characterized by runout slab climbing the whole way. I felt every pitch except the 5.12 and 5.10 pitches were PG+ rated, *if* the bolts don't fail. With one exception, every single bolt is either a button-head or a star drive. That includes every belay (most of which are semi-hanging, by the way). Hanging from a pair of ancient 1/4 inch bolts high on the wall, I wondered what would happen if my partner slipped on that 5.7 R section... 100+ feet out with zero gear between him and the belay... Really, it would be a great service to replace all these bolts - at least the belays - with modern hardware. That said, the climb really is quite good. It's a definite adventure to climb such a huge piece of granite outside of RMNP. This area in the South Platte is absolutely beautiful, and chances are you'll be the only ones for miles around. Enjoy!

Double ropes are an asset on this climb as many of the pitches wander, as would be a few screamers for peace of mind.

P1 & 2: Begin a few meters right of the large boulder at the base of BRCM. Immediately right of this boulder is Fields of Dreams Running Wild - you can see a few modern bolts if you look carefully. A little further right is a very low-angle crack with a tree growing out of it. Climb this for a pitch or two all the way across the face to a two bolt anchor at the base of a short chimney (6-10" crack) at the right side of the buttress.

P3: Climb the chimney (#4 Camalot down low or #2 a bit higher), then the slab above past 5 bolts. 5.9.

P4: Step right off the belay to a crack. Up this for 20 feet, then step left onto a slab with 3 bolts (5.9).  Or, for a more difficult variation, step up off the belay then sharply left past two bolts and into a water groove. Up this past another bolt to join the slab above (5.11).

P5: Clip a bolt out left, then go around the corner and up the slab past two more bolts, then run it out to the anchor. 5.8 PG13.

P6: From the anchor reach up and clip the first bolt, climb right to gain the arete and a couple of bolts. Move up and left making a long reach (height dependent) to reach a nice ledge with a two-bolt anchor.  Belay here to avoid rope drag.

P7: Climb about 20 feet up to the first bolt. Traverse directly right about 15 feet to the next bolt (hard to spot).  Continue traversing horizontally right over a ridge to locate the next bolt.  From there spot and climb to two bolts up and a third up and left before the anchors for the crux (12) pitch.  Long draws would reduce rope drag somewhat but the zig-zag nature of each pitch makes combining them likely to add rope drag.

P8: The crux. Climb up off the belay to a finger crack and undercling, clip a bolt and head around to the steep right side of the wall, underclinging and clipping bolts along the way. Continue straight up. All in all 11 bolts on this pitch. 5.12-something and easily aidable, but you'll still have to do 10/11 moves between bolts higher up.

P9: A great lead. Head up off the belay, clipping bolts. Perform a difficult step left into a water groove and then continue up on easier ground. Sustained 5.10 and 9 or 10 bolts.

P10, 11, & 12: There are now new 2-bolt anchors at the top of pitches 10 and 11.  From the belay atop P9 climb slabs up 30 meters and left to find a single bolt. This bolt is out left of the direct line by about 20 feet. Next, climb up and right 20 meters to locate a 2-bolt anchor. Either belay or plan on simul-climbing.  P11: Continue up thought provoking slab climbing clipping one bolt before reaching a 2-bolt anchor. P12 has no bolts, no gear, and ends at a large tree or at the top of the cliff.  Keep in mind this is not a trade route, the only gear are the bolts and that crystals snapping of or damp lichen make this a focused if not difficult lead.

After topping out, hike/navigate the summit rock slabs and ridge north.  Locate the anchors at the edge of the NE corner of the formation. It is recommended that you set-up an anchor and belay each other down to the fixed rap station. Down climbing the slab solo is potentially fatal. Make two 30-meter raps to reach the ground off bolted stations.


15 draws/slings. A set of Aliens is adequate but a big cam is nice to have for the pitch 3 chimney.


Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.12- R
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.12- R
(EDIT: the route has been rebolted since writing this comment, but it is preserved for perspective.)

Some comments: The Climbing Colorado book (Green) said that the bolts have been replaced with Modern hardware. I noticed that each belay had 1 star-drive and one button head. When was this modern? 2 of the belays did actually have a 3/8" bolt added. It would be a good idea to replace a few of the old ones with 'real' bolts before they decay to the point that you can't hang off of one to replace the other. I distinctly recall when my partner yelled down from a belay: "Tony, it would be a *really* good thing if you don't fall." (As if the belay wouldn't hold a hang from the second...) Secure belays might restore this route to the classic (4*) status I'd like to give it.

Bailing off of this route seemed impossible from the second to last belay, but not from any given point. By way of example, it seemed that you can't bail from the belay above the 5.12 pitch, or at least it seems not without going into the gully (a waterfall in the rain) and even then, I dunno how long your ropes would have to be. Don't let the rap station I installed there on the way up fool you. I put that in IN CASE we were forced down, as the storm was coming in.

If you bail from up high, it is reasonable to do so with two 60m ropes. From the top of the slab, you can get to the top of the 5.10 pitch anchor. From there, 2 60m ropes will get you to the belay BELOW the 5.12 pitch, which is solid, make sure to stay left and look for it under the roof. If you stop at the 5.12 pitch, you will be too far right to continue a good descent line. The belay below that is CRAP, so from below the 5.12 pitch, you can get down 2 pitches to the good one, with 3 bolts. From there you rap again, down to the right-hand shoulder of the rock, and lastly, off to the right onto the other slab, whereupon you can touch down on terra firma. Jul 19, 2004
"You can't bail from the belay above the 5.12 pitch." You can retreat from here, though it requires a bit of trickery. My brother and I got hit with a storm right after completing the crux pitch, and we rapped to the ground (following the route). If I remember corectly, I rappelled first, and clipped my rope into a few of the bolts on the way down (I think I may have even placed a big stopper, same one you use on the way up). Once I got to the previous belay, I just dragged my brother in as he cleaned the gear. The rest of the way down was straightforward. I'm sure we didn't have anything longer than 50 meter ropes (this was ten years ago). Jul 19, 2004
The bolts on this route are now all nice new shiny fat bolts courtesy of the ASCA. Despite the upgraded pro, if you are a slab climbing punter, like myself, the route is scary, with every pitch being mentally taxing. The easier the difficulty of the pitches, the longer the runouts. Luckily, the route does allow you to warm up a bit on the slabs before you get to the scariest pitches. Walking from the main road does add some time to the approach, but not unduly so. As for quality, I think this route ranks up there with the best long routes of the state. Jun 19, 2005
Did the route 6/18/05, and all of the bolts have been replaced and rap equipped. Beautiful exciting route! Jun 20, 2005
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Well, it's about f*cking time the bolts got updated. Whoever put forth the time, energy, risk, and work, I would like to buy you some beers. Thanks! Jun 20, 2005
Kevin Stricker
Evergreen, CO
  5.12- R
Kevin Stricker   Evergreen, CO
  5.12- R
If you appreciate the rebolting on this route make sure to send a donation to the ASCA. The more feedback we receive on the rebolting in the Platte the easier it will be to fund further projects. To date the ASCA has provided over 200 bolts to replace the scary 1/4 inchers in the Platte. If you still think that climbing on 1/4 inchers is safe, drop me a email and I will send you some photos. I was able to pull over 30 bolts on this route with a single tug of my funkness device. The size of the rock crystals seems to be the biggest factor in the strength of these bolts, so if you are slabbing in the inner Platte ( Big Rock, Helen's Dome, Sunshine Dome, Etc) consider bringing some screamers.

Also the route can be rapped from any point below the last pitch with 2 50m ropes, but 60m ropes make it a lot easier.

Enjoy! Jul 1, 2005
Thanks for all your hard work, Kevin. Jul 1, 2005
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
Did this route on 15 Jan 06. What an awesome route! Props to the FA, and the rebolters...great work. I was skeptical that such a long route would have good rock, but it does.

From the locked gate on the Western approach, it was 1 hour to the river, then with crossing the river, finishing the approach and racking up, that was another hour. We climbed the route in 3.5 hours, and it took an hour to do the descent to the river, [another] hour and 15 min back up to the car. Not at all as tiring as doing the Diamond in a day.

The descent was not clear to us. The rap (one 60m or two 30m) is located about 50 feet east-southeast from the highest point of BRCM. So, if you climb this route (on the "Gumdrop"), you must scramble over to the top of BRCM.

Oh yeah, some guidebooks say the crux is easily aided...you'll have to do at least one 5.11 move between bolts, or bring a cheater stick.

We found the route really windy. I'm curious if others have experienced this? Was it just that day, or is the BRCM always windy? Jan 15, 2006
Kevin Stricker
Evergreen, CO
  5.12- R
Kevin Stricker   Evergreen, CO
  5.12- R
It has been my experience that Big Rock is always windy in the morning. Combine this with its east facing aspect and fall/winter ascents become quite chilly climbing for the sun affairs.

As for the descent, the 2 single raps (1 double) you describe are the only descent I know of. Once you get down it is best to head East over a small hill and pick up a jeep trail that wraps around to the south back to the river. I don't [recommend] trying to skirt Big Rock as the Hayman fire burned this area out and it is really a pain. Taking the jeep trail will save you 30+ minutes. If you leave your extra gear right as you cross the river, you will not have to go back to the base. Jan 26, 2006
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
Thanks for the beta Kevin. I think that's a good idea to leave extra gear at the river X-ing. Nevertheless, it was only about 30 min to skirt BRCM around to the South, then another 30 to get back to the river x-ing.

The North side looked gnarly with lots of invasive shrubbery filling in after the fire. Feb 24, 2006
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
Summited this route yesterday and, man, was it good. Very good rock quality the whole way. We approached from the west since my Subaru can't make that nasty 4WD road past Turkey Rocks. I recommend bringing a very small rack since after the 3rd or 4th pitch there is nothing for gear. Bring one of everything from .5-#4, and a set of nuts. This route is well bolted, but just because there are bolts doesn't mean you wont encounter some hair raising runouts. Once on the top of the route, head climber's left (north) to the summit, the rap anchors are on the North East corner of the formation. Either 1 double rope rap or 2 single raps will get you down. Beautiful route, but make sure you are ready for some good old South Platte slab climbing. May 17, 2006
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
I just threw in a old photo for fun on this route and noticed complaints about bailing off this route. I've bailed two or three times with various friends off of this climb because of the wonderful and dramatic sound and fury of a Cheeseman Gorge storm. It's more than possible with some swinging about from pumpkin like gutter to gutter pouring with rain to get down with no problem. I will admit though the first time I did bail I thought very seriously about somehow getting over to the more welcoming rappels of Sweet C. Oct 30, 2006
Rob Kepley
  5.12- R
Rob Kepley   Westminster,CO
  5.12- R
What an incredible route! Slab climbing at it's best. You'll have to suck it up on some sections with HUGE runouts hoping that crystal you're standing on doesn't break. The STEEP slab above the crux is some of the most continuous climbing you'll ever do that just goes on forever. The final 300ft or so is a great simul-climb. Don't expect to find many bolts. True adventurous South Platte climbing. Jun 5, 2008
  5.12- R
  5.12- R
Climbed the route 5/11/09 with Brandi. I only had the old Stewart Green "Rock Climbing Colorado" guidebook as a reference, so I will share some newer info.

Approach: We approached from the east via Metberry Gulch (road 205). It was rough, but not bad for my stock Chevy 4x4 pickup. Allow 2.5 hours of driving from the Golden/Denver area. We parked in the obvious pullout loop on top of the hill, just before the road descends steelpy toward the rocks. We ended up walking all the way to the river then bushwhacking upward (mistake), then tracing the rock to the left to the base. 1 hour approach. We heard of an approach tracing the rock from much farther up the road, but did not locate any path. It is pretty easy to just go to the river and walk it to the base.

The climb: The best slab route I have ever done. Continually engaging with amazing rock for most of the route. Yes, you do have to do many hard moves on the harder pitches with no bolt to pull on. Good luck and be safe out there- you are a long way from any help.

Descent: Mr. Anderson's descent beta above is spot on. How are you Mike? May 13, 2009
Cody Cook
Colorado Springs, CO
Cody Cook   Colorado Springs, CO
Did this 6/12 with John "The Hero Factor" Eland.

Few points of note - we took the Metberry Gulch approach. Came up from Colo Spgs, took CR 3 from Florissant up to Cedar Mtn. Rd. (CR 360), and then took Metberry Gulch (CR 205) to the rock. From Florissant, it took us one hour to reach the small, turnaround loop at the back of the rock. His stock Tacoma did just fine, but we're not Jeepers, and the road was definitely a bit hair-raising at times. Pete Gallagher tipped us off on the approach to the base of the rock, and it worked great. From the parking area, head left (south) around the rock. Go up and down several hills, and surf the scree when you can. Once you get the first view of the river, pretty much head straight down to it. If you try to follow along the side of the rock you'll wind up in a jumbled mess of huge boulders. Once you hit the river, you'll find a small fishermen's trail that you can pretty much follow to the base of the rock. Took 30-40 minutes from car to base of route.

We chose to drag a tag line in the case of escape, and used this to haul up our small backpack on pitches 3-10. If you do this, be careful on the pitch 3 haul. We ensured that it didn't get snagged in the crack/chimney we were climbing but instead allowed it to pendulum to the right and get stuck in the huge crack between the main buttress and the right buttress. Took us an hour to get the bag free, and ended up being a huge waste of time.

After that, nothing to do but climb. Route is easy to stay on, just dang scary at times with the runout. Pitches are all straight forward, and the initial bolts are always visible from the belays. No guesswork required. As for the 3 easy pitches on top, pitch 10 has one protection bolt, pitch 11 had 2 protection bolts, and pitch 12 had no bolts and no anchors. However, after everything you just climbed, these pitches weren't very scary, and were very easy to climb. Sling a large tree at the summit for the pitch 12 belay, or build your own with some cracks.

Bolts are awesome on this rock. Thank you, Kevin Stricker! I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be hoping those crappy old bolts didn't blow when you're way out there above the gear. Gear was certainly not a factor on this climb.

Upon rapping off the top, head straight east towards the cluster of rocks directly behind the Big Rock. Skirt these to the right, and the truck is just behind them. Maybe 10-minute walk from the raps, with a great view awaiting you at the tailgate. Enjoy. Jun 15, 2009
half-pad-mini-jug   crauschville
Wow!!! Stellar climb, but bring your balls. The wind does blow hard on this thing. Huge props to the first ascentionists for putting this line up in such a bold style!

Many thanks to Kevin Stricker and the ASCA for the rebolting of this route. I will definitely be making a donation. I couldn't imagine leading some of those pitches on star-drives and button-heads... terrifying.

Metberry Gulch approach is the way to go, it makes the hike to the base take 40 mins and the hike back to the truck was like 10 mins, and you don't have to cross the river! We took a stock Toyota 4x4, and it did fine on the road.

Definitely worth the effort, go climb this rock! Jun 13, 2011
john collis
john collis   Moab
Climbed this on 5/5/13 with David Fay and had a blast. However, we noticed that the new ASCA bolt backing up the old SMC buttonhead on the first rappel is seriously loose and wiggling around in its hole¬óbeware. We decided to try to weight the ancient buttonhead instead. May 6, 2013
Jason Haas
G1 Climbing + Fitness
Jason Haas   G1 Climbing + Fitness
I tightened the loose ASCA summit rap bolt yesterday John Collis mentioned and replaced the old, second bolt. Both bolts now have new chain on them. The new bolt/chain was provided by the BCC and the ASCA supplied the hanger. Jul 21, 2013
cletus blum
Boulder, Colorado
cletus blum   Boulder, Colorado
Did this route on 4/26/2014. All the bolts on the route and the rap bolts were solid. I only placed one piece of gear on the entire 12 pitches, a #3 in the chimney on the third pitch, and thought that it was not that necessary (if you are comfortable with a little runout, which is required later in the climb).

The day we did it was quite windy, making the final 3 pitches kinda intense, but all in all is was truly great climb. I thought it was thoughtfully bolted, the harder the climbing the closer the bolts are. The crux pitch has a bolt almost every five feet while the 5.7 pitches had no bolts. Apr 27, 2014
Geoff E. Mercer
Worcester, MA
  5.12- R
Geoff E. Mercer   Worcester, MA
  5.12- R
I had an absolute blast, the bolts seem a little closely spaced for slab but were in the right spots anyhow. Get on this!!! Jun 9, 2016
Mitch Friedeman
Boulder, CO
  5.12- R
Mitch Friedeman   Boulder, CO
  5.12- R
The crux of this route is holding it together while your feet and toes are screaming at you while you are 20 feet above your last bolt. Do not climb this route unless you are super into slab climbing or you can at least can suffer through slightly frightening friction climbing for 1200 feet. Jun 13, 2016
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
If you plan on aiding the crux pitch, bring a purple C3. The 5.7 pitch with no bolts is a lead you won't forget anytime soon. I don't think my partner was impressed when I yelled "falling" after clipping the anchors. Oct 3, 2016
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
  5.12- R
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
  5.12- R
NOT funny!

Great route. I'd recommend not hauling....

The only gear that seemed mandatory was a green and yellow Alien, set of nuts, and a #3 and #4 Camalot. Although I guess gear is never "mandatory", right?

The only bad rock on the route is the 5.9 pitch right before the crux (I tore off some baseball sized pieces from a "jug") and the first half of the crux pitch. Other than that, I was super impressed by how good the rock quality was. The 5.10 pitch is truly amazing and didn't feel much easier than the 5.12a pitch.... Oct 3, 2016
Don Morris
Golden, CO
Don Morris   Golden, CO
With a 4x4, park down by river. If not, walk on road to the river. Follow the trail along river towards the base (roughly just over 1/8 of a mile). When you see the climb to your right, hike up 100 to 200 feet up. Jul 23, 2017
Jared Sanders
Florissant, CO
  5.12- R
Jared Sanders   Florissant, CO
  5.12- R
As mentioned, the only gear you need is nuts (big ones for runouts), 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, #2 or #3, and a #4 Camalot or equivalent, plus draws. Sep 6, 2017
Owen Murphy
Fort Collins, CO
  5.12- R
Owen Murphy   Fort Collins, CO
  5.12- R
Fantastic adventure climbing. The road down there is as wild and exciting as the route. The bolts are little wandery and far apart, so make sure you don't miss 'em or you'll end up way more run-out than planned. As mentioned, the crux of the route is really just keeping your head together. Pitch nine is the money pitch. The updated bolts are magnificent and still spaced far enough apart to keep the route legit. Nov 21, 2017
doug haller
Boulder, CO
doug haller   Boulder, CO
Some current beta:
The road requires 4x4, the more the car/truck is intended for off road the less stress. Park at about 9 miles from the Turkey Rock Campground before the road drops to the river valley.

One cannot see Big Rock until well down and around the nose of the intermediate formations.

If you are on the shorter side, aiding through the 5.12 pitch as I did requires some long reaches. I did place and pull on a brass nut to get between one pair of bolts.

Pitches 10, 11, 12 have anchors but few bolts. Keep it together. Aug 21, 2018