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Routes in Hallett Peak

Anderson-Magill 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Better than Love T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Bold Is Love T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Center Route T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Collins Donn T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Culp-Bossier T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Direct Second Buttress T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Englishman's Route T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Finch Route T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Great Dihedral T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Hesse-Ferguson T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
In Between (aka Right Dihedral) T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Jackin' the Johnson T,S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Jackson-Johnson T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Kor-Van Tongeren T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Love Route T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Love at First Sight T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Northcutt-Carter T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Point Five Buttress T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Second Buttress Tour T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Standard Route aka 1st Buttress Route T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Storm Riders T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Unsorted Routes:
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Bob Culp & Tex Bossier
Page Views: 66,270 total · 310/month
Shared By: Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000 with updates from Charles Vernon
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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In my opinion, this is the best of the classic moderates in the park. The crux on this one is almost overhanging and 700 feet up. Awesome face climbing on a big face with a direct line. The leader should be confident on 5.8 as routefinding is hard, and many pitches are runout at 5.6. Follow the Rossiter guidebook description to find the route.

Getting There

From the Bear Lake parking lot, follow the trail to Emerald Lake. Go left around the lake, scrambling through some talus and taking a climbers' trail that closely follows the base of the peak.

You are aiming for the second buttress. Look for the white/pink band or rock that intersects the base of the mountain - the route starts right there, about halfway across the second buttress. It is about 100 feet to the right of a huge right-facing dihedral, and just right of a couple much smaller dihedrals.


Per C. Vernon:

Begin in a light colored band of rock about 30 feet high in the middle of the Second Buttress, to the right of the huge corner/gully of the Love route

P1-Climb up the light band to a good ledge, head up a left-leaning, right-facing corner about 40 feet, traverse right on a grassy ledge to a short thin crack, and climb that to another ledge (5.6, 140 feet).

P2-Go up past rappel slings, climb a crack through a roof and head up and LEFT up a slab into a nice right facing corner (the middle of three such corners) that ends below a large white roof. Belay at the bottom of the corner (5.6, 120 feet). Be sure to traverse LEFT to the larger corner - going straight up the smaller dihedral above the roof is much harder and dead-ends. There are also several sets of bail slings to the right in the vicinity of the Jackson-Johnson - don't get sucked over there.

Pitches one and two can be combined with a 70 meter rope. Alternatively, you can stretch P2 to the top of the corner, which then allows you to combine pitches 3 & 4 with a 60. However, the stance at the base of the corner is more comfortable.

P3-Climb the corner to its top below the white roof, and bypass the roof up a slab (pin) to the right. Turn the roof where it is much smaller (pin), and continue up crack to face (more pins) right of a right-facing corner to a ledge (5.8, 160 feet).

P4-Head sharply left and up on easier, broken terrain to a huge grassy ledge on the left side of a prow (5.4, 75 feet)

The next two pitches are where many parties get off route, ending up to the left of the route in the vicinity of the more run-out Hesse-Ferguson.

P5-From the right end of the big ledge, there is an obvious prow, and just left of that, a wide left-facing flake/corner about 60 feet high. Climb incipient cracks just left of the flake (lots of good nut placements) and belay at the base of a left-leaning, left-facing corner that is just to the left of the prow. An amazing pitch. (5.6, 140').

P6-At this point many people climb up the left-leaning corner, but that spits you out off-route in nebulous terrain. Instead, step up and right around the prow into a short corner, then work steadily up and right with occasional gear, eventually gaining a ramp with a detached flake. The ramp leads to a short right-facing corner with a good belay stance at the bottom of the corner (you could also belay on the ramp) (5.6 R, 130').

There are all sorts of opportunities to get off-route on this pitch. You're aiming to get below a notch or weakness up and right that allows passage through a long roof band into a continuous crack/corner system.

P7-Climb the runout face (5.7) left of the short corner that you are belaying in (looks like the corner itself could also be climbed, but it looks chossy), and then work up into a steep, exposed crack (pin) that eventually turns into a right-facing corner. Belay below another roof band. (5.8, 150 feet).

P8-There are two ways to do the last pitch. The most obvious continues up the dirty crack directly through the roof (#3 camalot). However, a less obvious but better way is to traverse right below the roof onto a slab (often wet) and climb a seam with good small gear (micro-nuts helpful) through the right side of the roof where it is smaller. This feels hard for 5.8 but is great climbing with good gear. Also note that, contrary to Richard Rossiter's description in his High Peaks guide, there is no bolt out here.

Continue up more broken terrain right of a right-facing corner to a loose ledge just below the top. *It's best to belay on this ledge rather than dragging the rope up through the extremely loose rock above to the top* (5.8+, ~100').

Then, scramble or belay to the top. Be very careful on this loose top-out, as any rocks that come off will head directly down toward the staging area that is common to Culp-Bossier, Jackson-Johnson, and the Love Route.


Standard rack up to #2 Camalot. #3 optional. Doubles are useful in the #0.75-#2 range.


The fastest descent is a rappel and downclimb down the first buttress, to the east of this route.

Hike about 1/3 mile down the ridgeline (maybe 200 vertical feet), pass the first major incut gully (which faces north) and then go down another 50-60 vertical feet, 400 feet or so of horizontal walking. Look for the cairns marking the rappel to your left (northeast). Rap one 60m drop if you have two ropes, or two 30m drops to a ledge. Downclimb the sections below you, then follow the cairns as the wrap around to the left (to the north, and then to the west, back towards the beginning of the climb). You will NOT be going down the huge gully to the right (east), which looks very tempting. You will end up a couple hundred feet below the start of the route (5 minutes back to the base).


P2 maybe we belayed at the wrong spot, but it didn't seem like 120 ft to the bottom of the corner. P3 we stretched out a 200 ft rope on this one. [definitely] the best pitch of the climb, but also the most serious. Pitch by pitch description by Charles Vernon is good beta on the climb. We used it and everything seemed to jive with what was on route. Have fun. Terrific route. Jun 3, 2001
I would suggest that on P2 you go to the top of the corner for the belay. Definately less rope drag on P3. I may have got off route, but we did the route in 6 pitches with a 60M rope. There is a nice hanging belay in the pod of a crack at the top of P4. P5 goes straight up from here, goes right up higher (35M) then back left to a sloppy ledge. P6 cuts back right and up an overhanging crack that was a little wet yesterday from what appeared to be run off. I thought this to be the hardest section of the climb - above the overlaps - friction moves and no pro. This is a STIFF 5.8 and very commiting up high. It will get your heart racing. Jun 25, 2001
It seems everyone does this differently. On pitch six, I would go up the corner and then break almost straight right, perhaps 60 feet, until you're just around the main prow. There is a great belay stance there with a fixed pin. It is the start of the long ramp that eventually connects with Jackson-Johnson. On pitch seven, you can avoid the runout face above the belay by just climbing right around the arete and heading up a large right facing corner. Tom Isaacson Jul 31, 2001
The Rossiter topo shows a bolt on the last pitch of the Culp-Bossier. I couldn't find this bolt, am I blind, or has it been chopped? Jun 17, 2003
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
As we finished (Charles Vernon's) Pitch 6, I took a long traverse right (50') around a corner and belayed next to a huge pin with an enormous detached block, at the base of a steep rightward leaning ramp. Above us was (I'm pretty sure) the crux pitch - steep 5.7 s face moves to a steeper crack splitting right between two sections of cream-colored (and rotten looking) rock.

It doesn't sound like this was the belay everyone else found, but it sure seemed to work well for us. We tried to decipher the "proper" belay spot, but never did find it.

That said, what great exposure! I never expected so much face climbing and "eldo crack climbing" (stemming and face holds, using the crack for pro).

You can link 1 & half of two nicely (maybe you can make it to the top of the corner with a 60m?). The "correct" corner (there are 4 that we debated between) is the largest of the RF corners, that steepens into creamy colorered rotten rock (the route traverses to the right just underneath that section).

From the grassy ledge, it makes total sense to link these and simul-climb as needed (300 feet of super-airy face climbing was FUUUUN.) or as comfortable.

Oh yes, and the pin at the crux roof up high is terrible, it moved about an inch up and down. A perfect red alien placement goes in right above it. Jul 12, 2003
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
Whoops. What Tom Isaacson said about P6. PS, no bolt on the last pitch, as far as I saw. Jul 12, 2003
In the midst of racing a severe lightening/ hail storm, I left a 3.5 Camalot on the final pitch. If someone happened to retrieve it and was gracious enough to return it, I would gladly compensate for the trouble. If not, at least put it to good use. Please contact Aug 10, 2003
??? . . . We didn't bring (and didn't need) anything larger than a #2 . . . ??? Aug 25, 2003
Jim Matt
Indianapolis, IN
Jim Matt   Indianapolis, IN
Did this route a few days ago (on 9/2) with Bob Chase (a guide from the Colorado Mountain School). I needed him, as I am but a "novice" (can only lead up to about 5.6 trad). Everything that has been said about this route is true...and more. Last year, I did the Petit Grepon, and this route is much more sustained, strenuous, and fun (not to take anything away from the Petit). It is a great study in edging (all of those little micro edges are pretty bomb). Just when you are about ready to give up, BOOM, a great hand hold or another little edge pops out of nowhere. I thought P3 (the first crux with the roof) was fun, but P7 makes the route. Dead vertical, with extraordinary face climbing. Bob made me a bit nervous by running out the start of P8 by about 60'. Oh yeah, we were the only party on the entire face of Hallets that day. I presume because it was a weekday, just after Labor Day, and because of the Bear Lake shuttle situation. We arrived at the Sprague Lake parking area a little after 2 am and did the approach from there, started climbing by headlamp (~5:30 AM), and topped out around 1:30 PM. We made it back down to the base just as it started raining. You can take the Bear Lake shuttle back to Bierstadt Lake, from there it is less than a mile hike back down to Sprague Lake. Sep 4, 2003
It looks like it's getting a bit late in the season for this route. My partner and I were up there on 9/20 and the first two pitches had more ice on them than I usually like on a rock route. After spending way too much time chipping ice with a nut tool on the first pitch, we bailed for the sunny joys of Eldo. Sep 22, 2003
John Korfmacher
Fort Collins, CO
John Korfmacher   Fort Collins, CO
This is what a quality alpine rock climb is supposed to be like. The climbing is exposed and sustained at the given grade, the line is direct and logical, there are no "gimme" pitches, and it's in a positively beautiful spot. I'd recommend it if it wasn't apparent that a lot of people already know about it! Beware of the old fixed gear, some of it is manky. Jul 13, 2004
I laughed at the idea of this route being rumored to have route finding difficulties, as I did the Love Route last summer with no problems. At my second belay, with no idea where we were, and obviously off route, with bail slings in a circle of shame all around us, I hung my head, tucked my topo deep into the pack and headed off like a dog in heat, aiming my nose towards whatever looked good next. I have pirated the well shot route photo and marked what I found on my meandering journey (hallets2.jpeg). I believe we nailed a pitch or two of the Jackson Johnson, but other than that, I have no idea. It was overall a good time, with a lot of runout 7-8, and a hair raising wide and wet pitch 4. One deep slingable chockstone mid way provided some relief for my wide eyed belayer on his first alpine and only second multi pitch climb(I know,I know, I would make a horrible guide). Anyways; I have been up many so called "hard to read" routes and this one really confused me, so I thought I'd drop a note and see if anyone can figure out what we were on (route, not hallucinogens).

jer Jul 19, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Jer, from your photo (under Beta Photos) it looks like you did the top 2 pitches of the Jackson-Johnson. In the middle you're actually right of the JJ, in this area there is a huge yellow flake that the JJ goes up the left side, while you show going up the right side. Halletts can be tough route finding as there aren't many identifiable features around. Jul 19, 2004
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
Awesome climb, rock, and exposure. One should hit this in the morning and be done with it by noon (1:00 at the latest) as hell broke loose when we summited at 2:00. Pitch 1 was confusing. Pitch 2 was straightforward. Pitch 3 pulled a funky little roof with a manky piton. Pitches 4 and 5 are the heart of climb in my opinion-incredible exposure on excellent rock. Pitches 6,7, and 8 were a free-for-all as we didn't know where the hell we were until I topped out. Total time on the route was about seven hours including route finding, downclimbing, upclimbing, figuring out where we were, etc, etc, etc. Aug 3, 2004
Chris Swope
Greeley, co
Chris Swope   Greeley, co
Hey guys and gals, just did this route two days ago. Fun fun route, after having done Crestone Needle, I was expecting more of a chossy, which way do I go kinda route. But this one kept going and going. Lots of solid climbing with the nice occasional gimmie. The annoyance was the occasional stream running down of the holds but even that was not too bad. We took the 7a bus and where back at out car by 4p. You gotta love the approach on this one. Especially seeing little kids walking the trail. It does seem like it rains there everyday. On our descent, we got about a 10minute soak. But even if you have to go and then bail the scenery is very well worth it. Aug 24, 2004
Excellent route. There are runouts, but both hands and feet are very secure - no slab moves! Most of the pins actually looked solid given the way they were placed. The steepness makes the 5.6 climbing exciting. East descent with the bolted chain is totally obvious (because of the cairn) and highly recommended. Jul 18, 2005
Eric Goltz
Boulder, CO
Eric Goltz   Boulder, CO
Although the climbing for the most part is easy, and you can move pretty quickly if you stay on route, I would recommend bringing a rap line if possible. I had to descend from P7 in a nasty thunderstorm w/ only 1 70-m rope, and it took several hours and some anchor construction. Incoming weather cannot be seen until the summit, and it is difficult to continue on runout terrain when the rock is soaked. Climb safe! Jul 23, 2006
Armin Colorado
Boulder, CO
Armin Colorado   Boulder, CO
Anybody know if this route is still "in" and not iced up yet? [Chris, John (Love Route), Deb, Allen (C-B) were just there last Wed.] Sep 4, 2006
Matt Chan
Matt Chan   Boulder
"Anybody know if this route is still "in" and not iced up yet?"

It's getting cold up there (9/2/06), but the route is as clean as a whistle. To add to the route finding discussions, we were able to stay on route by using Charles Vernon's pitch by pitch description and the topo from Rossiter's guidebook. The only couple of notes I think I could add is that on P6, after leading out of the LF dihedral, there is a gold(ish) section of rock maybe 70 feet above your head that you can see from the dihedral. We angled up and right under the gold section of rock with good to excellent pro (for the grade) to a right facing corner that marks pitch 7. We had a pretty shitty belay stance there, but I'm sure there were other options that we missed out on. There is a silver colored pin at the start of P7 that you can move around with your fingers, but an excellent .75 Camalot placement is right above it. Sep 5, 2006
Dave Pilot
Boulder, CO
Dave Pilot   Boulder, CO
I love this route! I agree that it's the best moderate in the Park, better than the Petit Grepon. The route's still in for the brave of heart. Sideways snow doesn't stick. Thunder and lightning in the fall rarely strike the ground. The black rock is still sticky when it's wet; the white rock is not. The numbness in your feet will go away with time. Sep 13, 2006
Armin Colorado
Boulder, CO
Armin Colorado   Boulder, CO
Dave, went to do the route on 9/16, the wind was shaking our car in the parking lot at 4am, and even the road was soaked, my buddy and I figured we would just be going for a hike if we went for it. We thought for sure there would be ice on the route. Sep 16, 2006
Just did the route yesterday. It was good that my partner had climbed the route before, route finding was not that obvious. Then I did not study the route nor took a topo. I would suggest taking a full rack due to the varied placements. There are a few runout sections, however they offer solid climbing. If you are not adept in placing protection and setting belays, I would not attempt this route. Protection was not that straightforward and somewhat cerebral. The route also seemed sustained for the most part. However, I am going to be 48 next month, so getting out of bed is sustained. We descended by heading down along the cliff face until you see a large cairn. There are chains. The rappel can be done with two 60m to safety. There is also a midway station that I believe you could rappel this in two single 60m rappels. However, since we did not do this, it is only an observation. Follow the gully and cairns wrapping up towards the climb down a scree field. Jun 15, 2007
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
Patrick Vernon   Estes Park, CO
Hey Charlie,

Glad you had an interesting time. Was it very wet up there?

-P vernon Jun 15, 2007
Gregger Man
Broomfield, CO
Gregger Man   Broomfield, CO
Loved the route, but hated the descent. This was my second time up Hallett, and I haven't grown any fonder of that series of 'class 4' gullies. It's all loose, and it requires some class 5 downclimbing. On the climb, the fall risk on the 5.7 runouts isn't so bothersome because of the stellar rock quality. The gully was nerve-racking by comparison.

At the final gully there is a tree with slings on a ledge off to the left with a boulder embedded high in the trunk. A 60m double-rope rap will get you past the snow all the way to the talus slope. Jun 25, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Greg, which descent are you doing? It is quite easy if you go climber's left at the top (generally southeast). See Mike Sofranko's description under Hallett Peak. I'm assuming you went northwest? Jun 25, 2007
Gregger Man
Broomfield, CO
Gregger Man   Broomfield, CO
We didn't go up to the West Gully. We hiked down to the chain anchors on the first buttress, rapped 200', then followed the gullies straight towards the lower half of the east couloir. I didn't see many choices on the way down. I don't think we were off-route. I just think it is riskier than the climb. Jun 26, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
You must have missed the traverse west about 300 feet below the rappel. There is a cairn here, but if you don't notice it you will head down into a nasty chute. This descent normally takes under an hour, even for slow people like me. Jun 26, 2007
If you did more than one rappel on the east ledges descent you were off route. One 60m rap from the chains takes you to a gully with easy downclimbing, then trend LEFT (west) around the buttress at about every opportunity you get and you end up at the base of Hallett's chimney. There was no snow on this descent on 6/24/07. This is definitely the best way down as it has only a short loose gully section.

The descent down the west gully is more of a loose slag heap than the east side, but it is the best way down from the Third Buttress. This one also has a trick to it, at one point you have to go up and over a hump to the left (west) to another gully. There are no rappels needed on this descent. Jun 26, 2007
Joshua Lewis
  5.8+ PG13
Joshua Lewis  
  5.8+ PG13
Did this on 9/2; a fantastic experience. The statements about being solid on 5.8, runout @ 5.7, tricky gear placement all held very true. Also required simul-climbing in a couple spots to get to decent belay spots and stay ahead of ominous weather. FYI, backing down off this route would be a sketchy and expensive process as there were only 1 or 2 fixed slings that we noticed down on the lower half. We didn't start the climb until 8am and made it only due to answered prayers as thunderheads were rumbling all around. Sep 4, 2007
Brice W
Brice W  
Outstanding route! We climbed this on 9/1/07 in six pitches with a 60m rope. We didn't simulclimb, but stretched out the rope on more than one pitch. The runout sections didn't seem bad due to the solid rock and abundance of incut holds. I got off route at the top (it all looks the same up there) and basically went straight up where the topo has you go right a bit. The climbing didn't seem any harder than the normal route, but there was an exciting move onto a huge jug to get over a little roof with about 900 feet of air below my feet. That might have been one of the dirty overhangs mentioned above. As you might expect for a north-facing route, we didn't hit the sun until the fourth pitch, so it was chilly starting out. Dec 20, 2007
Grand Junction
Merlin   Grand Junction
Best route I've ever done in Colorado at the grade. This should be the definition of 4 stars for 5.8 alpine. On the flip side, if you just lead 5.8 in the crags (as I do) I wouldn't touch leading this with a 10 foot pole. Doing it with a 70 meter is a good idea. Jun 29, 2008
Laramie, Wyoming
BretWith1T   Laramie, Wyoming
Jen and I did this yesterday and it was exquisite. Not a cloud in the sky all day. Lucky for us, as we had some route-finding and other issues and were SLOW. We were on route above the ramp and the crux pitch was the best even with the runoff from the recent weather. We could have used more slings to reduce rope drag lower where we were meandering, but overall it was a great day and a great climb. Despite some of the beta to the contrary, the raps at the east end can be accomplished with a 50m rope with plenty to spare. Aug 22, 2008
Oakland, Ca
snowhazed   Oakland, Ca
First time on gneiss rock, first alpine climb in CO- way way too much fun. My buddy Chris had me stretch the rope on the second pitch, spicily traversing right over a roof to an excellent 5.9 corner variation for pitch 3 to the midway ledge. I recommend. Aug 30, 2008
Did this on 9/3/2008. Nice little route.

I found the "dicey" sections to be adequately protected. A set of wires nicely protected my partner's 7s section on P7. The 5.6s runout wasn't bad at all - I got pro every 15 feet or so. Small Aliens or TCUs are nice on this route. (black & purple Alien / #0.1 & 0.2 Camalots). If you belay from the ledge at the top of P2, then a 60m rope will not reach the next ledge for p3. (Had to simulclimb 20 feet). You should probably set your belay a bit above the comfy ledge in the right-facing dihedral. Remember: choose the middle dihedral!

Then expect a 200 foot pitch to the comfy ledge at the top of p3. There was a single pin protecting the p3 5.8 section - which is otherwise a right trending ledge/slab. I found this to be the hardest / poorest pro of the whole climb.

We had trouble finding the raps: The descent rappel can be found by hiking roughly 1/3 mile down the ridgeline (maybe 200 vertical feet). Pass the first major incut gully (which faces north) and then go down another 50-60 vertical feet, 400 feet or so of horizontal walking. Look for the cairns marking the rappel to your left (northeast). Rap 30m to a ledge. Downclimb the sections below you, passing the first major lefthand turn after the looming tower on your left. Take either the second or third lefthand turns which will have you drop down/climb up to the gully respectively. Then descend the gully via downclimbing or traversing ledges. The gully felt no worse than 5.1/5.2 in the very worst spots, but perhaps a little harder than 4th class in others. We did it unroped. You will end up about 400 vertical feet below the start of the route (5 minutes back to the base).

The descent would be rather spicy in a rainstorm - there was plenty of tat hanging on lots of boulders in the gully. We cleaned a lot of it up since it had been burned through by ropes pulling across it. We also pulled a taped carabiner from the top of p6 with two slings on it - if you left something up there and want it back, email me.

The hike up took us a little over 1.5 hours, and the drive from Boulder a solid hour. It was darn cold in the morning and the sun dropped behind the formation around 10am -- reappearing briefly on the ledge and on top. Sep 4, 2008
Lynn S
Lynn S  
Fabulous route, one of my favorites in the Park. Did this several times back in the late '90s and need to take my kids there now. Feb 20, 2009
P.D.Williams   Lakewood
Great route with amazing exposure. On the 6th pitch, I got naturally lured to the right and onto the 5.7 variation that leads to the bottom of the crux on Jackson-Johnson. In retrospect, it should be easy to stay left of the nose, but requires sticking to the face for a bit and the pro that goes with it.

Eric Peers (above) gives a good descent desription which worked for us. The approach was about 90 minutes from the parking lot, although we flailed around a bit on the approach. We got a 5:30 trailhead start and topped out around 2:00. Pulling a second rope slowed us down quite a bit.
Jul 24, 2009
Stuart Paul
Denver, CO
Stuart Paul   Denver, CO
The right-facing corner in Vernon's pitch 6 is the right hand side of the massive, yellow roof/wall above your head.

On Vernon's pitch 8, start your traverse right 20 feet below the roof that has a fist crack on its right side. Aug 2, 2009
Lynn S
Lynn S  
As good as I remembered the route being. Great fun being on the route with my son Tobin. Excellent climbing in a great setting. Fun to be out there with Clay and Alex, even though they ignored us and got off route:) Aug 10, 2009
Alex Burton
Colorado Springs, CO
Alex Burton   Colorado Springs, CO
Amazing route...even if I was off route a bit (Thanks for telling on me and Clay, Lynn). Made the mistake of taking the dihedral directly above pitch 2 instead of the dihedral to the left. Got back on route after some major movement right to find a weakness and then a major traverse back left above. Aug 11, 2009
Boulder, CO
MauryB   Boulder, CO
Granted this is a confusing face in general, but we tried following this route description and found it just slightly better than useless. Could definitely use some beefing up with better references to cognizable features. At least this face is so featured, no matter what you do you aren't really going to get yourself in trouble. Jul 5, 2010
Chris Plesko
Westminster, CO
  5.8 R
Chris Plesko   Westminster, CO
  5.8 R
Steep, sustained, fantastic, face climbing. It is definitely runout, though if you don't skip potential placements (oops) and have some small cams, you can do better. Bring lots of slings if you're going to link/stretch pitches. Route finding is tricky as many have said. All the "landmarks" make sense once you have done it before, but when you are climbing it for the first time, there is a lot of rock above you. I didn't think any move was harder than 5.8, but you have to be prepared to make 5.8 moves above gear, and there may be multiple in a row. A 70m rope isn't a bad idea, it will give you belay options, but we did it easily in 6.5 pitches with 60m doubles, and that was with some mistakes on my part. Jul 17, 2010
Charles Cundiff  
Bringing a 70m rope is nice for this climb. I opted (accidentally) to extend the first pitch all the way to the base of the dihedral of the second pitch. This gains you a nice, flat, belay stance. Jul 18, 2010
Charles I.
Boulder, CO
Charles I.   Boulder, CO
When I arrived to the start of the Culp - Bossier Route, it looked like a jammed up buffet line at a cheap casino in Las Vegas.

I ended up with this after I topped out: Better Than Love> Love Route> Englishman Route> Culp Bossier (sounds like a set list I know). Great outing, could not have been more stoked with the climbing! Aug 29, 2010
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
Such an ultra mega classic. Wow! I have yet to climb anything that remarkable at that grade.

Using a 70, we were able to do the first four pitches in two which made for good time. Then we began running into other parties and things slowed. Weather held and all was well, but had we had a free run at the second half of the Culp, it would have gone easily in three, possibly in two, and certainly not in 4!

Chill descent as well.

AMAZING CLIMB!!! Sep 7, 2010
jeremy long
jeremy long   BOULDER CO
Maybe we got off route, but I remember a manky pin (maybe manky old bolt) and overhanging, awkward, wet 5.9 (old school 5.8) on the last pitch. It's been awhile. May 19, 2011
Has anyone been up this recently? We're thinking about it for next week and were wondering what the route conditions were like. Thanks! Jun 29, 2011
Top Rope Hero
Was Estes Park, now homeless
Top Rope Hero   Was Estes Park, now homeless
Hard-to-believe-but-true: With a 70m skinny and about 15 meters of simul-climbing at the P4 grassy ledge, you can send this seemingly massive puppy in four monster pitches.

Also, for those wary of jumping on a route notorious for dubious routefinding...just get on it. We printed pictures, topos, notes...and almost didn't bother with any of it. The C-B is heroically easy to find and maintain; I have NOOO idea how you could get grievously off-route on this one. But there you go. Jul 26, 2011
Krister Sorensen
Centennial, CO
Krister Sorensen   Centennial, CO
Route finding can be difficult without a good topo. I usually prefer pictures to a topo, but I wish we had a topo for this one. The good news it that almost all routes near the top are 5.8, so getting off route isn't a big deal. Despite the description above, all the "5.6" pitches are mostly 5.6 with sections of 5.7. In Bernard Gillett's guidebook, he rates no pitches easier than 5.7. Also, the description above isn't written that well with vague instructions. Gillett gives a much better description that will keep you on route. Jul 1, 2012
The Great State -Colorado
CanDillo   The Great State -Colorado
Excellent route, lots of sustained 5.7 face climbing. All the run-out sections never felt desperate or scary as the face is full of features, crimps, etc. As for the main concern of the "Culp"... route-finding... just go to and print out Eli's topo. Pretty much dead on for all the pitches, aside from pitch 5 from the Crystal Ledge. My partner and did about 30m of simul and a belay shift to reach the pitch #6 belay under the white roof. We ended up doing the face in 5 rope stretching 70m pitches in 4 hours. Just remember "take the second dihedral!!!" on pitch 3. This will set you on the correct course for the rest of the climb. Once you head off from the Crystal Ledge (pitch 5), it is pretty much directissima on the left side of the blunt prow of Second Buttress. Don't think about this one, Just go do it!!! Jul 26, 2012
Christian Mason
Westminster CO
Christian Mason   Westminster CO
Anyone know anything about the variant where you go directly up (and slightly left) at the start of p7, instead of traversing right around the big white flake?

I did this yesterday, found OK rock quality (not as good as the rest of the route), and what I'd put at roughly 5.9R climbing.
There was one old fixed pin, right before the small overhang to the left of the big flake. I didn't see any other fixed gear going this way.

The top out also finished at a fairly well worn trail, so this has obviously seen a bit of traffic but not nearly as much as the rest of the route, judging by the rock quality and amount of lichen. Aug 4, 2012
Climbed this with my buddy Eric Harvey, in the rain!!! Was the granite not freaking slippery that day? We took some spooky pictures and made it to the top in alpine fashion, making our own route up the higher pitches. Nov 17, 2012
Colorado Springs, CO
LawHous   Colorado Springs, CO
This is an awesome route and can be a lot of fun, yet has potential of danger. Do no underestimate the length of this route. I went to this route with expectations of it taking 6 hours tops. From the parking lot, it took us 9 hours!! We got stuck behind two slower parties and also got off route after 4th belay. I got stuck in some chossy, scary shit, and we had to climb runout slab to get back on route. Plan accordingly and be prepared for a long day, especially if you choose to climb behind other parties (which I do not recommend). Jul 2, 2013
Brett S.
Brett S.   Colorado
Climbed route on 7/7/13. Much of the route is very wet still. Pitch 7 and 8 have water running down them, quite scary to lead into but still pretty reasonable. The lower pitches are wet in places, but the wet sections are more easily avoided.
Very good route. I'd like to get on it some time when it's fully dry. Is this normal runoff for the route this time of year? Jul 9, 2013
Mike Tsuji
Boulder, CO
Mike Tsuji   Boulder, CO
Hey Brett, I was on the route on 7/3, and it was pretty dry. Maybe it rained the night before you got on it? Jul 13, 2013
Dwight Jugornot
Arvada, Co.
  5.8+ R
Dwight Jugornot   Arvada, Co.
  5.8+ R
First of all, 4 stars! A real work out with plenty of climbing at the grade. Felt 5.8+ to me. Craaaaazy cool line - 8 pitches right up the nose of a huge buttress, surrounded by the heart of the park. Approach took us 2 hrs. The trail is asphalt all the way to Emerald Lake, then you boulder hop for 1/2 mile gaining maybe 700 ft. of vertical? Path is dispersed and partial thru the boulders.

P1 is the easiest pitch on the route, good pro. The left leaning-right facing dihedral is really low 5th class. The narrow traverse ledge is obvious when you come to it - as is the finger crack.

P2 is obvious as long as you head into the middle dihedral. The finger crack leads into weakness that take you to the cross-over left into the middle dihedral over an easy but balancy buttress. There is no "correct" place to traverse. **You should now be looking directly up into the cream colored roof that marks the crux of p3**. Good pro makes for a number of good belay spots below the roof.

P3 I found the "crux" traverse under the roof to be well protected and only slightly harder than the runout 5.6 pitches above. I found small (nuts mostly) but solid pro about every 5-8 feet. I really only clipped the apparently solid pin onnacounta i was right there. I belayed from a small grassy ledge not far above the roof- stay left!

P4 Low 5th class going to the grassy ledge. You will not see the ledge without going waaay left over easy terrain. It is indeed big enough to BBQ on with 20 friends. I think climbers get screwed-up by starting p5 from the small grassy ledge.

P5/6 You are looking up at a huge, vertical flake system that also defines the prow to your right. You go up a shallow dihedral and put pro in the flake system until you are forced left onto poorly protected face climbing 5.6 stuff. When you first look up at Hallett, you will ask yourself "where might the 5.6 stuff be on THAT thing". The entire climb is pretty vertical. Upper P5 & most of P6 are a nearly vertical sea of partial chickeheads. Many good enough to climb on but none slingable. Pro is sparse and shallow and flaring. The rock is super grippy, but the pro is weeeeeak. Hard to define "where" the route goes here in the "vertical sea of partial chickenheads". There is no "aha!" belay that we found. We ran out of rope (70m) and built a marginal belay at the top of p5(ish). **As long as you head for the right side of the big orange-white roof/flake clearly visible from mid p4** you will be on the route as you reach the right edge of the roof/flake. I belayed on great pro just below the orange/white roof/flake.

P7 Thankfully better pro and harder moves. The route becomes easy to follow as well. Stay in the broken dihedral after passing the right side of the orange/white roof/flake. Some hard moves above good pro as the route steepens for P7 & 8.

P8 The hardest moves of the route. Overhanging off-width. It is short and stiff with good pro. I put a #3 waaay up in there and gunned. I do not think a #2 would have sufficed.

Raps. Craaaaap! We looked for the raps for one hour. I would add to Charles description that you hike down the ridge about 400 feet past the "major incut" to the **small forest of cairns**. I thought they might be marking a walk-off trail or something, but they are marking the vicinity of the raps. I would also add that the raps are on the edge out left as you hike down the ridge and **just before the cliff that marks the end of the ridge**. If you come to the cliff, you have passed the raps by about 40 feet? There is a semi-hidden path that leads out to the cliff edge (from near the cairn grouping) Follow it through the bushes out left (north). When you reach the edge, look down and right and you will see the steel rings on top of a flat rock. You do not need to teeter out to the cliff edge to look over onto the face at any point. 2 single rope raps put you into the gully system following a lot of carins on strong trail *staying left* to the base. The downclimbing is steep for short (5 ft.) sections. Not scary. Aug 6, 2013
Erika Bannon
Boulder, CO
Erika Bannon   Boulder, CO
Thanks for the description, Dwight, it was a lot of help. A couple notes: we didn’t try and to combine p5&6. Instead my partner set up her anchor after p6 directly under the notch in the roof for p7, and b/c of that, with a 70m rope I was able to combine p7&8 pretty easily. Overhanging off-width is overstating the case both in size and inclination, but I was glad for a #3 there.

Also, due to some other descriptions, I read calling this 5.9 R and such I was almost scared away--- don’t be this is a really fun route. This really felt in line with 5.8s I lead in Eldo, and while runout at times, if you can trust the pins on p3 to hold a short fall, it is not R rated. Sep 9, 2013
Re: route finding
I think experienced trad climbers who are comfortable tackling run-out terrain will find this easy to navigate (e.g., the first two pitches above the ledge have some run out terrain but mostly trend up with a little rightward climbing; other pitches have pretty definitive markers like a roof or dihedral).

I can definitely see how newer climbers (or those uncomfortable with runouts) will get sucked off route by the promise of better pro, though.

Bottom line, if you are an experienced trad climber and comfortable running out (really fun) 5.6 face climbing, then you shouldn't have much of a problem. Jun 29, 2015
Santa Monica, Ca.
YDPL8S   Santa Monica, Ca.
Yeah, until the run out 5.6 turns into wet run out 5.8+ because of a wrong turn. Jun 29, 2015
Forrest Williams
Forrest Williams   Denver
For those concerned with route finding: I found the descriptions by C. Vernon and S. Green to be very good for the first half of the climb. Although I would recommend the way Vernon breaks up the first 4 pitches to the large ledge. From here, both the descriptions seemed confusing, but I found good belays the whole way.
P5: climb nearly a full 60m on the face to the left of the prow. After a couple steeper sections, you will find a overhanging flake with a decent stance below it.
P6: look up and find the large, dirty looking, white roof. Your next belay is a really good, small ledge nearly 60m above you about 3m below the left edge of that roof (where a left-facing dihedral continues up). Climb on the left side of the prow until it starts to become less prominent and the face opens up above you. Continue on really good holds more or less straight up, past a horizontal ledge extending to your right, and up to your belay. This is the best pitch.
P7-8: continue past a piton up the left-facing dihedral, as it becomes dirty continue on its right side on good face holds. After about 40m, you will arrive below a large series of steep roofs and flakes. This is p8 as described be Vernon. My partner went more or less straight up these steep flakes, linking P7&8, which was quite terrifying to follow. They are not super consolidated. I'd recommend staying on route and passing this section on its right side. Cheers! Sep 14, 2015
Andy Nelson
Fort Collins, Colorado
Andy Nelson   Fort Collins, Colorado
Culp-Bossier! I can see why this is commonly referred to as the best midgrade route in the treasury of Rocky . Incredible line up Hallet's colossal nordwand! We used the Rossiter description in the Fixed Pin guide. It was amusing how many bees were visiting the flowers at belays. Top pitch was a a little drippy. Raps are easy to find. Overall - CLASSIC. Jul 7, 2016
Chris N
Loveland, Co
Chris N   Loveland, Co
From my journal June 17 1980 Tues - Culp - Bossier, Hallett Peak; I left Denver at 5am, it took about 15 hrs for the whole f***ing thing. Jim got very altitude sick halfway up the route. I led 2 pitches near the top that were supposed to be bail-out pitches that totally scared the s**t out of me, with no f**king belay in-between. When we hit the top and went and looked at the descent gully, it was full of g*dd*mn snow, and it was getting dark. We decide that if we went south into Chaos Canyon, we could maybe hike down, did I say it was dark? I mean F**king DARK! I got a rock dropped on my head and one on my hand. Stumbled over 500 boulders and fell into 300 holes in a pitch black canyon called Chaos Canyon, what a s**t hole place to be! We climbed 350' using lit matches to get out of the canyon but were trapped, and with no matches left, we rapped 160' to a tree, threw a rock, and counted 5 seconds. We knew that we had a chance of landing, pulled ropes, rapped again, and at the very end of the rope, swung way to the left and found a small ramp to climb down, did I mention it was f**king pitch black? We made our way back into Chaos Canyon, and 500 tree branches to the eyes later, I asked Jim "Remember that that ranger shack that we were looking for about 2 hours ago?" He said "Yes", I said "Here it is". About 6 inches of it were sticking out of the pine needle covered snow. At least we sort of knew where we were at. 500 more branches to the eyes and a complete belly flop in a 2' deep creek got us to the car. All Jim could say is "Damn, we missed getting to the bar by 15 minutes, sh*t!" Dec 26, 2017
Scott E  
Having a picture topo makes it clearer on which dihedrals and roof systems to follow. The route finding became more cryptic on the upper face climbing pitches. A good rack is micro to #3 with doubles from #0.4-#1. We brought double #2 which ended up being unnecessary. The #3 is optional. Jun 29, 2018
Charles Vernon
Tucson, AZ
Charles Vernon   Tucson, AZ
Did this again recently for the first time in many years and then revamped the route description, so hopefully it should be more useful now.

Edit: I noticed Kristina's post below and wanted to note that my description tracks Rossiter's description and topo closely as that is the way I climbed it the first time I did it in 1999 and every time since then. Kristina's description sounds like another good way of doing it that differs slightly on the upper pitches and may actually more closely approximate the line that many people take when they get "off-route" on those pitches. Jul 7, 2018
Denver, CO
KatrinaM   Denver, CO
There are lots of confusing route descriptions for this route. Here's the one I found on a few years ago that was super clear and kept me right on route easily when I climbed this route. I regularly send friends the link but just discovered it's been taken down, so I wanted to post the great beta here for longevity's purposes:

Route information:
P1. 30m. Once the snow has melted from the base, step off the ground onto a steep white quartz band 30' high which takes one directly into the large furthest-right facing dihedral on this part of the face. After 80', step right onto a ledge, and traverse right 15' past a pin to a splitter crack for the anchor (5.6).
P2. 55m. Step-left out on the ledge to a small, right-facing dihedral up for 15' to a hand-traverse right towards a suspended flake. Clip a knifeblade and then another pin while stepping right into the steep hand crack which is juggy on all sides and has a slung chockstone in the middle section. At the end of the crack where the angle lowers, step left across a slab into the middle of three right-facing dihedrals with a small grassy ledge (5.8).
P3. 55m. Head-up the steep, right-facing dihedral above the belay which is sustained, and when there is a slabbier bit on the right after 70', follow this thin crystal traverse right for 20' to a moderate crack through the small roof and then straight up following cracks to a large belay ledge of yellow lichen (5.8).
P4. 30m. Step left out of the belay, and traverse across this ledge until around the corner and then up moderate terrain staying left to reach the large quartz ledge at its far-right side (5.6).
P5. 55m. Climb straight up out of the belay on the far-right side of the quartz ledge, first in a layback crack and then on increasingly thinner terrain with a bit of a runout on face holds to reach the obvious corner crack which splits the left side of the whitish arete that defines this side of the second buttress. Sustained and excellent climbing brings one to a small stance just 30' below the obvious white ceiling in this side of the face (5.8).
P6. 55m. Head out of the belay trending right and up to bypass the large white roof about 20' right of the wide crack that defines its right edge. Step back-left after the steeps to gain this crack, and follow it mostly straight up and a bit right to another belay stance just below the top (5.9).
P7. 35m. Go straight up out of the belay taking the path of least resistance, and avoid pulling too hard on the somewhat loose blocks just below the summit plateau (5.8). Jul 7, 2018
I left behind a tricam and another piece or two the other day on this route. I'd be happy to trade a beer for its return. Jul 12, 2018 · Lost & Found

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