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Routes in Devil's Thumb

Cheating Reality T 5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a R
Left Side T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Toponas T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
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Type: Trad
FA: unknown
Page Views: 4,554 total · 22/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Aug 3, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

22 Opinions

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


Left Side is one of the two "moderate" routes up Devil's Thumb (the other being Toponas). Both are found on the east face, immediately below a small overhang which prevents easy access to the summit.

Left Side is the left-most crack (facing the rock) that is about 30 feet left of Toponas and about 50 after crossing to the east side of Devil's Thumb from the north. The climb is only about 20' long, and requires a very long approach, but it's definitely the easiest way to summit Devil's Thumb. While you're here, you may as well give Toponas a go, too. I recommend setting up your belay well-below the start of the climb on a large, broken fissure that makes a nice seat. The climb itself is well-protected and includes a (sketchy!) bolt/ring that can be reached from the ground if you're tall. While only rated .7, the easiest way to ascent the crack it to lie-back it with your feet against the left side, but this makes placing pro very difficult: be solid at the grade. While it is pumpy, it's only a few moves to the top.

Descent: I recommend using the two-foot metal pole (the remains of an old ladder) that sticks straight up out of the rock at the top of the climb to rap off of, but if you want to belay up your second, you may wish to continue on to the summit: a little searching will reveal two bolts right on top of the thumb.


Small/medium cams/stoppers. A single set from small to #2 Camalot should suffice.


This route is fun in spite of the huge thrashing in and out.

We felt the route was burly. Not a 5.7 in my book. Felt almost as hard as the 1st pitch of the Yellow Spur although a bit shorter...

The Shadow canyon ascent is rough and somewhat scary as stated by Joshua, but descending towards Shadow Canyon is downright Spooky. The 4th class section is exposed and goes through a band of really rotten rock while walking on scree filled 2 foot ledges. Be really careful and do not bring novices up or down this way. The good news is that the tough part only lasts for about 50-70 feet and then you are free to boulder hop and quickly reach a nice trail. Oct 8, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
This is 5.7+, for sure. It's pumpy and completely different from your normal Flatiron slab-fest. I know a couple of people who have launched off this one!

Tonopas is also stiff for 5.8, in my experience. Apr 16, 2002
Once made a grand outing of this by firing the adventure route on flying flatiron (5.5)ish then scurrying across to this roof. I thought it was a one move wonder, and wasnt sure what to wonder about the ring on the pin/bolt thing that protects the move. I was glad i had a screamer to clip to it. Took two tries to find gumption to fire it, but made me smile. This route is 5.7. i read that in a guide book, so i knew it was true. We were scared men, so we set a rap on those old wild bolts, but downclimbed with no slack in the rap line, felt safer than just downclimbing. Then we rapped off that metal pole thing, which also didnt feel like the safest thing ive ever done. Jul 23, 2002
Chris Zeller
Boulder, CO
Chris Zeller   Boulder, CO
Agreed. Seemed stiff to me for 5.7. Of course its only for one - two moves and then its done but its overhanging crack climbing which is altogether different from [Flatiron] slabs. Aug 23, 2005
Mike Munger and I went up on this climb looking to replace the bolt. However, the bolt was poorly placed in a hole in the rock and we could not place a new bolt directly in the old hole. When we looked for places to move the new bolt it was always close to bomber gear. Hence, we decided not to replace the bolt. Oct 7, 2005
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Beware the "Devil's Thumbnail" about 30' below the crux. We belayed from here and I sat my pack in a 6" slot, I assumed it only went down a few feet. My pack suddenly slid 15 feet down the slot, totally out of reach. Took 15 minutes of fishing with our cleaning tool to retrieve it. Nov 17, 2008
John M Brooks
Niwot, CO
John M Brooks   Niwot, CO
Nice bolted chains at S side of top. Min 60m rope to get down over crux & slab, then easy Class 4 downclimb holding onto ridge edge.

Great views from top - very worthy summit.

I found the leaning crack awkward and could not reach/obtain the jug hold. Even then with a swinging heel hook and strenuous reach to obtain balance, that is no way a 5.7 move. Seen same requirement on 5.11 routes. Maybe missed some key foot placement? Anyways, found the pin ring to be convenient to aid my way up. Just needed a nice hi foot hold to reach great hand holds above.

Btw, the slab just below the crux is much easier than it looks thanks to some convenient finger pockets. Aug 9, 2010
Rick Blair
Rick Blair   Denver
Ok, that was me performing the ridiculous moves John is talking about above. I jammed my way up and got a #1 Camalot high in the crack instead of clipping the ring piton, bomber placement. The crack is very flared, so good jams were not easy to come by. Is it possible I plugged a cam into a necessary handhold that would have kept this easier? Maybe a better alternative would have been a layback? A fall from here, with good pro, would be very clean as you are overhanging, none the less I was shaken up a bit after pulling this move. I belayed at the rod, equalized/backed it up with an improbable but very solid #3 Camalot at the top of the flaring crack. This summit ranks up there with Seal Rock and the 3rd. Brutal approach.

Thanks, Gerry Roach, I laughed about the 5.7 rating all the way back to the car. Aug 10, 2010
Joshua Harrington
Arvada, CO
Joshua Harrington   Arvada, CO
New to the area here, hi! I'm confused why the description says 2 pitches but also says "the climb is only 20' long".... Jul 25, 2014
Dan Raymond
Longmont, CO
Dan Raymond   Longmont, CO
To answer the previous poster's question: this is a one pitch route. After hiking to the east side, you will be beneath a short overhanging wall. You can scramble around this wall on the left to a slab above it. Belay from here, and it is a little under 100' to the chains at the top. You can do a single rope rappel (with a 60 meter rope) from these chains back to the belay. Be warned that you might have trouble pulling your rope, because the links at the end of the chain are a little too small and there is a lot of friction when you run your rope through both chains.

The crux of this climb is an overhanging slanting crack that you must lieback with nothing for your feet except smearing on a vertical wall. It seems improbable at 5.7+, but once you make a move or two, you will find a jug in the crack that makes it much easier than it looks. Oct 9, 2017

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