Type: Trad, Boulder, 25 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 8,018 total · 51/month
Shared By: JNE on Apr 9, 2006
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Aeon Aki

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Dirt roads reopened as of June 2014 Details


This is steep with two pods to get through. It is mostly hands. Climbers with smaller hands will find the very top harder, as it is big deep hands. Lots of people lead this, there is even an anchor up top. It is probably the most classic boulder problem at Vedauwoo.

When the tree right next to this boulder was younger and not a victim of beetle kill, people used to climb down the tree to get down from bouldering it. Be careful now if you do this, as the deteriorating nature of the root structure on that tree now makes that a potentially dangerous situation which is probably best to avoid altogether.


On the east end of the south side of The Nautilus, there is a big, freestanding boulder right off the trail. This right-leaning crack is on its overhanging east side.


Hand sized stuff, old bolts up top, or skill.
Great route - definitely tricky and overhanging the whole way.

I wouldn't advise bouldering this unless you have it dialed first - the top is a bit insecure and a good 20 feet off the ground.

Probably a bit of a sandbag. Apr 16, 2006
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
I tried this one this weekend for a short period. I got my hands to the second pod, bouldering, not on lead, I had climbed some of the other boulder problems rated 10-10+ and this seems like the hardest. I don't know how sand bagged it is but it's fairly sustained. I will get it eventually, any recommendations on what problems will help me with technique for this one? Oct 10, 2006
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.10d V0+
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.10d V0+
I lead it, not bouldered it, so I am not quite sure how to rate it as a boulder... but 5.10d sounds right. It's not technical, it's just difficult.
I suspect the level of difficulty and crux location are both hand-size dependent. Cups, fists, and forearms got me up this without any stacks, despite my very gracile mits (not at all wide). When my fist jams were rattly, I stuffed in up to my elbows and flexed my forearms in for a larger second point of contact. YMMV. My forearms are a good deal bigger than my fists.

If your hands are large and the hard part is the off-fists to the low side, try jaming by rolling the thumb tips as if to touch the base of your pinky, then twist the hand. I find this more effective than cupped hands, and less exhausting. Again, YMMV. Oct 10, 2006
Jason, you seem to be having trouble reaching through the pod up there. I would recommend getting a thumbs up jam with either hand at the bottom of the pod and then reach through to the top of the pod with the other hand. For pods in fist cracks, use a palm up fist instead. Standard fare technique for getting through short pods in hand cracks, and a good technique to learn. Sorry, I can't think of any easier problems that would teach that technique, this one is particularly good for that. A good harder one would be Nats Three Star Roof, and it's a LOT closer to the ground. Even if you can't pull the lip, there are some valuable lessons to be learned under the roof itself. Stacks are entirely unnecessary on this climb. Oct 12, 2006
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
The crux, so far as we could tell, was moving past the pod, since there's not as many features to smear on with your right foot until you're past the pod. Good jams the whole way though.

And its not that high, just bring a few pads and boulder it. Mar 18, 2007
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
I came back and got the redpoint on my 3rd try. got past the second pod first try and fell from probably 15-20 feet up, 2 pads did the job perfectly. I was so excited when I got to the top, 'cause I had no preconcieved expectations, I almost didn't make it as I slipped near the last couple moves. I just told myself, "you're so close don't give up" and I fought as hard as I could and I made it. Aug 27, 2007
  5.10 V1-2
  5.10 V1-2
Terrifyingly high, but worth every inch. Throw down a few pads and boulder it. Personally, the crux was the rather spicy downclimb. Feb 17, 2009
Yes by all means boulder it if you want too... but just FYI... I do know a guy who tried to boulder this AND fell off on the last move AND got his foot stuck in the crack AND therefore went flat on his back on the landing. Probably lucky he didn't break his neck.

All I am saying is this is serious problem - pretty atypical for what most folks think of when they are thinking V0 bouldering. Feb 17, 2009
First time I met Scarpelli was at the base of the Cupcake. I was strollin' through and looked up at the route, asked Bob what the thing was rated. He casually said 5.8. Also remember spotting a friend with one leg one day as he bouldered it. I was more worried about getting clubbed by his prosthetic than he was climbing it I believe. May 21, 2009
One of the best.
A must do, every trip.
I have small hands and a plus 4 ape index, the trick is lock off and reach. There are holds for any size hand (though the truly diminutive may be hurting).

Every so often I reach up the first move and it doesn't feel 'right'. Those are the times I walk away.

You really don't want to fall on this. Nov 2, 2009
Did this today after wandering by for years saying "someday I need to do that thing". Really fun climb! We did it as a lead, since we had gear with us and didn't have crash pads.

A word of caution to those intending to lead it. The anchor sucks. It is 2 buttonheads about 4" apart, and there aren't really any gear options (the crack pinches off after you clear the lip). There is what appeared to be a 3/8" wedge-bolt stud, without a hanger, so another option would be to bring a hanger and a nut. I debated bringing my partner up and doing the tree downclimb, but the anchor situation didn't make that particularly appealing. I'd suggest replacing the bolts, but that would probably kick off some debate about "just boulder it". Maybe the tree downclimb isn't that bad, but standing on top of the boulder, it looked like a long way into the tree.

So, leading it is no big deal, but cleaning it to get your gear back is a pain. I lowered off the two buttonheads, cleaning my gear on the way down (booty alert: if this is part of your solo circuit, there are 2 hotwires waiting for you at the "anchor" on this route). Fortunately, the edge friction is pretty intense, which means you aren't putting much weight on those bolts. Sep 18, 2011
I have always bouldered this route, but if the anchors suck, they should probably be replaced. Nov 4, 2011
Laramie, Wyoming
BretWith1T   Laramie, Wyoming
The "Jump Off Tree" is dead, so that descent is more dangerous and may soon go away. In light of this, Bob Scarpelli, Jennifer Hanft, and I removed the scary buttonheads and placed a bona fide anchor at the top of this route for those who wish to lead, toprope, and/or get off this boulder. Since it is Bob's problem and his decision to place the anchors, and since the soil is thin enough to allow an adjacent dead tree to fall already; please respect his decision to update the anchors and place them where they are useable. (The buttonheads, by the way, came out frighteningly easily.) Oct 20, 2012
Just to add to my husband's post about the anchors we added to the Cupcake today: I understand that individual ethics at Vedauwoo range greatly. No one debates that the Cupcake was originally done as a boulder problem, but since the descent tree is now dead, and old buttonheads were completely unsafe (Bob removed them by putting a chisel under the hanger and they effortlessly popped right out!), please respect Scarpelli's decision to put a safe anchor on it that can also be used for top-roping. We spend over a half hour shifting the rope into different positions to identify the best place where by people will still need to complete the exit moves to reach them, but they can be reached from either standing to the right and reaching out or reaching down from the top on the left side. It's easy to be critical of other people's anchor placements. We all had different ideas going over there about where the new anchors should go, but we climbed it repeatedly, and in the end came to a consensus.

If you don't want to use the anchor, fine. Please, though, do not endanger other people's lives by chopping them. The soil in which the dead descent tree grew is very shallow as you can see by the tree 4 feet away that fell this year. I've lost more than one friend to soloing; a personal decision, but please don't force your ethics on others. Let us all make our own decision whether we choose to use a safe descent option. Thank you, Jen Hanft Oct 20, 2012
Jeff S
Helper, UT
Jeff S   Helper, UT
Lots of thanks to those folks who took the time and effort to replace the bolts at the top of this route, so that others may enjoy it. Oct 21, 2012
Thanks, Bob, Jennifer, and Bret, for putting a proper anchor on this; it's much appreciated.

Like most routes at Vedaudwoo, you get your money's worth on this one. May 27, 2014
Devan Johnson   Foco
With the branches missing off the descent tree, the entire nature of the boulder problem has changed, as the descent is now terrifying. Bummer, as I used to love closing out the day running laps on this. Jul 19, 2014
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
Hang a rap rope on the anchor, and run solo laps with your harness on, rapping off the anchor. Too bad the anchor is in such a cumbersome location. I think Bob used to call this a 5.8. Oct 26, 2018