Type: Trad, 1000 ft, 6 pitches
FA: Peter Williams & Peter Gallagher, 1980
Page Views: 8,950 total · 68/month
Shared By: Jeremy Hakes on Jun 14, 2008
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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I don't recommend this route for more than a 2 person climbing party. I think 3 people would take forever, and increase the possibility of showering garbage down on your 3rd.

This is how we broke the route down:

P1 - 100', 5.9. Climb a left-facing dihedral against a smooth, polished, granite slab. Pro to 3". Climb to a small belay tucked into the rock. There is a decent place to stand and build an anchor.

P2 - 200', 5.9. For us, this was the business, and it starts immediately - use a #5 to protect you getting into the dihedral, which has now grown into an off-width. This is still facing the smooth, scalloped, granite slab. Climb to a good belay ledge at a large opening above the slabs. There is some loose garbage in this big quasi-cavern, but you don't climb on it, and it is easily avoidable.

P3 - 200', 5.7ish. Climb some interesting slabs and a little bit of grub and decomposed rock (again, which you don't climb on, but is around) into where the dihedral grows into a body size + opening. We went south (climber's right) to go around a large hump, followed by a thin granite ridge with some exposure on both sides, more exposure on the climber's right. This continues up and then left to beneath the Gumdrop Spire. Belay on the west side of the Gumdrop. There is some decomposed garbage below the belay, but again, just loose stuff you don't climb on. Watch your 2nd, and don't shower any loose stuff down.

P4 - 200' (this can be done with a 165' rope, depending on where you set up your belay at the bottom of the pitch), THIN 5.7. Move your belay to the east side of the Gumdrop, facing the sea of granite slab above you. See that tiny Star drive anchor 20' above you? That's your first pro. From the right hand side, fall/lean forward across the 20' deep, 3'+ wide crack to grab the bomber hands and then CAREfully step over with your right foot. A fall for your first or second will likely end with them wedged between the two sides of the crack, which would be bad. After the scary step, traverse left until you can step onto the thin slabs, climb up to the "bolt", then continue uphill to the next 2 bolts, which are about 15-20' apart. About 15' above the 3rd bolt, you can get some gear in a left trending ledge/crack. The difficulty eases here to 4th class. Belay at the 2-"bolt" hanging anchor, which you can back up with gear in the crack at your feet.

P5 - 200', more thin 5.7. Follow the thin sea of granite up to the bolt, about 15' above you. Clip this, then run it out 50-60' (easy 5th) to a ledge, then head north/climber's left until you run out of rope. Build an anchor here.

P6 - 150'+, 5.6? Follow the ridge up a beautiful hands crack until you meet the thin exfoliated garbage flake above you. Step right and out onto the face, and get gear in the crack to your right. Climb out and around this bizarre, scalloped, hanging flake, then up to the belay. You're done. Enjoy the summit - watch the decomposing garbage around you (you don't climb on it anyway). Rap off the NE corner.


See the topo for the Big Rock. It is on the south side of the formation, starting on the highest south saddle that heads SW to the river. The dihedral (first pitch) is visible only when you are on the west side of the rock. We found the route by dropping off Metberry Gulch Rd. and heading west towards the trees highest on the shoulder of BRCM. This eventually (after some scrambing) leads to the base of the route.

To get off, head to the north summit, then CAREFULLY downclimb (or belay the first down) to the anchors. 2 60m ropes will bring you to the ground. 1 60m rope will get you to an intermediate rap station.


We used cams up to 5". You could probably use a 6" if you felt like carrying it. We didn't find any especially good placements for nuts, so I wouldn't bother bringing any nuts or hexes.

Pitch 4 has 3 very old (but well placed) star drive pins/bolts on very old/thin hangers (Leeper hangers!!). There are 3 "bolts" until you can get some gear in on a sloping ledge. This pitch terminates with a standing belay at 2 more old star drives (these should all be replaced, although they all still feel solid). Pitch 5 has 1 star drive with a hanger, and then it is quite runout for a bit before you can get more gear in, a good 50-60' above this "bolt".

The rappel has 2 good, fairly recent bolts and hangers.
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
How hard would you guess the run out section on pitch 5 is? Would the bolts hold a fall(if so how big?), do they all have bad (Leeper) hangers? Do you just have to pretend your soloing on the bolted sections? Aug 5, 2008
Kevin Stricker
Evergreen, CO
Kevin Stricker   Evergreen, CO
They are 1/4" Star drives with Leeper hangers....not the kind of bolts you want to be falling on. I hope to replace these this Fall when I replace the bolts on Sweet Catastrophe. Probably will not be before Halloween though. Aug 5, 2008
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
I got on this route on Saturday, it was a pretty good time.
Here is how we broke the route down. My friend Adam lead the first pitch. For some reason we weren't 100% sure where the belay was so he kept going up throught the crux of the second pitch. We realized it after he climbed through but he didn't want to have to climb it again so he just set up the belay there as it opened up a little after the crux. Adam mostly laybacked the crux section of the (normal) second pitch until after it pinched then proceeded to OW to where he set the anchor. I really just wanted to OW this sucker but I was seconding and carrying the damn pack. I tried a lot in vain wasting tons of energy but the pack just wouldn't allow it. I really thruched the hell out of this section and eventually got too tired to get it clean (I was really sore in my forearms from work the day before which didn't help, and recovering from a sprained ankle 3-4 weeks ago, so I just decided to rest on the line). Pants and long sleeves recommended if OWing is your style.

I lead P2 (or the rest of it rather) until I had about 15-20 feet of rope left and set up an anchor in some loose ledge system with a large block wedged in it in the dihedral. Not really the best idea IMO, but I didn't really know where the belay was supposed to be and didn't want to risk getting off route on such a large rock and a single rope. Should have gone up the crack to my right to a way better spot up throught a notch with a large ledge on the other side big enough for 10 with a tree. I guess sometimes the nerves and the brain get the best of you.

Adam lead P3 which followed up the dihedral mostly until heading slightly right until near The Gum Drop and then back left through some decomposing BS with a squeese OW chimmney section to the ledge where your under the gum drop, we belayed on the side facing pitch 4. I remember following some ridge type slab for a brief section before this which sounds like what Jeremy describes but to be honest I'm a little confused about where the route goes. In general the upper part of pitch 2 and pitch 3 all together were not great at all and I found my self climbing on some questionable rock from time to time.

I lead pitch 4. Belaying through the bolt up the aid pitch on The Gum Drop made crossing the crack seem less scary (although I'm sure canyoneering helped me there also). Keep a close eye for the first bolt as I didn't even see it until I was nearly at it. This pitch is a lot of friction slab and micro edges and crystals which is not all that obvious to decide where you want to go. not recommended in the rain untill those bolts get replaced. It's a little spicy for now, just pretend your free soloing and throw pride out the window. If you need to grab a draw for a rest to spot the next bolt/stretch of rock or just to clip the rope as sometimes the stance didn't seem really secure then do it. Better safe then sorry IMO (especially if it's windy or wet). You most likely would deck if you blew off before making any of the clips. What diameter is the nail they pound into a Star Drive anyway 3/16" at most?!! Problaby only an inch long?!! Maybe bring 3 screamers/scream aids (I don't have any), in case you happen to encounter this and the pitch above in inclement weather. Considering all of that I found this pitch to be quite fun.

Pitch 5 Adam lead, we used the 2 bolt anchor as the first piece equalized by the sliding x with a good gear anchor in the crack below. That seemed the most sane way to approach a 50+ ft run out on crappy bolts. It's a little tricky getting off the belay ledge and above the first bolts, but eases before clipping the loner, and get's progressively easier as you go up and trending right more as you get closer to the roof/ledge. He didn't find anything promising for a belay in hollow decomposing rock at the ledge and roof so he just kept going traversing out the side and up around the corner onto pitch 6 where he finally placed a piece and continued to link p6 finding a belay niche maybe 30-40 feet below the summit. I lead the last stretch of horribly decomposed rock up the cleft to the top, I found some decent gear in all the decomposing rubble but struggled to not rain it (the decomposing rock that is) down on my partner or come flying off with it. Probly some of the worst rock I have climbed on in my life at the end there....

If nothing else, this route is a good test for the aspiring adventure climber. Still pleanty of loose flakes and crystals waiting to be broken and pulled off. Aug 10, 2008
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
We brought a #6 and put it to use quite often (at least on the first 3 pitches). We brought a double set of cams from blue Aliens to #3.5-4 Camalot. Didn't use much smaller then a 0.75, a single set of cams below 0.75 would be sufficient I think. Aug 12, 2008
Jeremy Hakes
Golden, Colorado
Jeremy Hakes   Golden, Colorado
Jason - what bolt did you see/use from the Gum Drop Spire? We didn't see any bolts on that huge thing. Sep 11, 2008
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
Hey Jeremy,
I think I have a pic where you can make out its location. My partner left in a hurry because of weather and forgot my long draw, left in hanging there. You can see it hanging from the bolt in the picture. Sep 12, 2008
Jeremy Hakes
Golden, Colorado
Jeremy Hakes   Golden, Colorado
Huh. We didn't see that at all. We just built an anchor on that big block below your red circle. Worked ok. I think the bolts on Gumdrop go up that white water mark (?). Sep 15, 2008
Steve Knapp
Highlands Ranch, CO
  5.9 PG13
Steve Knapp   Highlands Ranch, CO
  5.9 PG13
We climbed BRCM on 5/16. Here are some comments from Chris, who led 6/7 pitches. I led the easier last pitch. Pretty amazing climb!

General comments – first 2 pitches:
The 5.9 pitches below the Gum Drop are intense and relentless. I feeling was a bit frazzled by the time we reached the Gum Drop. The dihedral off-width cracks are awkward and strenuous (…all I have to say is cav burn), and eat-up gear if you're not comfortable running it out. I would suggest doubling if not tripling up on sizes #1 through #5 (please note, I have the old Camalot sizes). There were a number of spots where I had to slide my #5 up after protecting a difficult move. It would be also nice to have two #5s for the crux section of the route, unless you're willing to run it out and risk falling on your partner below. The crux section of the entire climb is the first 20’ above of the 2nd pitch which I had to aid. While aiding, I was able to place the #3 and #4 where the off-width constricts for a short distance, but above the constriction the crack widens respectfully back to the #5 and larger until the finish. Also, wearing a backpack of any type makes the climb more difficult and cumbersome. If you can avoid it, I would highly recommend it.

General comments – 3rd pitch:
Climbing up to the Gum Drop was a bit tricky. We couldn’t find the traverse that Jeremy described. In hindsight, this might have been due to our belay location. At the top of our 3rd pitch (which would have been Jeremy’s 2nd), we ended up about 30-40’ below the Gum Drop. I am thinking Jeremy ended his 2nd pitch about 50-60’ below us. Their described traverse must have been doable from their location. To end up at Jeremy’s belay location we would have had to exit the off-width dihedral section about 60-75’ below the top of the dihedral. Thinking back, I do remember seeing a protectable butt-crack that trends climbers right leading to a ledge. Anyhow, as Steve described it, from our position options were limited and we had to climb through a protectable but rotten section of rock. For pro, I used a #5 followed by a #4, and would give this section a 5.9 rating because it is slightly overhanging and committing. Once pulling over this, we were basically at the Gum Drop.

General comments – final 3 pitches:
The upper 3 pitches were the most enjoyable and committing, The committing reach across the 3+ foot crack is humbling. Basically once you commit, there’s no turning back. Being 6’ in height, I could just reach the good holds on the other side. Climbers under 5’8" might have a different experience here. If you're leading, for added support, I would suggest clipping the first bolt on the Gum Drop aid route. This bolt is in arm reach on the east side of the Gum Drop and would protect a career ending fall into the 3+ foot crack. The 5.7 friction slab pitches are solid, but I feel the route needs some TLC. The original bolts badly need to be refreshed. As Jeremy noted, the bolts are 20+ years old and are well rusted. The only silver lining here is they don’t spin. Although, I have come across some sketcher fixed pro in my day (like the pitons on the Ellingwood Arête), but I’m not sure they would hold a fall to which they are intended for. Because of this, I felt like I was nearly free soloing until reaching the horizontal crack where pro could be placed (FYI, I placed the #1, #2, and #3 Camalots in the horizontal crack. I backed up the 2 bolt anchor with a #3). I don’t think any additional bolts need to be added because of the nature and history of the climb, but I would like to see the ¼ Star bolts replaced with modern bolts. One of the bolts in the 2 bolt anchor at the top of the first slab pitch is newer (I’m guessing late '90s). I’m not sure if this was added later to break the slab pitches in two, but it is a nice addition.

Approximate pitch lengths & anchor details:

Pitch 1 – 100’.
Anchor: nice belay ledge, good vertical crack to set anchor.
Pro: #1 to #4 Camalots (old sizes).

Pitch 2 – 90-100’.
Anchor: tucked underneath the dihedral, good protection from potential rock fall. Pro can be placed in vertical slot at your feet or in a vertical crack above your head.
Pro: #0.75 to #5 Camalots (old sizes).

Pitch 3 – 175-200’.
Anchor: large belay ledge with loose gravel.
Pro: #0.75 to #4 Camalots (old sizes).

Pitch 4 – 50-60’.
Anchor: East side of the Gum Drop, directly below the start of the Gum Drop aid route.
Pro: #1 to #2 Camalots (old sizes) or sling a small boulder.

Pitch 5 – 135’.
Anchor: on exposed granite slab face above the end of the horizontal crack.
Pro: 2 bolt anchor, backup protection with #2 or #3 Camalots (old sizes) in horizontal crack below .

Pitch 6 – 115’.
Anchor: nice flat area with a superb view of the South Platte, backed by a 3 foot rock that is the perfect height to lean against (would have liked to enjoy a beer here). Pro is easily placed above your head in a horizontal crack. My personal favorite of the route. Setting the anchor here avoids potential rock fall from the pitch above.
Pro: #3 and #5 Metolius (TCUs) and #1 Camalot (old size).

Pitch 7 – 140-150’.
Anchor: sit atop one of the burliest climbs you will ever do and enjoy the view.
Pro: sling a large boulder.

Suggested Gear:

70m rope (it’s nice to have an extra 30 feet!), although a 60m will suffice. If you bring two 60m ropes, you can have the pleasure of a single rappel off the top.

Camalots (old sizes)
2x #5
2x #4
3x #3
4x #2
3x #1
1x #0.75

Metolius (TCUs)
1x #5 through #1.

Hexs, Nuts, and Tri-Cams …are not really needed. Although, I did see a couple spots where the #9, #10 or #11 BD Hexs could be placed, I would rather have an extra Camalot in their place of weight. If you happen to have any Trango Big Bros (which I have never meet anyone that has one), the 2 biggest sizes could easily be placed in the off-width sections.

Slings and quickdraws:
12 x 2’ sling.
2 x 4’ sling.
4 x 12" quickdraw.
2 x 4" quickdraw. May 23, 2009
Boulder, CO
Hamlet73   Boulder, CO
Just climbed it on July 9th, 2011, it was a fun outing even if the route could benefit from a little more traffic. It had several sections with lichens on the rock as well as several crumbly sections.

I brought a #6 Camalot which was useful on the first 3 pitches, and double BD #1, #2, #3, #4, and a single #5 and #6.

Overall, the 5.7 runout slabs (pitch 4 and 5) with the Star drives are not too bad, runout but definitely easy slab climbing with some gear towards the end.

Not an incredibly good route but a nice summit and pleasant outing away from the crowds. Jul 11, 2011
Jason Haas
G1 Climbing + Fitness
Jason Haas   G1 Climbing + Fitness
Matt Clark and I replaced all the bolts on this route yesterday. The ASCA provided the bolts/hangers. Please support them if you don't already. May 27, 2012
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
How solid were those button heads when you pulled them out? Any chance I could get one of them as a memento? Feb 6, 2013
Greg Miller
Greg Miller  
Fun route and well worth the effort! A rack singles 0.3-0.75, and doubles 1-4, single 5 and 6 worked well. The first pitch seemed a tad harder than the second pitch, which can easily be layed back for the first half. Route finding is straightforward with great belay stances. Has everything from wide crack to runout slab. Jul 25, 2016