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Master of Puppets

M8-9 R, Trad, TR, Mixed, 70 ft,  Avg: 3 from 5 votes
FA: pre-bolts - ?
Colorado > CO Ice & Mixed > Boulder Canyon… > Upper Falls - Ice


Master of Puppets is a good hard line.

Start up the ramp to a broken crack system, and move up trending left. The first crux is gaining the seam. From here, follow good hooks, and then move up and left through a corner. Now the second crux, move up on small edges and hook the lip. Pull up on the lip and you can reach a pocket deep and a little left (KEY) now mantle and you're done!

NOTE: An attentive belay is an absolute must for the mantle move!


This is the furthest line left at the Upper falls area.


#0.75-.00 cams, 2 pins (use screamers), 1 small/med stopper, 1 wire/small stopper, and nuts. Not for the feint of heart.


Eds. Please do not place new bolts at this area. The regulations are clearly posted at this area. Thanks for helping keep this area open to climbers!

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Master of Puppets.
[Hide Photo] Master of Puppets.
The gear: bottom to top = left to right.
[Hide Photo] The gear: bottom to top = left to right.
Almost to the lip (second crux).
[Hide Photo] Almost to the lip (second crux).
Placing the #1 ball nut to protect the lower crux.
[Hide Photo] Placing the #1 ball nut to protect the lower crux.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

louisville, colorado
[Hide Comment] Open season!!! Have at it, my friends! I didn't give it a star rating due to an obvious bias, but the climbing on this route is fantastic! Apr 14, 2009
Chris Sheridan
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Other ethical questions aside, does this crack really need bolts? Apr 14, 2009
[Hide Comment] This has been done a few times before, over the years, on toprope. I did this at least 12 years ago, and I certainly wasn't the first. Great line, I agree, rating about right, Fine name. I was also tried a direct finish, almost got it a few times with verglas on the slab, but failed/flailed on the final few moves. I can't wait to lead it-- contemplated it with trad rack and pins-- guess I don't have to worry about the pins now. Nice line. Apr 14, 2009
louisville, colorado
[Hide Comment] Tom, the line you are referring to is actually Back in Black. It follows the crack most of the way up and traverses to a pillar out right. And yes, it has been done before, back in the '90s. I did a whole lot of investigating before I developed this route and the info I obtained was mostly from Jack Roberts via my other contacts. The original line was protected by 3 (bad) pins. I removed the only pin that hadn't fallen out when it was bolted. I contemplated leaving it in, but it did not look safe, and was VERY easily cleaned. So to answer your question Chris, I extinguished every possible way to protect this climb without bolts. As it was, the climb was simply not safe in any way shape of form. Now, it is a good spicy lead, and totally safe for people to enjoy. Apr 15, 2009
J. Fox
Black Hawk, CO
[Hide Comment] Thanks for the work, duder! Apr 16, 2009
Chris Sheridan
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Cool, can't wait to get on it. Apr 16, 2009
Shaun Reed
Santa Barbara
[Hide Comment] This route had bolts on it?! I checked it out last weekend on TR, and it seemed like it would be a VERY spicy lead. Why were the bolts removed? Has anyone led it without bolts? Jan 18, 2015
Tyler Kempney
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Has this route been led on gear? Or only when there were bolts? Jan 2, 2016
Tyler Kempney
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I led this on gear via headlamp! Great line! Is that its first all gear ascent? If not, it for sure is its first ascent by headlamp!

The gear to safely protect it. If I did it again, I'd use a screamer on the pin. The ball nut definitely changes the lower crux from R to PG-13.

Jan 19, 2016
Tyler Kempney
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Went back yesterday due to inquiries of my ballnut placement. It looks as if the slot is altered, as if someone attempted to place a piton, and it is no longer a "bomber" placement. I no longer recommend placing the ballnut here. On the other hand, there is another #1 ballnut placement to the left, in a left-facing flake. I have not bounce tested this, but it looks pretty good. Jan 16, 2017