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Early Times

5.10, Trad, Alpine, 2000 ft, 4 pitches, Grade IV,  Avg: 3.2 from 6 votes
FA: Jeff Jackson, David Rasmussen, Josh Smith
Colorado > Alpine Rock > Capitol Peak


Approach as for the standard Northwest Buttress.

P1. The first pitch begins directly off the top of the talus cone (in contrast to the NW Butt which begins well to the left). Take the obvious crack/dihedral to a belay below the roof (5.10, 35 meters).

P2. Pitch two climbs up and right, following discontinuous cracks (5.9+, 30 meters).

P3. Pitch three goes right 15 feet from the belay to a crack. Follow the crack to a ledge (5.8, 30 meters).

P4. Pitch 4 traverses straight left along a horizontal crack, then turns up and climbs to the 4th class bowl below the Unicorn Spire (5.8, 30 meters).

P5. Follow the standard Northwest Buttress route to the summit.

This has excellent rock similar to the first pitch on the standard Northwest Buttress, but this adds three more pitches of technical climbing. See the comments on the standard Northwest Buttress for warnings about loose rock up high. Nothing too dire. All in all, this is a very enjoyable outing — unless you get hosed by the weather.


You basically dead-end into this route after climbing the talus cone. You can see a bolt on the first pitch that protects moves into the dihedral. The route starts approximately 200 feet right of the Northwest Buttress route and follows a very obvious system of corners and cracks.


Single set of cams to 2 inch (#2 Camalot) including small sizes (TCUs or C3s) and a good selection of nuts including brass or steel. Take a bunch of shoulder-length slings to help with drag.

Fixed gear: Some fixed knife blades. Pitch 1 has one bolt. Pitch 2 has two bolts.

Anchors consist of two bolts on Pitch 1, a bolt and nut placement on Pitch 2, a bolt and nut placement on Pitch 3, and two bolts on Pitch 4.

Total bolt count: 9. Total protection bolts: 3.

You can bail at any point with a 60 meter rope (though you'll need leave two nuts and downclimb easy rock at the bottom of Pitch 1).

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

NW Buttress and Early Times Wall.
[Hide Photo] NW Buttress and Early Times Wall.
The first pitch follows the corner system on the right of the photo.
[Hide Photo] The first pitch follows the corner system on the right of the photo.
Early Time topo.
[Hide Photo] Early Time topo.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Tim Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Looks really nice, Jeff! My partner Roland wants to do it at some point. He was solid on NW Buttress. Jun 8, 2011
Jeff Jackson
[Hide Comment] Cool! Early Times adds some nice 5th class climbing. Hope you get on it and enjoy. Aug 2, 2011
[Hide Comment] (Different Josh Smith than listed on the FA). Did this a few weeks ago. The rock and the climbing are outstanding for all four new pitches. Route finding is easy and protection is good. Super fun--nice job! Aug 19, 2011
Jeff Jackson
[Hide Comment] Just did this again. Note: The first pitch is often wet near the bottom but the feet are good enough that you can climb this even when it's wet. Super fun ... Jul 18, 2012
[Hide Comment] Attempted to climb this route 7/23/18 and pulled the piton and knifeblade from the first pitch under body weight. The buttonhead bolt held after hitting the ledge. I can’t comment on the route but would be tempted to give the route an R rating through possible 5.10 climbing now that those pieces of “protection” are gone. Jul 29, 2018