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Routes in Helen's Dome

A Nice Top Rope TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
AWOL (aka Moss Toss) T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Beam Me Up, Scotty T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Borderline Boulevard T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Brave Cowboy T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Buffalo Soldier T,S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Buffalo Tears T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13
Electric Koolaid Acid Test T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Face Value T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Fool's Gold T,S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Fractured Fairytales S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Gettin' the Groove S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
On the Bus T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Pebble Beach T,TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a X
Roototop S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Spree T,S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sticks 'n' Stones T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Unknown on South Face T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Type: Sport, 800 ft, 6 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 12,107 total, 139/month
Shared By: Mark Roth on Oct 3, 2010
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Description

Fractured Fairytales (AKA: The Date climb) is a great introduction to S. Platte slab climbing. I can't think of an easier route that is this enjoyable. Whether climbing this as your first long slab climbing adventure, or just using it as a fast way to access Acid Rock, you can't argue how fun it is to cover that much ground on beautiful stone. Modern bolts and bolted belays remove that sense of terror that is commonly associated with "old school" S. Platte slab routes. Some of the run-outs my still feel spicy to the beginner leader, but you are probably more likely to be killed getting lost in the boulder fields on the walk off.

P1. There is no crux really, it's just a little too steep for walking. About 5 bolts lead up to the right side of the start ledge. There is an anchor under the route Spree (near the tiny tree). This pitch is about 5.4 and is a better approach, than the hike around the left side, for the routes that start on the ledge.... As of now, this is the only pitch that I have climbed. I didn't know that this was Fractured Fairytales. I look forward to finishing the route...

The rest of the pitches described by Dan G0D5H411:

P2: Traverse right, following the bolt line as it moves towards a small arete and one final step right to a set of anchors above boulders.

P3: Move right towards the pines and a black, water-worn slab. This pitch has a few bolts but requires a little bit of natural gear (small cams, nuts) to reduce the runout. Belay at a 2 bolt anchor on the face.

P4: Work your way up the slab to the right of the large dihedral, passing a small roof higher up. Belay at bolts next to a nice ledge.

P5: Head up left aiming for the fun looking arete and another long slab above. Belay at a two-bolt anchor on the face (if you have a 70m and gear, you can stretch it for a few more bolts and belay on a ledge up the to left.)

P6: Move right towards a crack and a bolt line above that angles up right towards the top of the dome. Again, there is a two bolt anchor on the left, but we stretched our 70m and aimed for the top of the dome. There are almost no gear placements at the top, but you can hunker down in one of the giant potholes on top to belay your second up.

Location

Follow cairns up to the low point of the slab directly under the start ledge for Face Value and the others....

Protection

Should be all bolted with bolted anchors. Bring a few wired nuts to slip over studs that might be missing hangers. The first pitch anchor is a good way to get down from the ledge, where other routes start in case of bad weather (since the walk off slab to the left would be dangerous while wet).

Per Harry Dorcy: the bolt count, plus cam(s), wire(s) for missing hanger(s), and piton:

P1: 6 bolts, 2-bolt anchor.
P2: 8 bolts, 2-bolt anchor.
P3: 3 bolts, 2-bolt anchor (+ 1 piton)*.
P4: 5 bolts, 2-bolt anchor (+ 1 hanger-less bolt).
P5: 5 bolts, 2-bolt anchor (+ 1 hanger-less bolt).
P6: 4 bolts, 2-bolt anchor (+ 1 bolt above the anchor for top-out).
J. Albers
Colorado
J. Albers   Colorado
^^^^ you should be aware that major crack systems/gullies (especially ones that runs top to bottom of the formation) and depressions/shallow caves are (aside from maybe the summit or an exposed ridge) the worst places to be as far as lightning is concerned.

Read about it here:
mountaineers.org/blog/freed… Sep 18, 2017
L Kap
Boulder, CO
L Kap   Boulder, CO
This route is listed as sport, but the 3rd pitch is R and probably X if you don't place any trad gear. The second bolt is about 50+ feet off the ledge / notch where the pitch starts, and you will definitely hit the deck if you fall near there without clipping it.

Speaking of which, the belay at the top of the 2nd pitch is in a horrible place for belaying a leader on the 3rd pitch. The notch / ledge at the base of the start of the 3rd pitch might be a better place to belay from.

Do look at the wind forecast. We estimated the gusts at the top of Helen's Dome were around 50 mph. You could seriously lean into the wind and be held up by it. Apologies to whomever finds my pee funnel that was launched 200 feet into the air and off the north side of the dome by the wind.

Current condition: we saw 2 bolts that were missing hangers. There is a very serviceable double log crossing the creek. We heard shots nearby (maybe at the ranch?). Jun 13, 2017
Mike Piwowarczyk  
  5.7
Climbed the whole route on 10/5/2016. Super fun long slab climb. One of the funner slabs I have climbed. The feldspar crystals provide great grip when present. A few notes:

  • South Platte bolting ethics - most bolts are spread fairly far. Climbing is easy, but the spacing may be heady for newer leaders.
  • Strange finish to pitch #2 - you actually downclimb to the anchor from last bolt.
  • You end up actually moving to an alcove on ground for the start of pitch #3, this pitch starts on a separate slab.
  • Pitch #3 was IMO the crux of the route. The first 50ft or so is water-worn slab, so not a lot of friction. The runout after 2nd bolt is VERY LONG but on really easy terrain (5.2 ish). Some placements available. Be aware the route does get very "wandery" in this section. Possibly sling out your pro-placements if you put any (I put a #1 C4 and a #0.2 X4). More placements available, but the section is so easy I did not want to waste time. It was more about protecting the second from a swing. Might be a good idea to sling the trees. This is the pitch that has the old piton before the anchor.
  • Pitch #4 does have a bolt with no hanger (sling a nut).
  • Pitch #5 does have a bolt with no hanger (again sling a nut), also old hangers are present on this pitch with newer bolts. Confusing crux of this pitch is climbing on top of the arete, super easy, but feels a bit off beat, since it's the only non-slab climbing on the route.

#Pitch 6 has a super cool rock feature. Won't give out the spoiler what it is, but you'll be pleasantly surprised!

#Pitch 6.5 is a bit weird. One bolt and maybe 40ft of climbing to a super stunning flat summit.

Have fun! Oct 6, 2016
Carl H.
 
Carl H.  
 
Great warm-up and FUN way to get to Acid Rock, and your calfs will be nicely stretched by the time you are done. Dec 5, 2015
George Bell
Boulder, CO
 
George Bell   Boulder, CO
 
Fun route, relatively friendly! The anchor at the top of pitch 2 was placed too low, forcing one to downclimb after the last bolt on the pitch (shown in this ). The 3 bolts on pitch 3 are placed strangely, the first two are only five feet apart (about the level of the pitch 2 belay anchor). The first bolt (a cold shut) is easily missed and difficult to get to, I skipped it. It appears to me like these 2 bolts were originally on a different route, which headed straight up a line 30 feet right of the pitch 2 anchors.

A better option for pitch 3 was suggested in the comment above by Josh B., belay higher after pitch 2 (not at the 2 bolt anchor) and then walk right along a big ledge and then climb directly up a slab past the final bolt on pitch 3. Done this way, you skip the first two bolts, which are below you the whole pitch.

What is the best descent? We did three low-angle rappels right of the route, off bolts and the final one off a tree. Worked OK until the rope got stuck on the second rappel. Oct 19, 2015
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
^^^ " Would anyone be especially offended if we went ahead and retro-bolted a couple of bolts for an anchor up there?"

Wow. Excellent troll. Jul 21, 2015
Ron Pivo
Westcreek
Ron Pivo   Westcreek
Really?!

As someone who has climbed in the SPlatte for over 40 years, I would be VERY offended by your adding bolts to this, or any other route in the SPlatte. It is painfully obvious that you have absolutely not a clue about the history or ethics of this area.

I suggest that you take your bolts back to Michigan & retro-bolt your own routes.

By the way, do you have an outfitter & guide permit to be taking groups of children climbing on the Pike NF? Jul 17, 2015
FoamFinger _______
Rad Town, Not set (USA)
 
FoamFinger _______   Rad Town, Not set (USA)
 
Just climbed this yesterday. Not being from the area, my partner and I were a bit unnerved by the long runouts between bolts, especially since we were leading a group of 10 kids up the route. All in all though a fantastic route for larger, institutional climbing groups. We had 10 kids at each belay ledge with no problems at all.
The only downside was the lack of a decent bolted anchor at the top of the slab on P5. Would anyone be especially offended if we went ahead and retro-bolted a couple of bolts for an anchor up there? We've got the bolts and the know-how and are happy to take care of it as long as we won't be pissing off the local community.... Jul 17, 2015
Dan, thanks for the route description, it was spot on (as usual). Fun romp up Helen's Dome and a great intro to the area. Gradewise I would suggest something around 5.5 or 5.6. That is based on doing Spree and Gettin the Groove after FF, both of which were significantly harder. So if those are .8 and .7 respectively, I would say FF is more like 5.6.

One hanger missing on the 4th pitch as of yesterday, but the terrain is easy. There may be one missing on the last pitch, but you are literally walking at that point, so I wasn't really looking. My partner led pitch 3 and used red and yellow Aliens. Nov 2, 2014
Josh B  
On P3 we found it easier to go straight to the 2nd bolt off of the flat area above the alcove. By skipping the 1st bolt and starting above the alcove, you get to work your way up a face with easy climbing, 5.6, and a very little run out. The 3rd bolt was missing if I remember correctly, so I slung a tree off to the left before going to the next bolt. We felt this was a much more natural line for this pitch. Apr 3, 2013
Dankasaurus
Lyons, CO
Dankasaurus   Lyons, CO
Done in 3 pitches. A useful approach to the Acid Rock classics.... Nov 19, 2012
ErikaNW
Golden, CO
  5.4
ErikaNW   Golden, CO
  5.4
We felt this went much easier than 5.7 - I guess I'd give it 5.4 (my partner insists 5.2) and definitely not at all representative of the grade for the SPlatte. Expecting 5.7, I was underwhelmed with the climbing although the setting is beautiful. Go in expecting 5.3 low angle slab climbing, with some runout, and you won't be disappointed!

I think we noticed 2 missing hangers - 1 on P4 and 1 on P5.

The approach and descent trail are both well-cairned. Nov 18, 2012
Harry Dorcy
Denver, CO
  5.7
Harry Dorcy   Denver, CO
  5.7
We couldn't find any bolt counts listed here, so ended up carrying twice what we needed. Here's an updated bolt count (4/30/12):

P1: 6 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor.
P2: 8 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor.
P3: 3 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor (+ 1 piton - we skipped it)*.
P4: 5 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor (+ 1 hanger-less bolt - we skipped it).
P5: 5 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor (+ 1 hanger-less bolt - we used a nut).
P6: 4 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor (plus 1 bolt above the anchor for top-out).

  • P3 was weird for us. Perhaps we screwed something up.

We ended up climbing the whole thing on nuts and one cam. We moved off the anchor after P2, down and right to a nice wide-open alcove. Even from this lower position, the first bolt was slightly below the alcove.

The next bolt was 20' higher, and it steep enough and featureless enough that I didn't feel comfortable running it out. I scrambled up the dihedral to the left of the slab, followed a horizontal crack right to get back on-route, and placed a cam about 10' above the second bolt. Given that a ground-fall was guaranteed either way, I felt better with the solid handholds in the dihedral.

It was about 30' of run-out (up and left) between the 2nd and 3rd bolt. After that, it was about 40' to the piton. This was on 5.7 slab, not the 5.4-5.5 crab-walk that comes on P5 and P6. Instead of doing that, I went up and right, placing nuts in some small cracks as I traversed left to the anchor.

The piton was at your feet on the belay ledge. It was so close to the anchor that I didn't bother using it. I have to assume there were some hanger-less bolts down below that I didn't spot.

Very fun climb! A great first trip to the South Platte! May 1, 2012
Patrick Betts
  5.6
Patrick Betts  
  5.6
Did this route a few days ago. Very fun route! Missing a few hangers on pitches 4, 5, and 6. Just one on each pitch, though on very very easy (5.4, 5.5) terrain. Mar 21, 2012
Locker
Yucca Valley, CA
Locker   Yucca Valley, CA
It felt closer to 5.5.

But one hell of a FUN ass route! Jan 23, 2012
Mark Roth
Boulder
 
Mark Roth   Boulder
 
Finally got to do the whole route today. Dan's description was pretty much spot on. Except it only seemed like about 800 instead of 1200 feet. Most pitches we only used half of our 70....

I did notice a couple of hangers missing here and there but on super easy sections. The only piece of gear we used was on P3, a #2 Camalot (a smaller cam would have fit as well). After P4, you can belay from the comfy ledge instead of the anchor. There is a nice crack on the right side of the top that will take about any size cam or nut you have for an anchor (20 feet down from the big pot holes).

I honestly don't think this was harder than 5.6, but the consensus seems to be 5.7, so I just changed the rating to that.... Nov 24, 2011
Tom Willard
Avon, CO
  5.7
Tom Willard   Avon, CO
  5.7
Climbed FF in July 2011. Easy but fun. Climbed in three pitches with some simul-climbing. Added a few missing hangers. Two studs on upper pitches were damaged and couldn't fix. Would be a great route for a beginner's first multi-pitch or for a tentative spouse. Not typical for South Platte; very well-protected but a nice climb for beginners. Hoping others will respect the vision and not take or chop bolts. Seems there is still plenty of development left for hard runout routes almost everywhere on the dome. Jul 29, 2011
Dan G0D5H411
Colorado Springs, CO
  5.7
Dan G0D5H411   Colorado Springs, CO
  5.7
Good route if you want to put in a lot of slab mileage in a great setting. In total I think it ended up being 6 pitches with ~1200 feet of climbing (although not 1200 feet in elevation gain due to all of the traversing pitches found on this climb). As of April, 2011, there was 1 bolt missing on the fourth pitch and 3 bolts missing on the last pitch. Either sling the stud with a nut or run it out.

A breakdown of the approach:
From the small parking area, either walk straight down towards the stream or take a trail that branches right and heads down towards the stream. Wade, rock-hop, or find a convenient log to cross. Head south (upstream) along a horse trail while ignoring all of the left-branching trails that head east. Eventually the main trail will head up a slope, angling away from the stream, and intersect a fence line. At a break in the fence, take a left turn along a well-worn trail keeping your eyes peeled for a large boulder sitting on the right side of the trail. In front of this boulder, there is a LONG low angle slab with a cairn at the bottom. We scrambled up this slab, through a cave on the left, up the path of least resistance through the boulder field, and through one more small cave that deposited us right at the base of the initial slab.

This was our breakdown of the pitches (each was ~200 feet):
P1: Angle right up the slab passing a number of bolts, aiming for a set of anchors on the ledge, just to the right of a small pine.
P2: Trvarse right, following the bolt line as it moves towards a small arete and one final step right to a set of anchors above boulders.
P3: Move right towards the pines and a black, water-worn slab. This pitch has a few bolts but requires a little bit of natural gear (small cams, nuts) to reduce the runout. Belay at a 2 bolt anchor on the face.
P4: Work your way up the slab to the right of the large dihedral, passing a small roof higher up. Belay at bolts next to a nice ledge.
P5: Head up left aiming for the fun looking arete and another long slab above. Belay at a two-bolt anchor on the face (if you have a 70m and gear, you can stretch it for a few more bolts and belay on a ledge up the to left.)
P6: Move right towards a crack and a bolt line above that angles up right towards the top of the dome. Again, there is a two bolt anchor on the left, but we stretched our 70m and aimed for the top of the dome. There are almost no gear placements at the top, but you can hunker down in one of the giant potholes on top to belay your second up.

It ~may~ be possible to rap off with two ropes (not sure), but with one rope, we walked off climber's right. Gear-wise, 10 slings, a small set of nuts (for placement and slinging hangerless studs) along with a few small cams seemed adequate. Apr 18, 2011
slim

  5.7
slim    
  5.7
Climbed FF in July or so and all bolts, and hangers were present except 1 - which was the very last bolt on the extremely low-angled climbing just before you get to the hot tub (last pitch). Oct 6, 2010
Casey Bernal
Arvada, CO
Casey Bernal   Arvada, CO
Fractured Fairytales traverses straight right of the ledge - across a dihedral then up the slab - then traverses right again to a belay in the gully. From there, it is mostly straight up the slab which is just right of the large dihedral/gully system.

Some of the bolts may be chopped or missing hangers. Does anyone know the current condition?

Perhaps this route's info can be updated to include all of FF. Oct 6, 2010
Mark Roth
Boulder
 
Mark Roth   Boulder
 
Really? Sorry, I didn't realize this went beyond the ledge.... Where does it go from here? Oct 6, 2010
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
It is. Oct 5, 2010
slim

  5.7
slim    
  5.7
Agree. Oct 5, 2010
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Looks like the start of Fractured Fairytales? Oct 5, 2010