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Butterfingers

5.7 M4, Trad, Mixed, Alpine, 600 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 2 from 1 vote
FA: Possibly Chad Volk and Erik Werner, 5/21/11
Colorado > CO Ice & Mixed > RMNP - Mixed/Ice > Bear Lake Trail… > Emerald Lake /… > Hallett Peak -… > E Buttress

Description

The name comes from the simple fact that I dropped a ton of kit while on the FA. Freezing cold at the base while belaying, I tried to add a balaclava... ZIP, helmet went like an upside down turtle down to Emerald Lake. Further up, I was scrambling with tools hooked over my neck and dropped one down the ridge into the descent gully, Butterfingers.

P1. Find the start chimney behind a fin, it angles right. Fun climbing straight up chimney (M4) leads to block ledge system. From here, either take blocky ridge on the right to a pink headwall or move left and climb smooth slab to the same spot (M4+).

P2. At the headwall, either traverse left and immediately head up over bulges (M4) or take headwall diagonaling crack (M4-M5). Head straight up ridge, climbing the fun, bouldery steps and cracks as they present themselves. Climb up to big ledge below a clear headwall, or as far as rope drag permits.

P3. Climb the headwall, M3+/M4, via the offwidth, and then take the left exit of the Y-crack. You get bomber tool and gear placements. Continue as far as you can on the ridge until rope drag shuts you down. One might be able to make it up to the tree.

P4. Continue along ridge to the final difficulties. Take the ledge out to right, and climb the vertical section at the clear weakness (5.8, be careful, the boulder up top moves). Continue up to final corner leading to the summit (5.6).

Descent: downclimb back of a block to trees in a gully on the right. The rap anchor is on the lowest tree (you can also just downclimb a gully if the snow is safe).

Location

This is on the same mossy, chossy buttress above Emerald as other routes. Skirt the base to the far right, directly before the descent gully. Several options exist for first pitch - blocky starts aplenty or the chimney we used.

Protection

A standard rack to #2 Camalot, no screws, and no pins.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The headwall on P3 - if possible, a belay can be placed on a ledge at the base of the headwall. Go up the offwidth, and then exit via left branch of Y-crack. You get bomber tool and gear placements... this is a really fun section.
[Hide Photo] The headwall on P3 - if possible, a belay can be placed on a ledge at the base of the headwall. Go up the offwidth, and then exit via left branch of Y-crack. You get bomber tool and gear placements…
The start to Butterfingers.
[Hide Photo] The start to Butterfingers.
P1 of Butterfingers.  Look behind the fin in the other beta photo.
[Hide Photo] P1 of Butterfingers. Look behind the fin in the other beta photo.
Chad Volk on P1 of Butterfingers. It was a cold morning.
[Hide Photo] Chad Volk on P1 of Butterfingers. It was a cold morning.
Butterfingers (5.7, M4). Base photo (C) JeffF.
[Hide Photo] Butterfingers (5.7, M4). Base photo (C) JeffF.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jon Oulton
Boulder, CO
5.7 M3-4
[Hide Comment] I really enjoyed this climb. Most of the climb was short, bouldery sections of M3/M4 separated by ledges. It climbed a lot faster than the few other winter rock routes I've done in the park. The non-sustained climbing combined with the short, simple approach makes it a good choice for those new to winter routes, if you feel comfortable negotiating a decent amount of loose rock. Mar 17, 2019