Type: Sport, 140 ft
FA: Chandler Van Schaack, 6/14
Page Views: 3,319 total · 68/month
Shared By: ChanVan Schaack on Dec 11, 2014
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

11 Opinions

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Closures Details


"The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The Ouroboros often symbolizes self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished (December, 2014 Wikipedia definition)."

Ouroboros is located between Snake Watching and Honey Badger and is similar in both length and overall difficulty to its two neighbors. The climbing is engaging and sustained, and some may think a wee bit heady. Do not be deterred, though, for the rock is steep (by Overhang standards) and the falls clean. A stout crux right after the first anchor leads to sustained 12/12- climbing past the curving flake feature and smack up the big, green streak to the roof system above, where a good rest followed by yet another cruxy boulder problem await. Sequential (i.e., totally punt-able) climbing for the last 2 bolts puts you at a huge jug and the chains.

The climb is roughly 40m in length, with a midway anchor at 60 feet (12a - good as a warm-up lap route) - a 70m rope is required to lower to the first anchor from the top. A second lower from there will get you to the ground. I do not have an 80m rope, so I am not sure if you could lower all the way to the ground with one, but that may be possible. At least a 70m rope is mandatory.

This was named in honor of my good friend, John Mahaffey, who left this world while this route was being established but whose irrepressible force is still far from extinguished.

It has 18 bolts plus two 2-bolt anchors. The route curves in the middle, so long draws are nice on several bolts. Overall, the rock quality is excellent, but like many of the routes at Overhang, one does not need to stray too far off the beaten path to find choss -- we did not go buck wild with cleaning on this thing in an effort to minimize rock scarring. Climb carefully when first trying it.

Many thanks to OSMP, the Access Fund, and the Flatirons Climbing Council for making new-routing possible in the Flatirons! Also thanks to Kirkadirka and Ben Sachs for tons of help throughout the process.


This is on the West face of Overhang Rock between Snake Watching and Honey Badger.


18 quickdraws including some long slings plus 2-4 for anchors.


Alex Shainman
Rifle, CO
Alex Shainman   Rifle, CO
This is a great line which climbs quite well. There are a lot of cool sections separated by really good rests and cruxy parts but no moves are anywhere as hard as the crux on Snake Watching. I found this route to be easier than the given grade but of course that's subjective.

After some thought, I have some opinions: I think the upper anchor should be moved down to where the last bolt is; that very last section detracts and is out of character from the rest of the route. There are still some friable holds on the entire true line. The big hold you end up on and then clip the last bolt from is loose. I disagree with the conservative approach to cleaning, to minimize rock scarring.... One thing which makes this route so cool is that it's a little devious and requires some thought to figure out where to go in a few spots, and it's quite possible to do a couple sections totally different ways. It's true that one doesn't need to stray too far off the line, but that doesn't mean the very nearby loose holds should not be cleaned off and it's a whole other issue and dilemma when the best/proper sequences rely on holds with a limited lifespan.... Sure, it's a tough call when establishing a new route, which a lot of time and energy goes into scoping, bolting, etc. Consider belaying with a helmet on and watch out at the base. Bottom line is that this section of Overhang definitely has begged to be climbed, and new climbing real estate is hard to come by anymore.

To the first anchor is probably the best warm up on the entire wall. I minimized rope drag by lowering off the first anchor (no hands rest), cleaning the first few draws and then TR'ing through the first bit again and then leading to the top. Going for an onsight with the very first bolts clipped will undoubtably hose you with heinous rope drag up higher. Jun 2, 2015
Ted Lanzano
Boulder, CO
Ted Lanzano   Boulder, CO
This is a fantastic route, and thanks to Chandler for putting up another great line on Overhang Rock. It takes a lot of work to develop routes, but it really takes a lot on this 150' foot wall. It has stellar position, great movement, and there are multiple cruxes thrown at you all the way to the top. Good times at Overhang Rock! Jun 13, 2015
Curt MacNeill
Boulder, CO
Curt MacNeill   Boulder, CO
Overhang delivers again with yet another stellar route that goes all the way to the top. I'm guessing it's 45 meters long, and I used an 80 meter rope which I was able to lower straight to the ground from the very top. As the route cleans up, it's just going to get better and better. Easier moves than both its neighbors and pretty good rests all over the place. A bit airy on lead with some climbing that keeps you guessing where to go. Fantastic! Jul 29, 2015
Swavek Gaik
Superior, CO
Swavek Gaik   Superior, CO
Wow. Such a good, long climb. It meanders a lot (especially higher). It is not too thin (except one hold at the crux) and has many good rests on it (plus 3 no hand rests). On my first attempt, it felt sparsely bolted, but after that I did not feel uncomfortable. The rating is soft by any standards, and it is way easier and less sustained than the Big Picture on the same wall. My subjective grade would be 12c. Jul 31, 2015
This is a really great outing, albeit easier, I think it's equal in quality to its neighbor, Snake Watching. There's a good deal of friable rock on all of these routes, so there's no getting around that reality, just keep it in mind when and how you tug on some of the more suspect holds. Thankfully, the crux sections all seemed fairly solid, other areas require a slightly more delicate approach. All in all, good quality and super fun.

V3/4 opening lip encounter to fun 5.11 crimps gets you to a stance at the first anchor. A 12b sequence immediately beyond this midway anchor leads to miles of 11+/12- climbing with good rests found along the way. Unlike the relatively mellow, 11- roof band climbing on Snake Watching, this route has a couple of real cruxes in the 12a/b range near the very top. Don't blow it.

Bolt quantity and placement seems logical. Long draws are advisable. Really fun, varied route. Major props to Chandler for getting this one in. Mar 13, 2016
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
The bolt just before the 1st anchor is out of the rock, and the hanger is incredibly loose. The bolt seems solid, but it sticks out from the rock about a 1/4"....

Also, the first "anchor" is just one bolt with a rap ring and then a bolt with no hanger or nut. There was a party climbing next to us today that said they had been cleaning the route and the nut and hanger just "fell off". Not sure what that means.... Aug 5, 2017
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
Gear update: I fixed the first anchor today. I tightened it with a torque wrench so it should be good for a while, but if you notice it loosening, please tightening it.

The bolt (1/2” Power Bolt) before the anchor is still sticking out about 3/8”. I tried reseating it today, but I think the hole might be under drilled because I couldn’t unseat the cone. If someone wants to replace it, they will have to drill a new hole entirely. It’s fine for now, but it needs to be addressed at some point. Apr 15, 2018
ChanVan Schaack
Denver, CO
ChanVan Schaack   Denver, CO
Hey Monty - thanks for replacing the hanger on the first anchor. Re: the lower bolt that is sticking out, yes, you are correct that the hole was under-drilled. It was the last bolt I placed on the route and my second battery died just as I was finishing the hole - it's a long bolt (the rest are the standard 2 3/4" length, but I had decided to add an extra bolt at some point that day, so I had to use one of my extra long anchor anchor bolts at that point). So rest assured that there's a good 3 1/4 inches of bolt in the hole, but yeah, I agree that it should be fixed at some point for aesthetics as well as longevity. To be honest, I kinda figured that that bolt wouldn't get much action anyways due to its location in the middle of one of the easier parts of the route, so I have been rather lazy about replacing it - seems like the time for laziness is over though. Holler if you have any interest in heading back up there sometime soon.... May 10, 2018
I didn't really find any choss on this line -- maybe some crispy flakes well to the side of the bolt line, but the best grips and sequences climb right up the bolts anyway and are plenty clean, on solid rock. Super-amazing mega-pitch. Crux after crux after crux, all the way to the top. Had to lower twice with a 70m. Great work on this, Chandler! No way is this 5.12c—more like hard 5.12d. Too many 5.12 cruxes, including that heartbreaker up high, to merit a lower grade. May 27, 2018
Nederland, CO
NWNINJA   Nederland, CO
ALL the stars! Jul 10, 2018