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Center Route 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Bill Roos, Paul Sibley, Carl Arndt, and Bernum Arndt, 1968
Page Views: 42,818
Submitted By: Joe Keyser on Jan 1, 2001  with updates from George Perkins and 1 more

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Chris Breed on P2.

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This route is three pitches of some of the best crack climbing around. I've heard it called the best 5.9 in the state. The first pitch is a hand/finger crack where you can use a little lie-backing. Belay at the slings.

The second pitch is the crux, it's a long pitch that leads up a perfect hand crack over a couple little bulges. Every jam is bomber, but, it is pretty sustained. Set a hanging belay once the crack is about to widen up. Edit: The disentegrating chockstone at the end of P2 is reported to have been trundled, but I have not witnessed it personally, so be cautious as always.

The third pitch is a little bit wider and leads up to the false summit with bolts. Do not climb the crack on the left wall unless you are aiming for the 10a variation which is separately posted on this site. From here, you can climb a short, bolted 5.11 to the very top, or rap. The bolts to rap off the back are scary, and lead to heinous bushwhacking and boulder hopping in the icebox. Rap just to the left of the route (looking down).

There is a row of nice bolts halfway down on the face. You can do two raps from the false summit with double ropes, or 4 rappels from the top of p3 with a single 60m.


Bring a few extra pieces, and cams up to #4 Camalot, double or triple #2s and #3s works good. Can substitute some cams for passive pro depending on preference/experience.

Edit: gear suggestion from TBrumme:

1x finger sizes, 2x #0.75 and #3, 3x #1 and #2, and 1x #4 recommended if you aren't confident at the (South Platte) grade. Leave the stoppers behind if you have the above rack.

Photos of Center Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Greg from Fort Collins stylin the second pitch.
Greg from Fort Collins stylin the second pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Yes, that is a camo hat.  At least he has good for...
Yes, that is a camo hat. At least he has good for...
Rock Climbing Photo: P1 fun.  Charley Mace.
P1 fun. Charley Mace.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Choens following the airy 3rd pitch variation...
Jeff Choens following the airy 3rd pitch variation...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking really happy to be on one of the best crac...
Looking really happy to be on one of the best crac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Robby "Old guy with broke shoulder" Thig...
Robby "Old guy with broke shoulder" Thig...
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Shredded by the Center Route.
Shredded by the Center Route.
Rock Climbing Photo: John Mcleod with the send.
John Mcleod with the send.
Rock Climbing Photo: Muscles.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber (who works for Warren Miller) on T...
Unknown climber (who works for Warren Miller) on T...
Rock Climbing Photo: Cyn Pin.
Cyn Pin.
Rock Climbing Photo: The chockstone that once lived atop the second pit...
The chockstone that once lived atop the second pit...
Rock Climbing Photo: That's Ross.
That's Ross.
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Breed at the top of P1.
Chris Breed at the top of P1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Adam Sinner spraying in the middle of the P1 OW.
Adam Sinner spraying in the middle of the P1 OW.
Rock Climbing Photo: Amy Haessly on P1 of Center Route.
Amy Haessly on P1 of Center Route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Following the stellar first pitch.  Note the dog a...
Following the stellar first pitch. Note the dog a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron Quinlisk midway up the fun/sustained second ...
Aaron Quinlisk midway up the fun/sustained second ...
Rock Climbing Photo: John Olson leading pitch one & looking marvelous.
John Olson leading pitch one & looking marvelous.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber on Center Route, 11/10/2016.
Unknown climber on Center Route, 11/10/2016.
Rock Climbing Photo: P1 variation, coming in from the right.
BETA PHOTO: P1 variation, coming in from the right.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bob Davis on the hand-traverse of the 3rd pitch va...
Bob Davis on the hand-traverse of the 3rd pitch va...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the excellent 1st pitch.
Looking up the excellent 1st pitch.

Show All 35 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Center Route Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 10, 2017
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 1, 2001

This is absolutely the best 5.9 in the state, and probably one of the best anywhere. The steep, sustained, bomber jams [couldn't] be better. The line is incredible and leads to a fantastic summit. If you have ever seen the cover of the S. Platte guide you will realize why you need to climb this route. Suck up the seemingly endless 1 hour uphill approach and jam your way to heaven!
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 5, 2001

Frank Stock - I haven't climbed the Center Route, but I did Wunch's Dihedral and rapped to the top of the Center Route. You can get off this climb with a single 60 Meter rope (and probably with a 50). We rapped off the far right of the false summit down a chimneyish slot using the bolted anchor, and then continued into the gully rapping off fixed slings with rap rings. The gully has some spots of poison ivy so it's worth exercising caution, but the walk beat dragging a second rope. In the FWIW category, Wunch's is one of the better climbs I have done.
By Anonymous Coward
Jul 13, 2001

Awesome variation to the first pitch: just to the left of 5.8 hands is a fist to offwidth to squeeze to finger to hands, crack. Climb it. Surprisingly good. 5.10 I think. Also, a great way to pass those slow parties on the first (who don't realize how hard the second pitch is...) -dmm
By Nevada Montagu
Oct 22, 2001

Great route. I wish I had triple #1 and #2 Camalots though. I ended up leap-frogging gear. You don't need anything bigger than a #3. Leave the TCUs at home.

Also, wear sturdy shoes. Something board lasted or with a midsole would be good. I wore my Mythos and cried the whole way up.

At least I had shoes. My partner, Nate Adams, left his in the truck and seconded the pitches in his Adidas!
By Shane Zentner
From: Colorado
Nov 5, 2001

Sustained climbing.
By flynn
Feb 9, 2002

I've never done a better 5.9 in Colorado; rarely done a better climb of any rating, anywhere...Tape is your friend, for sure, even if your technique is spot-on: this thing is sustained!...60-degree days in February are a perfect opportunity to climb this magnificent route before the closure. And cold hands are probably better than summer thunderstorms anyway, quoth the voice of experience.
By Jim Amidon
Mar 13, 2002

By Gary Stetler
Apr 1, 2002

I've done this route 3 times over the last few years, with both finishes. I like the finish recommended by Steve Levin the best (move [left] partway through pitch 3). The climbing (10a) into the adjacent dihedral is quite good, though the 5.12 finish is beyond me, the A0 bolt pull is good clean fun. By the way, I'm pretty sure that Paul Sibley did the first ascent of this route, though I can't remember who he said his partner was.

P.S.: it is certainly one of the best climbs of its grade anywhere.
By Carol Kotchek
From: Louisville, Colorado
Aug 5, 2002

Awesome route. Hard for the grade. I don't think you need a #4 Camalot. The last pitch looks wide but it narrows to about #2 Camalot size in the back. The largest thing I would bring if I did it again would be a #4 Friend. I don't think you need more than one, but bring two if you really want to sew it up. Probably don't need any gear smaller than a #1 Friend. Just letting you know so you don't carry a ton of gear up the lengthy approach!
By Dan St. John
From: Castle Rock
Aug 12, 2002

One of the best climbs in the land.
By Darin Lang
Aug 19, 2002

An outstanding climb and worth the hike up. Also worth it if you get a late start and have to wait in the queue. Regarding the gear comments above, though: don't sweat it if you can't piece together a rack full of #1 and #2 Camalots. This ain't Indian Creek, and stopper (and maybe even hex ...) placements are all over the place on all three pitches. Just toss them at the crack and they seem to stick. I also placed my green *and* blue aliens. YMMV, of course.
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Oct 22, 2002

Did this route again yesterday. This is one of those that keeps you coming back!! If you are leading both P2 and P3, I think the best plan is to belay in the pod with the mess of slings, and have your second stop short of you to fix their own hanging belay off some cams right at to the old quarter inch bolt. Have them send the rest of the gear up to you, and then take off. I would imagine a rather difficult time to have two people in that pod trying to get organized... other than for the second to just climb past you and start leading. YMMV. Gear wise, I agree with Darin, it really does take up a lot of different sizes if you look for the placements. Having a couple 1s, 2s, and 3s doesn't hurt my feelings though since the route just eats them!
By Tulio Miller
Jan 4, 2003

I'm trying not to sound mean spirited here. Please stay off this climb, especially on weekends, if you cannot jam and/or cannot climb 5.9. Be considerate of others as this is a popular route and there aren't too many others of this grade on the formation.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 2, 2003

First come first serve. If your fast, get their first and get it done instead of sleeping in and showing up late and whining about the rest of us who might climb at a different speed standard. The whole reason most of us get out there is to get away from the rules and regulations we have to deal with the rest of the week. That's all I need is some guy with a "deadline" when Im trying to take my time and enjoy my climb.
By Phillip Morris
From: Flavor Country
Sep 24, 2003
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Super route - super physical and super sustained
By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Oct 6, 2003

It's an outstanding route in a spectacular setting. Everything has already been stated above about this route, but I just had to add my two cents worth! The walk up the base of the climb isn't too bad and is well worth the effort. Once you are there you have three great pitches of crack climbing, with the second pitch the longest and most sustained. There are plenty of mid size wire placements in the back of crack so it's easy to protect even if you don't have a triple set of cams. Bring two ropes since the bolts for rapping off the backside are shit. The standard rappel route down the face between the centre route and turf spreader is clean and safe. JFDI.
By William McGehee
From: Choctaw, OK
Nov 16, 2003

Joe, we put three people in the pod with the chockstone and slings... It was, well, interesting. Had a couple of Reverso's/B-52's and managed to get three up at the speed of two. I stood on top of the chockstone (loose, but probably ok) and put two #1 Cams in the crack to the left. Not certain if this is synonymous with the site's beta, but we set up the belay after pitch two right at the chockstone. Slings and rings greet you after the crux (for seconding "fun," try the face on the right, 20' or so below the 2nd anchor). DO NOT go off the backside (East side). The rap pins are ok though they 'flex,' but the scramble down is not a whole lot of fun. If you are masochistic and want to do it anyway because it's "Only one rap," after the large chockstone with a grey sling on it (for subsequent rappelling 60' below the base), find a 2' wide, ~20' long crack/chimney/cave to wiggle down. Fun, though narrow. Get to the bottom and crawl out the 'cave' to a scramble through brambles. Not fun.~Wm
By Scott Bilyeu
Nov 21, 2003

My partner belayed in the pod after the bolt on pitch #2. I climbed past him into a pod just above him and he handed the rack up to me. As long as you don't drop the rack, it works much better than the cluster in lower pod.

The mileage description in the South Platte guide was wrong by quite a bit. Coming from road just north of Conifer, take a right on the dirt road. Stop at the first pullout on the right. I forget how far the book said to drive, but it was a couple miles shorter than that.
By Danny
Sep 6, 2005
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

This is a great climb, and the best (longest) crack that I've done in Colorado. When I climbed this recently, I used one 70-m rope b/c I heard that you can easily rap off the back into the "ice box" with just one rope. Anyway, long story short-rapping into the ice box is very very bad idea. Bring two ropes and avoid the ice box at all costs!!
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 3, 2005

Leave the #4 and 3.5 at home you don't need them. You can also rap the route with one 60m rope. It takes a little longer (raps) but you don't need to worry about hauling (and hiking) with up a second rope. Best 5.9+ I've ever done! Dave of The Kirtlands
Dec 12, 2005

I didn't notice this the previous time I was on this route, but the chockstone at the top of the second pitch with the slings/ rap rings is loose. Consider this if you decide to incorporate it in your belay anchor or decide to rap off of it.

It seems fine for a straight down pull, but the outward leverage it receives if you use it as a hand hold could dislodge it. It also wobbles a bit when you stand on it. I wouldn't be surprised to see it gone someday soon.
By criger
Mar 17, 2006

One of my favorite routes in this area of Colorado. The South Platte is beautiful, and the climbing on this pinnacle is clean, straight-forward, and fun. Fairly sustained if I remember correctly.

Has anyone else used the rap off to the backside gully requiring only a 60m rope? I'd love to leave the second rope at home.
By Ken McVicker
From: Aurora, CO
Aug 25, 2006

Great route. A heck of an approach. Do your stairmaster to train!! Anyone else try the diagonal crack that starts about 50 ft to the right and joins the main line about 50 ft up? It was pretty good start until the dirt and the Bush you have to climb through. This adds about 20-30 feet to the first pitch.
By Olaf Mitchell
From: Paia, Maui, Hi,
Mar 20, 2007

Many years back. I linked the first pitch of Turf Spreader to The Rising Crescendo to Center Route to Class Act. I called the combo "Hot Rise" I think it's in one of the guide books. It is well worth the effort!
By mzellman
From: lakewood, co
Oct 1, 2007

Great climb, and it's worth every bit of the steep/loose approach! If you feel up to it, climbing the hand/finger crack variation just above the 2nd belay up to the bolt ladder to gain the real summit is very rewarding.

There is no need to take your pack all the way to the base of the climb. Leave them in the corridor below the climb at the point the trail turns to 4th class (about 25' from the base of the climb). The rappel described below will bring you back to this point.

From the summit, it took 5 raps, with one 70m rope, over the face to get back to the base of the climb. We found good anchor/rap stations for each segment. Some swinging on bely is necessary to reach some of the stations. We made it down with one 70m rope. You could make it down with a 60m, but your last rappel will require some easy 4th class descent.

(Rap 1) From the summit, rap to the false summit anchors. (Rap 2) From the false summit, rap over the face/3rd pitch of Center Route and swing to the right (facing the rock) to the anchor at the top of Turf Spreader. This anchor is 1 bolt and 1 slung chock stone. (Rap 3) From the top of Turf Spreader, rap down and left to a 2 bolt anchor on the face (swing left on decent). (Rap 4) Rap to the 2 bolt anchor below. (Rap 5) Rap to ground.
By pete cogan
Oct 5, 2007

Found pitch 2 arduous. Found that having a #4 was very helpful in protecting the last, awkward (for me) moves before anchors. Was very happy I had it with me.
By Matt Seefeldt
Nov 4, 2007

This is a great climb....One note, pulling the rope off of the rap on the top can be tough. There is a lot of friction. I would recommend that the 1st one down checks that the rope can be pulled before the second descends. Move the knot accordingly.
By James R. Arnold
Nov 23, 2007

Did this route a couple weeks ago with Joe Chorny. This route is awesome from bottom to top! Thanks to everyone here for all the beta.

On the issue of crowds on the route - plan on going during the week. We went on a Tuesday and we were the only ones on the route all day.

On pitch 1 near the top it is possible to step left around the arete and into an easier crack system. The alternative is to layback up and right at what seemed harder than 8. In general P1 and P3 felt hard for 8 and 8+ respectively while P2 at 9+ felt about right.

We had triple 1" and 2" cams and they were useful. If you are a really strong crack climber double cams would probably be fine. Also some good nut placements were available on P2 but difficult to clean, and I even had to leave one.

Pitch lengths are about 120 ft for P1, 110 ft for P2, and 80 ft from P3. The two double rope rap down the front between Center Route and Turf Spreader are clean and pulls pretty well if the knot is moved past the edge.

By Alex A
Apr 15, 2008
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Great route, but 5.9+ is a sandbag more like 10a every 10 ft I thought crux was over, NOT!!!! great pro
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 11, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

A superb hand crack route. It is certainly strenuous and sustained but the protection is great and you can throw in a piece pretty much anywhere and rest on it if need be. (I had to rest on a .4 camalot near the top of the second pitch to give my feet a break from jamming.)
The third pitch felt quite stiff for 5.8. I used the term "thuggy" to describe it. I did some grunting.

We replaced the webbing and rap ring at the top of the first pitch on 8/8/08. The old stuff there was pretty sketchy.

We rapped with a single 60m (and some swinging) using the great description above by mzellman. It was nice to climb this route with a single 60m rope because rope management in that pod area at the top of P2 would be complicated with double ropes. Those cracks appear to eat ropes frequently.

We added 2 #3 Camalots to our rack and I appreciated having them both for all the pitches. We also carried a #4, but we didn't find it necessary. You will find places to put it, though, if you want.
By Alison Conrad
Nov 6, 2009

Great route! Lots of rests and not as strenuous as people have suggested from their posts. Eats gear.
By Doug Redosh
From: Golden, CO
Aug 25, 2010
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Agree with comments above re the strenuous nature, though on a beautiful feature. Even my usually very strong partner, Al, who climbs at Indian Creek frequently, thought so. We used lots of pieces in the #2 - #3 Cam range, though midsize nuts work in some places as well - don't leave them home! 60m rope works well with the raps as described above by mzellman.
By Cindy Mitchell
Oct 28, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Top of the second pitch is a bit slimy with bird poop. There are 2 pods at the top of the second pitch. It's much more comfy if each climber occupies one pod rather than cramming 2 climbers into one.
By Laurent Meillon
From: Golden, CO
Nov 1, 2010

DANGER: The chockstone which composes most of the anchor atop pitch 2 is disintegrating as of 11/1/10. I purposely stepped on it because no one was around. The back half fell out immediately. The other half is crumbling and moving back & forth, getting caught in the slings but ripening fast. Do not step on it if your partner is right under you! It's easy to set up a gear anchor. Avoid touching the thing or using its many tempting slings.
By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Dec 15, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

When that chockstone goes, I hope nobody is on it, below it, or even near it....
By Hoag Hoag
From: Littleton, CO
Sep 4, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

This is one of the best cracks I've climbed in the state. The sustained nature is like that of the desert splitters but on Lump Ridge style granite.

I can see why some felt it was a bit stiffer than 9+, but I don't remember making any moves that were in the 5.10 arena. It just feels harder because it's so sustained (especially the second pitch).

CAMPING: There is excellent FREE camping on FR 550 if you continue to head south on CO 126 past the turn off onto 96 towards the Cathedral Spires. FR 550 is a dirt road that leads to the Buffalo Creek campground and Wellington Lake. The first 4 miles or so of this road is free camping and has excellent sites at that. If you drive all the way to the established campsite and pay $15 to hear some Texan run his generator all night, you're crazy.
By Ben Sachs
Oct 31, 2011

One of the best routes I've done in CO and one of the best cracks I've been on at any grade. We did the 5.10 variation into the bolt ladder, and it was spectacular. The summit is worthy! Bring the #4.

The first pitch has no fixed anchor. The 2nd pitch has a fixed sling anchor which is hard to inspect but easily backed up. The scary chockstone should be trundled!! No slings around it, but I could not avoid standing on it. It moves a lot. Somebody should remove this thing on a quiet weekday so no one gets hurt.

IMO, the single-rope rap kinda sucked. Getting passed by parties with 2 ropes and having to wait for rap stations at horrid stances is not a good time.
By Turnbuckle
Jan 1, 2012

The chockstone at the top of pitch 2 is no longer an issue. My partner (Darkness) just plucked it out and threw it right down. We climbed this route New Year's Eve day, and it was windy snowy and cold. Needless to say, there was no one around, so it could be done safely. I just don't understand how people were commenting on this chockstone for 11 years. Either way, it's gone now. So, the comments to come will be about the big flake in the nook that will flex when you put gear in of now, it's solid. Thank you everyone above for the great beta. As far as gear goes, I would stress a little more on bigger cams than smaller ones. I was happy to have 3 Camalot #1s and #2s make room for those by leaving doubles of the smaller guys in the car. We did place a #3.5 too. I had an amazing time and ca'nt wait to go back. Replaced some webbing at the top rap.
By Christian Mason
From: Westminster CO
Aug 10, 2012

Did this climb today.

Just a heads up, there is a crazy amount of bird crap on the top of p2, near the second belay.

I'm not normally one to whine about getting a bit dirty, but this is really above and beyond. The wall for 10 or 15 feet below the ledge is a solid caked on layer of white. This also means that on the top of p2 (the crux IMO) you need to jam with one side of your hand on a layer the bird deposits. Surprisingly this doesn't provide nearly the same feeling of secure, locker jams that granite does.

Oh yes, if the wind blows when you're up there, you'll get airborne bird goodness in your eyes and mouth...awesome. Also, on top of the belay ledge (in the same nest) there was a desiccated corpse of a small bird (or a baby, can't tell) along with some larger bird nuggets.

Don't let this deter you from getting on the route, the route itself is phenomenal. Just know what you're getting into, and maybe wear a hazmat suit.
By Em Cos
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 2, 2012

CAUTION: Sat. 9/1/12 - Soon after starting P3, there was a chockstone that seemed like a bomber handhold, and judging by the amount of chalk on it plenty of other climbers thought so too. My partner said he yarded on it, and it seemed solid. When I grabbed it, it let go and rolled toward me, coming to a stop balanced on end just before tumbling out of the crack. I managed to climb back up to it and tried to tuck it farther back into the crack in a less precarious position (couldn't trundle, another climber below me), but be careful in this section!

Bird poo belay is foul, but I've seen worse. Doesn't do your hand jams or your shoe rubber any favors in terms of friction. Sunglasses recommended to keep it out of your eyes. Seriously.

Gear beta 2 cents: triples in 0.75-2 are nice, doubles in others, finger-sized really only necessary on the first pitch, singles of those are plenty. Nothing bigger than 3 seemed really necessary.

Fantastic climb!
From: Wherever we park!
Sep 9, 2012

About 8' after the bird poop belay, there is a comfy stance with good gear that makes a much better belay than hanging before the bird poop or getting the ebola virus in the bird poop nook proper.
By dancesatmoonrise
Oct 3, 2013

Just did this yesterday. Here's our thoughts on the route after reading the above and being there.

1. Park packs, and gear up, just before the start of the fourth class section which leads to the first belay (but avoid the rockfall area - see below). This avoids humping heavy packs up fourth class. A 70m rope will deliver you right to the packs on the final rap.

2. As others have said, #1 and #2 Camalots are the main sizes for the crux pitch. We had, and used on Center Route, a set of stoppers, #3 and #4 Aliens, a 0.5, a 0.75, two #1s, three #2s, and two #3s. In addition, we had four rigid stem Friends, ranging from just smaller than a BD #1 to just larger than a BD #3. I do not think anything larger than a BD #3 is necessary. If you want to back up the pins on Class Act (the 11b that gets you from the top of P3 to the CP summit), RPs and #1-3 aliens work well.

3. We were scared of the bird poop after reading the comments. In reality, it's there, but it's nothing.

4. Regarding the loose chockstone on P3 - it's in the crack on the left wall about 1/3 the way up. It's pretty well parked. If you're following on a weekday and no one is below you, you *might* be able to remove and toss. I got both hands around it but only managed to wedge it further. Just leave it alone, don't use it for a hold, and it should be fine. It's about the size of a bowling ball and pretty obvious. Otherwise, we found the route to be pretty solid.

5. The belay is not at the manky 1/4" pin near the top of P2. Continue another eight feet to the bird poop belay, identified by a fixed stopper and slung chockstone. Tight, but we found plenty enough room for two.

6. Bail data. Top of P1 - two slung chockstones/threads, about four feet apart. Bring webbing or cord and they can be equalized and used for rap if needed. The lower cord is wedged, so I'd equalize both. Rope may not come down without hitting the crack. Top of P2 - very nice fixed stopper and webbing equalized to cord over chockstone with steel lap link (mallion.) If you have to bail here, I'd rap and swing climber's right to the first face anchors, not far below, then rap to the lowest face anchors and off.

See Ken Trout's excellent posted topo for rockfall area. The rock is solid, but folks on the second rap were inadvertently sending stuff down and it all ends up in this area.

As others have suggested, bring a prussik or shunt or other rap device, at least for the first person to rap off from the top of P3. The move right to the anchors at the top of Turf Spreader may require both hands and feet to pull one over to the anchors - it's a long way.

The two pins on Class Act can be backed up with gear through the ascending right traverse. At the end of the short traverse, three newer well-placed bolts ascend the NE aspect.

We brought microspikes and poles this time for the descent back to the cars - it was faster and a whole lot more fun.

Enjoy this fabulous Colorado treasure.
By Tony T.
From: Denver, CO
Oct 10, 2013
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

Just did this today and a few thoughts stick out.

First, there's the approach. It's a 1,500 foot gain from the car to the base in under a half a mile. It's steep, loose, and eroding badly. Turn around frequently to the south and enjoy the views as you get higher.

Second, getting to the first belay can be tricky. There is definitely a large patch of poison ivy off to the left of the "trail". The scrambling is 4th class on loose terrain.

Third, tape up if you're not used to coarse, granite, splitter cracks. Bring the roll with you.

Fourth, this route is the epitome of sandbag. I have climbed many a 5.9 from Eldo to Lumpy, and from RMNP to the RRG. This is a sandbag. It doesn't matter that you can clean aid it easily and can leapfrog the same two cams up the splitter sections (which is pretty neat), it's not 5.9. Yes, yes, it's all relative.

Fifth, the second pitch will eat your rope. We had to cut our second rope, because it got stuck in the crack right behind the fixed Trango cam. There were the remains of a few other ropes in there, so we're not the first ones. Hopefully you won't be next.

Sixth, the bird poop belay is disgusting. Wash your hands after climbing or risk getting any number of lovely avian communicable diseases! No joke, the flakes will get in your mouth or eyes, so bring sunglasses. The respirator is optional.

Sixth, the descent. Think ball bearings surrounded by yucca plants, cacti, thorn bushes, and poison ivy. Throw in some tired legs and heavy packs and you have yourself a grand ol' time! Poles and microspikes are a fantastic idea. A better idea would be to get involved with Access Fund and build a bone fide trail up there. The hillside is obviously eroding.

Seventh, yeah, it was fun. I'll probably go back to do it properly. It's in a stunningly beautiful location and the rock is bomber.
By Jordan Hirro
From: Colorado Springs/Carbondale
Oct 14, 2013

Hopped on this with Ryan today after Dancesatmoonrise highly suggested it.

Aside form the temperamental weather (which included rain, small flurries, and crazy cold winds), this was an excellent route. Everyone's recent beta is spot on, I recommend following that. Have fun!
By The Blueprint Part Dank
From: FEMA Region VIII
Oct 20, 2013

Rarely does a route live up to its hype in the way that this did, simply stunning in every way. Thought provoking, sustained, and varied on some of the best granite this side of Yosemite. Is it sandbagged? Probably. Should you care? Absolutely not. If you can place gear well and climb solid 5.9, you'll make it up and down safely. It just may not be super pretty.

I also agree with the suggestion to lead P2 and P3 in a block. Build your belay in the bird poop pod, and have your second build a belay parallel to the big roof to climber's left of the route, about 10 ft below the larger pod. You can certainly get two climbers in the pod, but it's not the best way to climb this beaut.
By Jonathan Stickel
From: Golden, CO
Feb 16, 2015
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

There is another variation start to P1. Just before the approach scramble gets steep, look for a left angling crack on the main wall on the right with two small bushes in the crack. Climb this to enter the main part of P1 from the right. A bit dirty, but fun 5.9 climbing. See the beta photo.
By John Ryan
From: Poncha Springs, CO
Feb 13, 2016

The third pitch has eaten many cams. When I climbed this, there were 5-10 cams, buried 3 or more feet back in the bottomless crack. These have obviously walked so far back in the crack to be irretrievable. This is most likely a result of the leaders not clipping the rap anchor just over the lip to climber's right, instead continuing 15 feet forward to the anchor for the summit pitch route. Due to the crack not having a back, the rope is going from the climber at a wicked angle down to the second, putting a force that would act to walk cams deep into the crack.

So just clip the rap anchor, which should help things significantly. I belayed at the rap anchor, because I felt it added further protection from losing gear due to the better positioning.

Edited to add: awesome route! Pitches 1 and 2 are pure crack climbing. Pitch three has many right foot holds on the face and is much more protectable than it appears from the beginning of the pitch.
By Jeremy C
From: Golden, CO
Aug 3, 2016

Completely sick from the start. Route felt very sustained in spots. P2 had a TON of bird crap in the vertical handcrack at the end. Unavoidable disgustingness. Bring sanitation supplies! No joke. We didn't end up using more than 1 or 2 placments smaller than #1 and no nuts. We had 4 #2s and 4 #3s, and that didn't feel like overkill.
By Big Bert
From: Golden, Colorado
Aug 28, 2016

Be prepared for the stankness at the end of the wild awesomeness of pitch 2! Also be sure to clip the ancient bolt at the end of pitch number 2 just so you can call home and let your mom know you climbed a South Platte classic on shauty gear ;) Seriously though, do this climb. It's amazing. Also be sure to bring hand sanitizer. You won't regret this decision.
By Kyle R
Aug 29, 2016

FYI, there is a toaster-size block in the chimney above the bird poop belay that is extremely loose. Be careful up there. Also, the bird poop was not that bad.
By WadeM
From: Golden, Co
Oct 18, 2016

Toaster block is still chilling on P3. I honestly didn't notice it until my partner mentioned it on follow. Pretty easy to avoid.

Man, what a great route!
By WadeM
From: Golden, Co
Oct 18, 2016

To the comments of sandbaggery...
The Front Range doesn't have many splitters like this, so it's hard to compare to places like Wldo. Keep in mind that the Naked Edge handcrack gets rated 10c-ish and that is quite the step up from this.

This would fit in nicely with many Yosemite 5.9s.
By Crackson
Nov 14, 2016
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

If you do decide to rap with one 60m rope from the top of P3, you will be required to pendulum across the face in order to reach the Turf Spreader anchor. I found this quite unnerving, and your second should keep a close eye on the rope quality as you do so. The rest of the rappels are fairly simple, although you will need all 60m to reach the ground from the last rap.
By Phillip Gibson
Feb 20, 2017

WARNING: somebody pooped on the first belay ledge Wench's and threw it down to the base of the route. There are little bits of poop scattered at the base and a pretty sizable amount on top of the start. Be warned, my climbing partner got poop-hands this weekend. It was super gross.

If you are the culprit and you find yourself reading this, please go back and clean it up thoroughly. Two of the most classic climbs in the state, and you literally soiled them.

Besides that, stellar route. If you're not totally comfortable running it out, I would bring a couple 0.5s, 0.75s and #4s. Besides that, two - three #1 - #3 cams will be more than enough.
By Azissa Singh
Sep 10, 2017

To anyone intimidated by the many comments saying this route is sandbagged - it is not. Great rests throughout and amazing gear wherever you want it if you do feel the pump.

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