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Country Club Crack 

YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Ted Rouillard, Cleve McCarty, 1956. FFA: Ament, Stults, Rutwitch, 1967
Page Views: 28,141
Submitted By: Nate Weitzel on Jan 1, 2001

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Devan taking a morning stroll on CCC. He totally ...

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This is a Boulder Canyon classic testpiece hat once held the title of hardest crack climb in the US. Overall solid jamming with good feet, but slippery in places.

The first pitch has the crux right off the ground and involves delicate face climbing and mantling past two bolts. Finish this pitch by climbing the awkward 5.9 crack to a good belay ledge with a bolt anchor.

The second pitch is the endurance crux and is really where the classic hand crack climbing is at. Progressively harder crack climbing leads through a small roof. Hold on because the crux is still to come. A nice but tricky rest sets you up for the thin finger crack crux which involves thin and insecure finger jamming (11a) up a smooth face for 15 feet before a nice jug traverse to the anchors.


This route can be well protected with a standard rack. There are many fixed pins on this route helping to minimize the need to place many nuts. Bring cams sized in the finger to hand crack sizes - doubling these if you like to place lots of gear. A #3 Camalot helps as you pull the roof, and a #2 Camalot is useful in multiple places. A 3 bolt rappel anchor gets you to the ground (70 meter will get you back to the pitch one anchors).

Photos of Country Club Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Chuck on the first pitch.
Chuck on the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Got a new camera with effects.  CCC is steeeep!!!
Got a new camera with effects. CCC is steeeep!!!
Rock Climbing Photo: Bernard right where the crack goes from 5.9 to 5.1...
Bernard right where the crack goes from 5.9 to 5.1...
Rock Climbing Photo: Athlete's Feat and Country Club Crack.
BETA PHOTO: Athlete's Feat and Country Club Crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Robinson Pitch 1
Mike Robinson Pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Country Club Crack, showing all but the start of t...
BETA PHOTO: Country Club Crack, showing all but the start of t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beta alert - this is how you lob off the crux when...
Beta alert - this is how you lob off the crux when...
Rock Climbing Photo: Crankin' the crux of CCC years ago when the graffi...
Crankin' the crux of CCC years ago when the graffi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the funny move above the roof.
Pulling the funny move above the roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: One of many great moves on CCC.
One of many great moves on CCC.
Rock Climbing Photo: The crux!
BETA PHOTO: The crux!
Rock Climbing Photo: Kevin giving it a try.  His third day of trying.
Kevin giving it a try. His third day of trying.
Rock Climbing Photo: Here comes Ross.
Here comes Ross.
Rock Climbing Photo: The crux!
BETA PHOTO: The crux!
Rock Climbing Photo: This shows the bottom of the route and the crux mo...
BETA PHOTO: This shows the bottom of the route and the crux mo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bernard Vachon at the crux moves. Bill Wright is b...
Bernard Vachon at the crux moves. Bill Wright is b...
Rock Climbing Photo: "Just follow the damn crack."  12/8/15.
"Just follow the damn crack." 12/8/15.
Rock Climbing Photo: The crux opening moves.
The crux opening moves.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Wright trying to rest before turning the roof...
Bill Wright trying to rest before turning the roof...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Wright at the crux. The rope is above him bec...
Bill Wright at the crux. The rope is above him bec...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lew leading the first pitch.
Lew leading the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climbers on CCC, April 2012.
Unknown climbers on CCC, April 2012.
Rock Climbing Photo: A photo stitch of the entire route. The line follo...
BETA PHOTO: A photo stitch of the entire route. The line follo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bernard approaching the roof.
Bernard approaching the roof.

Show All 24 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Country Club Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 22, 2016
By Buster Jesik
May 24, 2017

It seems that the bottom bolt has been chopped?
By Rich Farnham
May 31, 2017

Buster Jesik: "It seems that the bottom bolt has been chopped?"

Nope. Still there. There is a mess of old holes, presumably from bolt wars years ago. Maybe that's what you saw?
By Matt Robertson
May 25, 2001

Easy, there - Mr. A.C.! Personally, I enjoy SL's comments - his sense of history adds a hell of a lot of value and interesting reading to this site. Our local climbing history is incredibly interesting and invaluable and needs to be passed along to the next generation. Keep up the good work, Steve - you are a definite asset (and I have commenced my search for Roger's graffiti in Eldo - excellent bit of trivia you mentioned previously...).
By Anonymous Coward
Jul 31, 2001

A few thoughts. 1) You can get by with, at most, one #2 Camalot and nothing larger. I find this route protects well with plenty of Camalots between 0.5 and #1, some screamers for the pins and a few (very few) nuts and aliens.

2) Share the rock! I've seen many people tie up the route for half a day or more while pracicing aid. If must practice aid here, try going on off hours.

3) You can rap the route with one rope by swinging over to the anchors atop the second pitch of Athlete's feet.

Tom Isaacson
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 4, 2001

RE/raps: a 60m will get you to the bolt anchor atop P1, and the leader can even lower down and belay the second from here, if desired (this will require exciting swinging shenanigans for both the leader and the follower).
By Bill Wright
Jun 17, 2002

I love this route. I've done it nine times and still no redpoint of the upper pitch. Only once have I had another party on the route at the same time. If you want this route to yourself get on it early on a weekday morning. Of the nine times I've done this route, six of them were before work. This is the time to climb it anyway since you want the first pitch cool and in the shade.

Others should definitely share the rock, but I think topropers and (clean) aid climbers have a right to climb this route as well. Heck, the Salathe Wall on El Cap is a free climb. Should all aid climbers be barred from climbing it? Common courtesy should be exercised by all involved. Maybe the aid climbers can offer to let the free climbers by after the first pitch?
By Warren Teissier
Jul 1, 2002

Bill Wright was kind enough to drag me up this route this morning. What an absolute classic.

Really enjoyable, both from a climbing perspective and from a historical perspective. It is not everyday that you can climb a route mentioned in both Pat Ament and Royal Robbins' biography.

The 5.11 finger/off hand crack (crux second pitch) is a humbling experience... It is unbelievable Derek Hersey soloed this... I died three times before I reached the saving jug...

What a great morning... WT
By Brian Milhaupt
From: Golden, CO
Jul 10, 2002

I found it more enjoyable to climb as one pitch, however, it's easier for the second to impale their backside on a fall from the opening moves due to the rope stretch. The thin section at the top is much easier without tape.
By Lon Black
Aug 19, 2002

What a fun/scary lead. Scary - because I lack ability, strength, etc. Fun - because the route takes pro so well.

The original comment on the route says to take a #4 Camalot. Somone else said you only need a #2 and smaller. I found a #3 Camalot protected the roof, and then right after you move left from the roof, and #2 Camalot helped calm my mind. As the crack gets thin, the green, yellow, and red Alien were perfect. Better leaders probably wouldn't see the need to place all three pieces throughout this thin section. Once you get to the top of the crack, the route moves right. Before moving up and right, I placed a #1 Camalot as a passive piece to protect the second from a pendulum after he cleaned the Aliens at the fingers crux.

Hopefully, this will help others in deciding what pro to take.
By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Aug 19, 2002

I found that the best way to protect the second is to clip a 0.75 cam up and left of the belay or a red/yellow Alien just left of the belay to minimize the pendulum (the traversing face moves at the end are the scariest moves on the whole climb). You don't need anything larger than a #3 cam although there are places to put big pieces. Not many nut placements, but there are a few that are completely bomber. There are also a few hex placements that are definitely more bomber than the cams that would go in their place. When I do it as one pitch: set of stoppers, few hexes, 2 x red Aliens, 2 x yellow Aliens, 2 x (#0.75, 1, 2, 3) Camalots, plenty of draws for the pins/nuts/hexes, and a double length to equalize the bolts with a runner to reduce drag. This is a good training route as most of the falls are safe (except the start - safe at A0) and (if you are proficient at placing good pro) all the gear is bomber.
By Joe Collins
Aug 20, 2002

After 3 or 4 trips up to Castle Rock in the last year, I was finally able to get on this route... no aid climbers this morning! The face climbing at the start is desperate, though possibly slightly easier than the Athlete's Feet mantle... I'm not sure how shorter people are able to do the move past the 2nd bolt. The crack pitch is pumpy, though look for a tricky no-hands rest on the upper part. From the anchors at the top you can TR the excellent Englishman's Home (11c- very thin looking gear) which takes the Athlete's Feet start straight up through a series of lieback corners to the flake system left of CCC, joining that route at the roof.
Sep 29, 2002

It too finally got on this climb this weekend. All I can say is "tough climb" and that I will be sore for days. I agree with that above comments that you can do without the #4, no reason to lug that thing up there. I'm hoping to figure out some sort of rest in the section of wide crack just past the roof (knee lock???), otherwise I have know idea how I could do it continuously, way to pumped for the thin fingers, difficult feet section (the real crux of the route to me).
By Michael Walker
From: Loveland, CO
Sep 29, 2002

I found the only real rest on the second pitch came after the roof, where I was able to slide my whole right leg into the wide crack, flexed and torqued until solid and I was able to hang quite comfortably sans meathooks (what my arms felt like after the roof). I wouldn't call it a "knee lock", more of an off width jam. I got it all back but it didn't really matter a hoot, the last 15' still kicked my ass.
By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
May 27, 2003

Someone added a new bolt between the second bolt and the crack. This bolt was not needed for a safe free or aid ascent. We promptly removed the bolt and the hanger. It is a self drilling bolt and the sleeve is still in the rock. If any one knows how to remove the sleeve WITHOUT damaging the rock further, email me or someone to do so. Epoxy and a little rock dust should minimize what is already a swiss cheese rock.
By Anonymous Coward
May 27, 2003

I think the first bolt holds the crux. The next move felt much easier for me. That added bolt was ridiculous!

The middle part of this climb is some of the best moderate, crack climbing in the canyon!
By arod
From: Denver , CO
Oct 21, 2004
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Got on CCC the other day (Oct 17) and found two cams (#1 & #2) in the crack, climbers left of the second pitch just above the picth one belay. I think someone was using them as directionals for the second but I am not sure. Contact me if you are the owner at
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 21, 2004

Primo booty.
By Ian
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 6, 2006

A 60m rope will not reach the anchor on P1 of Athlete's Feat! I was about 5 feet short, dangling in the air. I could not find a placement for the #4 even though I brought it. I had a #3 above the roof, but one or two #2s would have been enough.
By Squatting Bear
Jun 27, 2007

Can be done in one pitch and what a great pitch, but it leaves the second in a scary situation for the opening face moves due to rope stretch. And nobody should miss out on that awesome face climbing.
By taimi
From: Longmont, CO
Sep 17, 2007

My ONLY complaint with this route is that the first (and only) bolt is in such an awkward position--ok, maybe not so awkward if you're 5'7" or more, but let me tell you, when you're 5'4", it's a SCARY first bolt... Otherwise, ditto on all raves above.
By KeithRD
Sep 20, 2007

I know a lot of people would frown on this but, this climb is a great place to practice aid climbing (clean of course), along with the aid roof a little farther west on Castle Rock. If you're rusty and headed for a big wall or trying to learn, taking laps on this is great fun.

Side note: Try to climb this when it is not conducive to free climbing, i.e. cold, night, early am, winter or the like. Be mindful, if aid climbing, that this is a very popular and quality free line and chocking it up for hours aiding would be less than polite.
By Chris O'Connor
From: boulder, co
May 5, 2008

A 70m rope makes it in one pitch with about 25ft of rope left. Doing it in one pitch I used my whole rack, which was triples of everything Camalot 0.5 - 3 and a few smaller cams. Amazing pitch!
From: broomdigiddy
May 6, 2008

A 60m will make it in one pitch as well. Just leaves you a bit short on the raps. A 70 would be ideal cause then you can rap to the first pitch anchors of A.F.
pump fest in one long one for sure.

We climbed this again yesterday with one 70m.
Rappelling from the top of P.2 the knots in our rope were only about 8 ft down and to the right of the anchors top of P1 for athletes feet.
I advise a 70 or 2-60s to avoid any big swings.

FYI- There is now a fixed red TCU top of the 2nd pitch crux. It walked to far back and over cammed too much to get out. It's in a great spot though just before the thank god jug. Clip it and keep moving. :) :)
By Brian Adzima
From: San Francisco
Jul 30, 2008
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Nice climb, but it looks like a junkyard with ~20 bolt studs and ~12 pins.
By Luke Childers
Sep 3, 2009

I can't wait to do this line...Luke H. Let's hook this line up!!!!
By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Feb 8, 2010

Good climb to practice aid on days like today. There were only a few teams of people waiting to free CCC in the foot of snow while I struggled up it. Plus, your belayer can stay toasty in the car.
By noah gostout
From: Iqaluit, Nunavut
Aug 9, 2011

Dropped one of my Evolv Talons at the base and left it last night, I went back to get it but it was gone. If you found it, I'd really like it back. It was brand new!
By Mike Soucy
From: Longmont, CO
Oct 6, 2011

My 60m makes it down to the first AF anchor with none to spare. Tie knots.
By Abel Jones
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 11, 2014

Best crack I've been on in the radbro. I, for one, liked the opening move.... But the jams are where it's at. So comfy. Great link and lowers to the ground with an 80.
By EricR
From: Nederland
Nov 2, 2014

Found a pair of fancy car keys at the base of Country Club today. Give a shout if they are yours.
By MicahDay
Jun 1, 2015

Here's to hoping...was anyone able to wiggle a #1 BD cam halfway up the second pitch of Country Club? We tried as best we could but got weathered and left it there. Date was May 27th (last week) in the late afternoon. Looks like someone grabbed it when we went back to work it out. Would LOVE it if someone did. 6 pack for reward?! :)
By Rich Farnham
Jul 16, 2016

The blocks under the roof are gone now (see here). Apparently they were suddenly quite loose, and someone cleaned them out a few weeks ago.

The blocks provided a few jugs that made getting around the roof pretty straightforward. I wouldn't say it's harder now, but it is a little less straightforward. For what it's worth, I'm 6'5" and could see how it might be harder for short people now.

The resulting pod under the roof is a little tricky to protect. There is a pinch that would take a #0.75 Camalot (or probably better, a black Metolius), but if it walks at all, it will be useless quickly. I found a good yellow Alien on the right side of the dihedral, under the roof, in the crack that heads right to become Nobody's Home.
By Devan Johnson
Sep 17, 2016

Indeed, the chockstone under the roof is no more. This deserves a mention on such a historical and classic line.

While not a huge deal, my guess is that people will find pulling the roof a touch harder now.
By Harrison Dreves
From: Denver, Colorado
Sep 22, 2016
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

I didn't climb this route before the blocks fell out of the roof, but on my first climb of this, I felt that the roof on pitch two was almost as hard as the crux on pitch one (granted, in a very different style).

I'd suggest 11b for the roof moves on pitch 2 now.

If you're not comfortable pulling those moves with a #0.3 Camalot below your feet (assuming you extend it from its placement at the back of the roof), you would probably need to bring a #5 Camalot to protect the roof pod now.

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