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The Fist or Hippo Head
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East Face/Hippo Head 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 330'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,329
Submitted By: Warren Teissier on Dec 9, 2001

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Another shot of Warren in the nice 5.6 crack at th...

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  • Description 

    This would be a three star climb if the lower part of the face was less broken and cleaner. The last 45 feet before the summit block climb one of the best hand/fist cracks in the Flatirons as qualified aptly by George Bell

    Begin at the saddle (highest point) on the East face. Work your way up past trees and a series of ledges and bulges to the base of the crack. Belay at a tree

    Climb the crack past a small overhang and onto the ledge at the base of the summit block. Scramble one at a time for 30 feet to the top

    Descent - rappel North some 50 overhanging feet from slings around a horn. I suggest you bring a 10 foot sling for this. Word has it there is a downclimb on the West side, but it is reputed to be scary.


    Standard Flatiron rack.

    Photos of East Face/Hippo Head Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Hippo Head crack.
    BETA PHOTO: Hippo Head crack.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Warren Teissier on the nice crack pitch on the Eas...
    Warren Teissier on the nice crack pitch on the Eas...

    Comments on East Face/Hippo Head Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Dean Carpenter
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 21, 2007
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Climbed this route today and the crack pitch is a lot of fun, it makes the grungy first pitch worth it. I rappelled 50 ft west from a small boulder that seemed a little sketchy. The boulder is on the ledge directly behind the summit block and it has some old purple slings with two old oval biners on it. I backed it up with a new sling and two new rap rings. I don't know if this is the rap station in the description, but it held for us.
    By Doug Redosh
    From: Golden, CO
    Oct 29, 2012

    We did this today in 3 pitches. Fun outing! The crux (5.7 - 5.8) is crossing a gully about 130 feet up. One can belay just before it.
    We got all 3 of us on the summit. The last person had a mostly protected downclimb off the summit block by throwing the rope over a large boulder.
    There is a large hex and a large tricam with some slings for a rappel anchor at the top of a 5.7 crack on the west face 15 feet south of the summit block. Look over the edge and you will see them. One can then TR the crack (50 ft).
    Walk off (bushwhack) in the gully north of the formation. We had to do 2 short raps at cliffs, but Dave managed to find a way down by going into a spiral cave.
    By Anton Krupicka
    Jan 26, 2015

    I climbed this today and did indeed find a downclimb to the west. I always find it hard to rate downclimbs, but it felt probably about as difficult as climbing the 5.6 crack on the east face (edit: Roach rates this west face line a mere 5.3, and the hand-crack 5.5). On the descender's right side of the west face there is a series of holds that gets you down to an awkward-ish downclimb/step across to a boulder that puts you on the ground. I felt that move was the crux though some of the holds on the west face itself are a bit thin, too. Overall, a nice summit and a great hand-crack to get there.
    By Ryan Marsters
    Jul 28, 2017

    I thought the DC off west was quite sketchy. For me (5'6"), it seemed like a series of sketchy reverse palm mantles without great hands trending slightly descender's right until stepping back left to the boulder. Perhaps 5.6 slab. The east side crack was much easier.

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