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Empire of the Fenceless 

YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Ken Trout
Page Views: 15,085
Submitted By: Peter Franzen on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (259)
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Way fun even in a downpour.

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  • Description 

    This incredible route leads up the north face of Easter Rock on the right side of the arete that separates the north and east faces. There isn't a bad move on it, save for the awkward moves on jugs just below the anchors.

    The difficulties are sustained throughout the route, though a few moves may be more difficult for shorter people. I'd give this one 5 stars if I could.


    The route has 7 bolts and a 2 bolt anchor.

    Photos of Empire of the Fenceless Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Angus on his flash attempt.
    Angus on his flash attempt.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Unidentified climber on Empire of the Fenceless. P...
    Unidentified climber on Empire of the Fenceless. P...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan on Empire of the Fenceless.
    Ryan on Empire of the Fenceless.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Andres.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tony at the crux of 4 of sequence.
    BETA PHOTO: Tony at the crux of 4 of sequence.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tony at the crux of 3 of sequence.
    BETA PHOTO: Tony at the crux of 3 of sequence.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tony at the crux of 2 of sequence.
    BETA PHOTO: Tony at the crux of 2 of sequence.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tony enters the crux of 1 of sequence.
    BETA PHOTO: Tony enters the crux of 1 of sequence.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Harder crux variation?
    Harder crux variation?
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mike on Fenceless in sub-freezing temps.
    Mike on Fenceless in sub-freezing temps.
    Rock Climbing Photo: About to enter the crux moves.
    About to enter the crux moves.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Still dry.
    Still dry.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Standing on the glued block.
    Standing on the glued block.
    Rock Climbing Photo:
    Rock Climbing Photo: Colleen is getting set for the crux, left hand rea...
    Colleen is getting set for the crux, left hand rea...

    Comments on Empire of the Fenceless Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 17, 2017
    By Peter Franzen
    General Admin
    From: Phoenix, AZ
    Nov 6, 2001

    First, the route name is 'Empire of the Fenceless'- that's my fault for the error.

    Second, there are glued holds on this route. I honestly can't tell if any were manufactured (I don't think there aree any), but a couple of the jugs have some epoxy behind them for support. Just thought I'd put the word out.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Jun 18, 2002
    rating: 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a

    I noticed the re-enforced block on the arete as well. The rock that was glued on was obviously native and in place, but It looked junky and I was kinda bummed to see that. Gee, my first "5.12" on-sight of the season and it turns out to be on a "borderline altered" route.

    Folks, this is otherwise a great route, and would have still been one less that block as well. Why not clean it instead of put a bunch of epoxy up there? With the available holds for feet that are off to the left anyway, I don't think that the climb would have been substantially different without the glue.

    If you feel that you have to glue something, please do so carefully and discretely, keeping the junk out of sight.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 18, 2002

    Soft for .12a, more like .11d.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Jun 18, 2002
    rating: 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a

    Empire Of The Fenceless was the Easiest of the three 5.12's I did this weekend. I didn't want to confuse my comment regarding chipping with a grades argument though because I am not trying to bitch about the route in general. It was very fun overall.

    I was, however, trying to express that I was pretty pleased, and then bummed to see the glue.

    As for the grade, I could have said 5.11b, but I've been getting a lot af flack for "sandbagging" lately, so I figured WTF- maybe I am having a good season...

    Either that or there really is a big difference between Sport and trad grades. Is Empire Of the Fenceless harder than the crux of The Naked Edge? The Diving Board? Kloof (admittedly, a sandbag at 5.11a)? Not in my opinion. Maybe the bolts being so close make me feel more secure and it is mentally easier, but I'd say it is not much harder than Gravity's Angel or Home Free either (both are 5.11b, sport). Certainly this route did not feel as hard to me as Fuzzy Dice (5.12a sport) on Cadillac crag.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 20, 2002

    Hey 'Bubb', who cares? About AC or the grade.

    This is a great route; nice setting, beautiful moves and has many ways to do the crux. I would suggest this route for women especially since every women I have seen does well on it.

    Have fun.
    By Joe Collins
    Jun 4, 2003
    rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

    I've gotta say that despite the usual sport-crag atmosphere, Easter Rock is one of the best small crags, trad or sport, in the Boulder area. This route in particular, I found to be one of the most enjoyable sport climbs in the Front Range. As compared to other sport climbs of the grade, I think 12a is pretty much right on, though it is a one-move wonder kind of crux.

    As to Tony's comment above, I don't want to necessarily start a debate on the comparison of sport and trad grades, but yes, it did feel slightly harder than the mid-5.11 cruxes of routes at Eldo like the Naked Edge, Climb of the Century, etc. The difference though, of course, is that you're clipping bolts instead of dicking in RPs or purple TCUs as is typical of those Eldo climbs. Though it is totally different in style, at Eldo Empire is maybe 11c/d?

    a short 12a crux section
    By TBD
    Jul 13, 2003

    Great line, fun climbing.
    By Chris Archer
    Oct 28, 2003
    rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

    Brilliant route. 12a onsight grade; 11b/c redpoint.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Oct 28, 2003

    Of course redpoint grades feel easier that onsites, hence the concept of a redpoint. Grades are based on onsites.

    Anyway and more important, all agree this is a great route!
    By XOG
    Aug 29, 2005

    The glue doesn't bother me; the block in question is big enough that it would be quite a project to safely get it to the ground without going to the road and I also believe that the presence of the block makes the climb better.

    Something that bothers me more, recently a fist-size pink splotch of paint appeared just below the crux that has been identified as resulting from a paintball, how totally lame.
    By Danny dubsack
    Jul 4, 2006

    Fun. Great workout. Who could ask for more?
    By Dave Stewart
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 2, 2006

    I climbed this route yesterday. Just an FYI, it seems the glued block on this route is loose. This was my first time climbing the route so I have no idea what it was like before. When I grabbed the hold I heard it shift in its place. Has it always been like this? It still seems safe to me though because it didn't shift much. It just seems that the glue may not be doing much to hold it in place. Fun route.
    By Rob Kepley
    From: Westminster,CO
    Aug 21, 2006
    rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

    Awesome position and movement. One of the best sport climbs in BC.
    By Eric Carlos
    From: Chattanooga, TN
    May 28, 2011
    rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

    Only in Boulder have I heard a difference between onsight and redpoint grades. Seems ridiculous. So, if it takes 8 attempts, does that bump the grade to 10a?
    By Keith H. North
    From: Englewood, CO
    May 28, 2011

    Hey, lost my Gri-Gri 2 here yesterday... if you saw/have it, please call me 303-359-6831.
    By Fishman13
    From: Fort Collins
    May 19, 2013

    This route is an absolutely mesmerizing line from the guidebook, the ground and especially when clipping chains from the top...sometimes in your dreams. The underlying beauty of this line comes in multiple facets:

    Clipping the first bolt off of a bomber, in-cut, right hand jug with huge feet quells any minor concerns for safety. Your first moves immediately after are not difficult but instead are just strenuous enough to let you know, "you're in it."

    Moving up the arete uses powerful and sustained movement on holds that are good but that begin to take their toll and require thoughtfulness and balance, as well as a very tight core. As your mental duct tape begins to come undone and your heavy breath becomes apparent, the voice in your head changes from "I'm going to send," to "damn... I'm pumped!?!"

    THEN you look up and see the crux.

    The sequence requires big moves off small holds to another small hold... a hard move I've seen done more than one way. This challenging dead point move up to an in-cut, half pad crimp has to be accurate and controlled. Although this climb only has 7 bolts, it is deceptively long. All of the lateral movement involved adds an additional 30 feet, which only makes this one better.

    As for the grade...I won't try to speculate on the difficulty.... If you climb 5.13, it's probably easy. If you climb's going to feel really hard.... The point is that either way, this route is really fun and I highly recommend it to everyone. For those you you who like to have fun climbing...don't be discouraged by people who are too good to climb something that has a glued-on hold...they probably don't like having fun anyway....
    By Jon Zucco
    From: Denver, CO
    Jun 12, 2013
    rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

    What he said ^.

    • spoiler*

    Also, there's a great hands-free stance post crux (you can turn to your left and sit on your right foot on the ramp with your left foot wedged in the pocket on the face). Good place to de-pump before heading left to the chains. Best of the grade I've ever done in Bocan thus far.
    By Julia
    Jul 21, 2014

    Wonderful climb, great movement the whole way. Looks like there are a few ways people pull through the crux. If you're short, the hardest part of the climb may be at the slabbed out part before the third bolt.
    By B. Smith
    From: Denver, CO
    Sep 15, 2015

    Such an amazing climb. I do agree that the on-sight would be a 12a and the red-point would be a few letters easier. Some moves become a lot easier when you know what to look for.
    By James Cranston
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 30, 2016
    rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

    Just snagged this today! I had a lot of fun climbing this. For me at 5'8", the crux move was very tricky to figure out, and I wasn't able to do it completely statically. Nevertheless this thing is aesthetic on sticky granite and an absolute joy ride.
    By seanmo63
    Sep 8, 2016
    rating: 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a

    Agree with previous comments that it is a difficult onsight but a much easier redpoint. Beta: with small fingers, you can get a great two finger pocket jam at the crux, skip the low crimp, and with a high left foot slap the left hand up on the arete to the good crux crimp. Doing the move this way almost feels like neutering the route for me, because it really feels quite casual.
    By w.elliott
    Feb 17, 2017

    This would probably be 5.10a in Rifle, CO.... Soft!

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