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Fluorescent Gray 

YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a PG13

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a PG13 [details]
FA: Bret Ruckman and Tim Coats, 1989
Page Views: 2,009
Submitted By: Steve Annecone on Jan 10, 2004

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Near the crux traverse. Photo by Ico.

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  • Description 

    This route is located just above the huge gap in the East Ridge. It follows a beautiful face just right of a jagged, left-leaning arete.

    Start with the burley, slightly overhanging hand and finger crack in a gully. A few 5.10 moves right off the deck lead to a thin, reachy 11b section (lower crux). Continue up to a broken ledge with a small tree below the first bolt.

    Gear isn't great at the ledge, I slung a horn but some tricky nut placements may also work to protect the moves up to the first bolt. I used the "s" rating to represent the balancy 5.9+ or 10 moves to get to the first bolt, as a fall here would probably land you on a ledge.

    Once at the first bolt, follow a line of bolts up and left through a beautiful section of steep rock. The rest of the route from here is fairly sustained, with many 5.10 and 5.11 moves throughout. Lots of tricky traversing moves with sometimes hard to see holds, groping reaches out to the arete, and general funkiness. Although fairly well bolted, falls at some of the hard moves would result in some high angular momentum whippers due to the traversing nature of the route.

    The crux was probably just past the 4th bolt, although another 11b or c section awaits out near the arete at the 6th bolt. The climbing eases off to 5.9 or 5.10- for the last 15 feet to the hidden anchor up and right of the final scooped out face. Absolutely excellent, sustained climb with great position and exposure most of the way! Rappel 90 or 95 feet from the 2-bolt anchor. The webbing was pretty mankey and not equal-tensioned at the time I originally wrote this, though Matt S. thankfully upgraded the anchor and bolts in 2010.


    Nuts and camming devices up to 1 or 2 inches are needed for the initial steep crack. Once up to the first of 8 bolts, quickdraws will suffice from there.

    Comments on Fluorescent Gray Add Comment
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    By Steve Annecone
    From: boulder
    Aug 8, 2004

    Correction to the above and Gear Beta: the crux is actually just past the 4th bolt, traversing left to the arete. Also, the distance between the 2nd and 3rd bolts makes it a bit spicy, but a #3 RP or similar with a long sling can reduce the spice somewhat.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 20, 2004

    Interesting route name. Poetic?
    By Joe Collins
    Oct 10, 2007
    rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13

    This is one of the best face climbs in the Boulder area. Reminiscent of the Eldo classic Aerospace.
    By Josh Gross
    Nov 24, 2008

    Great Route, a good route to be rebolted soon! Nice plaque of rock with some cool moves up high.
    By Aaron Martinuzzi
    Sep 24, 2009

    The Haas Flatirons guide notes that the name comes from one of the first ascensionists, Bret Ruckman, who was colorblind, describing the bright lichen on/around the route.
    By ben rosenberg
    Oct 5, 2009

    We replaced the mess of tat on the anchors this weekend. However, we didn't have enough cord to do a great job. Its safe, but maybe the next one on this route can do a little better.

    Also, this route really needs to be rebolted, it makes what would be fun climbing needlessly spicy. If someone with a drill and the requisite experience wants to do this I would be happy to help out.
    Please contact me through this site.
    By Pinklebear
    Aug 20, 2010

    All hardware, anchors included, updated to half-inch stainless steel bolts and hangers as of August 2010. The anchors are now slightly lower and right to facilitate lowering, but you still need to top out around the lip to clip them.

    Many thanks to OSMP, the Access Fund, the Flatirons Climbing Council, and Climbing Magazine's ARI program for making such bolt-work in the Flatirons possible.

    Enjoy! This is an amazing pitch. I would peg the rating at 5.11-see: as in, "See, here's another 5.11 crux!"
    By Phil Lauffen
    From: The Bubble
    Sep 26, 2011

    Great climb. The combination of powerful arete pulls and delicate footwork make this a fun climb. It feels a little heady as you have to make hard moves a ways above bolts, and reaching the first bolt is tough. The beginning crack is burly, punch through it for the best chance of success.

    Thank you for updating the bolts!
    By Bob Rotert
    Nov 2, 2014
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13

    This is such an awesome route! The bottom crack is burly, and the upper slab climbing is continuous thought provoking and exciting. One of the best in the Flatirons and not to missed if you're up for it. Kudos to Brett and Tim for putting up this masterpiece.

    For gear: blue 3, red 1, and purple Camalots; green Alien; blue, yellow Metolius TCU and 1 red C3.

    Great write up by Steve.

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