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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: T. Fender & J. Burbank. FFA: R. Briggs & L. Studer, '74
Page Views: 5,894
Submitted By: Andrew Wellman on Nov 1, 2001

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Mark Sellers on crux of FM.

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  • Description 

    This route is on the Third Elephant Buttress, on the north side. To access it walk along the pipe till you reach a gully between the Second and Third Buttresses. Scramble about 20 feet up the gully to the base of the climb. This climb follows a left facing dihedral that begins about 40 feet up. The route is to the right of Left Wing and starts up a short face to an obvious, chalked finger crack. Make some challenging moves to gain the finger crack (5.10ish) and follow the crack a few moves to a great rest below the steep part. You can climb up and left to reach higher and get in toprope pro for the start of the crux sequence, then downclimb and fire straight up from the crack. Pull a couple of awkward, strenuous and pumpy moves, mixed in with a few insecure feeling wide stems through the steep bulge. There are a few fixed pins in this section. Where the bulge enters the dihedral is the crux. From a slopey right facing lieback reach around a corner to your left and gain an elusive finger lock. Getting your feet anywhere and shifting into the dihedral is good and balancy, and will have you in doubt until the end. From here, rest and breath and then follow the dihedral up much easier ground to a nice belay ledge. To gain the top climb a short second pitch (5.6). This route has great pro and excellent, challenging moves. I really recommend it to anyone in the area who feels like climbing something harder than what The Dome has to offer.


    Standard trad rack with emphasis on TCUs and small stoppers is good. You don't need anything bigger than a #1 Camalot. Bring some long slings and draws, because there are many fixed pins.

    Photos of FM Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The fixed pin at the start of the double dihedral ...
    BETA PHOTO: The fixed pin at the start of the double dihedral ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Starting into the stemming crux.
    Starting into the stemming crux.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Milking a stance before the "business".
    Milking a stance before the "business".
    Rock Climbing Photo: Lower crux.
    Lower crux.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Climbing. Photo: Dave Fiorucci July 8th, 2005...
    Mark Climbing. Photo: Dave Fiorucci July 8th, 2005...
    Rock Climbing Photo: At the beginning of the "double dihedral"...
    At the beginning of the "double dihedral"...

    Comments on FM Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 4, 2016
    By Chris Dawson
    From: Denver, CO
    Nov 5, 2001

    This route is called FM. Probably the best line on the Elephant Buttresses.
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Mar 7, 2002

    There is a bizarre sequence to the crux where I climbed a full rotation. Anyone else do that, too?

    Addendum: Anyone know why it's called FM?
    By Chris Dawson
    From: Denver, CO
    Mar 11, 2002

    I got out in a really wide stem and was able to switch my hands into the dihedral with no problem. This made getting into the fingerlocks pretty easy, meaning the crux for me was the steeper climbing below. I have really long legs however, so this might not be feasible for everyone.
    By Vernon Stiefel
    May 30, 2005

    FM is one of the BEST one pitch trad routes I have climbed. The rock quality and movement are exceptional!! In addition to the pitons, there are two fixed stoppers in the extended "old school" 5.11 crux section.
    By Tom Hanson
    Apr 4, 2006

    Oh my gosh, you mean that that fixed stopper that was there back in '82 is still there?
    By Chris Sheridan
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 26, 2006

    I went up to FM today with a hammer, chisel, and a selection of pitons with the hopes of clearing away and replacing the piton that broke on me a few weeks ago. As soon as I got a good look at remainder of the pin, I realized there was no hope in replacing it. The pin broke off well inside the crack and reaching it was near impossible, so the hammer and chisel were never put to use. I did notice a good stopper placement a few inches above the pin and a very good cam placement above that, so the route is still well protected through the crux, you'll just have to work a little more for it.
    By Ian
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 30, 2006

    I remember clipping a number of fixed nuts and pitons on this climb a few weeks ago, but there are only the piton below the crux and another fixed nut higher up on the crux now. A green Alien will protect the traverse crux well.
    By Rob Kepley
    From: Westminster,CO
    Sep 3, 2006
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Hands down 4 STARS! This is an incredible route that eats great pro all the way up. Although, some is quite strenuous to place. Hats off to Briggs for this gem.
    By Thom Engelbach
    Mar 12, 2007

    FM means Frequency Modulation. Makes sense to me.
    By Tommey-James
    From: Boulder,Colorado
    Aug 5, 2011
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    This route is GREAT! I got shit on March 11' trying this route and had to bail at the crux. I returned today and got it with one hang at the top of the "first pitch"/at the base of the crux dihedral. Do this route if you are able. The gear is really good the whole way and the climbing is so much fun, finger locks galore. Gear Beta: have a 0.4 camalot pre-drawn for the heart of the crux, you will be stoked.
    By Amir erez
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 13, 2011

    Fantastic climb. There are 2 fixed nuts and 2 pins left on the route as of today.
    By Evan Deis
    Jul 26, 2013

    No more fixed nuts. Two good pins.
    By dlight
    Jul 19, 2014

    A brilliant climb with some unusual movement! The crux is steep and strenuous, placing the pro is half the battle!

    If you have successfully reached the ramp above the crux corners and you are still wanting for some more then try this extension - work up and left around some huge detached blocks until you can step out left above the big roof, find a bolt runner and some cool face climbing (5.10+) which leads up an exposed headwall, follow finger and hand cracks to the top.
    By Paul Hunnicutt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 20, 2016

    We TR'ed this with a gear anchor at the very top of the cliff and a 70m rope. We belayed on a ledge right below the first crux. It felt ok without an anchor for the belay; however, there is still another 25' or so to the ground, so be careful. Tie knots in your rope rappelling, and add some directionals up until just past the crux.

    Fantastic climbing, but seeping wet a couple days after a big snowstorm.
    By Andy Hansen
    From: Longmont, Colorado
    Nov 4, 2016
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    2 pins and 2 fixed stoppers currently on this route. The 2nd pin is somewhat dubious, easily backed up with a 1" cam. Bizarre, unique, awkward, powerful, wonderful climbing.

    For what it's worth, I stayed in the right dihedral of the double dihedral system. I didn't really find it necessary to step into the left dihedral system save for the very last move onto the good stance before the 5.9 climbing to the top. Perhaps a little hard for 11c?

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