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Hell Freezes Over 

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

Type:  Sport, 2 pitches, 140'
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Chris Archer, Sarah Spaulding, Alan Higham, Nick Archer
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 2,257
Submitted By: Chris Archer on Aug 20, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (15)
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Starting the crux arete.

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  • Description 

    The first pitch starts above the trail at the last switchback below the upper south face of Red Devil, 10a/b; 95'; 11 bolts. A boulder problem start leads to lots of fun, juggy 5.8 - 5.9 climbing. The second pitch starts off the ledge and ascends a cream colored face to a powerful, steep short arete with improbable moves in great position, 12a; 35'; 4 bolts.

    There are two variations to the second pitch. Hellzapoppin (11c/d) climbs the first 2 bolts on the second pitch, traverses left around the corner, and face climbs to the anchors. Hellacious (11d) climbs the arete and face 8' left of the second pitch and joins Hellzapoppin where it hits the west face.


    Pitch 1: 11 bolts to a 2 bolt anchor. Pitch 2: 4 bolts to 2 bolt anchor.

    Photos of Hell Freezes Over Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Ramp access to top of first pitch, Hell Freezes Ov...
    BETA PHOTO: Ramp access to top of first pitch, Hell Freezes Ov...
    Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch.
    First pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Gino.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sam on the first pitch.
    Sam on the first pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Red Devil (not my photo but a nice one nonetheless...
    Red Devil (not my photo but a nice one nonetheless...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Willie Mein follows the first pitch of 'Hell Freez...
    Willie Mein follows the first pitch of 'Hell Freez...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Alan, high over Boulder.
    Alan, high over Boulder.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Alan pulling down.
    Alan pulling down.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Flashing the second pitch.
    Flashing the second pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing the first pitch crux.
    Finishing the first pitch crux.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Top of pitch 1.
    Top of pitch 1.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Midway pitch 1.
    Midway pitch 1.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Overview of the route.
    Overview of the route.

    Comments on Hell Freezes Over Add Comment
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    By Ray Snead
    Aug 21, 2004

    We stumped up there this morning to do the first pitch. This alone is worth the hike and 1.5 stars: 2 for the climbing and covert and scenic position, but subtract half for dirt, lichen, and rock quality. It should clean up acceptably, except perhaps for the huge death block (with mysterious chalked line) at the 2nd to last bolt. Tread carefully here; belayers beware.

    The start felt height dependent and hard for the given grade, the middle really fun, and the top exciting.
    By Greg Hand
    From: Golden, CO
    Aug 24, 2004

    Hey Chris, you be styling with those rad shades and yellow top! But you might need some Grecian Formula for that hair! Actually, that is just hair envy as I am follically challenged.

    Ray & I did the first pitch last weekend and I thought it was an excellent addition. I managed to lead the crux without too much difficulty, then I nearly fell on TR trying to demonstrate how I did it! The rest of the pitch is quite impressive as to how good the holds are. The "bongo drum" near the top caused me to pause, but it seems like it is well attached.

    I remember helping build that trail back in the late 80's. We should have added some benches!
    By Michael Komarnitsky
    Founding Father
    From: Seattle, WA
    Aug 28, 2004

    This is the first bolted route to be put up in the Flatirons since 1991. Props to the FA group, and a thanks to the Flatirons Climbing Coalition ( for their work in rebuilding the climbing community's relationship with Open Space Managers.
    By Dan Levison
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 5, 2004

    Good work, guys. Hell Freezes Over (HFO) is located in a beautiful setting. Great job on camouflaging the hangers, bolts, and chains - we walked right passed the climb at first. The P1 opening moves are fun and on good clean rock, unfortunately the rock quality deteriorates shortly thereafter. The easy climbing above is blemished by suspect fractured blocks and hollow flakes that one has to climb through. P2 is short and has better rock than P1; however, the flake that is used to clip the second bolt is about to snap as is the hold I used to clip the fourth bolt. The crux moves are cool and about right for the grade at 12a. Overall, HFO is a decent route that is marred by sections of poor quality rock.
    By Rob Andrew
    Sep 7, 2004

    Got up on HFO last Friday 9/3 and it was well worth the hike in. The rock, particularly the 1st pitch, will clean up nicely with a few more ascents. P1 has some nice moves with the crux at the bottom, 10(a). P2 is well cleaned already and I agree with the 12(a) assessment. The view and backdrop from the P2 belay ledge make it all worth while! Great job, Chris.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 4, 2004
    rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

    The route is pretty good and we cleaned some more of the loose rock off of it. Most of the route is solid now, but there are a few flakes that I am not sure will hold a brutish pull from a larger climber. I actually cranked on a few suspect flakes pretty hard and they mostly felt solid. The route is good overall and if it were a single pitch, unbroken by the ledge, would have been fabulous.

    The first pitch is probably 10b, with a crux near the second bolt and at the top. I clipped it from high to avoid the hard clip that I read about here later....

    The second pitch was tough, but very do-able. At present the lichen and lack of chalk (a good thing) require "REAL" on-sighting and the holds are not immediately apparent at the crux. As such, 3/3 of us that tried to redpoint, flash or on-sight the pitch missed seeing one of the crux holds and falling or hanging at least once. It felt like 11+ on the crimps I was using instead, but ended up on the wrong side of the arete & pitched off. As the moves become apparent, it is an easier route, so I think as the climb gets cleaner & chalked, the consensus grade will settle in to maybe 11c for the 'on-sight.' If/when the 2nd pitch crux flakes snap off, this climb will get VERY hard.

    On 10/3/04 the Flatirons Climbing Council did some trail improvements that stabilized the sloping ground below the base of this climb. Now the belayer won't likely be sliding down hill.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 2, 2005

    Had fun on the first pitch, it is fairly clean and interesting. This climb could be done in mid-winter on a sunny day, today it actually seemed quite hot.
    By DamageVic
    From: Coal Creek Canyon, CO
    Sep 27, 2009

    Climbed the 1st pitch today- my first 5.10 lead and I got it clean! I was/am stoked!! Really enjoyed this pitch, the 1st crux right off the ground and then another crux-y section up higher. I would happily come back to do this one again! A little bit of lichen and fragile rock here and there, but a quality route.
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Mar 24, 2011

    FWIW, there is another TR'able variation squeezing between South Face and P1 that joins P1 at the 2nd to last bolt. There are a few loose flakes on this line.
    By Mark E Dixon
    From: Sprezzatura, Someday
    Feb 18, 2017

    The second pitch has really fun movement. Pretty cryptic unless already chalked!

    I had considered trying to link the two pitches - as it turns out, I don't think this would work. After P1, you scramble up and back about 15-20 feet to a ledge and reset the belay. No belay anchor, so sling something or get the first bolt on P2 clipped (which is reasonable) before falling off.

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