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Miscellaneous Castlewood Boulder problems
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Little Devil 

Hueco: V12+ Font: 8A+ X

Type:  TR, Boulder
Original:  Hueco: V11 Font: 8A X [details]
FA: Luc Gruenther
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 37,547
Submitted By: Luc Gruenther on Nov 7, 2002

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First ascentionist Luc cranking the first crux of ...

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This problem is on the Falls Trail near the waterfall on the west side of the creek. Approach from the car is 5 minutes or less.

This strenuous problem begins with a sit down start. Sidepull your way up the pumpy and continuous arete on dicey feet until you can dyno for the lip. Once at the lip, the secondary crux is topping out on the exposed boulder.

I thought about putting a bolt below the lip to protect the secondary crux, but decided against its current state, Little Devil offers quite a mental and physical challenge.


A good crash pad and a great spotter (maybe two of each) are necessary for this very serious problem.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 21, 2017
By Michael Walker
From: Loveland, CO
Nov 8, 2002

This was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Thanks!

(I bet the bolt would have been chopped if installed...)
By Ben Mottinger
Founding Father
Nov 8, 2002

Nice one, Luc. :-)
By Rich Strong
Nov 8, 2002

Commiting highball! Well done. Would have been a good problem though, without the spotter.
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 20, 2002

I worked this a bit over the weekend... pretty tough. I brought a TR along to work the highball crux... I have it pretty wired now, but I'm not sure how it'll go after pulling the dyno... lots of pads and spotters will be nice for sure. Still couldn't work out the dyno though. This is an awesome problem and surely destined to be a hard Front Range classic.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 20, 2002

WARNING! The Little Devil is unstable!

Yesterday I was cranking hard on the initial move (I am nearly 200 lbs) and the sucker started to shift. Luckily I rolled out of the way or it would have crushed on my leg! It was now in the middle of the trail, but fortunately with the help of a passing hiker (thanks Mike!) we were able to get it back into more or less the same position.

Using a crash pad is cheating because with 2" more reach you can grab the final hold.
By Tom Hanson
Mar 8, 2006

I just have to let the climbing world know of my latest accomplishment.
I just completed the first ascent of Little Devil in full-on winter conditions.

The sloping mantle at the top was really difficult. I had to brush off about four inches of fresh snow. The finishing moves, which I thought the most difficult, took several tries to accomplish.
This one makes me a shoe-in for the Mugs Stump Award.
By Luis Barandiaran
From: Longmont, CO
May 15, 2007
rating: V12+ 8A+ X

Props to the visionary first-ascentionist! Quality!
By Lee Smith
May 15, 2007

Very commiting. I was attempting the first blindfolded barefoot ascent of LD when I ripped the nail on my pinkie back a few millimeters. I will probably be out of action for a week.

V11 sandbag maybe.
By llamaface
From: Northglenn, CO
Oct 20, 2007

What's the beta for the feet on the dyno to the lip? I tried a left heel-hook on the arete with a right toe on a pretty much non-existent "nubbin"<-(broke maybe?)- but kept taking huge falls. Has anyone had any luck with better feet? I'm 6'2" and it feels like my feet are really high. It seems like this problem would be a little easier for shorter people: maybe more like V12/13 for taller folk?
By Sam Miller
From: Boulder, Colorado
Nov 17, 2007
rating: V12 8A+ X

Although I have yet to complete it, I too felt like it was closer to a V12. I'm probably lacking the correct beta though. Very technical and tenuous moves with a mean dyno to top out. An ultra classic problem!
By Adam Stackhouse
Nov 22, 2007
rating: V14- 8B+ R

Nothing more than V9. You fellas from the city are soft.
By j fassett
From: tucson
Jan 23, 2008

Where's the wool cap?
By Buff Johnson
Jan 24, 2008

Adam - sandbagger! I've been projecting that for months.
By Kat A
From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Jan 31, 2008

This is on my to do list. Someday...
By cstorms
From: North Bend, OR
Mar 14, 2008

The best part of the photo is definitely the need to have a sense of humor to hop on that, let alone spot like the guys life is in danger, hahaha, hilarious.
By Shawn Mitchell
From: Broomfield
Jun 3, 2008

Sad news. Tics of this classic may be a thing of the past, at least the original V11 route. Reliable reports indicate a visiting French climber, halfway through his first pack of cigarettes and frustrated that he hadn't sent yet *chipped a hold* on the left arete. It's now V10+ max. Sorry to be the messenger.
By Tom Hanson
Jun 4, 2008


Thank you for relaying this extremely disturbing news.
I have been training my entire life for a send of this classic V11/12.
When I learned that some visiting frog bastard has brought this magnificent line down to his level by chipping, it practically ruined my life.
My sponsorship, upcoming book and screenplay are all based on my goal of sending, what has been for me, a lifelong dream.
I'll have to cancel several television appearances now. It is likely that Regis and Letterman will never have me back.
I have devoted the last twenty years of my life and sacrificed family, relationships and gainful employment to focus on my one goal in life, to send the classic V11/12 on Little Devil.
Sure, I guess that I could epoxy over the chipped travesty, but now a once beautiful and proud line has lost its aesthetic charm and appeal. I've lost my interest, not to mention, the will to live.
By Tyler Smeenk
From: Laramie, WY
Jun 10, 2008

Good send Luc, if you like these type of scary highball problems, check out this classic line,
By Tom Hanson
Dec 5, 2008

With the recent snow earlier this week and now warmer temperatures, a good sized puddle has formed under the great north face of this route.
I am considering a deep water solo attempt tomorrow, but I will want the well deserved glory that I'd be entitled to with such an audacious ascent.
Attention editors of Climbing and Rock & Ice: Send a film crew out to the canyon tomorrow to photograph my greatness and you will be guaranteed to increase the circulation of your publications.
I've already called the major news networks, but since they are not familiar with our sport, I think they failed to realize what an unprecedented, state-of-the-art, bold achievement this will be.
By John Maguire
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2009

Why is the rating so high? That looks pretty easy.
By Buff Johnson
Mar 5, 2009

Looks? Looks easy?!?!?

What if I should spill my PBR on my next attempt? Don't you realize the technical fortitude & danger of this entire route?? Surely, you must appreciate the level of commitment it takes to send this elite grade.

looks easy...
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 5, 2009

You have to start lying down. Sitting starts reduce the grade considerably.
By grant.rudd
From: boulder, CO
Mar 10, 2009

Need some beta for this. I couldn't find the bivy ledge and I ended up climbing through the night to top out. For my next ascent, it would definitely be helpful to know where the ledge is.

By Buff Johnson
Mar 10, 2009

I believe Hanson & partner to remain unnamed had the distinct pleasure of having the ledge fall away during a stint back in the '60s. You might be able to see the piton scar from the attempted heli rescue in which his partner's harness exploded during a tyrol to the opposed canyon wall. I believe they survived but a teddy bear did take flight; inspiring the opening sequence for the historically accurate movie about mtn rescue, climbers, base jumping, drugs, money, feds, and the women who love them.
By slim
Mar 10, 2009
rating: V11 8A X

Actually you can do a 2 pich traverse to the right (around 2 aretes) that ends at a nice ledge with a ginormous pine tree. This is a great date route variation, as the solitude and privacy in such a remote location can really impress the chicks.
By Remo
From: Madison, WI
Aug 19, 2009
rating: V13- 8B X

You guys are a bunch of sandbaggers! I sold my crash pad and chalk pot, and gave up bouldering for two years because this thing gave me such a mental makeover. So Hard!
By Conor Raney
From: Pinedale, WY
Oct 19, 2009

Omg dude....I'm surprised that this hasn't shown up in any climbing DVDs. I'll be sure to contact either Chuck Fryberger or Big UP Productions and we'll get a film segment going on this thing! Although it looks too dangerous to secure a film crew.
By Tom Hanson
Dec 1, 2009

Little Devil sees second ascent (unconfirmed).
The biggest story this season is the possible, though as of yet unconfirmed, second ascent of the formidable Little Devil in Castlewood Canyon.
Colorado's greatest testpiece, originally rated V11x, but now several grades harder due to several crucial holds breaking off, has seen an alleged second ascent.
This famous boulder has rebuffed the attempts of many of the country's best climbers.
Sharma, Graham, Kinder and even Fred Nicole have all vowed to never return after, as Nicole put it, "I was so close to being sucked into the bright tunnel to the afterlife that I had to give up climbing for months."
Though unconfirmed, several Castlewood locals claim they came upon a climber who resembled the legendary Roland Thompson, topping out on the unrepeated line.
By Bud Martin
From: Bozeman, MT
Jul 8, 2010

Sorry if I missed it somewhere else, but what is the Alaska grade on this route?
By slim
Jul 12, 2010
rating: V11 8A X

That hasn't been confirmed yet, but rumor has it that the Access Fund is pooling money to ship this mighty feature to the north-western most part of the Brooks Range, where a Soviet team (under the watchful eye of Sarah Palin) will attempt a multi-year siege (with oxygen of course). Stay tuned to Alpinist mag for follow up coverage....
By Meghan
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Jul 23, 2010

I think high ball problems like this are irresponsible and should be banned. Since a dwarf wouldn't be able to reach the top without his/her feet leaving the ground, the least you could do is add a few bolts.
By half-pad-mini-jug
From: crauschville
Jul 24, 2010

There are now three bolts protecting the various cruxes and lowering anchors with chains. I'm glad this classic is finally safely protected for ALL to enjoy!
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 27, 2010
rating: V10+ 7C+ X

Say it ain't so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was sad to see that it appears that this problem has been chipped! (near the campus mono figure 4 move) Still very hard at V10 now, but someone should be ashamed of themselves for stooping so low!
By Kurt Ross
From: Boulder, colorado
Mar 16, 2011
rating: V16- 8C+ X

Could someone post a topo? I've gotten off route 2 out of three times that have done this route, once having to bivy near the 12th belay, because we didn't have any headlamps.
By Travis Blair
Jun 9, 2011
rating: V15-16 8C+ X

Attention: a raptor has built a nest on the crux dyno hold. You can't see it from below, and on my last RP attempt I crushed three of its eggs. Please use caution and traverse left into the V13R/X fingercrack to avoid and respect these amazing endangered creatures in their natural habitat.
By Baumer
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 18, 2011
rating: V12+ 8A+ X

Ever since my attempt at the Little Devil, my days are filled with panicked flashes of the airy arete as I wander the office with a thousand-yard stare. At night, I toss and turn with acrophobic visions and cold sweats. When sleep finally comes...The Dream inevitably tears me from my slumber. I'm a twitching, wretched shell of a man, like a tormented character out of a Poe story.
By Teigon S.
Jan 13, 2012

After being inspired by a youtube video of "Ice Climbing on the Beach", I embarked on a rigorous training regiment to accomplish the first dry tool ascent of The Little Devil. In the dead cold of December 2011, I racked up my ice tools with new picks and switched the crampons to mono points and hit the trail to tackle the LD. At first, the route didn't seem as difficult as I imagined; however, becoming complacent in any technical climbing can be deadly. Nearing the end of the first crux, my left front point lost traction and I wound up dropping one of my ice tools. I tried to pull through using the French, single tool technique, but most of my energy was lost in the heat of the adrenaline. I had to sacrifice a 000 C3 to rap about 3" from where the tragedy occurred. All though I lost a few hundred dollars on gear that day, it was worth it! By the grace of God, I plan on dominating this route later this winter!
By Patrick Vernon
From: Estes Park, CO
Jan 14, 2012

Drytooling!? On one of the most classic and historic boulder problems in the U.S.? Hmmm....
By Kegan Minock
From: colorado springs
May 27, 2012

How did you guys pull through the crux? I heard it was a figure 4.
By half-pad-mini-jug
From: crauschville
Jul 7, 2012

Hey Kegan,

I used the small, crimpy gastocling with the left hand, drop your right knee HARD off of the previous mono, bump your way up the 3 slopers with your right hand, then kneebar with the left off of the gastocling and match the sloper. Then, let your feet cut and campus/dyno to the jug with the raptor nest in it. There is an old piton in the crack left of the jug that you can clip. Hope this helps....
By Teh Phuzzy
Feb 18, 2014

If you put in the bolt by hand, i.e. hand drilling, it may be a good idea; it gets sketchy up there.
By Forrest L.
Apr 7, 2014
rating: V15+ 8C X

I've added a lower start out of the (very) small, low cave on the bottom left of the face. The start adds at least 5-6 sick moves. I think the first ascensionist missed this glorious line, because it is such a low start that I did have to excavate a little OR more likely -- he just didn't have the strength to do the mandatory 360 degree moves to get to the lip.

To pull the lip, use the half-pad-mono located right at the corner of the arete. It can be turned in a really poor pinch also.

Not to spray or anything, but tall climbers are going to have a very difficult time with this one, and climbers as tall as Daniel Woods or even Lynn Hill will just not be able to do it with too much weight/height ratio.

Maybe V15+
By Joe Wong
From: Vancouver, BC
Oct 21, 2014

Rock Climbing Photo: Finally sent Little Devil after 50+ tries!
Finally sent Little Devil after 50+ tries!

After years of mental visualization and fingerboarding, I finally grabbed the first ascent of the direct start to Little Devil. Campusing on impossible non-existing holds into the regular jump start hold of Little Devil. Adding V17+X to Little Devil V11+X. This climb is so dangerous. I went through a rainbow tunnel before landing back into reality and finishing the climb and topping out. I'd call it The Great Rainbow Devil V18-X.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 23, 2014
rating: V10+ 7C+ X

Joe, you just gave us a glimpse into the future.
By slim
Oct 23, 2014
rating: V11 8A X

I read this before my hangboard workout, and I was so inspired that I set new personal bests on every grip by 25 lbs. The stoke is high!
By Jon Rhoderick
Jul 26, 2015

I have been working this climb for several sessions now. I had taken to leaving my chalkbag at the belay ledge, because this was more convenient for everybody. On July 23rd, I left it there around 6PM and when I returned at 10AM the next day I found that my chalkbag had been removed.

Does anyone know who took my chalkbag? I would really like it back, and it was helping the entire community by making this testpiece more accessible. Anyone who helps get my chalkbag back to be will be rewarded with beerz. I've heard that this sort of stashing is common amongst all sport climbers and that traditional climbers and forum gurus have no problems whatsoever with this practice.

Congrats to Luc for the proud ascent, I can't wait to send.

By ChossKing
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 13, 2016

Friendly reminder: please brush your ticks when you're done with your session.There were some pretty egregious ticks for the second crux - ruined my onsight. Help keep access open.
By Hunter S
From: Monument, Colorado
Jan 26, 2017
rating: V15- 8C X

Due to the optimal sending season being so short every year (1-2 hours on the eve of the blood moon), a mighty scrub oak has taken root next to this improbable formation. Several tree removal crews have spent many hours consulting with the park on how to remove or possibly relocate this arboreal giant. Due to its impressive DBH of 3cm, none of the crews had saws large enough to fell it. Or rather, there was no saw in production that would even come close to the required size. Now that the official verdict is to keep the tree, some of the delicate pinchy smear crimps required for the left arete are a bit bushy. On the bright side, the raptors should move their nest into the tree, leaving the jug (hopefully) nest-free.
By aikibujin
From: Castle Rock, CO
Apr 3, 2017

To Joe Wong: your staged top out of this classic Colorado testpiece is obviously fake. I consider myself a local, since I live 5 minutes away from the Little Devil Boulder. It is set in a pristine and beautiful wilderness area high in the mountains of Colorado, with snowcapped peaks as the backdrop. It is days away from civilization (with the exception of my house, of course). Just getting to the base of the boulder is a major expedition in itself, with tricky avalanche terrain and multiple mountain passes to navigate through. In your photo, we can clearly see houses, street lamps, cars, and what appears to be the ocean. Not things you would normally find around the Little Devil Boulder, especially the ocean. Shame on you for trying to claim the FA on the direct start. Many hard climbers have quietly tried the direct start since the Little Devil Boulder was discovered more than a decade ago, and they were all utterly and completely shut down. Some of them couldn’t even find the starting holds with a magnifying glass. I overheard Daniel Woods telling Paul Robinson how futuristic the direct start looked. With tears in his eyes, Daniel said it could very well be the first V20 in the world. I’m hoping to witness the FA in my life time, but I’m not holding my breath.
By Nick C
From: Connecticut
Sep 21, 2017

Nearly f***ed up the rappel on this... slung a horn, so I didn't have to leave came off when I was a foot off the ground... scared me to death... please be careful.

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