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YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 700', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Michael Covington & Wayne Goss, 1972
Page Views: 31,544
Submitted By: Mark Wyss on Jan 1, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: Mainliner p1-- "O"= belay, "x"...

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  • Description 

    Hike west along the base of Sundance, past the huge roof band of Turnkorner to a large, fairly obtuse, but distinct enough right facing dihedral.

    P1-head up the dihedral, sometimes using the cracks and flakes to the left, and belay after 100 ft (5.8).

    P2-more of the same out on the left, to a passable ledge.

    P3-Head up into two shallow, opposing corners. Stem them (5.9), continue past a ledge and over a 5.9 bulge to another ledge below a large, right-facing corner.

    P4-climb the corner at 5.8 and belay on a low angled area or continue up P6 to the top.

    P5-climb a flared 5.6 chimney/ crack to the top.

    Head east to the descent gully.


    Standard rack.

    Photos of Mainliner Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch.
    First pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Maggie Merchant starting up the fourth pitch.  The...
    Maggie Merchant starting up the fourth pitch. The...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 1 in the obtuse dihedral.
    Pitch 1 in the obtuse dihedral.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Joe doing the stem moves on pitch three as seen fr...
    Joe doing the stem moves on pitch three as seen fr...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Crux stem on Mainliner.
    Crux stem on Mainliner.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Enjoying the stem box.
    Enjoying the stem box.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Starting pitch 4.
    Starting pitch 4.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dana shredding it.
    Dana shredding it.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Maggie Merchant starting up the thin cracks on the...
    Maggie Merchant starting up the thin cracks on the...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron Martinuzzi on the bulge crux of the route.
    Aaron Martinuzzi on the bulge crux of the route.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Maggie Merchant laybacking the slot on the third p...
    Maggie Merchant laybacking the slot on the third p...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Start of 2nd pitch if done as 3. Normally the star...
    BETA PHOTO: Start of 2nd pitch if done as 3. Normally the star...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Joe, riding the pillar at the top of P3.
    Joe, riding the pillar at the top of P3.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Joe headed up the first pitch.  I believe that he ...
    Joe headed up the first pitch. I believe that he ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The belay at the start of pitch 5.
    The belay at the start of pitch 5.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Cheeze!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Amazing views atop Sundance Buttress!
    Amazing views atop Sundance Buttress!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Cruzin' the last moves on pitch 5.  What great vie...
    Cruzin' the last moves on pitch 5. What great vie...

    Comments on Mainliner Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 21, 2015
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 7, 2001

    P "5" and "6" seem to combine fairly well with a wee runout and some longer slings. The other pitches have such great belay ledges that making them longer seems unnecessary.
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Jun 10, 2002

    Stoppers to a #4 Camalot, although it is possible to leave the #4 behind.
    By Doug Dakins
    Jul 1, 2002

    Climbed this route mid-June. An outstanding Lumpy crack climb. The cracks are not flared, but good and secure. The 3rd pitch has two short sections of 5.9. I'm 6'6" and with my wing span the opposing dihedral stem felt pretty easy. My shorter wife had a much harder time with this. The 2nd 5.9 is a great finger crack thru a bulge. We did the east saddle descent.
    By Errett Allen
    Jul 9, 2002

    You could do this climb without cams at all. I didn't even have to place the gear -- the cracks sucked the stoppers right off of my rack.
    By shad O'Neel
    Jul 23, 2002

    So far, this is my favorite route at Lumpy, with great cracks. The opposing corners section made me giggle. The pod was grand and I was able to sew it up because I was afraid of something.
    By Dr. Dan
    From: Steamboat Springs, CO
    May 6, 2003

    Did a rope solo on this route and thought it was excellent and deserving of 3 stars. The climb has a little of everything with outstanding rock quality. I would leave the #4 cam at home and stick with a standard rack with a good selection of medium and large nuts. Would also say that the route is closer to an 8+. While the climbing is consistent, there are really only a couple of 9ish moves
    By Graham Rogers
    Jul 15, 2003
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    This route felt so perfect in every way. The crux for me also was the crack/bulge section, not the stemming part below. I'm pretty sure this can be done in 4 pitches without drag if you're exiting at the walkoff ledge below the summit. We did it in 5, but our 5th pitch was ~30 feet maybe, and I think we had at least that left.
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Jul 26, 2003

    For lengths: P1 105 ft, P2 150 ft, P3 160 ft, P4 160 ft, P5 70 ft. You can rap off P 1 & 2 from in situ rap anchors - 2 ropes though.
    By Matt Juth
    From: Evergreen
    Sep 8, 2003

    Combined P 4 and 5 into a 200 footer. I had just enough rope to tie a figure eight. There was a good seam 15 feet up from the ramp exit that took .75 and 1 Camalots for an anchor. It's smart to save a bigger piece for the final crack (last 50'). I didn't. I'm 5'8" and could stem the crux.
    By David Conlin
    Oct 9, 2003
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    This is a great route, but not very sustained and a lot of the climbing felt like scrambling over blocky sections. That is why I didn't give it 3 stars, but only 2.

    The crux is only 1-2 moves and even for shorter folks, only 9-. I didn't stem between the 2 corners, but instead put my left foot and left hand in the left corner/crack and my rights on the face. Plenty of face holds and excellent friction make this fairly easy.

    Nuts really do the trick here. We linked the climb into about 4 pitches and only brought single cams from small Aliens to #2 Camalot. I ended up placing mostly nuts on the crux pitch and ran the rope all the way out without running out of gear. Actually, I think by the time I set up the belay, I only had 2 nuts left!
    By Edward Jenner
    Jul 11, 2004
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    WARNING: Do not attempt this route unless you are prepared for serious fun!

    I agree it's not all that sustained, but the easier bits are still fairly steep but just juggy. There are no bad or waste-of-time pitches. I also found the grades to be quite lenient although I think the bulge finger crack does warrant 9/9-.

    After humping 2 sets of cams and only a few nuts up there and trying to slot cams into nut placements I'd agree that nuts are the way to go (I'd recommend 1 set of cams and 2 sets of nuts). I also did the 'crux' by just using the left side of the corner (not stemming) and thought the 9- bulge was the real crux.

    P1 - one spot of 5.7-ish; P2 - one spot of 5.7, rest is 5.6; P3 - 5.9; P4 - 5.7; P5 - 5.6.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 26, 2004

    This is a great route! The rock is solid and the moves are fun and well protected. I see no reason for this route to be considered two stars. I have done worse three star routes at Lumpy. Climb it!
    By Cale Csizmadi
    From: Colorado Springs
    Aug 19, 2004

    One of the best routes I've done at Lumpy and my 1st on Sundance. The route has great face and crack climbing moves with bomber protection. The whole route eats stoppers and so do the belays. The stem moves on the P3 were great and well protected. I thought the crux was the bulge moves above the stem. Just fire it and you can get a great #1 Camalot when you get your feet back under you. Great route!! [Can't] wait to try Sidetrack.
    By shaydforrest
    Sep 5, 2005
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    Great climb, But I agree with Dr. Dan. Not sustained, maybe 8-ish, Protects well with nuts only!
    By B.J. Sbarra
    Sep 12, 2005

    The first two pitches can be linked together with a 70m rope, just barely. Makes for a really enjoyable long pitch, be sure to have enough slings.
    By Andrew Klein
    Oct 19, 2005

    70m Beta: Did this route last week in 3 pitches with a 70m. Pitch one: 210 feet to belay on sloping ledge after the face climbing (5.6ish). Pitch two: 220 feet to the sloping ledge to the top of pitch 4 in the low angle area in the original route description. Pitch three: 210 feet to low angled walk-off area. No problems with rope drag as it is mostly straight up. Hope that helps if anyone wants to save some time with a 70m rope. Cheers! AK
    By Dana Prosser
    From: Boulder
    May 16, 2006

    Pitch 5 variation- 5.10b (or so) after stepping left on pitch 4, continue up about 15 ft to a nice ledge. Look to your right and see a steep lieback crack (with some orange lichen) that traverse sl. left under a roof. This is a great protectable pitch, that offers a nice alternative to the standard 5th pitch.
    By Mike McKinnon
    From: Golden, CO
    Jun 19, 2006

    The Rossiter lengths are off on this climb in his book. Here is how they really breakdown compared to what he wrote. FWIW, I did the climb in 3 pitches as Andrew Klein's beta suggested and it worked nicely.

    P1 (P1 + P2) - 210 ft. to the small ledge about 10 feet lower than the original end of P2. Rossiter calls the 1st pitch 150 and the 2nd 160. This is impossible since we did both with a 70 meter.

    P2 (P3 + P4) 190 ft. The crux stem and small pod and 8 crack to sloping ledge

    P3 (P5+P6) 170 ft. The 8 crack of the ledge and then the climbs turns in to 4 class and low 5th. We broke right towards the saddle at this point.
    By R P Finney
    From: Lafayette, Colorado
    Jun 25, 2007

    70M rope gets you to the ledge 20’ or so below the stemming crux. We used a brand new rope that might be a little longer than 70M, keep that in mind. We climbed the route in three pitches to the saddle. Two sets of nuts and single set of cams to #2 Camalot. The topo picture here shows the line going left of the 5.9 crux on the second pitch listed in Rossiter’s book. This crux move on this pitch is slightly right and straight up from the circle marking the belay. Fun route not sustained.

    Descent information:
    From the saddle, we moved east then down the slabs into the gully. This gully sucks. It’s full of downed trees, bushes, and boulders. We found the trail 2/3 of the way down this gully and were thankful for it. If someone knows of a way to rap down the eastern summit, please list it here, because that gully is awful.
    By T-Bob
    Jul 30, 2007
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    A friend and I did this route last summer. He lead the hard pitches as they're above my ability level. It was an absolute blast! This is a must do route; especially if you've not climbed here before.
    By Stiles
    From: the Mountains
    Aug 13, 2007

    Go straight up off the belay at the top of pitch one. The dihedral into the wee roof is awesome and adds another spot of 5.9 to the route. From there 200ft takes you to ledges above the stem dihedral and right below the thin crux bulge. Supa sweet.
    By claytown
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 16, 2007

    We did this classic climb today as four pitches with double 60s, and it was great! Lightning, rain and hail made the last pitch pretty intense. With three climbers and the seconds climbing at the same time, we were back at the base in a little under 4 hrs.

    P1. ~190' cimb the corner through the roof slot to a belay at rope's end.
    P2. ~195' through the crux and up continuing until the detached pillar. Set belay in the crack to the right.... I was out of rope.
    P3. ~180' continue up and belay before the wide slot.
    P4. ~70' up the slot and right to belay on a ledge.

    Walk off.

    Great route! Sundance rules.
    By Matt Richardson
    From: Longmont, CO
    Jun 30, 2008
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Did this last Saturday and had a blast! We saw one other party (jumping on the Nose). I do have a warning for future Mainliners - don't be dumb like me and kick off on the pillar to the right of the real start. I got sucked into the nice crack on this pillar, and then discovered that there was no gear (what appears to be protect-able cracks are just bottomed out, flaring weirdness) and ended up having to make a sketchy traverse about 50' off the grounds with about 30' of no pro. The rest of the route was fairly straightforward and easily identifiable. I missed the first nice belay ledge and had to set up an anchor about 60' from the top of the second pitch.

    And the reports on the use of nuts is true - I have never climbed a route where nuts seemed so handy. I got to the top of P3 and found that, out of two sets of nuts, I didn't have a lot to choose from.

    Oh yeah, the descent blows. My partner's comment was 'Is the fourth class even harder at Lumpy?' I would comment that the descent is low fifth class (mostly face climbing) and that it is easy to get sucked onto a path that will put you in a bad position.
    By xxxxxxx
    Oct 30, 2008

    DO THIS ROUTE. I don't normally post on routes, but this one deserves one. Had a blast on every pitch, there are easier sections, but they are steep and fun nonetheless. Just so good and the views are awesome.
    By seth0687
    From: Fort Collins
    Jun 9, 2009
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    My rack that to me seemed perfect for this climb

    Trango splitter cams: 2,3
    BD C3's: 000, 00, 1, 2
    BD C4's: double .5's, double .75's, double 1's, 2,3,4
    one set of nutz
    10 alpine draws
    1 cordelette
    1 trango alpine equalizer (brought 2 things to make anchors since I was leading all pitches)

    Hope that helps....

    Great climb, super fun, and absolutely beautiful views the whole way up. On another note, I didn't feel the exposure to much...some said the exposure was superurb, I felt it just kinda not really there...typical lumpy rolling between vert and not vert.
    By Aaron Martinuzzi
    Jul 11, 2009
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    this is a great route, particularly if you can get it on a day when no one else is on it.

    if you're trying to move quickly and have a 70m rope, this route can go in three pitches. run P1 and P2 together as best you can and without placing too much gear to minimize rope drag. I belayed after about 67m at a stance just above some face climbing and a few plants about 80ft. below the stemming crux. the next pitch is another 67m through both cruxes to the base of the R-facing corner, then stretch the rope out on P3 to the saddle. summitting via mainliner would probably require 4 pitches, or 4 and a short 5th.

    as far as gear goes, i would climb this route on only nuts without much argument. in fact, on our second pitch, of 13 pieces i placed only two were cams, and i could have lived without them.
    By Phill T
    Aug 20, 2009

    Phenomenal. Great pro, but as a leader breaking into the 9s I was glad we brought doubles up to #2 C4s. Yes you can protect it with nuts, but when you can slam a cam in that much faster, makes things easier on the head. We also apparently had some routefinding difficulties. After coming out of the stem box, you are given 2 options. What looks like a 5.8 looking handcrack on the left with a little bulge towards the top, and a thinner looking crack system on the right that looks like it leads into an awkward offwidth situation. Not having the book and remembering that the topo indicated a 5.8 bulge handcrack, I went left. WRONG! This is the phenomenal 5th pitch of Sidetrack and goes at a solid 5.9. I guess the righthand crack is the way to finish up Mainliner, but Sidetrack is great, too!
    By Ross Purnell
    From: Palmyra
    Mar 23, 2010

    Last summer I did Kor's Flake. Thought it was a fun climb, really had not much trouble with it. I'd like to try something else on Sundance . . . how big of a step up is this? I usually have trouble on 5.9s at the Gunks . . . .
    By jason seaver
    From: Estes Park, CO
    Mar 24, 2010

    I would suggest doing Grapevine as your next Sundance route. If that goes well, try Mainliner, Betwixt 'em, and Sidetrack. All high-quality 5.9s.
    By goatboywonder Patrick
    Mar 26, 2010

    I have not climbed Kor's so I cannot compare it to Mainliner, but I can tell you that the pro on Mainliner is really good making it an ideal route if it is close to your limit. It would be hard to escape from, though.
    By James Hulett
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Jun 16, 2011
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

    First time at Lumpy. Climbing was awesome. I'm short, so the stem move was a bit of a reach and commitment but super fun at the same time. The crack over the bulge was my favorite part.
    By Pink Thunder
    From: Lakewood
    Aug 15, 2011

    A blast. Gotta do it, if you haven't yet. I'd personally say ignore the people who say only climb it with nuts, unless you're a solid 5.10 or 5.11 tradster. I took a set and a half of cams, including a 3.5 and a 4, and was glad I did. The 4 was a perfect fit right at the 5.9 bulge. The 5.9 stem was killer. For me, the crux was the finger crack above that. It eats nuts for breakfast, though, and you can sew it up if you want.

    All told, the entire route is a ton of fun, with great pro all the way up.

    Descent: After you summit, head north a bit and then down to the east side of the buttress. If you look, you'll find a tree with a ton of slings around it to rap off. One rap and you're down to the gully. Then it's a stroll back to the base.
    By Eric Haye
    From: Boulder
    Aug 22, 2011

    Definitely one of the best multi-pitch climbs I've ever done. We never did find the 3rd class descent, so we did the 4th which is easy to find. #4 Camalot is not necessary, but if you bring you can find a home on most pitches. Enjoy!
    By Floridaputz
    From: Oakland Park, Florida
    Apr 25, 2012

    Climbed with Joe Ebert of Boulder on April 21st. Practically tee shirt weather in April. Perfect day. Great view all day of RMNP. Beautiful climbing, I found the 5.9 bulge the crux. Much harder than the steming crux. We climbed to the top and descended the regular gully.
    By Freddy.Mondale
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 19, 2012

    Excellent route with perfect gear everywhere you need it. This route takes nuts like no other. I am rather tall, so the stem crux felt way easier than the bulge. That said, there are good rests on the bulge for placing pro as often as you want. We did one 60m rappel from a pine about 60 feet down the descent gully, and that took us down to a relatively tame trail.
    By MeanGene
    From: possibly the Loveland area
    Jul 25, 2012

    The BEST route I believe in the Lumpy Ridge area! The bulge was the crux for this fella with the two opposing corners not too bad with face moves. The partner was in lay-back mode for that bit. Rapped off three trees (swing a bit climber's left off each) East side to trail that brings ya back around to the base. Keep in mind on the climb, when in doubt, head a bit left. -Cheers-
    By Canon
    Aug 21, 2012
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    Lots of kinda weird, torquey jams that are really fun. Used a lot of nuts, but we were glad we brought doubles of C4s in 0.5-2, a 3, and a 4. Probably could have done without the 4, but it came in handy a couple times. Very good pro throughout, holds where you need them, and plenty of rests. Link P4 and 5. Walk off to the east (climber's right) with a good amount of fourth class. Great way to ease into the 9s at Lumpy.
    By R Kil
    Sep 5, 2012
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    My first Lumpy Ridge route and was impressed!
    By Mr. Stevens
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 30, 2013

    Did this today and somehow managed to do it in 3 pitches. Each pitch was nearly a full 70 m rope length, and I put runners on almost every piece.
    By Ramsey Houck
    Sep 21, 2015
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    Did this climb on 9/20/15, and I have to say it was excellent. The whole thing eats up gear and would be excellent for someone trying to break into the 5.8s or 5.9s. I haven't used so many nuts in a long time. DO THIS CLIMB!

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