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Morning Thunder 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Pat Ament and Christian Griffith, 1979.
Page Views: 3,520
Submitted By: Tyler Jones on Apr 3, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (78)
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Finally, some decent holds. The hardest move for m...

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  • Description 

    This route is perfect for the one last push of the day, or if you are really good it's an awesome warm-up. It's located next to the Amphitheater The Morning Thunder rock makes up the south side of the Amphitheater. It is very easily seen from the road. From the trail, head right across some scrambling and up through a narrow gap onto the large belay ledge. Start on the left side of the face following the crack for about twenty feet. Continue up and right following a diagonal crack with some tricky moves. Finish about 15 feet below and right of the top of the rock. This route is a strenuous climb, don't expect an easy one-pitch 5.9. It pushes the limit of being a 10. Great climb, short, and fun!


    Small and medium stoppers are very ideal. Cams from the smallest Aliens to a #1 Camalot. I never used bigger than a #0.5 cam, but if you are creative you might use something bigger. A top rope is possible after someone has lead the route, but best just sticking to trad.

    Photos of Morning Thunder Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Andrew climbing Eldo Morning Thunder.
    Andrew climbing Eldo Morning Thunder.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the route before topping out, Super R...
    Looking down the route before topping out, Super R...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Jayer Chung cruising the crux.
    Jayer Chung cruising the crux.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Morning Thunder.  Climb the zig-zag crack up the s...
    BETA PHOTO: Morning Thunder. Climb the zig-zag crack up the s...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Luke is placing gear in a good crack that isn't ve...
    Luke is placing gear in a good crack that isn't ve...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing gets a bit easier here due to pockets on ...
    Climbing gets a bit easier here due to pockets on ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Warming up on 9+... WTF????
    Warming up on 9+... WTF????
    Rock Climbing Photo: After the initial tricky traverse left. Notice all...
    After the initial tricky traverse left. Notice all...
    Rock Climbing Photo: From the road it's pretty obvious. The route diago...
    From the road it's pretty obvious. The route diago...

    Comments on Morning Thunder Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 28, 2016
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Aug 6, 2001
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Consider finishing the Route on the [variation called] Jam Con. This will give a jamming and roof finish that will make the climb longer and give it more variety and pump. In my opinion, the two linked together go at 5.10.
    By Jeff Lockyer
    From: Canmore, AB
    Nov 3, 2001

    O.K. I have some issues about the rating thing here on west ridge. First we say that Pos. 4th is 10a ? Hmm, well I guess not. Then we say that 'Morning Thunder', which is more sustained than 'Pos. 4th' albeit short. I give Pos. maybe 5.9 and Morning Thunder 5.10a and as far as the #1 cam goes, leave it on the ground where it can be used for the belayer out to the right for a ground anchor point. Cheers..
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 19, 2002

    Climbed on 5.25.02. Great route. Short and strenous. The grade is actually just right on for an older 5.9+ route i.e. appropriately sandbagged! The gear is mostly small nuts with sub-optimal stances for placement but don't leave all of your big pieces at the belay as you can EASILY get a #3 Friend in just before the crux.
    By David Hous
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Apr 17, 2003

    I love this route, if it was twice as long it would be more popular than the bastille crack! I think it's definitely 5.9+, if you're finding it harder than that look around for some face holds. If you stick with the crack only it gets to be 5.10. Well protected by wires and small cams.
    By Ivan Rezucha
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Oct 26, 2003
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Great climb that I didn't know existed until about a month ago when I did Allosaur and say Morning Thunder in the guide just to the right. It's extremely obvious from the road (see photo), yet I had never noticed it.

    Link this to Allosaur by walking left from the top of Morning Thunder to the start of Allosaur.

    The biggest piece we used was a #2 Friend right off the ledge as a directional. Lots of brass nuts to start, Aliens... We expected it to be a handcrack based on Rossiter's #3 Friend recommendation, but there's only one hand jam, in a short diagonal crack. You could place a bigger piece here, but then you'd lose the hand jam. Above, in the triangular inset, you can get a knee lock and a no hands rest.

    Is this the easiest Christian Griffith climb?
    By Ivan Rezucha
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Oct 26, 2003
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    There's a bizarre-looking 12a called Thunderbolts From Hell that starts the same as Morning Thunder. Rossiter says, "Move left and sashay up the strenuous arete, using holds on both sides, past 3 bolts..." But the "arete" is essentially the lip of a roof, close to horizontal. You can see the line left of Chuck in the first photo of Chuck Graves that I posted yesterday. The bolts are barely visible--the first one is above Chuck's head.
    By Ivan Rezucha
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Oct 26, 2003
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Tony (or anyone),

    Where does Jam Con go? We were looking for it. Does it climb over the chockstone (rather than hike around it) that's clearly visible in the photo? And then over the overhang above onto the 45 degree arete?
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 27, 2003
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    A few answers/comments.

    Jam Con goes up part the top [??] of Morning Thunder, back to the right hand side of the massive chockstone wedged between the top of the M.T. wall and the wall above and to the right. This is the same boulder casting a shadow in your first picture, Ivan. Stem and jam up it's right side. It's about 15 feet of independent climbing.

    Secondly, [Thunderbolts] From Heck is a pretty stout route- and a few of the little flakes you will yard on are flexing and dubous at best. Be mindful that a fall from the wrong place will result in smashing your face into the rock. Placing the wires to get [up to] the [first] bolt is also a little [strenuous], so think in terms of doing solid 5.12 while a little pumped and also with a bad fall pending. I talked with Steve about the bolt placements at some length, during which discussion he mentioned that G.R. broke some teeth out on a failed lead attempt, and also conceeded that the 12a grade might be a sandbag, but also stated that was GR's rating, not his. I'll try to find the resources to scan in the slides I have of this and 1000's of other Eldo/BC/RMNP/[SPlatte]/etc climbs some day.
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Aug 27, 2004
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Short and sweet. Excellent finger jams with good feet! Very enjoyable.
    By Chris Weber
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 7, 2005

    I agree with earlier comment: definitely harder (I wrote easier before by accident) than Positively 4th St, and, really, about as long. Both are short. Strenuous off the ground with heady climbing above small gear--I ended up taking probably too much time fiddling with small pieces and tired out more than I should have. Awesome route. Too bad it's a little short. bring TCUs. and small/med nuts or offsets.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Mar 8, 2005

    "Definitely easier than Positively 4th Street"? Don't think so. this is solid 5.9 with small gear at the beginning (where you really need it) while 4th Street is a piss up with tons of jugs and easy protection.
    By Michael Amato
    Jun 12, 2005

    Short and steep with good pro and good feet, great body positions. Lots of good hand holds (fingers), just use TCUs and keep moving. I'll come back and do this one again.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Oct 8, 2005

    There is no longer any fixed gear on this route
    By Sean
    From: Oak Park, CA
    Sep 3, 2010

    Placed only red Alien and smaller for Morning Thunder, then blue #3 and gray #4 Camalots (either one would've sufficed) for Jam Con.
    By Kevin Gillest
    From: Arvada, CO
    Sep 29, 2011
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Great route, good fingers, now if it was only 120ft long.
    By mountainhick
    From: Black Hawk, CO
    Jun 15, 2015
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Short but high value. Really enjoyed this pitch!
    By D. Snyder
    From: Golden, CO
    Nov 24, 2016
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    This is a damn fine pitch! Add on the Jam Con finish for a 4-star pitch (might be 5.10a done this way).
    By Ken Trout
    From: Golden, CO
    Nov 28, 2016
    rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

    Oops on me for not noticing until 2016 that the books left us out on the first ascent of Morning Thunder! I impatiently belayed & followed Mason Frichette on this pitch in 1975. Only eighteen, I remember being frustrated, rather than respectfully impressed, by Mason's ability to hang on forever and find placements in a very unfriendly crack. In the end, he had to hang a bit before finishing.

    We didn't really count our ascent because we were devoted to the new myth of perfection called clean climbing (hammer-less, hang-less, chalk-less, car-less, on-sight-only...). Mason had the latest "released" small gear from Great Pacific Iron Works; crack-n-ups and small wired stoppers (RPs were not quite available yet). As the Denver member of the expedition, I supplied homegrown Forrest copperheads. To avoid the long hitch-hike from my parents in Aurora, my basecamp was either a hidden tent 100 yards upstream from the West Ridge or the floor at Mason & Nancy's on Marine St.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Hippie hardman Mason Frichette gardening a crack f...
    Hippie hardman Mason Frichette gardening a crack for pro on a first ascent at Mickey Mouse.

    Same year, we also did unnamed and undocumented first ascents of The Bat, Fading Light, Srinagar, Kashmir, Lunar Avenue, Chick on the Side, and Fake Right, Go Left. Mason was in a race against severe arthritis and sent all the tens in Boulder that year (with my help!). That season, Mason was nearly twice my age and he easily bantered for beta at the pump-house with authors Pat Ament and Jim Erickson (or anyone else at the pump-house like Wendell Nuss, Mike Gilbert, David Breashers, Dianna Hunter, Chris Reveley, Beth Bennett, Robby Baker, Greg Davis, Molly Higgens, Steve Wunsch, John Bragg, Dan Hare, Jim and Dan Michaels, Ron & Steve Matous...). We'd hear about routes like Over The Hill or Darkness 'Til Dawn and then truck on up and do 'em. Of course, we would never have dreamed of bragging to Mr. Ament about our tiny first ascents!

    But admitting to a hang was cool and I'm sure we did for Morning Thunder. No cheaters' second try in those days! My first hang-dog session wasn't until 1977 (taught to me by Peter Croft @ Midnight Rock, WA). We did not know that Vertigo and the Naked Edge took more than one try. Otherwise, we would have gone right back and sent cleanly. Instead I left the for five years of college. Mason stayed in Boulder and hopefully sent before his knees hurt too much.

    Pat and Christian certainly gave us plenty of time to send. Their route name is perhaps a nod to Mason too. In 1975, Mason worked at Celestial Seasoning Co., the makers of Morning Thunder tea.

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