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Seal Rock
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Archaeopteryx T 
Choose Life S,TR 
Choose Muscle S 
East Face North Side/Seal Rock T 
East Face South Side T 
Gruffalo, The S 
I Am The Walrus S 
Jade Gate S 
Misbehaven T,TR 
Primate T 
Sea of Joy S 
Shortcut (East Face) T 
Skin Flute S,TR 
Southwest Face T 
Supercell S 
Thunder Muscle S 


YDS: 5.13 French: 8a Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: X- ZA: 30 British: E7 6c PG13

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.13 French: 8a Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: X- ZA: 30 British: E7 6c PG13 [details]
FA: Matt Samet, Steve Dieckhoff, Haven Iverson
Page Views: 5,230
Submitted By: Pinklebear on Aug 12, 2001

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Panoramic Seal view with a climber on Primate.

Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


Primate is a mixed bolt-and-gear lead on the south face of Seal Rock. It was originally done as a gear lead, headpoint-style, with the gear pre-placed. This was in the era when bolting was banned in the Flatirons, so it was either toprope or headpoint or move on. Thanks to the Flatirons Climbing Council, OSMP, and the hard work and lobbying by Flatirons climbers, Seal Rock's south face opened to bolting in 2012. This route was applied for and approved through the Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the FCC and has since had bolts added to it to make it a more approachable lead.

Seven bolts plus gear. A spicy climb but by no means unsafe if you can wiggle the gear in to supplement the bolts. The route breaks naturally into two sections

First section (5.12a/b PG-13): climb up to a high first bolt and move into a faint corner. Here you sling a good horn and place a nut and/or TCU. Move right into huecos and stand tall to place a couple of TCUs at the base of a diagonal slot. Keep traversing up and left a few moves to find a good foot stance and clip a bolt; continue strenuously up and left past one more bolt to reach a couple of undercling cracks at a break midway up the wall. A #2 and #3 Camalot go well here in the right break, and you can even place a #4 in the left break if you don't mind carrying it. Use long draws as needed.

Second section (5.13 PG): Bust out of the undercling to a mini-jug and clip. Climb straight up the black streak on slopers and blobs to pass another bolt (crux). Run it out a bit up and left, clip a bolt off a good undercling, and move into the "pebble crux." There is one more final bolt in the groove, and you can place a bomber #1 Camalot above that to protect going to the anchors.

NOTE: you can also start on Choose Life/Thunder Muscle and move up and right into the undercling break from the third bolt; this is an easier, less committing link-up start, but it also misses about 45 feet of killer climbing on very unique rock and is not the original line, so... This is called "Puntmate" (Boulder 5.12d), so no fluffing the grade on your scorecard, hommies.

This route takes a direct line up the overhanging south face of Seal Rock, ending in a deep water groove which continues up the slab to the rock's summit. It starts more or less halfway along the south face of Seal Rock and has a large, flat boulder at its start. The line can also be recognized by a deep break at mid-height and by the bulging black streak which gives way to the upper water groove.

Start 15 feet down and left of the right-facing corner and boulder up past a horn into a left-trending band of huecos and pockets. Follow this to the break (12a s). Load the break up with as much as you've got (1-5" cams) and punch it up the black streak via continuous climbing on perfect stone (5.13 s/vs). A tube chock below the upper crux held a short whipper on toprope, but if it failed would deposit you on the deck 70+ feet below.

This route was done headpoint style and the gear was pre-placed on toprope prior to the lead. It climbs some of the strangest, most colorful water-sculpted sandstone in the Flatirons, yielding moves more akin to limestone tufa climbing than your typical Fountain fare.

It is a 90-foot pitch.


8 or 10 quickdraws, some trad slings, small TCUs (up to big fingers), stoppera, Camalots 1, 2, 3 (4 optional); 60-meter rope.

If you're setting up a top-rope, bring two 100+ foot lengths of static cord to rig the anchor. One you can tie off to a bomber horn high on the left (south) side of Seal Rock's slabby east face. Rappel down off this horn and rig your second rope to a set of old double bolts at the lip of the wall, just uphill from the watergroove which is Primate. Run the ropes into the water groove and run a 60 meter cord through them. Rappel down, placing directionals to help you stay in.

For leading: double cams up to 5", one set of RP's, one medium (green) tube chock, one #00 Metolius TCU, one (red) Lowe ball.

Photos of Primate Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: On the newly bolted section of Primate....
On the newly bolted section of Primate....
Rock Climbing Photo: On the first ascent.
On the first ascent.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beta map for Primate, part one.
Beta map for Primate, part one.
Rock Climbing Photo: Coming up on the key Big Bro placement.
Coming up on the key Big Bro placement.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pocket traverse to the break, on the first half of...
Pocket traverse to the break, on the first half of...

Comments on Primate Add Comment
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By Pinklebear
Apr 7, 2017

4/7/17: there is an older Petzl Spirit draw up at the anchor. We had threaded through the anchor and were TR'ing that way to do some bolt work, and I think our rope accidentally ran over the dogbone on that draw -- it had a little surface wear when I got back up there (though it may have had this already). Apologies for this: inspect the draw before you clip it and/or back it up, and I'm happy to get you a replacement dogbone if you PM me.
By Thomas Jensen
Jul 14, 2003

MattI respect your ethics in climbing this route! I think that the future of hard climbing will be a return to the idea that we should climb the rock as it is offered to us and change ourselves instead of the rock in the process! So many lines get bolted on the front range that really could be "safely" protected using gear.Lead the way!

By Anonymous Coward
Apr 1, 2004

I respect your ethic and bold manner and the fact that you're wearing a helmet on a dangerous route. The kids have someone to look up to, Matt.Kudos
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Apr 2, 2004

"I am not a role model, I am a basketball player."-Charles Barkley
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 2, 2004

Geez, my mistake. I really thought you were wearing a black Protec like you always do at the roller-derby. You are still a hero to many, many underpriviledged children.Kudos and CheersEl Beardo
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 7, 2004

5.13 vs. That is some proud climbin' dude brah! (I wish I could climb that hard)

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