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Seal Rock
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
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: 4,826
Submitted By: Pinklebear on Aug 12, 2001

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On the first ascent.

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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.

Six bolts or so? Not sure -- haven't been up there since it was bolted. You also need supplemental slings, stoppers/RPs, and cams in the finger and hand sizes. Doubles of #1 and #2 are probably useful.

Some people have pointed out that they'd be more likely to do this route if it was "all bolts," but that's simply not going to happen. An informal (for now) FCC agreement with OSMP, modeled after the Action Committee for Eldorado's FRHC review process, stipulates that natural gear be used where possible, and there are safe and logical gear placements on this climb in places; therefore the route would not have been approved as an all-bolt climb—the application would not have passed FHRC vetting much less OSMP's final approval.

I've heard of some people starting on Choose Life/Thunder Muscle and cutting in, but that only creates more traffic jamming on the one bolted start, and also, you're not climbing Primate; you're just linking shit up, which is lame.

I would recommend instead, if you actually want to climb Primate, that you bring a light rack and climb the original line, which has a lot of great climbing in its first half and will only get cleaner with traffic. It is fun, pumpy 12- on huecos and crimps through here and is very good climbing. Surely if you can climb 5.13 on bolts, some 11+/12- on a couple cams is in your wheelhouse?

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, RPs and stoppers, and hand-sized cams (doubles in #1 and #2 sizes); 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: 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 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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