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Prime the Pump 

YDS: 5.12c French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: IX- ZA: 27 British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 2 pitches, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.12c French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: IX- ZA: 27 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: Pink L. Bear, G$
New Route: Yes
Season: spring, summer autumn
Page Views: 2,223
Submitted By: Pinklebear on Aug 5, 2012

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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BETA PHOTO: Prime the Pump showing pitches one and two.

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  • Description 

    Prime the Pump is the leftmost climb on the very overhanging western headwall of The Slab that begins just right of the big, black corner Trad Kreem and runs up to Hippopotamus. Recognize the start by a high bolt over an arete feature just off the ground along the approach trail. The arete is also the finish for the boulder problem Junior Niblitz.

    You can do the route in two pitches or one. If in two pitches, the first pitch is 5.11+, the second pitch is 5.12c. If you do it in one pitch, a 60m rope is MANDATORY. I had some drag issues doing it in one pitch, so you might want to:

    •Unclip the first two draws off the ground once you're into the third bolt.
    •Use long slings at the start of the swell overhang on pitch one, and at the start of pitch two.
    •Downclimb and unclip the midway anchor once you're into the two bolts above it (5-easy to get back down to the anchor).
    •Use long slings/extendo draws on the rightward traversing part of the top pitch, which rails right along a flake.
    •Or probably BEST: Warm up on pitch one to the midway anchor, then strip your draws on the way down. Now toprope this pitch and lead on past the anchor into the second pitch. Clip bolts one and two up there, come back and unclip the anchor slings, and off you go drag-free to the top.

    The first pitch is cool, powerful 5.11+, the second pitch is pretty much the same all the way up until the last two bolts, where you gotta crimp down in the black streak. Good holds but bad feet (powerful) take you to anchors at the lip.

    This route still needs some traffic, so don't be surprised by a little lichen and some crumbly-type feet. It got hot before we had a chance to do a final cleaning. It probably will clean up well to be a three-star route. It has great, exposed position on the pitch-two traverse, looking down and left back toward Boulder. Good eye to G$ for spotting the line and heroically down-aiding the top pitch so we could TR it.

    Many thanks to OSMP, the Flatirons Climbing Council, and the Access Fund for keeping new-routing alive and thriving in the Flatirons!


    This is 20 feet right of Trad Kreem, on the west face of The Slab; 20 feet left of Pen 15.


    6 bolts on pitch one to a midway anchor at 15m; 7 bolts on pitch two to the top anchor at 30m.
    13 bolts total plus anchor slings for both stations if done in one pitch.

    Comments on Prime the Pump Add Comment
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    By Pinklebear
    Aug 7, 2012

    Beta hint for shorter climbers: Our working name for the route was "Pogo Lord," which might help you sort things out passing the last bolt. You'll know the "pogo move" when you do it.
    By maestro bilinski
    Sep 22, 2012

    The beta posted above for rope management is worth reading again.
    By dyager
    From: Fort Collins
    Dec 23, 2012
    rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

    The "pogo move" is committing and fun! but pogo-ers beware: it did take some palm skin from me....
    Thanks to Mr. Sammet for another fun addition to the Flatirons!
    By Chris Beh
    Apr 19, 2014

    The first pitch of Prime The Pump is one of the best steep 11 sport pitches in The Flatirons...worth doing on its own.
    By Curt MacNeill
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 29, 2015

    Agreed with Matt with the suggested 12c rating. If you're short, you have to do kind of a sideways pogo stick move at the crux which can be unpleasant. Great long jug haul though. It can easily be done in a single pitch with some long draws and some unclipping shenanigans....
    By Mike Humphries
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jun 13, 2016

    Wondering if anyone out there has sent this since it broke. My understanding is a key left hand sidepull broke, the first hold after leaving the jugs in the 2nd pitch. IMO it appears to have created a new crux to reach the last bolt rather than passing it. Directly above the last jug complex, there is now about a 3-4 ft. section of nearly blank rock. I tried to do the boulder problem with a really small textured left hand crimp, felt really hard. Taller folks may be able to reach through this section.
    By Bret Ruckman
    Jun 26, 2016

    As stated above by Mike, the crux is now just past the "last jug complex", before the last clip, and requires tenacious crimping on a very small, highly-textured hold. My friend Marco, who is about 5'10'' tall, redpointed the pitch today...probably 5.12c.
    By Pinklebear
    Jun 27, 2016

    As I recall, I never used the larger, flexy sidepull for the left in any case - even when we put the route that hold seemed like it was going to peel. I used the smaller, more inset hold, so perhaps this is why I felt the route was 12c. Or maybe I'm just not as strong and cool as all the bro-brau-bruhs in the elite, cutting-edge Boulder Flatirons Downraters Club.

    On a side note, we toproped an alternate first pitch out left up the hanging arete/flake feature to the red face, probably 5.11, and it would, because it diagonals left to right like the top pitch of this route, get rid of the rope-drag issues. Well worth bolting if someone (not me!) wants to apply for it.
    By Peter Beal
    From: Boulder Colorado
    May 12, 2017

    Only did the first pitch, but the upper headwall looks excellent. The hero jug climbing lower was a lot of fun!

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