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Snake Watching 

YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 150'
Original:  YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c [details]
FA: Jimmy Surette
Page Views: 12,050
Submitted By: Jim Redo on Aug 7, 2004

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Melissa Love enjoying this beauty.

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  • Description 

    Snake Watching is the farthest left route on Overhang Rock. It is the "Eighth Day" of the Flatirons.

    Scramble up easy 5th class to get to the first bolt. A three move boulder problem takes you up and over the initial overhang. From here, it's crimp, crimp, and more crimp for about a mile to anchors just below the summit. I don't know if something broke, but I found there to be a pretty hard boulder problem at about the 11th bolt. The rock is a little friable in spots. I could not get to the ground with a 70 meter cord, so bring an 80 meter cord or use the lowering station midway up.


    15 bolts to a two bolt anchor. There is a midway anchor at the 8th or 9th bolt.

    Photos of Snake Watching Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo:
    Rock Climbing Photo: Rob crushing it like the beast he is.
    Rob crushing it like the beast he is.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dan Levison entering redpoint crux.  Photo by Seno...
    Dan Levison entering redpoint crux. Photo by Seno...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Jake Miller crimping on through.
    Jake Miller crimping on through.
    Rock Climbing Photo: This is why Rob is my hero!
    This is why Rob is my hero!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Beta sheet.
    Beta sheet.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bruce Miller with his hiking boots on.
    Bruce Miller with his hiking boots on.

    Comments on Snake Watching Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 25, 2017
    By Joe Collins
    Aug 23, 2007

    A 70m rope will get you down with some shenanigans, but it's very close. Best to use the midway anchors.
    By Jonathan Siegrist
    From: his truck
    Mar 17, 2009
    rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

    This is a brilliant climb! Crimps for daaaaayyyyysss. Definitely climb (past the first anchor) to the top of this beast for full value- a must do climb at the grade in the front range. I was also skeptical about lowering with a 70m- it would be really close.
    By Dan Levison
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 23, 2009
    rating: 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c

    Old school Flatirons mega-classic. V6 boulder problem to 120 feet of techy 5.12, capped by an enormous two-tiered roof.
    By Taylor Roy
    From: Midvale, UT
    Mar 29, 2013
    rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

    Got down very easily from the last bolt before the anchors with a 70m. Reached to top of the boulder that you scramble on top of to start the route. Some very easy downclimbing gets you to the ground.
    By Curt MacNeill
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 29, 2013

    Amazing route! It just feels like it goes forever. I have lowered safely from the top anchors with different 70 meter ropes. Have a knot tied on the end, and with minimal shinanigans, you can lower straight to the ground. If you have a stretchy 9.4 or 9.2 cord, you can lower pretty easily from the very top. Thicker 70 meter ropes may require the belayer to scramble up at the base a little higher enough for the climber to reach the slab ramp at the bottom that most people climb up to start the route. It is totally safe and saves a lot of time on the lowering. Just have a solid knot tied in the end of the rope to allow someone belaying with a Grigri to go hands free if need be right before you touch down on the ground. Also, I have learned that most people can yard on draw #1 and reach the jug fairly easily allowing you to avoid using a stick clip for bolt 2, again saving you a lot of time when your warming up or hanging draws on the route. This route is just plain awesome! Get on it, and smile your whole way to the top....
    By Alex Shainman
    Jun 2, 2015

    Heads up on the crux start.... The other day we broke what was the end of the crux jug, just left of the second bolt. It broke from the force of a heel hook moving past it to stand up! That jug was very spider-web fractured and part of a very hollow, large time bomb of a flake which still exists. The hold that remains is now lower by 3" but smaller and squarecut. The very next hold just above is also very hollow. Belayer beware and consider wearing a helmet on all three of these routes! We were very lucky that nobody was hurt. I would not recommend yarding on the 1st bolt to grab the "jug" to clip the 2nd bolt...if that thing breaks, it'll smack you up in the face and then hit your belayer. Use a stick clip. It's best to hang something burly and as long as a shoulder length sling, etc. to keep the rope from grating along the lip. Of course, there are more flexy holds on this route, but that's par for course on the left side of this rock face.
    By Mike to the B
    Aug 16, 2015

    Replaced the fixed sling at the 2nd bold on Snake Watching today. From the front, it appeared fine ... but turned it around to find that it had almost worn through completely. Always check the back of fixed slings on this climb. Due to the position of the bolt and the cruxy nature of the climbing (to access the 3rd bolt), slings wear pretty easily with a few falls. Be careful out there!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sling.
    By Phil Lauffen
    From: The Bubble
    Apr 2, 2016

    This climb is eroding like my optimism in the intelligence of the American population as Trump gets closer to election.

    Holds have seriously degraded from when I was up there last 2 weeks ago. That bottom boulder is fecking hard. I still haven't been able to stick the huck from the bad right hand to the sloping 'jug'. I wonder what it felt like in its near-virgin state.
    By Mike Humphries
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jun 30, 2016

    Indeed, this thing is eroding!

    I ran into a reachy stopper section in the redpoint crux (just above the side-by-side, really thin crimp moves). It's been years since I've been on the route, but I don't recall this section being that hard, really long reach to a small seam. You can use a number of holds, but they are awful, and the feet even worse. Perhaps I suck or perhaps it was too hot. Even with these poor excuses, it certainly hurt my ego....
    By Steven Phillips
    Jul 3, 2016

    Oh no! The key right hand crimp in the crux between the first and second bolts broke off today. The crux can still be done via a big dyno to the big flexy cracked flake at the lip, but that thing isn't going to last long. It would be good to try getting some glue behind it. Anyone know what kind of glue was used to reinforce a bunch of other holds on this route?

    We also swapped out the very worn webbing at the second bolt today.

    Mike, the fixed quickdraw at that upper crux section runs right over a key hand hold. Makes me think there were originally better options nearby.
    From: Nederland, CO
    Sep 21, 2016
    rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

    The small right crimp on the lower crux is gone, fortunately, it still goes and can be done static, even by shorter folks (5'5"). I like the new hold/beta more than the old.

    The upper crux just below the bulge is pretty fierce, feels like a hard V5 boulder problem with all kinds of pump! All in all, hardest 13a I've ever tried! Stellar route!
    By Abel Jones
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 22, 2016

    The jug that you may or may not dyno to has been reinforced by some charitable person. Everything felt pretty solid on the route. The new route to the left has no red tag now. It was cool too.
    By Falon
    From: Denver, Colorado
    Mar 25, 2017
    rating: 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b

    I had very high expectations for this route, and it most certainly did NOT disappoint! The Front Range's gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving.... Don't get too excited about the redpoint after the initial boulder problem, as you've still got another 9,000 moves or so to the chains. A mega classic, a must do and my favorite route of the grade in any area. My belayer was able to lower me by the skin of his teeth with 9.4 diameter, 70 meter rope. KNOT THE END OF YOUR ROPE IF YOU HAVE A 70.

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