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The Bastille - N Face
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The Bastille Crack 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 350'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: US Army climbers, 1954. FFA: Stan Shepard, Allen Bergen, 1957
Fixed Hardware: 2 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 141,318
Submitted By: Patrick Vernon on Jan 1, 2001

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More aid foolery on the Bastille. Ben wishing he ...

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  • Description 

    One of the most classic climbs in the country, it begins right off the road on the Bastille, a 350' cliff on the left as you enter the canyon. Often crowded, a weekday is probably the best time to attempt this climb.

    The climb is north facing and in the shade until mid-afternoon. As Jim Erickson said in his classic 1980 Rocky Heights guidebook, "avoid it like the plague if the weather is not warm, or you will shiver away much of its charm."

    Start at the center of the north face of the Bastille, below a hand crack that starts 20' up the wall, with a huge, serrated flake to its right.

    The first pitch has been the site of numerous accidents, so make sure you're solid on 5.7 crack climbing and placing pro before attempting to lead it.

    P1. 5.7, 60'. Climb up to the flake and step left to the crack. Jam or layback up the polished crack (crux), then follow the crack up and left to a small stance at a 2-bolt anchor with chains. You can belay here (if you want to watch/coach your second through the crux), or continue with the second pitch.

    P2. 5.6, 90'. Climb up to the chimney left of the bolts, and step left onto the face. Climb up to a finger crack, then traverse right above a little roof (crux). Continue up steep, enjoyable cracks and angle up left on easy ground to a sloping ledge by a steep wall. Belay at a crack with a fixed pin. If this belay is occupied, it's possible to belay about 20' lower at another stance.

    Variation: near the top of P2, take a right-angling wide crack up and back left, 5.8. Bring a big cam (#4 Camalot) to protect this line.

    P1 & P2 can be combined with a 50m rope.

    P3. 5.7, 50'. Climb up into a pod, then work up past a small roof (crux). Continue up the cracks to another sloping ledge. A #1 and #2 Camalot are useful for the belay anchor.

    P4. 5.6, 100'. Traverse left to a short corner with a destroyed fixed pin. Continue traversing left on awkward, off-balance moves past another fixed pin (crux). Go all the way left to a hand crack and climb it to a corner. Don't start up too soon or you'll be off route on a harder variation. Climb the corner, then continue up and right on easy ramps to a belay stance below or just right of a chimney.

    P5. Several options here:

    a. Easy finish: 5.4, 60'. Climb the chimney to the top.

    b. Fun finish: 5.8, 80'. Climb up a ramp right of the chimney to a huge corner with a wide crack. Climb up the face left of the corner to a fixed pin. Continue up the steep headwall and surmount a little roof at the top (crux). If you have a #3 and #4 Camalot, you can belay just above the roof (and watch/coach your second at the crux roof), otherwise continue up an easy gully and belay from a spike of rock at the top.

    c. Grovel finish: 5.7, 80'. Climb the wide crack in the corner just right of the previous variation.

    To descend: follow deep grooves to the south until you reach a dirt trail. Go 30' right (west) and then follow the marked Bastille descent trail north and down to the road at the base of the cliff.

    (Ed. Note: beginner leaders--make sure you're solid on crack techique before trying this one. Placing gear is not trivial for the inexperienced.)

    Protection 

    Standard rack to #3 Camalot.

    Bring a #4 Camalot if you want to do the 5.8 variation on the second pitch, or if you want to belay just above the roof on the 5.8 variation on the last pitch.


    Photos of The Bastille Crack Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Ashleigh pulling the crux on the first pitch!
    Ashleigh pulling the crux on the first pitch!
    Rock Climbing Photo:
    Rock Climbing Photo: Heather Selitrennikoff approaches the P1 belay, 8/...
    Heather Selitrennikoff approaches the P1 belay, 8/...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Someone jugging.  Not sure who it was.  Oh, wait--...
    Someone jugging. Not sure who it was. Oh, wait--...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Baskis on the first pitch of The Bastille Cr...
    Steve Baskis on the first pitch of The Bastille Cr...
    Rock Climbing Photo: I thought this would have been a handy view. So, I...
    BETA PHOTO: I thought this would have been a handy view. So, I...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Fitzgerald at the base of the bastille, on 9/...
    Bill Fitzgerald at the base of the bastille, on 9/...
    Rock Climbing Photo: More info on getting down.
    BETA PHOTO: More info on getting down.
    Rock Climbing Photo: On top of the Bastille Crack over where the 5.8 fi...
    On top of the Bastille Crack over where the 5.8 fi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Clay took this photo of my kids (7 & 8) working th...
    Clay took this photo of my kids (7 & 8) working th...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Leif Coopman, age 5, summit of the Bastille via th...
    Leif Coopman, age 5, summit of the Bastille via th...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bastille Crack route. Taken March 2009.
    BETA PHOTO: Bastille Crack route. Taken March 2009.
    Rock Climbing Photo: David Benson on a beautiful day, showing why this ...
    David Benson on a beautiful day, showing why this ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: If you have the wingspan, this is probably an easi...
    If you have the wingspan, this is probably an easi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Pelander leading P4 of BC.
    Bill Pelander leading P4 of BC.
    Rock Climbing Photo: I can see my house from here!!  Andrew Speers and ...
    I can see my house from here!! Andrew Speers and ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Hannah working through P1.
    Hannah working through P1.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the final move on the first pitch of the c...
    Pulling the final move on the first pitch of the c...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Heather Sel on first pitch of Bastille Crack, Eldo...
    Heather Sel on first pitch of Bastille Crack, Eldo...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Most opted photo op?
    Most opted photo op?
    Rock Climbing Photo: HIGH DEFINITION! 5/22/12. Unknown climber on the B...
    HIGH DEFINITION! 5/22/12. Unknown climber on the B...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dan on a cold March 1, but we got down from the fi...
    Dan on a cold March 1, but we got down from the fi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The north and west faces of the Bastille.  5. Werk...
    BETA PHOTO: The north and west faces of the Bastille. 5. Werk...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on the Bastille crack and a few other cli...
    Climbers on the Bastille crack and a few other cli...

    Show All 83 Photos

    Only the first 24 are shown above.

    Comments on The Bastille Crack Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 3, 2017
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jan 1, 2001

    Note that it is possible to combine the first 3 pitches with a 60m rope, and one can combine the last 2 pitches even with a 50m rope (but watch out for rope drag).
    By Matt Bauman
    Jan 1, 2001

    I agree with George (by the way, your site is one of my faves George), the slick beginning of the crack seemed harder than 5.7 (Id say 7+). Also, a GREAT variation to the final pitch (avoiding the easy chimney) is to step right and head for the HUGE left facing dihedral with a wide crack....climb wide crack for ~10 feet and then take finger crack that angles up and left, becomes straight up and then opens to hands as it angles back right to the top of the dihedral.....GREAT 5.8 finish to this classic climb.
    By Derek Lawrence
    From: Bailey
    Jan 1, 2001

    This route was originally rated 5.6 in the old Ament guide. I won't say it's that easy but if you stem between the crack and the edge of the flake to the right and than cross left at the top it's much easier than 5.8. Done this way the crux actually seems to be 3rd short pitch.
    By T. Maino
    From: Denver, CO
    Jan 1, 2001

    Best 5.7 around. It seems 5.7 to me... but then I've done it about 100 times. Great tip on the variation up top... thanks.
    By Chris Fisher
    Jun 13, 2001

    I agree with the 5.7 rating. The only way I could see the first pitch being 5.8 is if you don't have a long reach. Those of us 6 foot or better do have an advantage. I've done it several times as it is one of my favorites. I also agree with the third pitch around the double cracks being more difficult than the first pitch, but only for a few moves.
    By Paul Giglio
    Jul 28, 2001

    If you think wider is better, try doing the "move left down the ledge and go up a corner system" pitch one pitch too soon (where you're clearly supposed to do the finger crack). You'll soon find yourself in a short awkward flared chimney with a piton near the top that exits onto the ledge just below the normal P4 anchor. Probably 7+ or 8 compared with some of the chimneys at Lumpy.
    By Casey Bernal
    From: Arvada, CO
    Oct 24, 2001
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Casey Bernal - Although it should be obvious, I thought it must be said here too. Most of the guidebooks state explicitly to place pro in the flake and crack in P1 before stepping into them. There have been several ground falls here. This is one of the most spectacular 5.7 climbs around. Enjoy.
    By Michael Komarnitsky
    Founding Father
    From: Seattle, WA
    Oct 24, 2001

    On the photo, the short traverse out right on P2 I believe is 5.8, though I could be wrong - when I've done the route, I've continued up and slightly left following easy climbing instead of going right around that flake.
    By Hayden Yurkanis
    Nov 6, 2001

    Alright, I will put my two cents in on the rating---5.7. In my HUMBLE opinion, it isn't 5.8 or 7+. Also I didn't find it to be that slick and the feet were solid. cheers
    By Casey Bernal
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jun 10, 2002
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    This is a good place to sit in the shade and watch all the beginner epics. "well protected 5.7+ crack - I can do that - I once led a 5.9 in the gym with no falls". In case there is not enough amusement with the Bastille Crack you can also watch the antics on Werk Supp. Apparently, this is a good place to toprope (either the Bastille, Northcutt, Werk Supp, March of Dimes, etc) because it seems everyday someone is blocking the upper pitches with a beginner toprope session. While you might find this amusing to watch be sure to stand back because at least one gumby will drop something or pull on a loose rock. It can even be exciting (or horrifying) to watch as the beginners sketch out because the crack is different (ie Eldo-type) then the one they practiced placing pro in and they place nothing that will stay put or hold a big fall. I guess it is easier to make enough money to buy a rack then to learn how to use any of it safely. eek. Somehow it makes me feel better and more relaxed to watch people on the NW Corner, Hair City, Outer Space, even Jules Verne. At least they know what they are doing. CB
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 11, 2002

    I must have screwed up. There was an early move on that first pitch that felt tougher than the first pitch at George's Tree in Lumpy (5.9). The rest of it was more like 5.7, just an awesome route.
    By Kevin Currigan
    From: Lakewood
    Jul 20, 2002

    At the top of P3 on the left side there is a tiny, right facing dihedral. The plate/flake perpendicular to this on the face is loose.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Aug 8, 2002

    Led the route today and felt P1 to be solid (7) with one polished hold on the crack. Maybe a half grade higher because its a little slippery. But what difference does it make, splitting hairs over a (7) climb? Definitely test your mettle on P2 and take the flake to the right (8) before the belay ledge (lay it back and smear). On the last pitch read Matt Bauman's description above and go for it. That way is the right way, for the Bastille finale, in my opinion.
    By Kevin Currigan
    From: Lakewood
    Sep 12, 2002

    The variation at the top of pitch two is definitely the way to go for if you're up for it. Its easier than Reggae only in that it is shorter. Technically it feels about the same as it has the layback thing going at 5.8. It protects at the bottom of the flake with a big cam; #9 Metolius.
    By Steve
    Sep 21, 2002

    First, this is a frickin' damn good climb. Second, I think that there are many reasons that warrant giving this route a 5.7 c/d S (V) grade, although it can be done 5.6 C1. The traverse to gain the crack on the first pitch is frickin' hard: the crux move requires technical stemming and finger locking and the feet have been super-greasy ever since some ignoramus decided to use some old motor oil instead of chalk to "tic" the holds. There is also groundfall potential because you must wait till you gain the crack to place gear lest the throngs of watching climbers and gapers will think that you are a miserable coward that barely deserves to slave away at belaying a sportie at Table Mountain let alone climb THE Bastille Crack. I'd recommend a stick clip to pre-place gear in the crack in case you get gripped up there. After that, its pretty much a cake walk unless you get your haul bag stuck. If this happens or another party slows you down, the ledge at P3 is a good place to bivy. After completing the climb, a tricky 3.9 sportaneering gully with difficult route-finding must be descended in order to get back to your car.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Sep 27, 2002

    While passing this route on our way to the upper west side of the Bastille recently I spotted a young woman really struggling to work out the beginning of the crack. I noticed her leader had combined P1 & P2. I'd be curious how this situation worked out. I suggest when leading this route, and combining 1 & 2 or any long routes close to the stream, especially with inexperienced climbers, bring 2-way radios. Otherwise, you'll be sitting up on that ledge waiting and waiting, unable to hear or see your partner, until finally forced into an assumption which can lead to an accident. Be careful out there!
    By Anonymous Coward
    Sep 27, 2002

    Hey Ernie, I was on the crack today with my girlfriend and I strung P1 and P2 together. As far as the climbing when it was nice not to have to stop. There was some confusion with the who was on belay etc. As soon as she got up to me, we figured out a system of tugs etc so there wouldn't be any accidents. I have never climbed The Bastille before and I love it! I wasn't real sure how the walkie-talkies would have worked out so I left them at home...Yeah I'll know better next time....Oh yes, there will be a next time!
    By Anonymous Coward
    Dec 12, 2002

    Bottom felt like a greasy 5.8. I thought it was equal to Reggae.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    May 10, 2003

    According to "Best of Boulder", this route is now 5.8+! According to "Accidents in North American Mountaineering 2002", this route is named "Bestowal Crack". Just shows you can't believe everything you read ... and a good editor is hard to find ...
    By Mic Fairchild
    From: Boulder
    May 29, 2003
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Current speed records on the Bastille North Face are:
    July 1998
    ground to top of climb 5 minutes 33 seconds
    ground to summit of crag (above YOUR MOTHER) 6 minutes 59 seconds

    P.S. It will never gain in popularity, but climbing down the BASTILLE CRACK is excellent. It's 5.7, the same as an ascent of the route.
    By Bruce Berkowitz
    Jul 18, 2003

    Great climb.I dunno, maybe I lucked onto the right sequence, but i thought the first pitch was not the crux. I agree with those that though that the 3rd pitch was the hardest. More committing, at any rate. Still a classic any way you slice it.
    By TBD
    Jul 21, 2003

    Instead of the normal 5.4 chimney section of the last pitch (about 1/2 way, after gaining the huge sloping ledge), consider the next giant dihedral to right. It offers an offwidth and some crack/face climbing. It goes at 5.7 and is more consistent with the grade for the previous 3 pitches. Also, more fun in my opinion.
    By Chris Mueller
    Jul 28, 2003
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    This climb is great. Easily the best 5.7 around. As for the rating, it compares nicely to The Owl (Dome), Empor (Cob Rock), and Verschnidung (West Ridge), all 5.7 crack climbs.
    By Rich Aschert
    Feb 1, 2004

    Just FYI, the 1967 guide rates the Bastille 5.6, Calypso 5.5, Tagger 5.8, Vertigo 5.10, Ruper 5.7, Grand Giraffe 5.8, T2 5.9 etc.etc. I guess 5.6 isn't what it used to be.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Feb 3, 2004

    If this climb were rated solely for "maximum ego improvement" it would be 5.12 by now!

    Sometimes the difficulty of a climb CAN change over time. Holds may break off, or become slick with repeated use. I'm not sure if this has occurred on this particular climb (I didn't climb it in the 60s or 70s) but it's something to consider. I don't believe the individual rating of a climb is important except as compared to other climbs.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Feb 3, 2004
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    The climb has gotten harder, at least since I moved here in 1995- slicker, more polished, etc. So I don't know how it was in 1960 or whatever, but I guess I expect some upgrading. For what it's worth, I'd give it 5.7 right now. As I recall, the rating was boosted to keep tentative leaders at the 'real 5.7 grade' away because they kept falling off of the start, which was not protected well by most 5.7 leaders cruxing there. Other climbs, such as Grand Giraffe have seen similar action. I've done it maybe 4X, once every few years since 1995 and each time it seems slicker than the last. Once it starts getting slick, people start slipping more, and the slippery slope of schmarm speeds along. Grand Giraffe is harder than it was. 10a is fair. Plus, 10a is usually easier than 9+ anyway. As for T2, you all know that the starting flake fell off right? That the past crux hold does not exist, and that the ground below has eroded?

    Now I'm not an old guy, and I 'never was' so calling me 'washed-up' or a 'has been' is quite a stretch. SO I guess I'll be considered objective here? Nah- I'll get labeled something or another by whoever, according the their agenda. So here's my take on it. I agree that in many cases the grades got softer. Some of this because certain climbs got much easier with the advent of sticky rubber, and others because of gear/protection options. Maybe when the average 5.9 got easier, but a good solid crack climb, (were rubber and pro are not relevant did not change), the grade on that moved by comparison and got 'harder.' Maybe only 20% of all routes really changed, so the system moved to upgrade 20% not downgrade 80%? Maybe that's why I can climb hard cracks but thin face hurts me?

    As for grades on other routes, particularly 'modern' or 'new wave' free climbing grades. I suspect there is some element of ego from previous sandbaggers and current mercy-graders. I'm certainly not feeling any stronger than 10 years ago, but seem to climb more hard routes despite somewhat frail health. So what can I say? The times change and I'm still having fun. That sums it up.
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Apr 5, 2004
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Climbed the Bastille Crack for the first time yesterday afternoon. I've climbed at Eldorado for several years now and have finally gotten the chance to climb Bastille Crack (there is always a line at the base of it).

    Polished, dirty, lots of lost gear, pigeon crap, and usually a line of people on it. The canyon is much too big to wait for this route to open up.
    By John Fields
    May 17, 2004
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Climbed it this weekend and got to lead the whole thing b/c my partner had already led it a few times. I think it's a stellar climb. I'm a 5.7/5.8 leader and found it challenging. Tricky moves throughout. Started at about 9 am. Nobody waiting at the bottom, and pretty much had the climb to ourselves. The infamous slippery P1 wasn't slippery, and the pro was just fine. Still probably a good idea to be very cautious at the bottom of the P1 crack b/c a fall from there could be bad. Really bad if your pro pulls. I didn't find a slippery section on the whole climb. I think because the rock was still cool (no sweaty hands) and the route hadn't had any traffic yet that day. Tried the 5.8 variation at the top of P2 but didn't quite get it. Couldn't turn the corner from the lower traverse to the right-facing side of the flake. Seemed like the only way to do it was to pull a big lieback, but I was too pumped by the time I tried that, and ended up falling and heading up the standard route. Can anybody offer some beta on this move? Cool route everyone. A must do.
    By Kevin Coopman
    May 31, 2004

    I climbed the Bastille with my 5 year old son last week and it was great. When climbing with little kids (if anyone other than me does?) the hard part is actually the 5.4 part of the climb because of the reach. I had to push his bum up a couple of the rocks meanwhile I could not keep up to him on P2.

    Fun climb but a crack climb. Kids might do better on the Werk Supp route, I will let you know later this week!
    By Mic Fairchild
    From: Boulder
    Jun 6, 2004
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Speed record climbing down 10m 42s (23 Oct 03).

    Speed record up remains 5min 33sec.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 12, 2004

    THE classic. The queues don't form for the access reason alone. Consider that many only do P1 but this designation is for the entire route. On the rating, the old 5.6 was before a general consensus. The 5.8 rating (Rossiter, 1989) was before it became ultra-polished. It was down-graded to .7 but after a many-year hiatus I am astonished at how polished a route can become and believe a return to .8 is justified for the hardest move on P1 with the variation on P2 being 8-. Expect more Eldo routes to show similar signs of wear.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 12, 2004

    The Ernie Port photo shows the step across from the flake to the crack on P1 for those curious about the part that became greasier after the 80s. Newer leaders, be sure you slot this crack before committing but don't immediately slot a backup higher above you, IMO - you might need the room and the crux goes rather quickly; this has been the scene of far too many accidents.
    By TBlom
    Jun 29, 2004
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Let's remember that at one point in time, there was no such thing as a 5.11. This used to be a .6 out of a possible .10. It now gets a 5.7 rating because we all love Eldorado and it's own personal stiff rating system. Sure I'll lead .11d at sport park. But I'm still shut down above .10a at Eldo. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. We are using the "Yosemite decimal system". Try leading the first pitch of "After Six" in Yosemite Valley. This pitch used to be considered 5.6, and it now gets the 5.7 rating. This Pitch is also WAY harder and more sustained than anything on Bastile. Make sure to use an extra long sling at the starting flake, I had a cam walk all the way up and out of my ownership.Having at least three 1"+/- pieces extra at the main ledge before p4 makes the anchor simpler. There are several bomber placements in this range at this belay. A 50m rope will get you to the top from here if you watch the rope drag(long slings).All things aside, I love this route. A great way to shake off the cobwebs after winter.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 19, 2004

    Robert Curtis - I did this last thursday after climbing the first pitch of Touch and Go (8+), honestly I think between a hard 5.7 to a solid 5.8 is fair (for the first pitch). Lots of fun!
    By Brad Schildt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 27, 2004
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    I climbed the Bastille Crack again last weekend with my buddy Rob, who taught me to climb 22 years ago. We were the second party on Saturday morning. The first party was from Illinois, and they were great guys enjoying a week in the Rockies. At the bottom of the third pitch, the belayer offered to wait and let us pass on the fourth pitch, because we were climbing a bit faster than them. We took him up on the offer, I gave them a little beta on avoiding rope drag on the last pitch, and climbed quickly. A beautiful day, a classic climb, friendly climbers. Wouldn't it be great if we could all treat each other like these guys treated us?
    By Michael Kullman
    Aug 12, 2004

    I think the crux on the first pitch might be 8ish if you are short, definitely 7ish if you are taller (like me).
    By Kev007
    Oct 22, 2004
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Lead the first pitch on 10/17...finally, after all these years of looking at it. Fun route.
    By Jason Shatek
    Dec 14, 2004
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Did this one last Saturday. I'd say P1 goes at 5.8 due to the glassy like finish on the rock. Also, I recommend the 5.8 variation on the last pitch. I'm guessing a red Alien would have fit nicely at the crux (last move of the climb), which of course I didn't have because it disconnected from me somehow while I was fiddling with gear. Thus, Larry's red Alien took a ground fall. RIP red Alien, you were badly missed :( . The green Alien I used was just barely cammed. At the crux, just remember you have good feet, just keep moving them up!
    By Steve Williams
    From: Denver, CO
    Jul 15, 2005
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Hi guys, I'm sure I'm not as good a climber as most of you are, but I just redid the Bastille Crack a day before Bastille day, and I couldn't disagree more with your comments. I first did it in June of 1975, and have done it a few times since. It still seemed no harder than a 5.6 to me, maybe minimal 5.7. The first pitch isn't any greasier than I remember it . I'm sorry, I just don't get it. It is a great climb, but it's not that hard.
    By Lloyd Garrick
    From: Arvada, CO
    Aug 2, 2005
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    I did this 1st time last week; I would simply second most of the comments here. It wasn't difficult, I thought the 1st pitch was EZ, everyone says it is the crux. 2nd and 3rd pitches tripped me up a little. AWESOME climb! What is this talk of greasy 1st pitch? I had no problem and I don't even use chalk. colorado-hiking.net/bastille1....
    By Anonymous Coward
    Oct 8, 2005

    Lots of gear on 4th pitch! My partner and I got into a jam last night when we ran out of light and had foolishly left our headlamps at home. Because of this, our cleaning of the 4th pitch was hurried and whoever is the first to climb it today (Saturday, October 8th) will find some decent pieces. Of that person wishes to trade those piece for some tasty beer and good karma, please call Ryan @ 303.746.5643 and I will happily pick them up. Also, the days are getting shorter so don't forget your headlamps, even if you leave the house in the early afternoon, by the time you wait for a couple of parties and get going, it gets dark fast. Thanks again to the guys who were kind enough to lower us a headlamp from the top (we had made it to within 50 feet of the summit when I decided not to break an ankle trying to lead out in pitch darkness). Thanks! Oh yeah, great route of course, I thought the crux was the 3rd pitch and that is is 5.7, but it's old school Eldo 5.7 for sure.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Nov 1, 2005

    There is no way the first pitch is 5.8. I would rate it at a 5.7-, but it was pretty wet when I climbed it. I can see how if you climb it wrong it could be harder. It is a step from a big stance at the bottom of the flake, to good feet and nice holds. Pitch 3 is the crux and went at easy 5.7, it is really short with big holds all over and really good gear whenever you want.

    I took 1 set of cams to #2 Camalot w/ doubles in green, yellow and red Aliens, and about 5 stoppers. I wish I would have had a lot of big stoppers, some hexs and 1 set of cams from green Alien to #1 Camalot. It would be fun to climb this with just nuts and hexs and I'm definitely going to do that next time.

    A fun route and a must do, I can see why it gets so much traffic.
    By Jeff Johnson
    From: Folsom, CA
    Jun 7, 2006

    This crack is probably by far one of the most exciting and thrilling in all of Eldorado Canyon. 5.7+ is a good rating, a standard rack with plenty of cams will do you just fine. The first ten feet or so of the second pitch has a small roof and can be somewhat tricky if you don't have much experience with roofs. But overall very good climb and worth climbing.
    By DavidHH
    From: Parker, Colorado
    Jun 17, 2006
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    After never wanting to wait in line, I decided to send this route on Sat. morning. Got to the base about 6:45 and no one was on the Bastille, yet. Found the route to not nearly as slick as I thought it would be and 5.7 a very fair rating. I think most of the route is 5.6 with a couple 5.7 moves on P1 and P3. Pro placement is not trivial on the first pitch, but it's all there, if you seek it out. Classic, one not to be missed.
    By Blitzo
    Sep 12, 2006

    The very best 5.7 that I have ever done.
    By Stubby-Ian Howells
    From: Denver, CO
    Dec 17, 2006

    You don't have to deal with the crowds if it's 20 degrees and windy...then again you have to deal with frozen fingers.
    By Petsfed
    From: Laramie, WY
    Jan 6, 2007
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    The third pitch is perhaps the best 5.7 pitch I've done anywhere. Simply amazing movement, location, and protection.

    Also, the 4th pitch is very easy to get confused on the proper route. Check the topo before you leave the ground.
    By Kevin Craig
    Apr 30, 2007
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Led the first pitch again yesterday after doing a number of 8's recently in Eldo and at JTree, and no way is the first pitch 5.8 - at least not for a 6' male with a -1/2" ape index. 5.7 definitely feels right - but your crack technique and gear placing skills must be solid. I'm also not sure why folks get confused about the 4th pitch. To me, there's only one place to climb that looks anything like the published grade of the pitch (5.6). Everything else anywhere nearby looks MUCH harder. OTOH, I find the description above of this pitch to be confusing and not matching the pitch well. Just move slightly down-ramp from the belay and climb up in the easiest spot and follow the easiest climbing. It's really pretty obvious (of course, maybe I'm just not a good enough climber and so am not tempted by the other possibilities! ;^)
    By Mike Jay
    Jul 27, 2007
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Did this guy today, it took 4 hours though because we started at 2! and it rained for a good hour, so we had to wait a little. My first time though on the thing, it was incredible! sustained and classic. The rain gave Ryan and I a whipping though. But what a great climb.
    By Alex Burton
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Aug 19, 2007

    Finally, found the time to get out and do this one. My wife and I were in boulder for our 10th wedding anniversary, so her gift to me was following me on the Bastille. What an incredible climb. Pitch #3 was definitely my favorite, with great position and gear. I did the traditional finish up the chimney, and finished that by moving left from the top of the chimney up about 8-10 feet of slightly overhanging pocketed face. It was a fun, bouldery, but very short add on, that reminded me of Hueco Tanks.
    By Mike Robinson
    From: Worcester, MA
    Aug 28, 2007

    No wonder this route always has a line, THE BEST 5.7 EVER! Can easily be done in 2 longer pitches without much rope drag if you have fairly good rope management skills. Climb past the first pitch and then past the start of Out Space then up to the Traverse at the top of the in cut ramp. Belay before doing the Traverse. From there, lead to the top. Have Fun!
    By YDPL8S
    From: Santa Monica, Ca.
    May 16, 2008
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Do it at night with a full moon (after you've done it at least once in the day), it's better than any of those drugs you took in the '60s and '70s!
    By AOSR
    From: Wherever we park!
    Aug 30, 2008

    I'm not quite 6', I'm a much better face climber than crack climber, and I made the traverse from the flake on P1 pretty early. That said... I would rate it an 8. Maybe I did it wrong, because the crux on P3 I felt to be easier than the crux on P1. Awesome climb though.
    By Nick Sandstrom
    Nov 1, 2008

    Great route no lines but a bit cold. Got it done in 2 pitches with a 70m and some gnarly rope drag. Did the "fun finish" it was fun....
    By W. Spaller
    Mar 5, 2009
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    There is a very loose flake right below the second belay. It makes for a great left foot when heading for the belay ledge, but when I stepped on it it flexed about half an inch. I was suprised that it didn't break off. Fortunately there are plenty of other options to use and the climbing is very easy in that section. Have fun on this route and be careful. Peace.
    By P.D.Williams
    From: Lakewood
    Jun 17, 2009

    Hmmm. I was a bit disappointed. Rewritten is a way better 5.7. I last climbed the Crack back in '78 (Litz are you out there?). Amazing what cam technology can do to your adrenaline rush.
    By the way, does anyone in Boulder have a job? By 9:30 on a Tuesday morning, Eldo is teeming with people top roping on the Bastille. What the hey?
    By Greg Howland
    Jul 6, 2009

    Could someone tell me about the 5.8 variation on P2. Is it the OW that traverses roughly 25ft beneath the next belay? I think I may have gotten off route a little because this seemed to be closer to a 5.8. If so does the actual route turn to face climbing during this section? thanks
    By Michael Jenkins
    Sep 29, 2009

    CLIMBED THe WEST BUTTRESS BY MOONLIGHT ON 9/28/09 AND GOT MY ROPE STUCK IN A CRACK AT THE SUMMIT, I HAD TO LEAVE THE ROPE AND TRIED TO GET IT IN THE MORNING BUT DDN'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO RAP DOWN AND GET IT PROPERLY, WENT BACK AFTER WORK AND IT WAS GONE, PLEASE PLEASE, IF YOU HAVE MY ROPE, RETURN IT TO THE FIREHOUSE IN ELDORADO SPRINGS OR CALL ME AT 720 217-4897.
    A CLIMBER WITHOUT A ROPE IS A SAD SAD THING, PLEASE OBSERVE KARMA.
    THANK YOU.
    I KNOW THIS IS THE CRACK FORUM, BUT I JUST WANT A LOT OF PeoPLe TO SEE THIS POST.
    By TJ Quirk
    From: Parker, CO
    Oct 8, 2009

    Nervous going into it. But when I got to the chains on the first pitch, I knew the whole route would be pure fun. Don't get spooked by 'polished rock'. Great climbing, and check out the cable that Ivy Baldwin used to tightrope over to the Wind Tower. If you liked this route, try the Lover's Leap Crack off 470 and 85. It's got the same exposure and a 'two move stem crux'.
    By Sofia Cortopassi
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 2, 2009

    CAREFUL! As you come over the bulge before the awkward traverse on the 2nd or 3rd pitch (don't know which because we did the route in 3 pitches), there is a VERY loose, unmarked flake. It scared the hell out of me and I would have marked it, but A, it was dark; B, I had no light; C, or markers. Will someone please mark it?
    By Chris D
    From: the couch
    Jan 10, 2010

    I climbed the first pitch of this last September. My second lead at 5.7, and yeah, the step below the crack is slippery, but if you reach into the crack, there's a tiny ledge of rock inside the crack on the side that you're stepping from that you can wrap your fingertips around and get a pretty solid grip (or was I dreaming). I had to feel around in the crack for a bit to find it.

    It was a lot of fun, and just the first pitch deserves classic status for being as vertical as it is at the grade, and the rock is beautiful. Clouds rolled in and it was raining as we rapped down from the first belay.

    Re: the grade...I don't know what all the fuss is about. I don't see people trying to upgrade Friday's Folly, which I led the day before, and found much more difficult, at least in the problem-solving and psychological aspects of it. For one, the moves on the first pitch of the Bastille Crack were obvious, no guessing, and if you have trouble placing adequate gear here (how?!) you should work your way up to the grade more slowly. It was easy to protect, even for a beginner like me.

    Having to watch out for cars while you belay is a little odd....
    By flynn
    Jan 11, 2010

    Re the fourth pitch: when in doubt, go up and left. When you can't see around a corner, reach, and your hand will land on a 5.6 hold. If it looks harder than 5.6, don't go there. If it feels harder than 5.6, you're off route. Remember up and left.
    By Gary Schmidt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Feb 1, 2010

    Yes, and per Chris' comment above about belaying the road, I actually threw my rope down on the road while rappelling down off of Werk Supp and a car came and drove right over it! Didn't even bother to try and go around.
    By Brett Brotherton
    From: Arvada, CO
    May 14, 2010

    Did this climb today for the first time, and it was great. I did the 8 variation on the 2nd pitch and didn't have any big cams but was able to slot a nut up and left from the start of the short traverse. The variation was not to difficult, but it did feel a little run out.

    It had rained last night, but the route looked dry. The 4th pitch felt like 5.8s though as half the holds had water on them and couldn't be used, be careful if it's wet.
    By Anthony Baraff
    From: Paris, France
    Aug 13, 2010

    A friend and I did Bastille Crack a few weeks ago. I have a question about the final pitch variations. I the new (awesome) Eldo Guide book it lists an 8- PG variation that climbs the corner off-width and it lists an 8+ PG-13 variation that takes the nice crack just to the left of the off-width. We did the "8- PG" variation which approximately matches the "fun finish" listed above, and found the gear by the crux to be a little lacking. Maybe a #5 would protect the last few moves up the off-width, but with a standard rack you find yourself about 10 feet above your last piece(s) and only 16 feet above a ledge. I haven't done the crack to the left, but I have a hard time imagining how the gear could be worse given that it's a finger/hand crack. Any thoughts?
    By Niccole
    From: Denver, CO
    Aug 20, 2010
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Lovely route, but the PF is closer to a 5 than a 1 (Polish Factor).
    By Bill Olszewski
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Oct 7, 2010
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Unbelievably sweet line! No issue with the polish - the constrictions of the crack hold your fingers and hands just fine. Loved the 5.8 finish variation.
    By Martin Harris
    Apr 27, 2011

    This was one of my first leads and a great climb. And the low crux getting into the hand crack I was told to protect before commiting to the hand crack. Which is done easily and you don't have to worry about your gear ripping out of that sketchy flake.
    By Mark P Thomas
    From: Draper
    Jun 7, 2011
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

    Call me silly, but I found P2 to be a good deal harder than P1. P1 was scarier until you've protected after the step-across, but otherwise, I wonder how P2 gets a lower rating? Superb climb and excellent for every foot of it to the top of the last pitch!

    In addition too, linking P1 & P2, with 70m doubles we easily linked P3 & P4. It could possibly work with a 60m single if you are smart with your pro placements on the first part of P4 and don't mind running that part out.

    BTW, my 5.8 rating is just in relation to how the climb felt to me compared to ratings in Yosemite Valley. Eldo's ratings are stout :-)
    By Tyrel Fuller
    From: Denver, CO
    Jun 30, 2011
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

    There did not seem to be any moves that warrant 5.7. I submitted a 5.4 rating because it seemed easier than any other 5.5-6 multi-pitch routes I have done. The short third pitch was definitely the funnest climbing of the entire route.
    By J tot
    From: Tempe, AZ
    Jul 2, 2011

    Tyrel, quit trolling. Even by Seneca standards, these were worth their ratings, not to mention I either went off route or pitch 4 is definitely the crux pitch! Not the start.
    By Tyrel Fuller
    From: Denver, CO
    Jul 5, 2011
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

    Pitch 4 did have that funky stance on it, but I don't think it's 5.7. I have sweated bullets on 5.6 pitches in the Gunks, and this route was CHILL. If this is 5.8, then I should be one-hanging Jumbo Love.
    By Tommey-James
    From: Boulder,Colorado
    Jul 8, 2011
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Tyler, the first three pitches are way harder than 5.4. If you think The Wind Ridge (5.5) is harder than the Bastille, you are crazy. Calling this climb 5.4 goes well beyond sandbagging, it's being a jerk.
    By Tyrel Fuller
    From: Denver, CO
    Jul 11, 2011
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

    Toomy, I am simply voicing my opinion on the grade along with 50 other people, so why don't you forget the attitude and leave it alone. It is such a problem that I have an opinion that is different than a few others?
    By David Hankin
    Oct 16, 2011

    I pooped my pants on pitch two. I wish I was kidding. I just thought everyone should know.
    By WadeM
    From: Golden, Co
    Apr 5, 2012

    The transfer at the first crack can easily be protected with a 0.5 if you can reach across to the crack. I placed this before I fully committed and was way fine.

    Overall, fun route, I'd give it 5.7.
    Did it this morning at 8 and while cold, we had the whole wall to ourselves (no wonder....no sun haha).

    Glad I woke up to do this.
    By Brett Bauer
    May 25, 2012
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    After many years of not doing this route and just walking by...
    Plan B ended up with us on this route while rock trumbling was going on at Redgarden!

    Personally found it to be anti-climactic! Pitch 2 was great! Combining 1 & 2 would be a great pitch and maybe 1, 2, and 3 with a 70m would be stellar! 4 and 5 were just not interesting, blocky, and slightly wandering ... feel these 2 pitches take away from it being classic!

    Atop pitch 3 is a fixed cam a #1 & 2 maybe a 3 cam should help that belay also a stopper, too.
    Atop pitch 2 with a pin gear about 1 to 2 inches... I used a lrg stopper and tricam....
    Extend those runners to not sacrifice your cams... so many cams walked deep into the flake systems....
    Leave the small stuff behind... and the big stuff, too, 1/2" to 3" place non stop, so double up on those if you like placing pro very 8-10 ft. and personally think of this climb as G rated!

    Superfun, though don't get me wrong... will do again for sure... enjoyed the historic pin scars, and blown & cracked pins on this route... good reminder to back them up or just skip and place pro!
    By Jay W.
    From: Longmont, CO
    Aug 19, 2012

    Does anyone know what the grade is for doing the more direct line for pitch 4 (according to the pitch breakdown in the description). I didn't traverse all the way over to the handcrack/gully and instead took the first line up that I could (shallow, corner-type thing that turned into face climbing past some shrubberies). The grade felt in line with the previous pitches, and besides being a little dirty/loose, it was fun.
    By Canon
    Sep 10, 2012
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    A gear graveyard! Even with long slings I had a couple pieces try and walk on me, so watch out. Do the 5.8 "fun finish"!
    By Ryan Beard
    Aug 18, 2013

    Lost an red #4 Metolius master cam at the base of the Bastille Crack on Friday, August 16th, 2013 in the afternoon/evening. Please post/contact me if you picked it up. Thanks. Awesome climb.
    By NickinCO
    From: colorado
    Mar 27, 2014
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Climbed this route again yesterday for the 5th or 6th time and finished right before a wicked storm rolled in. Had what I would guess to be 70+ mph winds for the hike down.… Super fun! Has anyone done it in 2 pitches with a 70m? I was thinking you could link pitches 1-3 (the best climbing), and 4/5 with some long slings for the traverse on pitch 4.

    It's also quite easy to link 3/4 with a 60m, I thought about attempting pitches 3-5 yesterday, but we had a 60m rope and I think I would have came up about 20' short and had some bad rope drag.
    By Phil Lauffen
    From: The Bubble
    Mar 27, 2014
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    I've done it in two pitches with a 70m a few times. I linked 1+2, 3+4+5.
    By NickinCO
    From: colorado
    Apr 1, 2014
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Cool, next time I try it, I think I'm going to shoot for 1-3 and 4/5.
    By Alex Vidal
    From: Boulder, CO
    May 11, 2014

    Linking pitches 1-3 and 4-5 is possible with a 70m, there is even rope to spare. Drag is really not bad, even with 200 ft of rope out.
    By Benjamn P
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 2, 2014

    Retrieved a nut and, more importantly, a cam from the route yesterday. PM me & describe it/location to get it back!
    By WadeM
    From: Golden, Co
    Jun 6, 2014

    Did it in 2 pitches yesterday morning with a 60m.

    Single rack to 4. If this is your first trad or trying to break into 5.7/5.8, the crack will SEW up with doubles from fingers to 4. No needs for nuts.

    0.3 protects off the deck very nicely. If you're comfortable running it out, 2 pitches is the way to go.
    By Owen Murphy
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Jul 6, 2014

    Climbed this beautiful multipitch with my wife yesterday. Super uber polished in areas and def seems like it can be pretty crowded, but we were lucky and had it to ourselves. It is ridiculous how much pro has been left behind in this route. Lastly, the shade is awesome!
    By Eddie Prados
    Sep 6, 2014
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

    Loved to solo this at sunset, but it's harder than 5.7 sandbagger rating back in the day. When you're 30 feet off the deck and you realize that you committed yourself to this free climb, you're focused like a fiend. Didn't want to start "The Elvis" and peel off. Much relief at the summit by the old cables with the orange sunset. A memory etched in my mind forever. Felt a rush of adrenaline in my veins after that climb that got me hooked on climbing for life.
    By Matt Holmes
    From: Denver, Colorado
    Sep 14, 2014

    I recovered a cam 9-13-2014 that someone probably abandoned as fixed. PM me with brand/size/etc. and I'll get it back to you.
    By Aaron Furman
    May 31, 2015
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Doesn't get any better for a classic climb (unless you are moonlighting on a birthday climb with your best friends in tandem, and then it's simply CLASSIC).
    By johnkelly
    Jul 24, 2015

    Pitch 4/5 can be a bit confusing if you don't check out topo a ahead of time, mistakenly got off route and had to back track to get back onto route. Accidentally left a yellow Neutrino in a piton on pitch 5! There for the taking!
    By Chris Walden
    From: Soldotna, Alaska
    Aug 23, 2015
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Climbed Bastille Crack and Rewritten the weekend of 8/15/15. In our humble opinion, Rewritten is a grade harder than Bastille Crack. So 5.6/5.7 or 5.7/5.8, take your pick. Personally have Bastille Crack at 5.7 and Rewritten at 5.8.

    Most of this route is protected from the sun which is nice. P1 is pretty polished. P1 & P2 are the crux pitches goes easy after that. The downclimb from the summit is pretty cool.

    Bastille Crack and Rewritten are awesome climbs!
    By Adam Blonsky
    Apr 13, 2016

    Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch of The Bastille Crack.
    1st pitch of The Bastille Crack.


    Absolutely great climb today, the first pitch is a bit polished but otherwise really great. Had to abandon a #11 BD stopper on pitch 3 or 4, so if anyone gets it out, please let me know.

    Also, the attached picture is of the group that was ahead of us, if you'd like the rest of the photos, just message me your email.
    By Alex Vidal
    From: Boulder, CO
    May 25, 2016

    My follower had to leave my beloved 0.5 x4 on the 4th pitch. If anyone gets it out, I can provide 12 tasty beers in exchange.
    By JNM
    Jun 5, 2016

    Accidentally left a tied sling on the barrier wall opposite the Bastille Crack today. Blue with a black covering the neck.
    If someone picked it up, please contact me...it isn't very valuable but has sentimental value...it was given to me by a dear friend.
    Thanks.
    By Emil Briggs
    Jun 24, 2016
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Super fun route. The last time I climbed it around 15 years ago I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have, since it started pouring rain on the 4th pitch, and we topped out with lightning snapping all around. A much more pleasant day today.
    By Matt Westlake
    From: Durham, NC
    Jul 3, 2016

    Anybody have the backstory on the exploded pin on P4? As I wandered by it, I got lost in a daydream of someone blowing it out as they whipped by holding a loose block, although I suspect something more mundane, like someone trying to remove it via funkness. It would make for a nasty landing if that was your first and only pro and you fell.
    By Ted Pinson
    From: Chicago, IL
    Jul 29, 2016

    I thought 5.7 was fair, although I'm from the Midwest, so I'm used to stiff grades. The first pitch was amazing but not nearly as difficult to climb or protect as people are making it seem. A #4 helps a lot for psychological purposes, because you can shove it in that huge flake right before doing the crux traverse, although you do have to play with it to get a solid placement since the crack is a bit flaring. I actually found the short 3rd pitch to be the crux of the climb. Exiting that overhanging finger crack by pulling over the small roof was quite spicy on lead, as there were next to no feet and I ended up having to lock off a crimp to get my feet up and pray there was something better above (luckily, there was a thank-God jug!). Knowing how to crack climb definitely helps (esp. for 2nd pitch), and if you don't, I could see where people would find the route sandbagged, but if you do, it's an incredibly fun climb.
    By jmeizis
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Aug 10, 2016
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

    Found a draw at the base today. Describe it, and I'll help you get it back.
    By Michael Melice
    Aug 11, 2016

    Had to bail off Bastille due to weather a week ago and left a #0.75 Black Diamond with a green biner on it halfway up the first pitch. If you happened grab this and want to return it, give me a call 3306963878.
    By Grey Satterfield
    From: Broomfield
    Aug 11, 2016
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Climbed for the first time today. Found it to be much harder than Rewritten. Take as many #3s as your heart desires for sewing up the 2nd pitch.
    By Keith W
    Aug 15, 2016
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    BC = rad. Fun times. Look out for the #1 Camalot graveyard 1/4 of the way up P2. I think there are about 5 in there.... Extend yer pro, buddy!
    By Stephano Terjak
    Aug 19, 2016
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R

    The Bastille Crack is, in many climbers opinion, one of the best moderate multi+pitch routes in North America. If you have strong lead+climbing skills at the 5.8 level, a competent, experienced partner, and the weather is nay cold, you should have a blast. (If either of you flail on the first 1/2 pitch .. heed the Gods and rappel at the chains, otherwise all kinds of negative are likely to manifest.) Enjoy the crack climbing by making the moves slowly, with the joy of physical movement. Be courteous and graceful at the base, and en route, as the desire to climb this route can result in amped up emotions amongst fellow humanoid rock climbers.... Pay homage to our passionate & ballsy & talented patriarch, tight+wire walker (sans leash) Ivy Baldwin at the top by clipping the 1" steel anchor cables. Then perhaps head up to the Visitors Center, and watch the DVD of the history of the Canyon with footage of Mr. Ivy Baldwin's high wire walks (and then hit the pool (now heated, summer 2016,) for a grrreat way to soak it all in). Enjoy.
    By Healyje
    From: PDX
    Sep 10, 2016

    This was my first rope solo back in 1975, and after decades away, my wife and I made a quick overnight trip in and out of town last year so I could do a fortieth anniversary rope solo of it.

    Unfortunately, however, we were so tired we ended up oversleeping in the hotel that morning and found the usual conga line on the route and in line when we got there. I was pretty bummed, because I only had a few hours available for the climb and it clearly wasn't going to be happening from the end of the line at the rate things were moving. Then all of a sudden, and seemingly out of nowhere, dark clouds and a truly fierce wind came up along with some rain, so everyone in line scattered and the first two parties on the route bailed. Once everyone dispersed, I was able to jump on it and was lucky the wind edged back a bit and the rain became intermittent. All in all, it all made for a fairly wild and somewhat less-than-casual go of it, and I felt incredibly lucky to have been able to do it again.

    But the most striking thing about the whole experience wasn't so much the climb but rather that so little had changed in Eldo and on the route itself since 1975. It was like being whisked back through the decades in a time machine - I still can't get over how odd that aspect of it felt. On top of that every other move and placement was like running into a long lost friend with all kinds of memories flooding back. It was also a treat to be able to lay a hand on Ivy Baldwin's cable at the top.

    Say what you will, but it's as timeless a classic as they come.
    By Ryan14
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Sep 27, 2016

    I got a RED #1 BD CAM STUCK at the top of the second pitch. If you find it and have an iron grip to pull the thing out, you will be rewarded with beer and good karma....

    Cheers, Ryan
    call/text me at 303-653-6260
    By Justin Rich
    Nov 3, 2016

    P4 variation - what is it? Went straight up from the belay instead of traversing left. Still crossed the traversing gap but then set up the belay by the pin and headed straight up through some easy roof moves (harder than 5.6 though). This seem to be the harder variation described but haven't found any info on a name or thoughts on the rating. Just curious.

    P4. 5.6, 100'. Traverse left to a short corner with a destroyed fixed pin. Continue traversing left on awkward, off-balance moves past another fixed pin (crux). Go all the way left to a hand crack, and climb it to a corner. ****Don't start up too soon or you'll be off route on a harder variation.**** Climb the corner, then continue up and right on easy ramps to a belay stance below or just right of a chimney.
    By Chase Violet 1
    Nov 7, 2016

    Bailed at the top of P3 yesterday (11/6/16) (partner was panicking and we had run out of daylight), I had to leave a #0.75 Cam, a green DMM biner, and a locking biner at a piton lower down. If anyone recovers them, it would be great if you could reach out to me to return them.
    By Michael Underwood
    From: Denver, CO
    Nov 11, 2016
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Found your gear and sent you a PM. Just let me know when you'd like to meet, and I'll get it back to you.
    By Tim Meehan
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 18, 2017
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    A bit more about getting down: when you reach the saddle at the top of the chimney on pitch 5, you are at the top of the route. The saddle rises up briefly to the northwest, or falls off sharply to the south, or rises up, by Ivy Baldwin's steel cables, to the southeast. Go southeast, up, past the cables, about 30 feet, and wiggle through a large inclined gap in the rock. You'll find the descent trail on the other side of the gap. The trail follows a gently descending ramp, that travels southeast along the entire west side of the Bastille. There are a few places where a short downclimb is necessary, maybe 10 ft, but not more than that. See the annotated photo in the photo section for the route.
    By Scott Dewey
    May 13, 2017

    Dropped a yellow #2 cam off of the third belay station. It fell quite far down to a ledge below. If found, please let me know, and I'll throw some cash/beer your way. Thanks a million! Oh, and the climb is wonderful. Give it a go if you get the chance...just be sure to hang on to your cams. Cheers!
    By S2k4life
    From: beaver creek, CO
    Jun 20, 2017

    Just onsight lead this on Sunday June 18th at about 4pm maybe, nobody at the bottom and a group sitting atop pitch 2. I'm a 5.7 leader and follow 5.9.

    Here is current beta:

    Did Rewritten first same day, Bastille is def. harder, it's steeper and more sustained 5.7 moves. However, it's not too polished or slippery or overcrowded to miss out on this classic. Go to a pure crack climbing crag, and see what it's all about. Then do climbs like this, and you won't complain!

    Pitch one beginning is not as hard or as slippery / polished as people are making it seem, the crack is very nice for jamming and laybacks. With that being said, definitely helps to have crack climbed 5.7 before because the climb goes 5.7t, but this is not the crux IMO. The next part after the chains is def. harder, crux probably in there somewhere, but the whole climb is sustained.

    Also good note to protect the beginning, pretty positive I got a 0.3. I was in the crack on the left before I pulled into it, I also had pieces on the right. I'm 6'0" tall, and stemming from the flake on the right to pulling and laying back into the crack on the left was enjoyable and not that hard.

    Pitch one 65ft is easily combined with pitch 2 with 60m rope assuming you have essential gear by climbing past the chains on the left. This is where having crack climbed really helps, as it's pure, beautiful, vertical, steep crack up about 80 feet to a good obvious belay ledge.

    Here you are atop pitch two in one pitch a long, beautiful, sustained line that goes pretty straight, once again the fun doesn't stop here. The next pitch follows the obvious steep crack on the left, more laying back and jamming with little feet, it's only about 70 feet, and you summit over a big, left-slanting ledge that you stay into the right corner, and at this point there is a lot of rope drag. So what I did was built my anchor in the obvious crack just to the left at the bottom of the next pitch. This is what I thought the best thing to do was. Worked well.

    Finally the last pitch is about 130 feet, you need runners for this. Still the intensity of this climb keeps going, it is sustained until about the last 50 feet, haha. There was a chimney in the end which I always think are easy, but some may call a b. Anyways with what you got to work with, I found it best to belay about 5 feet short of the summit in a little alcove behind a boulder at the top of the chimney. Basically, it worked well for us!

    Descent: from there go back up and left find Ivy's wire, clip a biner into it, unclip, follow the wire back to the south on the right through a tight, gullyish down hike. There is one spot 4th class. There is a big wall on your left, and Bastille is directly behind you. Follow the wall down towards the south passing a big, gnarly sport climb on the left, carefully make the hiking trail!

    Do this climb towards the end of the day, don't let someone say it will be sweaty or chalky. If you can do the moves, what's the issue. Less and less people will start this climb the later it is, and people leave. Now's a opening instead of waiting and being bored, climbing while watching the sun go down is magnificent, can't beat it! Hope all this helps lol. This is how much I loved this climb.
    By William Thiry
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Jun 27, 2017
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Truly a classic. Every pitch is terrific, and each are distinctly different in nature from the others. The traverse into the crack on pitch one never fails to make me hesitate and heighten my focus on the move into the crack - trust those feet and finger jams (thankfully it protects very well with one or two 0.5 cams in the bottom of the crack). The 2nd pitch may be the best of the climb; it is long and continuously engaging at the 5.6 level (maybe a 5.7 move or two). The 5.8 crux on pitch three is an exquisite sequence of delicate balance to pure power back to delicate balance. The 4th pitch has been overlooked due to the quality of the 1st three pitches, but it is a gem itself requiring imaginative and gymnastic movement on 5.7 terrain. The final chimney pitch is fun and best enjoyed as a free solo.
    By Craig Gomulka
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 3, 2017
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Hi, I accidentally left my buddy's cam just above the first bolted anchor, it's right next to another fixed cam. If anyone comes across it, please message me, thank you!

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