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The Flakes 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: FA: Dalke & Ament, 1961
FFA: Ferguson, Erickson, Conklin, & Clark, 1970
Page Views: 4,192
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jul 30, 2001

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Peter Dillon at the crux.

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  • Description 

    Begin to the right of some boulders at the base of the prominent wall just a hundred meters directly north and up from the large cement slab by the river. The climb starts just right of C'est la Morte and heads up and around the left side of obvious giant, left-facing flakes.

    It is a neat climb with two very different types of climbing: The first half as you climb up and around the overhanging flakes requires pumpy liebacking and some jamming. The upper half is a balancey face climb. The pumpy crux is a few feet of the deck, and then there is a tricky reach (balancey crux) a few feet from the finish - both are well protected.

    Be careful of rope drag & make sure you protect your partner as you traverse right once you pass the flakes and then head straight up.

    Rap off the anchors.

    This is a great one pitch climb.


    Mid cams for the first half, two draws (preferrably one with a long runner) for the upper half. Bolted anchors at top.

    Photos of The Flakes Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The fun upper wall is visible. This can all be don...
    The fun upper wall is visible. This can all be don...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The first pitch with climbers at the optional bela...
    The first pitch with climbers at the optional bela...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Above the undercling ceiling. Intimidating, perhap...
    Above the undercling ceiling. Intimidating, perhap...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Above the first hard move (the crux?). Photo by Pa...
    Above the first hard move (the crux?). Photo by Pa...
    Rock Climbing Photo: My circuitous route up The Flakes on 9/7/03.  Your...
    My circuitous route up The Flakes on 9/7/03. Your...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The start.
    BETA PHOTO: The start.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Christa Cline starting the traverse to the anchor.
    Christa Cline starting the traverse to the anchor.

    Comments on The Flakes Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 1, 2015
    By Jeff Lockyer
    From: Canmore, AB
    Nov 5, 2001

    A really nice route but be careful of rope drag once you turn the little roof to the right, I made a little mistake a therefore couldnt clip the pitons, not a big deal because of bolt 6 feet higher. May want to protect the second after the bolt if he/she is not quite at 5.9 as there would be a good swing. Gear is tricky on the upper half once you turn the roof but the climbing eases off. I would give it ** and not ***. C'st la Morte is a better route, albeit a bit harder. Ciao....
    By Gary Stetler
    Apr 11, 2002

    This was the first route I did when I moved to Boulder in 1983. At that time, the Ericson guide rated this (and Whistle Stop) as 5.7. I thought I was being conservative in my route choices, hoping to get used to the distinctly non-Yosemite type of climbing that Eldo offered, on something well below my limit. I'm not sure that these routes are 5.9, but I must say that I was pretty sure that I'd never be able to lead 5.10 in Eldo if they were really only 5.7.
    By Old Fart aka Dave Bohn
    Jun 23, 2003

    5.9 ??? !!! I did this back in ' 74 hearing that this route in my "High Over Boulder" guide rated 5.6 A1 was done free at 5.7. We went and did it and I couldn't believe that anyone would have even used aid !! I thought it was over-rated at 5.7 !! Times change (and maybe some holds) ??
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Jun 24, 2003
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

    Thought I posted this before, but 6 hours later it doesn't show up...I believe the route is consistent with the range of 5.9. Perhaps some of the flakes pulled out... perhaps the 30 year old memories are a little off David... or maybe the route was easy enough not to be within your range of good sensitivity. In any case, I have done a majority (quite literally) of the 5.6's, 5.7's, and 5.9's in Eldo in the last decade, including this route 4X that come to mind immediately, as recently as last month. At the present standard, I think calling this route "less than 5.7" (5.6?) is a dangerous sandbag. You better count on falling off of this if you are a 5.7 climber, and some of 'the flakes' can damage your rope if you are not using the right judgment for slings and placements.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Jul 2, 2003
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Finally got on the sharp end of this route and here's my 2 cents. The first flake can be sent directly up and over from the middle or around to the left. IMHO these moves are no harder than (8). That move takes you to a pretty good ledge that will suck you right. Don't get fooled, head left around and up the next flake. Wonderful climbing there with a good stance to place a #2 cam, and layback the second big flake, which IMHO is more estetic, and I believe the intended route. Again, IMO this was (8) favoring taller folks. The 2nd pitch is really fun, a crack with thoughtful moves, kinda thin in a few spots (one (9) move, the rest (8)ish), with decent placements. Throw a #3 in the corner once at the ledge to protect your second. Although this route can be done in one long pitch I suppose, recommend belying on the ledge down below, as rope drag on the second pitch would not be fun, as its balancey up there in a few places.
    By Ben Mottinger
    Founding Father
    Aug 1, 2003
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    You can get more gear than two draws for the second half. I placed about 5 I think. A mid-size offset nut and #1 Friend can be placed in addition to the pitons, last bolt, and a #2.5 Friend at the start.

    Felt easier than C'est la Vie, West Buttress, etc.
    By Brent Roaten
    From: Anchorage, AK
    Sep 26, 2003

    I highly recommend combing this pitch with Cest la mort rather than traversing over to Whistle Stop. The flakes, cest la mort and the crux of whistle stop make for an interesting long 3-star pitch but rope drag could be an issue if you don't carefully place your slings.
    By Holly Barnard
    Nov 30, 2003
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    Just did the route this afternoon, and thought it was pretty unremarkable (to the point that I'm remarking on it). Good fun moves at the bottom and some fun moves at the top, but nothing too great in between. I would consider a 3 star route to be a 'destination climb' that you send all your buddies to. I'd say this climb is worth doing as a 'filler climb' (e.g. want to get one more line in on your way out af the park). I also thought the crux was a few ft. off the deck, and not up at bolt. Route is well protected, but P1 can be a bit awkward in places.
    By Guy H.
    From: Fort Collins CO
    Dec 1, 2003
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    I would also recommend traversing until you meet up with C'est La Morte's thin crack. This will keep the climbing at the 5.8-5.9 level the whole way to the anchors. Make sure you bring lots of long slings for the traverse.I was about 10 feet into the thin crack on C'est la Morte, and noticed that I was running out of slings. I had to climb the last 30ft with only a RP and the final bolt for protection to keep rope drag at a minimum.

    There appears to be a semi-detached block at the start of C'est la Morte's thin crack. Be careful...
    By Tonya Clement
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 17, 2004
    rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    This is a great after work route. It got my attention right off the ground. My left leg would not stop shaking. I think it is a bit below a 9 but a stiff 8 so I give it an 8+. I felt the protection was always good and there was always a solid hand or foot hold. The challenge was just getting the confidence to lay back the lower section and trust that if I kept moving the next good hand or foot would appear. It always did. There were just brief moments of fear from the unknown. To sum it up, I think there is a lot of excitement in this short route.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    May 3, 2004
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Haven't climbed this since last July and was surprised today to find a bolt hanger at the upper crux that wasn't there last summer. That fact tames the upper half of this route quite a bit now....
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Oct 9, 2004
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Fun climbing through the flakes and cracks. Funky crux move at the bolt. Be careful to protect your second when topping out.
    By Jason Shatek
    Nov 27, 2004

    Great route, my second 9 lead. the first pitch is well protected with the traverse being a bit slippery but there are great holds right after the crux and a good place to rest. We did the route in two pitches stopping at the optional belay. This is where things got interesting. The face climbing is easier but there is little gear to place. In 30-40 feet I got one stopper and one red alien placed and that was it. I was really happy to clip the pin by the supposed crux to eliminate my 20 feet of runout. The crux at the end is pretty easy.
    By Bo Johnston
    Mar 6, 2005
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    A fun climb but really not very demanding. I was excited about the undercling move at the start but was almost disapointed by the bomber flake above after only a single small undercling.The face above is fun and it did take a minute before commiting to the face crux at the top past the bolt.
    By Carissa Aoki
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Sep 6, 2005

    Started up this route yesterday (9/5), and needed to retreat from the pin due to rain. There was an old-ish orange (or formerly orange) sling attached to it, from which we rapped. Just wanted to note that the sling is probably significantly weakened now...we didn't realize that rope and sling were both wetter than we thought, so pulling was quite strenuous. (It would have been smarter of us to use a leaver biner.) I won't have time to get back on it in the near future to replace the sling, so thought I'd at least note it here...
    By Gary Schmidt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 6, 2007

    A fun route. Made for an interesting onsight lead but the traverse undercling turned out to be a bit more friendly then it looked. Actually I found the initial crack just getting up to the traverse to be the most strenuous part of the climb. Like commented in other places, look out for rope drag on the first section as my rope got caught in a crack making a few climbing moves quite tenuous. Upper half is just pure fun. 60m rope just gets u back to terra firma.
    By Mike Robinson
    From: Worcester, MA
    Apr 20, 2007
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    Great route with some excellent moves, however, lots of places for rope drag and rope to get caught. Looking back I would have back cleaned the initial corner as I was climbing the route. I ended up with the rope being fully caught and had to go through some surgery to get the rope free. Again, this is a great route despite the fact that I did not have the best time with it.
    By Paul Hunnicutt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Feb 24, 2008
    rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

    I wouldn't really recommend this as in intro 5.9 lead. I think the potential rope drag and somewhat tricky placements above the ledge midway (before the pin) aren't ideal. However, the climbing is relatively easy the whole way for a long as you have your pro right. I can see slipping off easily as it is balancey and not all downward facing holds up top.
    By Ben Burnett
    From: Colorado
    Apr 9, 2009
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    After the initial flakes, I stepped left to follow the "Morte" crack (which was hard to commit to), and then finished on Whistle Stop as Guy suggests. This is probably my favorite way of climbing these routes - best rock, moves and gear, and quite sustained. 5.8 for flakes proper, 5.9 if including the "Morte" crack.
    By Adam Scheer
    Apr 1, 2011

    This is one of my favorite warm up/cool down routes in Eldo.

    We did this route yesterday and thankfully, someone put giant, thumb-sized tick marks on every jug, crimp, foothold and smedging opportunity along the top section.

    Thanks! If it weren't for the 17 tick marks at the crux bolt, I wouldn't have known where to put my feet. Life saver.

    Just to be nasty to the next party, I rubbed as many tick marks off with my sleeves as I could. After all, if you really want to know where every hold is before you climb a route, the BRC is right down the road.

    Sorry if I ruined someone's epic proj.
    By Benten
    From: Denver
    Oct 28, 2011
    rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    Definitely 7+ at most! Hasn't anyone ever climbed Rewritten?!?
    By Dave Miller
    From: Boulder
    Feb 15, 2014
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    A good solid 5.8 pitch IMHO. Did it today on a 37 degree day...ouch the weather lady said 64 degrees!?!?
    If rope drag (or cold hands) is an issue, you can always break it into two short pitches. Belay at ledge above the first piton.
    By The Blueprint Part Dank
    From: FEMA Region VIII
    Mar 17, 2014

    Super fun route. As the description says, you get two very distinct styles of climbing on the route. Above the Flakes, the face looks incredibly scary and runout, but as you climb up, bomber gear appears exactly when you need it. You aren't following a prominent feature, so if you get confused about where to go, remember to follow the path without any lichen on the face.

    This route is one of my favorite single pitches in Eldo, it is not to be missed.
    By Kerr Adams
    From: Albuquerque, NM
    Jun 1, 2015
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

    This is a great route!
    The climbing up to the bolt after the roof is relatively easily, but there isn't all that much gear.

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