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The Meat Cleaver 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Maurice Reed and Bruce Sposi, 1983.
Page Views: 778
Submitted By: Mark Roth on Feb 22, 2011

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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BETA PHOTO: The start of the 4th class approach ramp near &quo...

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I give this route 3 stars for adventure. It really should be a classic considering the awesome feature that it climbs. As soon as I saw it, I had "Cleaver Fever!" and knew I had to climb it, but the truth is: it is dirty, rotten, hard, and dangerous...and probably too much work and suffering for the average climber....

P1: Follow the obvious ramp that leads up to the "Cleaver" roof. This is about 5.9 R. The crack is rotting, mossy, and often wet. About halfway up the ramp there is a place for a #4 (the only gear I found that might hold a fall). A thank God #3 plugs into the start of the roof. Traverse out left jamming at first but then committing to a horrendously physical undercling. Plug a #5 or two and battle around the corner. One topo says this is 5.9!! If only there were some foot holds, it might feel 5.10, but the face is pretty blank and slick with lichen. It's pretty wide at the lip and we used a valley giant (YOU could place a blue Bigbro here if you are strong enough, I am not...). There are new bolt anchors on a chockstone ledge about 10' higher. THANK YOU, bolt fairies! Kevin Stricker maybe?? This belay would be scary without this updated anchor....

P2: This is pretty much a squeeze chimney. Big gear is useful here, too, although there is some smaller gear available, too. Climb right side in until the final steep section, then somehow spin around and crank over onto a nice ledge. 5.8+ (~80 feet).

P3: Follow the crack off the left side of the ledge past a tree and up to a roof. The crux is not slipping on lichen while approaching the roof. Pull over to to a ledge with another tree then up a short slab to the top and belay from a tree. 5.9- (~90).


The Meat Cleaver is a super cool looking feature that can bee seen from the hike up.... It's in the center of the wall left of the Equinox roof, and starts from ledges about 200' up. To find the start, first locate the route Arch Nemesis. Then scramble up a right-angling ledge with loose rock and follow the path of least resistance. Go right across ledges up a little then back left. Then go up over a fallen tree the diagonal up right on a shallow, pine needle-covered ledge. Go around right and down into a gully which leads up another 40 feet to a nice ledge with trees. You can start the first pitch from here or continue up 40 feet of 5.2ish rock to the ledge where the ramp to the roof begins. You might want to be roped for some or all of this approach. There were many sections threatening a death fall. Also, do yourself a favor and leave your packs on the ground.

From the top either:

1) Walk off; up and left on the summit slab, there is a short downclimb that leads to a saddle and the walkoff, or to the Wall of Mirrors.

2) Rap the Standard Route (the best option if it is not too crowded) walk right (east) around a corner and over some jumbled blocks to find the first set of chains. 5 raps with a single rope.

3) Rap the route. Might be able to rap the route in two with double ropes from the tree near the top to the first pitch anchor and then to the starting ledge. This distance is unconfirmed and your ropes might get stuck....


A light standard rack, and some big stuff.
Doubles of #3, #4, #5 C4s are nice and one #6.
A #9 Valley Giant is helpful, or a blue Bigbro (or both).

Photos of The Meat Cleaver Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of 3rd pitch.
BETA PHOTO: The start of 3rd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: From the hike in.
BETA PHOTO: From the hike in.
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up P2 with more gear than anyone should E...
Starting up P2 with more gear than anyone should E...
Rock Climbing Photo: The crux of pitch 2.
The crux of pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Coming around the lip.
Coming around the lip.
Rock Climbing Photo: Heading up the sketchy "R" ramp to the r...
Heading up the sketchy "R" ramp to the r...
Rock Climbing Photo: Moving into the crux.  A #5 Camalot is great to ha...
Moving into the crux. A #5 Camalot is great to ha...
Rock Climbing Photo: Stretching to the ONLY good foothold below the roo...
Stretching to the ONLY good foothold below the roo...
Rock Climbing Photo: The route traverses left out the roof and follows ...
BETA PHOTO: The route traverses left out the roof and follows ...

Comments on The Meat Cleaver Add Comment
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By Jay Eggleston
From: Denver
Feb 22, 2011
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

The roof undercling is burly. You can tell this route does not get done very often, as there is a ton of lichen on the face below the roof and in the chimney above. There is also lots of friable, decomposing rock. Despite all of this, the route is actually a fun 3 pitch outing if you like playing with big gear.
By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Feb 23, 2011

Nice job, guys, and great writeup. Cool to see you guys getting after it on the Meat Cleaver.
By Jason Haas
Feb 23, 2011

Mark, great writeup! I thought this route was a piece of shit, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. My partner also liked it, so maybe it was me, but I certainly wouldn't bother doing this route again. I knocked down hundreds and hundreds of pounds of loose rock at the start of the roof (both intentionally and not). I'm also glad to see you thought the roof was harder than the topo rated it. I think 10+ is fair, although my partner basically aided through it after numerous falls, and he doesn't fall on 10+, let alone aid through it, so take that for what it's worth.

I don't think a Valley Giant is needed, but it is helpful. Don't bother with a Big Bro. We took a single set to #6 Camalot and were fine. You can link P1 and P2 with minimal drag, but I don't recommend it as you won't see or hear your partner at the crux and because of the traversing nature and all the drag. A fall even on second would suck, because you'd be in the middle of nowhere.

P2 protected just fine for us with a standard rack, mostly small cams and nuts.

P3 - we took the hand crack in the tight, left-facing corner on the right. I did the crack described above for P3 as well and preferred the right crack if anyone cares. It's not like this thing gets repeated very often. Be careful on P1, though, as a fall before the roof would really ruin your day and the moves aren't trivial (not as hard as they were dirty).
By Mark Roth
From: Boulder
Feb 23, 2011

Thanks, Monty....

Thanks Jason,
I figured you must have been up it as research, and we almost asked you about it but didn't want to ruin the surprise.... I slipped a few times on that ramp up to the roof, scary stuff. I only say it is 5.10 since the Umph Slot is only 5.8 right? A Valley Giant certainly isn't required, but it got placed. That thing was like a hot potato, no one wanted to carry it.

I'll do the right variation on the 3rd pitch "Next Time", ha ha ha. But seriously, this might clean up with more traffic and actually be fun.
By Kevin Stricker
From: Evergreen, CO
Feb 25, 2011

I think the best beta is to place a #5 as high as possible before committing to the undercling and then power through to the stance after the crux. Meat Cleaver is 5.9 like Equinox is 5.10, so maybe 5.10+ in the real world.

Follow the crack up and right at the top for a really good, flared chimney with a handcrack in the back. Definitely the best pitch on the route. David Russell replaced the anchor bolts on P1 back in '05 or so. You can reach them from the top with a 60m rap, but you would need to do 2 raps from there to reach the ground and have a good chance of getting your ropes stuck on the loose rock and trees.
By Princess Mia
From: Vail
Sep 12, 2011
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Well, I completely disagree that this route is rotten!!! Except for the approach pitch, it is excellent.

The approach pitch really is about 200 feet plus of 4th class scrambling with a few 5th class moves. Roping up is not a bad idea. Belay below the "cleaver" on a huge ledge.

P1: climb up the easy dihedral (probably 5.7-5.8) that actually does protect with a few pieces. Yes there is some vegetation in the crack but it can easily be negotiated. A #3 or 3.5 Camalot protects very nicely at the top prior to the undercling traverse. After the step-out on to the face to a good stance (not anymore licheny than any other route in the Platte), a #5 and/or #4.5 Camalot can be placed for the crux move which is only a couple of feet. It is obvious where to go and a fast shuffle and big reach around the corner and the hard part is over. I wouldn't worry about trying to place any big gear at the end as the climbing gets quite easy after pulling the crux move (10b-ish) (which was protected with the above said pieces). Once around the corner, easy climbing to a nice two bolt anchor.

P2: Super fun OW/squeeze to a great ledge 5.9-ish.

P3: We choose the right finish. Another great OW/squeeze pitch 5.9-ish.

Rap down standard route, two 60m raps to the ground.

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