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Unsorted Routes:

The Umph Slot 

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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 150'
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Pat Ament & Wayne Goss, 5.9 A4, 1964. FFA: Chuck Pratt, 1965
Page Views: 9,260
Submitted By: Mark Hammond on Oct 13, 2002

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Rich working the exit moves on The Umph Slot.

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  • Description 

    This is a novelty route. Still, it is one not to be missed. 5.8+ is traditional rating, feel free to choose your own after climbing it. Begin on left side of The Dome near Gorilla's Delight. Climb Pinnacle route, 5.10a or 5.11a, to lower right side of large A-roof and the start of the slot. Struggle to get inside (for the tunnelers) and then struggle some more to escape; head jam optional. If and when you emerge (or are reborn?), take the finger crack on the left. Go spray to your friends about how they must do it.


    Normal rack, include a #4 Camalot. Perhaps, need bigger gear if climbing outside the slot (not tunneling)?

    Photos of The Umph Slot Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Frosty Weller leading the Umph Slot. Mid '80s.
    Frosty Weller leading the Umph Slot. Mid '80s.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Hardest 5.8 ever, awesome.
    Hardest 5.8 ever, awesome.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Probably the most painful route in the universe  w...
    Probably the most painful route in the universe w...

    Comments on The Umph Slot Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 21, 2017
    By Mark Hammond
    From: Eldorado Springs, CO
    Oct 13, 2002

    The 150ft length is a Very Rough estimate. If you try to do it in one pitch and come up have been warned.
    By Cisco
    Oct 14, 2002

    Don't even have an illusion that this route is anywhere near 5.8+, unless your 4'2" and have no shoulders. You can also start this by going up The Owl and continuing left where you would go right to the bottom of Supersqueeze-5.6.
    By Bill Wright
    Oct 14, 2002

    Mark must be a Hobbit or a Dwarf to get inside this route. Climbed on the outside this route is well into the 5.11 range. I recommend two #5 Camalots and a #3 Big Bro if aiding this baby (the only way I could get up it). Nothing else really fits because you can't reach in far enough to place a #4 Camalot. You do place some smaller gear at the start, but be careful you don't place it too deep and you'll need to go find Mark to retrieve it.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 14, 2002
    rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

    The way I have done it (twice) was one side in and one side out. Then you can pinch the rock bewteen your thighs for friction (we called the right side of the crack "Mrs Bubb" as a joke) while thrutching up the with arm-bars and poor jams. Be warned, if you slip in this position, you may damage "the goods. I'm a fairly small guy (5'10" 165lbs) but have VERY long arms, and I'm pretty flexible. So, I fit further in than most people and could reach further back than most who can fit in. I found the climb to tick in at about 5.10+/11-.

    Very body-size dependent. Smaller people have an advantage, but so do apes with VERY long arms and big paws.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Oct 16, 2002

    I saw Dave Miller "wine master to the stars" free solo this without chalk or shoes-no lie!!!
    By david goldstein
    Jun 21, 2003

    Hard to give this nasty 10' stretch of climbing a difficulty or a quality rating. For one thing, it's completely size dependent. As someone who is pretty narrow front to back, I could just barely fit inside -- removing my gear sling made the difference between success and failure. As a squeeze chimney, the way I climbed it, it was considerably harder than the notorious squeeze chimney section of the Harding Slot; this would make Umph Slot at least 5.10. As an offwidth, the way someone wider would have to climb it, it's probably that much harder.

    Note that most of the way there is good hand size gear (and handjams) in the back, if you can reach.

    Do this back to back w/ Supersqueeze for the full on abuse program -- 20' feet of climbing that will feel like that many pitches.
    By Steve Annecone
    From: boulder
    Oct 25, 2003
    rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

    This has got to be one of the nicest offwidths in Boulder (although granted, there aren't that many). I found it to be very sustained throughout the overhanging section, with very insecure arm barring and toe heel moves, until a killer chicken wing about 10 feet out can be obtained. I used a #5 Camalot and moved it along, until leaving it behind near where you can get up on the less steep upper face. I'd call this test piece 5.10d and felt it had moves as hard as the crux on Crack of Fear. Great route!
    By James Beissel
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 1, 2005
    rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

    This climb is unratable. Stuff yourself in it and call it whatever you want. I'm about 190 and getting inside the crack isn't even an option. My chest won't fit in, but I can get some good chicken wings and work the lip gaston style with my right hand. I use a #3, #2, #5, #4.5 Camalots, with some extra #1s or #2s for the anchor. Placing a #3 low on the pitch keeps the rope out of your way if you fall out.
    By Jason Price
    Nov 20, 2006
    rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

    I'm not a big dude--5'9", 145 lbs., and I had to climb out of the crack, chicken-winging hard with my left arm, kind of gastonneing/smearing with my right hand. Hard to believe that 15-20' of climbing gets you so thoroughly pumped! My pushing muscles--triceps/pecs (and my adductors, with regards to Mrs. Bubb!)--are aching today with nary a pain in my pulling muscles. Re: gear, we used 2 #2 Camalots low in the crack, one about 1' above the other, and a #6 Friend, pretty tipped out, 1' above that. If you aid this thing, take several #5 Camalots or #6 Friends, but for free climbing, I would say just place a #2 Camalot as high as you can and then punch it. David Goldstein is right: this thing is definitely harder than the squeeze section of the Harding Slot.
    By Mike fenice
    From: Boulder, CO
    May 12, 2007
    rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

    After having butterflies in my stomach all day, I went for it. Climb this baby left side in, as if it wasn't already obvious enough. For the first 8', you can climb and place gear in the hand crack inside. I placed a red and gold Camalot to start. Once you start moving up you are forced outside by the laws of physics. Don't let that scare you, bust into a "chicken wing" it's the only way. You can also heel toe with your right foot. Place a number 6 and inch your way to the top. (on-sight Baby!)
    By Joshua Merriam
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 31, 2007

    Stuggle violently
    up the overhanging slot.
    Umph - 5.8 my @$$.
    By YDPL8S
    From: Santa Monica, Ca.
    Feb 27, 2008
    rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

    Nothin' like doing the chicken wing thing and then putting a major stress on your funny bone. I was not laughing though at this "5.8" that my partner drug me up. For me, it was probably 5.9 A1 (seconding, I grabbed the rope).
    By Jay Anderson
    Apr 16, 2011

    I onsight free soloed this back in '77 or so, when I was a skinny kid from Laramie, total tunneler. Not barefoot but in EBs. Now, 15 lbs heavier and 34 yrs, more mature, I suspect it would the fringes for me!
    By Bob Dobalina
    Jun 22, 2011

    The slot is really hard. Harder than any 5.10 I have ever done. And I've done my share of bombay chimney slots rated harder.
    Maybe I was doing it wrong....
    By slim
    Jun 22, 2011
    rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

    If you still have both of your nipples, you didn't try hard enough.... :)
    By Cedar Wright
    May 7, 2013

    This route actually 5.8 if you find the hidden jug at the top and have a good updraft. The moves are much easier if you have a large torso and a huge ass.... Classic. Good training for The Crack of Fear... which may be 5.8 too.
    By scott rourke
    May 15, 2013

    I wore holes through my skin at my chest and elbow, through my long sleeved shirt (the shirt did not rip). Just the friction of the shirt on my skin! Of course I didn't feel anything until I topped out. I thought that if I ever did this thing again, I'd stick a large square of moleskin on the two spots, but this is probably aid....
    By Evan Deis
    Sep 8, 2013
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    I don't know what 11a offwidth feels like, but I know what 10+ offwidth feels like and this was hard. I am of normal size.
    By Eric Klammer
    From: Boulder, CO
    Feb 20, 2014

    Wow. Short approach, good scenery, easy communication, engaging climbing, and "exciting" nipple and crotch stimulation make this one the better, in my opinion, "date climbs" in the Boulder region. Definitely a pitch worth considering when trying to find that perfect route to show someone new to the sport what climbing is all about and to learn the origin of the saying "if your chest isn't bleeding, you're not trying!"
    By Ray Lovestead
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 7, 2015

    I feel the need to provide my witness (Hallelujah).

    I'm 5'8" and 180 and couldn't get anywhere but on the outside of this thing. Feels like 5.15 to me. I'm going to go home to regroup.


    P.S. Sure were a lot of cobwebs on it. Does anyone actually climb this thing anymore?
    By Ray Lovestead
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 1, 2015

    Climbed it again today. I think I may actually be getting worse at climbing. This climb is some kind of terrible misery that can only be appreciated when looking down at your partner and laughing like some kind of crazy person.

    I was on Crack of Fear two weeks ago and found it to be 'easier' than this.
    By Ray Lovestead
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 6, 2016

    Here we go again. Matt and I, once again, hanging out at the Umph. We are in fact starting to believe we are too, ahem, 'thick'. Pushes us way outside too early. This time I was able to climb the top 2/3 clean. That bottom section is brutal.

    I'm going to talk to my doctor about having a few ribs removed.

    Also, next time I climb this thing I'm going to tape a $100 bill in the back of the crack as a prize to whoever gets there first.
    By Vincent K
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 11, 2016

    I was pretty happy to have a #5.
    By Stan Badgett
    Sep 22, 2016

    Climbed it in 1968. I remember praying hard and crying at the top.
    By re.becca
    From: Denver,co
    Jan 21, 2017

    This climb is great...for ladies under a B cup with a Beyonce ass. Spent a majority of my time groveling and cursing at my climbing partner while trying not to breathe too much for fear that my boobs would trap me to the point of him tying me off and going home.
    Would do it again.
    By rkrum
    From: Denver, CO
    Jan 21, 2017

    This may just be the best ~2 body lengths of climbing in Boulder. Wide crack novelty that is not to be missed.

    There various solutions to this one including, but not limited to, arete humping or cartwheels.

    From what I have seen and experienced, it seems like 2 outcomes are possible - hiking it or utter failure but not a whole lot in between. Fun for all body types, but some will have more "fun" than others.

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