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Tough Situation 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Duncan Ferguson, 1972
Page Views: 3,684
Submitted By: Matt Bauman on Jan 1, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: The Elephant Buttresses. Most routes start off th...

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  • Description 

    Go left and through the big roof just left of Classic Finger Crack. It's a great hand and finger crack climb that meets up right at the top of Classic Finger Crack...great toprope. It's rated 5.9 in the Rossiter book, but it's definitely 5.10 and much harder than Classic Finger Crack. The roof is really thin on feet, and the handcrack is good but slippery.


    Nuts, small cams.

    Photos of Tough Situation Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Second Elephant Buttress.  The easiest approac...
    BETA PHOTO: The Second Elephant Buttress. The easiest approac...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Working up the finger crack.  Great locks, but not...
    Working up the finger crack. Great locks, but not...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Brenda starting the crux sequence.  Her right foot...
    Brenda starting the crux sequence. Her right foot...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Ron Olsen at the crux.  Photo by Marga Powell.
    Ron Olsen at the crux. Photo by Marga Powell.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Through the crux.  Note that Brenda's right foot i...
    Through the crux. Note that Brenda's right foot i...

    Comments on Tough Situation Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 30, 2016
    By Jeff Lockyer
    From: Canmore, AB
    Sep 20, 2001

    An excellent line. The feet really are not as good as they may appear from below. I think this route is about mid 5.10 perhaps a/b. Also a better approach than coming up the gully is just as the second buttress starts you will see crack going over a little bulge, layback this crack (a little dirty on feet) and approach the base of the route via a flake that runs just left of an arete and then up a slab. I give this line 2 stars and the Tough Situation 3 stars.
    By Darren O'Connor
    Oct 20, 2001

    I found this a nice hard 5.9, taking great pro and offering fun moves all through the lower two thirds. Throw a nice nut in the roof at the bottom, head out, and enjoy the awkward start. I suggest taking lots of friends to see how many different ways the roof can be overcome!
    By Andrew Klein
    Dec 31, 2001

    Careful footwork and good jams in the roof make this route no harder than 5.9. Taller folks and those who can do the splits will find this route easier.
    By Michael Walker
    From: Loveland, CO
    Jul 8, 2002

    The initial roof is hand jam heaven (9? 10? Depends on your technique and the number of climbers who have gone before you) and above, finger fun. A quality route that really needs a 100 foot extention...
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 23, 2002

    From a ledge half way up this beauty, one can make an airy step around right and gain a beautiful thin crack that joins the last moves of the Classic Finger Crack. Interesting moves, bomber blue Alien. I love this little cliff!
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 21, 2002

    This climb is really just a one (grunt) move wonder. Put one hand in the perfect jam, stem up and you are over the roof. 5.9 tops. The rest of the climb is nice, but much easier. I thought Classic Finger Crack (originally rated 5.8) was more technical and harder because the stances for placing pro seemed more tenuous.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Jun 22, 2003

    After TRing this a few times over the years, finally sent this on lead the other day. Its often wet and slippery in the crack under the roof. Get a solid left hand hold high in the vertical crack underneath, then reach up and lock the right hand into the crack at the outside edge of the roof while stemming out on the face with the right foot. Then crank over moving the right foot higher onto a good ledge and left onto the roof top. This move can be a tough situation for shorter folks with thinner hands. Fun (7)ish crack climbing above this unless you move out onto the arete or hook it up with CFC to the right which is harder. Sews up well with 1" & 2" cams.
    By shad O'Neel
    Jul 31, 2003

    Damn...this is a good one...anyone debating the + at the end of 5.9 is smoking somethin' better than what I got. Pretty hard move.
    By justin dubois
    From: Estes Park
    Nov 11, 2005

    That's one ghastly pic Chris.
    By Brenda Leach
    From: Sandy, Utah
    Nov 12, 2005

    I led this climb yesterday. AFTERWARDS, I looked at and saw that godawful picture of the poor guy's broken ankles. Ouch! Sorry that happened. But, for those who want to lead this climb, don't let that scare you off. The pro's a little weird below the roof, but you can sew up this climb if you want to (which you can see that I did in the pictures below). It's a short climb, but it keeps your attention for almost the entire pitch.
    By Clay Taylor
    May 9, 2006

    This is a short route with great moves. My partner and I both enjoyed this route more than Classic Finger Crack to the right. I felt this climb was definitely harder than 9+, but I'm also 5'4". I found the easiest way to reach the base of the climb from the top of the second buttress is to downclimb easy terrain to the rappel tree between the second and third buttress. Then, traverse west and down to the gully that can be used in the approach from the water pipe. Continue up this gully to the base of the climb.
    By Jason Shatek
    May 17, 2006

    Took me a few trips to send this one, I thought this went at 5.9+ at the crux. I also thought the climbing was sustained 5.8+/5.9- up the rest of the crack. The rests seemed thin and for me; it was an endurance race to see if I could make the top without burning out. But, I was probably placing too many pieces as I was nervous after seeing that guys ankles, ouch! That said, great climb, but it's not over after the crux!
    By Armin Colorado
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 6, 2006

    Nothing like seeing two of your coworkers you have never seen climb before solo this before attempting an onsight, it got me fired up though for the send! Easiest way to approach is def the 4th class from the water pipe, my wife leads 6 trad and had no problem soloing to access this route, it only takes a few minutes and WELL worth it, my vote for best route in area.
    By Micahisaac
    From: Longmont, CO
    Jun 16, 2008

    Approached via a finger crack roof directly below and left of TS. Prolly went at 5.9. Does anyone know if this is a route? Very lichen covered, but super fun moves up an unprotected slab, then after the roof, the finger crack continues almost all the way up to the base of TS. I will probably always use this route from here on out to get up there.
    By Clint Locks
    From: Boulder
    Jul 24, 2009
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    There's great gear throughout this stellar (although short) pitch. don't let Chris's "ankle shots" referred to in the comments scare you off this beauty. (If you're looking for those pics, by the way, they were removed a while back).
    By Evan Deis
    Aug 31, 2010

    Very nice route (but short). I agree that it is more powerful than Classic Finger Crack, but the feet are much better.
    By Sorden
    From: inside the Bubble, Colorado
    Oct 24, 2011

    FYI: The Bob D'Antonio book for Boulder Canyon has this route marked incorrectly on the beta photo.
    By Dustin Sysko
    Apr 26, 2012
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    The big rock on the shelf at the top was slightly wobbly yesterday. I wouldn't pull too hard on it as you top out. There is only a small, maybe loose wedge at its base. Fun short but sustained climb, slippery jams at the roof.
    By David Rivers
    Jun 2, 2012
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Great route, would be 3 stars if longer. Easier than the other old school 9+'s and 10a I've done in BoCan this spring, so 5.9.
    By Andy Hansen
    From: Longmont, Colorado
    Nov 20, 2012
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    For what it's worth, I thought this was harder than Cosmosis just up the road. I think Cosmosis is overall a better climb than this, but this route certainly had a harder crux move over the roof into some more sustained climbing. All in all, this is a great route and protects so nicely.
    By Jeff McLeod
    May 22, 2014
    rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

    For a three star variation at possibly 5.10a/b, step out onto the face to your right after finishing the finger crack section in the dihedral above the initial roof, and follow the challenging and awesome zig zag finger/tips crack to the shared finish with Classic Finger Crack.
    By Alex Vidal
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 29, 2016
    rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

    I liked this route but would note that it's probably a little more difficult for those with big fingers. There were several moves I had to complete without getting more than my tips in the crack. I'd call it 10b in this circumstance.

    It's worth noting as well this route protects ridiculously well with 0.4-0.75 cams and offset nuts.
    By Fehim Hasecic
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 30, 2016
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

    Zig-zag fingertips crack on the face around corner is definitely worth doing, perfect way to round up this little gem.

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