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YDS: 5.12b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E5 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.12b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E5 6b [details]
FA: Eric Fedor?
Page Views: 9,336
Submitted By: Pinklebear on Sep 20, 2001

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A Flatirons mega-enduro overhanging classic! Long (80 feet), pumpy and just plain fun, this is a must-do for the grade.

Undertow is the third route from the right on the imposing, overhanging west face of The Slab. It is well-shielded from the Fern Canyon trail by a thick, piney forest and climbs a spectacularly colorful wall on (mostly) positive horns, crimps and jugs. Expect some bizz-ness up by the lip.

This route is very-chalked up and quite easy to find.


Six bolts to double-bolt anchors; you can stick-clip the first bolt. There is a also a single belay/directional bolt on the ledge. Some people use cams between the fifth and six bolts on the flaring crack out right.


Scramble around to the west side of the Slab from the Fern Canyon Trail and continue uphill (south) past the towering middle section of the wall. Undertow starts from the right side of the large ledge splitting the face and can be reached via a series of 3rd class ramps.

Photos of Undertow Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A misty day in the Flatirons with Bruce and Tuffy.
A misty day in the Flatirons with Bruce and Tuffy.
Rock Climbing Photo: Just a little overhanging....
Just a little overhanging....

Comments on Undertow Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 21, 2014
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Sep 24, 2001

I was hoping to get this route in myself. This is a great line on mega jugs, and very steep for this area. Who can forget the classic shot of Robyn Erebsfield hanging by one hand and a foot blasting through this route like a toy. Since it starts at the base of the Slab it stays in the shade essentially all of the time. What makes Undertow interesting, beside the climbing, is that it went in during Boulder's controversial years when the West faces of the Flatirons were on the verge of exploding with hard new lines. Undertow was an important harbinger of this potential as much as Dale Goddard's Five Year Plan was defining the possibilities. What a loss.
By Joe Collins
Apr 16, 2004
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

Front Range sport climbs don't get much better. The actual count is 6 bolts to a 2 bolt anchor, with cruxes at the 3rd and 4th bolts. There is a #2 Camalot placement between the 5th and 6th bolts in what looks like an old bong scar, but it looks like it wouldn't hold a fall. There is also a good #1 Camalot placement to protect the moves to the anchor.

There are a couple, what look like, pin scars on this route and lots of hookable features. Does anyone know the history of this route? Was it originally an aid line?
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jul 20, 2005
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

Getting to this route is a bit of a hike but worth it. Undertow has it all - beautiful rock, great position, pumpy angle, interesting movement, and solid clipping stances. This and Chains of Love are two of my favorite Flatirons routes.
By 426
Mar 21, 2007

I agree with much of the above, this was a very memorable and fun route for me! Don't be afraid to schlep those draws up here, it's beautiful in many ways (including the climbing!)
By tom selleck
Sep 24, 2007

Some knucklehead felt the need to spraypaint graffiti right next to the start of this route. WTF?
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Sep 25, 2007

Maybe it was the convicted graffiti vandal Daniel Woods.
By Brett Merlin
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 25, 2010

The #2 Camalot placement is totally jingus, bring a #0.75 and/or #0.5 Camalot instead. Pretty good placement right below the bad #2 placement. Oh, and also a #1 Camalot for the top if you want it.
By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Jun 14, 2011

No real need for extra gear. The moves above the fifth bolt are a little heady, but quite easy. Currently there are fixed draws up this entire route....

Also, here is a nice video Kurt made of me on the route.

By Kurt Ross
From: Boulder, colorado
Jun 16, 2011
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

By dyager
From: Fort Collins
Sep 28, 2011
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

Fun little route! Not as good as The Shaft over at Dinosaur but definitely worth the hike!
By Ben Sachs
Apr 24, 2012

I placed a 0.5 Camalot/grey Alien-sized piece (grey Alien is better). Not truly needed, but it's nice and right where you'd want it (after the crux). Didn't feel the need for anything else.
By TheBirdman
From: Eldorado Springs, Colorado
Jan 5, 2013

Does anyone do a full-on cut loose dyno for the jugs at the lip? This is the way I did it, and it is pretty awesome. Due to the angle of the wall, literally every part of your body, except your right hand which grabs the jug is flying away from the wall. I have seen people doing it statically by locking off on some bad holds and getting high feet. I think it's more fun to go from the crescent moon hold that you use to clip and then just huck for it.
By Mississippi James
From: Brighton by way of dirty south
Jul 21, 2014

DYNO is the way to go! Big style points.

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