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The Bastille - W Face
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Blind Faith T 
Breakfast in Bed T 
Bridge-it Bardot (aka Hat Trick) T 
Chance of Rain T,TR 
Cream T 
Early Riser, The T 
Hair City T 
Implied Consent T,TR 
Let Them Eat Cake T 
Neon Lights T 
New Chautauqua T 
Out to Lunge T 
Out to Lunge ... with Dessert T 
Rain T 
Serengeti Spaghetti T 
Stem Gem T 
Sunset Boulevard S 
Sunshine Daydream T 
Voodoo T 
West Arete T 
West Buttress T 
West Face T 
West Side aka West Chimney T 
Your Mother S 

West Buttress 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Layton Kor
Fixed Hardware: 2 Lead Pins, 4 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 17,710
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Jan 1, 2001

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Wide crack action on pitch 2.

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  • Description 

    One of the best 5.9 routes in the canyon, with varied and funky climbing. Scramble up below the west wall of the Bastille a little ways to a level section below a large block. The bolts on Hair City should be directly above.

    P1-place pro and traverse 10 feet straight left above a bulging wall (this bulging wall is the direct 5.9+ start, protected by a bolt, not to be confused with the direct variation above) to a thin crack with a couple of pitons. Climb it for about 10 feet (crux, sandbag), and make a confusing traverse left to a stance and then continue up easier but steep and runout rock to the belay anchor.

    Instead of traversing you can continue "straight up the crack at 5.10", but this is hard to initiate unless you step left first and then back right to the crack, and done that way it's easier than the move by the pitons. (120 feet).

    P2-head up and right to the crack formed by a large detached flake/pillar. Climb that (5.9 at a bolt) as it widens to a chimney and belay on top at more bolts.

    P3-head up and left to a shallow chimney that offers a 5.7 passage through a roof band. Belay on the next ledge or continue easily to the top of the Bastille. The preferred alternative is to tackle the overhang directly by continuing on Hair City.


    Standard rack to a #4 Friend.

    Photos of West Buttress Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Someone just above the crux.
    Someone just above the crux.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The "5.9" crux reach on the first pitch ...
    The "5.9" crux reach on the first pitch ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan Shupe headed up the West Buttress.
    Ryan Shupe headed up the West Buttress.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Gear above the first pitch crux is there, just tin...
    Gear above the first pitch crux is there, just tin...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Say what you will but imho the final pitches of th...
    Say what you will but imho the final pitches of th...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The north and west faces of the Bastille.  5. Werk...
    BETA PHOTO: The north and west faces of the Bastille. 5. Werk...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Just before the crux moves on the direct start.
    Just before the crux moves on the direct start.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Steepness.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Direct start.
    Direct start.
    Rock Climbing Photo: KC heading into the dihedral. Circa 1991.
    KC heading into the dihedral. Circa 1991.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing up the crux of the 2nd pitch.  It's funn...
    Finishing up the crux of the 2nd pitch. It's funn...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the first pitch.  It was harder than ...
    Looking down the first pitch. It was harder than ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: One way to do the initialize traverse is to keep y...
    One way to do the initialize traverse is to keep y...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The 10a finish to the first pitch. It's steeper th...
    The 10a finish to the first pitch. It's steeper th...
    Rock Climbing Photo: After fighting off the savage pigeons, John master...
    After fighting off the savage pigeons, John master...
    Rock Climbing Photo: John high up.
    John high up.
    Rock Climbing Photo: John Haines finishing up the exposed hand traverse...
    John Haines finishing up the exposed hand traverse...
    Rock Climbing Photo:
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tom Maino just below the crux on 1st pitch.
    Tom Maino just below the crux on 1st pitch.

    Comments on West Buttress Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 24, 2017
    By Tyler Jones
    Jan 1, 2001

    Another great variation for the 3rd pitch is to take the right side roof, which is actually West Face route. I thought is was the better one of the three choices, all of which end up in the same place. But a word of warning, just when you start up into the roof, theres a horn sticking out that is a must to make the move... it EXTREMELY lose and sounds like its about to snap. Other then that, its an awesome pitch!
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jan 1, 2001

    Escalar - Going straight up after the initial crux makes for an even better pitch. It might be .10a/b or so. It is well protected--better protected than going off to the left. It is also nice to do the "direct start", starting under the initial traverse at the bolt. It is not as hard as it looks especially if you are tall, but it does involve a long reach--solid 5.10. Combining these variations makes a superb, direct line up a beautiful wall.
    By Chris Dawson
    From: Denver, CO
    Feb 4, 2002

    There's also a variation to the second pitch that is pretty fun. Climb up, clip the bolt and traverse on thin holds out right to the arete (awkward/a little airy/scary) then climb up the face. It's about .8+, so it's a bit easier than the normal route. It's also a little more interesting. Quick note on the pins on the first pitch. One of them is missing as of this fall. I think it was the lower one but I could be wrong. It is possible to back up the pin with gear however.
    By Hayden Yurkanis
    Jun 23, 2002

    after the traverse after the crux be prepared to get creative with gear (i placed nothing bigger than a red alien on the first pitch)....anyways the climbing is easy but the path of least resistance does require thought, as the easiest way wanders a bit
    By Casey Bernal
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jul 8, 2002

    I climbed this on 7/4 and both pins are still at the crux on the first pitch. An old ring pin is at the end of the hand traverse (about a foot above the holds in the start of the crack ) and the other one is a LA at your waist for the crux move. it is easy to place a back-up piece near the first pin. You do not need much gear for any of the pitches and emphasize on smaller stuff. Also a #4 cam is nice before you clip the bolt on the OW pitch.casey bernal
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 7, 2002

    The crux is harder than anything on Hair City. The offwidth on the second pitch is quite a wake-up call too, when you realize you can't remember how to climb OW's any more. Liebacking past it may be the easiest way, but is this cheating?
    By Hayden Yurkanis
    Feb 18, 2003

    Beta on the 5.10 variation:

    There are two ways that I know of to get into the the crack above the tricky 5.9 crux.

    1) (hard way) grab those huge juggs to the right after the 5.9 crux, work your feet up in the thin seem---lock off, and grab a really shitty hold in the crack. you now have really shitty hands and no feet to get the rest position.

    2) (easier, less obvious way) instead of grabing the juggs to the right, step left a foot or two (or three??) and balance your way up to the crack with better feet.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Aug 19, 2003

    Agree with Jay and Charles regarding the step left at the beginning of the (10a) variation on P1. I used it, as it offered more leverage for the crank up and thru. Easier (10a) move though than say...the crux of Blind Faith. IMO this climb favors those high on the ape index, especially at that move, as well as the one down below in the lower crack.The (9) move at the bolt on P2 into the chimney is pretty wild...I stepped high with the left foot and layed that bitch back. Not a gimme layback either...kinda flared out and down sloping rock, so I stemmed way out with the right foot, and then shifted my left side & inserted the left leg in the off-width. One of the weirdest moves I've done in awhile. Once in the OW, work over to a nice chockstone & shimmey up 8' to the belay ledge. Hellova fun climb...lots of variety.
    By Ivan Rezucha
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Sep 27, 2003

    Another way to do the start of the 10a direct: Right foot to a small put positive hold up and left from the pin. Right hand to a good sidepull in the crack, just above the brass nut/small stopper you should have placed. Left foot up to big hold. Rock ontol left foot. You can climb much higher on this variation than the beta photo indicates before escaping left to join the regular route. Where you escape left depends on how far you are willing to run it out on 5.8 or so climbing.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Feb 5, 2004

    Sooooo good!!!!!
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    May 28, 2004

    Instead of traversing left at the second piton I went straight up the crack(following chalk marks) and onto the face(5.10). Stout and pumpy, yet fun and a bit heady. The gear is there, but one must be a little creative in placing it. Crimp/layback the flake on the second pitch, chicken wing the chimney.

    Traversing left at the piton is a bit confusing, hence the crack above. Well worth doing.
    By Clint Locks
    From: Boulder
    Jun 24, 2004
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    After 4 times on the route, I still think the P1 crux is one of the hardest in Eldo! Delicate feet. Anyway, my point is really that, on P3, there are 3 ways to go, right after the rotten band. Far left is the funky 5.7 thing, to the far right is a loose committing 5.8+ (as was already mentioned), but I recommend the middle option: straight up the middle crack above you. 5.9. A great stopper placement right before the moves over the top should give some encouragement...after tiptoeing through that rotten, crappy red band. (NOTE--There are a couple of VERY loose blocks in that but, then again, this IS Eldo, God love her!). Have fun!
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 28, 2004

    The chock stone on pitch 2 is gone. Enjoy.
    By Tom Painter
    Jun 22, 2005

    The chockstone on P2 was on vacation at a trundling party in the Tien Shan. It has now resituated itself in the chimney.
    By Chris JD
    From: Golden, Co
    Oct 18, 2005
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Fun route, the beginning traverse is a bit hairy but protects well. A bolt at the chimney eases the fact that your forgot to bring really big gear once again...
    By Bosier Parsons
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Feb 28, 2006

    We finished by stepping down and left to the last pitch of Outer Space (inobvious as a first-timer on this route, but highly recommended).
    By Danny Inman
    From: Arvada
    Aug 14, 2006

    This is a superb climb, and IMHO one of the finest 9s in Eldo. If you need exposure fast, this is the route for you. Two moves off the trail, and you have much exposure. Combining P1 and P2 makes for one hell of a good pitch with a little bit of everything. I am 5'8" and felt the crux at the second pin on P1 to be quite tricky, the off-width section was wild. I'm a fan of OWs, so I went for it using off-width technique, which did not last long before I figured out that there is a little trick to keep everything at 5.9-. I think that if you go with pure OW on this section, you will get a little more than 5.9.
    By claytown
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 26, 2006

    What a great way to finish off the day. We did the crack that continues straight up past the pins through the thin crack. Never even realized that the route went left at the second pin. It did feel harder than 9+ so it makes sense. The squeeze chimney was a little intense... they aren't my favorite. The simple top out pitch was cool, too.
    By Stephanovich
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 10, 2007
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    8/9/07 was a fun send. Cops blocked off the road to Eldo for a race- ran for 20min. w/ light rack + rope. Oh and a case of PBRs- which we deposited @ Kev's and Bodey's place. Started climbing @ ? 8:45pm.
    Rack I lead on 1st pitch in order: -Pin; -Pin; -#5 RP (BD); skipped bolt anchor- did clip inset piton-w/ double length runner. After a pigeon flew out the crack right in my face. - Bolt; to the 2 bolt anchor belay.
    Now it's dark.
    2nd pitch: -piton @ 5.7 move, 5 pigeons chillin' right w/ that pin, had a quick chat w/ them and decided to back pin up w/ that #5 RP I used earlier in case birds freak out. Top out. Done dark style.
    By Ed Wright
    Nov 23, 2007

    This was the second route I ever climbed, on the first day I ever climbed. This was back in '67 when we had no harnesses or belay devices--it was quite an adventure. Been hooked and climbing ever since.
    By Jeremy
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 15, 2008
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

    I thought that this was the worst "good" route I've climbed in Eldo.
    By Andy Laakmann
    Site Landlord
    From: Bend, OR
    May 16, 2009
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

    An exciting and varied route - highly recommended if you are comfortable at the grade. The opening traverse is a bit polished, adding to the excitement. I though the crux seemed fair at 5.9+, but I knew exactly how to do it from the MP beta, so that certainly made it easier. The pins were in good shape on 5/16/2009. Above the pin the climbing is easier, but don't expect much gear.

    I thought P2 was really fun. I clipped the bolt, and cranked into the offwidth. Good fun, but I enjoy a little squeeze now-and-then... particularly with a bolt :)

    I opted for the left P3 finish, and thought it was a dud. I won't be repeating that finish again. Easy to take this pitch all the way to the top.
    By Shawn Mitchell
    From: Broomfield
    Jul 8, 2009
    rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

    Hmm. Seems there's lots of beta about options after the crux, but nothing about nailing that reach. So...EXCESSIVE BETA WARNING: After the traverse, clip the pins, position your feet up on the little ledge, and select a higher edge for your right foot to press a semi-lieback. Decide which right pull crimps in the crack to crank on, imagine powering the move and throwing your left hand up to the holds above the crack, and it feels HARD! Hard crank, hard balance, hard everything. If you do it like the guy in the "5.9 crux reach" photo, more power to you. I was a wimp, felt sure I'd fall, and couldn't force myself to commit to a move that felt futile. ("There's a pin at your chest, weenie! Go for it!" *wimper*)

    I backed off and Rowdy Ranger Mike McHugh polished it off. Then, on second, a miracle happened. Same awkward stance, same high right foot, same low right pull crimp...and then...instead of cranking a big move and throwing left hand up, I started to pull a slower, little move, my left hand still on something lower, maybe flat on the face for balance, don't really remember, but the miracle: just before my left foot pulled off the flattish ledge, I suddenly thought to look DOWN and left, where I spied a greasy scoop to pop my left foot up on. Foot held fine. I was higher without any uber crank on the crack crimps. Suddenly, all the holds that had been a foot or more out of range were in easy reach.

    Now, your left hand moves casually up, feels selectively around for the best hold, and you've done the crux reach. Easy. Where to go after that? Straight? Little left? Big left? Your call. Read the other comments for that beta.

    By the way, this isn't just cheap top rope advice: after I joined him at the belay, Maestro Mike mentored on: "Shall we finish, or do you want to go back and lead it clean?" That's what we did. Thanks, Mike.
    By Brett Brotherton
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jun 17, 2010
    rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

    I thought the "5.10" variation was easy. I struggled figuring out the crux sequence but got the onsight, then started to go left and got scared. So decided to take the crack, if you go left first it is not that hard to get into the crack and is definitely easier than the crux. Also it takes great gear if your a big baby like me.
    By Jason Halladay
    From: Los Alamos, NM
    Sep 12, 2010
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    I'm not a wide crack fan, so while leading the second pitch, I clipped the bolt and busted out right to the arete and then up to the belay ledge. 5.9ish and some decent gear once you get out there and up. Recommended.
    Also, I back cleaned my gear so my partner could climb the wide crack. Also recommended. :-)
    By Tony T.
    From: Denver, CO
    Aug 10, 2011
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Fantastic climb! I seconded up the variation on the Super Start (10a), and we inadvertently climbed the second pitch of Hair City from the anchors above the second pitch of the West Buttress.

    If you want a sustained 5.9 climb the whole way up, I highly recommend the second pitch of Hair City instead of the rest of West Buttress for a hair-raising, exposed, but extremely enjoyable and safe roof!
    By John Korfmacher
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    May 27, 2013

    A fine climb with exposure and fun (even the OW) movement throughout.

    The 5.7 version of P3 isn't getting much love, for some reason. I found it to be enjoyable climbing on big jugs and incuts. If you want your hair to be on fire all the way to the top...well, the 5.7 isn't for you...but it's a nice finish after groveling your way up the OW.
    By Fehim Hasecic
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 4, 2014
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

    Did the 5.10 variation after the crux, felt easier than crux. It was on my second try, I led it after I decipher the moves, definitely easier for taller people, I'm 6'3".
    By Andy Hansen
    From: Longmont, Colorado
    May 27, 2016
    rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

    I typically want my hair on fire all the way to the top, so I climb the last pitch of Hair City. This way makes a real hum dinger of a 5.9 rock climb to the top of the mighty, mighty Bastille.
    By mountainhick
    From: Black Hawk, CO
    Nov 5, 2016

    Direct start info:

    Seems the info scattered in this thread is a bit conflicting/unclear.

    In route description P1 above, it mentions the direct start as 5.9+. I don't think so. Levin calls it 5.10b. I tend to agree.

    For the direct start: do not traverse left from the start of Hair City, rather drop down the hill a tier to start, and climb directly up to the bolt in the steep, vertical-to-almost-overhanging face. Once past this section, you join the regular route above the regular start's traverse.

    Pro beta: there are a couple good cam placements before the bolt in the 0.5-1 C4 range. A tricam also fits one of the placements.

    Crux beta: the reach past the bolt is difficult if you don't know where the hold is. It's a hard pull to explore for that hold, and the clock is ticking. Otherwise, if you nail that hold right away, it's a reasonable 5.10 move.

    There are good nut placements after you clear the difficulty and get a stance before the pins.
    By Luke Toillion
    From: Longmont, CO
    Jul 24, 2017
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    I thought the move at the bolt on pitch 2 was the crux of the whole climb! For some reason, it seemed hard to get established in the offwidth, although I'm sure I missed some crucial piece of beta. Pitch one has some reachy, balancy moves, but the gear is decent, and the holds are generally incut and solid.

    Don't skip the final 5.7 pitch, it's definitely worth doing.

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