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The Bastille - W Face
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West Face T 
West Side aka West Chimney T 
Your Mother S 

West Face 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 270'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Layton Kor?
Fixed Hardware: 1 Lead Pin [details]
Page Views: 5,809
Submitted By: Joe Collins on Jun 14, 2002

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  • Description 

    The route begins immediately right of Hair City, following the crack system seen in the photo below. The first pitch is great and I'm surprised it hasn't been added to the site.

    P1- Climb the very thin crack (11a- one move) to a good ledge. One can avoid the thin crack by starting in from the right and traversing left to the ledge above the thin crack. Climb the crack and flake system past two pitons (the first of which is badly bent) to a bulge. Clip the pin above the bulge and make a funky face move out left, then move back right into the crack system (10a/b). Climb up and left, joining Hair City for the remainder of the pitch. Belay from the bolts at the top of the huge pillar.

    Either rap from here or continue with one of three options: P3 of West Buttress (5.7), P2 of Hair City (5.9), or the actual continuation of the West Face:

    P2- Climb the corner/roof up and right of the belay (5.8). Continue upwards (easy 5th) to the top of the Bastille.


    Nuts, including RPs. Set of cams up to #2 Camalot.

    Photos of West Face Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Improved beta photo.  Photo credit: Tyler Jones.
    BETA PHOTO: Improved beta photo. Photo credit: Tyler Jones.
    Rock Climbing Photo:
    Rock Climbing Photo: 1975, Victor Creazzi leading...hexes and homemade ...
    1975, Victor Creazzi leading...hexes and homemade ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber on the West Face of the Bastille.
    Unknown climber on the West Face of the Bastille.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Double Direct!
    Double Direct!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Stan Lanzano leading pitch 2.
    Stan Lanzano leading pitch 2.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Clipping the crux pin on P1.  The 11b var goes up ...
    Clipping the crux pin on P1. The 11b var goes up ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Jenny Schillinger tops out on the West Face of the...
    Jenny Schillinger tops out on the West Face of the...

    Comments on West Face Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 17, 2015
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Jun 16, 2002

    For once, an 11a in Eldo that felt soft for the grade. Perhaps shorter stature and slenderer fingers might have been an advantage....
    By Bryson Slothower
    Jul 25, 2002

    It's possible to avoid crossing over to Hair City by staying right above the last pin at the 5.10 section and climbing up to the chimney on the right side of the giant flake (5.7s). I did not see the bolt Rossiter shows in his topo for this secton but the climbing is pretty straight forward. Both pitches are quite good, I'm not sure why it doesn't see more traffic...
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Jun 30, 2003
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

    I did it on Saturday with my girlfriend, who is short, small fingered, and very strong (X-gymnast). Here's what it boils down to- I though it was incredibly easy at the grade, she thought it was very hard (she has done other 11's). We dissected what occurred when we returned to the base. As usual, it's all about sequence- one move ...if you get it right. Not to sandbag or downplay that Steve can climb circles around me, but I don't think the edges are marginal at all- if your feet are in the right place (not the big holds) then the hands you use are all pretty positive, and I did it in the direct sun in the afternoon. Then I went and felt desperate on Supremacy Crack...
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Jul 5, 2004
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    I followed the West Face first pitch and struggled at the bulge. The 5.11 start was difficult, however, I had a harder time getting around the 5.10a bulge, getting onto the slab (5.10a/b), then moving right. Good, balancy moves over good air made this pitch exciting.
    By Keith Leary
    Aug 11, 2005
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    My [friends] and I have been on this pitch at least three different times. It is a great climb. The 10c way is fun, but the 11a/b way is much better. For us the moves are beta intensive. At first it felt much harder than 11, but after working (read TR) it into submision it still is very hard for us, but we can do it on TR. John did manage to get it with one hang at the crux pin. The pin has held us on [several] falls and you can back it up with a good cam a foot below. The problem is that we cannot put in any more pro until we a standing on the small sloping ledge four feet above the pin. That puts fear in me. We finish by going [straight] up above two more pins and staying just left of the chimney. I also agree that the 5.11a start is very easy for its grade. Very nice moves.
    By Brian Weinstein
    Sep 2, 2007
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    I thoroughly enjoyed this route. Classic Eldo style in running 'er out on smaller gear. There is a tricky blue TCU placement from a steep stance right below a broken knifeblade that enabled me to proceed through the crux, with a little caution.
    By SirVato
    From: Boulder
    Jul 3, 2008

    Wow, great route but I also had a harder time with the bulge than the thin crack start.
    Did the start clean even after plugging up the good finger lock with a yellow Alien but, got worked on the bulge!! I don't know if it was trying to fiddle with gear or just not wanting to commit over those bent ass pins or what but after reading these comments I for sure have to go back an redeem myself!!!

    Good fun stuff though!
    I friggin' love Eldo!!
    By randy baum
    From: Minneapolis, MN
    May 15, 2009

    Why so little mention of the 11b variation? It's very fun: exposed, and a bit bouldery.
    By Andy Hansen
    From: Longmont, Colorado
    Sep 22, 2012
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    West Face Double Direct, 5.11a PG.

    Take direct start via thin crack (5.10c/d) to a stance. Climb dual cracks to the bulge (pin, small gear) and instead of stepping left, continue up and slightly right. Another crux is encountered at the pin which can be backed up with a 1" cam. Great moves on good holds. Continue 25 more feet to a stance.

    I didn't find a bolted anchor where Levin indicates. I didn't continue up so was forced to rap off two stoppers. They are yours, or leave them for others. Excellent route!
    By Dick Stone
    From: Boulder
    Aug 9, 2013

    Awesome route that is entertaining the whole way. That bent over pin at the bulge crux is suspect as it's probably had multiple whippers on it and is deserving of being backed up. The 11b straight up variation exceeded my leading mojo, but moving left was way fun.
    By Eric Poore
    Oct 20, 2014

    Climbed the first pitch today. After the 10a/b bulge, I stayed climber's right and found fairly easy climbing with descent gear. Set up a below behind the big pillar next to a fixed pin. Since we didn't find any bolts, we left a nut to back up the pin and rapped from there to the ground.
    By mountainhick
    From: Black Hawk, CO
    Jun 17, 2015
    rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

    Updated the "beta photo". Reading the description and comments here, I was pretty confused about the variations when I went to lead this a few days ago.

    "The 5.10 section", "the 5.11 start", "the 5.10a bulge", "getting on the slab (5.10a/b)", "the 10c way", "the 11a/b way", "the 11b variation", "direct start via thin crack (5.10c/d)", "the 11b straight up variation", "the 10a/b bulge"....

    After getting on it:

    -Direct start: just right of the start to Hair City, climb the thin crack straight up from the lowest point just right of Hair City. (I found this solid 5.10-5.10+. Levin calls it 5.11a.) There was a fixed nut on this crack.

    -Indirect start begins further right and traverses left onto the ledge above the direct start crack. (Silly, I think, the direct is totally worthwhile).

    -Then climb cracks to the bulge. Decision time:

    -Keep right through the bulge at 5.11a (or b or whatever)

    -Or step left 5.10a (or b or whatever). Here you can go left right away to a bolt to bail onto Hair City or back right to continue up West Face.

    There is good pro up to that decision point, then hard to place through the crux, but there are a couple very good placements. Also a pretty clean fall if needed (I did).

    There is a lot of climbing in this short bit via the direct start through the bulge!

    Edit July 2016, worked on the direct variation staying in the crack today, not moving left... kind of a greasy feeling day on all routes today. Felt 5.11b in my book.

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