|North Rabbit Ear
Boyer's Chute was named after Del Boyer who was the first to free solo the route.
The feature Boyer’s Chute Route follows starts as a prominent right-facing corner, becomes a distinct chute for most of the way (even turns into a chimney) then opens up again into a right-facing corner.
Pitch 1: Start about 30 feet to the right of the corner on a more featured part of the sloping terrain. The climbing is easy (5.2), but many climbers may want to rope up to avoid exposed slab moves.
Continue into the chute proper and up it. This is generally best done unroped. Easy, even walkable, terrain is interrupted by harder but short steps. Low height above ground and the closed, chimney-like confines of the chute make climbing feel fairly secure. The stretch of more consistent scrambling is also only 4th class if that. The chute will fork eventually the right fork looking far more inviting as the left one is topped by a large chock stone about 20 feet up. The route goes left!
Pitch 2: There are two options: (1) scramble past the chock stone on the right without protection (5.3, but exposed and with a somewhat crumbly feel to the large-enough and otherwise solid holds near the top) or (2) climb on the left and protect in a crack (about 5.6 and close to vertical). Above the chock another stretch of scrambling follows until a 20-foot chimney is reached.
Pitch 3: Climb the chimney facing right. Exit is to the left into the broken rocks or climb on the right of them. The second block from the bottom is loose. Belay from two new bolts. This pitch is the crux of the route and may feel harder than the 5.4 rating.
Pitch 4: Start all the way left, deep in the corner. Move right on nearly vertical but well featured rock. The path of least resistance will slide a bit to the right, traverse left under the large agave, and continue the rightward slant to a level area with some trees. This pitch is often done unroped by experienced climbers and other variations of it exist as the terrain is generally forgiving.
Pitch 5: The easiest way up from the level area is to head all the way to the right as soon as you step up on the rock, then go left to break in the small headwall and scramble left over piled boulders to reach an easy ridge which takes you to the summit. If you rope up for this pitch, you may belay from the area of the boulders. (Low 5th or high 4th).
Use the Topp Hut access and go up Rabbit Ears Canyon. Turn left after the most prominent, and last, of the small peaks in the bottom of the canyon and follow either the stream bed or the ridge to its left directly to the bottom of the route on the west face of North Rabbit Ear.
As you climb, you will notice rap stations. Rapping the route is possible but not recommended unless you are comfortable scrambling down most of the terrain. It is far faster to take the south side rap route with only two rappels and bushwhack back to the start of the route from there. To do so, go southeast from the summit following cairns to a ramp. Careful, one of the rocks about half way down to the ramp is loose. It's about a foot across and round. Once on the ramp, scramble down it to a bolt+piton rap station. The second rap, from a nice ledge and over some scary looking but actually not that easy to dislodge loose rocks, will take you to the saddle between North and Middle Rabbit Ears. To get back to the bottom of the route, go down the gully and turn right well below the rock (near the bottom of the cliff the brush is fierce). Even better, leave the packs at the bottom of the main Rabbit Ears Canyon to start with and just go down the gully following a trail.
Rapping down the route: If you limit your down climbing to third a class rock, you are looking at about 8 raps. The rap stations are set up and are in good condition, but the vegetated, slabby and featured terrain will force you to use single-rope rappels. Even then hanging up a rope is frustratingly frequent and loose rocks can come down at you at any time.
The top rap station is on a tree just north of the route and below ridge line. Short and fairly clean rap takes you to the flat area. There is some tat there at another tree, but the real station is on the tree all the way to the south. Another good rap goes to a ledge. Scramble along it to the north and a big down to the next station. Slant your next rap a bit north and look to your left (north) for the next station. It's not on much of a ledge, but it's a tree, and it does give you a fairly clear shot to the top of the chimney. The two bolts there are your fourth rap. Do it inside the chock in the chimney. Here you start scrambling down for a bit, then rap again from the horn on top of the chock crux. More scrambling follows, with two raps over the steeper sections, with more scrambling again, and finally one rap at the bottom if you want to avoid getting down the exposed slab. All in all it's a time consuming way down.
A minimal rack will be sufficient. I go with one green Camelot (the 0.75 cam works both left of the chock and on top of the chimney), a set of tricams, and a few nuts. A more conservative leader may take a set of single cams instead of just the one. There are plenty of trees for anchors as well as bolts above the chimeny and a rap station (with even a cable incorporated in it) for an anchor above the first crux.
Myself heading down the second (double rope) rappe...
BETA PHOTO: Start of the route. Photo Ryan J. Conklin.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up Boyer's Chute to the big chock stone (b...
My father at the first "5th" class portion of clim...
The view of Rabbit Ears Massif from the first rap ...
BETA PHOTO: North Rabbit Ear at sunrise on the approach hike. ...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at our rappel route (South Face Direct)...
BETA PHOTO: We opted to rappel down the South Face Direct rout...
BETA PHOTO: Much of the approach in through this rocky dry riv...
BETA PHOTO: This shot shows the entrance to Boyer's Chute (the...
BETA PHOTO: A little higher now, you can finally see the chute...
BETA PHOTO: Aaron replacing webbing at the first rap anchor on...
Our party of 7 split up here as Aaron and Zack hea...
"It's a bird...it's a plane...!" I have no idea w...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down from the top of the first chock-stone...
BETA PHOTO: Rap anchors for second rappel off NRE via South Fa...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up from the top of the first chock-stone. ...
BETA PHOTO: This is a funky perspective (stitched photos), but...
BETA PHOTO: Looking out of the chute from just below the chimn...
BETA PHOTO: If you do not see this on your way to Boyer's Chut...
BETA PHOTO: Looking directly up at the chimney pitch, and the ...
BETA PHOTO: This was where we first roped up. As you can see,...
|Comments on Boyer's Chute
|By Aaron Hobson|
From: Las Cruces, NM
Nov 24, 2009
I enjoyed this route immensely. The narrow confines made it feel like ascending up a canyon, and then you pop out on top of a small summit, superb.
Many rappel stations are found along the route at various locations. Above the crux 5.4 chimney is a two-bolt rappel in bad shape. Both bolts are old 1/4", and one of them is broken off. Fortunately a boulder just above them can be slung for that rappel. The lower 5th class crux (described as the third pitch above) is not well protected on the right, but climbs at an easier grade, probably 5.3. The left side of the chock can be climbed via a crack at around 5.8, and is well protected.
I can see why this route used (and maybe still is?) to be so popular, it certainly is an excellent way to summit this gorgeous peak. I replaced he summit register with a new note-pad and have taken the existing one down for transcribing and archiving. I plan to return a copy of the transcribed register to the summit so that parties can read the history. If anyone has ideas about where to archive the register I would love to hear them. It appears that the original register was archived by the "Southwest Mountaineers". I wonder if anyone from this group is around and knows about this archive.
|By Robert Cort|
Jul 24, 2010
Ditto Aaron's comment, this is an enjoyable route! Some comments about the route: 1) as previously stated, climbing on the right around the first chock-stone is much easier than the left, if possible, I suggest skipping the rope at this point and climbing the right side. 2) after the chimney pitch, you might want to keep the rope on for another 40 feet or so, while the climbing is easy, a fall might drop you right back down the chimney. 3) there is one final headwall above the chimney which we roped up for, in hindsight, it was only one move that required protection, and it would have been faster to solo it.
Aaron replaced the bolts above the chimney (two new shiny 3/8"), but we rapped the south face direct route (only two rappels then a relatively straightforward gully descent). I believe this is a more expedient descent route.
|By Robert Cort|
Jul 24, 2010
Note, photos I submitted of our descent are more representative of the South Face Direct route. Maybe they should be moved once a route description for South Face Direct is posted, but they do offer an alternative descent for Boyer's Chute.
|By Karl Kiser|
Sep 18, 2010
There is another route on the left side of Boyer's Chute called the Chute Route. It is a relatively steep route, about 5.7, and follows a natural weakness. If I remember correctly, it is three pitches to the top of the route. There was a rap route down the route in the old days (remember double ropes).
|By Nick Dolecek|
From: Denver, Colorado
Jan 10, 2011
This route is located on the west face of the formation. As one passes the Citadel and continues up the Rabbit Ears drainage you will see a major gash/chimney in the west face. This chimney splits after a few hundred feet. The route follows the left hand chimney through the chockstones and then the final few pitches of meandering climbing.
Soloed this route today, a very fun scramble with a few harder sections. The crux pitch is 35 feet long, and is the longest portion of hard climbing, so only bringing 70 feet of rope may save you some weight and lots of time.
|By Ian Harris|
From: Las Cruces NM
Apr 6, 2013
Crux sections could be considered 5.6. I wouldn't free solo the chimney but that's just me. We used the South Face rappel route and I think it was better than rappelling the whole route, but we also left our packs at the base of the route and getting over there was a pretty serious bushwack.
|By Marta Reece|
From: Las Cruces, NM
Nov 24, 2013
I found a "variation" listed in the NMSU-archived documents of the Southwest Mountaineers. It's classified as "5.8 and aid," with first ascent by Pete Rogowski, Paul Wohlt, and Tom McCalla, and a note that it should really be considered a separate route.
"Instead of entering Boyer's Chute at the bottom, walk further north around a big blade of rock and climb a very vertical chimney full of loose flakes and blocks. Surprise Buttress forms the left side of this chimney. You exit into Boyer's Chute a few hundred feet up it."