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Chris Breed on P2.
This route is three pitches of some of the best crack climbing around. I've heard it called the best 5.9 in the state. The first pitch is a hand/finger crack where you can use a little lie-backing. Belay at slings.
The second pitch is the crux, it's a long pitch that leads up a perfect hand crack over a couple little bulges. Every jam is bomber, but, it is pretty sustained. Set a hanging belay once the crack is about to widen up. Note, the slings and the chockstone are disintegrating! Avoid stepping on it. Set up a gear belay.
The third pitch is a little bit wider, and leads up to the false summit with bolts. From here, you can climb a short, bolted 5.11 to the very top, or rap. The bolts to rap off the back are scary, so rap just to the left of the route (looking down). There is a row of nice bolts halfway down.
In total, two raps from the false summit. Wunsch's Dihedral (5.11a) is the wicked finger crack to the left of Center Route, on the right, Turf Spreader (5.11b) is a crazy roof on the right that leads to a beautiful 5.8 crack.
Bring a few extra pieces, and cams up to #4 Camalot, double, or triple #2s, and #3s works good.
Unknown climber (who works for Warren Miller) on T...
Amanda Tarr follows the dihedral pitch of the Cent...
Following the stellar first pitch. Note the dog a...
Yes, that is a camo hat. At least he has good for...
Bob Davis on the hand-traverse of the 3rd pitch va...
Looking up the excellent 1st pitch.
Jamming Janet on Granite. P3.
Staring at the bottom of the first lead.
John Olson leading pitch one & looking marvelous.
Belayed by John.
Overlooking the Platte.
John Mcleod with the send.
Robby "Old guy with broke shoulder" Thigpen taken ...
Nice way to end the day.
Starting the second pitch Feb 20, 2005.
P1 fun. Charley Mace.
Jeff Choens following the airy 3rd pitch variation...
Shredded by the Center Route.
Joe Williams on P1.
Climber from another Boulder climbing party on the...
Yet another Boulder climber on their descent.
Aaron Quinlisk cruising the stellar first pitch.
Aaron Quinlisk midway up the fun/sustained second ...
Greg from Fort Collins stylin the second pitch.
Amy Haessly on P1 of Center Route.
Adam Sinner spraying in the middle of the P1 OW.
Chris Breed at the top of P1.
The chockstone that once lived atop the second pit...
Looking really happy to be on one of the best crac...
|By Steve Levin|
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001
Here is another way to reach the worthy summit of Cynical Pinnacle: On pitch three move left to a short, 5.10- finger crack, then hand traverse left to join upper Wunsch's near the end of the dihedral. Watch rope drag, and save a hand-sized piece for the belay. Finish on the bolt ladder- at A0 this finish is easier than "Class Act", the summit pitch from Center Route's false summit. You can rap off the top into the gully behind the formation (in winter its choked with snow, in summer, poison ivy). Or rap to the false summit on Center Route (one rope), and then 2 double rope raps back to the start of the route.
An interesting phenomenon on Cynical Pinnacle is "the stuck rope". It often occurs when climbers aimlessly lower the ends of their rope down a rappel (rather than tossing them, or carrying them down in a butterfly coil when it's windy), or attempt to rappel directly down the Center Route (wondering why there are so many chunks of rope in the crack?). I have some friends who spent 7 hours one cold November eve (in t-shirts!) cutting their stuck rope with a nut tool, so perhaps bring a knife along.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jan 1, 2001
This is absolutely the best 5.9 in the state, and probably one of the best anywhere. The steep, sustained, bomber jams [couldn't] be better. The line is incredible and leads to a fantastic summit. If you have ever seen the cover of the S. Platte guide you will realize why you need to climb this route. Suck up the seemingly endless 1 hour uphill approach and jam your way to heaven!
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jun 5, 2001
Frank Stock - I haven't climbed the Center Route, but I did Wunch's Dihedral and rapped to the top of the Center Route. You can get off this climb with a single 60 Meter rope (and probably with a 50). We rapped off the far right of the false summit down a chimneyish slot using the bolted anchor, and then continued into the gully rapping off fixed slings with rap rings. The gully has some spots of poison ivy so it's worth exercising caution, but the walk beat dragging a second rope. In the FWIW category, Wunch's is one of the better climbs I have done.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jul 13, 2001
Awesome variation to the first pitch: just to the left of 5.8 hands is a fist to offwidth to squeeze to finger to hands, crack. Climb it. Surprisingly good. 5.10 I think. Also, a great way to pass those slow parties on the first (who don't realize how hard the second pitch is...) -dmm
|By Nevada Montagu|
Oct 22, 2001
Great route. I wish I had triple #1 and #2 Camalots though. I ended up leap-frogging gear. You don't need anything bigger than a #3. Leave the TCUs at home.
Also, wear sturdy shoes. Something board lasted or with a midsole would be good. I wore my Mythos and cried the whole way up.
At least I had shoes. My partner, Nate Adams, left his in the truck and seconded the pitches in his Adidas!
Feb 9, 2002
I've never done a better 5.9 in Colorado; rarely done a better climb of any rating, anywhere...Tape is your friend, for sure, even if your technique is spot-on: this thing is sustained!...60-degree days in February are a perfect opportunity to climb this magnificent route before the closure. And cold hands are probably better than summer thunderstorms anyway, quoth the voice of experience.
|By Gary Stetler|
Apr 1, 2002
I've done this route 3 times over the last few years, with both finishes. I like the finish recommended by Steve Levin the best (move [left] partway through pitch 3). The climbing (10a) into the adjacent dihedral is quite good, though the 5.12 finish is beyond me, the A0 bolt pull is good clean fun. By the way, I'm pretty sure that Paul Sibley did the first ascent of this route, though I can't remember who he said his partner was.
P.S.: it is certainly one of the best climbs of its grade anywhere.
|By Carol Kotchek|
From: Louisville, Colorado
Aug 5, 2002
Awesome route. Hard for the grade. I don't think you need a #4 Camalot. The last pitch looks wide but it narrows to about #2 Camalot size in the back. The largest thing I would bring if I did it again would be a #4 Friend. I don't think you need more than one, but bring two if you really want to sew it up. Probably don't need any gear smaller than a #1 Friend. Just letting you know so you don't carry a ton of gear up the lengthy approach!
|By Dan St. John|
From: Castle Rock
Aug 12, 2002
One of the best climbs in the land.
|By Darin Lang|
Aug 19, 2002
An outstanding climb and worth the hike up. Also worth it if you get a late start and have to wait in the queue. Regarding the gear comments above, though: don't sweat it if you can't piece together a rack full of #1 and #2 Camalots. This ain't Indian Creek, and stopper (and maybe even hex ...) placements are all over the place on all three pitches. Just toss them at the crack and they seem to stick. I also placed my green *and* blue aliens. YMMV, of course.
|By Joe Keyser|
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Oct 22, 2002
Did this route again yesterday. This is one of those that keeps you coming back!! If you are leading both P2 and P3, I think the best plan is to belay in the pod with the mess of slings, and have your second stop short of you to fix their own hanging belay off some cams right at to the old quarter inch bolt. Have them send the rest of the gear up to you, and then take off. I would imagine a rather difficult time to have two people in that pod trying to get organized... other than for the second to just climb past you and start leading. YMMV. Gear wise, I agree with Darin, it really does take up a lot of different sizes if you look for the placements. Having a couple 1s, 2s, and 3s doesn't hurt my feelings though since the route just eats them!
|By Tulio Miller|
Jan 4, 2003
I'm trying not to sound mean spirited here. Please stay off this climb, especially on weekends, if you cannot jam and/or cannot climb 5.9. Be considerate of others as this is a popular route and there aren't too many others of this grade on the formation.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jun 2, 2003
First come first serve. If your fast, get their first and get it done instead of sleeping in and showing up late and whining about the rest of us who might climb at a different speed standard. The whole reason most of us get out there is to get away from the rules and regulations we have to deal with the rest of the week. That's all I need is some guy with a "deadline" when Im trying to take my time and enjoy my climb.
|By Phillip Morris|
From: Flavor Country
Sep 24, 2003
Super route - super physical and super sustained
|By John McNamee|
From: Littleton, CO
Oct 6, 2003
It's an outstanding route in a spectacular setting. Everything has already been stated above about this route, but I just had to add my two cents worth! The walk up the base of the climb isn't too bad and is well worth the effort. Once you are there you have three great pitches of crack climbing, with the second pitch the longest and most sustained. There are plenty of mid size wire placements in the back of crack so it's easy to protect even if you don't have a triple set of cams. Bring two ropes since the bolts for rapping off the backside are shit. The standard rappel route down the face between the centre route and turf spreader is clean and safe. JFDI.
|By William McGehee|
From: Choctaw, OK
Nov 16, 2003
Joe, we put three people in the pod with the chockstone and slings... It was, well, interesting. Had a couple of Reverso's/B-52's and managed to get three up at the speed of two. I stood on top of the chockstone (loose, but probably ok) and put two #1 Cams in the crack to the left. Not certain if this is synonymous with the site's beta, but we set up the belay after pitch two right at the chockstone. Slings and rings greet you after the crux (for seconding "fun," try the face on the right, 20' or so below the 2nd anchor). DO NOT go off the backside (East side). The rap pins are ok though they 'flex,' but the scramble down is not a whole lot of fun. If you are masochistic and want to do it anyway because it's "Only one rap," after the large chockstone with a grey sling on it (for subsequent rappelling 60' below the base), find a 2' wide, ~20' long crack/chimney/cave to wiggle down. Fun, though narrow. Get to the bottom and crawl out the 'cave' to a scramble through brambles. Not fun.~Wm
|By Scott Bilyeu|
Nov 21, 2003
My partner belayed in the pod after the bolt on pitch #2. I climbed past him into a pod just above him and he handed up the gear to me. This worked well, gives you a little more room to organize everything.
The mileage description in the South Platte guide was wrong by quite a bit. Coming from road just north of Conifer take a right on the dirt road. Stop at the first pullout on the right. I forget how far the book said to drive but it was a couple miles shorter than that.
Sep 6, 2005
This is a great climb, and the best (longest) crack that I've done in Colorado. When I climbed this recently, I used one 70-m rope b/c I heard that you can easily rap off the back into the "ice box" with just one rope. Anyway, long story short-rapping into the ice box is very very bad idea. Bring two ropes and avoid the ice box at all costs!!
|By Anonymous Coward|
Oct 3, 2005
Leave the #4 and 3.5 at home you don't need them. You can also rap the route with one 60m rope. It takes a little longer (raps) but you don't need to worry about hauling (and hiking) with up a second rope. Best 5.9+ I've ever done! Dave of The Kirtlands
|By Chad Stebbins|
Dec 12, 2005
I didn't notice this the previous time I was on this route, but the chockstone at the top of the second pitch with the slings/ rap rings is loose. Consider this if you decide to incorporate it in your belay anchor or decide to rap off of it.
It seems fine for a straight down pull, but the outward leverage it receives if you use it as a hand hold could dislodge it. It also wobbles a bit when you stand on it. I wouldn't be surprised to see it gone someday soon.
Mar 17, 2006
One of my favorite routes in this area of Colorado. The South Platte is beautiful, and the climbing on this pinnacle is clean, straight-forward, and fun. Fairly sustained if I remember correctly.
Has anyone else used the rap off to the backside gully requiring only a 60m rope? I'd love to leave the second rope at home.
|By Ken McVicker|
Aug 25, 2006
Great route. A heck of an approach. Do your stairmaster to train!! Anyone else try the diagonal crack that starts about 50 ft to the right and joins the main line about 50 ft up? It was pretty good start until the dirt and the Bush you have to climb through. This adds about 20-30 feet to the first pitch.
|By Olaf Mitchell|
From: Paia, Maui, Hi,
Mar 20, 2007
Many years back. I linked the first pitch of Turf Spreader to The Rising Crescendo to Center Route to Class Act. I called the combo "Hot Rise" I think it's in one of the guide books. It is well worth the effort!
From: lakewood, co
Oct 1, 2007
Great climb, and it's worth every bit of the steep/loose approach! If you feel up to it, climbing the hand/finger crack variation just above the 2nd belay up to the bolt ladder to gain the real summit is very rewarding.
There is no need to take your pack all the way to the base of the climb. Leave them in the corridor below the climb at the point the trail turns to 4th class (about 25' from the base of the climb). The rappel described below will bring you back to this point.
From the summit, it took 5 raps, with one 70m rope, over the face to get back to the base of the climb. We found good anchor/rap stations for each segment. Some swinging on bely is necessary to reach some of the stations. We made it down with one 70m rope. You could make it down with a 60m, but your last rappel will require some easy 4th class descent.
(Rap 1) From the summit, rap to the false summit anchors. (Rap 2) From the false summit, rap over the face/3rd pitch of Center Route and swing to the right (facing the rock) to the anchor at the top of Turf Spreader. This anchor is 1 bolt and 1 slung chock stone. (Rap 3) From the top of Turf Spreader, rap down and left to a 2 bolt anchor on the face (swing left on decent). (Rap 4) Rap to the 2 bolt anchor below. (Rap 5) Rap to ground.
|By pete cogan|
Oct 5, 2007
Found pitch 2 arduous. Found that having a #4 was very helpful in protecting the last, awkward (for me) moves before anchors. Was very happy I had it with me.
|By Matt Seefeldt|
Nov 4, 2007
This is a great climb....One note, pulling the rope off of the rap on the top can be tough. There is a lot of friction. I would recommend that the 1st one down checks that the rope can be pulled before the second descends. Move the knot accordingly.
|By James R. Arnold|
Nov 23, 2007
Did this route a couple weeks ago with Joe Chorny. This route is awesome from bottom to top! Thanks to everyone here for all the beta.
On the issue of crowds on the route - plan on going during the week. We went on a Tuesday and we were the only ones on the route all day.
On pitch 1 near the top it is possible to step left around the arete and into an easier crack system. The alternative is to layback up and right at what seemed harder than 8. In general P1 and P3 felt hard for 8 and 8+ respectively while P2 at 9+ felt about right.
We had triple 1" and 2" cams and they were useful. If you are a really strong crack climber double cams would probably be fine. Also some good nut placements were available on P2 but difficult to clean, and I even had to leave one.
Pitch lengths are about 120 ft for P1, 110 ft for P2, and 80 ft from P3. The two double rope rap down the front between Center Route and Turf Spreader are clean and pulls pretty well if the knot is moved past the edge.
|By Alex A|
Apr 15, 2008
Great route, but 5.9+ is a sandbag more like 10a every 10 ft I thought crux was over, NOT!!!! great pro
|By Jason Halladay|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 11, 2008
A superb hand crack route. It is certainly strenuous and sustained but the protection is great and you can throw in a piece pretty much anywhere and rest on it if need be. (I had to rest on a .4 camalot near the top of the second pitch to give my feet a break from jamming.)
The third pitch felt quite stiff for 5.8. I used the term "thuggy" to describe it. I did some grunting.
We replaced the webbing and rap ring at the top of the first pitch on 8/8/08. The old stuff there was pretty sketchy.
We rapped with a single 60m (and some swinging) using the great description above by mzellman. It was nice to climb this route with a single 60m rope because rope management in that pod area at the top of P2 would be complicated with double ropes. Those cracks appear to eat ropes frequently.
We added 2 #3 Camalots to our rack and I appreciated having them both for all the pitches. We also carried a #4, but we didn't find it necessary. You will find places to put it, though, if you want.
|By Alison Conrad|
Nov 6, 2009
Great route! Lots of rests and not as strenuous as people have suggested from their posts. Eats gear.
|By Doug Redosh|
From: golden, CO
Aug 25, 2010
Agree with comments above re the strenuous nature, though on a beautiful feature. Even my usually very strong partner, Al, who climbs at Indian Creek frequently, thought so. We used lots of pieces in the #2 - #3 Cam range, though midsize nuts work in some places as well - don't leave them home! 60m rope works well with the raps as described above by mzellman.
|By Cindy Mitchell|
Oct 28, 2010
Top of the second pitch is a bit slimy with bird poop. There are 2 pods at the top of the second pitch. It's much more comfy if each climber occupies one pod rather than cramming 2 climbers into one.
|By Laurent Meillon|
From: Golden, CO
Nov 1, 2010
DANGER: The chockstone which composes most of the anchor atop pitch 2 is disintegrating as of 11/1/10. I purposely stepped on it because no one was around. The back half fell out immediately. The other half is crumbling and moving back & forth, getting caught in the slings but ripening fast. Do not step on it if your partner is right under you! It's easy to set up a gear anchor. Avoid touching the thing or using its many tempting slings.
|By Phil Lauffen|
Dec 15, 2010
When that chockstone goes, I hope nobody is on it, below it, or even near it....
From: Littleton, CO
Sep 4, 2011
This is one of the best cracks I've climbed in the state. The sustained nature is like that of the desert splitters but on Lump Ridge style granite.
I can see why some felt it was a bit stiffer than 9+, but I don't remember making any moves that were in the 5.10 arena. It just feels harder because it's so sustained (especially the second pitch).
CAMPING: There is excellent FREE camping on FR 550 if you continue to head south on CO 126 past the turn off onto 96 towards the Cathedral Spires. FR 550 is a dirt road that leads to the Buffalo Creek campground and Wellington Lake. The first 4 miles or so of this road is free camping and has excellent sites at that. If you drive all the way to the established campsite and pay $15 to hear some Texan run his generator all night, you're crazy.
|By Ben Sachs|
Oct 31, 2011
One of the best routes I've done in CO and one of the best cracks I've been on at any grade. We did the 5.10 variation into the bolt ladder, and it was spectacular. The summit is worthy! Bring the #4.
The first pitch has no fixed anchor. The 2nd pitch has a fixed sling anchor which is hard to inspect but easily backed up. The scary chockstone should be trundled!! No slings around it, but I could not avoid standing on it. It moves a lot. Somebody should remove this thing on a quiet weekday so no one gets hurt.
IMO, the single-rope rap kinda sucked. Getting passed by parties with 2 ropes and having to wait for rap stations at horrid stances is not a good time.
Jan 1, 2012
The chockstone at the top of pitch 2 is no longer an issue. My partner (Darkness) just plucked it out and threw it right down. We climbed this route New Year's Eve day, and it was windy snowy and cold. Needless to say, there was no one around, so it could be done safely. I just don't understand how people were commenting on this chockstone for 11 years. Either way, it's gone now. So, the comments to come will be about the big flake in the nook that will flex when you put gear in it...as of now, it's solid. Thank you everyone above for the great beta. As far as gear goes, I would stress a little more on bigger cams than smaller ones. I was happy to have 3 Camalot #1s and #2s make room for those by leaving doubles of the smaller guys in the car. We did place a #3.5 too. I had an amazing time and ca'nt wait to go back. Replaced some webbing at the top rap.
|By Christian Mason|
From: Westminster, CO
Aug 10, 2012
Did this climb today.
Just a heads up, there is a crazy amount of bird crap on the top of p2, near the second belay.
I'm not normally one to whine about getting a bit dirty, but this is really above and beyond. The wall for 10 or 15 feet below the ledge is a solid caked on layer of white. This also means that on the top of p2 (the crux IMO) you need to jam with one side of your hand on a layer the bird deposits. Surprisingly this doesn't provide nearly the same feeling of secure, locker jams that granite does.
Oh yes, if the wind blows when you're up there, you'll get airborne bird goodness in your eyes and mouth...awesome. Also, on top of the belay ledge (in the same nest) there was a desiccated corpse of a small bird (or a baby, can't tell) along with some larger bird nuggets.
Don't let this deter you from getting on the route, the route itself is phenomenal. Just know what you're getting into, and maybe wear a hazmat suit.
|By Em Cos|
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 2, 2012
CAUTION: Sat. 9/1/12 - Soon after starting P3, there was a chockstone that seemed like a bomber handhold, and judging by the amount of chalk on it plenty of other climbers thought so too. My partner said he yarded on it, and it seemed solid. When I grabbed it, it let go and rolled toward me, coming to a stop balanced on end just before tumbling out of the crack. I managed to climb back up to it and tried to tuck it farther back into the crack in a less precarious position (couldn't trundle, another climber below me), but be careful in this section!
Bird poo belay is foul, but I've seen worse. Doesn't do your hand jams or your shoe rubber any favors in terms of friction. Sunglasses recommended to keep it out of your eyes. Seriously.
Gear beta 2 cents: triples in 0.75-2 are nice, doubles in others, finger-sized really only necessary on the first pitch, singles of those are plenty. Nothing bigger than 3 seemed really necessary.
Sep 9, 2012
About 8' after the bird poop belay, there is a comfy stance with good gear that makes a much better belay than hanging before the bird poop or getting the ebola virus in the bird poop nook proper.