This is steep with two pods to get through. It is mostly hands. Climbers with smaller hands will find the very top harder, as it is big deep hands. Lots of people lead this, there is even an anchor up top. If you do it in traditional style, you can climb into and down the tree right by it, not too terrible. It's got a great landing, so go for it! It is probably the most classic boulder problem at Vedauwoo.
On the east end of the south side of The Nautilus there is a big, freestanding boulder right off the trail. This right-leaning crack is on its overhanging east side.
I tried this one this weekend for a short period. I got my hands to the second pod, bouldering, not on lead, I had climbed some of the other boulder problems rated 10-10+ and this seems like the hardest. I don't know how sand bagged it is but it's fairly sustained. I will get it eventually, any recommendations on what problems will help me with technique for this one?
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO Oct 10, 2006 rating: 5.10d6b+21VII+21E3 5bV0+4+
I lead it, not bouldered it, so I am not quite sure how to rate it as a boulder... but 5.10d sounds right. It's not technical, it's just difficult. I suspect the level of difficulty and crux location are both hand-size dependent. Cups, fists, and forearms got me up this without any stacks, despite my very gracile mits (not at all wide). When my fist jams were rattly, I stuffed in up to my elbows and flexed my forearms in for a larger second point of contact. YMMV. My forearms are a good deal bigger than my fists.
If your hands are large and the hard part is the off-fists to the low side, try jaming by rolling the thumb tips as if to touch the base of your pinky, then twist the hand. I find this more effective than cupped hands, and less exhausting. Again, YMMV.
Jason, you seem to be having trouble reaching through the pod up there. I would recommend getting a thumbs up jam with either hand at the bottom of the pod and then reach through to the top of the pod with the other hand. For pods in fist cracks, use a palm up fist instead. Standard fare technique for getting through short pods in hand cracks, and a good technique to learn. Sorry, I can't think of any easier problems that would teach that technique, this one is particularly good for that. A good harder one would be Nats Three Star Roof, and it's a LOT closer to the ground. Even if you can't pull the lip, there are some valuable lessons to be learned under the roof itself. Stacks are entirely unnecessary on this climb.
I came back and got the redpoint on my 3rd try. got past the second pod first try and fell from probably 15-20 feet up, 2 pads did the job perfectly. I was so excited when I got to the top, 'cause I had no preconcieved expectations, I almost didn't make it as I slipped near the last couple moves. I just told myself, "you're so close don't give up" and I fought as hard as I could and I made it.
By molony Feb 17, 2009 rating: 5.106b20VII-19E2 5bV1-25
Terrifyingly high, but worth every inch. Throw down a few pads and boulder it. Personally, the crux was the rather spicy downclimb.
Yes by all means boulder it if you want too... but just FYI... I do know a guy who tried to boulder this AND fell off on the last move AND got his foot stuck in the crack AND therefore went flat on his back on the landing. Probably lucky he didn't break his neck.
All I am saying is this is serious problem - pretty atypical for what most folks think of when they are thinking V0 bouldering.
First time I met Scarpelli was at the base of the Cupcake. I was strollin' through and looked up at the route, asked Bob what the thing was rated. He casually said 5.8. Also remember spotting a friend with one leg one day as he bouldered it. I was more worried about getting clubbed by his prosthetic than he was climbing it I believe.
Did this today after wandering by for years saying "someday I need to do that thing". Really fun climb! We did it as a lead, since we had gear with us and didn't have crash pads.
A word of caution to those intending to lead it. The anchor sucks. It is 2 buttonheads about 4" apart, and there aren't really any gear options (the crack pinches off after you clear the lip). There is what appeared to be a 3/8" wedge-bolt stud, without a hanger, so another option would be to bring a hanger and a nut. I debated bringing my partner up and doing the tree downclimb, but the anchor situation didn't make that particularly appealing. I'd suggest replacing the bolts, but that would probably kick off some debate about "just boulder it". Maybe the tree downclimb isn't that bad, but standing on top of the boulder, it looked like a long way into the tree.
So, leading it is no big deal, but cleaning it to get your gear back is a pain. I lowered off the two buttonheads, cleaning my gear on the way down (booty alert: if this is part of your solo circuit, there are 2 hotwires waiting for you at the "anchor" on this route). Fortunately, the edge friction is pretty intense, which means you aren't putting much weight on those bolts.
The "Jump Off Tree" is dead, so that descent is more dangerous and may soon go away. In light of this, Bob Scarpelli, Jennifer Hanft, and I removed the scary buttonheads and placed a bona fide anchor at the top of this route for those who wish to lead, toprope, and/or get off this boulder. Since it is Bob's problem and his decision to place the anchors, and since the soil is thin enough to allow an adjacent dead tree to fall already; please respect his decision to update the anchors and place them where they are useable. (The buttonheads, by the way, came out frighteningly easily.)
Just to add to my husband's post about the anchors we added to the Cupcake today: I understand that individual ethics at Vedauwoo range greatly. No one debates that the Cupcake was originally done as a boulder problem, but since the descent tree is now dead, and old buttonheads were completely unsafe (Bob removed them by putting a chisel under the hanger and they effortlessly popped right out!), please respect Scarpelli's decision to put a safe anchor on it that can also be used for top-roping. We spend over a half hour shifting the rope into different positions to identify the best place where by people will still need to complete the exit moves to reach them, but they can be reached from either standing to the right and reaching out or reaching down from the top on the left side. It's easy to be critical of other people's anchor placements. We all had different ideas going over there about where the new anchors should go, but we climbed it repeatedly, and in the end came to a consensus.
If you don't want to use the anchor, fine. Please, though, do not endanger other people's lives by chopping them. The soil in which the dead descent tree grew is very shallow as you can see by the tree 4 feet away that fell this year. I've lost more than one friend to soloing; a personal decision, but please don't force your ethics on others. Let us all make our own decision whether we choose to use a safe descent option. Thank you, Jen Hanft
With the branches missing off the descent tree, the entire nature of the boulder problem has changed, as the descent is now terrifying. Bummer, as I used to love closing out the day running laps on this.