2014 Update: Blob Rock, Bitty Buttress, and all seasonal raptor closure areas on U.S. Forest Service land will be re-opened August 1, 2014 for climbing.
Each year, Boulder Canyon raptor nesting area closures are in effect starting February 1st through July 31st at Eagle Rock, Security Risk, Blob Rock, and Bitty Buttress. However, the area is monitored and closures are periodically lifted early (due to no active nest, nest site failure, or early fledging). This monitoring program is a partnership with the Forest Service Boulder Ranger District, Boulder Climbing Community, and Audubon Society. Check back periodically during times of closure for updates. More info at www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/arp/recreation.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
Start up a small dihedral (5.6) or take an easier start to the right (5.5). Follow the crack over a bulge, then onto the large face. Keep following the right crack to the roof. Either turn the roof at a dihedral to the left (red), which is the same finish to East of the Sun or take a crack straight up from the route.
An excellent route on high-quality rock. A great beginner's lead with the opportunity to place a good amount of pro for practice. A bit runout towards the top, but climbing is easy and there are a few places for pro, if need be. Enjoy!
Great climb! Perfect jams and some fun moves down low, I only wish the crack was another 100 feet long! Once the crack ended, I aimed for a small tree on the top, pulling on a large flake with bomber holds to gain the roof. Lots of variations possible once out of the main crack. Fun!
To tell you the truth, the start and last third of this route are incredibly sandbagged. I'd give the first 15' a good 5.7+ or better and the last bit 5.8 due to the size of the finger crack. Bad beginner lead and rather daunting for a beginning cleaner as well. Don't hit this one up unless you really know what you're doing.
This is a great climb, it was my first lead trad climbing and was really fun. About half to two-thirds of the way up the climb there is a diagonal ledge that traverses a little ways to the climber's left; this is an easier way to climb the route (and probably the right way). I went straight up without traversing and got pretty nervous because of a tricky move to get up to a spot below the final roof (which is really easy). I hope this helps someone to avoid that situation (which would be scary if this is your first lead...).
Fun climb. I did this route as my first climb on real rock a couple of years ago and found it a little scary in parts, returned to it recently and of course it was a lot easier! Amazing how the rock had changed...I would rate it as a good beginner climb, but maybe not the best for ones first outing. The 5.6 start is a little tricky and unless u can trust your feet a bit, things get disconcerting when the crack runs out, though only for a couple of moves. Turning the roof can be a little intimidating for the beginner as well. But great climb. Only wish it was 3 times as long!
Excellent Route !!! I climbed it for the first time last Saturday. Ample pro until the crack finishes. I recommend climbing it in a single pitch (the Belay station is awkard and hard to protect .... at least I thought so !!!) Not a good first lead .... leave it for your 4th or 5th outing.
Hey William, you must've been having a bad day or been seriously off route; this one is a fair 5.5 after the start. True, the disappearing crack disappears, but the feet are always bomber, and there's (almost) always a bomber fingerhold within reach---and anytime you need to place pro you have a rest stance.I love turning the little wannabe roof off the flake at the top! Crank! CRANK, I tell you!
James, I suppose my reply would be that you're correct: there IS always a fingerhold somewhere and there are pretty good stances for gear placement (that is, WHEN you place gear...), but in the one really tricky part about 2/3 up the route, the holds have potential to FREAK out a beginner. That's all I'm saying. It's not impossible and it certainly ain't-not-fun, it's just a tad dicey for the first outing. I was the last climber on one rope (simuling) the first time I did this guy and never felt uncomfortable, but it did make me a little nervous to lead the first time. And crank I shall!WM
Very true, William. The footwork on this one makes it a good climb for "intermediate beginner" climber types who are ready for the next challenge, not for first timers wondering what trad is all about. I recently led this with only one good hand (the other too sore from a horked tendon) though, which was a good way to reinforce just how solid the feet are---although it made those tricam placements a little sketchy.
Lead this one yesterday and was definitely humbled. "A mere 5.5," I said to myself. Should've checked the beta here first! I took the direct line after clearing the dihedralon the right side. The crack really does vanish in there somewhere (things are a little hazy) but there are a series of acceptable finger and toe pockets and diagonal fracturesspaced every fifteen feet or so. Traversing left on the top one and then back right under the roof might well yeild an easier route, but I was concerned with rope drag. Pro is good (smallish and medium cams and a couple nuts/hexes/tricams). Still, a south-facing wall in the hot noon-day sun and no chalk made the hands slipperier than I like, but the feet are solid. All in all, an exciting, fun climb with reasonably good gear and great exposure. I'd have to lobby for the 5.6 rating, rather than the 5.5 presented in various books. Not my first trad lead by any means, but certainly one of the more exciting ones.
Ok, the black feathers on my lips are from the crow I've been eating for supper... Looks like I was having a bad day back when I upgraded this one. Climbed it a week ago and put four pieces in. I was going for a speed ascent... If you just let the inhibitions go and throw big moves for fun, this is a 5.5+. How's that Smaller? Try it again and look for the awesome feet. If you're having trouble with the end of the crack proper, stack your feet until they can go no higher and look around for pockets. Just for the joke-record, my ascent time was :10 + or - a minute because I was fiddling with cams and having too much fun... Bummer...~Wm
By Brian Scoggins From: Eugene, OR Nov 14, 2003 rating: 5.54b13IV+11MS 4a
If you don't belay from the tree, but rather the gash about 8 feet below and to the right of it, you can see your partner the whole time (once past the opening dihedral) and cut down on considerable rope drag. Its a third class scramble from there to the walk off gully. Save the trees!
By Matt Chan From: Boulder Jan 16, 2004 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
The East Slab is a terrific first time lead. The pro is great for the first half of the route. I used lots of cams (#.5 - #3), a few stoppers, and a couple of hexes. A little spooky when the fist crack runs dry, but in my humble opinion, the ample pro will give any first time leader the confidence to finish the climb. Fun! 5.7- start in the dihedral (maybe 5.6+) and 5.5+ for the rest of the climb.
At the risk of starting a ratings debate, I'm adding a bit on this one. The primary difficulty that beginning leaders have on this rock is not that the moves are hard, but rather that they are not obvious. If you go slowly and pay careful attention to the climb---perhaps in a low-threat situation like following---you'll probably see that each move is quite straightforward, but that there is often only one rest stance at any point. It may be necessary to switch feet to be in the correct position to get to the next one. I'm 6'00" and there is exactly one place past the start where I find any need to resort to pure smearing with no handhold; a shorter person might need to make two such moves. At every other point there is a good rest stance (although some of them require thinner edging moves)---the kinds of things I expect to see on 5.4s. WIth that in mind, and considering that the degree of exposure should not inflate the grade, I feel safe in calling this a "fair 5.5." The trick is, of course, to wire the moves together in order to achieve that grade, and you're probably not going to be able to do that if you're jumping onto the route for the first time with no running beta. Note as well that the 5.6 start is like a microcosm of the entire climb: if you know the right things to do, it's 5.6. If you don't, then you can turn the start into a 5.8. (The key to the start is to not trust the chalk marks when feeling about for the correct place to jam.) This route a great example of one where a thoughtful approach will achieve more than a brute-force attack.
Compared to Eldo or the Flatirons, Boulder Canyon granite always seems slippery and sandbagged to me. I don't really know what I'd rate the East Slab, but it is certainly one of the easiest routes in Boulder Canyon, I can't think of anything easier in fact. I do not believe it is a good "first lead" for a beginner. The rock is slick if you are not used to Boulder Canyon granite and it's not like you can sew the thing up. In fact on the upper slab seems runout to me, but at least it is low angle.
By Fred Keith From: Portsmouth & North Conway, NH May 4, 2004
A true Friday after-work classic.
At the very top of the crack, a #4 Rock. Jam up high and then reach up way high and to the right (1 o'clock) and there is sloper mantle to a jug....next to the jug is good #5 placement.
That way a direct line is taken and the slab sews-up.
Led this again for the first time in 25 years. That's right, I'm an old fart. I first climbed the East Slab as part of the CMC IRCS class I took back in 1977. Thought a bit of perspective might be of interest.
While I and my partners waited for two other teams to climb the route, I noticed everyone was heading straight for the tree from the top of the jam crack. Back in the 70s we had 150' ropes and belayed below to location, where another comment indicates to crank. Our 150' ropes wouldn't let us do the route in one pitch. The belay point is over to the left. To get there, we'd diagonal up and left at the top of the jam rather than taking the current straight up to the tree route.
I know the route was rated 5.5+ back then. The current route doesn't seem much if any more difficult, but has a bit more run out.
Anyway the route was still a bunch of run for this old fart. I wouldn't recommend it for a first lead, although (IMO) it's a better protected first lead than anything on the Flatirons.
I felt sandbagged as a beginner follower and years later as a leader. You'd really have to have it worked, I think to go at 5.5 and most people don't. it's the kind of granite where your toe and finger have to be on the exact little crystal. Therefore, IMO, it onsights for most at .6 or better. Either way, it's recommended.
The route did not disappoint. Excellent quality rock and a really fun lead for relatively new leaders (like me) who are comfortable with a little runout.
We had to leave a #2.5 tri cam that fell back into the crack somewhere between 20-30' up the 5.6 start to the route. It's a little too far back to get at with a nut tool, but if someone does fish it out, I'll give them $5 for it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and enjoy the route.
George- a couple of easier trade routes in Boulder canyon are the Pine Tree route (3rd Elephant Buttress) and the West Crack (Castle Rock). Both of these are also 5.5, but anyone at their limit on either would feel sandbagged by this one, imho.
Good route done in one pitch, belay at the tree at the top. You can tackle the roof at the very top or just move right and around it. The beginning felt 5.6+ and 2/3's up when the crack peters out felt 5.6. A first time leader probably wouldn't want that much excitement, otherwise it's a great warm-up for Cozy Overhang, etc.
I found this climb to be very enjoyable until you reach the end of the disappearing crack. Very dicey for the beginner because there is a twenty foot+ runout. The seriousness rating should be PG atleast.
By Lloyd Garrick From: Arvada, CO Sep 24, 2005 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
Did this over weekend, 1st time. Challenging right at beginning before crack. Crack is cool, then gone to a smooth slab with no holds. Always expect the unexpected - I like that! I dispute the rating - this is a solid 5.6 IMHO. www.colorado-hiking.net/dome1.html
You don't need anything outside a standard rack; you don't need a lot of big gear. On 11/20/05 there were 4 parties lined up to do this route when we walked off "East of the Sun". Get there early if you want to do this popular route!
By Charlie Fried From: New York, NY Jun 19, 2006 rating: 5.75a15V+13MVS 4b
This route is fun, but way over rated for the demand of use that it receives!
By Fred Keith From: Portsmouth & North Conway, NH Jul 10, 2006
At (old) 5.5 difficulty, this route is tit.
It just takes some pro-placing talent that the current no-mind color-by-numbers lead climbers can't get.
The easiest line one can take up this part of the face certainly goes 5.5. There are many variations. A direct start w/o beta can seem 5.8.
I am constantly amazed on how orginal standards are being dumbed-down. If you guys think this shit is hard, try going to the Needles in SD, Devil's Lake or come east to Cathedral Ledge.
By YDPL8S From: Santa Monica, Ca. Oct 22, 2007 rating: 5.54b13IV+11MS 4a
I agree with Fred, my first leads ever were Wind Ridge, Calypso, and East Slab. Back in the day, these three climbs defined what I thought of as the grade 5.5 ...makes sense to me! I don't even know what simpler climbs you could have someone lead for their first lead that wouldn't be just a toprope problem.
I've soloed this route about 20 times so hopefully I know what I'm doing, and Cleve McCarty taught me to climb so I'm more old school than anyone here except George, and this route is solid 5.6. A short person unable to reach one of the solution pockets would have to hand jamb the crack and call it 5.7. Excellent route.
By Christina kalb From: Boulder, CO Oct 27, 2008 rating: 5.75a15V+13MVS 4b
A fantastic route...great climbing and bomber gear!
By John Maguire From: Boulder, CO Feb 2, 2009 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b PG13
** Protection Beta *** For Beginner Leaders: When the top of the crack gets very run out, look for a second vertical crack an arms reach to the right that will take a #4 Metolius or similar sized cam. This protects the route well.
This is a fun lead whether you're a beginner or not.
And yes, the first move is 5.7.
By Abram Herman From: Golden, CO May 23, 2009 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
This was my first ever outdoor climb - I followed a friend and came back 4 months later to lead 2 of my friends. It's a great place to learn and offers enough exposure to get a beginner seriously excited! Also, I agree with earlier commenters that it's a great place to learn to lead trad. The beginning offers substantial pro, and the hardest move (about halfway) feels very protected. As you get higher it gets slabbier and easier, but chances for pro also dwindle (although they are still sufficient), providing a great feel for being on lead without much risk for first-timers. Overall, an awesome easy intro climb. (another bonus is it can be fairly easily protected with only nuts and hexes - good for a beginner rack lacking the more pricey cams)
By J. Fox From: Black Hawk, CO May 30, 2009 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
This can be done easily in one pitch with a 60m rope. Walk off to the east.
By Rob Davies UK From: Cheshire, UK Oct 28, 2009 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
Very good climb. UK grade mild VS (just) 4b.
By Brian Scoggins From: Eugene, OR Nov 8, 2009 rating: 5.54b13IV+11MS 4a
Came back on Saturday, to do this again. This is always a good refresher to Boulder area trad-climbing in the sense that it still has a fair bit of heady climbing above gear (for the grade). There is some (not much) pro above where the crack runs out. However, you'll need a blue alien or yellow zero or one of those new white tricams for one placement, or be prepared to be in a lousy spot placing a #1 Camalot. Especially for the latter, these will feel like psych pro if you're gripped. Which is funny because you can get some AWESOME pro right in the top of the crack, and the climbing isn't that hard in the runout section. Doubly so since the hardest move of the runout section is the one where you commit to leaving the crack. If you blow it there, you won't go far.
Did this fun little pitch today and scored a ton of gear. A #3 Camalot, a QD, and two biners', one locking. Made my day!
By Scott McMahon From: Boulder, CO Aug 30, 2010 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
Pretty continuous 5.6 the whole way. Holds and pockets materialize just where you need them, but expect solid 5.6 the whole way. I'd agree with maybe not doing this for your first lead as it can be a little heady.
Do as one pitch, lots of extra rope w/ a 60 meter.
By Rich F. From: Colorado Springs, CO Sep 6, 2010 rating: 5.75a15V+13MVS 4b
Did this today in a howling wind -- 65 mph gusts at Nederland. About got blown off near the top! Great route. Direct start felt 5.7 to me for the first 9 ft. The rest of the climb to the "roof" was no harder than 5.6 IMO. Belayed below the roof, then walked to the left side of the "roof" and climbed the "tall", right-facing dihedral (see pic). Climbing (jamming & stemming) over that 10' section felt pretty stiff for 5.6. After rapping back down (to retrieve gear) I went over the roof the 2nd time about 20 ft right of the tall dihedral, and it was just an easy step over.
Quality route with different climbing styles and smooth moves. Can be done with one 70m rope.
By farkas.time From: Sheffield, SY Apr 9, 2012 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
This is a great route with varied climbing. It has good jams, a cool roof crank, some tenuous slab, and vertical stemming. Don't let the 5.6 fool you -- this rock is stout. I've climbed comparable 8s, and there's a short runout section that is spooky. The gear placements are available but tricky -- this is not a good beginner lead. Furthermore, the leader goes out of view of the belay almost immediately, and even if you do it in two pitches, communication will likely have to be done with the rope, especially if the river is high. As such, I recommend one pitch, since communication is a problem anyway, rope drag is not an issue, and p2 is super-duper short.
Used to guide this a lot back in the mid 1990s, so got it totally wired. Once climbed it with my friend Doug in 24 minutes, car-to-car (and yes, we led and belayed the route normally). It was quite aerobic, as I recall.
Today I on-sight free soloed this route directly. Pulling the roof was awesome. Graciously grabbing both sides of an amazing horn of rock that points ever abruptly down towards the void, my soul told me to cut feet, so I released, stabbed the ledge with my foot and felt dynamic perfection, rested, then continued onwards to the finish. Despite my belief that cruxing is almost completely self-imposed, I think I inevitably had a few edgy moments when the cracks die, just for a few feet, where I had to trust my foot jams, rubber, and ability before running into horizontal seams. I believe these couple moves can be done with utter solidity with a few practice sessions, onsight however, I believe it will be a little precarious for most. All in all, very inspiring route, great rock quality with sweet granite movement.
Unless I did another route by mistake, (I don't think so) this is a one pitch route, about 50 meters. Good route on quality rock. I think the crux is getting off the deck; the footing is a tad awkward.
Runout near the top could be reduced with small tricams in pockets. Didn't bring any, but I see how they could be useful if you are new to leading trad.
By Jim Fox From: Westminster, CO Jun 25, 2014 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
Climbed this on Father's Day with my son. This was my first climb in CO when I moved here many years ago & my son's first trad climb this time. It was also my first climb anywhere in about 15 yrs and first lead in about 17 yrs.
A really fun climb, albeit a little scary in places for the grade. Getting off the ground is the hardest part, especially for shorter folks (I'm 5'9"). Protects well except for the section above the crack.
I climbed extensively in the past and felt comfortable leading this, despite the long hiatus since last climbing. I would agree with some of the other reviewers that this might be a tough lead for 1st time trad leaders but only due to the difficulty of placing pro in the section above the crack.
I never felt that there was much difference between 5.6 and 5.7 but could argue for either rating. It was rated 5.5 at one time, but that's probably a sandbag. I'd call it 5.6, but I might just be getting old....
By David Tennant From: Toledo, OH Jul 17, 2014 rating: 5.64c14V12S 4b
Definitely beyond doable in 1 pitch with a 60m. Crux was the start.
I'm not exactly sure how the route finishes. It seemed like there were multiple ways you could climb the top part. All of them looked pretty easy but some a bit more runout than others for a new leader.