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Fantasy Ridge 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a R

Type: Trad, 4 pitches, Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Michael Covington, 1970s
Page Views: 4,392
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Jan 1, 2001
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (58)
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Hike around to the left of the large (100 foot high) flatiron leaning against the Bookmark. Go further, just around the SW corner of the formation and find a left-angling fist crack.

P1 - climb up past the fist crack, about 10 feet left of where it starts, into a short finger crack that gains access to an easy slab on the south face. Climb an easy corner and belay near its top.

P2 - head up onto a slab, clip an updated bolt, place a questionable small camming unit, and make delicate 5.9 moves to another easy crack. Belay at its top (5.9 R). Just so anybody doesn't get the wrong idea--on the second pitch, to find "another easy crack", make sure you make the "delicate 5.9 slab moves over to the right once you get above the manky bolt/TCU area. Going straight up would be disasterous 9X.

P3 - look for a prominent roof/alcove up and right. Enter it via a 5.8 corner, then climb out the right side and gain a thin crack. When that ends, climb a thin 5.9 crack smack on the SW corner of the formation, with great exposure. Make a 5.9 move to a ledge on the right, shortly before the crack ends (5.9, long pitch).

P4 - climb the overhanging 5.9 crack above the belay, and proceed easily to to the top. Cross a chasm to reach the rappel/downclimb, and choose a descent.


Bring a full standard rack--emphasize thin.

Photos of Fantasy Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Joe on one of the many enaging face traverses on Fantasy Ridge (P3).
Joe on one of the many enaging face traverses on F...
Moving R on P3.
Moving R on P3.
P3- traverse right along a thin crack 5.9+ is what the book says.
P3- traverse right along a thin crack 5.9+ is what...
Unknown climber on the nicely exposed 5.9 crack that splits the ridge.
Unknown climber on the nicely exposed 5.9 crack th...
Comments on Fantasy Ridge Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 6, 2011
By Mike Sofranko
Aug 13, 2001

The original start to this route is very worthwhile - yet largely ignored in the guides. I added it to this database as Original Fantasy Ridge.

The start as described here is probably more in character with the rest of the route (dicey 5.9 slab).

Great route. P3 is varied and always interesting, one of the best.

By Luke Clarke
From: Golden
May 20, 2002

It is possible with a 200-foot rope to combine the first two pitches as described here. That way you get quality 5.9 in each of three long pitches.

By Errett Allen
Apr 21, 2003

The old bolt on pitch 2 has been replaced with a 3/8 X 2.25 inch Rawl 5-piece with Metolius hanger. Also, the crack on pitch 4 is *NOT* overhanging.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 21, 2003

Hmmm...I wonder if we climbed different cracks. The once I climbed certainly certainly a hair past vertical, if only for 10 feet or so.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 22, 2003

Theo Barker wrote:"However, it is difficult to convince me that an "R" pitch (and thus route) can be three stars at the 5.9 level."

On the contrary, there are many 5.9 R-rated routes (Metamorphosis in Eldo comes to mind) that rate 3 stars in part *because* of their runout nature.

"I'm not the one that originated designating P2 as "R". You will note the route description above contains an "R" rating for P2. In addition, the route is designated "s"."

R, s, it all means the same thing. I'm the one who designated it as "s", because when I climbed the route the bolt was old and not to be trusted. Now, with a new bolt, it's not "s", not that it should matter if it was.

"One bolt could change that. After all, someone recently replaced the aged one that was there. Why not make it a little safer yet?"

Yeah, and then 2 more bolts make it a clip-up, 3 and it rivals some of the more heavily bolted routes in the Front Range. Of which there are plenty, by the way. Where do we draw the line? Climbing at Lumpy has never been about sanitizing the experience. I hope it never is.

"Charles, if you didn't want to use that second bolt, you could still climb without it."

I'm so sick of this argument. It would completely change the commitment level and mental aspect of this lead, whether I clipped it or not.

"You could fairly easily convince me that P3 is not "R","

Theo, the fact that you suggest in the first place that pitch 3 could be "R" is what scares me most here. I've climbed nearly 100 routes at Lumpy, and if P3 of Fantasy Ridge is "R", then by your logic the great majority of those routes need to have bolts added to them. Is this the beginning of the end? Many of us who climb at Lumpy value the experience of climbing natural lines with clean gear, without fixed protection. If we take your comments to their logical conclusion, and act on them, then that experience will be a thing of the past. And don't try to tell me that I can just skip the bolts!

By spanky
Apr 15, 2004

I just looked up [Fantasy Ridge] on this site (I find it a bit humorous that there is this much beta information on a website for a route that has been in print in at least a dozen different guidebooks and is pretty much a straight shot along the ridge to the summit of the [Bookmark]. Of course, that would bring into question some of the validity of this website, so I'll leave that question alone) . Anyway, I was astonished to see that someone had suggested that the third pitch should receive an "R" rating, never mind the numerous suggestions that the 2nd pitch receive a runout rating as well.

As for the 2nd pitch, if you fell from the last face moves onto the bomber TCU in the horizontal crack approx. 6 feet above the bolt, your fall would be about 20 feet. Now, that might seem like a long distance to some, and I certainly wouldn't want to take a 20 foot slab fall if I didn't have to, but the point is that on some routes you know that you can fall anywhere you want to and on some routes you know that you can't. At the first belay, looking up at the face above the bolt, you can easily see what is required of you, the leader, on the next pitch. If you think you can't hack it, one rappel gets you back down to the ground and the left book is an easy five minute hike from there. If you decide to get on the pitch you know what you have to do. And if you do blow it, you're going to go 20 feet max and you're not going to hit anything. I'm sorry, but this scenario just does not qualify for an "R" rating. You know, I'd listen to Charles and Patrick. They've climbed at Lumpy for a long time, and I don't think I've ever disagreed with any opinions they've offered on this site.

As for the 3rd pitch, the suggestion that this pitch receive an "R" rating is ludicrous. I offer up a personal example. Eight years ago my partner and I, with a good amount of experience at Lumpy, went up on Fantasy Ridge, and my friend got freaky scared leading the third pitch. While following the pitch, it was all I could do to stay in the third pitch fingercrack, and I doubted my ability to have led the pitch and placed the gear myself. Seven years later, I did the climb again and the third pitch was a cruise. I placed gear in the upper fingercrack from a good stance every three feet, not because I needed it but because I could. It was a unique experience to remember how difficult the pitch had been years ago and how easy it felt that day, solely because of better technique I'd gained over the years. If you think the third pitch was poorly protected, don't go changing the guidebook rating of the climb. Change yourself. Go and climb a lot, get better, and when you go back the pitch will feel fine. Too often we try to change everything else to rationalize and explain our difficulties and/or failures. Sometimes you just have to ante up.

By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Apr 15, 2004

"The point is that on some routes you know that you can fall anywhere you want to and on some routes you know that you can't " - Spankster. Isn't this what defines an "R" rated climb?

I personally think that the R, S, VS rating should be used more. R = runout and long fall but should not lead to injury. S = bad fall, long or short, will likely result in injury. VS = if you fall you will sustain critical injuries or death. This should be rated solely on the nature of the climb and the availability pro, not the leaders mistakes (botched clip, poorly placed pro).


By ac
Apr 15, 2004

What Fantasy Ridge probably deserves is a PG-13 rating. It's not a complete sew-up, and it can get minorly spooky, but it's no R route. The R rating would only scare off people from trying a very nice route that is quite safe if you're capable of climbing this grade.

Apr 15, 2004

I've always thought that R = s and that X = vs, roughly.

R/s: Fall potential with high possibility for injury.

X/vs: Fall will likely result in serious injury or death.

By spanky
Apr 17, 2004

AC, I read your comment and I agree that people should not be scared off of trying [Fantasy Ridge] because it is a fine route. I was just wondering about your statement that [Fantasy Ridge] is "quite safe for people climbing at that grade". How then do you justify giving it a "PG-13" rating? Aren't you contradicting yourself? Can't any climb receive an "r" or even "x" rating if you aren't capable of climbing at its level? By your analogy [Sphinx Crack] should receive an "x" rating because I can't climb 5.13b overhanging fingers and thin-hands.

By spanky
Apr 19, 2004


No, I don't think that's what defines an "r" rated climb. Let me give you an example, using bolted climbs for an analogy. You can do any number of bolted clip-ups now strewn across the Front Range, at Clear Creek, Boulder Canyon, Golden Cliffs, etc., and you're going to find bolts 5-6 feet apart on the majority. On most of these routes, you can fall (or hang on the rope) at any bolt you'd like. In contrast, [Climb of the Ancient Mariner at Lumpy] has bolts fifteen feet apart on the crux first pitch and bolts fifteen to twenty-five feet apart on the easier second pitch. Falling from the crux moves on the first pitch would probably result in a twenty foot fall, leaving you close to the lip of the roof below. While this fall would be pretty scary, it is also quite safe because you wouldn't hit anything.

Both of these examples get the same seriousness rating, which means that they both get none. If you fall on Climb of the Ancient, you're not going to fall that far and you're not going to get hurt. That means it doesn't get an "r" rating, plain and simple. Now, I'm not saying that I want to take that 20 foot plunge off of the crux moves. I just know that the first time I did Climb of the Ancient, I followed both pitches, and the second time I did it, I made sure I had acquired enough experience before I jumped on lead on the first pitch and I made sure I had my head together before I committed to the crux moves. If I wanted to chicken off the crux moves once up there, there would have been no bolt right next to me to yell the too-often-heard "take". At that point, ten feet above your bolt, you have to go for it or drop. Like I said, on some routes you know that you can fall wherever you want, and on some routes you know that you can't.

By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Jun 13, 2004

Outstanding route, a must do climb at Lumpy Ridge. Each pitch has varied and interesting climbing. It's spicy in places, but that just adds to the experience.. JFDI.

By Michael Amato
Jun 29, 2004

Climbed this route Sunday before the deluge. A note on the second pitch - I went straight up past the second bolt rather than traversing right. It is continuous, sustained and unprotected 5.9 face all the way with a cruxy, delicate step right high up to gain the groove. As I say, I did not traverse right at or near the bolt, but unless you are ready for some 40-odd feet of 5.9 face and slab runout, I would advise that option on this pitch. Exciting and aesthetic climb!

By Ken Heiser
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 11, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

I did this route today and led the first pitch (Joy and Tribulation) in one pitch. I did not encounter any S rated climbing on this route. My comment on the bolt for me as a lead climber is that it is not even needed as it is only about 2 feet above a super gear placement and I got the green and yellow Alien in a crack about 10 feet straight above the bolt that I felt were bomber. I also found the face climbing above the bolt to be pretty easy when compared to other 9 face I've done at Lumpy. Super enjoyed this climb.

By Michael Amato
Jul 15, 2004

Re: my entry above on 6/29, when I said "straight up past the SECOND bolt" on Pitch 2, I meant the ONLY bolt. It's worth mentioning, however, that after recently checking Gillett's guidebook, I found that he rates this variation (straight up past the bolt) 5.9X. Whether you call it X, R or S... any time the lack of pro on a climb means that a fall from the top of the second pitch would put the leader 40+ ft. below his or her belayer, possibly even incurring a ground fall, it would be remiss not to bring attention to it.

By Scott Conner
From: Lyons, CO
Jul 15, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

Great route. I would have to agree somewhat with Theo about P3 being at least a little runout near the top. Not that I'd want to see any fixed gear here but, c'mon, it's at least PG and maybe R-. I led this pitch and by the time I could get a yellow Alien in the horizontal crack near the belay ledge my last piece was the smallest Alien and it was about 6' below my feet and the moves were thin, especially coming at the end of such a long pitch with a few 5.9 cruxes.

By Craig Blankenship
Aug 10, 2004

Seconded Fantasy Ridge last week. Totally blows away the J Crack considering the route on whole. Climbed left and direct of the bolt on P2. I felt it was pushing 5.10 and I wondered at the time what the leader felt about the runout. We discussed it afterwards and both agreed it was awesome. This is a very fine route (and fun climb). Leaving P2 as it is keeps this route honest. Moving up left of the bolt on P2 I kept thinking the leader was in for some serious ouch if he peeled. This is certainly a three star route because it is fairly sustained in difficulty.

By A Clements
Apr 22, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

...Tell me about it. I took about an 80 foot fall from about 30 feet above that horizontal crack above the bolt. Straight up is disasterous, but I would consider the small part of the actual p2 that I did really entertaining and definitely worth a few raised hairs.

By Cale Csizmadi
From: Colorado Springs
Jul 18, 2005

Classic route! A green Alien can be placed above the only bolt on P2 before you make the delicate moves up and right. You definitely want small gear for the top of P3. BD-swedges worked well for the thin crack leading up to the belay on P3.

By Mike Carnes
Jul 11, 2006

R/S, PG, I know this is an old topic but I think this might help a few out there. It is TRUE 5.9, that's it, and if you are solid at 5.9 you'll feel the same way about it. If you thinks it's run out, then Lumpy has plenty of 5.8s out there that are high in quality and will get your head ready for 5.9. By the way, this climb is the best cure for a big hangover I've found in 5 years.

By Caelan
From: Dysfunctional, CO
Mar 6, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

This climb should NOT be "R" or "s" rated. There is good gear at every crux on this route. Some of the gear is quite small (bring your RPs, small nuts, and the smallest cams), and can be challenging, but it's all there. It's "scary", but you won't get mauled if you fall. Just watch out for the cheese grater. Oh, and try to wait until temps hit 60 deg F or you'll be chilly in the shade. Great route - go do it!!

By Phillip Morris
From: Flavor Country
Aug 30, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

My new favorite for the grade at Lumpy.

By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Aug 16, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a PG13

Did this route yesterday - first climb at Lumpy in many years and thought it was superb! We did not have a guidebook, so other than a quick look at the guide and a party on the route above us I knew nothing about the route except that the guidebook author liked it and it was pretty consistent at 5.9. Ended up doing the first 2 pitches as 1 - I was able to get a good 0 TCU and #0.5 Camalot in a slot above the bolt. The climbing above was solid 5.9 but not runout for a slab really. It looks like we stopped short of the normal belay for the last pitch and instead belayed from just below the thin crack on the left side of the ridge. I thought the last pitch was by far the hardest and am glad we belayed where we did. My partner could watch (and no rope drag) on the thin crack section and no belay in the way for what I thought was the over-all crux - the "over-hanging" crack section. I was glad I had several micro-nuts and rps and a 3.5 camalot came in handy, too!

By jeremy long
May 19, 2011

I'm not a fan. Neither was my partner. Both of us have plenty of experience at Lumpy. Of course I made some mistakes. We combined the first two pitches, and towards the end of that pitch, I got lost in the 5.9x. So, I downclimbed back to the bolt probably 15? 20? feet and my partner didn't get any of that rope back. At the bolt, head up and right. I suggest doing some other stellar 5.9 on The Book.

By Paul Irby
From: moab, ut
Aug 6, 2011

Climbed this yesterday. I left the guidebook in the parking lot and accidently climbed the original start in one long 65 meter pitch. I thought this route was stellar. A little spicy and really fun.