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The Whale's Tail
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Free Speech S 
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Monument, The S 
NED (Nothing Except Dynamics) T 
New Cambria T,TR 
No Problem T 
Northeast Arete T 
Second Coming S,TR 
Spoof T 
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Yorkshire Ripper, The T 

Free Speech 

YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 40'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Mike Brooks (All your routes rock!!!!)
Fixed Hardware: 2 Lead Bolts, 2 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 935
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Dec 28, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (8)
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Matching the left hand next to the right on the ho...

Climbing reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>


After crossing the foot bridge go left about 100 feet, look for two bolts in overhanging rock. These two points from a line angling up right. If you get to the Monument Cave, then you've gone a bit too far.

Below and left of the first bolt is the Spoof ring-pin, kinda hard to see. (Spoof is the 5.8+, nicely river polished, strata traverse that Free Speech crosses)

From below the pin, climb 10 to 15 feet straight up to a slippery, unprotected, 5.10 undercling up onto a smeary left foot.

It is easier to start on Spoof. The downside is slightly increased rope drag. The upside is you get to clip another soft iron, lost arrow sized, fixed pin just ten feet up.

Getting to the second bolt is the sloper-crux-dyno to a pistol grip that is both comfortable and secure for the next clip. My feet always cut loose after grabbing the pistol grip. Because the dyno is sideways, the resetting of the right foot is a bit high impact and feels awsome as control is regained for the clip. I agree with the guide rating. It feels like an example of climbing that is harder than 5.11.

After clipping the second bolt, left hand goes into an sharply incut finger-bucket. Get the feet up AHAP. Paw at the lip with the right hand, then dyno (about 15 degree right of vertical) to a totally hidden mini-hueco that ends the business.

It used to be a single bolt anchor. I went through the permit process to get the second bolt in. The rangers told us no chains and use the least metal possible, so they are camo'd goldshuts. Please DO NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO DO A DANGEROUS RAPPEL CLEAN. Just thread and lower. I'll take care of any worn metal.


If you have a mega stick, then this can be the best protected twelve in Eldo or anywhere maybe. A crash pad could be used to "protect" the polished slab moves up to the ring-angle pin under the roof. The pin can be backed up with a #1.5 Friend. However, leave room for the fingers just left of the pin. Double bolt anchor.

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By Chris O'Connor
From: bouldertown, co
Mar 15, 2007
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

There are currently two pins on before the roof, protecting the slab adequately. I got it on my second try, but pulling onto the slab on top stumped me for a while. This route would be very difficult to onsight, without the beta.
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Mar 22, 2007
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

5.11d sounds about right, maybe 5.12a to onsight.
By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Aug 27, 2007

Thanks for the comments! I just got the latest guide and increased the rating so they agree. Also, changed the text (8/29/07) to explain the Spoof start and hopefully better beta that will help any who appreciate onsight-with-insider-beta ascents.
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Oct 28, 2007
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

This route is 12a to onsight, IMO. I can see how someone getting it wired, and then redpointing it, might think it were easier, but is that really how to rate a route with such short business?

If you go up there, onsight, expect it to feel like easy 5.12.
By Dave Cummings
From: Grand Junction, CO
Oct 30, 2007
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

I love this climb. It is so close to the road that it can be a quick outing and as long as you back up the pins it is really safe. If you haven't done this route yet, go do it!
By Dane Casterson
From: Boulder
Feb 24, 2008

How far are the anchors above the second bolt? Are they just above on the slab?
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Jun 19, 2008
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a


The anchors are only a few feet above the second bolt.