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The Tan Buttresses
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Damn it Feels Good to be a Hamsta 
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Fallen Angel 
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Goat Food 
Hard to Say 
Lazy Sunday Route 
MOAC Memorial Route 
Musafar's Home Cookin' 
Noth'N But a Good Time 
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Work-Life Balance 

Hard to Say 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 600', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Dougald MacDonald, Joe Sambataro (9/24/11)
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 1,212
Submitted By: Joe Sambataro on Sep 28, 2011
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Finishing the 1st pitch of Hard to Say.


The route climbs a series of cracks just left of the flying buttress for a pitch and a half before climbing ridge proper to the summit. The first half of the climb offers exceptional climbing before finishing up on a classic ridge.

Pitch 1: Climb a short section of loose rock and pull left around the first roof. Move up and right to another short roof - I unintentionally fixed a #3 stopper in the roof, but it will be useful protection since the pro is a little thin here. From here, climb a sustained series of laybacking, stemming, and jamming. At the top of this crack, traverse right around a large flake and up a short but splitter off-fingers crack to a small ledge. 5.10.

Pitch 2: Climb a series of cracks rightward towards the protruding arete high on the buttress (this is where Musafar's Home Cookin' crosses our line and continues up cracks on the left side of the buttress). Climb the arete directly and at a horizontal crack, traverse right to the center of the buttress and ascend a stellar, balancy face crack on golden granite. Belay directly below a tiered roof system. 5.9.

Pitch 3: Climb up and over the tiered roof to reach a fun double crack system. Climb up large but solid flakes on easier ground. 5.8.

Pitch 4: A short wide section and suspect block leads to more fun ridge climbing. This is approximately where Musafar's... rejoins the ridge and our route shares the final ridge traverse. 5.7.

Pitch 5: Continue up the ridge on low fifth to the summit as for Musafar's..., Astro Goat, and Goat Food.


Look for a crack and roof system about 100 feet right of Astro Goat. Musafar's Home Cookin' starts further around on the right side of the buttress.


Standard rack to #4 with doubles in small and mid-sized cams.

Photos of Hard to Say Slideshow Add Photo
Hard to Say is in blue with belays marked with a circle. Musafar's Home Cookin' is shown in red and stayed left of the arete on pitch 2.
BETA PHOTO: Hard to Say is in blue with belays marked with a c...
Vanya leading P1.
Vanya leading P1.
The first pitch of Hard to Say. Photo by D. MacDonald.
The first pitch of Hard to Say. Photo by D. MacDon...
Start of P3.
Start of P3.
Exposed and beautiful finish to the second pitch.
Exposed and beautiful finish to the second pitch.
Pitch 2 of Hard to Say.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 2 of Hard to Say.
The peg band on P2.
The peg band on P2.
The face crack on pitch 2 of Hard to Say.
BETA PHOTO: The face crack on pitch 2 of Hard to Say.
The death dagger pitch.
The death dagger pitch.
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By Dougald MacDonald
Sep 28, 2011

Although this line only adds three new pitches, the quality of the rock, climbing, and pro is likely to make this the standard route up the "flying buttress" on the right side of Tan Buttresses. I've done a fair number of new routes on Front Range peaks, including three on Mt. Evans, and this may be the best. The first pitch is sustained and tricky but well protected. The second pitch is improbable and exposed: maybe the highest quality lead I've experienced on any new route in the mountains. The third pitch is just pure fun on excellent cracks and flakes. And the final two pitches (shared with Musafar's) follow a narrowing ridge to a simple walk-off. Highly recommended for a short day in the high mountains.

By Ben Collett
Jun 4, 2012

Don't be alarmed if you don't find the fixed wire on the first pitch. It wasn't there as of 6/2/12.

By Dan Hehnke
Aug 6, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b

We just did this route yesterday. Out of shape, me found the first pitch at the upper end of 5.10, but that could also be the altitude talking. The cool face crack on pitch 2 will be awesome once it cleans up a bit. It was all full of lichen and dirt as of 8/12.

In the pictures, it shows someone starting up pitch 2 in the left-facing flake crack, and we also belayed at the base of this. I'd recommend however doing this crack up to a much bigger and nicer belay ledge as part of the first pitch if you have enough rope and gear left to make it.

Thanks for posting the cool route.

By Alex Banas
From: Breckenridge-Bozeman
Jun 29, 2013

There is a better spot to belay at the top of the second pitch. If you cruise past the roof left about another 15 feet, there is a great ledge to belay from, seems like a fine place for a belay instead of under the roof.