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The Bastille - N Face
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Northwest Corner 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ British: E3 5c

   
Type:  Trad
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ British: E3 5c [details]
FA: FA:Layton Kor and Peter Lev, FFA: Pat Ament
Fixed Hardware: 5 Lead Pins, 3 Belay Bolts, 2 Lead Bolts [details]
Page Views: 6,001
Submitted By: Chris Dawson on Oct 3, 2001
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Belaying the third pitch of NW Corner,
on the last...
Climbing reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

This is another "classic" .11- on the north side of the Bastille.

Start near the base of Rain on the (surprising) northwest corner of the Bastille. Climb up and left via underclings, past a few fixed pins and one tricky move to the top of the pillar and a two bolt anchor (.9).

The next pitch climbs up the left-facing corner, through a small roof (.9+) and up the thin crack (crux). Reach up to clip a bolt and traverse right to a belay at a bolt on the arete.

Pitch three follows the obvious corner above for 40 feet. Move up and right through loose strata to overhung moves along a chalked flake (more pins). Belay on same ledge as for Outer Space.

Pitch four options include outer space and traversing right and up the last pitch of West Buttress.

Overall, this is an enjoyable route. The crux pitch may feel a little hard for the grade.


Protection 

Standard rack.



Photos of Northwest Corner Slideshow Add Photo
The north and west faces of the Bastille. <br /> <br />5. Werk Supp <br />10. Northcutt Variation <br />13. Bastille Crack <br />14. Outer Space <br />33. West Buttress
BETA PHOTO: The north and west faces of the Bastille.

5. Werk...
Rolo coming up just past the crux on the 'Northwest Corner (5.11)' of the Bastille, in Eldo.
Rolo coming up just past the crux on the 'Northwes...
At the start of the crux section (2nd pitch).
At the start of the crux section (2nd pitch).
At the semi-rest down a bit from the crux. From here you can go straight right then up to the bolt, up to the pin then straight right then up to the bolt, continue up the crack (via face on the left) to a higher pin and then either straight right (above the bolt), or down a bit and right to the bolt. All options are a little scary (tried three of them).
At the semi-rest down a bit from the crux. From he...
Starting the left variation crux rope-solo.  The pins protecting this certainly could have been better....
Starting the left variation crux rope-solo. The p...
Almost done with the crux section.
Almost done with the crux section.
Clipping the troublesome pin on the 3rd pitch.
Clipping the troublesome pin on the 3rd pitch.
Looking down the crux pitch on a typical busy Bastille day. The chalk everywhere indicates the various options. I climbed the crack to the high pin, then down right to the bolt (with the two long slings), then back up to the belay.
Looking down the crux pitch on a typical busy Bast...
Chuck following the straight up variation.
Chuck following the straight up variation.
Rope-soloing just past the crux.
Rope-soloing just past the crux.
Following the first pitch.
Following the first pitch.
Pitch 3, I think.
Pitch 3, I think.
Comments on Northwest Corner Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 21, 2014
By steve dieckhoff
Nov 5, 2001

On the crux P2 there are several ways to go from the fixed pins in the thin crack: 1) up the thin crack, 2) a long reach right to a good hold and then a balancy move up to a bolt, or 3) downclimbing a body-length to traverse right then up. This last sounds convoluted but the leader will frequently downclimb to get a rest after clipping the pins (or just placing a bombproof small cam) anyway, and this traverse is better if you don't have a long wingspan.

In any case, I launched up on this once when I wasn't climbing too well, placed the small cam (before the pins were placed by Chris Archer), traversed out to the 'mantle hold' and lobbed off. It's a surprisingly comfortable fall. ...so much so that I went up and lobbed off again. I hope this little story serves to encourage people to go up on this classic pitch with less trepidation.

By Tom Fyffe
Nov 12, 2001

This is a really good route. The crux pitch is a classic shit or get off the pot scenario, but very do-able.

By TBD
Jun 1, 2002

Fun Climb. On the crux pitch, the traverse after the crux moves feels a little dicey, if you fall, you'll swing (but on a good bolt). Also, the fixed pin prior to pulling the small roof to the belay bolt is questionable at best, back it up. As with all other gear routes on the planet, small aliens are helpful. The most obvious finish to me was Outer Face, definitely worthwhile.

By Bryson Slothower
Jun 13, 2002

I climbed this route yesterday and loved it. I did however get pretty sketched out on the 3rd pitch when I pulled on a large flake in the 5.9 section and it moved. The pro at this point is a pin driven behind the same flake. I found it difficult to make the move without yarding straight out on the suspect flake. I also had a hard time clipping the pin just below this one because of the way it sits in the rock, I was standing on some loose strata trying to make this clip. I found the crux 2nd pitch to be very difficult and got spit off a few times but will return to try again since the pro is very good through this section. As Steve said, the fall is clean, I went slightly left after the last pin at the crux..

By Anonymous Coward
Jun 13, 2002

That's usually done as the third pitch, and yes, be really careful on that shattered band. Have a Petzl biner handy to clip the difficult pin. Not a place to be pushing things, regardless of how one approaches the crux pitch...

By Bryson Slothower
Jun 19, 2002

Your'e right "AC", it was the third pitch and it is no place to push things, I'd say this pitch is more serious than the crux........

By Andrew Klein
Jul 3, 2002

Has anyone done this route in 2 pitches with a 60m. Me and my partner came close the other day. I lead the third, fourth and the easy chimney pitch above and right form the outer space ledge and came about 15 feet short form the top (walk-off ledge). My partner belayed right after the .9 undercling roof after the crux, because of drag, but still had about 30 feet or so of rope left. I, of course (on the crux pitch) did the easier variation to the right after the second pin which is a good option for someone following the pitch who wants to keep the climbing easier. I remember staying in the crack the whole way when I did this last year (following) and remember getting really pumped and hanging quite a bit trying to find some decent feet. Excellent route and mostly great 5.9 climbing except the crux 25-30 feet.

By Dougald MacDonald
Aug 1, 2002

Now that I've (FINALLY!) led the crux without a problem, I think this is a great route. Before it was negative-five stars. If you're weak, like me, don't stint on gear for the traverse from the bolt to the belay (assuming you've taken the left variation). You can clip the second bolt at your knees with a long sling. And be sure to back up the pin at the end. The exit is not trivial!

By Bill Wright
Aug 29, 2002

I climbed this route yesterday and it is indeed a great route. On the 3rd pitch, mentioned above, I have some comments. First, the loose flakes are not where the pins are driven. These flakes seemed completely solid to me. Yes, the first pin is difficult to clip and have a small biner for this (Neutrinos work here). The loose flakes below this are a bit freaky but they can be avoided. This section is steep, but short and didn't seem too serious (if the pins hold and they seemed good to me).

The start of the crux pitch is a bit disgusting right now with pigeon shit. Thankfully this only lasts for about ten feet, but it sucks having to fist jam this crack with that shit in there.

I followed the crux pitch and fell off it. What worked best for me was to do the long reach left from the best hold in the crack. This hold is rather low. Then the key is to reach as far as possible on the hold out to the right. Not only is it a better hold the further you reach, but it gives you room to match your right hand on it. This match is by far the crux move on the route, but it is followed with a dicy move to get your foot on this hold and a fall from here would be exciting, though supposedly safe.

By Scott Conner
From: Lyons, CO
Aug 29, 2002

Jeez Bill! You need to be careful! If one of your calf muscles popped out from three pitches up, it could seriously hurt someone down below.

By Bryson Slothower
Jun 1, 2003

I did this route again yesterday and the flake I mentioned above does flex if you pull on it...

By Evan Sloane
From: Boulder
Aug 11, 2004

Instead of trending right on the last pitch into the 5.7 finish, do the Outer Face pitch (see separate route listing). This pitch keeps the grade more consistent with the rest of the route and allows you to really follow the prow from base to summit. Good fun.

By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 15, 2008

The Park is waiting to determine the exact location of the gas line that runs a mere few inches under the road surface. I believe RMR will do the removal once they get the go-ahead.

By Mark Roth
From: Boulder
Mar 16, 2009

Is the loose rock removed? Is the route open now?

By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 17, 2009

The loose flake has been removed.
Note it is now more difficult (and more runout) to clip the fixed pin off the rotten band-- the flake was a foothold for the clip.

By blakeherrington
Apr 15, 2009

P1/P2 can be linked. From atop p2, a ~65m pitch goes to the summit. I thought that the crux, if climbed straight up, then rightward (long reach to pin scar and desperate pull) felt harder than 5.11a. My partner worked right and then up (past one more pin and another new bolt) and said it felt less strenuous.

By Kat A
From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Jun 26, 2009

Good to hear Steve Levin's comment on how the 3rd pitch has become more difficult to reach the fixed pin since removal of the block. Felt scary trying to lock off on one arm, heel hook, and stretch up to the pin just to find my Superfly biner wouldn't fit through the hanger, as I was hanging above sharp loose rocks... maybe there's an easier way to do it (?).

By Mike McKinnon
From: Golden, CO
Jul 27, 2009

I think I do this different than everyone else. First, the XM start is much nicer and adds another 10 pitch to the climb.

On the crux, I climb over the tiny roof and get my left hand in the good slot between the two pins in the crack. Then I reach out with my left foot and toe in on a tiny edge (out left) and balance forward on that while moving my left hand high and right hand to a gaston in the crack above the pins. My left hand hits a high edge and I pop my feet up and move to better holds right under the bolt. Clip the bolt and move right.

Voila

By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Sep 10, 2012

While cleaning the crux pitch, my partner effortlessly pulled out the pin that "protected" the crux. Luckily, great gear abounds!

By mtoensing
From: Boulder
Mar 21, 2014

Rock climbing at its best!