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Fourth Buttress
Routes Sorted
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Candelaria's Crack 
Flake 
Heartland, The 
Mickey Mantle 
Northwest Face 
Scrundle Corner 
Smooth Groove 
South Face Roof 
Southwest Chimney 
Undocumented Free Roof 
Unknown Mixed Route aka The Green Gargoyle? 
Unknown, The 
Zolar Czakl 
Zolar Czakl (Direct) 

Northwest Face 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c

   
Type: Trad, 1 pitch
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 5,155
Submitted By: Ben Mottinger on Jan 1, 2001
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BETA PHOTO: Third Buttress
1. Standard Route (7+)
2. West Face...

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Flood damaged road reopens MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Begin on top of the water pipe at the mouth of the tunnel and pull across to the horizontal crack. A #0.5 Friend is nice to protect this first section. Follow the crack to the bottom of a vertical crack. Follow this up to some blocks and either jam right (5.6) or left (5.9, #5a). Either way ends up on beautiful 5.8 cracks to the summit.

Descent: walkoff.

Extra credit: wade the tunnel all the way through the 4th Buttress.


Protection 

Standard rack up to #2.5 Friend.



Photos of Northwest Face Slideshow Add Photo
Great shot of most of the route.  Thank you Christopher!
Great shot of most of the route. Thank you Christ...
A few moves up after the traverse across the ledge and blocks. I've unclipped from Luke's first piece of gear, the big ring bolt by the end of the pipe, and so the rope is not following the initial part of the climb.
A few moves up after the traverse across the ledge...
At this point Luke stepped right and up onto a block, then moved back left. Going straight up the left-facing flake to the left of Luke looked harder but fun once past the first move.
At this point Luke stepped right and up onto a blo...
Above the ledge that divides the lower and upper difficulties.
Above the ledge that divides the lower and upper d...
Looking down.
Looking down.
Comments on Northwest Face Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 18, 2012
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 6, 2002

Did this pitch today, and although I wasn't expecting much, it turned out to be one of the best pitches I've done in Boulder Canyon. Steep, continuous, interesting moves, a good mixture of crack and face, and occasionally thought-provoking pro and route-finding.

By Rob Quinlan
Apr 10, 2002

This is a fun and challenging route. We TR'd it and had a great time with the various route variations. The TR setup is very straightforward with many blocks on top to set up your anchor system. You will need a 60 meter rope to reach the pipe. The tunnel is dry and provides great access to the east side of the buttresses.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 10, 2002

Steep, continuously interesting, varied climbing; one of the best 5.8s in Boulder Canyon. Three stars. Make sure you have Aliens or TCUs to protect the initial vertical section; offset Aliens would work really well here. Watch out for poison ivy on the descent; the worst of it can be avoided by angling left onto rock instead of going straight down toward the tunnel. The tunnel was dry, with one small wet spot, on 8/10/02. A good summer climb since it's in the shade until mid-afternoon.

By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Oct 16, 2002

A quality, good length pitch that offers positive holds, good stemming and placements.As mentioned above, a few slightly flared cracks down low can be protected with small aliens if you don't own offset cams. Most of the climb is 6 or 7 until above half way where the angle of the route increases. Here a section of hand and foot jams takes you thru what I felt was the 8 crux not too far from the top. Many different variations are possible on this face as cracks are galore. This climb is fun and well worth your time.

By Will Clopton
Jun 3, 2003

Set a good anchor behind the belayer so that a leader fall on the first traverse move won't pull them off the pipe and over the ledge. A small nut high in the crack after the first traverse move will protect the second from a ground fall. A tri-cam works for the start of pitch two. Very satisfying climb!

By Bandito Jack
Jun 19, 2003

Climb this last night after work... AWESOME climb. Started off to just do a quick climb, and think I ended up on the 9 portion..Nice. Definite must do climb! Like others said TCUs and or Aliens are good down low. WATCH your rope drag if you protect the starting traverse and head straight up.. cheers

By shad O'Neel
Aug 4, 2003

Awesome climb. Red tricam is best for protecting your ass after the traverse which is best left unprotected. Three stars

By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 23, 2004

Did his today. Great climb on a mild January day. Mental crux (especially for shorter folks) might be the step across from the pipe to get onto the rock. The holds are there but it takes committment. After that enjoy the sustained nature of the climb. Lots of variety with some thought provoking areas. The tunnel was dry as of today and made for an easy return.

By TBD
Jul 19, 2004

A must do in the area for the grade. We started from the ground below the pipe. It's a touch chossy, but it adds a few fun moves that are consistent with the difficulty of the climb.

By Michael Kullman
Aug 5, 2004

Great route. It doesn't look like much from a distance, but it's really quite interesting, with some excellent jamming near the top.

By Brandon Bogardus
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Sep 12, 2005

Really fun climb. A couple of notes: pro up to the detached block in the middle of the climb is a little sparse. This could be very scary if you're just breaking into leading 5.7/5.8 trad. Be prepared (guidebooks never seem to prepare you for this stuff). Also, the traverse into the climb (starting at the pipe) is a little sketchy. Do your best to protect the second, as a fall here could result in quite a ride.

By Boo T. Call
Sep 25, 2005

It's also fun to start this route up the left-leaning splitter of Zolar Czakl (also a great climb) just above & right of the step off the pipe. Climb to the overlap/roof of ZC and traverse right across nice flakes, with occasional good gear. Then link into the 5.9 variation of NW face. Cool wall! Don't forget to boulder the tasty 30' 5.7 splitter in the short wall above the 4th Elephant.

By jay baichi
Jan 1, 2008

I think if you're breaking into 5.8, this one will be scary. Gear is sparse and tricky in spots.

By John Jennings
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 27, 2008

The 5.9 variation of this route is sweet! This is definitely one of the best 5.8/5.9 trad routes in Boulder Canyon.

By kevinnlong
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 11, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

I disagree with previous comments. This route protects very, very well, particularly once the traverse is completed. The difficult sections can all be sewn up appropriately. I would strongly recommend this route to those breaking into 5.8. The climbing is straightforward, the gear is great, and the rock is pretty steep! Furthermore, the climb is varied and sustained; what else could one ask for?

By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 8, 2009

The water pipe has a hole in it that fountains right next to the start (if you're starting from the ground).

Rather than get wet, we moved ~50 right, just left of the corner to a nice ledge. There is some crappy rock for ~20ft off the ground that leads to good, left trending, thin cracks. These cracks go up to a bush, that connects to the route after its traverse. This variation felt like 5.7+ S, the S being for the poor rock at the start, but the moves are enjoyable.

By John Maguire
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 18, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c PG13

This route is fun for sure. Some will disagree, but I don't think I would recommend this for someone just breaking to the 5.8 grade. The first section of the route does not protect great. Most of the cracks are too shallow/flared to get a good downward facing cam into.

It is also extremely important to consider rope drag. I ran into some problems when the rope was feeding through a crack below me. This made the final 30' quite difficult. It's an awesome climb, but one that you should definitely take seriously. Doubles in #2, 0.75 were helpful. I think a 0.3 and 0.4 would also be worth having since my standard rack ends at 0.5.

By Alexxandria
Apr 4, 2011

It was kinda chilly when I cleaned this route, but the view from the top was totally worth it. Nice to have something with crack and face also the granite is amazing in Boulder (: I love rock climbing.

By Justin Brunson
From: Broomfield CO
Apr 29, 2012

This route reminded me why toproping can be SO MUCH FUN. Do two or three laps, trying all the variations!

By Dustin Sysko
May 10, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

There is a chain (just one) cemented into the rocks at the top of this route. Since there are cracks in the cement and I can't inspect the attachment anyhow, I wouldn't rap from it. The variations add to some internal debate on which way to go. The answer turned out to be 'up'. Bring lots of slings.

By Alex and Kona
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 6, 2012

Great climb! I would consider this a must do for Boulder and an easy grab after work. The route wanders, so match up your photos or you're in for a headache.

By Mark Roth
From: Boulder
Jun 18, 2012

The eggs have hatched.... Little ones there now.

Also, if you left some gear and want it back... Found: Booty at 4th Elephant Buttress.

By NickinCO
From: colorado
Jun 29, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

5.9 variation was lots of fun. Only a couple moves, go for it!

By carterrrrrr
From: Boulder
Sep 18, 2012

This is a great climb! One of the first 8s I have lead on trad and had no problem. The gear is simple except in a few situations that require a tiny bit of creativity (or courage).