A mega-classic rock. The Bastille and, in particular, its North Face, is a cornerstone of climbing in Eldorado Canyon State Park. According to P. Ament in High Over Boulder
this was once called Chimney Rock and may have been named The Bastille by Stan Shepard in 1957. This modest, 350 foot crag can be divided into The N face
and the W face
for organizational purpose. The N face
is steep, shaded, and has exceptional routes for intermediate climbers and advanced climbers who seek out the mental challenges in addition to the physical. There are those who count the seconds attempting to set solo speed records here. There is probably little for the lower end difficulty climber nor the high end climber here.
Once, the summit provided an anchor point for the cable upon which crossed Ivy Baldwin
on many death-defying crossings of the canyon. Today, the cable remains testament to a disappearing breed of adventurer. Climbing here began at least in the 1950s. There are legends of Frenchmen swilling champagne during an ascent up The Bastille Crack
on French Independence Day. Today, this remains a crag that holds a special place in the hearts of climbers who have progressed to climb some of the great walls and peaks of the world.
Amazingly, this face had some early high standard climbing with Stan Shepard and Allen Bergen freeing the upper 4 pitches of the Bastille Crack in 1957; however, the most amazing feat is likely Ray Northcutt's 1959 freeing of the Northcutt Start
, 5.10d, after being told, incorrectly, that his competitor, Layton Kor, had just freed it.
This crag has been a proving grounds for some of Colorado's finest including: Layton Kor, Steve Komito, Pat Ament, Larry Dalke, Ray Northcutt, Dudley Chelton, Rob Candelaria, Roger Briggs, Kevin Donald, Jeff Lowe, Charlie Fowler, David Breashears, Duncan Ferguson, Christian Griffith, Mic Fairchild, Derek Hersey, among others.
Some of the finest routes on this face include: The Bastille Crack
, 5.9+; Outer Space
, 5.10c; Northcutt Start
, 5.10d (likely Colorado's and possibly the US's first 5.10); X-M
, 5.10d s; Northwest Corner
, 5.11a s; Wide Country
, 5.11a s; The Spice Tour
, 5.11 s; & Hairstyles and Attitudes
There are so many variations, linkups that it may be hard to list them all and unmotivating for most to submit these to the database.
Descents off the top traverse along an exposed-at-times break/ramp near the top to the N side of the rock and gain a 3rd class ramp down to the Fowler Trail. From here, descend the West Face hiking trail (3rd class near the bottom) back down to the base. A few of the routes have rappel descents, but they are the minority.
Come and climb here, but realize that many share your passion for the experiences found on this stone.
32 Total Routes
['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',12],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]