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The Bastille - N Face
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The Bastille Crack 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 350'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: US Army climbers, 1954. FFA: Stan Shepard, Allen Bergen, 1957
Fixed Hardware: 2 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 78,394
Submitted By: Patrick Vernon on Jan 1, 2001

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Ashleigh pulling the crux on the first pitch!
Climbing reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

One of the most classic climbs in the country, it begins right off the road on the Bastille, a 350' cliff on the left as you enter the canyon. Often crowded, a weekday is probably the best time to attempt this climb.

The climb is north facing and in the shade until mid-afternoon. As Jim Erickson said in his classic 1980 Rocky Heights guidebook, "avoid it like the plague if the weather is not warm, or you will shiver away much of its charm."

Start at the center of the north face of the Bastille, below a hand crack that starts 20' up the wall, with a huge, serrated flake to its right.

The first pitch has been the site of numerous accidents, so make sure you're solid on 5.7 crack climbing and placing pro before attempting to lead it.

P1. 5.7, 60'. Climb up to the flake and step left to the crack. Jam or layback up the polished crack (crux), then follow the crack up and left to a small stance at a 2-bolt anchor with chains. You can belay here (if you want to watch/coach your second through the crux), or continue with the second pitch.

P2. 5.6, 90'. Climb up to the chimney left of the bolts, and step left onto the face. Climb up to a finger crack, then traverse right above a little roof (crux). Continue up steep, enjoyable cracks and angle up left on easy ground to a sloping ledge by a steep wall. Belay at a crack with a fixed pin. If this belay is occupied, it's possible to belay about 20' lower at another stance.

Variation: near the top of P2, take a right-angling wide crack up and back left, 5.8. Bring a big cam (#4 Camalot) to protect this line.

P1 & P2 can be combined with a 50m rope.

P3. 5.7, 50'. Climb up into a pod, then work up past a small roof (crux). Continue up the cracks to another sloping ledge. A #1 and #2 Camalot are useful for the belay anchor.

P4. 5.6, 100'. Traverse left to a short corner with a destroyed fixed pin. Continue traversing left on awkward, off-balance moves past another fixed pin (crux). Go all the way left to a hand crack and climb it to a corner. Don't start up too soon or you'll be off route on a harder variation. Climb the corner, then continue up and right on easy ramps to a belay stance below or just right of a chimney.

P5. Several options here:

a. Easy finish: 5.4, 60'. Climb the chimney to the top.

b. Fun finish: 5.8, 80'. Climb up a ramp right of the chimney to a huge corner with a wide crack. Climb up the face left of the corner to a fixed pin. Continue up the steep headwall and surmount a little roof at the top (crux). If you have a #3 and #4 Camalot, you can belay just above the roof (and watch/coach your second at the crux roof), otherwise continue up an easy gully and belay from a spike of rock at the top.

c. Grovel finish: 5.7, 80'. Climb the wide crack in the corner just right of the previous variation.

To descend: follow deep grooves to the south until you reach a dirt trail. Go 30' right (west) and then follow the marked Bastille descent trail north and down to the road at the base of the cliff.

(Ed. Note: beginner leaders--make sure you're solid on crack techique before trying this one. Placing gear is not trivial for the inexperienced.)


Protection 

Standard rack to #3 Camalot.

Bring a #4 Camalot if you want to do the 5.8 variation on the second pitch, or if you want to belay just above the roof on the 5.8 variation on the last pitch.



Photos of The Bastille Crack Slideshow Add Photo
More aid foolery on the Bastille.  Ben wishing he had a broom.
More aid foolery on the Bastille. Ben wishing he ...
Heather Selitrennikoff approaches the P1 belay, 8/27/06.
Heather Selitrennikoff approaches the P1 belay, 8/...
Someone jugging.  Not sure who it was.  Oh, wait--now I see his name tag in case he gets lost--it's Dan.
Someone jugging. Not sure who it was. Oh, wait--...
David Benson on a beautiful day, showing why this route is so classic.
David Benson on a beautiful day, showing why this ...
Steve Baskis on the first pitch of The Bastille Crack.  Steve is completely blind, and this was his first ever multi-pitch climb.
Steve Baskis on the first pitch of The Bastille Cr...
If you have the wingspan, this is probably an easier solution to the crux on pitch one.
If you have the wingspan, this is probably an easi...
I thought this would have been a handy view. So, I took a picture and made it!
BETA PHOTO: I thought this would have been a handy view. So, I...
Climbers on the Bastille crack and a few other climbs on a beautiful Sunday evening.
Climbers on the Bastille crack and a few other cli...
Leif Coopman, age 5, summit of the Bastille via the Bastille Crack.
Leif Coopman, age 5, summit of the Bastille via th...
Dan on a cold March 1, but we got down from the first pitch before the snow started falling that day.
Dan on a cold March 1, but we got down from the fi...
Bill Fitzgerald at the base of the bastille, on 9/29/03, taken by Phil Rhoads, as we gear up for the climb. This pic is actually several overlapping photos stitched together, all from the same position across the road, that gives an interesting perspective of the route. What a great climb!
Bill Fitzgerald at the base of the bastille, on 9/...
Heather Sel on first pitch of Bastille Crack, Eldorado Canyon, CO.
Heather Sel on first pitch of Bastille Crack, Eldo...
On top of the Bastille Crack over where the 5.8 finish takes you.
On top of the Bastille Crack over where the 5.8 fi...
Bastille Crack route. Taken March 2009.
BETA PHOTO: Bastille Crack route. Taken March 2009.
Bill Pelander leading p4 of BC
Bill Pelander leading p4 of BC
HIGH DEFINITION! 5/22/12. Unknown climber on the Bastille Crack.
HIGH DEFINITION! 5/22/12. Unknown climber on the B...
Bob Culp on the Bastille Crack - April 2006.
Bob Culp on the Bastille Crack - April 2006.
This is a classic climb that is always a good time-good warm up for the rest of the day!
This is a classic climb that is always a good time...
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...
Most opted photo op?
Most opted photo op?
I can see my house from here!!  <br />Andrew Speers and Dave Kriz on Bastille Crack. <br />Photo by Nicole Speers
I can see my house from here!!
Andrew Speers and ...
We were alone on the route that day.  Can it be?! <br /> <br />Fourth of July 2007. <br />Photo by J. Lee.
We were alone on the route that day. Can it be?!
...
Looking up at Bastille Crack.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Bastille Crack.
High up on P1 approaching the belay ledge. Photo by Matt Lanning.
High up on P1 approaching the belay ledge. Photo b...
Josh following pitch two of Bastille Crack.
BETA PHOTO: Josh following pitch two of Bastille Crack.
Lower part of the Bastille crack
Lower part of the Bastille crack
Bastille Crack from Wind Tower
Bastille Crack from Wind Tower
The famous Bastille Crack, pitch one.
BETA PHOTO: The famous Bastille Crack, pitch one.
Mike stepping right after the mini roof on the second, equally fantastic, pitch. It's worth it to break pitches 1 and 2 to savor these moments!
Mike stepping right after the mini roof on the sec...
An unknown climber makes an evening lap on the first pitch of the Bastille Crack.  Photo: James Beissel, October, 2008.
An unknown climber makes an evening lap on the fir...
View of Bastille.
BETA PHOTO: View of Bastille.
Creighton Chute starting up the Bastille Crack.
Creighton Chute starting up the Bastille Crack.
Looking down on the belay ledge atop pitch #2 (our pitch #1).
Looking down on the belay ledge atop pitch #...
The third pitch can be sewn with many stitches.
The third pitch can be sewn with many stitches.
Somewhere near the top.
Somewhere near the top.
Jill Cooper following P1.
Jill Cooper following P1.
Third pitch. John M.
Third pitch. John M.
The Bastille!
BETA PHOTO: The Bastille!
Christa Cline laybacking on the third pitch.  The crux is at the small roof 10' above her.
Christa Cline laybacking on the third pitch. The ...
Christa Cline on the fourth pitch traverse.  A key sidepull for the right hand makes this move easier.
Christa Cline on the fourth pitch traverse. A key...
Joe Day leads on BC
Joe Day leads on BC
Pitch 5 of the Bastille Crack.  Good stemming.
Pitch 5 of the Bastille Crack. Good stemming.
Danielle nearing the top of the 2nd pitch. Note the crowd awaiting their turn . . .
Danielle nearing the top of the 2nd pitch. Note th...
Eva cruising P1 of Bastille Crack.
Eva cruising P1 of Bastille Crack.
Me on the 4th pitch, photo by Andy Welter
Me on the 4th pitch, photo by Andy Welter
-5 and snow = all alone in Eldo.
-5 and snow = all alone in Eldo.
Deanna DeMarco jamming the crux hand crack on the first pitch.
Deanna DeMarco jamming the crux hand crack on the ...
Jonny leading up pitch 1.
Jonny leading up pitch 1.
Steve Johnson, Tyler Peterson, and Lloyd Garrick (last, doing cleaning) and 2 unknown climbers trailing. Aproaching P4 of Bastille Crack.  <br />
Steve Johnson, Tyler Peterson, and Lloyd Garrick (...
Krista leading the last pitch of Bastille Crack. 5.5 variation.
Krista leading the last pitch of Bastille Crack. 5...
Starting right off the road.  Boulders prevent cars from parking at the base.  We had to wait for one party ahead of us.
Starting right off the road. Boulders prevent car...
Heather Selitrennikoff on Bastille Crack, CO.
Heather Selitrennikoff on Bastille Crack, CO.
The fun begins on this little traverse on P1
The fun begins on this little traverse on P1
April following up P1 of Bastille Crack
April following up P1 of Bastille Crack
Jill on the Bastille.
Jill on the Bastille.
David topping out on the last pitch.
David topping out on the last pitch.
A picture a took of a pair of unknown climbers on pitch 2 of the Bastille Crack
A picture a took of a pair of unknown climbers on ...
Near the top, attentive belays.
Near the top, attentive belays.
Climbing up the first pitch.
Climbing up the first pitch.
Climber on the first pitch of Bastille Crack.
Climber on the first pitch of Bastille Crack.
Top of pitch 2.
Top of pitch 2.
Christa Cline at the start of the difficulties on the first pitch.  Christa has traversed low, and now must make some hard moves up the thin crack to gain the hand crack above. <br /> <br />Another approach is to climb up to the flake on the right and traverse across higher.  This is less secure, but it avoids the thin crack moves now confronting Christa. <br /> <br />
Christa Cline at the start of the difficulties on ...
First pitch!
First pitch!
Christa Cline on the last pitch. Christa is doing the steep headwall variation, up a ramp to the right of the easy chimney. <br /> <br />The pumpy crux is the exit move past the little roof at the top. <br /> <br />One can also climb the wide crack to Christa's right, but the headwall is more esthetic.
Christa Cline on the last pitch. Christa is doing ...
Cruxy.
Cruxy.
Eva gets ready for the crux....
Eva gets ready for the crux....
Climbing top roped.
Climbing top roped.
Comments on The Bastille Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 6, 2014
By T. Maino
Jan 1, 2001

Best 5.7 around. It seems 5.7 to me... but then I've done it about 100 times. Great tip on the variation up top... thanks.

By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
Jan 1, 2001

This route was originally rated 5.6 in the old Ament guide. I won't say it's that easy but if you stem between the crack and the edge of the flake to the right and than cross left at the top it's much easier than 5.8. Done this way the crux actually seems to be 3rd short pitch.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001

Note that it is possible to combine the first 3 pitches with a 60m rope, and one can combine the last 2 pitches even with a 50m rope (but watch out for rope drag).

By Matt Bauman
Jan 1, 2001

I agree with George (by the way, your site is one of my faves George), the slick beginning of the crack seemed harder than 5.7 (Id say 7+). Also, a GREAT variation to the final pitch (avoiding the easy chimney) is to step right and head for the HUGE left facing dihedral with a wide crack....climb wide crack for ~10 feet and then take finger crack that angles up and left, becomes straight up and then opens to hands as it angles back right to the top of the dihedral.....GREAT 5.8 finish to this classic climb.

By Chris Fisher
Jun 13, 2001

I agree with the 5.7 rating. The only way I could see the first pitch being 5.8 is if you don't have a long reach. Those of us 6 foot or better do have an advantage. I've done it several times as it is one of my favorites. I also agree with the third pitch around the double cracks being more difficult than the first pitch, but only for a few moves.

By Paul Giglio
Jul 28, 2001

If you think wider is better, try doing the "move left down the ledge and go up a corner system" pitch one pitch too soon (where you're clearly supposed to do the finger crack). You'll soon find yourself in a short awkward flared chimney with a piton near the top that exits onto the ledge just below the normal P4 anchor. Probably 7+ or 8 compared with some of the chimneys at Lumpy.

By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Oct 24, 2001
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Casey Bernal - Although it should be obvious, I thought it must be said here too. Most of the guidebooks state explicitly to place pro in the flake and crack in P1 before stepping into them. There have been several ground falls here. This is one of the most spectacular 5.7 climbs around. Enjoy.

By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Oct 24, 2001

On the photo, the short traverse out right on P2 I believe is 5.8, though I could be wrong - when I've done the route, I've continued up and slightly left following easy climbing instead of going right around that flake.

By Hayden Yurkanis
Nov 6, 2001

Alright, I will put my two cents in on the rating---5.7. In my HUMBLE opinion, it isn't 5.8 or 7+. Also I didn't find it to be that slick and the feet were solid. cheers

By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Jun 10, 2002
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

This is a good place to sit in the shade and watch all the beginner epics. "well protected 5.7+ crack - I can do that - I once led a 5.9 in the gym with no falls". In case there is not enough amusement with the Bastille Crack you can also watch the antics on Werk Supp. Apparently, this is a good place to toprope (either the Bastille, Northcutt, Werk Supp, March of Dimes, etc) because it seems everyday someone is blocking the upper pitches with a beginner toprope session. While you might find this amusing to watch be sure to stand back because at least one gumby will drop something or pull on a loose rock. It can even be exciting (or horrifying) to watch as the beginners sketch out because the crack is different (ie Eldo-type) then the one they practiced placing pro in and they place nothing that will stay put or hold a big fall. I guess it is easier to make enough money to buy a rack then to learn how to use any of it safely. eek. Somehow it makes me feel better and more relaxed to watch people on the NW Corner, Hair City, Outer Space, even Jules Verne. At least they know what they are doing. CB

By Anonymous Coward
Jul 11, 2002

I must have screwed up. There was an early move on that first pitch that felt tougher than the first pitch at George's Tree in Lumpy (5.9). The rest of it was more like 5.7, just an awesome route.

By Kevin Currigan
From: Lakewood
Jul 20, 2002

At the top of P3 on the left side there is a tiny, right facing dihedral. The plate/flake perpendicular to this on the face is loose.

By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Aug 8, 2002

Led the route today and felt P1 to be solid (7) with one polished hold on the crack. Maybe a half grade higher because its a little slippery. But what difference does it make, splitting hairs over a (7) climb? Definitely test your mettle on P2 and take the flake to the right (8) before the belay ledge (lay it back and smear). On the last pitch read Matt Bauman's description above and go for it. That way is the right way, for the Bastille finale, in my opinion.

By Kevin Currigan
From: Lakewood
Sep 12, 2002

The variation at the top of pitch two is definitely the way to go for if you're up for it. Its easier than Reggae only in that it is shorter. Technically it feels about the same as it has the layback thing going at 5.8. It protects at the bottom of the flake with a big cam; #9 Metolius.

By Steve
Sep 21, 2002

First, this is a frickin' damn good climb. Second, I think that there are many reasons that warrant giving this route a 5.7 c/d S (V) grade, although it can be done 5.6 C1. The traverse to gain the crack on the first pitch is frickin' hard: the crux move requires technical stemming and finger locking and the feet have been super-greasy ever since some ignoramus decided to use some old motor oil instead of chalk to "tic" the holds. There is also groundfall potential because you must wait till you gain the crack to place gear lest the throngs of watching climbers and gapers will think that you are a miserable coward that barely deserves to slave away at belaying a sportie at Table Mountain let alone climb THE Bastille Crack. I'd recommend a stick clip to pre-place gear in the crack in case you get gripped up there. After that, its pretty much a cake walk unless you get your haul bag stuck. If this happens or another party slows you down, the ledge at P3 is a good place to bivy. After completing the climb, a tricky 3.9 sportaneering gully with difficult route-finding must be descended in order to get back to your car.

By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Sep 27, 2002

While passing this route on our way to the upper west side of the Bastille recently I spotted a young woman really struggling to work out the beginning of the crack. I noticed her leader had combined P1 & P2. I'd be curious how this situation worked out. I suggest when leading this route, and combining 1 & 2 or any long routes close to the stream, especially with inexperienced climbers, bring 2-way radios. Otherwise, you'll be sitting up on that ledge waiting and waiting, unable to hear or see your partner, until finally forced into an assumption which can lead to an accident. Be careful out there!

By Anonymous Coward
Sep 27, 2002

Hey Ernie, I was on the crack today with my girlfriend and I strung P1 and P2 together. As far as the climbing when it was nice not to have to stop. There was some confusion with the who was on belay etc. As soon as she got up to me, we figured out a system of tugs etc so there wouldn't be any accidents. I have never climbed The Bastille before and I love it! I wasn't real sure how the walkie-talkies would have worked out so I left them at home...Yeah I'll know better next time....Oh yes, there will be a next time!

By Anonymous Coward
Dec 12, 2002

Bottom felt like a greasy 5.8. I thought it was equal to Reggae.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 10, 2003

According to "Best of Boulder", this route is now 5.8+! According to "Accidents in North American Mountaineering 2002", this route is named "Bestowal Crack". Just shows you can't believe everything you read ... and a good editor is hard to find ...

By Mic Fairchild
From: Boulder
May 29, 2003
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Current speed records on the Bastille North Face are:
July 1998
ground to top of climb 5 minutes 33 seconds
ground to summit of crag (above YOUR MOTHER) 6 minutes 59 seconds

P.S. It will never gain in popularity, but climbing down the BASTILLE CRACK is excellent. It's 5.7, the same as an ascent of the route.

By Bruce Berkowitz
Jul 18, 2003

Great climb.I dunno, maybe I lucked onto the right sequence, but i thought the first pitch was not the crux. I agree with those that though that the 3rd pitch was the hardest. More committing, at any rate. Still a classic any way you slice it.

By TBD
Jul 21, 2003

Instead of the normal 5.4 chimney section of the last pitch (about 1/2 way, after gaining the huge sloping ledge), consider the next giant dihedral to right. It offers an offwidth and some crack/face climbing. It goes at 5.7 and is more consistent with the grade for the previous 3 pitches. Also, more fun in my opinion.

By Chris Mueller
Jul 28, 2003
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

This climb is great. Easily the best 5.7 around. As for the rating, it compares nicely to The Owl (Dome), Empor (Cob Rock), and Verschnidung (West Ridge), all 5.7 crack climbs.

By Rich Aschert
Feb 1, 2004

Just FYI, the 1967 guide rates the Bastille 5.6, Calypso 5.5, Tagger 5.8, Vertigo 5.10, Ruper 5.7, Grand Giraffe 5.8, T2 5.9 etc.etc. I guess 5.6 isn't what it used to be.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 3, 2004

If this climb were rated solely for "maximum ego improvement" it would be 5.12 by now!

Sometimes the difficulty of a climb CAN change over time. Holds may break off, or become slick with repeated use. I'm not sure if this has occurred on this particular climb (I didn't climb it in the 60s or 70s) but it's something to consider. I don't believe the individual rating of a climb is important except as compared to other climbs.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 3, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

The climb has gotten harder, at least since I moved here in 1995- slicker, more polished, etc. So I don't know how it was in 1960 or whatever, but I guess I expect some upgrading. For what it's worth, I'd give it 5.7 right now. As I recall, the rating was boosted to keep tentative leaders at the 'real 5.7 grade' away because they kept falling off of the start, which was not protected well by most 5.7 leaders cruxing there. Other climbs, such as Grand Giraffe have seen similar action. I've done it maybe 4X, once every few years since 1995 and each time it seems slicker than the last. Once it starts getting slick, people start slipping more, and the slippery slope of schmarm speeds along. Grand Giraffe is harder than it was. 10a is fair. Plus, 10a is usually easier than 9+ anyway. As for T2, you all know that the starting flake fell off right? That the past crux hold does not exist, and that the ground below has eroded?

Now I'm not an old guy, and I 'never was' so calling me 'washed-up' or a 'has been' is quite a stretch. SO I guess I'll be considered objective here? Nah- I'll get labeled something or another by whoever, according the their agenda. So here's my take on it. I agree that in many cases the grades got softer. Some of this because certain climbs got much easier with the advent of sticky rubber, and others because of gear/protection options. Maybe when the average 5.9 got easier, but a good solid crack climb, (were rubber and pro are not relevant did not change), the grade on that moved by comparison and got 'harder.' Maybe only 20% of all routes really changed, so the system moved to upgrade 20% not downgrade 80%? Maybe that's why I can climb hard cracks but thin face hurts me?

As for grades on other routes, particularly 'modern' or 'new wave' free climbing grades. I suspect there is some element of ego from previous sandbaggers and current mercy-graders. I'm certainly not feeling any stronger than 10 years ago, but seem to climb more hard routes despite somewhat frail health. So what can I say? The times change and I'm still having fun. That sums it up.

By Shane Zentner
From: Colorado
Apr 5, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Climbed the Bastille Crack for the first time yesterday afternoon. I've climbed at Eldorado for several years now and have finally gotten the chance to climb Bastille Crack (there is always a line at the base of it).

Polished, dirty, lots of lost gear, pigeon crap, and usually a line of people on it. The canyon is much too big to wait for this route to open up.

By John Fields
May 17, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Climbed it this weekend and got to lead the whole thing b/c my partner had already led it a few times. I think it's a stellar climb. I'm a 5.7/5.8 leader and found it challenging. Tricky moves throughout. Started at about 9 am. Nobody waiting at the bottom, and pretty much had the climb to ourselves. The infamous slippery P1 wasn't slippery, and the pro was just fine. Still probably a good idea to be very cautious at the bottom of the P1 crack b/c a fall from there could be bad. Really bad if your pro pulls. I didn't find a slippery section on the whole climb. I think because the rock was still cool (no sweaty hands) and the route hadn't had any traffic yet that day. Tried the 5.8 variation at the top of P2 but didn't quite get it. Couldn't turn the corner from the lower traverse to the right-facing side of the flake. Seemed like the only way to do it was to pull a big lieback, but I was too pumped by the time I tried that, and ended up falling and heading up the standard route. Can anybody offer some beta on this move? Cool route everyone. A must do.

By Kevin Coopman
May 31, 2004

I climbed the Bastille with my 5 year old son last week and it was great. When climbing with little kids (if anyone other than me does?) the hard part is actually the 5.4 part of the climb because of the reach. I had to push his bum up a couple of the rocks meanwhile I could not keep up to him on P2.

Fun climb but a crack climb. Kids might do better on the Werk Supp route, I will let you know later this week!

By Mic Fairchild
From: Boulder
Jun 6, 2004
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Speed record climbing down 10m 42s (23 Oct 03).

Speed record up remains 5min 33sec.

By Anonymous Coward
Jun 12, 2004

THE classic. The queues don't form for the access reason alone. Consider that many only do P1 but this designation is for the entire route. On the rating, the old 5.6 was before a general consensus. The 5.8 rating (Rossiter, 1989) was before it became ultra-polished. It was down-graded to .7 but after a many-year hiatus I am astonished at how polished a route can become and believe a return to .8 is justified for the hardest move on P1 with the variation on P2 being 8-. Expect more Eldo routes to show similar signs of wear.

By Anonymous Coward
Jun 12, 2004

The Ernie Port photo shows the step across from the flake to the crack on P1 for those curious about the part that became greasier after the 80s. Newer leaders, be sure you slot this crack before committing but don't immediately slot a backup higher above you, IMO - you might need the room and the crux goes rather quickly; this has been the scene of far too many accidents.

By Tevis Blom
Jun 29, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Let's remember that at one point in time, there was no such thing as a 5.11. This used to be a .6 out of a possible .10. It now gets a 5.7 rating because we all love Eldorado and it's own personal stiff rating system. Sure I'll lead .11d at sport park. But I'm still shut down above .10a at Eldo. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. We are using the "Yosemite decimal system". Try leading the first pitch of "After Six" in Yosemite Valley. This pitch used to be considered 5.6, and it now gets the 5.7 rating. This Pitch is also WAY harder and more sustained than anything on Bastile. Make sure to use an extra long sling at the starting flake, I had a cam walk all the way up and out of my ownership.Having at least three 1"+/- pieces extra at the main ledge before p4 makes the anchor simpler. There are several bomber placements in this range at this belay. A 50m rope will get you to the top from here if you watch the rope drag(long slings).All things aside, I love this route. A great way to shake off the cobwebs after winter.

By Anonymous Coward
Jul 19, 2004

Robert Curtis - I did this last thursday after climbing the first pitch of Touch and Go (8+), honestly I think between a hard 5.7 to a solid 5.8 is fair (for the first pitch). Lots of fun!

By Brad Schildt
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 27, 2004
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

I climbed the Bastille Crack again last weekend with my buddy Rob, who taught me to climb 22 years ago. We were the second party on Saturday morning. The first party was from Illinois, and they were great guys enjoying a week in the Rockies. At the bottom of the third pitch, the belayer offered to wait and let us pass on the fourth pitch, because we were climbing a bit faster than them. We took him up on the offer, I gave them a little beta on avoiding rope drag on the last pitch, and climbed quickly. A beautiful day, a classic climb, friendly climbers. Wouldn't it be great if we could all treat each other like these guys treated us?

By Michael Kullman
Aug 12, 2004

I think the crux on the first pitch might be 8ish if you are short, definitely 7ish if you are taller (like me).

By Kev007
Oct 22, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Lead the first pitch on 10/17...finally, after all these years of looking at it. Fun route.

By Jason Shatek
Dec 14, 2004
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Did this one last Saturday. I'd say P1 goes at 5.8 due to the glassy like finish on the rock. Also, I recommend the 5.8 variation on the last pitch. I'm guessing a red Alien would have fit nicely at the crux (last move of the climb), which of course I didn't have because it disconnected from me somehow while I was fiddling with gear. Thus, Larry's red Alien took a ground fall. RIP red Alien, you were badly missed :( . The green Alien I used was just barely cammed. At the crux, just remember you have good feet, just keep moving them up!

By Steve Williams
From: Denver, CO
Jul 15, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Hi guys, I'm sure I'm not as good a climber as most of you are, but I just redid the Bastille Crack a day before Bastille day, and I couldn't disagree more with your comments. I first did it in June of 1975, and have done it a few times since. It still seemed no harder than a 5.6 to me, maybe minimal 5.7. The first pitch isn't any greasier than I remember it . I'm sorry, I just don't get it. It is a great climb, but it's not that hard.

By Lloyd Garrick
From: Arvada, CO
Aug 2, 2005
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

I did this 1st time last week; I would simply second most of the comments here. It wasn't difficult, I thought the 1st pitch was EZ, everyone says it is the crux. 2nd and 3rd pitches tripped me up a little. AWESOME climb! What is this talk of greasy 1st pitch? I had no problem and I don't even use chalk. www.colorado-hiking.net/bastille1.html

By Anonymous Coward
Oct 8, 2005

Lots of gear on 4th pitch! My partner and I got into a jam last night when we ran out of light and had foolishly left our headlamps at home. Because of this, our cleaning of the 4th pitch was hurried and whoever is the first to climb it today (Saturday, October 8th) will find some decent pieces. Of that person wishes to trade those piece for some tasty beer and good karma, please call Ryan @ 303.746.5643 and I will happily pick them up. Also, the days are getting shorter so don't forget your headlamps, even if you leave the house in the early afternoon, by the time you wait for a couple of parties and get going, it gets dark fast. Thanks again to the guys who were kind enough to lower us a headlamp from the top (we had made it to within 50 feet of the summit when I decided not to break an ankle trying to lead out in pitch darkness). Thanks! Oh yeah, great route of course, I thought the crux was the 3rd pitch and that is is 5.7, but it's old school Eldo 5.7 for sure.

By Anonymous Coward
Nov 1, 2005

There is no way the first pitch is 5.8. I would rate it at a 5.7-, but it was pretty wet when I climbed it. I can see how if you climb it wrong it could be harder. It is a step from a big stance at the bottom of the flake, to good feet and nice holds. Pitch 3 is the crux and went at easy 5.7, it is really short with big holds all over and really good gear whenever you want.

I took 1 set of cams to #2 Camalot w/ doubles in green, yellow and red Aliens, and about 5 stoppers. I wish I would have had a lot of big stoppers, some hexs and 1 set of cams from green Alien to #1 Camalot. It would be fun to climb this with just nuts and hexs and I'm definitely going to do that next time.

A fun route and a must do, I can see why it gets so much traffic.

By Jeff Johnson
From: Folsom, CA
Jun 7, 2006

This crack is probably by far one of the most exciting and thrilling in all of Eldorado Canyon. 5.7+ is a good rating, a standard rack with plenty of cams will do you just fine. The first ten feet or so of the second pitch has a small roof and can be somewhat tricky if you don't have much experience with roofs. But overall very good climb and worth climbing.

By David Hodges
From: Parker, Colorado
Jun 17, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

After never wanting to wait in line, I decided to send this route on Sat. morning. Got to the base about 6:45 and no one was on the Bastille, yet. Found the route to not nearly as slick as I thought it would be and 5.7 a very fair rating. I think most of the route is 5.6 with a couple 5.7 moves on P1 and P3. Pro placement is not trivial on the first pitch, but it's all there, if you seek it out. Classic, one not to be missed.

By Walldahl
From: Golden, CO
Jul 25, 2006

Classic!

It is best to climb this route in two pitches as noted above. Climb the first three pitches as one pitch and the last two pitches as one pitch. If you must climb the first three pitches as two pitches, then consider doing the first pitch as described in the guide and then combining the second and third pitch…you’ll probably move faster.

By Blitzo
Sep 12, 2006

The very best 5.7 that I have ever done.

By Stubby-Ian
From: Denver, CO
Dec 17, 2006

You don't have to deal with the crowds if it's 20 degrees and windy...then again you have to deal with frozen fingers.

By Brian Scoggins
From: Eugene, OR
Jan 6, 2007

The third pitch is perhaps the best 5.7 pitch I've done anywhere. Simply amazing movement, location, and protection.

Also, the 4th pitch is very easy to get confused on the proper route. Check the topo before you leave the ground.

By Kevin Craig
Apr 30, 2007
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Led the first pitch again yesterday after doing a number of 8's recently in Eldo and at JTree, and no way is the first pitch 5.8 - at least not for a 6' male with a -1/2" ape index. 5.7 definitely feels right - but your crack technique and gear placing skills must be solid. I'm also not sure why folks get confused about the 4th pitch. To me, there's only one place to climb that looks anything like the published grade of the pitch (5.6). Everything else anywhere nearby looks MUCH harder. OTOH, I find the description above of this pitch to be confusing and not matching the pitch well. Just move slightly down-ramp from the belay and climb up in the easiest spot and follow the easiest climbing. It's really pretty obvious (of course, maybe I'm just not a good enough climber and so am not tempted by the other possibilities! ;^)

By Mike Jay
Jul 27, 2007
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Did this guy today, it took 4 hours though because we started at 2! and it rained for a good hour, so we had to wait a little. My first time though on the thing, it was incredible! sustained and classic. The rain gave Ryan and I a whipping though. But what a great climb.

By Alex Burton
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 19, 2007

Finally, found the time to get out and do this one. My wife and I were in boulder for our 10th wedding anniversary, so her gift to me was following me on the Bastille. What an incredible climb. Pitch #3 was definitely my favorite, with great position and gear. I did the traditional finish up the chimney, and finished that by moving left from the top of the chimney up about 8-10 feet of slightly overhanging pocketed face. It was a fun, bouldery, but very short add on, that reminded me of Hueco Tanks.

By Mike C. Robinson
From: Rumney, NH
Aug 28, 2007

No wonder this route always has a line, THE BEST 5.7 EVER! Can easily be done in 2 longer pitches without much rope drag if you have fairly good rope management skills. Climb past the first pitch and then past the start of Out Space then up to the Traverse at the top of the in cut ramp. Belay before doing the Traverse. From there, lead to the top. Have Fun!

By YDPL8S
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
May 16, 2008
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Do it at night with a full moon (after you've done it at least once in the day), it's better than any of those drugs you took in the '60s and '70s!

By AOSR
From: Wherever we park!
Aug 30, 2008

I'm not quite 6', I'm a much better face climber than crack climber, and I made the traverse from the flake on P1 pretty early. That said... I would rate it an 8. Maybe I did it wrong, because the crux on P3 I felt to be easier than the crux on P1. Awesome climb though.

By Nick Sandstrom
Nov 1, 2008

Great route no lines but a bit cold. Got it done in 2 pitches with a 70m and some gnarly rope drag. Did the "fun finish" it was fun....

By W. Spaller
From: Boulder
Mar 5, 2009
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

There is a very loose flake right below the second belay. It makes for a great left foot when heading for the belay ledge, but when I stepped on it it flexed about half an inch. I was suprised that it didn't break off. Fortunately there are plenty of other options to use and the climbing is very easy in that section. Have fun on this route and be careful. Peace.

By P.D.Williams
From: Lakewood
Jun 17, 2009

Hmmm. I was a bit disappointed. Rewritten is a way better 5.7. I last climbed the Crack back in '78 (Litz are you out there?). Amazing what cam technology can do to your adrenaline rush.
By the way, does anyone in Boulder have a job? By 9:30 on a Tuesday morning, Eldo is teeming with people top roping on the Bastille. What the hey?

By Greg Howland
Jul 6, 2009

Could someone tell me about the 5.8 variation on P2. Is it the OW that traverses roughly 25ft beneath the next belay? I think I may have gotten off route a little because this seemed to be closer to a 5.8. If so does the actual route turn to face climbing during this section? thanks

By Michael Jenkins
Sep 29, 2009

CLIMBED THe WEST BUTTRESS BY MOONLIGHT ON 9/28/09 AND GOT MY ROPE STUCK IN A CRACK AT THE SUMMIT, I HAD TO LEAVE THE ROPE AND TRIED TO GET IT IN THE MORNING BUT DDN'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO RAP DOWN AND GET IT PROPERLY, WENT BACK AFTER WORK AND IT WAS GONE, PLEASE PLEASE, IF YOU HAVE MY ROPE, RETURN IT TO THE FIREHOUSE IN ELDORADO SPRINGS OR CALL ME AT 720 217-4897.
A CLIMBER WITHOUT A ROPE IS A SAD SAD THING, PLEASE OBSERVE KARMA.
THANK YOU.
I KNOW THIS IS THE CRACK FORUM, BUT I JUST WANT A LOT OF PeoPLe TO SEE THIS POST.

By TJ Quirk
From: Parker, CO
Oct 8, 2009

Nervous going into it. But when I got to the chains on the first pitch, I knew the whole route would be pure fun. Don't get spooked by 'polished rock'. Great climbing, and check out the cable that Ivy Baldwin used to tightrope over to the Wind Tower. If you liked this route, try the Lover's Leap Crack off 470 and 85. It's got the same exposure and a 'two move stem crux'.

By S.cort
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 2, 2009

CAREFUL! As you come over the bulge before the awkward traverse on the 2nd or 3rd pitch (don't know which because we did the route in 3 pitches), there is a VERY loose, unmarked flake. It scared the hell out of me and I would have marked it, but A, it was dark; B, I had no light; C, or markers. Will someone please mark it?

By Chris D
From: the couch
Jan 10, 2010

I climbed the first pitch of this last September. My second lead at 5.7, and yeah, the step below the crack is slippery, but if you reach into the crack, there's a tiny ledge of rock inside the crack on the side that you're stepping from that you can wrap your fingertips around and get a pretty solid grip (or was I dreaming). I had to feel around in the crack for a bit to find it.

It was a lot of fun, and just the first pitch deserves classic status for being as vertical as it is at the grade, and the rock is beautiful. Clouds rolled in and it was raining as we rapped down from the first belay.

Re: the grade...I don't know what all the fuss is about. I don't see people trying to upgrade Friday's Folly, which I led the day before, and found much more difficult, at least in the problem-solving and psychological aspects of it. For one, the moves on the first pitch of the Bastille Crack were obvious, no guessing, and if you have trouble placing adequate gear here (how?!) you should work your way up to the grade more slowly. It was easy to protect, even for a beginner like me.

Having to watch out for cars while you belay is a little odd....

By flynn
Jan 11, 2010

Re the fourth pitch: when in doubt, go up and left. When you can't see around a corner, reach, and your hand will land on a 5.6 hold. If it looks harder than 5.6, don't go there. If it feels harder than 5.6, you're off route. Remember up and left.

By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 1, 2010

Yes, and per Chris' comment above about belaying the road, I actually threw my rope down on the road while rappelling down off of Werk Supp and a car came and drove right over it! Didn't even bother to try and go around.

By Brett Brotherton
From: Arvada, CO
May 14, 2010

Did this climb today for the first time, and it was great. I did the 8 variation on the 2nd pitch and didn't have any big cams but was able to slot a nut up and left from the start of the short traverse. The variation was not to difficult, but it did feel a little run out.

It had rained last night, but the route looked dry. The 4th pitch felt like 5.8s though as half the holds had water on them and couldn't be used, be careful if it's wet.

By Anthony Baraff
From: Paris, France
Aug 13, 2010

A friend and I did Bastille Crack a few weeks ago. I have a question about the final pitch variations. I the new (awesome) Eldo Guide book it lists an 8- PG variation that climbs the corner off-width and it lists an 8+ PG-13 variation that takes the nice crack just to the left of the off-width. We did the "8- PG" variation which approximately matches the "fun finish" listed above, and found the gear by the crux to be a little lacking. Maybe a #5 would protect the last few moves up the off-width, but with a standard rack you find yourself about 10 feet above your last piece(s) and only 16 feet above a ledge. I haven't done the crack to the left, but I have a hard time imagining how the gear could be worse given that it's a finger/hand crack. Any thoughts?

By Niccole
From: Denver, CO
Aug 20, 2010
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Lovely route, but the PF is closer to a 5 than a 1 (Polish Factor).

By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 7, 2010
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Unbelievably sweet line! No issue with the polish - the constrictions of the crack hold your fingers and hands just fine. Loved the 5.8 finish variation.

By martinharris
From: Glenwood Springs CO
Apr 27, 2011

This was one of my first leads and a great climb. And the low crux getting into the hand crack I was told to protect before commiting to the hand crack. Which is done easily and you don't have to worry about your gear ripping out of that sketchy flake.

By Mark P Thomas
From: Oakland
Jun 7, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c PG13

Call me silly, but I found P2 to be a good deal harder than P1. P1 was scarier until you've protected after the step-across, but otherwise, I wonder how P2 gets a lower rating? Superb climb and excellent for every foot of it to the top of the last pitch!

In addition too, linking P1 & P2, with 70m doubles we easily linked P3 & P4. It could possibly work with a 60m single if you are smart with your pro placements on the first part of P4 and don't mind running that part out.

BTW, my 5.8 rating is just in relation to how the climb felt to me compared to ratings in Yosemite Valley. Eldo's ratings are stout :-)

By Tyrel Fuller
From: Denver, CO
Jun 30, 2011
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c

There did not seem to be any moves that warrant 5.7. I submitted a 5.4 rating because it seemed easier than any other 5.5-6 multi-pitch routes I have done. The short third pitch was definitely the funnest climbing of the entire route.

By J tot
From: Tempe, AZ
Jul 2, 2011

Tyrel, quit trolling. Even by Seneca standards, these were worth their ratings, not to mention I either went off route or pitch 4 is definitely the crux pitch! Not the start.

By Tyrel Fuller
From: Denver, CO
Jul 5, 2011
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c

Pitch 4 did have that funky stance on it, but I don't think it's 5.7. I have sweated bullets on 5.6 pitches in the Gunks, and this route was CHILL. If this is 5.8, then I should be one-hanging Jumbo Love.

By Tommey-James
From: Boulder,Colorado
Jul 8, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Tyler, the first three pitches are way harder than 5.4. If you think The Wind Ridge (5.5) is harder than the Bastille, you are crazy. Calling this climb 5.4 goes well beyond sandbagging, it's being a jerk.

By Tyrel Fuller
From: Denver, CO
Jul 11, 2011
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c

Toomy, I am simply voicing my opinion on the grade along with 50 other people, so why don't you forget the attitude and leave it alone. It is such a problem that I have an opinion that is different than a few others?

By David Hankin
Oct 16, 2011

I pooped my pants on pitch two. I wish I was kidding. I just thought everyone should know.

By WadeM
Apr 5, 2012

The transfer at the first crack can easily be protected with a 0.5 if you can reach across to the crack. I placed this before I fully committed and was way fine.

Overall, fun route, I'd give it 5.7.
Did it this morning at 8 and while cold, we had the whole wall to ourselves (no wonder....no sun haha).

Glad I woke up to do this.

By Brett Bauer
May 25, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

After many years of not doing this route and just walking by...
Plan B ended up with us on this route while rock trumbling was going on at Redgarden!

Personally found it to be anti-climactic! Pitch 2 was great! Combining 1 & 2 would be a great pitch and maybe 1, 2, and 3 with a 70m would be stellar! 4 and 5 were just not interesting, blocky, and slightly wandering ... feel these 2 pitches take away from it being classic!

Atop pitch 3 is a fixed cam a #1 & 2 maybe a 3 cam should help that belay also a stopper, too.
Atop pitch 2 with a pin gear about 1 to 2 inches... I used a lrg stopper and tricam....
Extend those runners to not sacrifice your cams... so many cams walked deep into the flake systems....
Leave the small stuff behind... and the big stuff, too, 1/2" to 3" place non stop, so double up on those if you like placing pro very 8-10 ft. and personally think of this climb as G rated!

Superfun, though don't get me wrong... will do again for sure... enjoyed the historic pin scars, and blown & cracked pins on this route... good reminder to back them up or just skip and place pro!

By Jay W.
From: Longmont, CO
Aug 19, 2012

Does anyone know what the grade is for doing the more direct line for pitch 4 (according to the pitch breakdown in the description). I didn't traverse all the way over to the handcrack/gully and instead took the first line up that I could (shallow, corner-type thing that turned into face climbing past some shrubberies). The grade felt in line with the previous pitches, and besides being a little dirty/loose, it was fun.

By Canon
Sep 10, 2012
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

A gear graveyard! Even with long slings I had a couple pieces try and walk on me, so watch out. Do the 5.8 "fun finish"!

By Ryan Beard
Aug 18, 2013

Lost an red #4 Metolius master cam at the base of the Bastille Crack on Friday, August 16th, 2013 in the afternoon/evening. Please post/contact me if you picked it up. Thanks. Awesome climb.

By NickinCO
From: colorado
Mar 27, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Climbed this route again yesterday for the 5th or 6th time and finished right before a wicked storm rolled in. Had what I would guess to be 70+ mph winds for the hike down.… Super fun! Has anyone done it in 2 pitches with a 70m? I was thinking you could link pitches 1-3 (the best climbing), and 4/5 with some long slings for the traverse on pitch 4.

It's also quite easy to link 3/4 with a 60m, I thought about attempting pitches 3-5 yesterday, but we had a 60m rope and I think I would have came up about 20' short and had some bad rope drag.

By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Mar 27, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

I've done it in two pitches with a 70m a few times. I linked 1+2, 3+4+5.

By NickinCO
From: colorado
Apr 1, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Cool, next time I try it, I think I'm going to shoot for 1-3 and 4/5.

By Alex Vidal
From: Boulder, CO
May 11, 2014

Linking pitches 1-3 and 4-5 is possible with a 70m, there is even rope to spare. Drag is really not bad, even with 200 ft of rope out.

By Benjamn P
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 2, 2014

Retrieved a nut and, more importantly, a cam from the route yesterday. PM me & describe it/location to get it back!

By WadeM
Jun 6, 2014

Did it in 2 pitches yesterday morning with a 60m.

Single rack to 4. If this is your first trad or trying to break into 5.7/5.8, the crack will SEW up with doubles from fingers to 4. No needs for nuts.

0.3 protects off the deck very nicely. If you're comfortable running it out, 2 pitches is the way to go.

By Andy Ball
From: Denver, CO
Jun 16, 2014

Top of pitch 3 now has a new fixed cam (two total now) thanks to my dumb ass. Pretty new #2.5 Friend. All's fair with a gumby's booty, but if you get it out and feel like returning it, send me a PM.

Fun climb! I thought pitch 3 was harder than pitch 1, but they are both short. Maybe save some bigger gear (#3ish Camalot) for the top bit of pitch 2...I ran out and had to run it out.

By Murphy
From: Saint Augustine, Florida
Jul 6, 2014

Climbed this beautiful multipitch with my wife yesterday. Super uber polished in areas and def seems like it can be pretty crowded, but we were lucky and had it to ourselves. It is ridiculous how much pro has been left behind in this route. Lastly, the shade is awesome!