The Bastille 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 counts 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. The W face provides a wonderful afternoon exposure for the cooler months. Topping out provides a wonderous view of this spirit-elevating canyon.
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 this rock on French Independence Day. The legendary, Jim Erickson, elevated himself to the challenge of an onsight, solo, first ascent of Blind Faith on the W face. 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.
Our climbing history shows the first recorded ascent within the canyon when two Army climbers ascended the Bastille Crack in 1954 according to P. Ament in High Over Boulder & R. Rossiter in Boulder Climbs South.
This crag has been a proving grounds for some of Colorado's finest including: Layton Kor, Steve Komito, Ray Northcutt, Pat Ament, Larry Dalke, Dave Rearick, Bob Culp, Stan Shepard, Roger Briggs, Jim Erickson, Art Higbee, Duncan Ferguson, Dudley Chelton, Jeff Lowe, Kevin Donald, Rob Candelaria, David Breashears, Ed Webster, Christian Griffith, Colin Lantz, Derek Hersey, Mic Fairchild, Steve Levin, Chris Archer, among others.
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.
Note, there is still significant amounts of loose rock on this crag and pedestrians & cars lie below. Also, there is much aging fixed hardware here.
Descents off the top traverse along a 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.
Once you enter Eldorado Canyon State Park, you will hopefully find parking within 200 yards in one of two areas. Park. Walk uphill to the obvious bridge across South Boulder Creek. Look up and left. This is The Bastille. The N face is accessed off the road. The W face is accessed off a 3rd class trail just around the corner and up the steep slope.
Northcutt Start is a beautiful, short climb with a terrific tempo. Follow the crack in the corner of the left-facing dihedral 10 feet to the left of The Bastille Crack. Fantastic jams and laybacks gradually grow more strenuous up the steep corner. Then move to the right and turn the corner (there's a trick - if you can't figure it out ask someone, and they'll probably be able to tell you). The first time I got this one I got to the ground and was grinnin' from ear to ear....[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Last week two base jumpers launched themselves off the Bastille. Everyone turned around to watch as the parachute made a huge pop when deployed. It was quite amazing to watch, but seemed just super sketchy. The chute opened probably half way down and it seemed rather easy to be blown onto the towers across the river. Still pretty amazing...I'm guessing this is illegal? But does anyone know? Curious to see if anything happened to them as I can only imagine the rangers saw it.