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The Owl 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Layton Kor, Ben Chidlaw, 1959
Page Views: 14,186
Submitted By: Michael Komarnitsky on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (194)
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Ben Mottinger doing the 5.10 variation on P2.

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Begin almost directly under the huge boulder just to the right of the A-shaped roof. Skirt a small bulge, instead following a crack from the left up and to the right. Look for the horns on the face to your right. Move up, through the nice fist crack, and belay from the ledge above the boulder.

Pitch 2: Same as for Cozyhang. Cruise up to a wicked small a-shaped roof. Jam and stem up and out, and follow the crack up the face to the left another 10 feet.

Protection 

Standard rack.


Photos of The Owl Slideshow Add Photo
Marga Powell pulling onto the chicken heads on the first pitch.
Marga Powell pulling onto the chicken heads on the...
Marga Powell jamming the easy crack to the summit.
Marga Powell jamming the easy crack to the summit.
The Owl.
BETA PHOTO: The Owl.
Tony Troia and Jason Alexander at the base of The Owl, The Dome, Boulder Canyon.
Tony Troia and Jason Alexander at the base of The ...
Christa Cline headed for the chickenheads on the first pitch.
Christa Cline headed for the chickenheads on the f...
Brenda Leach cranking the move to the chicken heads on the first pitch.
Brenda Leach cranking the move to the chicken head...
Cool shot which makes the climb look impossible above.
Cool shot which makes the climb look impossible ab...
Anna Clarke finishes the great hand jam section with right side in and left out on a bucket on the arete. This is the end of challenging climbing on P1.
Anna Clarke finishes the great hand jam section wi...
Starting the hand crack. Cozy Hang traverse to this point from the right. There's a photo in the Rossiter guide of Nancy Pritchard from above in this same position. It looks like she's soloing.
Starting the hand crack. Cozy Hang traverse to thi...
Ran is traversing into the corner. From below, this bit looks like it will be hard and scary, but there's gear, and the holds are big. You can also climb over the roof directly into the overhang (I think I've done it that way).
Ran is traversing into the corner. From below, thi...
Christa Cline starting up the awkward overhang on the second pitch.
Christa Cline starting up the awkward overhang on ...
Starting the hand crack (nice wide view of route).
Starting the hand crack (nice wide view of route).
Scenic view looking down from the 1st belay station.
Scenic view looking down from the 1st belay statio...
Marga Powell on the hand traverse on the first pitch.
Marga Powell on the hand traverse on the first pit...

Comments on The Owl Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 9, 2014
By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2002

From the belay atop P1, you can also take the 5.10/9+ hand crack that exits the roof 15 feet up and right from you. It's somewhat awkward, in that it's half roof / half hand traverse, but an enjoyable and well-protected exit variation.
By Aaron Shupp
Feb 4, 2002

The roof on the second pitch can be made very easy by getting a wide (but not too wide) stance in the chest high shelf that starts below the horizontal part of the roof and leaning a bit to the left.
By Anonymous Coward
May 27, 2002

I must have missed the easy way around the roof. I thought It was another boulder classic sandbag route. What a great climb. Both pitches have good moves. Not a good beginer lead.
By Stephen Allen
Apr 12, 2003
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I left a 7 BD hex and a carabiner on 4-12-03 to lower from when I got off route. If anyone wants them they are about an inch up and to the left of the woman's head in that picture of the two people at the base of the owl. Once I figured out the route it was really fun (the two roof sections are awkward, but well protected).
By Tonya Clement
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 19, 2003

This was a lead I feared for a long time, in fact I hated following it because I always muscled through the pigeon poop crack and had to take on the roof...a couple nights ago a friend showed me new techniques and it made all the difference. Tonight on lead I learned this route can be easy but I agree it is not a beginner lead. On lead I found (being short 5'2") that reaching for the chicken head on P1 was the hardest move since I was a bit above and right of my last piece. The crack and the roof protect well and in a relaxed state are oh so very fun. Now I gotta find the nerve to lead P1 (over the bulge) of Cozy Hang.
By Jay Hippel
From: Denver, CO
Sep 23, 2003

I agree it seems like another classic boulder sandbag. Don't go climb 5.8's at Happy Hour and think you've got it easy. Great climb though. Bomber gear. Tricky but rewarding crux moves. Not a beginner climb, go do east slab.
By Matt Chan
From: Boulder
Mar 11, 2004
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Fun climb that protects fairly well too the summit. Seems like rope drag could be a real problem on the second pitch if you don't a have a least 1 extra long runner (especially in the dihedral slot). Anyone ever test the pin on p2?
By Stephen Allen
Apr 5, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I found a stopper below the first belay on The Owl / Cozyhang. I think it's a #11. Give me a call at 303-929-2041 if you want it back.
By Michael Kullman
Apr 18, 2005

I've lead this twice now, and it surely feels stout for a 5.7. Definitely not a good beginner lead. That old pin on p2 looks fairly manky (the ring is pretty rusted), probably a good idea to back it up.
By Jayer Chung
May 11, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Watch rope drag on the 1st pitch, and stay on route. 5.7 roof move on the last pitch is committing. Aliens, 1 set of hand-sized cams, and nuts (BD stoppers #4-8) sufficient.
By Cody Munger
From: Carson City, NV
May 16, 2006

I've done another 5.9 (?) exit variation to the ending that slips around the left side of the final roof and climbs a steep face to a frictiony dihedral. Not in the Rossiter guidebook that I saw.
By nick moeckel
Jul 24, 2006

If 5.7 is around your leading limit and you're looking for climbs in this area, I personally found this to be a little harder than the Standard Route on the Elephant Buttress and a little easier than Cozyhang. And the ten minutes or so that I spent gathering the nerve to grovel over to the chickenheads rank as perhaps the most humbling that I can remember off the top of my head.
By Merlin
From: Grand Junction
Mar 21, 2007
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I'm with Nick on this one. I plugged a Grey Alien in the crack before the chicken heads then spent 15 minutes thinking about going for it. The move is really easy once you grab them but if you have trouble reaching them it can be intimidating.

The roof at the top is pretty easy though, skip the piton and sink a number 2 BD to your right to keep the rope out of your way, climb up high, stem super wide, jam and arm, and it's over. I personally found grabbing for the chicken heads to be a lot more commiting than the roof. Overall a great and varied climb but I would have been very unhappy to tackle this as one of my first 5.7 leads.
By Kaner
From: Eagle
May 4, 2007

Left lots of booty yesterday, if anybody cleans my stuff I'd love it back. My partner could not unclip a BD Neutrino QD in the old mangy pin I clipped just for the hell of it. Also, in the final hand crack, I tried and tried and tried until my bloody hands gave up to fish out a green Metolius cam. If found and returned, good beer is your reward. Thanks.
By 303scott
Feb 16, 2009

A 70m rope will get you to the top in 1 pitch with bad, but bearable, rope drag (finishing via the p2 .10 handcrack variation). Accidentally did an interesting variation on p1. Instead of jogging left under the bulge and traversing back right, I went straight up to get into the small dihedral before traversing right to the chickenheads. If you look in the photo with the description "Ran is traversing..." the line I did goes up the small crack about 10 feet right and a little bit down from the climber. An insecure layback over ok gear was fairly exciting and felt more difficult than .7.
By Rich F.
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 7, 2009
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Fabulous route! Climbed it with my wife on Friday. Probably the toughest "short" 5.7 trad climb I've ever led. Protects well, but had to think through the zig-zag bulges and roofs. The moves through the A-frame roof seemed harder than 5.7 to me -- especially on my first attempt! Second try went better after my wife graciously pointed out a good place to stem with my right foot. Despite (or maybe because of) the challenge, I loved the route. I'll be back!
By YDPL8S
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Jun 8, 2009
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

"The moves through the A-frame roof seemed harder than 5.7 to me -- especially on my first attempt!"

The key to that move is the infamous "head jam", makes it a piece of cake :-) (see pictures on CozyHang)
By Edward Burin des Roziers
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 10, 2009

No need to worry about the manky pin on P2: the ring and eye are gone. I wonder if someone accidentally tested it. A grey/yellow Alien fits below the pin. Along with the #2 BD, this felt well protected, as long as your belayer keeps you off the slab.
By Patrick Mulligan
Dec 6, 2011

This was my first climb after moving to Boulder to go to school. Fond memories indeed.
By farkas.time
From: Sheffield, SY
May 6, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Tonnes of fun. Excellent pro. Great fist jamming and some awesome committing moves. Zig-zaggy route, so draw placement and extension were tricky. Nuts and cams, varied to 3". We did 3 pitches to avoid rope drag at the cruxes. This felt pretty natural, except the 3rd pitch was quite short. Communication was difficult on this route (and all of the Dome), especially with a rushing river.
By Mitchell Rhodes
Jan 24, 2013

Yesterday I on-sight free soloed this route. After soloing the slab for the second time and on-sighting the leftmost problem on the East Boulder, therefore finishing the boulder's problems in the on-sight, no-crash pad style, I began up the Owl. Cruising and criss-crossing, I traversed right confronting the "chickenheads". With a quick jerk and snag, I latched a distant knob. My right foot then naturally slid urgently to the lower knob. Pulling over I felt relieved. This initial sequence was over, and went smoothly at that. With a simple yet high step, I was beneath a roof. Confident on hand jams I proceed not knowing the shit show my sight to feet ratio was going to be. Looking back I should have smeared right more, but once I felt the awkwardness set in, I reverted to classic foot below hand jams. Unfortunately the position greatly hindered the sight, feel, and movement of my foot jams, so I put as much body to the wall as I could and powered my hand jams over into the depth of the "V"-shaped slot. Groveling into easy territory, I quickly became free and danced the slab to the final roof, which I found to be the crux. After a few attacks and subsequent retreats, I committed. Right hand jamming high in the right crack, I stood up with my left completely this time, hoping to find a jam or something to sustain gracefully through the obstacle, yet to no avail. I resorted to grope around the left roof arete. Finding what seemed decent in the heat of the moment, I crimped. Matched feet for balance symmetry, and somehow, after a bit of desperation, found a perfect little knob that seemed to be directly above the apex of the roof. Wish I knew that was there. The next few moves appeared to be weird but turned out to be an amazing, exposed, almost completely horizontal rest directly above the roof. Feeling refreshed, I began the escape from my rock bed and stretched my way into the final hand crack. I spent probably ten minutes in the crack feeling the wind and thought before ending the route. Awe inspiring experience. Oddly I felt good about my climbing despite the moments of adverse distress.
By Rick Vermeil
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 28, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Beware - classic Boulder sandbag!
By Hiro
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 9, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Sandbagged and confusing, not for a beginner lead - probably best if you are a 5.8-5.9 leader because you can get yourself in some pretty sketch locations if you get lost like I did. The climbing was ok, but not great, combined with the fact that you'll spend half your time wondering if you're on route. D'Antonio gives it lots of stars, perhaps he knows exactly where to go, I almost want to give it the bomb for the aforementioned reasons.