Thunder Muscle is a new climb between Primate and Choose Life that ascends the spectacular tufa formations to the top of Seal Rock’s south face. The climb was first scoped by Chip Ruckgaber who worked with Colin Lantz and Chris Beh to put in anchors right before the ban (see more info from Chris Beh below). We moved those anchors to the left about 10’ to minimize rope drag. The climbing is very continuous, bouldery, and overall super fun on some of the best rock in the Flatirons.
The start is the same as for Choose Life, clipping the first three bolts of the right-leaning overhang. The route then goes straight up into a series of powerful sequences on steep terrain to a heart shaped feature where you can get a quick shake. After “the heart”, continue through more tricky and increasingly pumpy climbing on pinches, sidepulls and pebbles up to an awkward shelf. A final 12c section guards the chains.
The climb is named after the energy drink “Thunder Muscle” featured on the Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.
As always, thanks so much to OSMP and the Flatirons Climbing Council for this new route and all the other new ones now in the Flatirons.
Please be mindful of the special and delicate setting and stay on the trails!
There are 13 bolts and a two bolt anchor. Long runners helpful at bolts 3 and 4.
The credit for discovering this line belongs to Chip Ruckgaber. He cornered Colin Lantz and me one fine, fall day in '89 spraying about the "tufa" he discovered. We were stoked when we saw the South Face of Seal Rock up close, it having such obvious potential. Chip and Colin climbed up to put the anchor in while I spotted the line from on top of The Pup. We thought we were going to have an awesome crag for winter climbing. The Flatirons ended up being closed to bolting just days later. Good to see you guys taking care of unfinished business!
What a great route! So polar opposite of its neighbor, Choose Life, it's hard to compare. Very bouldery moves with the crux coming quickly after the knee bar rest at bolt 3. Once you're through the crux, the route stays with you all the way to the top, with a great spot to shake out halfway up on the toilet bowl feature. Lots of body tensiony moves on this one with some bad holds. Other than the "heart"-shaped feature at mid-height, I don't think there is a single jug on this beast. Great route. Super sustained. Power endurance at its finest....
This route is classic. This route is fun. It is hard, but I agree with Tank. With the modern technologies of knee pads, this route is not 5.14. Is it true that Pinklebear did it in sweatpants (obviously sans pads)? In this style (Chuck Norris beast-mode style), I believe it may warrant a 14a rating.
Well done FA, gents. This, along with its neighbor, is an absolute gem.
By Pinklebear May 21, 2014 rating: 5.14a8b+32X+32E8 7a
Glad you liked the climb, Elliott. I did do it without kneepads, yes, and in ratty cotton sweat pants. I used a left kneescum up at that top crux on the tufa feature. Ted has way better kneebar-tech skills and in addition to that scum had one lower down on the route with his right leg, before "the Heart." I'm guessing other kneebars have been unearthed, using pads, in other spots too. C'est la vie…er, knee.
Well that's just badass, PB! Props to you and Ted for getting this done in two different styles. Fortunately, I don't think TM will "dumb-down" any further with tons of kneebars. I'll slam a kneebar whenever possible, but I only found a few on this one.