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The Headstone
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Project (aka Who Haas Done It) S 
Rampart Rage, The T,S 
Razor Burn S 
Remote Control S 
Rock Nazi S 
Scratchy Face S 
Slab Variation S 
Topaz S 
V-Slaught, The S 

Topaz 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

   
Type:  Sport, 2 pitches, 220'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Tom Hanson and Scott Sill, 1995
Page Views: 4,491
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Mar 19, 2001

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Midway up the first pitch.

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Description 

The ultimate classic Headstone route and one of the best moderate lines on the hill, Topaz is a must do. The route fires straight up the middle of the Headstone in rather roughish looking rock. It begins on a sparsely bolted slab, passes a small roof, and fires straight up in two pitches of pure classic crimps, flakes, layaways, chickenheads, and a roof just below the first anchor. The first pitch is nearly 150 feet long; the second about 70 feet. To descend, rap the line using either double ropes or a 60m. A mid point rap can be found adjacent to Topaz proper and on the right (Alienist). The final big move over the roof at the end of the first pitch uses a #3 Friend. Brilliant climbing.

Protection 

QDs and a # 3 Friend. This is a long route, so bring 15 or so draws and something for the double bolt anchor.


Photos of Topaz Slideshow Add Photo
Topaz - top of pitch 1 - looking down....
Topaz - top of pitch 1 - looking down....
Eckhard taking a rest after the slab portion.
Eckhard taking a rest after the slab portion.
Making the long reach over the P1 crux overlap.
Making the long reach over the P1 crux overlap.
ABS climbing the route.
ABS climbing the route.
Luke making the P1 crux move. The guidebook calls this 10d, but we all felt it was more like 10b, and very obvious.
Luke making the P1 crux move. The guidebook calls ...
Topaz goes right up the middle of this formation note obvious roof at the upper half.
Topaz goes right up the middle of this formation n...
Kirsten in the sea of chickenheads mmmmmmmm.
Kirsten in the sea of chickenheads mmmmmmmm.
Near the top of the 2nd pitch.
Near the top of the 2nd pitch.

Comments on Topaz Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 18, 2013
By Bryson Slothower
Apr 3, 2002

I didn't see any need for the #3 Friend at the roof, there are bolts the entire way. I did, however, use the gear I brought to set up an anchor on the comfortable ledge about 15 feet above the bolted anchor on a sloping ledge. The route is actually 200' and could be led in one long pitch. Great route!!!!
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Apr 4, 2002

I would agree that the friend placement is optional. The placement is also not really very good, and I have often by-passed using it as well. The rock is juggy and the climbing is not difficult above the roof. However, it may be advisable to bring the Friend along anyway. There is a lot of rope out and drag can catch up with you once you are above the roof. My two cents.
By richard magill
Apr 5, 2002

Tod and I added a bolt (one or two summers ago) where the friend placement was previously made. I guess someone got a bit hurt falling off the roof so it seemed prudent.
By Brian Milhaupt
From: Golden, CO
Apr 6, 2002

I think it is worthwhile to note there is a very loose and large block on the second pitch directly above the belayer's head. It is not hard to bypass this, but it was my instinct to cram my hand in next to it right off the bat.
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
May 29, 2002

I thought this was a great route when we did it. Good job by the first ascenders/equippers! We had a hard time deciding where we were when we got there... But, oh well. The views can't be beat in this area, and the climbing was good, tricky, and sporty...

Does anyone know how/if the recent forest fire affected this climbing area? The only, short, headlines I saw said that Devils head campground was evacuated, and I also read that the whole surrounding area (Rampart Range) was/is (?) closed for recreation... I haven't been able to find any info anywhere, and haven't been in the area recently. Can anyone fill me in here? Thanks!
By Bryson Slothower
Aug 13, 2002

Joe, I've heard the area got torched but have not seen it for myself, but if you are looking for a similar type crag, check out Jurassic Park near the Long's Peak trailhead.
By richard magill
Aug 13, 2002

Devil's Head was not impacted by the fire - although you can see the damage from there.
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Aug 13, 2002

Actually went up there a week ago, and I didnt see any damage to the area. Went to the top of the fire-tower, and you could see the burn area from the hayman fire from a distance. I had made my previous post in reaction to the fire that was going before the Haymen fire started... But, things look good here still! It sounded like it was going down with all the news, and evac's, but, thats great! Thanks to the firemen! I'll probably check out that crag you mentioned sometime soon anyway! Thanks,
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Aug 13, 2002

Bryson - Bite your tongue. In no way can you compare climbing at the Head to climbing at J.P. Bernard's route, the 11d, is a great and comparable line, but nothing else at J.P. comes close to the quality of the climbing or the quality of the rock at Devil's Head. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Devil's Head possesses "the highest concentration of three star routes anywhere in the front range", and that includes J.P. The rock at J.P. is of a similar granitic base, but the highly featured and still fine-grained granite at the Head are uncommon in the Front Range, and J.P. does not have it. Scraggy Top has some, there are several bands running through Lost Creek, there is a bit near Big Rock Candy Mountain, some near the Sheep's Nose, and a few others. As for being a reasonable alternative to the Head - not a chance in the World.
By Bryson Slothower
Aug 14, 2002

Sorry for the misinformation about the fire, that's great to hear though!Richard, you're right the rock is a bit different but for some reason when I was at J.P. all I could think of was how much it reminded me of the Head, maybe it those corridor-like formations and steep routes on thin holds. I don't really know either area very well and perhaps on subsequent visits the differences will become more apparent. It's great to know this area is still open...
By Darin Lang
Sep 3, 2002

150 feet of some of the best face climbing I have done at any grade.The last 50 feet can probably be skipped without cheapening the experience, though.

The "very loose and large block" mentioned by Brian in a comment above was indeed *very* loose and *very* large. In fact, it is now at the base of the route in several pieces, as it came off with extremely light pressure while I was trying to squirm around to the 4th bolt (of the second pitch as described by Richard) without using the block. Fortunately we had elected to do a short first pitch and long second pitch, so my belayer was protected by the big roof.

This thing was a time bomb: the block was heavily chalked up and it appeared that most climbers had been jamming it directly to make the move (the guy climbing two routes to the right of me told me that he had "just cranked on that block two weeks ago"). It is very fortunate that it came off when it did, rather than with the belayer at the normal belay above the roof. I was somewhat reluctant to finish it out after this experience, but I'd say the second pitch is now at least a couple of letter grades easier (and safer).

BTW: Scott & Tom (and the rest of the "Head" crew) - thanks for the wise bolt placements on this pitch. Saved me from serious injury.
By Darin Lang
Sep 3, 2002

The "guy climbing next to me" was Dave Klein. Many thanks to Dave and his partner for their immediate offer of assistance, although I'm glad that it wasn't needed.
By Shane Zentner
From: Colorado
Oct 1, 2006

The block above the second belay may be gone, but another diablo still lurks near the first set of anchors on the adjacent route 'Chicken Head'. This thing is big and has a limited number of tugs left, so be careful.

Fun, sustained climbing the entire way. Not the typical Platte smear fest that is common. Lots of crimpy chickenette heads and cool exposure.
By Kat A
From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
May 26, 2008

An excellent route on good rock with a variety of climbing from slab to juggy roof moves. The 150' pitch was our favorite line in the area. Thoughtfully bolted.
By Joshua1979
From: Colorado Springs, CO
May 16, 2011

Wow, really nice line...such good movement. Only one small section of what I could see being 10d over the first step up. Make sure to check out the cool jug halfway up...lined with what I think must be Topaz?? Definitely a must do route if in the area.
By Curt Hokanson
Jun 15, 2011
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

We linked the entire thing as one long pitch with a 70m, and it is a wonderfully long route. Great, slabby footwork and the hero roof makes you feel like a champ!
By slim
Administrator
Jul 30, 2011
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

A good route, but I think I was expecting too much. Basically a one move crux with a lot of easier climbing. Getting to the first bolt was kind of annoying as you have to do one more move to clip it, instead of clipping it from a really easy stance. Linked all 3 with a 70, which was pretty fun. Bring a pile of draws.
By Jay Eggleston
From: Denver
Nov 18, 2013
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

This is a fun climb, but me and my partner think it is closer to 10b than 10d. There is only one difficult move, but there is plenty of steep climbing above which is fun.