A S'Platte ultra classic, "Topo" is simply not to be missed. Start near the center of the face, to the left of the Bishop Jaggers crack.
P1: Climb a slab with three bolts to a bolt anchor. The crux (5.9+) is turning the little overlap at the first bolt.
P2: Angle up and right past many (6) bolts to a bolt anchor right of a big arch (exciting 5.9).
P3: Continue angling up and right to another bolt anchor.
P4: Climb the "laboratory safe" centerpiece pitch past 13 bolts (5.10), fighting the burn in your calves. Bolts to Somewhere is the lefthand line.
Rap the route.
This is an old school bolt route: expect long runouts. The bolts have now been updated. A light rack is a good idea. 6 bolts on P2. 14 bolts on P4.
|By Andy Moore|
Nov 20, 2002
For P1, a cam or two in the #2 Camalot size will protect the moves to the first bolt. I also fiddled in a small nut in the runout section between the second and third bolts on P1, but this was of limited usefulness; a small Alien might also work in this stretch. Other than this, we didn't place any other gear on the rest of the route. (Note that there is another set of bolts (4) on the initial slab, to the right of Topographic Oceans; this is Fuzzy Thinking, 9+/10-.)
As of 11/17/02, many of the bolts on TO are modern: All of the anchors had two good bolts; all three bolts on P1, the last few bolts on P3, and all of the bolts on P4 were modern.
Have two ropes for rapping off the route. Also, a few Screamers might be nice for using on the older bolts, mainly on P2.
|By Mark Morehouse|
Jan 12, 2003
The description above says "many" bolts for pitch 2. I counted 6 in ~150 feet of traversing climbing. All are old school bolts. They would "probably" hold a fall, but you'd look like a pile of grated cheese when you finally stopped swinging.
We found no use for any trad gear. If you can handle the runouts on the first three pitches, the last pitch will seem ridiculously over bolted. However, it's kind of nice not to have to worry about runouts (you might have to worry about z-clipping though) and just enjoy some really fun climbing.
May 13, 2003
We did Topo last fall and were happy to see all the shiny new bolts. The second pitch continues to feature museum-quality metal (i.e., old and fragile). If you're on this route, the situation is probably no worse than thought-provoking. But nobody I know would complain if these bolts were updated, too. I'll volunteer not to do this, since I've placed two bolts in my whole life and wrecked both of them in the process.
|By John McNamee|
From: Littleton, CO
Aug 11, 2003
I found this pitch pretty hard for 10b compared Bolts to Somewhere at 10a. Maybe it is my 10 year old shoes! The crux is clipping the numerous bolts.
|By Darren Mabe|
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 3, 2003
7 years ago, I caught my buddy on a long fall on P2 (30 feet or so). Ok, he actually took the same fall 3 times! It was on the 3rd fall he was injured. No, we weren't wearing helmets. He ended up with much of his body road-rashed and 6-7 stitches in his melon. You would have thought after the 1st (or 2nd!) fall he would have bailed when he was still unscathed (well, his shoes were worn through). Needless to say, helmets would have been nice to have. I am also grateful the quarter-incher held.
|By Shane Zentner|
Aug 22, 2004
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Stellar. I thought the crux was pulling the roof on the first pitch. The pyschological crux was the rising traverse on pitch two which is awesome (I distinctly remember this from Bishop's Jaggers three years ago!), very thought provoking with balancy and delicate moves. Pitch four was tough but well protected. I agree, this is a South Platte classic.
|By Allen Hill|
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Jun 19, 2006
Pete Hubbel and Mike Smith in '82 or '83. Super controversial at the time because of the closeness of the bolts. Me and Chuck did the 3rd maybe fourth ascent and enjoyed skipping clips to make it like a "real" Platte climb! There was talk about chopping it but it was done on lead and was a good route. It did lead to some good things in the area meaning an explosion of really good face routes being put up and standards rising. I guess Fires helped as well! Well that's just my ten cents worth.
Oct 14, 2006
All the bolts on the route are new school. Two raps to get down from the top (using 2 60m ropes), first to a belay/rap station that you pass on the third pitch, then to the ground.
|By James R. Arnold|
Nov 5, 2007
Did this route a couple weeks ago with Joe Chorny. Weather was perfect. Route is great - a must do! Thought I'd pass along my thoughts on the climb.
On the first pitch I started to place the #2 Camalot under the lip but then realized could reach the first bolt so dropped the gear to the ground. I'm 6'2" tall, so perhaps if you're not that tall, gear would be the right move. Also, on the first pitch, there may be a small cam placement, but it is only 1 move below the 3rd bolt so not really that valuable. Second pitch is straighforward following the 6 bolts up and right for 140+ ft. Third pitch a little easier though one of the harder moves (~8) is just below the first bolt which is 15-20 ft up. There are a few places to put gear on the start of this pitch so this might be the spot to bring some gear for. The 4th pitch which Joe led in fine fashion was excellent.
We also TR'd Bolts to Somewhere and Connections afterwards and those were both good. Connections must not get climbed much since the top of the crack was a little dirty. Also we rapped down over Connections to the ground with 2 ropes from the Topo 3rd pitch anchor. This is not a good idea as the rope tends to get stuck in the top of the crack. Much better to rap to the anchor you pass on the 3rd pitch of Topo and then to the ground (both raps 2 ropes). Luckily Charlie Perry from Fort Collins was on Topo and freed our rap ropes for us. Thanks Charlie we owe you one!
|By Ken Trout|
From: Golden, CO
Nov 20, 2007
For those who like 70m ropes: We just took a single 70 meter rope and got down in three easy rappels.
The summit pitch is almost 35 meters long, so a single 60m would not make it back down the ladder to the anchor.
From the belay for the last pitch, we went down Connections, stopping at the single marked anchor, labeled "old" on my topo, between routes O and P. There where two bolts there now.
Funky, but at least two. Then the last 35m rap takes you safely down to the easy part of the slab apron.
|By Ralph Kolva|
From: Evergreen, CO
Aug 16, 2009
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Fun route, particularly the last pitch! Does 'slab' get any steeper than this pitch?
Got a little off route on the third pitch, went too far right across an old buttonhead 1/4" bolt. From the second belay head up next to the water groove for 2 bolts and then start angling right across the nice new bolts. Carrying a copy of the topo would have kept me on route.
As for the grade, I would say old school 10b/c, if you've been clipping bolts in Clear Creek for a while then it's 11b.
|By Kenny Parker|
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 29, 2009
Saturday August 29, 09
Chuck Graves and I just did this route today. We did the first pitch of Fuzzy thinking and then worked up the next 3 pitches of Topo O. Great route. Pitch one was hard at start and eased up. The 2nd Pitch is pretty exciting and run-out. Have to figure out the best line. 3rd pitch was easy but nice and the final pitch, although well protected is pretty thin in spots, long and hard. We used some Trad Gear on pitch 3 before the first bolt. On the descent, we climbed at Little Dome and did the classic 5.7 layback route.
|By Mark Roth|
Jan 14, 2010
No trad gear needed.
Descent option: If you don't want to climb with a 2nd rope. The top pitch can be rapped with a 70m. Then the first person can rap on a single 70 to the ground and tie on an extra rope....
|By Aaron Martinuzzi|
Mar 1, 2010
Just an FYI, the first two pitches link with a 70m rope - be sure to bring long runners to reduce drag and ensure that you make the anchors; it used every inch of rope between my partner and I to get him into my Reverso.
|By Rodger Raubach|
Jul 20, 2010
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Superb climb, requires only a rack of draws (15) to lead. 3rd pitch (5.8+/5.9-) is below the standard of rest of route, but overall an ueber-classic! My feet hurt more after the last pitch than any other time I can remember!
|By Rodger Raubach|
May 15, 2011
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
After reading an administrator's comment that "it felt harder than 10b," I'd be inclined to agree. The original grade in "Brown Book of Lies," was 5.11. The start is shared by "Dire Straits," and was also rated 5.10- rather than 5.9+. I'd consider a 5.10a for pitch one to be reasonable, especially for shorter climbers . The final slab: maybe 10 c/d. Not an 11, though.