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Sundance Buttress
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Turnkorner 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: FA: Layton Kor and Jack Turner, 5.8 A3, 1962, FFA: Royal Robbins
Page Views: 11,523
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on May 12, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (53)
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P1 has some fun stemming. You can do P1 and P2 as ...
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Description 

Although this route is rated (accurately, I think) 5.10a, it should not be thought of as an easy 5.10. The climbing is physical and sustained, with both 5.10 pitches involving considerable offwidth. The second 5.10 pitch has a very long strenuous, flared 5.9 chimney after the offwidth. The route was originally called the Kor-Turner; Royal Robbins renamed it after the first free ascent.

Another word of caution: the rock quality on this route is some of the worst at Lumpy Ridge (although the protection is for the most part excellent). So why does this route deserve three stars? All you have to do is look up at it from the base: it is perhaps the longest, steepest, most intimidating looking, and most obvious line anywhere on the Ridge. The climbing is varied and...memorable. The 5.10 pitches are pretty burly and the 5.9 pitches below are delightfully funky.

Hike out to Sundance. The Turnkorner Buttress is visible for most of the approach. As you hike up the approach path, the massive upper overhangs are visible. Turnkorner takes the continuous wide system on the left, where the overhang becomes three-tiered; another wide crack is visible to the right of it (5.11+). The route starts about 100 feet to the right of where the path reaches the cliff, and is very easily identified by a right-facing corner between two prominent, ~50 foot high flakes that lean up against the cliff (the right flake being much larger, offering a cavernous shelter for many climbers in case of rain). From the start of the route, the OW through the upper overhangs is visible up to the left.

P1 - Climb the corner and head slightly left at its top to a belay ledge.

P2 - Take the left crack, and follow it and other cracks up and slightly left (5.9) to a narrow ledge composed of blocks, with an old bolt.

P3 - Take the left of two left-facing corners (5.9) (again trending out left from the belay), and when it ends traverse up and left to a scary semi-hanging belay beneath a roof (an old bolt and loads of birdshit).

P4 - Take the obvious fist/OW crack over the roof, and head up to another hanging belay beneath the next roof, 5.10a.

P5 - Grunt up past three off-width roofs (first two are the hardest) at 5.10a, fortunately with rests in between, and continue up a flared 5.9 chimney (with a good crack in the back of the flare) to its end. Belay.

P6 - Head straight up the easy slab, or take a 5.6 groove on the right up to a giant ledge.

P7 - Walk left to another 5.6 groove near the left edge of the buttress, and climb it for a ropelength; from its top, climb easy rock to the summit of Turnkorner Buttress.

Carefully downclimb west to the descent gully. A direct finish takes a 5.8 fist crack off the giant ledge (directly above the P6 groove), and hand traverses up and left (5.9) after about 50 feet along a thinner crack.

Special considerations: There are several sections on the route where the handholds seem about to break off-climb carefully. That said, the protection is generally quite good. Pitches 3 and 4 are often combined; we combined 2 and 3 with a 60 meter rope and that seemed reasonable. The crux on pitch 5 may be racking and placing your gear!

One final note: for the second roof on P5, there is a definite "trick", otherwise it may seem quite a bit harder (Royal Robbins reputedly fell several times here on the FFA). I won't give it away, but I'll throw out a hint-think of the name of the climb....


Protection 

I think the guidebook recommendations for gear are a bit off for this route. One guide says to bring only to a #4 Friend, which wouldn't fit on the last hard pitch. A #4 Camalot would fit, but most people will want a #5 for maximum peace of mind. We also had doubles on #4 Camalots, and Friends #2.5-3.5 (along with a standard rack), and this seemed like plenty of gear. If you are a really solid 5.10 OW leader, then skip the #5 and doubles probably aren't necessary. Even with all this gear, however, be aware that on the second 5.10 pitch, you'll definitely need to feel comfortable with at least a little sliding and leapfrogging.



Photos of Turnkorner Slideshow Add Photo
Dan Hare above the big roof.
Dan Hare above the big roof.
The route from a diferent angle. It starts right off the tree in the middle of the photo, angles left connecting the successive vertical cracks, to reach the crux pitches up the obvious crack through the overhangs in the orangge rock at the top left of the photo.
The route from a diferent angle. It starts right o...
A closer photo of Luke on P2. We avoided the last hard bit by moving left to the vegetation. The belay is just above the vegetation, up and a bit left o Luke.
A closer photo of Luke on P2. We avoided the last ...
The upper pitches should be obvious.
BETA PHOTO: The upper pitches should be obvious.
leading out into the fabulous 3rd pitch.
leading out into the fabulous 3rd pitch.
There are a couple more easier pitches beyond the skyline.
There are a couple more easier pitches beyond the ...
Headed into the OW below the roof. The beta is to reach around the arete to the right, then up and into more OW.
BETA PHOTO: Headed into the OW below the roof. The beta is to ...
Luke is starting up P2, linking it with P1. The combined P1 and P2 are about 170'.
Luke is starting up P2, linking it with P1. The co...
Comments on Turnkorner Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 8, 2014
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001

I don't remember as much offwidthing as Charles indicates. The section on the 4th pitch is pretty short, and there is a bolt there. On the 5th pitch (I remember only 2 roofs?), it is possible to face climb around the OW crux(?) on the right. This is not indicated on Rossiter's topo. Basically, right at the roof, reach right for some small face holds. Pull right, then climb more of less straight up the face for 15 to 20 ft to rejoin the crack. This avoids much OWing, HOWEVER it is also 5.10 and completely unprotected, until the end when you can reach back left into the crack and place a big cam. Then, all that is left is the long 5.9 big hands/fist crack!

By Anonymous Coward
May 25, 2001

Just bring some cams and go for it. I would say that if you want to climb this route and your hopeing you can skirt around some of the off width sections, you'd probably be better off skipping it all together. The only reason to climb the route is because the cracks are long, wide, and intimidating and you happen to think your man enough to do it (most people aren't.)

By Erik Corkran
May 31, 2001

Well maybe I'll be speaking differently early next week (planning to climb this route on Sunday).

Keep seeing a lot about climbing around the offwidth with 10a face. I notice the Rossiter guide mentions 10a on right wall .i.e. face). Gillett's guide (and beta from a friend) says the offwidth isn't that bad. Certainly can't image it could be close to as hard as Big Baby (which I have looked at, but not tried).

By Erik Corkran
May 31, 2001

Ok just one more quick one (hmm it would be nice to be able to go back and edit/combine comments). Like I said, I'm hoping to go through OW style (mostly because I prefer being smashed into some horrible offwidth to balancing up a scary face). Hoping to have some pictures to post, I have been wanting to climb this route ever since I saw it. Hopefully something other than a pic of me falling off of the scary face after bailing out of the offwidth method, hehe.

By Anonymous Coward
May 31, 2001

Wasn't trying to downplay an ascent skirting the 1 OW section. The essence of the route is a long "hard man" crack route. People not familiar with the area should know that just because you can avoid one section doesn't take away from the fact that there is tons of hard wide crack climbing above. I'm an avid crack climber and may have started up somewhat blinded by enthusiasm but I didn't know the half of what I was getting into when I started up Turnkorner. It was an awesome route and I worked for every inch of it. I remember feeling almost inverted on one of the OW roof sections trying to pull thru. I think it's kinda cool to have routes that we're proud we've done. The fact is most people will not do Turnkorner, nor want to, I think the peole who do it by any version are cool. Peace

By Erik Corkran
Jun 11, 2001

We did it! Very happy to say that we got through the offwidth. Was postponed one week but we got there yesterday. Looking up from the base, I was happy to see it looking as imposing as always.

Joseffa led the first pitches (did as 2, up to under the first fist roof/dihedral, w/the bird crap on slab). Definitely agree the rock quality on those was pretty scary!

I led next 2, and found the 3rd pitch (first OW) much different than expected, with more layback and use of face holds. Fell once on it backcleaning a piece from a rest. Hold that I was using for left food just broke. Unexpected but small fall. Found the OW on the 3rd pitch not bad and quite enjoyable, with just a couple of chimney-type moves there.

This brought us to the big roof. Off the belay through the first small step was great! Loved the cool move there. We brought a #4.5 and 5 Camalot. The 4.5 is definite luxury, but I'm certainly not complaining about having it.

Got up into the main roof, faced wrong way (I usually put my back to the "good" wall) but then realized there were holds I would need in a few feet, so climbed back down and turned. Got into it, even managed a weird/bad fist way deep in (good for holding position too deep to move up on). Through feet sidewise under me and went for the wallow/grunt. Got to the part where I could squeeze/mantle through (edge of roof) and realized I was stuck! Gear on me would not let me move up and felt like I was being pulled down. Tried to throw hips out farther, but it didn't work and I fell out (more of a slide really, good thing we brought the #5 Camalot).

Hanging just out from the bottom of the crux, got back down to rest and tried it again. Better gear positioning and a lot of grunt / squeezing got me through it. The #4 cam I managed to throw in and shove up quickly after finishing the crux helped with the extra confidence (falling off the roof edge and down into the thing didn't seem like a good idea). Rested a while after finishing the crux. Found the 5.9 flare/crack above tiring, especially after pulling that roof. Jo had the same problem (stuck) first time but cruised right on through after that.

It was a beautiful day and I am very glad that we finally got to do this amazing climb.

Pictures coming soon (here) and hopefully a trip report w/pictures on my web site. Will post as soon as I can.

By Anonymous Coward
Sep 24, 2001

If one is creative there are ample opportunities to find supplementary cracks for gear - I used a #1 TCU, and a #2&3 Camalot as my primary pieces on the initial part of the 4th pitch! I lead the entire route when I was sixteen, and I was totally fine with a set of cams (up to a #4 Camalot) and a set of stoppers.

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Feb 17, 2002

Someone recommended this to me back around 1990 and told me it was all nice moderate finger cracks (thanks Michelle!) I stupidly brought a regular rack up to some kind of hand size only (maybe a couple #3 Friends, and one #4 Friend). Seemed to protect sorta OK anyway. I found (by accident) the devious face climbing to avoid the hardest OW. I can still remember the moves, on huge flexing crusty biscuits. Wild. A great climb, about the best 5.10 Lumpy climb I've done, sustained, exhausting, very memorable. Perhaps, it was better to have expected something easier. . .

By Dan St. John
From: Castle Rock
Jul 22, 2002

I thought the rating was close to acurate, possibly 5.10c. The crux of the route is the gear management. On the first roof (5.10b), place the gear primarly on the right side. One the second 5.10 pitch, you will need to evenly distribute the gear on both sides, since it is advantageous to switch back and forth from left side to right side in. And, if possible, run the pitch on out to the top when the big ledge (5.5 scramble) is, since the semihanging bely is uncomfortable. I recommend this route to any one in the 5.10 lead range, even 5.9+ since the gear is so bommer. The first three pitch have some weirdness to them but are in the 5.9-5.9+ range. Every pitch was excellent. Good Luck!

By Joe Collins
Aug 12, 2002

Did this route this weekend... pretty fun but not sure its 3 stars fun.

Some beta: the route is not sandbagged, but, let me put it this way... you would be very unhappy without a #5 Camalot on this one. Pitch 2 (P3 if you don't link 2 & 3) has lots of loose faceholds that you absolutely have to use... the "turncorner" move on pitch 4 has some pretty sketchy ones as well. The start of the 5.9 chimney/flare is a good warm-up for the Wilson Overhang on the Steck-Salathe (or is it vice-versa)... I had to take my helmet off from a very awkward position to squeeze past this part. The rap route to climber's-right of The Nose can be reached from the ledge after the chimney/flare.

Also, the flare ate my buddy Jon's #1 Camalot... he spent over an hour trying, unsuccessfully, to clean it. Sorry Jon. So, first one there...

By Stefan Griebel
Jun 23, 2003
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This is a fantastic route. The offwidth isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I'm far from being a proficient offwidth climber and I didn't fall or hang once on this pitch. Compared to the 5.10a offwidth pitch on The Rostrum (which I flailed on), this is a walk in the park. The rock is very grippy and textured and many hand/fist jams can be found way back in there. I led this pitch exclusively with Camalots - 1 #4, 1 #3.5, 2 #3s, 2 #2s, 2 #1s + some smaller stuff. I didn't run it out at all with this amount of gear - this thing takes a surprising variety of sizes! In fact, I walked the #4 up maybe 5 feet at the bottom expecting to be short on wide stuff, but towards the top I placed the #3.5 just to get rid of it. When I do this climb again, I would break it up as follows:

P1 - Climb the first two short 5.9 pitches as one pitch. P2 - Combine the next short 5.9 pitch with the short 5.9 offwidth. P3 - Do the 5.10a offwidth as a single lead. It feels like a long pitch. P4 - Simul-climb the 5.4-5.6 stuff to the top. It is probably 250'.

By david goldstein
Jul 2, 2003

Reclimbed this route today, doing the Under the Big Top variation. Part of the main flake in the crux bypass had recently broken off. After cleaning up the debris, a pretty good edge was revealed. This edge makes this passage mentally, if not technically, easier.

By Josh Janes
Sep 21, 2003

This is one fine, fine route.

We did this very conveniently in three, 70m pitches: P1: climb the two 5.9 pitches to nests of slings on the blocky ledge. P2: climb up to the start of the roofs, climb all of the roofs, belay at the end of the 5.9 flaring section. P3: easy climbing to the summit w/ 20' of simulclimbing. There was no rope drag and I'd definitely do it this way again.

You can leave behind small cams on this climb, but I'd bring a full set of stoppers. Our gear was perfect: stoppers, single Camalots from 0.5 to 4.5 (including a 3.5 and a 4), double 1s, 2s, and 3s.

Dang this climb is good.

By John Stoddard
Jun 20, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Went up and did this route last weekend - memorable indeed!

I'm a few months short of 50, and I've looked at this route for probably 25 years. Back in the day, I was always too intimidated - the idea of going up there with nothing but a set of tube chocks *still* seems awfully scary. But with modern gear (i.e. big cams), the whole thing was really quite reasonable.

The most surprising thing to me was the minimal amount of actual off-widthing needed. Yes, there is a lot of off-width-sized crack to climb; but I don't think I actually arm barred more than one or two moves on the whole thing. Lots of chimneying, lots of heel-toe, lots of face holds on the side walls, lots of hand jams deep in the crack... but very little actual offwidth climbing.

The initial pitches up to the bird-shit belay seemed like the crux to me, with funky pro and somewhat suspect rock (although not as bad as some of the descriptions made it out to be). I ran the two crux pitches together (4 and 5), and was surprised how easily it went.

While a couple of big cams are needed, what really helps is a lot of medium-sized stuff - I could have used several #1 Camalots. There's a lot of inobvious protection available - even at the crux where you "turn the corner," you could actually get a stopper and/or small cams in and only lose maybe five feet off what you get with the huge cam.

My only added advice is, save some of your bigger stuff for the belays. The bird-shit belay takes a #0.5, #2 and #3 Camalot. The belay at the top of the hard climbing (top of pitch 5) needs some medium sized cams; I'd used up pretty much *everything* at that point and was stretching the rope, so I had to belay off some funky small pieces and wedge my butt way down in the slot for security.

Oh yeah, and - rack everything on a gear sling so you can switch shoulders (twice!) during the crux sections.

A really beautiful, high quality route, and not anything like the wide-crack horror its reputation suggests. I wish I'd done it years ago!

By Thad
Aug 29, 2005

The bolt at the top of the third pitch next to the bird poo could stand to be replaced. So could the others; however, I don't really see them as necessary, and a fatty at the bird shit area would be nice.

By Jarrett Tishmack
Jul 25, 2006

This is the best route at Lumpy, and one of my favorite of all time. Don't miss this one.

By Danny Inman
From: Arvada
Oct 9, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

With a 60m, we climbed it as follows: combined P1 & P2-full 60m pitch; did P3 to bird crap belay just below first 10a bulge 30m pitch; combined P4 and P5 full 60m pitch, then one last 5.5 pitch to rap slings. Two double rope raps puts you on the decent trail. Very exciting route-I will echo the sentiment that P1 through P3 is spooky. As for the OW sections, there are some good rests, I found the crux of the route to be enduring the flared 5.9 chimney after having pulled the strenuous 10a bulges-I thought it would never end. We followed Josh Janes's rack recommendation, and it was perfect-no more and no less. Very good route.

By Eric Goltz
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 3, 2007

A strikingly direct line up Sundance, the short length of the climb belies its strenuous nature. I should think that a #5 is obligatory for the 2nd OW pitch (which I felt to be harder than the tech 'crux' after the bird poo belay).

By Adam Baxter
From: Estes Park, CO
Nov 25, 2008
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Agreeing with Tishmack, this is the best route at Lumpy. It is well-protected through all the hard climbing. Don't pass this one or any other route on Sundance up.

By claramie
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 20, 2010

WOW, this thing was absolutely amazing! And not nearly as difficult as intimidating... well let me qualify that, if you're a 5.10 leader maybe it will feel difficult and intimidating, but if you're solid at the grade it's not that bad. And to be honest I never felt like I was climbing offwidth. Maybe an armbar or two but more chimney technique and cupped hands than actual fists, etc. I didn't even stack once, and the "turnkorner" roof was pretty casual too with the sport holds and all. I'm also surprised that people commented that this was chossy. Maybe it was worse and everyone cleaned it up over the years, but I thought the rock was no worse than any typical multi-pitch / alpine route and the gear was bomber throughout. So, there go any excuses you might have had, get on this route!

We linked P1&2, belaying at the slung pillars/blocks. Linked 3&4 (through the first roof) and belayed at the pin under the main roof. Pulled the turnkorner and kept going up the flaring offwidth until out of gear. Easy from there to the top.

Josh's gear beta would work just fine. You could really sew it up with two #4 Camalots and a #5. I also placed a green Alien in a couple of spots.

By VARMENT
From: Boulder, Colorado
Sep 18, 2010

Not that bad of a route, in fact F'N glorious!!! If you're climbing 5.10, do it. Battle through the OW or get spooked on the face. Have fun.

By Peter Duker
Jul 30, 2012

Awesome route! Definitely would recommend a #5 though for the second roof, maybe I was just ignoring other placements because I brought one, but I probably would've fallen onto my belayer had I not brought it. This thing is burly, and you definitely don't need a lot of offwidthing skill (I for sure don't lead 5.10 OW), but it's a wild ride and keeps you working for every inch. It's an amazing route, you just gotta go for it!

By 1rsties4life
From: CO
Jun 16, 2013

This route is amazing. Each pitch is better than the last, and with 6-8 long runners, the whole thing can be climbed in 2 enduro pitches. Next time I climb it, I will leave the #5 in the car as there is a small cam on the left wall just before the crux slot.

By Greg Cameron
Jul 2, 2014
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

After doing this again for maybe the 5th time on Sunday (over a span of 30 years) with Rick Accommazzo, I'm going to go with the other commenters who suggest that this is the best climb at Lumpy. C'mon, it's a beautiful, long (for Lumpy), and intimidating line that goes at 5.10a. The historical fact that Kor did the first ascent in 1962 and Robbins the FFA in 1964 is a bonus.

By Garrett Miller
From: fort collins
Aug 8, 2014

This anecdote is waning from the main topic, but I think it is a coincidence worth sharing. After climbing Turnkorner for the 4th or 5th time several weeks ago, I came home and saw that the August 2014 edition of "The Sun" magazine (has nothing to do with climbing or the outdoors generally) had arrived in the mail. I flipped it open, and there was a 10 page interview with Jack Turner. Most of us that head out to climb on the Sundance are very familiar with Layton Kor, but I knew little to nothing about the first ascensionist Jack Turner. It's worth checking out if you like naturalist type stuff or just like to know where the roots of modern climbing originated, and the types of people that were climbers before climbing was an X games type extreme sport.
Definitely my favorite longer route at Lumpy. Although there is no real offwidthing required on this route, it definitely has a thuggish Vedauwoo-type feeling on the upper two pitches. Unless you are solid 5.11 climber, you will probably want the #5 just to be sure. Best done in three pitches in my opinion, linking 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and do pitch 5 and belay before exiting the dihedral to the right so you can stay in communication with your partner.