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Southwest Face / Finger Face
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Upper Finger Traverse 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a PG13

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Paul Radigan, Art Howells, John Auld, Herby Hendicks, 1960s
Page Views: 668
Submitted By: Bosier Parsons on Feb 4, 2009

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  • Description 

    This route is on the Finger Face on North Gateway Rock. Begin by climbing the Lower Finger Traverse (or the Finger Ramp) then continue above the chain anchor in the alcove by chimneying up and behind the flake, and belaying at the top of the Finger formation at two drilled pins.

    From the top of the Finger Pillar, climb up to an old Star drive bolt, which sticks out slightly, but seems solid. Step up and right, then traverse right (first crux) to a good stance where you can clip a solid drilled pin. Now down-climb and traverse right simultaneously (second crux) until you can step across to a good stance and another drilled pin (use a long runner here). Climb up and right past a few more drilled pins, then make a steep pull up and over some delicate potholes, with 2 psychological threads for protection, and continue easily to the anchor.

    I give this climb a PG-13 rating as the climbing is sustained and sequential, and a bit run-out. A fall at the first crux, prior to clipping the first drilled piton could be quite dangerous, especially if the star drive bolt rips. Any fall on the traverse would provide quite the swinger for either the leader or follower. Also, the potholes were a bit fragile, although the climbing through them isn't too hard.

    We climbed this with a 70m rope, and it did NOT reach the ground. Instead, we replaced the webbing on the anchor using a magic-x, rappelled down slightly lower than the Finger Pillar and did a fun running pendulum to get back to the top of the pillar, and down to the chain anchor in the alcove at the top of the first pitch. Another recommendation would be to climb with 2 60m double-ropes which would allow you to rappel all the way to the ground, and may be a nice option for offering a little more protection to the follower if needed. However, if you think you might fall off this route, you probably shouldn't climb it.


    1 Star drive bolt, 5 drilled pins, 2 pothole threads (psychological only). 2-bolt anchor (webbing replaced 2/4/09), with a third bolt back-up (this one needs a wrench to tighten down the hanger).

    Photos of Upper Finger Traverse Slideshow Add Photo
    Pulling through the potholes while laughing at the protection.
    Pulling through the potholes while laughing at the...
    Mike Houston just leaving the belay.
    Mike Houston just leaving the belay.
    Through the second crux.  You can breathe a little now!
    Through the second crux. You can breathe a little...
    Through the first crux.  Get ready for more fun!
    Through the first crux. Get ready for more fun!
    Mike Houston relishes another great Garden adventure pitch on a perfect day in February.
    Mike Houston relishes another great Garden adventu...
    Comments on Upper Finger Traverse Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Stewart M. Green
    Feb 5, 2009

    We are planning to replace some of the old stuff on this route, especially the first Star-Drive since it appears very bad and, as you note, it would create a serious fall and fall factor onto the anchors. Also the anchors on this route are very problematic. The city has asked me to remove them and the webbing since it is extremely visible from the ground. Before that anchor was installed, the normal rappel off Upper Finger Traverse was to climb up left to the big ledge and make either a 1 or 2-rope rappel back to the ground. Also there was some concern about climbers rappelling so close to the plaque and gateway area.

    By Bosier Parsons
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Mar 19, 2009

    I have shared some emails with Stewart about this, and I agree that if you climb this, it would be better to finish up and left on the ridge about 40-50 more feet to gain access to the anchor at the top of the last pitch of Tidrick's. From here, the rappel would be easier than how I did it. I just didn't want to provide any information on an anchor which I had not seen or used. If I get back up there, I'll update the condition of the Tidrick's anchor. At least the new webbing we left is slightly more camouflaged than what used to be at the top of Upper Finger Traverse.

    By Bosier Parsons
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Nov 3, 2010

    The pins at the upper anchor of Tidrick's are good, but as of 11/2/10, the webbing is pretty old and faded. Next time I rap off there I'll replace the webbing, but if I haven't done so, you should either plan on bringing new webbing for that upper anchor on Tidrick's, or just rap off the anchor for this climb.