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East Ironing Board
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Velvet Elvis S 

Velvet Elvis 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Sport, 2 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Paul Piana and Brett Ruckman, 1987
Page Views: 3,255
Submitted By: George Bell on Aug 13, 2001

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Tony Bubb follows up the rising cobblestone traver...

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  • Description 

    This is a wild and exciting route that traverses the lip of a huge overhang. If you fall off the traverse pitch you have the feeling you'd be dangling in space.

    Hike up to the SW of the East Ironing Board. This route is obvious as it is the last place to get on the face before a huge roof. You should be able to spot the bolts above this roof.

    At the base is a small overhang which leads to a left-facing dihedral (the route Sunbreeze). Clip a pin in this first overhang and crank over, then move right into the base of the dihedral (optional belay or pro, large cams needed). If you don't bring a big cam, you could take a pretty big fall just before you clip the first bolt (although it is fairly easy here) [a pink tri-cam is reported to fit in a pocket around here].

    Move left out of the dihedral, clipping 7 bolts as you climb diagonally up and left above the big roof on cemented pebbles (9+). Try not to think about one of the pebbles popping off. Belay at two bolts.

    The final short pitch fires up past 3 bolts (11a). This is one of the easier 11a's I have done. From a 2 bolt anchor on the top, rap 130' back down over the roof.


    7 QDs + slings, but you will need a large Friend (#3.5 or #4) for the first (optional) belay. Some small gear and small tri-cams can be useful before the first bolt, and in between bolts.

    Photos of Velvet Elvis Slideshow Add Photo
    Unknown climber belaying at the spectacular hanging belay on Velvet Elvis.  Photo was taken on 11/11/01.
    Unknown climber belaying at the spectacular hangin...

    Comments on Velvet Elvis Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Dan Hickstein
    5 days ago

    The fixed knifeblade piton at the start of pitch 1 fell out in my hands when I was following the route yesterday. I pounded it back in with a rock, and it's seated a little bit better now, but it's pretty rusty and would likely not support more than a small fall.

    I will apply for a permit to replace the rusty piton and will post here when a new one has been installed. Until then, do your best not to fall on the opening moves of the climb.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 12, 2001

    I should mention that if you didn't bring 2 ropes, you are not in big trouble on the descent. From the top anchor, just climb the ridge crest (5.0) for 140' to a notch. On the other side of this notch you will see 2 beefy bolts with rings for a 60' rap West to the ground.
    By Kreighton Bieger
    Nov 13, 2001


    Can you do two single rope raps to the ground? I've only been up there once and got rained on, but it appeared that maybe you could rap from the top back down to the hanging rap (at the end of the traverse), and then rap to the ground from there. Is that possible?
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 13, 2001

    Yes, Kreighton, I'm pretty sure you can also do the long rap in two raps with one rope. I've never heard of anyone doing this, but I believe the lengths work out fine. It is just painful "hanging out" at that hanging belay.
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Mar 8, 2002

    IMHO, the first pitch is one of the best in the Flatirons. Quite unique as you get a ton of options for holds in the sea of pebbles but bigger does not mean better. Varied, always interesting, never vertical along that stretch but always interesting. That big cam site takes a #4 Friend beautifully but use a long sling. Make sure your 2nd is comfortable traversing/nearly leading. It is interesting to have to clean this from above if you 2nd falls off and can't finish the route. This gem (1st pitch) should not be missed. Different than most Denver-area climbs.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Aug 18, 2003
    rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

    Good climb, unique- climbing on cobbles and pebbles in Boulder County is not the norm. The route is best done in the cool weather or in the early AM before the sun hits it. Rounded white quartz cobbles we referred to as "kryptonite" holds get slick and made us over-grip and go weak if you are hot and sweaty. Still it is fun. The 2nd bolt has a finger pocket down and left of the clip with a paper-wasp nest in it. They are semi-aggressive, but you can climb up, over and around.

    From the top anchors, my 70M rope was laying both ends on the ground by quite a bit (7M extra each end), so a 60M would reach with spare rope as well, as long as you don't try to aim to the East on rap. a 50M definitely can not make it.

    Wasps by second both in 2-finger pocket- avoid by clipping, then going up, left, and back down. They did not 'bug' us when we did that.

    Great route, but hard to compare to the super-classics. 2.5 stars?
    It's a short crux with a lot of 5.10- climbing around it. Avoiding slipping was the crux, not any true complexity. Reach will be a factor for some people.

    The top anchor needs webbing replacement.
    By Aaron Martinuzzi
    Sep 27, 2009
    rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

    The pin protecting the opening moves is pretty sketchy - looks to be an old knifeblade - I was able to move it around a bit this afternoon. It provides a little bit of confidence for the somewhat off-balance moves up to the ledge, but not a lot; best not blow the opening moves on this climb.
    By Lenny Miller
    Nov 3, 2012

    A pink (#1/2) tricam fits perfectly into a pocket between, and in line with, the pin and the first bolt, protecting the moves to the first bolt nicely. Place it while standing on the ledge after the initial traverse (then the large gear for the crack is not necessary). A black (#1/4) tricam can be placed above the 3rd bolt on P2 to protect the last moves to the top (although it is easier climbing here) - a similar-sized nut would work here as well. Many of the bolts are starting to rust.

    Looks like a dinner plate has peeled off to the right of the second bolt on P2. The clip at this bolt felt dicey, as blowing it would land you on your belayer.

    Fun, interesting climbing, with great position.