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Castle Rock
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Surface Tension (aka Two) 
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West Face T 
West Face, Direct Start T 

West Face 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 160'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 6,492
Submitted By: Tony B on Aug 11, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (65)
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BETA PHOTO: West Face Route, Castle Rock. The easiest line is...

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Locate the route Polyester Leisure Suit as described on this site and then look 20 feet to the left.

P1: The dihedral and crack system leading up from the ground to a skinny pine tree goes at 5.5. Belay at a two-bolt anchor just below the tree.

P2: Continue up and slightly right in a chimney and crack system behind the left side of a broken tower of rock towards the summit. Belay from a ledge up near the top. Use gear or sling boulders for an anchor.

Walk off to the North and West as per the usual descent.

There is some questionable rock on each pitch and although each is easy, a beginning leader might not like it.

Protection 

A standard rack.


Photos of West Face Slideshow Add Photo
Ryan on the 5.5 West Face of Castle rock. This image may make it look a little more dramatic than this fun little pitch really is, but hey, that's the point of bringing the camera along, right?
Ryan on the 5.5 West Face of Castle rock. This ima...
Snowy day. Looking down about halfway up pitch 2. 1/9/2011.
Snowy day. Looking down about halfway up pitch 2. ...
Snowy climbing winter '11.
Snowy climbing winter '11.
Matt coming up from the second pitch.
Matt coming up from the second pitch.
Le piece de resistance! Chocolate stout.
Le piece de resistance! Chocolate stout.
Winter 05', Ben enjoying the weather.
Winter 05', Ben enjoying the weather.
Just about to do the wide finish crack.
Just about to do the wide finish crack.
Go past bolts, up thru chimney to belay here to avoid rope drag on P2.
BETA PHOTO: Go past bolts, up thru chimney to belay here to av...
The last little scramble to the top which we just ran out to our anchor.
The last little scramble to the top which we just ...
Castle Rock's West Face
BETA PHOTO: Castle Rock's West Face
Yet another topo of the line.
BETA PHOTO: Yet another topo of the line.
Look for Jon in the white shirt.  He's at the top of the first pitch where the two-bolt anchor is.
BETA PHOTO: Look for Jon in the white shirt. He's at the top ...
A little stiffer than the stuff below, maybe 5.7, but there are holds in there somewhere.
A little stiffer than the stuff below, maybe 5.7, ...
Nicholas Patterson on top of pitch 2.
Nicholas Patterson on top of pitch 2.
Nicholas leading in his boots Feb 18, 2012.
Nicholas leading in his boots Feb 18, 2012.

Comments on West Face Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 29, 2014
By kyle lefkoff
May 8, 2004

There is a good line between West Face and PLS up the obvious cracks and through a small roof. Same belay at the rings.
By Jeff Gustafson
May 17, 2004

Climbed this route yesterday, very fun. I am a beginning leader, and I have to agree with the previous comment about loose rock, etc. This is not a real friendly beginner lead. We did the route in 3 pitches, which seemed to work well. Belayed at the tree and at the ledge in the notch. At one point I grabbed a seemingly bomber flake, and felt it move... I have climbed 5.6's that felt easier.
By Jeff Barnow
From: Boulder Co
Sep 15, 2005
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

One of the crappiest climbs I have ever done...if you want to waste your time feel free but the canyon has a lot better to offer!
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 31, 2005

Gear Alert
Did the 5.7+ route in the picture. We climbed it 2 days ago. I was the 3rd person up and while at the belay the 2nd almost got bit by a rattlesnake!!! In late October on the West Face of the Castle two pitches up a rattlesnake. Can anyone explain this? Wildlife Alert: super pissed off rattlesnake in the dark chimney above the 7+ in this picture!!!! Beware until first hard freeze!!!No I'm not kidding.
By Tom Hanson
Nov 1, 2005

Dear AC,

October is prime rattlesnake season at Castlewood Canyon, but I am surprised to learn that they are still active twelve miles up Boulder Canyon!
By ?????
Nov 1, 2005

Also being serious, are you sure it wasn't a bull snake, they can live at higher elevations and try to mimic rattlesnakes...
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 1, 2005

I did some research online and found out that rattlers can live as high as 10000 ft. and that it was common seeing them in the fall. I guess he was headed home for the winter.If it was a bull snake he sure did a good job of sounding like one big pissed off rattlesnake!! We have kicked around several ideas even a bird dropping the thing on the route. Thanks for the input, After this experience I think anything is possible....JC
By Nathan Tomlin
From: Boulder, CO
May 17, 2006
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

I'm a beginning trad leader and thought it was a good climb. Tons of good placements. Did it in 2 pitches, p1 to bolts. Lots of rope drag with the long p2 - it sets up well for 3 short pitches.

If you're bringing up noobs, keep in mind the nontrivial downclimb. I ended up lowering my second.
By Charles Danforth
From: L'ville, CO
Jul 5, 2006

Deceptively hard for the rating. In general it is no more than 5.2 or so, but there are some dicey moves on each pitch that raise the average rating to 5.5. In particular, route finding off the first belay is interesting. The protection is there, but it won't be real comforting for a beginning leader. P3 features either an exposed, runout slab, a grunt chimney, or an interesting off-width.
By KeithRD
Apr 18, 2007

Not a great route but not a horrible one either. I personally feel like it would be a great beginner route. On the second pitch (relative I know) head up the wider crack with the choke stone and not the thin crack that goes straight up.

Also, from the notch above what is the obvious second pitch, it is possible to head up a couple chimneys and some random face moves to make the climb end on the summit proper. This is probably off route but it puts you on the summit as opposed to the traditional end of the route (a ledge short of the top).

A great night time climb, preferably when it's pouring rain.
By Dean Carpenter
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 8, 2007

Climbed this route today, and we couldn't clean a cam on the 5.7+ variation of the first pitch. It's an old school Wild Country Friend about a half inch in size. It walked itself deep into a crack and over-cammed, I spent a half hour trying to get it then lowered my partner who also spent a half hour trying to clean it. It's practically an antique and I doubt anyone would want to use it, but I'd appreciate it back. As for the climb, it's not bad, quite a bit of loose rock though, and I would call the variation we did barely 5.6 not 5.7+.
By tom stocker
From: Lakewood, Colorado
Jun 30, 2008

To descend, walk north from the middle of the large level area on the north side of Castle Rock below the summit to third class terrain. Find the slab gently downsloping to the east; at the edge of the cliff, find a vertical pinch about 20 inches high; if you look carefully, there is a gap behind it maybe 2 inches wide, just wide enough to fish a piece of webbing through. This can be used as a rappel anchor. From here, you can rappel directly to the eastern tree on the ledge about 60 feet below, or lower your partner(s) and downclimb. Alternatively, downclimb the cliff and slab following the wall on your right, make a left turn around a 4 inch tree, downclimb five feet of vertical rock, and get to the middle tree on a large ledge with three large trees. Proceed east along the ledge about 25 feet to the eastern most tree which has an old rusty rappel anchor chain around it (probably best to backup this chain with webbing). Rappel 95 feet to easy walkoff terrain. Alternatively, you can end the rappel at about 70 feet, and then downcliimb the last 25 feet to easy walkoff terrain.
Have fun,
Tom Stocker
Aug. 4, 2008
By Matt Swartz
From: Nederland, CO
Apr 29, 2009

Definitely not classic, but a fun multi-pitch route to take newer climbers up. When I climbed it, instead of going strait up the groove, I opted for the spicier (5.7?) line that ascends the face directly right of the groove to the right of the true start to the West Face - this alternative doesn't protect as easily. I broke the whole route into 3 pitches to try and avoid some of the apparently unavoidable rope drag. The down-climbing to get off the top could be a little sketchy for a new climber or someone who is uncomfortable with exposure. All in all a fun climb.
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 17, 2009

Not a bad beginner route because it offers some nice variety. Usually I do it in two pitches with no problem. With a 60 meter it is easy to reach the notch belay without too much rope drag. From there it is a relatively short pitch to the top.

Note that the descent is not as trivial as the initial description would indicate. (Especially in the dark!) Do some route finding (trend north) and a few tricky downclimbing moves (no harder than 4th class or you are off route) and locate the rappel tree with anchor chains. Easy rappel to the ground from here and short walk back to the base.
By Stich
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 23, 2011

Not a bad route for a somewhat cold day when you are in Nederland and have little opportunity to climb elsewhere and there's some beer to be drunk. The hardest part was the snow covered downclimb.
By nicholas patterson
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 14, 2013

When you get to the top of the first pitch (past the bolts at the tree and up through the slot, to the perch behind the small tower); look right and you'll see a short hand/fist crack facing you in a dihedral.
It's not listed anywhere, but it takes pro well, is relatively clean, probably goes at 5.7, and also takes you to the summit via another interesting and wandering line. Move your belay down below this crack onto a lower perch and try this crack. It's a fun variation if you've already done the regular second pitch.

  • *But beware of the beachball-size boulder teetering on that perch. It's kinda wedged in, but it definitely wobbles and would wreak havoc on anything/anyone below.**
By Caitlin DeVries
From: Gunnison, CO
Sep 8, 2013
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Started in the chimney and it wasn't too bad. Giving it a higher rating, because the second pitch is pretty stout for a 5.5. All in all, fun route.

The "walkoff" on the back is more of a 5.4 downclimb. For those who do not enjoy down climbing, on my way down I did see a tree with a chain on it about 15 feet down the back side. Requires a little down climbing to get to the tree, but then after that you can rap down if you so choose.
By Clay Hansen
May 29, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Did this route yesterday and it's definitely a decent climb if you're still fairly new to trad. I took a few friends up with me who don't climb much on gear, and it was a fun climb for the grade.

I'd definitely recommend breaking this up into three pitches and building a belay right behind the "tower" above pitch one anchors, otherwise rope drag is awful. We didn't go directly to the summit, but there's a great tree to belay off of on the flat north side. The summit can be still reached from there with a small scramble around the back side.

The downclimb to the rap anchor isn't bad, just take your time (head towards the road). You'll see the tree with chains around it about 25-30ft down.