North Side of the Sky

Route Name: North Side of the Sky

Rock Formation: The Maiden

Number of bolts to be placed: Total of 28 bolts 

Pitch 1: 17 bolts and 2 bolt anchor   Pitch 2: 7  bolts and 2 bolt anchor

Route Difficulty: 5.12

 

Proposed Route:

The proposed route begins on the ground, mid-way along the center of the North Face, at a distinct off width crack formed by a large flake. The entire route is an independent line, from base to summit.

The first pitch is approximately 105 feet. It starts off with two bolts of 5.8 climbing through a wide-crack, before a featured and short bulge. Passing this bulge into the dark slab above is the distinct crux on the route (mid-5.11). The rock in this section is solid, and the route follows intricate features on bullet dark stone. Following the crux, the route meets up with an angling strata that continues up and right, along the diagonal features. This section is enjoyable 5.9 – 5.10 climbing. After the angling strata, the route follows giant huecos up to the mid-way tree on the Direct North Face (P1 anchor). We suggest an independent 2-bolt anchor adjacent to the tree, to minimize climbers’ impacts on this lone tree.

The whole route’s proposed grade is mid- 5.11.

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Pitch 2 is approximately 90 feet and leads off directly above the tree, and to the right of “Thanatos.” It follows the steepening wall above across diagonal strata-features. The crux is continuous, thin, intricate face climbing over two bulges (5.11a) that leads to the summit area. The position and climbing on this pitch is spectacular, with the West Overhang looming 20 meters off to the climber’s right, and the Boulder skyline off to the left.

A description of existing routes on the same face of the rock formation, including the number of routes, route names, route grade, type, and approximate distance between routes (a photocopy or diagram of the existing route(s) is also required):

The Northerly aspects of the Maiden has 6 existing routes, listed below left to right (East to West):

  1. East Ridge: 5.10c. A multi-pitch route that is mostly traditionally-protected, with 2 protection bolts, and an additional 2-bolt anchor.

  2. Thanatos: 5.9+X. A rarely climbed journey on the North Face, above the mid-way tree. This climb is sparsely protected (deserving of an X-rating), and has one fixed pin.

  3. North Side of the Sky: 5.11. The proposed route.

  4. Cunning Stunt: 5.10d. One long traditionally protected pitch, or two short ones, where the second

    intersects with the Direct North Face. 3 fixed pins.

  5. Direct North Face: 5.9R. A long, wandering pitch with one fixed pin that leads to the Crow’s Nest bolted

    anchor.

  6. North Face (Standard Route): 5.7R. A multi-pitch route. This sparsely protected route is mostly a traverse

    across the vast North Face, with 3 fixed pins across the traverse.

  7. West Overhang: 5.11c. A steep, overhanging traditionally protected climb up the West Face that leads to

    a 2-bolt anchor that serves as the primary descent off the Maiden’s steep West Face.

A description of the approach (include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails leading to the climb and condition of the trail, and state whether there is a durable surface, such as rock.  

 




 The approach trail as it leaves the Mesa Trail.

The approach for this route follows the established trail to the Maiden. At the base of the East Ridge, follow talus up the North side of the formation, past Dream Street Rose up to the base. This is the same trail used to access the existing routes on the North side of the formation. The entire trail leading up to the base is a durable surface of sandstone talus.

If different from the approach, a description of the descent, (include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails, a description of the trail condition and whether there is a durable surface, such as rock.  Include photographs of the descent.):

There are two options for descending the route: 1) the standard rappel down the West Overhang to the Crow’s Nest. 2) The route itself can be descended in 2 rappels with a 70-meter rope. The descent on trail is identical to the approach.

 

Staging area for proposed route

A description of the area at the base of the climb (include existing levels of soil compaction, existence of a durable surface such as rock, and existing soil erosion.  Include photographs of the area at the base of the climb.):

 The base of the climb is a stable, durable surface of talus and dry rock. No pre-existing vegetation or sections of soil, other than large, mature ponderosa trees and some deadfall. 

Has all reconnaissance work that can be reasonably done, short of placing any hardware, been done?

Yes. The route has been free-climbed in its entirety, with approximate bolt-locations marked.

 

Has the route been top roped?  Is there loose rock?  Is it extremely overhanging?

Yes, the route has been climbed in its entirety on top-rope. There is the usual Flatirons “flaky” rock and some lichen that will be cleaned more thoroughly.

Any additional notes:

The proposed route will be a high-quality addition that rounds out other climbing in the area. The two proposed anchors would also enable an independent descent that would ease potential congestion on the standard west overhang rappel. It also allows a descent back to the north face which will reduce erosion from people rapping the west overhang then south face, and then having to hike back around to the north to retrieve gear.

 

4 replies
  1. Matt S
    Matt S says:

    Looks good. It seems like the bolts for leading at least will be placed away from the 5.6. And I like the idea of a bolted anchor that preserves the tree.

    Reply

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