The Overhang

Route Name: The Overhang

Rock Formation: Overhang Rock

Number of bolts to be placed:  10 lead bolts + 2 bolt anchor

Route Difficulty: 5.13+


 Route Description:

This will be the first sport route on the east face of Overhang Rock. It tackles the steepest section of the wall, finishing on a beautiful arete of gray rock. It’s roughly 75 feet tall, very steep and will likely be in the 5.13+ range.


The recommended name – as basic as it sounds – indicates the feature the rock is named after.

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):

There are currently 3 existing routes on the east face proper:

1) East Face (5.6, 2 pitches, trad)

This is the “standard” summit route on this side of Overhang Rock. It’s located at the far left (south) side of the face. There is a direct first pitch variation that goes at 5.7 trad.


2) Flakes of Respite (5.8 R, 4 pitches, trad)

This recent, heady route begins about 100 yards downhill from East Face.


3) Aid East Face (5.8 C2 R, 2 pitches, trad)

Another 100 feet downhill from Flakes of Respite is this aid route – the first climb encountered when approaching from beneath the north side of the rock.



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 begins at the Bear Canyon trailhead, then cuts left onto the main canyon trail beneath NCAR and straight toward the Flatirons. After some meandering switchbacks turn right onto the Bear Canyon trail where the main fork leads toward the Mesa Trail. Once the right fork veers left there’s a nice view of the east face of Overhang Rock.

After passing underneath Overhang Rock to the north, a climber’s trail (packed dirt, rocks) cuts left up into the woods and circles back toward Overhang Rock’s west face on a faint trail and over talus. Pass underneath the north face of the wall (and Rogue’s Arete) to access the east face via boulder-hopping. Walk uphill beneath the face for about 100 yards (packed dirt, rocks, dried grass and low brush) to the base of the proposed route. 


*Alternatively, once beneath the west face one can walk uphill beneath it to the notch at the south end of Overhang Rock, pop over to the east side, and walk downhill (packed dirt, rocks, pine needles) to the base of the proposed route

where you leave the Bear Canyon trail:


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.):

The descent will be via lowering off the route and reversing the approach trail.


Staging area:

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 consists of large, flat boulders and compact dirt and soil obscured by some dry, bushy material (flattened from winter snow).


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

Yes, all possible reconnaissance work has been done. I rope-soloed the East Face, traversed the summit ridge and dropped a rope down the massive slab above the overhanging route. I toproped the slab, considering a potential second pitch, but it’s quite easy and lichen-covered so I think it’s best to keep this route as one pitch.


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

I was able to feel the holds on the overhanging arete at the top of the route, which will be the crux. However, the route is too steep to toprope and there were no opportunities for gear to hold me in to the wall.

There is some loose rock, especially on the first half, but it appears to consist of loose flakes that can easily be removed. The base rock on this wall, in some places just underneath some friable flakes, is as solid as I’ve seen in the Flatirons.

Yes, this route is extremely overhanging. My rope is visible in the first route line photo, hanging in a plumb line over the lip of the overhang. You can see why toproping the route is impossible without directionals.

Any additional notes:

Because I wasn’t able to toprope the route, I first plan to place a few RBs (removable bolts) so I can properly assess the route’s difficulty. If for any reason it’s not as amazing as I believe it is, or if it seems too difficult, I’m willing to abandon the route and patch and camouflage the RB holes. This is extremely unlikely, as I’m sure this climb will be stellar. But I just want you to know I’m open to that possibility.


8 replies
  1. steve annecone
    steve annecone says:

    Route looks great! I appreciate the description re using removable bolts for working out the route…good ideas there!


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