New 5.13/14, Southwest Arete, the Maiden


The proposed route climbs on and near the Maiden’s overhanging southwest arête. The following description accompanies the photo below.

There are two possible ways this route could go. The applicant has inspected the route on rappel and climbed the upper section free. The upper section climbs on the steep face just right of the right arête of the west face. Because of the overhanging angle, it is impossible to inspect and climb the lower section. At the very least the upper portion of the route can be done by climbing the first 25ft. of the West Overhang (using trad gear to protect that section) and then climbing rightwards across the slab to the arete. This is the red line and would require the placement of the two bolts marked in blue. However, it looks like it may be possible to climb the arête (yellow line) directly below the upper line. The feasibility of this can only be determined once the bolts on the upper wall are installed. This direct version is preferred if it goes, and would require the bolts indicated in yellow. In terms of difficulty, the upper section is mid-range 5.13. The traverse (blue bolts) is in the 5.12- range. The direct start, if it goes free, appears to be anywhere from 5.13 to 5.14. The attached image depicts the number of bolts required for each variation.

The applicant’s approach in establishing this climb would be to first install all the bolts on the upper section (red bolts). Once those are installed he’ll be able to determine if the direct line (yellow) is climbable. If he can climb this (yellow) and it is not significantly harder than the upper section, he will install only the yellow bolts and not install those marked with blue. But if the direct start is significantly harder, it could be worth adding the blue bolts to make the upper section of the route accessible at an easier grade. If the direct line does not go, the applicant will install the blue bolts to protect the traverse accessing the upper section.

The staging area for this route is the same as that of the West Overhang. The route is just over 100ft. long and would thus require a 70m rope (unless the second follows the pitch). The nearest bolt on this new route would be approximately 15’ from the West Overhang route and thus would not interfere or cause confusion with that route. The applicant has inspected the route for natural-protection options and found only marginal placements in questionable rock (at the chocolate-colored band at midpoint).

The style of climbing involves steep and very physical pulling on edges and sidepull features. The rock is very sound throughout and will not require much, if any, cleaning.

FHRC Overview of the application: Complete
Voting Results: Approved
OSMP Decision: Pending

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6 Responses to “New 5.13/14, Southwest Arete, the Maiden”

  1. Tony Bubb Says:

    Seems like a reasonable and independant line. Hopefully the whole thing will go free.
    If this is bolted, please put the bolts as far right-ward as can be reasonably done, so as to minimally impact the existing line (W overhang) either strategically or visually. THis will help keep the controversy low if there is to be any.
    Thanks for a well-drawn overview.

  2. Gene Francis Says:

    Absolutely not! “The style of climbing involves steep and very physical
    pulling on edges and sidepull features”. Hardly. The style of
    climbing actually involves mega-bolting (and possibly cleaning) a front range icon. This is contrived nonsense. Do not allow it.

  3. David Light Says:

    I can not imagine a more spectacular position anywhere in the Front Range, you have certainly spotted a plumb.

    I have often looked at the diagonal crackline that splits the upper part of your proposed route, it could perhaps be gained from the belay at the top of pitch 3 on the Kor – Dalke Route but may require some direct aid or the placement of a bolt.

    I don’t want to be the old fuddy duddy who stands in the way of “progress” but the Maiden has always been a special place to me because it does not have sport climbing!

  4. Josh Janes Says:

    Wow, that’s a spectacular line. I’m glad you inspected it for gear even though you found none. I would encourage you to try to reduce the number of bolts on this route. Surely that position on the Maiden would yield just about the safest falls imaginable. Protect it in a style (demanding commitment) that is fitting for such a classic feature, don’t make it a route that can be A-O’d.

  5. Dale Johnson Says:

    As the person who first climbed the W. overhang (admittedly with some aid) I have a soft spot for the Old Girl and it seems bad form to use so many bolts. I can’t see why any bolts would be needed on the slab (certainly not two) and at least half of the other proposed bolts should not be needed. It’s all overhanging so where’s the danger? Make it cleaner.

  6. Arnold Braker Says:

    Please allow this route to go in. The front range really needs more routes of this difficulty and with such amazing position this could easily become one of the true gems of Boulder. The bolt spacing/number appears typical of a sport route and is congruent with many of the other recently bolted routes in the flatirons (The Slab, Dinosaur rock, etc).

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