North American Classic Climbs

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Hallett Peak

Culp-Bossier route

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The first ascent of the striking North face of this prominent peak in Rocky Mountain National Park was accomplished over several years during the mid-50s by Ray Northcutt and Harvey Carter. The route had a formidable reputation until the second ascent established it as a moderate, though still excellent climb. It was chosen for the Roper and Steck collection due to its historical significance and quality of climbing, and soon became one of the most popular routes in the park until the summer of 2000, when a major rockfall erased the bottom two pitches of the route, leaving a shattered and unstable face where once there was a clean dihedral. This route is now rarely climbed.

It had long been recognized that some of the later routes on Hallett's North Face were superior to the Northcutt-Carter, the Culp-Bossier being most often noted. Climbed just five years later by pioneer Colorado climbers Bob Culp and Tex Bossier, the route featured superb rock and varied climbing at a consistent difficulty between 5.6 and 5.8, although it soon became known for tricky route finding, as had been the Northcutt-Carter. The face is heavily featured, and sometimes offers too many alternatives to the leader. Well protected for the most part, there is one section in mid-face that is reputed to go at 5.6 with careful route-finding. Many parties, the editor included, have only found 5.8+ moves well above the last protection. Caveat emptor.

A new descent is in place, which is described on the route topo. This avoids hiking over the shoulder of the peak to the very heavily eroded gully described in most published guidebooks. This route is quite popular, and you should expect company on any summer weekend.


Alpine Rock




Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park, Colorado, USA



G1, I1, W7


III, 5.8


Route Descriptions & Maps:

Route diagram USGS topographic map

First Ascent:

R. Culp, T. Bossier, 1961


Trip Reports:

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