Free Buffalos in Space

Publish date:
Updated on
Buffalos in Space on Colorado's Cynical Pinnacle. Photo by Joe Mills.

Buffalos in Space on Colorado's Cynical Pinnacle. Photo by Joe Mills.

1/8/13 - Denver climber Cody Scarpella has redpointed the free version of Buffalos in Space (5.13), the hardest pitch on one of Colorado's most classic rock formations: Cynical Pinnacle in the South Platte area. The overhanging crack and face pitch tackles the west side of the granite tower's summit block.

As an aid climb (A3), Buffalos was established in the mid-1980s. Subsequently, Andy Donson worked on a free version that breaks left on thin edges after 5.12 crack climbing. Scarpella said "the crux of the 100-plus-foot pitch proves to be hanging on through its multiple delicate sequences, separated by little to no rests, [with] out of this world positioning." Although it has a few bolts and fixed pins, most of the pitch is traditionally protected.

Scarpella began working on the route last fall, hoping to complete the redpoint before the crag was closed for raptor protection at the end of February. "After a fair amount of solo sessions on toprope, two consecutive sunny days of effort with Dave Vuono and Joe Mills helped me fine-tune the beta, and after a total of five lead attempts it finally came together on January 3," he said.

"Although perhaps not newsworthy in terms of grade (13b-ish), it's one of the best gear protected 13s in Colorado," Mills said. "Everything about it is pretty classic, including the total G rating for protection."

Date of ascent: January 3, 2014

Sources: Joe Mills, Cody Scarpella