BETA PHOTO: Red line on the right is Almost Gothic.
Cactus Cliff is becoming known for its great collection of new moderates, but in the center of the cliff where the rock gets really clean sits this gem of a harder route.
Start between Risky Business and La Temperatura de Shelf at a shallow, right-facing corner. Continuous from the get-go, this route climbs up a gradually steepening face on increasingly difficult moves with thoughtful protection. Then, just when a spectacular jug-haul hand traverse to the right tricks you into thinking it's over, a great tricky move awaits you just below a small roof with the anchors in sight.
If you're climbing at Cactus at this level (or even if not, as the pro is really good) this is a "Must Do"!
I'm glad you made that comment; because I was inclined to give it my own personal grade of 11c/d. After an e-mail conversation with R. Thompson the other day I left it at the book rating when he said that everybody was calling it a 12a. But 4 of my friends on 4 separate trips have all come back and said the same thing "11d, maybe, but not 12a". A side-by-side comparison with "Legend on the Fall" just to the left will definitely split any hairs involved about which is harder! (My leaver 'biner is still hanging in the last clip and the anchors are a helluva' long ways away.)
Dave and AC - please, if you're going to quote me I appreciate you doing so accurately. I did not say EVERYONE, what I said was that the MAJORITY of climbers that I've talked to about the route, which is probably on the order of 30 or so people, consider it 12a. If you'll note in the current edition of my Cactus Cliff guide it is rated 11d/12a, just as it is on this website thanks to your post. Seems that grade is a fine estimation of grade, particuarly given the variances in the perception of difficulty by those who have done it. Frankly I have found that "slash" grades often better describe a route's difficulty than limiting it to one letter grade.
As a guidebook author I am NOT in the business of designating a particular grade for a route, particuarly when it reflects only my opinion. Rather I defer to the climbing community to provide feedback on their impressions of difficulty and use that information to establish a CONSENSUS grade. I appreciate and encourage climbers to take the time to let me know what they think about route grades, especially when a clear consensus hasn't been established as is often the case with newer routes - it helps both in the quality and accuracy of the information in the guide.
Oh yeah, about Legend on the Fall aka The Price Is Right - since the first ascent a number of critical holds have broken, resulting in a marked increase in the route's grade. Consensus grade in its current state (who knows if more holds will break making it even harder) is 12b/c, which I suspect explains the notable difference in difficulty between the two routes. This info comes from 8 or 10 people that have talked to me about it, and yes, all of them were perceiving the same disparity in grades that you were, Dave.
R Thompson says: Consensus grade in its current state (who knows if more holds will break making it even harder) is 12b/c, which I suspect explains the notable difference in diffiuclty between the two routes. OMG, I'm so glad someone said this. I thought that route was harder than 12a. Did the holds break on the face at the very top?
There is a great no-hands rest right before the crux. The crux is a little harder if you go straight up the bolt line. It required a large reach from a 2-finger pocket with poor feet.
It looks like a lot of folks crimp up to the left jug (3 feet to the left) and then traverse. This may explain the difference in grade. The funky high-step after the crux is great fun when you're pumped from figuring out the crux moves.