Yes this is "Gastoned Again", Rick calls it 10a/b. I did it last year just after it had been bolted and the start was pretty loose but the last 3/4's was stellar.There are also 4 other Thompson routes in the vicinity including the next bolted route to the right, "The Raw and the Roasted" that a lot of people think might be "The Best Route at Shelf". And this doesn't include "Pulley Mammoth" the furthest left route, "Natty Dread", an old route , 1st route left of "Gastoned", and the unnamed Van Horn route, 2nd line to the right of Gastoned. All in all 7, 2-3 star routes on a really tall wall. Destined to be a Shelf mecca as soon as the new guide is out......Chime in Rick......
My lips are sealed Dave.....but the new guide should be out by the first of the year, and you can get all the details about the Mammoth Wall, and the many other new routes that have been done over the past few years, at that time.
As for the grade, when writing guides I defer to, and publish, the consensus grade that emerges after repeat ascents. "Ga-stoned Again" seems to be settling in the 9+/10a range. It would appear that experienced crack climbers generally call it 9-something, while those with less experience in cracks grade it a touch harder. But call it what you want, that's what personal opinions are all about, and published grades are nothing more than an estimation of a routes' difficulty.
The name is a play on the famed 70's vintage poster that some of the old timers will remember.......Stoned Again!
For accuracy, this route, and other nearby routes that are posted on this site like Saint Patty's Slab, Urban Fringe, Up Valley Goes Downtown, etc., are located in the New Gym, not the Gym.
This climb is certainly good 9+/10a 2-3 stars. Thinking about some of the other routes on Cactus I'll go for 10a - 3stars. It seemed like a strange warm-up for shelf. Maybe perfect though, strenuous enough to get the blood pumping but not crimpy so you don't get your prime shelf grip pumped. Ron, you must be strong! Laybacking the last moves seemed like it would be quite strenuous. A more delicate approach also works well.
I'd like to say that the route to the right 'The Raw and the Roasted' seems absolutely superb. It looked good from the ground, but OH MY. Get on it before it gets greasy, which it might near the top where the feet are a bit more subtle. I only managed one top-rope attempt, so I don't want to add it as a route on this site, but it really seemed nice. I'm definitely going to go back for the redpoint next time. I guess it is in the mid-11 range.
We got to climb this wall today and it was great. We goton all these climbs missing only the arete on the right. What an awesome area! Saturday afternoon, only one other party. I'm glad we got there before the guidebook is out...I think this climb is 5.9 at most.
It is a good climb. But to qualify it a bit: having to blow shit off the holds, to pick and choose where to use a jam because of the birds (visible) inside the crack, and hearing bats squealing from within the lurking darkness kept it from being a great climb for me. In spite of all that, I still thought it was good. And it keeps you psychologically sharp, fingers just inches away from a bat's grill, on lead. Got to be mentally bulletproof. I'd climb it again with pleasure.
I don't have much crack experience, so it felt like a 10a to me. I agree with Rick, that crack climbers will likely find it to be an easier grade. Climbed it yesterday, and we didn't encounter any birds or bats, or shit, along the route. Moves seemed to thin out a bit around bolts 6 and 7, with the hardest layback pull near the top. Good climb, 3 stars.
By Dan G0D5H411 From: Colorado Springs, CO Aug 27, 2007 rating: 5.95c17VIHVS 5a
As of yesterday, the climb seemed free of dirt and loose rock. I believe it to be the best 5.9 I have done at Shelf.
We had to wait in line for this one on Saturday, and it was fun. Not my personal favorite 9 at Shelf, but a good, long workout. I did find a large, loose rock behind the overhanging flake about 3/4 of the way up. I reached up, grabbed it, and it moved. It's position inside of an open-bottom flake aimed directly at my belayer had me worried, but nobody else (and there were a lot of "elses" there on Saturday) seemed to care much.