Gargantua is a fun climb with an interesting start and finish. Start out under the right side of a sizeable roof (this roof is shared by Sepsen Wall, Uberschmitt, and Tarantula). Work your way up and out on the overhang, palming a rounded point on the edge of the roof. Swing your right foot above the roof and power over in one move to the dihedral above. Proceed up the fairly easy dihedral until hitting the "summit" block. Use fine face holds to surmount the block and top out with a mantel.
To whoever said the variation is less than 5.9. Get on the sharp end for a change and do the top out move, then talk. The bottom traverse isn't the crux of the route, the top out is. But on lead the traverse is nice and spicy and feels sufficiently close to 5.9 as you have no gear that would catch you before you dirt.
A great climb. The roof will rip the skin right off your arms and legs when you fall. I took many a fall on the roof before I got through it.
By Tom Petraitis From: Evanston, IL May 4, 2009 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
This is a really fun cruiser route, but the rating seems questionable. When I climbed it a couple years ago I thought the Gargantua roof problem was the start of Sepsen Wall and the roof seemed by far the hardest part of my off-course Sepsen ascent. I was really hurting after I pulled the roof, but I onsighted the route and felt pretty good about it. My roof solution--a right foot heel hook and hard crank over--just like everyone seems to do. I just visited it with 8 climbers and they all did the same thing... and gave it up.
Since I could not believe that this was a 10b and that was a 10b move (it felt like 12c) I looked this time for another solution and found that if I faced the big notch squarely with enough reach to grab some so-so holds above the roof I could "walk" my feet up the underside of the roof and get over. It still did not seem like a 10b solution. There was a ton of pressure on my fingers, but they held. 5.12 pressure!
The 5.9 variation is a really enjoyable climb and deserves to be THE GARGANTUA and the roof sequence should be known as THE 5.10c/5.11c VARIATION. And while the top of Gargantua is a bit baffling there is a sure 5.9 solution that I was able to easily talk every would-be 5.9 climber in our group thru. The variation is much more evenly sustained, and seems like the it should be The route.
By Tradoholic Aug 18, 2009 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
No way is this 11c, just an awkward 10b. I have never failed in just kneeing it out over the roof, awkwardly. I think Tarantula is the better variation, albeit rated more like 5.9 than 10b. A climber should do themselves a favor and skip this one and do Tarantula instead.
By Tom Petraitis From: Evanston, IL Nov 9, 2009 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
Maybe we "should" skip it, but no-one I've climbed with has that much sense! The roof presents an impressive and un-ignorable challenge. As for the knee-lever solution, I think everyone tried that after all else had failed, and that doesn't seem to work much better. I'm telling you: EIGHT guys tried hard, guys that do fine on most 10s and some 11s, even crazy bouldery ones. Ratings should reflect consensus. And this route, worthy or unworthy as it may be, doesn't have it.
Don't read this if you are interested in an on-sight.
If you look at Nathan E's photo sequence, and replace his heel hook with a toe, then rock onto that toe (move your whole body and your hands much further right), then its a tenish move. No way I climb 5.12.
In 1970 this was considered an F9 !
I think the difficulty is that most people do not see this on-sight (at least I didn't), and tackling it straight on is harder by about the degree suggested here.
Tarantula is a much more natural on-sight. All these variations are fun and worth doing
The rock that the person is pulling on in the photo is LOOSE. We were able to move it with a 165# person trying to pull the roof. Odds are good that it's not going to come down. If you like your belayer make certain they stand in a safe location, just in case....
By Tom Mulholland From: #1 Cheese Producing State! May 13, 2011 rating: 5.10b/c6b20VII20E2 5b
The leader interested in well-protecting the mantle can place a #1 C4 high in a crack from the handjam at the crux. It's a pretty strenuous placement, but very bomber and much appreciated.
By Tom Petraitis From: Evanston, IL May 30, 2011 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
Okay. I was wrong. As Doug Hemken suggests, the right foot heel hook beta doesn't work so well. A toe does. 10b
If your interested in doing it a harder way don't do either the toe or the heel!
Just got on the route yesterday and noticed the large flake-jug thing right underneath the roof is loose. Not sure if its always been that way but there were a couple of large white X's on it. I managed to get over the roof without using it and I recommend anyone else do the same because it seemed like something was up with that flake unfortunately. Also, a mourning dove made her nest right in the back of the jugs so expect to be harassed by a couple of angry pigeons. Great climb anyway!