Climbers frequently become obsessed with their new route projects. Be it a Flatirons boulder problem, a sport route in Clear Creek, or, as in this case, a multi-pitch desert spire, sometimes the climb will get the better of the climber.
Such was the case with Get A Life, one of the finest climbs in the desert region. Bret Ruckman, one of the many unsung talents in Colorado (and Utah) climbing, discovered this imposing crack line on an obscure pillar in upper Monument Canyon, and became...obsessed. With Fred Knapp he established the route as a five-pitch 5.11 A0. Continuous crack pitches, some funky rock (but excellent climbing), a killer line, a short stretch of clean aid, and an exciting face climbing finale, all added up to a great desert routes. Now if only it would go free...
Ironically, the hardest climbing is only 15 feet long, but in that short distance much humble pie can be consumed. After a number of attempts spread out over many months, Bret finally succeeded in leading the crux pitch in excellent style. Finally he could resume a life back to normal.
Get a Life is located on the appropriately named Clueless Tower, 45 minutes down the trail from the Coke Bottles/Upper Monument trailhead on Rimrock Drive. As you descend the Wingate cliffs, past some steep switchbacks, you will soon see a detached pillar on your left. Upon closer inspection, a dramatic crack line will emerge from the red rock walls. Just to the right of this line is an imposing wide crack line (Wide Load, 5.11+, FFA either Pat Adams and Jonathan Thesunga, or party unknown). Rumor has it some climbers approached the route from the rim using an aluminum extension ladder to cross the gap, then rappelled the route. One can also rap from the rim a short distance in the gap, summit, then rap the route to start.
Pitch 1: Climb to a left-facing corner, placing every last #2 Friend you brought. Excellent 5.11-. Belay in an awkward pod.
Pitch 2: Continue up the corner system to a 2-bolt anchor.
Pitch 3: Climb the tight finger crack (TCUs) past a hanging right-facing corner that is perfect off-fingers. Desperate. If you succeed in getting your feet into the corner then it's only another 10 feet of struggle to reach the belay. A short, full-value pitch of climbing.
Pitch 4: Up less-than-perfect rock, nice crack climbing, but funky, then up to a nice ledge.
Pitch 5: Face climb on excellent stone past 2 bolts, then move left and up easier (but still exciting) rock to the proud summit. 5.11- PG-13.
Rappel the route with double ropes.
The route gets full sun, and is best done in autumn through spring. Straightforward clean aid on the short 5.12 pitch will yield a worthwhile 5.11 A0 ascent. Be prepared to have a wonderful rock climbing experience!
A set of wired nuts, TCUs (2 sets), Friends #1 to #3.5, with several extras in the #1.5 and #2 range. QDs and slings. 2 ropes.
BETA PHOTO: The lower half of "Get a Life".
The fourth pitch of Get A Life on Clueless Tower.
BETA PHOTO: Clueless Tower's Three routes
The second pitch of Get A Life on Clueless Tower.
Climbing the first pitch of Get A Life on Clueless...
The overhanging, finger crack, crux pitch.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Oct 21, 2004
Bring 7-8 #1.5 Friends or #.75 Camalots, and do first 2 pitchs as 180 ft. pitch skipping the pod belay.
Mar 23, 2006
One of the most aesthetic and sustained routes in the Monument! Simply awesome, bring your big guns cause you are gonna need them!!
|By Ben Kiessel|
Nov 6, 2006
We climbed 'get a life' this weekend and WOW, it is an amazing line. We tried to climb the .12c with little luck (it's really hard), so we aided it. Pitches 1&2 are incredible, and pitch 4 is also fun climbing. I didn't lead the last pitch, but from my partner, I gathered that he wished there was more gear.
It is easy to get from the rim to the top of the tower and rappel the route and then climb out. We didn't have a ladder, we just fixed a line to a tree and belayed. The jump is also a option. The span is not 20', it is more like 6-8 feet. I understand that the hike is beautiful (I have done it before), but I am, as you said, LAZY.
|By Bob Rotert|
Mar 28, 2008
Awesome route Brett! Man, you sure have contributed a lot of great FAs in the desert. One of the best in the Monument and a top desert route. The rock on the first 2 pitches is Indian Creek quality. We ran the first 2 pitches as one which makes for one hell of a great pitch. Most folks would want a lot of #2 Friends to do this.
I found the upper last pitch a bit scary. The rock is sandy and not so good and there is the possibility of getting banged up if you do fall. Very exciting finish.
This is actually a spire & is separated from the canyon rim. Boy, it's tempting to make the big leap to the rim side of the canyon, after you finish so you don't have to go back down in the canyon. Looks like that is what Ben did.... Now that would be quite the finale!!
|By Michael Schneiter|
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Apr 30, 2008
This was a killer route. Highly recommended. It was easily one of the best routes I've done in the Monument, maybe the best, and certainly one of the best in the desert. The first four pitches are all outstanding desert crack pitches. The top adds a little Monument "spice" to it for the icing on the cake.
We approached from the top (yes, I know, we're lazy) and looked at the jump and said no way. I'm sure some would be okay with it, particularly with a belay, but it's a long 8 feet with a nasty fall potential. Instead, we did a short rap to a stance on the tower and climbed with a belay to the summit of the tower. On the way back, we rigged a short Tyrolean. The top down method was nice because we stashed food and water at the belays so they were waiting for us as we climbed up. It was a fun way to do it, not to mention it was easy to stash PBRs on the summit.
|By chris righter|
May 19, 2013
rating: 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ E6 6b PG13
We linked pitches 1&2 and 3&4. This makes for nice belay ledges, and you get the bolted anchors that are used on the raps.
|By rob pizem|
Jan 21, 2014
Anchors are now rap rings (tat has been removed).
Route climbs well, a little dusty, but that is the Monument.
There is no reason to not do the route in 3 pitches.
Linking 1/2 and 3/4 is no big deal. Lots of rest positions on all pitches, especially after the short lived crux.
The last pitch (if you can call it that) is balancy and not really difficult. If you are not comfortable on your feet, then you will be gripped, but it is slab climbing. Not at spicy as described and not short on gear. The three bolts on the pitch are more than enough to protect the "hard" climbing. Don't despair.
The ladder approach is the way to go. Less than 10 minutes from the parking area to the summit.
All day sun in Janurary, get out there and climb it!
Plus you can do Wide Load too, classic and way more engaging than Get a Life. More fun in my perspective.