High up with one clip to go before the anchors on ...
Approximately 60 feet right of Lats is a classic Shelf burl-fest that ascends a smooth, bulging wall, The French Are Here. Starting ten feet left and behind a tree is the line, Gravitations, that ascends the same wall and runs to the same anchor. This is an interesting line chock full of pockets, edges, and a discontinuous seam. It also provides the easy way to get a top-rope on The French which ticks in with a 5.12c sequence pulling through the bulge. However, Gravitations is also a fine line in its own right being solid, continuous, and interesting. It is a bit more run out than The French, but this is largely near the anchor. I thought this was a good route and worth the struggle.
I agree: This is the best route of its grade at Cactus and maybe at all of Shelf. The run-outs are intimidating, but a handful of small to medium cams allows you to protect between the well-spaced bolts. Many ways to climb this -- all pumpy as hell!
This was the best pitch I climbed on my only visit to Cactus Cliff. The bolts are definitely a bit spaced for your typical sport route... and its not like its easy between clips: you certainly have to bust some moves well above bolts. I found it interesting that this route was so easy to get on, whereas I pretty much had to take a number to get on the adjacent "Lats don't have feelings."
It occurs to me that with all the comments bout "spice" and runouts, some do-gooder might get the idea to add a bolt or two to Gravitations. Please, please, please don't! The route is great the way it is.
In my opinion, the runouts help make this a 3 star climb. If more closely bolted, it would be just another great Shelf face climb, but much less memorable. It is plenty safe, just a little intimidating. The falls would be clean, the clipping stances are good, and the hardest climbing is all near the bolts. I wish more routes were established as thoughtfully as this one.
Side note, I'm not sure where you would place gear on this route, anything worthwhile anyways.
The bolting style is typical of any route that Doug Reed and Porter Jarrard bolted in NC, New River Gorge, and the Red River Gorge. This should have been named The Example in my opinion because the bolt spacing is perfect. Cool moves and sustained from the 2nd bolt to the last.
By Stich From: Colorado Springs, Colorado Nov 28, 2009
Although I have rarely if ever climbed a route of this grade straight through, I found taking a few rests allowed me to piece it together and have a really good time! Don't pass up this route because it's over your head. You may also be surprised.
I thought this route was awesome!! Climbs very different than the super duper uber classic neighbor, Lats Don't Have Feelings. I think it's just as good, and while Lats always has somebody on it, this always seems to be open. I agree that the bolts are spacey which makes it really fun. I disagree that it is totally safe. I think if you blew the clip at the third bolt (even though it's an easy clip), you would come close to hitting the ground or your belayer. Very consistent with the bolting of routes at the Red, although you have to take into account that the Red is WAY more overhung which means safer falls. If 11d is at your limit, this route will definitely give you the willies in your stomach. I always onsight 11d as I did this climb, and I was still a bit spooked in spots given how much rope was out. Thankfully the hardest sections are near the bolts and none of the bolts were hard to clip. Enjoy, be safe and if in doubt get a stronger climber to lead it and set it up for top rope.
P.S. This route would see waaaay more traffic if a few bolts were added, although the bolt spacing certainly gives it character and make it fun. Just saying....
By Ben Hall From: Boulder, Colorado Mar 5, 2013 rating: 5.11d7a24VIIIE5 6a
Ultra classic!! Excellent route. If you're not focused on the runouts between bolts, it climbs perfectly and is bolted so. Must do!