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Charles leading Guenese.
This is a really fun route. The start is .10- and has a kind of bad fall potential. Climb the face up to the roof .10+ and crank over the roof on jugs immediately after .10. If you do this in one pitch, it feels about .11b (still easier than super spar!) because of the pump factor. There are bolts over the roof you can rap off of. Another option is to climb to the bolts below the roof (.10+) and set a toprope here. If you want, you can climb some 5.8 from this lower anchor to the anchor atop Downpressor Man (mid .12 for shorter people like me) and toprope this route also. This is probably the best protected of all the roof routes, and is one of the easier ones also.
Standard rack. Bolts protect the hard sections, supplemented with small to medium stoppers and TCUs.
The first crux.
The third crux--the moves left to the intermediate...
Above the roof. Strenuous 5.9 from here to the anc...
Tony on the roof crux.
Tony on the seldom-done last pitch to the Upper Ra...
Ivan Rezucha follows up P2 of 'Guenese (5.11a)' on...
The headless man on Guenese on a sunny January day...
This guy moved with such grace I had to take a cou...
After the roof....
Stretching to clip the second bolt. Lisa had to ta...
The move past the second bolt is one of the severa...
Moving left to the midway anchors and beyond to th...
After standing at the lip, it's over. Except for s...
Unknown climber approaching the roof on 1.18.13.
|By Kristo torgersen|
Aug 1, 2001
The first fixed bugaboo is definitely not inspiring, but a good bolt can be clipped only a few moves higher. I found a red Alien (#4 or #5 Metolius) stuffed up into the flake at the rest with a long runner worked well at this point between bolts. I also suggest doing it as one pitch, because even though you may find yourself pumped at the first set of anchors, climb on! The bolt in the roof is inspiring and once you hit the freehanging sidepull corner you can easily gain a great stance for gear and a rest before the last 20 ft. of well protected 5.9 corner climbing. Go for it, you might surprise yourself, I know I did!
|By Ray Snead|
May 9, 2002
Yes, "Guh - neese" is correct, as Matt says. Apparently it is a kind of rock, but I am no geologist.
|By Drew Allan|
May 13, 2002
You may be thinking of the metamorphic rock type called gneiss. I wouldn't think the name has any correlation to that as Eldo is sedimentary rock.
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 15, 2003
The 1980 Jim Erickson Rocky Heights guide says, "Named after a common metamorphic rock" (which is spelled correctly as gneiss and pronounced "nice"). Merriam-Webster says: a foliated metamorphic rock corresponding in composition to a feldspathic plutonic rock (as granite). Perhaps the FA was making a pun, or just guessed at the spelling.
History from High Over Boulder, 1970:FA by Layton Kor and Ron Foreman 1962. It sounds like the current first pin and first bolt, and the bolt in the roof, are approximately where Kor placed them. The aid line did not move far right on the first pitch as the free line now does.
Patrick Vernon says above that both of the first two short pitches (to the roof and through the roof) are 10. Rossiter says both are 11a. In Erickson's 1980 Rocky Heights he calls the combined pitches 11. Erickson (or all climbers of that era?) is notorious for underrating as compared with current standards. The gear was worse in 1980. What's the current consensus? Hard 10 or easy 11?
|By Joe Collins|
Feb 24, 2003
I thought that each of the short pitches felt about 11a... but there really is no good reason to break it into 2 pitches. However, there really isn't a very good rest at the intermediate belay and the second 11a section is usually climbed with a pretty thorough pump.If you combine the two pitches, then this would probably go at 11c/d at your typical sport crag
11b if the pitches are combined. Each of the 2 pitches by themselves felt about 11a, but there isn't a good rest at the belay.
|By John Sherman|
Jun 20, 2003
5.11 c/d? This is one of my favorite cases of grade inflation. Prior to Erickson's 1980 guide this was listed as 5.10+ in Ament's Eldo guide, though a few at the time felt it didn't deserve the "+." This was in the EBs, hexes and stoppers era. The chicken bolt below the roof didn't exist then (and probably shouldn't now) and I personally know three climbers who fell from the crack below the roof, ripped the stopper from the flexing flake, bombed onto the old fixed pin at the headjam rest flake below and stopped five feet off the ground (maybe this is where it got the "+"). Since that time the flake in the middle of the roof has broken and become less positive (hence maybe the 11a rating if you climb "both" pitches together and assuming you don't use sticky rubber or clip the chicken bolt or the chains beneath the roof [there used to be fixed angles up and left from the current chains, but desperate to clip unless you climbed past them]). Otherwise the pitch is essentially the same as in the late '70s and definitely an Eldo classic.
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 14, 2004
John Sherman belittles the current rating of this route and the "chicken bolt" (the second bolt). I don't know where he gets the alleged current 11c/d rating...
My copy of Ament's Eldorado guide (1980) rates this at 5.11 (no letter grades back then), so the alleged grade inflation happened a long time ago.
Erickson's "Rocky Heights" (also 1980) says this, "Due to the eroding fixed protection, this is becoming a more serious lead with each passing year." So, perhaps there was a fixed pin where the "chicken bolt" now is. Or maybe Erickson is referring to the first pin and the pin (no longer there) at the undercling that Sherman mentions.
Found this in Ament's 1980 "Eldorado" guide:"Work up the wall past a bolt, then up and left on difficult rock and out over an obvious roof."The "up and left" from the first bolt sounds like Downpressor Man.Is it possible that Wunsch, Erickson and Scott Stewart freed Guenese via Downpressor Man, without the Downpressor Man bolts?
|By Bernard Gillett|
Mar 15, 2004
"Is it possible that Wunsch, Erickson and Scott Stewart freed Guenese via Downpressor Man, without the Downpressor Man bolts? "
No - see picture on p. 204 (of original edition -- it's p. 88 of new edition) of CLIMB!, and you'll see the guys in the 70s climbed it the same way we do today (compare with your second pitcure of Josh).
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 15, 2004
Thanks, Bernard. I see the photo of Wunsch in Climb! Good to read those old stories again and again. Is there really a head jam rest there (see Sherman's post)?
|By Chris Archer|
Mar 15, 2004
In the late 70s there was good pin in the flake right of the second bolt. At some point it ripped, leaving a good RP placement. In the mid to late 80s, the flake broke and the RP placement was no more.
The route had traditionally been done in one pitch from the ground over the roof. However in the late 70s/early 80s, the bolt in the roof was an old 1/4 incher that was about halfway out of the roof. (It eventually pulled, making the roof lead even more exciting.) That dubious bolt resulted in climbers leaving nuts beneath the roof to back up the pin at the end of the crux traverse and lowering off. Unfortunately in the late 80s, some climbers added a belay underneath the roof, thus diminishing a fabulous climb.
You haven't climbed Guenese unless you finish the pitch over the roof. Personally, I think the anchors beneath the roof should be removed and the route returned to the state of the first free ascent. With the current bomber roof bolt, it's sad that a fabulous 90' pitch has been split into to two 45' pitches.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 16, 2004
Even though I've clipped them, I would also vote for removing the anchors below the roof. They seem really out of place on this climb. It isn't at all like the other roof routes where actually turning the roof is in a completely different league of difficulty from the face climbing below. Plus, with the bolt in the roof, and the other a few feet below those anchors, it feels too much like the Sport Park--clipping a bolt above your head while another is at your waist!--which to me is a blight on an otherwise amazing pitch.
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jul 7, 2004
The climb earns the 5.11 grade. I believe the initial face to be on-par with the first pitches of each Wasabe and Psycho, both of which I have done recently. The roof is not as difficult, but with the pump, yeah...The 5.11 upgrading might be due to the present slippery nature of the beast. It is abnormally slick for Eldo and covered in chalk and the like. OK, so I don't use chalk and that might have helped, but it is certainly polished. And the slicker it gets, the more people fuss with the holds and slip off and the slicker it gets? See where I am going with this?Anyway, a few other comments. As Ivan mentioned in a picture caption, the "3rd pitch" step left is hard for 5.9. It;s probably 10a. You can make it physically easy with some fancy footwork, but I don't see a lot of 5.9 climbers doing the sort of solution that would be required.
From the 3rd bolted anchor you can continue up and left to the Psycho slab and finish on that, making a 65+ meter pitch from the anchor above the roof. A 70M rope required if you don't want to belay on a pair of total crap bolts.
Lastly, has anyone done the 10d "straight up" dihedral to the upper ramp? Sure looks unprotected from below, and hard too.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jul 14, 2004
The 2nd pitch var. going straight up the corner and out the triangular roof is indeed only 5.10d. Thin gear to roof then be on the look-out for a solution hole in the roof which takes a good #2 Camalot.
|By Adrian Hill|
Nov 21, 2005
Rossiter's guide says take RPs and QDs, but I was definitely pleased to place a red Alien in the flake (as someone else mentioned above). A 1.5 Friend also works, but not as well as the Alien. The 5.9 corner above the roof takes wires. There is also a fixed pin, but the eye must be threaded and can't be clipped directly. Excellent route, and a good pump.
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 24, 2008
Highly recommend a #0.75 in the flake. Kept me off the deck when I blew the crux clip...and I would have blown out my legs had I only clipped the fixed gear.
I don't know how people all think this is 11-. This thing is hard! But then again, you have to put the whole thing together in 1 pitch for the full value! Excellent route!
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 30, 2009
Belaying accident: I had a strange accident when belaying Lisa Apprill on Guenese a couple of weeks ago.
Lisa had asked me to move my belay from down and right to just below the start. I was sitting on a comfy flat rock a couple of feet left of the first pin. Lisa had a lot of trouble clipping the second bolt. Because of that she was extra tired moving left to the third bolt. She fell, and I was immediately airborne, despite outweighing Lisa by 40-50 pounds.
I figure I was lifted up maybe just an inch, but that was enough to float to the right as the ground dropped steeply away. I swung violently to the right. I saw a little left-facing corner coming at my face, and I jerked my head to avoid it (I think I was wearing my helmet). But then my knee and shin hit the same corner. I came to a stop about 10' off the ground with Lisa hanging below the second bolt near the downward hanging flake.
I was in lots of pain. After about a minute, I got control and lowered myself to the ground. I'm thankful I was using a Cinch, because although I did not let go with my brake hand, I easily could have. On the ground I was in shock--woozy and feeling like throwing up. I apparently did not communicate this to Lisa, because she immediately started climbing back up. After maybe four minutes of deep breathing, the shock symptoms went away, and all was well except for the abrasions and huge lump on my knee.
Now, two weeks later, it's still black and blue below the knee, and the knee swells up now and then. Although I can walk, run and climb, it hurts to bend the knee, due, I think, to the swelling.
The lesson? If the rope is not running very straight up, be prepared to take a swing, especially if the ground slopes away.
|By Casey Bernal|
From: Arvada, CO
Nov 30, 2009
Wow, Ivan - glad you both are OK.
A very similar scenario happened to a friend of mine (climber) and a locally well know climber (belayer) - but the belayer ended up with a broken ankle and then a very long "walk" out from Mickey Mouse Wall. He was wearing mountaineering boots, too!
Be Safe All !
|By Phil Lauffen|
May 14, 2011
The bolt anchor after the first "pitch" is unnecessary and should be removed. Maybe leave one bolt there, but I'm not sure that would even be completely necessary.
A #0.75 Camalot fits nicely in the undercling flake after the second bolt. There is a good #0.4 placement above the roof until you can clip the pin.
|By Mark Rolofson|
Feb 18, 2012
I first climbed Guenese in Spring 1980. It is still one of favorite climbs in the canyon. I have always considered the 1st pitch to end above the roof at the 2nd two bolt anchor. The first anchor like Chris Archer mentions replaced a fixed nut and piton that people would bail out on. I have always considered this lead to be 5.11b and a pumpy one at that. In 1980, the route was more serious. Where the 2nd bolt is now, you placed a nut behind an expanding flake. You could lower on the nut, but people who fell on it pulled the nut out, resulting in a 40 foot fall on a upward driven peg under the tiny roof (or overlap). If you were smart, as soon as you got to horizontal break under the large roof you would place a bomber #1 Friend on the right before traversing left on the crux moves. In 1985, the flake cracked and John Baldwin carefully removed it before someone got killed. A funky pin was then placed in the remaining part of the expanding flake. This was replaced by Rob Candelaria in 1988 with a bolt along with the first 2 bolt anchor that had been a wad of slings from a pin and a nut. Where several folks with a traditude have scorned Rob's actions, I believe he did the right thing and improved the quality of this great classic so it can enjoyed with a greater much margin of safety. There are still many scary leads in Eldo, if you want to air out your knickers.
Lastly, I don't agree that the first anchor or one of its bolts should be removed. They are have been here for a while and should stay. People have bailed here for decades. Plus, it makes lowering off to clean your gear off much easier to break this into two lowers rather than cleaning the whole pitch from the anchor above the roof.
|By Kevin Meyers|
Oct 27, 2012
The climbs on this wall were all pretty horror show for gear back in the day. Yeah, I know, we all manned up and did it anyway. I am glad that this old crap is getting fixed. Every time I read in MP about someone replacing some old fixed gear I think "great, that thing was garbage thirty years ago". As for the anchor under the roof, I agree with Mark R. I used to come up here and just do the first bit as a warm up for brevities' sake as I moved along the wall and did as many of these routes as time would allow. I have done this more times than I can remember. To answer Ivan; yes, at the rest just before the second bolt if you position your feet just right you can duck your head under the flake for a no hands rest. For the record, John Sherman was a little more hardcore than the average climber in every aspect.
After reading Mark comment again, I wanted to add a bit more.... Back in the "good old days" this entire wall was a wad of multicolored shit slings, it is way better now in every respect. I was one who had a "traditude" about Rob Candelaria's efforts, but I think that was wrong. He just was a little bit before his time fixing a bunch of longstanding issues with fixed gear in this area. Thanks to him and all the others. I skip clips frequently due to link ups, rope drag, to much unnecessary pro, whatever...feel free to do the same.