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It seems that this good pitch doesn't get as much traffic as it merits because of a somewhat undeserved reputation as unsafe. Good rock, position and continuouness on the upper section.
Start in a left-facing corner, on the left side of the arete, just left of a wide, 20' high flake. Go up easily for a couple of bolts, then move right and gain the arete (crux). Follow enjoyable climbing on the right side of the arete to the anchors.
There is some cause for concern that a fall around the 4th and 5th bolts could land you on the flake. Since the harder moves in this section are by the bolts, this hazard shouldn't come in to play though the belayer should pay close attention and minimize slack through this section.
This is on a prominent, left-facing arete at the left end of Cactus.
BETA PHOTO: Steve Davis on the easier start - the real climbin...
BETA PHOTO: Steve Davis skillfully negotiating the arete.
BETA PHOTO: Using key pockets, Steve Davis moving out onto the...
BETA PHOTO: Pascal - up high on the OS of Illegal Smile.
|Comments on Illegal Smile
|By Joey Wolfe|
Jan 25, 2008
"Illegal Smile" is a song by John Prine, check it out. I guess the FA was a fan.
|By Jason Halladay|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Dec 22, 2010
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c
I didn't feel any reason for concern around the 4th-5th bolt and the ledge. Felt safe to me and I'm 6'5" with a light belayer, FWIW.
|By Rick Thompson|
From: Mount Nebbiolo, CO
Feb 24, 2012
Keep in mind, this route was completely rebolted in 2005 (or so), and much of danger in the clips that previously would have landed you on the ledge was removed. The direct start was added at that time. The original gear was complete garbage, including the top anchor which consisted of one split shaft bolt (circa 1980s) and a drilled pin, which I wiggled out with my fingers. Talk about scary! In addition, about 200 lbs of loose rock was cleaned off the route. The result is a pristine, clean, and safe route, one that IMO is one of the best of the grade at Shelf.
Jan 19, 2013
For the record, this was Steve Cheney's route. I was belayer and second ascent. Yup, John Prine inspired.
|By Ben Hall|
From: Boulder, Colorado
Feb 14, 2013
Onsight! Classic route! A little bit exposed but great climbing on manageable crimps!