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West Ridge - part E - top to Xanadu
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Ministry of Fear 

YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a X

   
Type:  Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 100'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Alec Sharp, Matt Lavender, 1981
Page Views: 854
Submitted By: Scott Bennett on Oct 6, 2009

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BETA PHOTO: Ministry of Fear.
Climbing reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Another fine Alec Sharp horror-show! Ministry of Fear climbs the thin offset seam on the steep, neon green wall just right of "Purple Haze" and "Born under Punches". Climb up the easy, chossy slab up to a chossy roof. Make a big move to a good hold on the lip of the roof, then a fun hand traverse right to the base of the seam. Tenuous lay-backing up the thin offsets leads to an insecure crux move, then a big jug. Mantel up onto the ledge, then scramble left to join "Purple Haze".

There is very little potential for protection, it should be considered a true free solo. The only possibilities I saw:

-Good cams way out left, below the roof. They might protect the big move to the lip, but would do you no good once the seam is reached.

-A couple of small RPs behind a semi-attatched flake in the crack. They'd theoretically protect the crux, but they're very marginal, and would still leaves some hard, tenuous climbing unprotected below.

-I didn't see where they'd go, but apparently Mr. Sharp led this with pre-placed duct-taped hooks?!

-Possibly a thin blade or RURP in the base of the seam?


Protection 

Hope, Faith, and Love...

or, for mortals, set up a Toprope! Climb "Purple Haze" or "Friends in High Places", lower off the new 2-bolt anchor atop these routes (thanks!). Swing right, and locate a fixed pin on a small ledge above the route. A small cam backs the pin up.



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By Scott Bennett
Oct 6, 2009

What would be the ethics of placing a pin on this route? It looked to my untrained eye that a marginal rurp or blade might go in near the base of the seam. I don't think Alec Sharp placed any pins, so would it be unethical to add one now? Or would it be considered removable protection?

I have never placed a pin before, and don't even know whether pins would go in here. Even if they do, they'd probably be very bad, so the route would probably still warrant an "X" rating, but in theory they'd be in the right place to protect most of the hard climbing. I'm not really advocating one way or the other, I'm just curious what people think.

-Scott

By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
Oct 6, 2009

I'll start by stating that this is a route that I have no desire to lead.... However, in regards to Scott's question about adding a pin I'd say no - it would cross the ethical boundary. Placing and removing the pin (which you would have to do to consider it a removable piece) could/would damage the rock. Leaving it fixed would change the route, even if the pin ends up being just psychological pro (in which case, getting in a better mindset before leading would be just as good). Sounds like a good route to headpoint (for someone other than me...).

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Oct 7, 2009

Scott, thanks for asking.
Like Derek, I doubt I'd ever lead this one. The risk would be too high for someone like me- it's over my head.
That said, I'll stand on general principle that fixed gear additions are pretty similar to me. Subtract a number grade and it would be in my range and I'd say the same thing. Adding fixed pins is kinda like retro-bolting, but then the gear might not even be that good, so why bother?
Some routes are more useful as the testament to the possible, a reminder of the past, and an aspiration for the future than they would be as 'just another route.'

By Joseph P. Crotty
From: Broomfield, CO
Oct 7, 2009

Q: What would be the ethics of placing a pin on this route? A: Unethical without question.

Q: It looked to my untrained eye that a marginal rurp or blade might go in near the base of the seam. I don't think Alec Sharp placed any pins, so would it be unethical to add one now? A: Yes without a shadow of a doubt.

Q: Or would it be considered removable protection? A: Fixed protection, bolts and pins, are just that.

I would think a small line of people would show up to remove said pin if it was placed (e.g., I'll be right near the front with hammer in hand). Alec Sharp was the leading proponent of head pointing bold new routes back in the early '80s. Ministry of Fear, Way Honed and Gnarly, The Human Factor, etc... testify to his skills. Let's leave them as is for future climbers to meet them on the same terms.

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Oct 7, 2009

Hi Scott,

The correct answer to your question is that it would be illegal under Park regulations. Adding fixed hardware to an existing route that has never had fixed hardware can be done, but requires an application to ACE (Action Committee for Eldorado) and the Fixed Hardware Committee.

www.aceeldo.org/

The proposal would go out to public review and a public vote.

Knowing the local climbing community, I kinda sorta suspect it would be voted down (I'd vote no for sure), and most likely the members of FHRC would suggest that you were wasting your time even proposing such a thing.

But you are welcome to make a formal proposal! The form is on the ACE website.

Thanks for bringing the question up.

By Scott Bennett
Oct 7, 2009

Hey, thanks guys, I guess that's a pretty solid consensus. I'm really glad (and surprised) the community responded so quickly, Eldo is really a special place. I was just wondering because I saw a potential spot for one, but I guess hammering gear is very different than placing gear.

Sounds like Alec Sharp was a first-rate badass! Just thinking about leading some of these routes makes me reach for my chalkbag. In the new guidebook, it says he led this route after "brief inspection on rappel" (!?!). Blows my mind...

I guess I'll have to look for some of those duct-taped hooks used on the FA. Maybe a cam hook? mostly just not fall.

Peace, and Climb Safe,
Scott

edit to add:
Tony said: "Some routes are more useful as the testament to the possible, a reminder of the past, and an aspiration for the future, than they would be as just another route."
Well spoken.

By slim
Administrator
Oct 8, 2009

Scott,

Another option would be to place gear way, way above with a long, long, long sling and lead it. You could even place it such that it was below duct-taped hooks, etc., such that when you are climbing you are still pretty scared. Then, if you fall you get the satisfaction of maybe a duct taped hook catching you, or maybe it blowing out and your tether keeping you from munching talus. Either way, pretty satisfying!

By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 8, 2009

"Some routes are more useful as the testament to the possible, a reminder of the past, and an aspiration for the future, than they would be as just another route." -Tony Bubb.

Wow. Can I be the first to say that this is an instant legendary quote? Very nice, Tony.

By Alec Sharp
Aug 24, 2011

Someone sent me a link to this page so I thought I would respond, even if it's two years too late. I would prefer that no one place a pin or a bolt on this route - and I like Tony's quote.

I did have one nut in the little corner after the hand traverse, but the "main" protection was two skyhooks on small edges. They weren't pre-placed. I climbed with strips of duct tape on my clothes and placed the skyhooks and taped them down while climbing. Their main benefit was psychological - it helped to look down and see the rope running through carabiners :-)