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Qual Wall
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Nordwand, The S 
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Nut Job T 
Pocket Warmup S 
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Schizophrenia S 
Secret Agent Man S 
Top Rope Hero TR 
Unknown / "Meaner than Green" S 
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Unsorted Routes:

Secret Agent Man 

YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c

   
Type:  Sport, 65'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c [details]
FA: Jeremy Schlick
Page Views: 5,746
Submitted By: Eddie Avallone on May 24, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (16)
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Stewart on SAM

Description 

The prominent prow as you walk up to the Qual Wall. Established ~1996 by Schlick and Dyer, it starts on an easier face up good holds to a rest. After a shake, figure out a bouldery sequence using a combination of the arete and microscopic holds on the face to a series of bigger and bigger moves to the chains.


Location 

Can't miss it. On the spire in the middle of the Qual Wall. Moves up past the bulge then uses the bolts on the left face, straight up.


Protection 

7 bolts to chain anchors.



Photos of Secret Agent Man Slideshow Add Photo
Moving up from the bad left hand sidepull to the good one.  Photo Travis Melin.  October 4, 2008.  The send would have to wait for another day...
Moving up from the bad left hand sidepull to the g...
Watching JJ getting pumped while equipping the route
Watching JJ getting pumped while equipping the rou...
I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the route before trying it.  Recently found them again and maybe they would help someone work/send.  Obviously early in the season without chalk.  Great route, try it!  You can sling a large rock protrusion safely at the top and rap down to hang draws also.  In this shot you can see that the anchors are just below a bulge where it slabs out near the top.  Pic 2 of 4.
BETA PHOTO: I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the...
I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the route before trying it.  Recently found them again and maybe they would help someone work/send.  Shot of the meat of the climb after the rest, which is visible on this shot.  Pic 4 of 4.
BETA PHOTO: I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the...
JJ hand-drilling bolts on SAM
JJ hand-drilling bolts on SAM
Vinny on the left hand version of SAM.
Vinny on the left hand version of SAM.
I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the route before trying it.  Recently found them again and maybe they would help someone work/send.  Taken from the top looking down on the route.  You can see rapping should be no problem.  You get a lot of rope drag trying to pull your rope after rapping though and might want to have your belay slave stay up top to toss the rope when you're done hanging the draws and down.  Pic 3 of 4.
BETA PHOTO: I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the...
Front and center, Secret Agent Man.
BETA PHOTO: Front and center, Secret Agent Man.
Vinny on the bottom.
Vinny on the bottom.
I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the route before trying it.  Recently found them again and maybe they would help someone work/send.  Obviously early in the season without chalk.  Great route, try it!  You can sling a large rock protrusion safely at the top and rap down to hang draws also.  Pic 1 of 4.
BETA PHOTO: I took these shots of SAM in early 08 to study the...
Phillip Carrier from So Ill
Phillip Carrier from So Ill
Comments on Secret Agent Man Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 8, 2012
By Jay Knower
Administrator
From: Campton, NH
May 25, 2007
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

FA Jeremy Schlick. After the roof, there is a rest on the right side of the arete. The route then goes on the left side of the arete (crux) using a cool sequence to slap your right hand on the arete.

By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 22, 2007

FA Jeremy Schlick/Seth Dyer. What a treat it was to find this thing 11 years ago already. Seth and I both did it, though Groth has some honors for pulling the true topout... Always the hardman.

By Chris Hirsch
From: Rapid City, SD
Nov 5, 2008
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

I did this route last Labor Day weekend, very nice climb. I've heard rumors that a hold broke recently (before sept.(before I got on it) and nobody had climbed it since it broke. I was not able to spot where the hold broke off from, but the route still felt like a solid 13a to me. Great arete climb though, not quite as good as 'Whiskey A Go Go', I'm sure many would agree. This route alone made the trip from the Twin Cities worthwhile for me. The bouldering on the other hand is not want-to-sit-in-the-car-for-10-hours good. But should be checked out if your nearby.

By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Feb 14, 2009
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Great route. Thanks JJ. See this thread for info on the broken hold, no big deal. The other thing I guess suitors of this route should be aware of is that several of the jugs in the first half before the rest hold wasp nests- at least in September/October anyway. The climbing is pretty chill in the lower section but beware where you put your fingers or get a nasty surprise. I am not trying to discourage anyone from getting on it: it's pretty easy to avoid the huge jugs in the lower section.

By Remo
From: Madison, WI
Mar 30, 2010

I left a couple lockers at the chains today. Just made it easier to set up and clean. I'm hoping to switch them out with bent gates soon.

By Tradoholic
Jun 5, 2010
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Variation alert!

At the first bolt I went left on good holds and great movement to the halfway ledge then went left to finish above the high RR anchors. 5.12c-ish I think and eliminated the strong urge to go right around the arete onto The Nordwand. Long runners on the existing SAM bolts will keep leading this chill. Still has that very reachy move on the upper face though. I'm sure someone has done this before? Seemed like the path of least resistance to me.

By ChrisFrayer
From: Platteville, Wi
Oct 10, 2010
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

First 13 in a day. Feels significantly easier than man in the black pajamas at LaCrosse, maybe only 12+ in comparison. Balancy boulder problem followed by some good pump. Nice little v3ish problem protecting the anchors.

By Remo
From: Madison, WI
Oct 11, 2010

Nice work Chris. This thing is way harder for me than Man in Black PJ's.

By J.Flunker
Nov 3, 2010

Top this out for full value ~13a!

By Tradoholic
Aug 29, 2011
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

At the second to last bolt do you guys do a right hand cross move to a pinch on the iron oxide ribbon? From there you can go left hand to a jug, rest, and then back right to the finish. Or, do you get in the small side by side crimps just right of the bolt and stay right of the bolt line?

Also, this thing has to be reachy in the move going for the nice left hand side pull in the upper crux. I'm totally maxed out on the good feet.

BTW, we took off the old draws on the chains and added long runners so that the anchor biners hang beneath the bulge.

By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Aug 29, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Been awhile but yeah, at the second to last bolt there is a nice right hand crimp just under and to the right of the bolt. Then left hand crimp up a little, right hand big move up and into the ribbon, then left up to clipping jug. From this rest the last bolt is at your head or so (the photo on the main Qual Wall page is me at the rest-- left hand on jug and right hand on the hold on the ribbon). Then right hand over to arete while left stays more or less on the ribbon to finish. At least that's what SteveZ and I were doing.

Oh, and for me this thing seemed a lot harder harder than Man in Black Pajamas.

By J.Flunker
Oct 24, 2011

I was on SAM today and there were about 10 obscenely large (3-4 inch) tick marks on the crux holds.
To whoever did this:
The ticks look like shit and represent a major oversight in aesthetics. There are plenty of natural features on the rock to guide your hand placements. However, if you insist on using such large tick marks at least clean them off when you are finished with your climbing session. Remember this is a multi-use area for many user groups. We are not in the climbing gym anymore...

By sweatpants
From: Broomfield, CO
Oct 24, 2011

I like to use colored tape to tick holds. Reason #1 is I don't have to waste chalk. Reason #2 is I can just take the tape off after I'm done on a problem. I think this should be the ethic used going forward. Everybody carry a large roll of duct tape.

By Tradoholic
Oct 24, 2011
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Do you actually do that Sweaty? Or are you just messn' with us? If so, good call, I totally respect that.

As I have commented elsewhere certain park staff consider these marks graffiti. They paint a bad image of climbers. PLEASE clean these off! Sweaty's tape idea is a good one.

By Tradoholic
Nov 5, 2011
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Now that I've done it, can it really be 13a? Maybe being shorter for the reachy crux makes the difference? There isn't really a small hold on it if you ask me, it just seems quite technical. I will have to go do Whiskey and compare.

I skipped clipping the chains and topped it out. I have vid of me falling from the last move too that I will post up soon.

By Remo
From: Madison, WI
Nov 5, 2011

Nice work Rhoads!

By randy baum
From: Minneapolis, MN
Nov 5, 2011

rhoads, i think height definitely helps for the crux. that and power. i have neither, so...PUNT.

rad climb. compression sandstone crux in WI. wha?!?

also, don't miss the climbs around secret agent man. 11a and 11d to the left are really fun; 12c and 11c on slab to the right are really fun and really exciting; 12a and 11b on tall wall to the right are also nice (though a few of the bolts need replacing, as the bolt shafts are showing.)

By Tradoholic
Nov 6, 2011
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Here's a video of myself on the route. Note that I use a good right hand under-cling for the first crux. Bonus points if you can explain the significance of the song.

By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Nov 6, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Nice video! Watching the video makes it obvious being taller definitely helps, you just reached past what was my technical crux.

By sweatpants
From: Broomfield, CO
Nov 6, 2011

nice job buddy. I found it odd that you went up the right side to do that clip only to down climb and go up the 'route'? i don't know how these route things work but is that the common method for this climb?

By Brian Runnells
Nov 7, 2011
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

Great climb. Like trad monkey pointed out being tall reduces the crux to being mostly a matter of technique and execution with a little bit of hard pulling thrown in near the top before the last rest. Other tall folks have done it though and seemingly confirmed the grade so who knows. It's hard to compare this with Whiskey since the rests on SAM are so good. All I know is that I wish there were more climbs like these around the state!

By Remo
From: Madison, WI
Nov 7, 2011

Brian sent 2nd go yesterday and it was really fun to watch. Nice job again man! I am still having a hell of a time hitting the crux dead-point(dead-point for me anyway) on my red-point burns. Super fun climb though, and I like having a local project.

By John W. Knoernschild
From: Wisconsin
Nov 7, 2011

Nice work Rhoads and Brian! Sweet vid to Rhoads. Falling from the top always sucks.

By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 7, 2012

Does everyone climb around the corner to rest now a days? I don't recall being way over there...

By Tradoholic
Jun 7, 2012
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

I think so JJ, it would seem pretty contrived not to. This probably explains the rating discrepency.

By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 7, 2012

Interesting. I've seen a half dozen folks do the line back in the day, and never saw anyone on the right side of the arete. Especially clipping bolts from that side. Seems in the land of eliminates, this one would be pretty easy to keep independent.

By Tradoholic
Jun 7, 2012
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Yea, for a while I refused to do it that way, trying the "direct" I suggested above but at the top it also seemed to swing around the arete and if those holds are on why not the rest at the bottom too. So I said to hell with it and I will just climb it as I feel naturally flows, especially after I saw other people do it that way. I was also working to do a easier left exit at the top by throwing a piece of webbing with a draw to act as the final clip instead of traversing right back to the arete.

In addition a few broken holds could have changed this completely from the FA and sent people on a different path.

Man, WI can get a little screwy with the eliminates. I'm guilty myself from time to time but there's some really wack shit out there. Thankfully, this climb is pretty sweet either way, it was good training ;) To each his own.

By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 7, 2012

Well, to be honest with you I don't remember anything contrived about this route, and I guess I'll just note that on at least the first three ascents of this thing (16 years ago), we clearly found no reason to be on the right hand side of the arete, which is now a completely different route. I think climbing off route, then up, and then clipping, shaking, and then down climbing to get back on the line seems to be the only contrivance I can see.

The route was special because while moderately cruxy overall, it was more of an endurance rig for the state. Once you pulled over the bulge from the initial dihedral it was pretty much on to the top. Maybe the cleaning of Norwand has lead people astray. Anyway, I thought future generations should know how this line was originally done.

And I thought you were a purist Nick. At least you didn't claim the grade. 5.13a without the "Nordwand rest".

By Tradoholic
Jun 8, 2012
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

I'm pure for trad climbing, sport's always a compromise ;)