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Unsorted Routes:

Surreal Estate 

YDS: 5.12c French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: IX- British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 60'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12c French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: IX- British: E6 6b [details]
FA: Darryl Roth, Bob D'Antonio, and Bob Murray
Page Views: 2,537
Submitted By: Adam Holmes on Feb 1, 2001
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (18)
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Darryl Roth on Surreal Estate 5.12c, Bob D' mannin...


This is another great route in this section of the Bank by Heavy Weather and Unusual Weather. Surreal Estate climbs like a 12a at Shelf but has one big pocket pull in the middle. I can't remember for sure, but this move may be rather height-dependent. It is more continuous and less crimpy than other 12+'s in the area such as Future Fossil or McFly. I gave it 3 stars on a Shelf Road scale.


7 bolts.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 24, 2013
By Mort
May 6, 2004
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b

Height-dependent - not really. I've done it several times now and I'm just under 5'8". My partner probably does the crux more easily than I can and she is under 5'6". It's a long move, but from a scrunched up position. Two right-footholds to choose from and they are both really high. Great route!

From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Sep 8, 2007

One of the best routes at Shelf.

By jhump
Jun 25, 2009
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b

Guidebook gives it .12c and says "a little soft at the grade." I don't know about that? The mid-way crux felt pretty stout. I use a left hand bowling ball or six pack like grip, right hip to the wall and...just go for for it. What a great route. The finish is wild!
Does the route start straight up without touching the mantel start for Unusual Weather or without using the dihedral to the right? If these holds are off, then the start could be the crux of the route.

By Darryl Roth
Oct 27, 2009

jhump, I distinctly remember going straight up at the start as you suggested and the start was pretty hard, but, to me, not the crux. Maybe something has broken. I'll try to give it a look in the next month. If I note anything that seems worthy of mentioning, I'll get back and add a comment.

By Jacob Neathawk
From: Nederland, CO
Dec 10, 2009

I tried this route again the other day and couldn't help notice the bolts look a little antiquated, most notably at the bottom of the route. The crux bolt hanger (4th) looks new, but I'm pretty sure it spun when I put the draw on it. I am interested in feedback about whether or not it would be ok to retro bolt this rig. In a separate issue, the bolting at the start of the route seems a little modest. The second bolt of SE is at the same height as the third on Unusual Weather. The climbing is not that hard in this section, but it sure would suck to hit the ground due to a hold breaking while heading to the second bolt. Any objections to adding a bolt above the first and moving the current second bolt location up slightly?

By richard magill
Dec 10, 2009


Probably not a good idea:
1. One of Shelf's most classic routes
2. Has probably seen hundreds (or thousands?) of free ascents
3. Was bolted by the area's most renowned first ascensionists....

I think I would leave that one alone.


By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
Dec 10, 2009


Why don't you ask the FA'ists? Darryl posts on this site and while Bob D no longer does, he is reachable through the forums over on Supertopo.... I'm unsure if this route was rap bolted - a lot of the older Shelf routes were put up ground up using hooks/gear - again I'm unsure in this case.... But I AM sure that it's not good to be adding bolts to routes without the FA's approval. Especially when 2 of the 3 are still very active in the area. Replacing bad bolts is one thing - adding new ones is completely different....

By Darryl Roth
Dec 10, 2009

I appreciate that you checked with me, Jacob. I have no issue with thoughtful retrofitting. I was at Cactus Cliff a couple weeks ago and forgot to check Surreal Estate as I had hoped to, so do what needs to be done and make Shelf Road continue to be a safe and outstanding place to climb.

By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Dec 10, 2009

What a great route name!

By Peter Beal
From: Boulder Colorado
Dec 11, 2009

I doubt very much that Bob would mind that this route be updated and improved. He is very reachable via MP and other means.

I have done Surreal Estate and agree that adding a bolt to avoid a possible groundfall is a good idea. Many of the Shelf routes of the 80s and early 90s reflected a traditional mindset and featured well spaced or no gear on the moderate climbing. Surreal Estate is from exactly that era.

By Jacob Neathawk
From: Nederland, CO
Dec 11, 2009

Thanks everyone, especially Darryl for your thoughtful commentary. Hopefully I can make it down to Shelf next week and update the hardware, weather and work depending. I have sent the ARI an email inquiring about the possibilty of them providing some bolts for this project but haven't heard back yet. Has anyone out there updated a route through the ARI and know the procedure? Specifically, is there a large cache of bolts somewhere that these ARI projects are supplied from or am I supposed to buy them and keep the receipt or what exactly?

By adam brink
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 11, 2009

Replacing bolts is one thing but it would be a pity to add more bolts to this route. To call the distance between any of the bolts a runout is quite a stretch. Just because you can't touch one bolt and the next at the same time isn't a reason to add more. Do we really want Shelf to turn into another grid bolted eyesore like most of Boulder Canyon?

I agree with Richard's comments. This has seen hundreds (if not thousands) of ascents. There is no need to add more bolts and to do so would detract from the route and be an eyesore.

If the very short distance between bolt one and two is too much for you, then maybe it is just best to go do another route.

By Jacob Neathawk
From: Nederland, CO
Dec 11, 2009

I dont really care that much about adding another bolt to this route, I just noticed the other day that if I blew it right before the secong bolt I was going to deck. I think the main thing is that the rusty, spinning hardware gets updated. I just added that bolt addition piece to see what the consensus was. I'm not trying to detract anything from this amazing route.

By Peter Beal
From: Boulder Colorado
Dec 11, 2009

Re: number of bolts. It is interesting to compare Surreal Estate with 7 bolts to its neighbors, especially Heavy Weather with 10 bolts. This question isn't about grid-bolting or potential eyesores but about potential groundfall. If the consensus emerges that groundfall is not an issue, then it can be left as is.

By jhump
Mar 29, 2010
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b

A great route in its current state. Better with new bolts. Worse with more bolts. That nice little run over very easy and large holds should be no issue for anyone who has any business on 12c. My $.02.

By Colin R
From: Ottawa, ON
Mar 22, 2011

I really want to try this route some day judging from the description.

By Curt MacNeill
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 25, 2012

This route is flipping awesome. Very cool boulder problem in the middle with some cool moves. I found the climb to be a bit fingery at the crux with some sharp holds here and there but overall a really good route. I will put my 2 cents in here and say that this route 100 percent needs a bolt upgrade and some more bolts should be added. There are some questionable looking flakes down low that you use as feet. Another bolt here and there will only make it safer and more of a classic! I will probably bring my drill up this winter and replace them. Anyone know how hard it is getting the old hardwear out and what diameter the old bolts are?

By Darryl Roth
Jan 17, 2013

The bolts are 3/8". I can't guarantee success, but rather than trying to pull old bolts on my routes, you may try pounding them into the hole. I tended to over drill on the depth on my earlier routes. A lot of them have enough depth to bury into the rock and then epoxy over with some dust to blend with the natural color. If you try to pull them, there could be considerably more surface damage.
Of course, if I'm wrong, you'll be cursing me for the 1/2 inch shiny thing sticking out. :)

By Curt MacNeill
From: Boulder, CO
May 24, 2013

Thanks, Darryl. Maybe I will get around to it this year. Just about every time I am in the Bank area I have to spin a lap on this thing. Good contribution though, this route is solid!!