The North Gym Rock Climbing
Another view of The Tropical Wall: 1. Observe God...
"The North Gym" is a generic name for the section of cliff that extends from the north end of The Gym
to the south/east end of The North End
. The cliffline faces more or less east, but the southern end (aka "The Arcade") faces slightly south and is less vegetated, so it tends to be much warmer than the mid-section ("Teenage Prostitutes Area") that sees little sun, making this cliff a great destination for those days in which you want morning sun but evening shade. There are currently only a handful of routes here, but they are all high quality, with several among the best of their respective grades at Shelf. The unique features found on this cliffline provide the potential for many more memorable routes should someone find the desire to put them up. There are few moderates (though Power Milk & Bagels
is surely among the best 5.10's at Shelf), but many great lines in the 5.11/12 range, including one of Shelf's best 12a's, Who Left The Fridge Open?,
and currently Shelf's hardest route, Apogee Pending
This was one of the very first cliffs at Shelf to be developed. The route Teenage Prostitutes
was established in October 1985 by Neil Canon, Bob Robertson & Rich Aschert. The ascent was done ground-up and included the use of at least one piton (and a star-drive), which is still in-situ to this day. For whatever reason, only five or so more routes were put in before local activists turned their attention to other cliffs. Another five routes were installed by unknown parties in the ensuing 20 or so years, before the 2011 surge in development.
Many of the routes here have high first bolts. A stick clip is highly recommended.
Routes L --> R:
1. "Tommy" (Unnamed)
, 5.11, 5 red bolts, 2 RBA.
2. "Pacman Gomez" (Unnamed)
, 5.11, 6 red bolts, 2 RBA.
3. Power Milk & Bagels
, 5.10-, 8 red bolts, 2 RBA.
4. Closed Project, ?, ~7 bolts, no anchor.
Short Break "Tropical Wall":
5. Observe God's Mistake
, 5.10, 6 bolts, 2 BA (shared with next route).
6. Lead Farmer
, Direct start to OGM, 5.12, 4 bolts, plus last 2 bolts of OGM, Shared 2 BA.
7. Closed Project, ?, ~5 bolts, 2BA.
, 5.11-, 7 bolts, 2 BA.
9. Here We Go Again... Again.
, 5.12, 5 bolts, 2 BA.
10. Earth Mama's Natural Night Camo
, 5.10, 5 bolts, 2 BA.
11. Full Retard
, extension to "Earth Mama's" through steep bulge, 5.13-, 2 bolts, no anchor.
12. Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown
, 5.11-, 5 bolts 2 BA.
13. Who Left the Fridge Open?
, 5.12-, 6 bolts, 2 BA.
Approach Trail "Teenage Prostitutes Area":
14. Unknown 1
, 5.11-, ~9 bolts, 2 BA.
15. That's What She Said
, 5.12+, 5 bolts, 2 BA (shared with previous route).
16. Power Thirteen
, 5.13-, 6 bolts, 2 BA (shared with previous route).
17. Apogee Pending
, 5.14-, 6 bolts, 2 BA.
18. Long Black Veil
, 5.12, 6 bolts, 2 BA.
19. Flamingo Lane
, 5.10+, 4 bolts, 2 BA.
20. Logan's Run
, 5.12-, 4 bolts, 2 BA.
21. "40-Year-Old Virgin" (Name Unknown)
, 5.11, 4 bolts, 2 BA.
22. "Black Crack" (Name Unknown)
, 5.9, 6 bolts, 2 BA, higher 2 BA.
23. Teenage Prostitutes
, 5.12-, 8 bolts, piton, 2 BA.
24. Pimp's Main Prophet
, 5.13, 5 bolts, 2 BA.
Short Break "The Cirque":
25. Unknown #2, ?, 2 bolts + gear?, 3BA with long chains
26. Unknown 3
, 5.10-, 5 bolts, 2BA shared with next route.
27. Spitting Image
, 5.13-, 5 bolts, 2BA shared with previous route.
28. Unknown #4 Rt Face of High Dihedral, ?, ? bolts, anchor?
Despite its obscure location, this cliff ironically has one of the shortest approaches at Shelf, due to the re-routing of the Cactus/Spiney/Gym approach.
Drive ~1.4 miles north from the (now-gated) Cactus Cliff Access Road, to a small pullout (also 0.8 miles south from the river crossing at The North End P-lot). At this pull-out, you should be more or less directly below the obvious, overhanging dihedral of "Apogee Pending"
. Drop off all your gear & passengers, then drive North 0.8 miles to The North End Parking (pull out on the left/west side of the road, just before the river crossing), park here, and shuffle back down the road to the drop-off point.
A steep trail heads south up the road cut, and continues south for another 30 yards or so, then begins to switch-back up the hill towards "Apogee Pending
". Follow cairns, up a gully with loose red stones, past some cactus, then weaving through scattered pinon pines to the cliff base. The approach time is ~5 minutes from the road. Once at the cliff-base trail, head left for "The Arcade", and right for "Teenage Prostitutes Area" and beyond.
Alternatively, approach as for The Gym
, but continue north along the cliffline for another 5 minutes or so past The Green Bonus
& Bone 'n' Vein
to arrive at the south end of "The Arcade". There is not much of a trail along this section of cliff, so travel with packs may be difficult.
Climbing Season For the Shelf Road area.
Weather station 6.3 miles from here
24 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',12],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in The North Gym
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The North Gym
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The North Gym:
Featured Route For The North Gym
"Black Crack" (Name Unknown) 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a CO
: Shelf Road
: The North Gym
This line liebacks, jams, and stems up the obvious open-book. A set of 1980s-vintage ring bolts near the top of the cliff suggest the line was climbed on gear back in the day, but it has recently been retro-bolted by an unknown party.Stem and lieback up smooth black rock to an easier section passing a large, detached flake. The feet get scarce passing an orange patch, then a brief juggy bulge leads to the route's highlight, a short section of splitter finger crack. Jam up the crack to deterio...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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Unknown #4, at the far north end of the Teenage Pr...
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By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 15, 2011
I'm laughing my ass off at the route names on this wall. Well played, sir.
From: Morrison, CO
Mar 15, 2011
Man, the best ones are still projects....
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Mar 16, 2011
Get back there and send those other projects, Mark...I look forward to more great names. Huge congrats on Apogee Pending.
By Skyler B
From: Fort Collins, CO
Mar 17, 2015
Any word on the "closed projects" mentioned in the description?