Type: Sport, TR, 90 ft
FA: Mike Engle Free Solo Equipped: Ron Yahne, Jeff Whittle, Bob Archbold 1994
Page Views: 2,136 total · 10/month
Shared By: Anonymous Coward on Sep 30, 2001
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

You & This Route

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Solo System is found just to the left of the large boulder described under 'Star Dancer' - a slab angling just a bit to the climber's left.

A fun route and a good introduction to Rushmore friction. For most of the route there are nice, big crystals for the hands and feet. At a couple points, however, you 'get to' make a couple pure friction moves. The climb gets easier the higher you get.

Once at the top you can rap down or walk off to climber's left. Note that it is physically possible to set up a TR here, but you'd be setting yourself up for a big swing if you fell - not recommended.


7 bolts and 2 bolt anchor.
Climbed this after Gossamer (my wife wanted a climb preview before she lead it) and failed to enjoy it very much. It does not suck, but it is nothing to write home to your plants about. The bottom half has newer bolts but the top ones are somewhat rusty and found myself pondering the integrity of the chain/shut at the top due to their colouring as well. They broke and I died.OK, they held just fine and probably will for a few more seasons.My wife never lead it because the sun crept out from behind the rocks and turned the whole Marker area into an oven (1 PM or so). Aug 1, 2004
Aaron Costello
Rapid City, SD
Aaron Costello   Rapid City, SD
The friction on this climb is spooooky. There are other friction 5.6's in the Rushmore area, but Solo System is much longer and much steeper. One 60m rope worked for the climb and repel, with about 3m left on each tail. Enjoy! Sep 24, 2004
vernon phinney
pocatello, idaho
vernon phinney   pocatello, idaho
this route was originally soloed by Mike Engle as an approach to the top of Star Dancer, etc. I came out on the day Mike soloed it and asked him how he had gotten to the belay ledge where he was sitting, whereupon Mike stated he had scrambled up the face (Mike had climbing shoes on!). Mike also made the comment that it was 5.2-5.4 in grade; so up I scrambled wearing my tenny shoes. As you may well geuss; at the crux (quite a ways up the climb), my tenny shoes cut lose from the rock and I started plummeting (sliding) downward. I remembered all the huge boulders at the bottom and recognized that a landing in this area would be very detrimental to my health; I launched myself at the chimney/crack to my right and ended up with my buttocks jammed tightly in the chimney stopping me from a fall to the bottom of this face. Mike asked me if I was going to climb as I limped off towards my car. I stated NO. I was far too embarrased to tell Mike exactly what had occured. It took several weeks for the wounds to heal and I still carry the scars (on my buttocks). The route has been called tenny shoe because of this epic and it has also been called solo system. This is not a classic route by any means; however, many beginning climbers find routes similar to this to be very fun and commiting for first leads. Vernon Phinney (dakotagriz). Oct 9, 2005
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
That is a great story Vern - thanks for sharing. Oct 11, 2005
This is a real fun route unless you take a swing to your right... then its not quite as fun, as you are now in a large crack Dec 6, 2006
Paul Huebner
Portage, WI
Paul Huebner   Portage, WI
The first time I led this route was in 95 coming home from a road trip to Lumpy Ridge. It was almost dark and I was told the climb was rated 5.5. It was my first lead at Rushmore and felt more like spooky 5.7 at two places where you have to palm the rock and rely totally on your feet. Now after ascending it on about 3 different trips, I feel it's 5.6. Jul 8, 2007
RustyLane   Minneapolis
Interesting I always knew this climb as "Tennis Shoe Slide" and it is called that in my guide book from back in the early days. Jan 12, 2014
Tony Brengosz
Tony Brengosz  
The nut on the right anchor is loose, and needs to be tightened. Nov 28, 2017