Type: Trad, 200 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Herb Laeger, Jon Lonne, Jim Wilson & Mike Jaffe, March 1977
Page Views: 14,939 total · 85/month
Shared By: C Miller on Dec 31, 2004
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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What a great route! This classic route takes a magnificent line up the northeast face of the South Astro Dome in two great pitches. Well worth the thirty minute walk and potential wait if others are already on it. Be advised that this wall can be extremely cold in the winter months.

P1) Climb the steep gold streak past 6 bolts and many sharp edges to a belay on a ledge above (5.10a). Set your own anchor, or move slightly right to use the belay bolts on Shooting Star.

P2) From the belay climb up a ramp (pro) up and right and then trend up and left past 3 bolts to the top (5.10b). It's possible to get in a little additional pro between some of the bolts, so keep your eyes open!

To descend you can make two raps with a single rope from bolts (3/8") atop My Laundry down to a second set of rap anchors atop Shooting Star (3/8"). Another option is to descend via the route Breakfast of Champions in two single rope raps via two sets of rap anchors (3/8").


Start down and right from the high-point of some blocks stacked against the northeast face (roughly 75') at a prominent gold streak.


First pitch has 6 bolts (3/8") and second pitch has 3 bolts (3/8"). Additional pro is needed for the belays as well as the second pitch. Stoppers and small to med cams work well for this route.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Most people seem to either love this route or hate it, and I am in the latter category. It's a repetitive crimp-fest, although it does lead to a very cool summit. But this is one route I'll not repeat. Jul 22, 2002
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
A hallmark classic! Brutally honest line up a golden waterstreak. Great composure is required on the first pitch which is run-out in places. On my first attempt of this route I took a huge fall just before clipping the last bolt. Can't believe I got back on the horse.

The second pitch is a worthy counter-point to pitch one; steep and exposed with very cool technical moves.

Can be sweaty in the morning sun.

Line, purity, technique, exposure, setting. Jan 11, 2003
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
From the ASCA website: "A bomber anchor is at the top of the crack on the second pitch [of My Laundry], and is the rap route for Solid Gold as well. ASCA 2/02" Jan 11, 2003
For a more exciting ending to this climb, instead of going to the left to end the 2nd pitch on the 5.7 groove, go straight up past the last bolt for a hair-raising 5.11d finish. We originally did this a few weeks after the initial ascent. Mar 9, 2003
That bolt after the mantle move is a bit of a stretch. Surely makes the move exciting. I peeled off my feet in the mantle but managed to still hold with the left hand. Close. Great route if you are into crimps. Feb 2, 2004
Let's see. I'm presently recovering from falling just below the last move on the first pitch. If this route is 10a, then Loose Lady, Sweatband, Terrawassie Wiggle etc. etc. etc. are all 5.8's. The second pitch is the crux at 10a which means the first can't be over 5.9 vis a vis a little logic. But then, what does logic have to do with RC. I'll go back, but I dread it.

As per my fall: As I was traversing up and left to the mantle, a party above allowed a loop of rope to drop behind me. When I fell, I instinctively grabbed for the loop as I went by. The instant I realized what I'd done, I let go. I don't know how much rope I pulled, but it was enough to burn through a portion of the daisy chain on the belayer above. I regret grabbing the loop, but all happened in a split second in the first ten feet or so of a long fall.

I noticed as I was climbing the first pitch, it appeared that quite a few holds had probably come off recently. Both my partner and I agree that the pitch seemed around 10c. I'll go back because my ego-stupidity-demands it; however, I'm not looking forward to it. Mar 17, 2004
Solid Gold has always seemed hard to me... We did it one year for perhaps the first time of the season. The leader got to the top, right by the mantle shelf, and found a pile of powdered bird droppings. At least I think it was bird shit. It was black, slick, and finer than sand. He of course had to give it the push. It cascaded down the face, covering every hold on the route. When I climbed the sequence was something like; lock off, blow hard at next hold, inhale bird shit, cough, repeat. A fairly miserable experience, to say the least. Mar 18, 2004
David Orr  
I have done this route several times and have always enjoyed it. For Joshua Tree standards I didn't feel like it was very runout. I think "fixing" this route is totally unnecessary. I haven't been on it since holds have broken off but I do remember having a fairly good selection of holds to chose from as you move up the face, and I never felt like there was and dangerous fall potential. If it has increased in difficulty that may be a good reason to go back and give it another lead. Mar 18, 2004
You going to tell me that routes get harder every time it rains? Mar 18, 2004
Todd Gordon  
Try doing the climb in EB's ,..that' s what everyone wore when the climb went up... The damn climb has always been hard (except for KP and Hensel, who find all climbs with dime edges '"easy.")..... Mar 18, 2004
Lassitude 33
Randy   Lassitude 33
Can't imagine rain doing anything to holds (except as Murf observes, many get them covered in dirt or other substances). If some overpowering ya-hoo pulled some the holds off, well that might affect the rating of the first pitch, but as has been observed there are lots of holds.

And as for being run out, get a life! The first pitch is practically a sport route.

I am working on Vol. 2 right now (which includes the So. Wonderland) and will end up re-climbing Solid Gold at some point this spring or fall to check the route and rating.

BTW, the second pitch is the crux (10b; a hold did break off a number of years ago). Mar 18, 2004
Bob Gaines
Bob Gaines  
Over the years I've guided a lot of people on this route, and the general consensus from these folks is that the first pitch is harder than 10a! Many fall all over the first pitch, then cruise the second pitch, which is a bit reachy at the crux move up to the horizontal crack. Many people also comment that they find the first pitch of Solid Gold harder than the first pitch of Figures. A couple of years ago the first pitch of Solid Gold was plastered with bird detritus, which has taken a while to wash off. Sliperry and sharp is a good way to describe it. Difficulty depends on how stiff your shoes are and how good you are at edging. 10c? Mar 19, 2004
Gary Kleiger  
I climbed this route last spring. It was cold and I couldn't feel my fingers until the 3rd bolt or so. Many of the moves were challenging and I felt fully engaged. I milked all of the rests that I could, providing me with what seemed like alot of time standing on only small edges. And then the mantle, far above the bolt, providing both excitement and demanding the determination to concentrate for one more important move.

Solid Gold means so much more to me than grades or style of climbing. At the time, Solid Gold was a testpiece for me. Pushing my limits on a classic line in a classic Joshua Tree setting. I on-sighted this climb, and as I stood on top of the South Astrodome, I felt as good as I have ever felt in my life. I had experienced the essence of why many of us climb, and I experienced this on Solid Gold. To me, it will always be one of my most memorable climbs. Mar 19, 2004
chris s miller
chris s miller  
I thought j-tree 10a to be pretty accurate. We made the mistake of "warming up" on this climb one winter after a six hour car ride. Not a smart choice. Did anyone else have trouble getting to the mantle on the first pitch? I had to really commit and jump for the mantle holds. A little scary since your a bit run out. Mar 26, 2004
This lovely route has lost many holds recently as evidenced by the fresh granite in contrast to the "water shoot" salman look of the rest of the climb. My partner and I both thought it was 5.10a/5.10b with 1-2 5.10c moves. I do have to admit that I have just recovered from a nastly sprained ankle (bad year?!),...and I was not so gutsy as my partner. After a few clips, I bailed from "fear of pain" should I hit my foot again! (Yes, I wimped--I'll admit it!) Actually, hiking out was the worst part anyways due to high water. By the time we reached the parking lot, I was munching the "Vitamin Ibu". I would like to go actually do the climb soon again, as this is usually my "type of climb" in addition to finger cracks and seams (sick, eh?). ANY GOOD BETA from recent ascents? (other than, "don't fall")Maybe I'll visit the zen master at the "metaphysics center" first! (Kidding)Yours TruelyTraiseB Apr 2, 2004
Adam Stackhouse

Adam Stackhouse    
Wonderful route when I led it in 91. Yes, the edges on the first pitch were sharp on the fingers, but lovely for the feet. The last moves to the belay provoked a bit of thought. Nice job by Laeger et al to not punch in another bolt. I only recall one bolt above the slung horn on the second pitch, but who cares. All quality. Jun 4, 2004
A couple thoughts. There was a 2nd bolt off line to the right because that was the only place to stand on the lead. The hold I stood on broke off just as the bolt went in. I understand it has been led straight up. Great.

Some of us used EB's, some didn't. I used adidas sneakers with green dot soles.

We regarded the second pitch as about 5.8, very elegant. Jan 4, 2006
It's interesting to hear Michael Jaffe's recollection of the difficulty of the second pitch. Since I was the one that bolted that pitch, maybe it just seemed harder to me. At the time,I thought (with concurrance from the rest of the group) that it was a solid 5-10a. Amazing what all those years of debauchery will do to ones memory, eh Mike? Mar 28, 2006
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
It had been eight years since I last climbed Solid Gold, and I found the first pitch much harder and more polished than I remember.

It might be a "10a", but given the slick nature of the small (and now rounded from years of travel) edges it is definitely becoming harder IMO. Just like "Figures on a Landscape", I'd recommend being very comfortable at the grade before climbing this one. Unlike the typical JTree friction route, the polished rock on the first pitch causes each stance to be more tenuous than normal for a JTree 10a.

And the mantle above the 2nd-to-last bolt gets one's attention.

The 2nd pitch is varied and spectacular, and I enjoyed it far more than the 1st pitch.

First pitch all bolts. I placed small nuts for the belay. For the 2nd pitch, I placed a 1/2 Camalot getting to the first bolt, and a green alien getting to the last bolt. And a slung horn is quite handy as well. Apr 3, 2006
Lassitude 33
Randy   Lassitude 33
We climbed this last weekend. The first pitch hasn't changed an iota --not slicker, holds haven't broken off, no nothing. But, it is pretty sustained and probably worthy of 10a/b. Crux of 2nd pitch is technically as hard or harder than anything on 1st pitch. Maybe no-one knows how to use their feet anymore....

Route will be rated 10a/b in Vol. 2.

Also, the 4th bolt drilled out right is very stupid and should be moved further left (off good stance). If FA party -- Lonne, Laeger, et all approve, this should be done. Run out to last 7th bolt is a bit bizaare since a good stance is available before the mantle... Oh well, at least you won't hit the deck. May 1, 2006
Solid Gold goes left from the belay, past a gear placement or two and a few widely spaced bolts! 10a and spicey! Jul 27, 2007
Tyler Logan
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  5.10b R
Tyler Logan   Mammoth Lakes, CA
  5.10b R
Just did this for the first time in many years. It seems the bolts on the first pitch are more in line than I remember, so maybe the bolt Randy spoke of moving has been moved? Falling from the easy mantle towards the end would be very bad--worse than fumbling the easy mantle at the end of the first pitch of Figures IMO. I also think the first pitch of Solid Gold has harder moves than anything on Figures, and is more seriously runout in general. There's potential for hitting the deck on this one if your belayer is lazy or inattentive, whereas on Figures once you've clipped the first bolt you're golden. Mar 16, 2008
Northern NM
Souljah   Northern NM
First time on this beauty was in 84. I neglected to consult the topo and as a result I missed that 4th clip. I recall seeing chalk and what appeared to be easier ground leading off right , but I couldn't see the bolt and was afraid of getting hung-up off-route. I don't recall the moves being any harder through that section , just more of them. You can believe me when I say I didn't have any trouble finding that bolt on subsequent ascents.

Haven't climbed in Cali for 17yrs , and whether that bolt has been relocated or not SG will always rank high. Thanks to Herb et al for another classic.
Jan 25, 2010
Cornelius Haupt
Dresden, Germany
Cornelius Haupt   Dresden, Germany
p1: After the 1st six bolts conveniently placed in short distance of each other the way from bolt 6 to the ledge seems bit of a runout in comparison so our lead climber fled to My Laundry and continued from there. Cleaning off the excrements was more work than the actual climbing and spoiled it a little bit.
p2: Wonderful on clean (!) exposed face with three bolts exactly where you need them. A bit scary the move from the flake to the 1st bolt, but there´s a cam placement in the flake. Small cam(s) or nuts in the horizontal crack before the last bolt.
I could hardly follow on p1 and led p2. Translated to my (East German) scale it is p1: 5.10c, p2: 5.10a Oct 25, 2010
Tommy L-D
Tommy L-D  
Lots of bird poop on this one, but, a classic nonetheless!!

1st pitch: Solid 5.10a
2nd pitch: 5.9? Dec 6, 2010
Does anyone remember the original rating of this route? Wasn't it 5.9 for many years?

I too missed a clip when I did it in 1985 (there was a bolt way out right). I remember wondering if I'd deck if I blew the mantle. I also remember thinking, well, it's only 5.9, I might as well go for it! Mar 30, 2011
Richard Shore
Richard Shore  
A recent rain has brought lots of bird poo down from the belay ledge atop P1. The small holds were generally clean though. Bring your best edging shoes for this one.

With the exception of the belay ledge and first 10 feet of P2, the rest of P2 was clean and enjoyable. Less sustained than P1, but harder technical face/slab moves and a little more spice! A 4 ft sling was handy for slinging the horn between bolts 1 and 2. Nov 28, 2011
Agree with Richard--p1 was filthy thanksgiving 2011. Climb is stout for the grade. Nov 29, 2011
Dylan Weldin
Athens, OH
Dylan Weldin   Athens, OH
Covered in poop. Classic. Feb 21, 2012
Jeff Laina
Southern, New Mexico
Jeff Laina   Southern, New Mexico
I Flashed the first pitch 5.9 Wearing EB's nice edging, after my friend could not get Five Feet off the ground, in his new FIRE'S 1983.The Crux is the second pitch, 5.10a Smeary hard in EB's. Is this climb really covered in poop? Have not done the route in years. P.S. Those Damm Birds! It was clean in the early 80s, when I did it. Apr 15, 2012
Simon H
Oakland, CA
Simon H   Oakland, CA
Only did the first pitch, but it was pretty free of bird droppings. If someone had told me this was .10c I wouldn't have argued.

Its definitely as hard as the similarly styled Run for Your Life, (.10b) which I did right after.

I thought it was a classic pitch, especially because it is such a different style of climbing from anything else in the park. May 25, 2012
roman d
Pasadena, CA
roman d   Pasadena, CA
First pitch was pretty gross, and had to dust feathers and crap off of most edges. The top of pitch one was particularly nasty at the mantel and belay.

On the flip side, no chalk made for a fun onsight dancing up the face! Doesn't get much better if you dig steep edging routes. Nov 19, 2012
Kazu Watanabe
Irvine, CA
  5.10b/c PG13
Kazu Watanabe   Irvine, CA
  5.10b/c PG13
Did Figures and Solid Gold today. I felt both pitches of Solid Gold were harder or as hard as the first pitch of Figures (all on lead).

After climbing this route we walked down the backside and climbed up on a sport route on SW face of N. Astrodome, then rappelled from the top. It was a fun little trip. A single 80m rope was just enough to rap down from N. and S. Astrodomes. Mar 30, 2013
So Cal, now in Sandy, UT
johannsolo   So Cal, now in Sandy, UT
Pretty solid for 10a. Been a while since I let this one and it still feels HARD. Great route though. Apr 21, 2014
Kevin Dahlstrom
Boulder, CO
Kevin Dahlstrom   Boulder, CO
It has to be said: The first pitch of this route is nowhere near 10a. It would be an 11 at most areas. I get it – JTree ratings are old school, sandbagged, etc. so give it a 10c if you want to be a hardman, but no way is this a 10a pitch. As for the second pitch, I buy it at "JTree 10a". Feb 13, 2015
Wow the comments on this route make for a great read. Hard not hard(5.8-5.11), you can do it in tennies. First pitch is harder, no second pitch is harder, no first pitch. Covered in poop, no poop, poop(well at least this one makes sense). Holds have broken no holds have broken, only broken on second pitch. And the best is, it's runout no it's a sport climb, no it's runout.

From Randy

"And as for being run out, get a life! The first pitch is practically a sport route."

Then 2 years later

"Run out to last 7th bolt is a bit bizarre since a good stance is available before the mantle... Oh well, at least you won't hit the deck."

What changed Randy?

For those that read the comments for beta I would go with the experience of Bob Gaines. Feb 14, 2015
Lassitude 33
Randy   Lassitude 33
Nothing is particularly inconsistent with the two comments. The first pitch is practically sport bolted, but it is more runnout to the last bolt. But, since I've only done this route a few dozen times, take my comments with a grain of salt. YMMV

Ultimately, unless you are used to steep, positive (and sometimes sharp) crimpers, the first pitch may seem pretty hard. Good footwork and edging skills are essential -- not something that is as common today as in years past.

Since the gold streak was caused by water flows during rains, unless you are standing on an edge, the rock will be much slicker than commonly found at Josh. And, when bird feathers and poop are washed down, expect things to be even more challenging.

Interestingly enough, this was one of the first routes established on the Astro Domes and once word got out, it really started others to develop new lines and explore other formations in the Southern Wonderland. Feb 26, 2015
Joe Hunt
Costa Mesa, CA
Joe Hunt   Costa Mesa, CA
Classic, love this route, and still consider this one of my proudest leads.

Mar 19, 2015
Steep, continuous and fairly run-out after the third bolt, Solid Gold is an etude in techy edging. I always thought this route was harder than the "standards" for .10a face climbing, like "Revelation" at Suicide and the first pitch of "Maxine's Wall" in the Valley.

Rating climbs is a responsibility placed squarely on the FA party, and they must do so in a legit way, basing their decision on a fair comparison of routes of the same genre. There are clear "Standard" routes to be found at the birthplace of our rating system- Tahquitz & Suicide and Yosemite- and I think it is imperative that people who establish routes have the experience to rate them fairly.

If an area is consistently sandbagging climbers, then there is a problem with the people who are rating the climbs, and they need to return to the Standard Routes to gain perspective. This is especially true for really strong climbers who find anything less than 5.11 trivial. I think this route is clearly harder than pretty much any other .10a face climb in the entire Park, and it is harder than the standard routes I mentioned above.

Maybe not .10c...., but .10b or even .10b/c is fair....Lead it and see what you think. I'm goin' with Bob on this one.

This is not a sport route, and you will sail quite a way if you fall in the wrong place high on the route. SO, BEWARE!!

Mike Jaffe and I were climbing partners from '72-'74, and I remember when he and Herb discovered this place. Those green dot Adidas tennis shoes always threw other climbers for a loop!! Green Dot was the "original" sticky rubber, and very few people ever bought into it, but Mike was one of them.....Hi Mike!! Apr 18, 2015
Northern NM
Souljah   Northern NM
"I too missed a clip when I did it in 1985 (there was a bolt way out right). I remember wondering if I'd deck if I blew the mantle. I also remember thinking, well, it's only 5.9, I might as well go for it!"

@jimi thornberg: HaHa! Missing that 4th clip definitely increased my attention span. Gotta be close to Deck City if ya blow the mantle above.

Randy makes a good point regarding footwork and edging as a fading art. The edges on SG P-1 are damn positive, but the unrelenting quality of that pitch requires mental fortitude as well as technical ability/stability. I can understand why leaders who aren't familiar with sustained edging may be inspired to rate the pitch a tad higher than the OGs of yesteryear. Jan 15, 2016
Squamish, BC
Hairball   Squamish, BC
I led the first pitch in October (2016), in a pair of blown out over sized floppy slippers. It was COVERED in feathers and shit from the White-throated Swifts. Nobody had been on this yet this season. I have done this climb many times, but this was a different experience. I think the crap actually kind of added to the pitch to be honest. I had to be a bit brave to tackle the final run out and was happy to burrow down through a foot of guano to find the jug at the ledge at the end. After, my wife, friends and two kids (10 and 12) did some laps, so the key holds were cleaned off. Oh, yeah, I had some sort of norwalk virus that day so that kept things exciting in other fecal ways. Nov 2, 2016
Was clean yesterday. Seems pretty standard 10a to me. P2 goes left from the belay not right as noted in the description and P2 was alot of fun, put one small piece in the horizontal. Mar 4, 2018
Matt Hagny
Matt Hagny  
P2 is definitely worth doing. Completely different style of climbing than P1, and very enjoyable. Apr 23, 2018
5 very closely spaced bolts and then a substantial runout, makes no sense. agreed if this is 10a than loose lady is 5.6. Oct 20, 2018
Trevor, from a ground up bolting perspective the run-out makes sense, that section is pretty easy compared to the rest and the fall is clean, therefore no need for a bolt. Oct 21, 2018
Air Alexy
Washington, DC
Air Alexy   Washington, DC
OMG, these comments are hilarious. I came to see beta for the approach/descent and I found a bunch of geezers squabbling over bird shit and sport-bolted run-outs. I LOVE Mountain Project. Keep 'em coming! Can't wait to climb this route, it looks amazing. May 9, 2019