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Routes in Shadow Rock

1st Offense T,S,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Battle of the Bulge S,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Desperado S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Diamond S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Eat Mo' Possum T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Fat Man S,TR 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Fields of Fire S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
I Love a Mystery TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Inner Sanctum T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a X
Lycra S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Middle Man S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Powerplay T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Pressure Drop S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Shadow S,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Shadow Traverse S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Swallow T,S,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
THC S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Thin Man S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Three To Get Ready S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
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Type: Sport, 150 ft
FA: unknown (to me)
Page Views: 2,447 total · 15/month
Shared By: Chad Hinkle on Dec 31, 2004
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

25 Opinions

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The last route to the left of Shadow before you head up a thrid class ramp. Head up past a bolt, two more mark the crux, then the hard physical part is over, and the hard mental part begins. Its easy climbing as that thrid bolt dissappears out of sight, and there seems to be nothing ahead. Keep going up and eventually you will come across a fourth bolt, then continue up to the anchors.


4 bolts. One right off the deck, two through the crux and one way near the end. Keep going, the fourth one is really there.


Jon Hanlon
Jon Hanlon   SLO
I agree with John and with Andrew...we should find out who added the bolt and why, so we can get on with removing it.In 1986 there were 4 bolts, when I lead it in 1994 there were four bolts, and when I TR'd it a couple months ago there were four bolts.

So....who did it and why? May 25, 2004
I agree it would be good to find out who added the fifth bolt, but I think it's more important to remove it ASAP. At this point I don't think it really matters if someone got "approval" from the first assencionist (sp?) or any other circumstance. The route has had 4 bolts since it was put up and has been a classic at Bishop's for many, many years.

Removing the bolt is the best way to announce to the climbing community that altering established climbs is unacceptable! Swift action may help prevent other climbs from suffering the same fate. I would help, but I no longer live in the area. May 26, 2004
Why is it so important to remove the bolt? I think Kristin's comment on re-naming climbs says a lot and can be applied here(although she used the comment in a different context).

"It's rather silly we name everything when you think about it. It's a rock. "

You could also say, "It's rather silly to get so worked up when you think about it. It's a rock."

May 26, 2004
Jon Hanlon
Jon Hanlon   SLO
Bad analogy. Kristin's comment on renaming climbs cant be used to justify retrobolting a historical, classic line.

1) Dave B. just gave several excellent examples of why it is important to remove the bolt

2) Renaming doesn't really affect the rest of the climbing community, damage the rock, or jeopardize everyone's access through indiscriminate bolting...Yeah, renaming is pathetic and annoying, but relatively harmless.

3) I reiterate my earlier post about the importance of our local areas. To some of us, it is more than a bunch of rocks.

If you think these issues (not to mention ethics) are silly and unimportant, then stay away. Shit in your own backyard, we're all full up here. May 27, 2004
Kristin McNamara
Kristin McNamara   SLO, CA
Please don't use my comments out of context.

Adding/removing bolts is changing the nature of the rock, not the name. Thin Man could be up for renaming since the character of the line has changed now. I suggest, "Cowardly Man."

Just kidding.

The point, however, is that the problem with bolts is their permanence. There's nothing INHERENTLY wrong with bolting a crack, but there's something to be said for leaving a rock as virginal as possible while still enjoying it. Rocks are aesthetic and, as we climbers have found, they are fun! They are not fun when they become an eyesore or people take ownership of a route too far and change it according to tastes, which is what has happened here.

I'm a fairly bold trad climber for my grade, but I have yet to climb Shadow. Would I like a bolt further down? Yeah, but adding it changes the nature of the climb. And it's not my place to do that, I don't own the route, the FA'st does. May 27, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
For the climbing community to allow the addition of bolts to an existing and historic route (especially without consent from the FA party) - and therefore changing the very nature of the route - establishes a dangerous precedent. For who decides how safe is safe enough? I might feel quite comfortable running it out on what I may consider easy terrain, while someone else doesn't. Does that mean that all routes have to appeal to the lowest common denominator under the guise that _someone might get hurt_? I would sure hope not. While at risk of sounding elitist, I think it is good to have some routes that _not just anybody_ will attempt. It's just the opposite, in fact. Boldly-led climbs provide a good lesson in humility and at the same time are a source of inspiration and challenge.

I am currently an outsider to San Luis Obispo and am in no place to act, but I would be very disappointed if this sort of behavior was tolerated by the local climbing community. May 27, 2004
Jon, I wasn't making an analogy to Kristin's comment. I was merely using her words, "...It's rather's just a rock".

Kristin, I don't think the FA'ist "owns" the route. The public does. I think the FA'ist has too much say in what is done with a piece of public property. That being said, I have never retro-bolted a route and never plan to. I just wish FA'ists would leave their ego at the door and think about people that might follow them on the route. Don't get me wrong, I don't theink things should be grid-bolted 6' apart.,..I just think common sense should prevail once in a while. May 27, 2004
Mike, well put. I agree that not all routes should be tried by ALL people. However, in a place like SLO, where the climbing choices aren't that extensive, I think people putting up routes shouldn't overdo the R or X factor. If someone had come along way back when and free-soloed all the possible routes on Bishop's, does that mean that those of us who don't free-solo can't climb the routes? In my prior post I kind of went to the extreme but I just felt that there needed to be a little balance on the issue. May 27, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
You're right, Jody. The FA party does not own a route. But the public doesn't own a route either. 'Ownership' is not the right word. Let's say that I were to build a sandcastle on a public beach. I worked hard on it, invested my time and energy (maybe even money on supplies), and had the vision to create it in the first place as a thing of beauty (or just as something to do for that matter). It would be disrespectful, inconsiderate, and downright rude for someone to come along and step on it or try to 'fix' it, shaping it into something more to their own liking. It isn't meant to be 'fixed'. Eventually time will erase it anyway, but while it's here, I believe it is best to enjoy it as it is. May 27, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
I guess you're right though in that there's only so much 'sand' in SLO, so if you're going to build a sandcastle, better make it a good one! May 27, 2004
Kristin McNamara
Kristin McNamara   SLO, CA
Mike's right about the sand castle comment.

I think that those developing the area right now would be wise to listen in . . .

What happened in the past DOES set a precedent, but for new routes going up, it certainly does make sense to consider the day and age when putting up NEW routes.

All I'm asking is for a little respect to the FA'sts no matter when it goes up - that route had time, money, and energy put into it, and the style it went up was right for the time that it was created. We're fortunate that the area is trad bolted - I know I feel pretty confident most other areas that I visit with a training ground as bold at SLO can be. May 28, 2004
He's right about the sandle castle analogy except for one important point...the sand castle is temporary and the route is permanent. May 29, 2004
I was climbing Thin Man last week and there were only 4 bolts. I would appear as if the matter has been resolved. Its nice to see that respect for tradition is alive and well. Jun 7, 2004
You make a good point John, and I think it is of equally good style to do any and all bolting activities on lead! Jun 8, 2004
Anonymous Climber  
Climbing community take note: The idea that Thin Man should have another bolt is not a new one. Every climber visiting Shadow Wall I have ever met since I first moved here in 2000 has had an opinion on this matter. One guy went so far as to say he didn't care about the local ehics because the ones with their panties in a bunch will die pretty soon or be unable to get to the wall to check out the route. Pretty harsh but something to think about. If enough people agree that for future climbers safety another bolt on Thin Man is needed, then it will happen. The question is do we make a huge issue out of it hoping to leave a lasting impression, but possibly dividing a small group with an even smaller voice, like in Eldorado Canyon and crags in Washington?Do we accept that eventually changes like this may happen, but blindly hope retro and over bolting doesn't take hold on our crag? Hypothetically a climber could put a route less than six inches to the left or right Inner Sanctum and place a more comfortable amount of bolts in the rock, call it something catchy, and create a "new route".Is this a new route?Is it retrobolting? Is Tobin Sorenson doing back-flips in his grave right now? Ethics when it comes to altering rock is one area to be looked at. Ethics when it comes to altering a route is another.Ethics considering future climbers safety is a whole new ball game.

I say to remove the possibility of this happening on new lines, bolt in a safe and sane manner taking in the considerations of other climbers abilities. Gone are the days when depressed antisocials constantly put them selves in near death situations so they could bang their chest at the local bar and compare penis size. Climbing is precision, grace, power, and art. Lets leave the egos at home and climb for the pure joy of moving over stone. At one time we all had a hard time with 5.5, just because you can lead 5.13 doesn't mean you should put a 80 ft runout on a 5.7 Jun 21, 2004
Well, anonymous climber obviously doesn't want to be identified...I will identify myself and say that I agree wholeheartedly with his post...especially this, "...just because you can lead 5.13 doesn't mean you should put a 80 ft runout on a 5.7." Jun 21, 2004
Times must sure have changed on Shadow wall within the past decade if everyone up there thinks there should be an additional bolt on Thin Man. I moved to SLO in 1990 and climbed at Bishop's extensively for seven years and I never heard anyone suggest the possibility of adding a bolt. Yes, there was talk about it being a bold lead because of the runout climbing at the top, but that was just part of the character of the climb. The climbing at the top is significantly easier and therefore should have fewer bolts. You are well above the ground at that point and should be in no danger of decking. I've never heard of anyone coming off on the top half of that climb.

Safe climbing is not just about how many bolts are placed on a route. I've had a bolt clipped at my waist and still fell ten feet stopping just short of hitting a ledge due to poor belay techniques. I've also had good belayers reduce the length of falls and provide dynamic belays to prevent slamming into protruding features. Rock climbing is inherently a dangerous activity. It was pioneered by individuals who set out to do what others perceived as impossible. Now that has become a mainstream sport, does that mean that all climbs should be made accessible to all users? I say no. If a 5.13 climber puts up a 5.7 climb with an 80 foot runout is that selfish? An extreme example, but sure. At the other end of the spectrum, if that same route was put up by novice climber with a bolt every foot isn't that selfish as well?

Have the people who agree that Thin Man is adequately bolted started to die off or become crippled? That route has been climbed safely for decades, why is it only now coming under attack for being dangerous? I suggest that maybe it's the climbers and not the climbs that are more dangerous now.

I totally agree that climbing is "precision, grace, power, and art", but for some such as myself, it's also more. You can get all of that in a gym or even toproping. Climbing is as much mental as it is physical and lead climbing is where the mental piece become critical. Shouldn't there be climbs that push those mental limits for those who are interested?

Just try and respect the history of this sport and your local area. If a climb seems too dangerous then don't lead it, but don't assume that it's too dangerous for everyone else. Jun 22, 2004
Jon Hanlon
Jon Hanlon   SLO
Some people might want an extra bolt on Thin Man, but definitely not everyone. The majority of contributors to this site so far are against it.

Climbing is not only about moving around on rocks in ideally protected circumstances, and in many ways the early hardmen at Bishop Peak HAVE provided for future climbers...For example, Thin Man has provided me with a great sense of pride and accomplishment, and Inner Sanctum has provided me with inspiration and admiration. I wouldn't trade that for a few clip-ups on Shadow Wall.

Times haven't changed that much around here, as evidenced by the nearly instantaneous removal of the added bolt on Thin Man. As for getting up to the wall... with any luck I plan on being able to hobble up there in my panties (or diapers) for 25 more years or so. Jun 23, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Dave, your comments are right on the money! The question of 'why do we climb?' could easily be a topic in and of itself, but to say it is just about movement on rock as AC suggests really doesn't paint a complete picture. The mental aspect is something that some of us still value. Jun 23, 2004
Dave, MikeHi I'm AC in the previous post many months ago. I put it up before getting a username, but I would like to attach my name to it and set the record straight. I f you knew me and watched me climb then you would know I really enjoy run-outs often well above small almost worthless protection. Why? Well because that is part of my enjoyment of "moving over stone". In order to do this type of climb it requires a)grace b)power and c) precision, elevating climbing to a form of d)art. This can be done on a boulder problem, top-rope, multi pitch trad route, sport route, etc. etc. Climbing is a free form of expression where only the in_dividual involved sets and defines its parameters. I.e.: climbing is what you make of it. I was commenting on what should be taken in to account when putting up a new route on Bishop's and the surrounding areas. I have no comment on the whether routes done here in the past were bold or just plain stupid. I wasn't here when they were put up so I will never fully grasp their state of mind while placing bolts...and I don't care to. I feel we should be respectful of the rock and climbers abilities when placing bolts in our local crags. May 23, 2005
vincent lopez
vincent lopez  
i did this route post removal of the 5th bolt and i'm very glad it wasn't there to clip . the climbing in that long runout is ass easy and that fact that you could potentially take a 60+ foot fall will do wonders to sharpen your climbing ability and footwork . do this route and then go tell somebody about it..... Sep 11, 2005
John Knight
  5.9 R
John Knight  
  5.9 R
Led Thin Man (for the first time) yesterday. I'd followed it once or twice several years ago but never got around to leading it due to it's reputation about it being seriously runout. Yeah, it's definitely runout but only on 5.7 ground (which quickly eases back to 5.6). If you made the (well protected), friction, crux moves down low, you won't have any problem on the runout.

For me the crux was right at bolt 3. A few feet above bolt 3 and the terrain eases quickly and larger holds appear when you need them. After bolt 3, follow the obvious line (often the holds are chalked) and you won't miss bolt 4.

If you can climb 5.9 friction, you shouldn't have any problem with Thin Man.

Happy Climbing!

John Jul 16, 2009
Floyd Hayes
  5.10a R
Floyd Hayes  
  5.10a R
Top-roped it after leading THC 5.10a and thought it was just as hard if not harder, and harder than 5.9 slab in Yosemite (e.g., Marginal). I wish it had a few more bolts. Mar 22, 2010
Ryan Nevius
Chiang Mai, TH
  5.9 R
Ryan Nevius   Chiang Mai, TH
  5.9 R
I just got back from climbing Thin Man today and I'm going to be my opinion, it's a terrible climb. Who cares about the runout nonsense. When it comes down to it, it's not that great, especially compared to Fat Man to the left and Shadow. As far as the runout is concerned, make sure you completely understand that this is a true "R-rated" route and that there is no doubt it is a ballsey lead. Also as a small note, make sure not to traverse right after the third bolt. The holds on Inner Sanctum are tempting, but the lichen between the two routes is thick! Jun 9, 2011
Jim Reynolds
Jim Reynolds  
Climb Thin Man again yesterday and realized my previous comment isnt very helpful. Yes there is a big fall potential on the route, but the runout ground is very straight forward.

I would not recommend this for a new 5.9 leader. Only a focused and confident leader should attempt this route. I think the runout on Shadow compares quite well. Not hard or demanding, but also not a joke

That aside, this is an amazing route with great movement. it flows so nicely Feb 2, 2012
With all the argument over a fifth bolt being added up high, I'd just like to point out that as a solid and confident 5.9 leader, I pitched just before clipping bolt 3 and it was a big fall! This route is intense, and I have no problem with how it is bolted. It's just not for me :) Feb 28, 2013
Sean P. Sullivan
Clovis, Ca
Sean P. Sullivan   Clovis, Ca
Went for the lead on Thin Man yesterday. Sick!! Crux for me was between 2nd an 3rd bolt. After that it was smooth sailing, and run the hell out. Turns 5.6 really quickly though. A bishop peak classic no doubt. Could be my favorite on the mountain. If you want to top rope, consider leading up fat man or middle man, and bring your partner up. Then lower them to the base and top belay. May 20, 2014
Wes Mantooth
San Luis Obispo, CA
  5.9+ R
Wes Mantooth   San Luis Obispo, CA
  5.9+ R
This climb is mega sick!!!!! The crux for me might have been the approach to the base, but that was before the new road was cut in. Does any body know when there going to poor the side walk? Jul 7, 2014
Jordan Collins
South Lake Tahoe
Jordan Collins   South Lake Tahoe
Super fun, cruxes well protected. the first 3 bolts of climbing are delicate and thoughtful. 1 or 2 5.9 moves.. the rest is hard 5.8 slabby dancing. Maybe the best 5.9 at bishop peak. Aug 5, 2015

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