Type: Sport, 70 ft
FA: Bob D'Antonio and Richard Aschert, 1986
Page Views: 6,765 total · 32/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Sep 24, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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See Gravitations. The French Are Here tackles the bulge to the right of Gravitations via pockets and a gaston corner for one hand. The bulge is actually pulled on the left side. Big reaches on good hands lead into the gaston/corner. Pull around and over the bulge to very continuous 5.11d face climbing on greyish-colored stone. I thought that The French Are Here was a very nice line with a relentless series of upper 5.11 face moves following the bulge; I have yet to do it one push, and while I don't know how others experience this route, for me the difficulties arise mostly in the relentless forearm pump. The reaches and big muscle moves are all reasonable if you can detox the pump. Unlike some reach-dependent routes, on The French, the reach is all ape index, toe to tips distance confers little advantage while a peculiar genetic ancestry can be quite useful. This is an excellent line and very much worth solving.


Eight to ten draws and a rope.


I agree with Richard that this is an excellent route, but by my reckoning, it's extremely cruxy. If you get by the big lockoff from a nasty two-finger pocket, and a few more 5.12 moves that follow, there should be no problem getting to the anchors. The first few clips are easy. A good route for low-endurance bouldering fiends. Nov 6, 2001
Killer. Oct 2, 2002
Dana Bartlett
Dana Bartlett   CO
Just a great climb!!! Nov 18, 2003
Joe Collins  
Awesome. I found the crux to be the section right after the bulge, moving past the third bolt.The bulge is a hard pull, but no harder than 12a in of itself. Pretty good whipper potential if you blow the end of the crux sequence getting to the 4th bolt. Mar 22, 2004
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
This is surely one of the best on Cactus Cliff, if not all of Shelf. It's certainly the best of the "harder" routes at Cactus that I have been on. I also found the route to be very cruxy. I passed the crux with a long reach off an extremely powerful undercling. There are a few more hard moves past this, then it eases considerably.

This route was bolted back in the 80's, so don't expect a bolt every 4 feet like the other Cactus Cliff routes. Mar 16, 2005
Kaelen Willaims
Kaelen Willaims  
Owww!!! My tips were in a world of pain! The upper part is sharp. Felt easy for .12c. May 31, 2008
Seth Finkelstein
Denver, CO
Seth Finkelstein   Denver, CO
Awesome line. The third bolt is looking a little suspect; the left side of the bolt hole seems to be deteriorating in the standard Shelf manner. Cuidado. Jan 12, 2010
Brandon Schirm
colorado springs, co
Brandon Schirm   colorado springs, co
The third bolt needs replaced, it is bent and someone tried to reinforce the bolt with glue. I will try to catch up with Bob D. and ask him if I can replace it. Mar 1, 2010
Denver, CO
ZachS00   Denver, CO
Anyone know if that third bolt has been replaced?

Edit: It hasn't yet. The third bolt looks like it was placed in at an angle, not bent. I also didn't see evidence of glue or any bolt deterioration. Dec 15, 2011
Boulder, Colorado
Dr. VARMENT   Boulder, Colorado
Bolts are bomber. Soft for the grade. Nov 25, 2012
Derek Lawrence   Bailey
Replaced the third bolt 2/16/13. As mentioned above, the bolt was not bent but was drilled at an angle. The rock around the bolt, however, was breaking up. See photo for before/after. Thanks to ASCA for the hardware!
Feb 20, 2013
Derek Lawrence   Bailey
5th bolt replaced yesterday with ASCA hardware. The hangers on the remaining bolts and anchors were swapped with modern hardware provided by Bruno Hache. Big thanks to ASCA and Bruno!!!! Jan 13, 2014
You guys rock!! Jan 14, 2014

Fantastic route. The climbing is super fun. I've seen probably a dozen people do it, and it seemed like everybody found a different way to get through the crux. If it seems like you are deadending, take a step back and try some other things. You will be pleasantly surprised. Feb 26, 2014
Curt MacNeill
Boulder, CO
Curt MacNeill   Boulder, CO
Perhaps one of the best routes I have done at Shelf. Felt worlds easier than Surreal Estate, Sparkle in the Rain, or Ejection Seat. Once you know what to do it was pretty chill. Props for an onsight of this route as its fairly tricky at the crux. Amazing! I can't believe I walked past this thing for the last 4 years and never once stopped to try it.... May 18, 2014
Jack Sparrow
denver, co
Jack Sparrow   denver, co
This is probably one of the best hard twelves at Shelf. Usually at this grade, the holds are very small and sharp where a high pain tolerance is necessary. This is not the case on the French are here, the crux holds are amazing not sharp or even that small. It's a little steeper than the average Shelf route too. The only downside for me is the old school bolting, clipping the fourth bolt when your pumped on point is very exciting. I would not want to fall with clipping slack out. Overall, an amazing climb with some of the best stone and moves at Shelf. Dec 4, 2014
Boulder, CO
Train4life   Boulder, CO
Very cool climbing. I agree with the spooky fourth clip, but it isn't bad when you figure out the moves and the holds. Very close to 12b, I think Tits Up might be harder! But if you are short, I think this is a solid 12c. I am not short, so I am just assuming, but it looks like the small, unusable sidepull on the right that short people use is small as hell, and I would love to see it done that way. Go Shorties! Feb 15, 2015
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
I'm on the shorter side (5'7") with a negative ape index and didn't find any of the moves to be reachy. I toyed around with that small sidepull as mentioned above, but in the end, I didn't need it and wouldn't of even been able to use it as it's so bad. Heavy Weather at The Bank had bigger moves for me!

As for the grade, I don't know. It was my first of the "grade" at Shelf, but it's nowhere near as hard as something like Power Bulge in the Flatirons, but I think that one just might be a sandbag....

Regardless, definitely an awesome route on great rock with no tweaky moves! Nov 27, 2016
Jake Dickerson
Lander, WY
Jake Dickerson   Lander, WY  
Such a fun route, get on it! The 4th clip is not bad at all. Dec 5, 2016
Boulder, CO
Branty   Boulder, CO
Whoa, there's a way to do it without using that nasty sidepull?! I've got to go back!

Otherwise, really fun! The upper part is still sharp. Oct 7, 2018
Jack Sparrow
denver, co
Jack Sparrow   denver, co
You're right, I guess. When I fell there with a little slack out and almost hit the deck, I must have been imagining how hard it was. I’m pretty solid at the grade, and for the grade with the amount of rope you have out, I recommend feeling solid, but it’s not bad at all. Jan 26, 2019