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Shelf's Worst Route

5.11d, Sport,  Avg: 1.7 from 7 votes
FA: unknown
Colorado > Canon City > Shelf Rd > Gallery > Menses Prow


If I remember correctly, it is Knapp's Shelf Road guide that gives this route the name. I don't really understand why though. It is actually a pretty good route (IMHO).

To find the route, hike into the Gallery canyon and up to the Menses' Prow. Head left (west) to the California Ethics Pinnacle. Directly behind this pinnacle is Bat Crack, a hand crack/chimney with guano. Just to the right of this is a bolted line that trends slightly to the right; this is the route.

Fun crimping and high-stepping will get you through the fun little blank section. After this, the rock becomes somewhat camouflaged and it may require some searching to find the holds. They are all there; just be patient. Add a little bit of bulge to the top section and it really gets fun. The rock is a little bit chippy in places, so be careful.


Van Horn says 7 bolts and anchors ("Unknown" in the new book, route 51 in the Gallery section).

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Bolt line.
[Hide Photo] Bolt line.

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[Hide Comment] Having climbed this a number of years ago, I can tell you where the name came from. The route was (years ago, anyway) one of the worst choss piles at Shelf. And that's saying something. I remember a terrifying onsight attempt cut short by several holds breaking simultaneously, back in the day. I have no doubt that it's cleaned up significantly since then, though, and the route trends right enough that the belayer generally isn't in too much danger. Bolts are solid, too. So have at it! Oct 18, 2001
[Hide Comment] This route deserves more credit than the name suggests. I'm sure it was considered chossy at some point, and a boulderer with a rope might think the upper part looks like mud (kinda is) and scary (not really), but it's actually fun climbing. Well bolted with good clipping holds. Nothing moved or broke when I climbed it. Seems like there could be lines of greater resistance through parts of it which would take you through less empowering rock... so just avoid those, but falling objects wouldn't hit your belayer, only the folks on the neighboring climb. Mar 14, 2016