Type: Sport
FA: Bob D'Antonio, Richard Aschert, 5/87
Page Views: 22,695 total · 103/month
Shared By: Rog on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

65 Opinions

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Access Issue: Closed October 11th-14th, 2018 Details


I'm straying from tradition here. I have not personally climbed this route, but I have (like anyone else who visits Penitente) stared at it long enough to at least write about it. It is just stunning, a Penitente Canyon landmark. Please note this route has rec'd some drilled pockets which were filled in.


8 bolts + anchors.
Peter Franzen
Phoenix, AZ
Peter Franzen   Phoenix, AZ  
A truly stunning route. Just trust yourself and be confident on the dyno at the start, then get into your best zen-balance mode for the rest of the arete. A spectacular climb on perfect rock- a must do for any 5.12 climber! Nov 8, 2001
I did. It was so ironic that I had to find out if there was any truth to it. Mar 10, 2003
Jonah; There is no truth to it. Jan 28, 2004
Unfortunate to hear Herman Gollner chipped these pockets. A little hard to believe on a 12c because he runs laps on 13c at Rifle. He's anything but fat. More of a ripped human specimen. They don't call him the Herminator for nothing. But maybe this all happened before he was that strong. Does anyone have any more details on this chipping incident? When it happened, etc? Jan 29, 2004
it seems this was going on over here and then polite banter stopped and all was quiet.....http://www.texasclimbers.com/cgi-texasclimbers/beta/157.shtml Jan 29, 2004
Too bad Herman G. stooped to those levels. The guy is a good climber so I don't know why he bothered with chipping. Thanks for the info, Bob. Jan 29, 2004
I think this Alf character might be a bit of a legend. At the Enchanted Tower in NM last March some friends and I ran into Alf -- it must be the same guy, how many people are called Alf? He introduced himself and asked if he could climb with us with a Glock strapped to his hip. How could we say no? For the next three days he did some climbing with us. He claimed to be an astrophysicist and that he lived in a school bus in nearby Datil until some local hooligans took it over, shooting at him to keep him away. He was a pathological liar but he makes a good story. Hearsay has it that he manufactured many holds on established climbs at the Enchanted Tower. Still a wicked cool area, though. He may introduce himself with a gun strapped to himself but he's harmless. To people anyway. Apr 17, 2004
Joe Collins
Joe Collins  
Being an ex-NM person, I've met Alf a number of times at the Box and Enchanted Tower. He actually comes across as a nice, albeit insane, guy. I can't begin to tell you how many Alf tales (some tall) I've heard. They range from the egregious (chipping next to 45 degree wall at Hueco(see Verm's Hueco guide), threating people with guns, etc...) to the more mundane (destroying the access trail at E.T.). The guy has an "...in a Blender" problem at Hueco named after him, after all. Glad to see new "Alf" incidents are being experienced to this day. Apr 19, 2004
chris deulen
Castle Rock
chris deulen   Castle Rock
Incredible dyno, sweet moves, very balancy. May 31, 2005
Ryan Bibler   MT
I am by no means a 5.12 climber, but I would love a chance to hop on this classic line. Is it possible to reach the chain anchors from above to throw down a TR? Jun 29, 2006
I have TR'd this many times by climbing Huecos and then reaching left to the chain. Jun 29, 2006
Jonathan Siegrist
his truck
Jonathan Siegrist   his truck
While the aesthetics and exposure of this route are indeed fantastic, I thought it would be worth mentioning that for a shorter climber (as with many routes at Penitente) the positions for clipping on this route are very strenuous and perhaps even dangerous. I enjoyed this climb but thought that poor bolting greatly took away from its status as 'best sport route in Colorado' (?). Maybe with the draws hanging it would be better...who knows.... Sep 9, 2007
Ken Trout
Golden, CO
Ken Trout   Golden, CO
I felt some of Jonathan's pain on this. Since fixed draws are quite common for hard stuff, like at Rifle, it can feel satisfying to redpoint on fixed draws. Isn't the Euro-rule: If you hang/grab the draws yourself, then do it that day, that's a redpoint? I'm guessing the FA was done this way.

The second clip is a show-stopper for me. I hung a shoulder length sling on #2 and only clipped it once. No high clipping. This way trades an easier clip for increased commitment getting on the ledge. I call this method moving-a-bolt-without-screwing-up-a-masterpiece.

When Iraq was invaded, our son, Tim, was on the ground with the Marines. We were bummerized by all the war-monger propaganda in the news then. What a relief to see Bob up at Cactus. The first thing he said was "This war sucks!" I'll always be grateful for his morale boost! Dec 24, 2007
Joe Collins
Joe Collins  
I agree the bolt placements on the meat of this climb are pretty high, but I think the vast majority of people will pre-hang draws by climbing the Hueco'd 5.10 to the right. As for the 2nd bolt, you are looking at either a serious groundfall if you blow the dyno, or at the very least a bad swinging fall into the arete. Unless you walk this grade in your sleep, you will most certainly want to have that one preclipped. Mar 20, 2009
Ben Scott
Fort Collins, CO
Ben Scott   Fort Collins, CO
Best Sport Route I have ever seen.

Climb tanks for huecos and pre-place draws.
Pre-clip second bolt to save your ass.

Drove 5 hours just to do this route.
It was worth every minute... Jun 9, 2009
Fort Collins
  5.12c/d PG13
Dusty   Fort Collins
  5.12c/d PG13
This is one of the best single pitch lines I have ever done!

As far as safety goes: I think it is mostly a safe bolt up. It can definitely feel a bit spicy throwing the dyno, but I feel like you could flub it and take the fall free from harm as long as your belayer was attentive. The third bolt was fine for me but a shorter climber might want to have a draw prehung on that one (the second bolt is quite a ways below you at this point). The rest of the bolts seemed fine.

Do this climb. Commit to the dyno (it's not that hard), then get prepared for a wild ride up an outrageous arete! Nov 26, 2009
Ben Randolph
Boulder, CO
Ben Randolph   Boulder, CO
This is an incredible line. The draws are hard to hang but "easy" to clip the rope. The dyno can be done statically with a left hand/ foot match, but keeping the body tension is the crux. BRILLIANT!!!! Apr 21, 2010
Hank Caylor
Glenwood Springs, CO
Hank Caylor   Glenwood Springs, CO  
It's been onsighted. Aug 29, 2011
Mike Howard    
Bullet the Blue Sky anchor replacement Fix the chain anchor set up. The current configuration makes you lower off of one link that is very worn out. Fixed 4/29/2012 with Bob D. and Tim Standing. Musssy hook anchor, upgraded old angle iron to 28kN hangers. Apr 29, 2012
Bruno Hache
Longmont, CO
Bruno Hache   Longmont, CO
Bolts #3 and #4 were upgraded by Nate Liles 05/24/2014 with ASCA Stainless 1/2 inch bolts.
The existing bolts #3 & #4 were wrong angle, hence the upgrade.
With Bob D.'s agreement, bolt #3 was lowered 8 inches to increase safety of this clip.
Special thanks to the ASCA for the hardware.
This should address the concern brought up by JStar and Dusty. May 29, 2014
Ryan Gajewski
Longmont, Co.
  5.12+ PG13
Ryan Gajewski   Longmont, Co.
  5.12+ PG13
Don't know about others, but if you are on the shorter side (I'm 5'7") and hanging the draws onsight, this route feels like 12++. To be fair, my technique is terrible.

Stunning line though, I recommend stick clipping the first (or the second if your me) so you don't deck on the delicate opening moves. Feb 22, 2016
Anus Herder
Colona, CO
Anus Herder   Colona, CO

Ben on The Bullet! Feb 4, 2017
Pure majesty. Thank you Mother Nature for this beautiful sculpture. I'm 5'8" and sure, putting the draws up first time can feel sketchy and hard, but once you work through the beta, all the clips are super safe. Get on it! May 27, 2017