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Apocalypse '91

5.13b, Sport,  Avg: 3.8 from 28 votes
FA: Kurt Smith, Mike Pont
Colorado > Rifle > Rifle Mtn Park > Project Wall


This killer route climbs takes the very overhanging line just right of the cave in the center of the Project Wall, starting out of the dirt in the parking lot and not up in the cave itself. It can be recognized by a bulbous, blue tufa that gives way to very overhanging white rock at the start.

Sustained, cruxy climbing through the middle gives way to a rest, then another powerful bulge and a finishing headwall on depressingly slippery crimpers. This is a long pitch, bolted in the days when routes ended at half a rope length no matter what. Thusly, don't be discouraged when you find the finishing "jug" at the anchors is actually a flat sloper. Many people hang a long sling or two off the anchors and grab those once they have the sloper, before clipping.

Were this route extended, even just another 10 meters, it would surely be much, much harder. Nevertheless, it is a Rifle classic and a must-do at the grade.

Kneebar trickery gets you through the lower crux. Ask a local for beta.


15 quickdraws and a 60 meter rope (though a 50 meter should suffice).

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] I know of knee-bars in the upper crux, but what is there down low?

I doubt this route is modified. Feb 20, 2002
[Hide Comment] Kneebar beta: Two kneebars I used 1)I used a right kneebar to rest shortly after the lower hamhock crux. You'll get the kneebar after you move past the chain draw. 2) I got a left kneebar up near the top before you move into the last crux. Sep 11, 2002
[Hide Comment] I actually used 5 kneebars on this route - the one in the crux favors the shorter person. The route is well worth the effort. Enjoy. Sep 15, 2003
[Hide Comment] It seems clear that this route was initially done (and graded) w/o the kneebar technology, am I wrong. I got on it w/ only the rubber on my feet and found it to be excellent, but stout (compared to some others of the grade in the park)...and then had other climbers spray about it being easy and "whatever grade". Not that it matters at all...its a great route, just curious if it is one that has "succumbed" to the rubber kneepad. Jul 2, 2004
[Hide Comment] Now extended by Andy Raether...anyone know how much further past the original anchors? Sep 20, 2005
George Squibb
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Only goes about 15 feet further; not as hard as the lower crux, but harder than the rest of the route. The extended climbing is not that great, but really adds to the quality of the route. Having done the short version a couple of times over the years, I managed the extended route 2nd try; so I'm guessing soft .13c or something. Thanks to Andy for finally correcting something that needed to be fixed a long time ago - now one of the best hot weather routes in the canyon. Jun 26, 2006
George Squibb
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I should add that Dave Pegg actually added the bolts (within the Rifle permit process); Andy just warmed up on it one day for the FA Jul 6, 2006
Rob Eison
Denver, CO
[Hide Comment] The low crux between the 5th and 6th bolts isn't too bad once you commit to the high right knee bar. The technical crux was definitely the last 10 feet of climbing right before the extension anchors. 2 left knee scums on the upper third of the route before this last push help to bleed it back. Skip the first anchors entirely as it's otherwise well-protected around that section and the first anchor clip is awkwardly positioned and energy-sapping. Incredible route and hard for the grade with the extension. Jul 31, 2011
Allen Chaney
Greenville, SC
[Hide Comment] Ext. = Where My Pockies At?, 13c. Apr 15, 2012
Ryan Johnson
chattanooga tn
[Hide Comment] The route should just be called 'Apocalypse', 13b, for the climbing to the second anchor, which is a very logical stopping point and only marginally harder than the O.G. anchor. Jan 8, 2013