Type: Sport, 75 ft
FA: Steve Cheney, 1986. Equipped 2000
Page Views: 21,076 total · 96/month
Shared By: William Prehm on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This route is located directly up from the parking area at Cactus Cliff. Very prominent bolted corner-crack at the far left.

This is a well-protected route making it a very good beginner lead.


9 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor.
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
The photo of the climber makes it seem like that corner would be a perfectly and legit trad lead.... if so, it's a shame it's bolted, despite being a good beginner lead. Nov 14, 2001
William Prehm
William Prehm  
I agree. The climb could easily be climbed trad. It seemed that the placements would have been very straightforward. This is one of those climbs that you go Huuummmm wonder why this happened? Maybe just for convenience since very few people go to shelf to trad climb. Nov 14, 2001
Just because the bolts are there is it no longer possible to trad lead it? You could bring a rack down and lead at least six routes under 5.10b at Shelf that I can think of off the top of my head. Check out Castrator and Barney on Freeform Wall. There is Bat (shit) crack at the Menses Prow area, and another open book corner on the other side of CA Ethics pinnacle there. Add this one and then a good warmup 9+ thing we did at the Bank last time and that's a pretty full day. Have at it.

The more I think about it, since I'm such a weenie, it seems like forcing myself to trad lead around good solid bolts might not be bad for my Mind Control.

Whatcha think? Anyone want to hump a trad rack to Shelf in the near future? Nov 14, 2001
William Prehm
William Prehm  
Yes, that climb to the right of CEP is called First Blood and is a super climb. I have never tried it trad. Add Sticks and Stones... on Cactus Rose Wall to your list. I swear you will see it and HAVE to climb it. I guess with some of these cracks being bolted if you ever get in trouble leading it trad you could always just clip a bolt and keep from getting hurt. Might be a good way for some climbers to break into trad climbing with out so much risk. Nov 14, 2001
Scott Hansen
Westminster, CO
Scott Hansen   Westminster, CO
Bolting cracks at a sport area is a good way for people to break into trad climbing!? I don't think I want the kind of people who are willing to bolt cracks, because they can't lead them on gear, running loose in trad areas. What's so hard about rigging a top rope while trailing a rope and placing gear to simulate a lead. I'd say that would be a good way to break into trad. I know my climbing pals may feel differently but I still have a hard time swallowing the justification for bolting cracks just because a place is primarily a sport area. I guess I'm off beating the drum for a more global ethic rather than local ethics when it comes to sesitive issues. I just would like to see bolting of cracks stopped. I'm sure it's a still a very fun lead, either way. Nov 15, 2001
I also feel that bolting cracks is unjustifiable and not in the spirit of climbing. The excuse that the route is on a 'sport crag' is a pitiful one. Are these climbers so lazy that they can't carry a rack of gear on a 10 minute approach? As more and more bolted routes are squeezed in between the natural routes the crags get designated as 'sport crags' thereby rationalizing more and more bolts. Why does somebody with a drill get to designate a crag as a 'sport crag' anyway?

In the recent American Alpine Journal you can read about how the practice of bolting cracks has been brought to Patagonia. In order to stop the lowering of standards in places that represent the state of the art we need to stop lowering the standards at our home crags.

Nov 16, 2001
So what if people want to do it sport. True, the route is perfect for TRAD....if ya wanna lead it trad than forget about the bolts and use your rack. but dont pull out the bolts. just ignore them. Oct 1, 2002
I may be opening a can of worms here...but here goes. I know people occasionally trad climb at Shelf but isn't that limestone not the best rock? How do you know if there isn't an air pocket right behind that seemingly solid cam placement? I've heard leading on gear at Shelf appears solid but actually is not. Oh well, what do I know? Oct 2, 2002
David Danforth
David Danforth   California/Colorado
I think everyone is right in their own sense here. Bolting a crack doesnt seem the most logical thing to do. However, there was a time when i didnt have much of a rack other than my draws, probobly the same with all of us. I did this route a few weeks ago. Its a great route, trad or bolted. it doesnt matter much. Those of us feel more comfortable on bolted routes (me) can use the bolts. Those of us who enjoy the thrill of trad climbing (me the other 50% of the time) can simply ignore the bolts and work on placing pro. But it isnt wise to take the bolts out. Regardless of wether or not it was smart, whoever bolted worked to do it, and theres no reason why his/her work should go to waste. Oct 31, 2002
I thought this was an excellent climb. One of the better moderate routes in the area. Feb 2, 2003
To whomever painted the warning at the start of Crynoid Corner about the large dangerously loose boulder on the route: "Thank you!!". The location and condition of that boulder was indeed eminently life threatening. To all others reading this: as of today that boulder has been removed. So, you may now disregard the warning at the base of this route, concerning that particular block. However, in the future other blocks on this route (as well as most other routes) will become dangerously loose. Some will be large. Get in the habit of testing all blocks and flakes with a tap to check for hollowness, followed by gentle pressure before trusting them. Any person who would have just reached up and yarded out on this particular block today would have died and killed their belayer in the process. Nov 17, 2003
Limestone undergoes a process called "case hardening" . Limestone (Calcium Carbonate) dissolves in slightly acidic groundwater (caused by dead material). This erosion is what causes pockets. It also creates a hard wall on the outside of the rock, leaving softer rock within. Imagine salt migrating to the outside of your favorite ball cap when you are sweating away. When it dries it leaves a crust, just like certain limestones, especially the ones with sandstone like properties (sandstone is porous). I think that is the argument behind not using trad gear at Shelf. The rock feels strong, but it is basically brittle. A nut placement or cam could litterally explode the rock it is placed in. Mar 30, 2005
Scott Edlin
boulder, co
Scott Edlin   boulder, co
Fun climb. Too bad it's a shamelessly bolted trad climb. Be careful pulling your rope. Apr 6, 2006
Be really careful pulling your rope on this one... the crack eats 'em. Climb is fun enough I didn't mind leading it a second time to retrieve a rope. Sep 24, 2007
Geoff Elson  
This is GREAT beginner trad lead, hands-size gear, pretty lame that it is bolted. Aug 27, 2008
Jay Samuelson
Denver CO
Jay Samuelson   Denver CO
Excellent climb. True, it would go fine on gear, but so would a lot of routes at shelf. This is obviously a sport climbing destination, why haul a rack out there for a route or two? Doesn't make much sense. As others have said, be careful pulling your rope on this one. Jun 16, 2009
Colorado Springs
mountainmicah83   Colorado Springs
Fun climb to climb Trad. I was able to go all passive with hexes and tricams. Fun to purposely not use SLCDs.

Slicer is the 5.10 to the left with the bouldery start. Feb 28, 2011
Denver, CO
Seb303   Denver, CO
So tired of trad climbers whining about routes in Shelf being bolted. It's LIMESTONE, people! Hellooooo! Anyone who leads trad should know it's not safe to place gear on limestone. There's plenty of other destinations in this lovely state for you to trad climb. Let the sport climbers have a few cracks to climb without being ridiculed. Geeez! Nov 30, 2015
Limestone is brittle, you don't trad it unless you have to. There are technical reasons for this, of course most of the whiners here don't respect sound explanations from experienced climbers/geologists and just jump on the anti-sport bandwagon. Oct 13, 2016
Arlo F Niederer
Colorado Springs, CO
Arlo F Niederer   Colorado Springs, CO
"Limestone is brittle, you don't trad it unless you have to. There are technical reasons for this, of course most of the whiners here don't respect sound explanations from experienced climbers/geologists and jump on the anti-sport bandwagon."

So you trust bolts in the same brittle limestone? All the arguments against using trad gear apply equally to all those bolts. The bolts might be placed in a relatively solid block which is backed or surrounded by limestone degraded by acidic groundwater...it's a lame excuse to justify sport climbing.

People place, trust, and fall on trad gear in much softer rock than the limestone at Shelf - Indian Creek, Red Rocks Nevada, etc.

I'm not anti-sport climbing - I clip plenty of bolts.

The point is preservation of the climbing areas. Climbing areas have been shut down when the general public and government agencies thought the area was being degraded by climbing activities. This happens the most when agencies think users are not employing the methods which cause the least impacts - trad gear causes less impact than a bunch of bolts.

And don't think that they won't shut down climbing because they allow it now. There are many examples of activities that were once allowed for decades that are totally prohibited now! They used to allow bolting in the wilderness, but it is now banned in places like the Wind Rivers.

For cred - I'm experienced AND a geophysicist.... Oct 18, 2016
Tim Kessel
Fort Collins
Tim Kessel   Fort Collins
Lots of fun, great romp up a pretty good corner. Jan 30, 2017
Mark Says
Aspen, CO
Mark Says   Aspen, CO
How do you know if someone's a trad climber? Don't worry, they'll tell you in the comment section.

Really good warm-up route for those of us who forgot to bring our cams and are still breaking into 5.9/10 routes. Aug 22, 2017
Keith W
Keith W  
This is without a doubt, pure fun climbing! Loved it. Great warm-up or cool down. Get on it! Dec 11, 2017
Brian Mohr
Woodland Park,CO
Brian Mohr   Woodland Park,CO
Great lead for the grade! Definitely looking to lead it on gear next time around. Mar 8, 2018