Type: Trad, 3 pitches
FA: George and Jean Hurley, 1965
Page Views: 2,746 total · 13/month
Shared By: Scott Thompson on Feb 22, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Mountaineer's Route ascends the prominant gully separating the two summits of Shirttail. After scrambling up the loose talus gully between Rincon and West Ridge, you'll arrive at a rotten red ledge that runs along the base of the low angle slabs that make up the bottom of Shirttail. Here you'll see a huge pine tree which sits in the gully, 200 feet up from the ledge. Mountaineer's Route starts about 20 feet up and right from this ledge. Just look for the easiest way to reach the obvious gully.

P1: Cruise up and left on slabs and cracks to reach the gully, and continue up to belay at the huge pine tree.

or do what we did: From the top of the talus approach gully, go left along the broken red ledge for about 15 feet. P1: Start in a short, obtuse right-facing dihedral, passing three trees in the first 15 feet. Run it out over easy slabs for 40 feet up to an upward-pointing triangle flake, finally placing gear, then make some tricky (5.7) moves. Now in the obvious gully, continue up to the huge pine tree and belay - 185 feet.

P2: This is obvious. Start in a deep V-slot and make some interesting chimney moves. Continue up the dirty gully for 100 feet (might want a broom) thrashing through some trees along the way. Go right around the overhang/roof and belay at the top of the gully in the ridge crest - 195 feet.

P3: Go north along the sharp ridge/arete to the flat summit. There is some exciting exposure as you look down the expansive southwest face! - 40 feet.

This route can easily be broken into 4 pitches with a 50m rope, but a 60m will get you there in style.

2 stars for the climbing, but three for the unbeatable summit!


Standard rack to #4 Friend. Bring a couple extra 24in runners for slinging trees.


Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Sorry to disagree but I'm not sure this one deserves 3 stars. Summit is nice. Climbing is ok, at best. The 1st pitch is inobvious. Swanson's or Icarus are far better climbs in this difficulty range in Eldo. Feb 25, 2002
Scott Thompson  
True, true. We'll say two stars. It was my first route submission, and I must've gotten a little excited. Feb 26, 2002
Michael Walker
Loveland, CO
Michael Walker   Loveland, CO
The name says it all, what an adventure. That first pitch was a wonder - as in "I wonder if this is the route?". We started at the base of the wall, not going right, but slightly left of the base, scrambling cl 4 up to the face proper belaying at some small trees. I went up to this huge detached flake thingy laying on the face, passing on the right (and getting pro in finally) and was confronted with a roof. To get up onto the slab above, I placed a mid sized stopper in the crack and smeared/liebacked my way up to a good purple alien (a big sigh of relief), then sketched my way to the large trees at a nice belay ledge after about 80' (maybe?) with some large trees. The huge V slot was now up and climbers right. I decided to belay here and was pretty comfortable - I was sketched out by the moves - how could that have been 5.5??

The v-slot was more like 5.5 for sure - forget chimneying - stemming this baby was a blast! I again belayed at the HUGE pine at the top of the v-slot, tending with unbelievable care not to rain rocks down on my belayer. The next pitch was the best, following cracks up the face left of the arete running it 198' to the ridge crest and some belay cracks. The summit was a scramble.

I certainly wouldn't call this awesome, maybe two stars. Challenging down low and aesthetic up high with objective dangers and route finding needed. And that first pitch - wow, I feel pretty good having pieced together that puzzle - even for a "5.5".... Apr 8, 2002
Scott Thompson  
Sounds like we did the start about the same way, micheal. up to the large detached flake, up over the mini roof, with ok gear--kinda sketchy. then up to another mini roof (where the gear was great--2 friend/purple alien in a little slot at your head) but then a couple way sketchier moves to get above that to easier climbing. i also threw some sort of layback moves in there. inobvious sequences which made me think a longgg time! Definitely not 5.5, but fun anyway! Apr 22, 2002
Michael Walker
Loveland, CO
Michael Walker   Loveland, CO
Indeed, after re-reading it does seem we followed the same line...upon reflection I found the climb quite nice - especially stemming in the huge corner and the highline along the arete. I have no idea how to make the first pitch 5.5 though! I suggest throwing down the guanlet and calling it 5.7 outright. As in "Mountaineer's Route?, yeah, thought provoking 5.7" instead of "Mountaineer's Route? Uggh, I broke my ankle thinking learning to climb on that one. I thought it would be like the Dome." Apr 24, 2002
After that flake, I chose not to do the sketchy roof and went right to some decent pro, hoping to then climb up the slab. Ran out of pro, so did an unprotected but easy traverse hard left, eventually belaying at a tree --- not the tree 200 feet up. This is one way around that roof, but rope drag is an issue. Tricky first pitch. Aug 25, 2002
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
A good route, but even 2 stars was generous considering all things, like the approach and the descent and the like. I wouldn't put this on any of my pals hit-lists, but I wouldn't cross it off either. It was about the hardest 5.5 I've done in Eldo.

With Snow it can be hard to get off of, as it is way up in elevation and the scramble from the peak to the walk off is dirty and collects snow. Be careful. It's a serious pain in the butt to try to go East around from the summit- I have done it that way once.

One star from me. It was kinda good, but nothing I'd put on someone's hit list.

I milled around at the base of this one trying to find a way to do it that seemed like 5.5. After a while, i gave up and climbed something that felt like 5.7 just to get on it. Mar 21, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
This route fits its name well. Funky rock on pitch 1 and bushwhacking in the upper dihedral. The cruxes are generally not as well protected as you might like, but they are short. We tired of the pine needles and ferns in the upper slot and moved right to the arete. This is better climbing but more runout.

Worth doing, but Gambit is a much better route. Oct 17, 2003
The name says it all. Aug 31, 2004
Matt Amory
Boulder CO
Matt Amory   Boulder CO
I climbed this Saturday and found P1 to be difficult for 5.5 (especially close to the top) and difficult to protect (especially near the bottom). It's definitely worth mentioning that there is a LOT of loose rock in the gully, especially around the 1st belay tree. The plentiful dirt in the inauspicious P2 gully is also slippery as hell. P3 was a beautiful short cruise to the summit.
We walked right past the top of the rap going West, and only found it backtracking after about 30 minutes of talus wandering.
Good day overall, but I definitely won't leave my sneakers (or water) at the bottom if I make the trip again. Sep 24, 2007