Type: Trad, 4 pitches
FA: Tom Pomtier, 1993
Page Views: 2,034 total · 10/month
Shared By: Michael Walker on Jun 7, 2002 with updates from JFM
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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This route lies on the southern end of the grand slab skirting the Piz Badille. It is a bolt protected, easy romp up smears and the occational crack to a two bolt anchor. Interestingly, the 2001 Gillett guidebook to the Estes Park Valley calls this one simply "Sympathetic Mind" while Peter Hubbel's 1999 "idea guidebook" has the more colorful vulgar name given here. You be the judge for which name fits more accurately.

Start this route from a small ledge with trees about 50 feet above the base of the rock. You can gain this ledge by scrambling in from the climber's right.

Gaining the first bolt may be the crux of this route, as it is easily 15' off the ledge. The climbing is easy; however, and a fine jug awaits those who manage the first couple smears off the ledge. The technical crux is found at the third bolt, some good smearing up a headwall. Run it out to the fixed pin in the crack above, which can be backed up with a yellow Alien, and then to the top.

Rap 80' to the ledge. This first pitch is 5.6.

P2. Per JFM: an extension to the route exists straight up from the bolted anchor and is about 130 feet total length. This ends at a moderately-sized pine tree. There are no bolts here.

P3. Heading onward from there leads to 5.7-5.8 terrain with sparse, questionable gear. This path surmounts a lichen-covered 5.8 roof and belays at another smaller tree.

P4. A final pitch on the opposite side (NW) of the false-summit pitch listed for The Ridge / Right Side.


4 bolts and a fixed pin lead to a two bolt anchor. A yellow Alien or small stoppers may add a little comfort but are not essential.


- No Photos -
To add to this route's fun quotient, head up and left from the SMF bolts for two or three more pitches of nebulous, slightly runout climbing to the summit. There are many variations - I thought we took the most obvious line, and we encountered mostly 5.6 with a couple of spots of 5.9-. Jun 13, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I noticed that one of the guidebooks indicates this route is 130' long and the other a half pitch. Is there another anchor above the 80' one? Jun 14, 2002
I'll probably regret opening this can of worms... Responding to Michael's comments: The reason I listed this route as SYMPATHETIC MIND in my guide is that I don't particularly like vulgar route names. As I remember it, I was sitting in Tom Pomtier's living room with Alvino Pon, and they were helping me fill in the details on several routes they had done, including this one. I said something like "My mom and dad are going to read my guide. My daughters will be reading it soon enough. So is it OK if I list this route as Sympathetic Mind?" Both Tom (the FA guy) and Alvino understood my point of view, and gave me their blessing to censor the name (if censorship is the right word here -- perhaps censorship with permission).

I'm as potty-mouthed as the next guy when the mood hits me, but when it comes to putting something in writing, I prefer a more refined style. As more and more children take up climbing, I feel some sense of duty to write a book that elevates the sport. Heck, we don't even need children as part of the equation -- I want to write a book that elevates my fellow man, and degrading route names run counter to that goal.

For the record, I also edited the name of the small pinnacle in the Crags (on Twin Sisters) that some call Enos Mills' Last Erection. I just called it Enos Mills (a more dignified way of remembering the father of RMNP in my mind). You can, of course, call it whatever you like -- there are plenty of rocks (and climbs) that have several names, and I just chose one that fit my sense of good taste.

There are a bunch of other names that toe the line of decency, which I kept as-is. Consider Reusable Love Bag right next to Sympathetic Mind -- I would have liked to explore some other names for that one with Alvino, but didn't want to push the issue, and that name at least requires a somewhat mature reader to understand it crosses the line of good taste. Penis Chimney on the Bookmark Pinnacle (Lumpy Ridge) is appropriately named -- the thing really does look like a penis after all, so it may as well be named as such (though I would argue against giving every free standing pinnacle a phallic name). The 44 on the Book got its name when Bob Bradley (friend of Paul Mayrose, FA) imagined it would take a bra size of 44 to contain the breast-shaped flake along the left edge of the roof (with a triple E cup, I suppose). A little juvenile perhaps, but not too bad (and very much an inside joke so that the vulgarity is kept within a small circle of those in-the-know).


As long as I'm commenting on a route under the South Saint Vrain heading, I'll add this: Richard Wright wrote in his description of Sweat Loaf that I am intending to write a guidebook to the area (it's fine with me, Richard, that you let the cat out of the bag). Ever since I moved to Longmont, SSV has become my backyard climbing area, and I have in fact been collecting notes and drawing topos (distributing some to friends). I'm a little hesitant to publish a guide, however, for several reasons.

1) Some climbers would prefer that the canyon remain a backwater area (that's how I would characterize its current status). A good guidebook would probably change that (and I don't mean to imply that the current guides for the area are bad books -- it's just that they are very much outdated, and list about half the existing routes).

2) The steep V-shaped canyon has poor top soil and is very prone to erosion. Nearly all of the approaches need trail work to allow for increased traffic, or they will become horribly eroded (witness the gully to Monkey Skull, or any of the somewhat popular crags above the river). I've yet to contact a National Forest ranger, but I wonder whether that agency would look kindly on an influx of climbers and all the problems attendant with that. I'm not sure I want to be the one to bring SSV into the 21st century with a new guidebook.

3) It appears as though a fair amount of work needs to be done to capture the history of the area. The old guides don't give any FA info, and I've run across plenty of newer routes on cold day hikes that are very much mystery routes.

SO, the question of the day: does the portion of the climbing community that visits this site support the idea of an updated guidebook to SSV? Jun 23, 2002
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
Oscar Wilde: "Any great man can make history, but it takes a genius to rewrite it." Jun 24, 2002
Michael Walker
Loveland, CO
Michael Walker   Loveland, CO

Thank you for taking the time to clear up that mystery. I'd have to say that it is a mighty tall order to erase the politically incorrect actions of climbers. From the days of the Gunk's Vulgarians, the climbing community has been on the ugly side of this great social order...and pretty proud of that fact. It is not offensive to me to "censure" (again if that is what you want to call this) the name, in fact, the added depth of the full name to those "in the know" adds a little spice when you're at the base. As in: "You know, Son, you're old enough to know the full name of this climb..."

I do think, however, that your actions right or wrong, are just an example of the changing times. No longer are climbing Bums the only ones on the rocks - and to them, who cares what some derelict names his or her route. Now the mountains are crawling with the tres chic, the average Joe and Jill, with their easily offended mores and morals. Right or wrong, it's like groomers at the ski slopes. The Mad River Glen "Ski it if you can" philosophy is dead. A homogenous, safe experience that is not offensive to anyone's skills is what the public wants. Most of it.

But those in the know will snicker everytime someone makes reference to "The Bean Liquer Wall" (Yes, there really is another story behind that name).

Now, about the SSV guidebook....hmmm, quandary....I do enjoy the untouched quality of the canyon and the sense of discovery from finding unpublished routes...but, if you're into making a living selling guidebooks, I'd buy one. Selfish consumer that I am. Jun 25, 2002
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
I would like to see an updated South St. Vrain guide book, and would purchase it as soon as it became available. I have both of Bernard's other guidebooks, and have enjoyed climbing at the Monastery, Jurassic Park, and Jug Dome as a result. I understand the concerns of local climbers who don't want to see their crags trashed from overuse, but SSV will never see as many climbers as Boulder Canyon or Eldorado. An updated guidebook would spread out climber use, reducing impact on the more popular crags. Establishing defined access trails, marked by cairns where necessary, will reduce erosion and climber impact. This is probably the most important step in maintaining the pristine quality of the SSV area. Aug 19, 2002
Bryan Hylenski
Gyeongsan, South Korea
Bryan Hylenski   Gyeongsan, South Korea
Regarding a new guidebook for SSV, I think I'd have to agree that the guidebook is well needed. The first climb I ever did in Lyons was on Mushroom Massif. I climbed all day and didn't see another climber for miles (besides my partner). I enjoyed the isolation and serenity (besides the 40 drunken picnickers at the river bank, all related I'm sure!) I

I have suggested SSV to many climbing partners and friends, who just laugh and grin. "Why would you want to go to Lyons, when you have BC and Eldo, right here?"

Because of that very common attitude in Boulder towards Longmont and Lyons, a new guidebook for SSV would do nothing, but increase the satisfaction and level of climbing of those open-minded climbers willing to leave the the confines of BC and Eldo. This area needs a new guidebook, but if it never happens and hoards of newcomers never arrive I will be just as happy leaving work at 3pm, heading up the hill from Lyons and climbing till dark with no one around but the birds and an occasional mosquito!

If your going to write it, let me know I'd sure love a copy to replace my worn torn beaten copy of Peter Hubbell's book (well worth every penny though!) Jul 31, 2003
Hey guys, censorship will not change anything. Profanity will always exist and a word is just a word (reference "sticks and stones..."). I don't like what you named your kids, frankly it offends me, I hope you don't mind if I call them whatever I want. Apr 20, 2008
Kaner   Eagle
I've yet to climb the route and I do appreciate the work Bernard has done. I've used your guidebooks before and had great times doing so. I even met you once while I was working at Backcountry Escape (you stopped in to see Dan H) and you seemed like a great guy.

It is my personal opinion that we do not need to water down route names. I'm sure your kids have heard worse things on the playground before they even knew what they meant. I feel like obscene or interesting names add to a route, rather than make it too vulgar for the masses. If people wanted to participate in a proper sport they would be playing croquet, not hiking around in the hills looking for a rock to get on top of. By changing the name of the route, it can make it fun for people 'in the know' to let their buddies in on the joke. But what happens in 100 years when everyone that knows the inside joke isn't around to tell it? I'm sure the word Fuck will still be around, just maybe not on this route.

I oppose censorship, the same way I oppose overbolting and taming down PG-13 and R routes (irony since I learned to climb in BoCan...). If you can't climb it, wait, work on physical and mental strength and come back when you can. If you're offended by a route's name, don't climb it. Or take a black Sharpie to that word in your guidebook.

It is good to know Bernard had the blessing of those actually involved (FAist) but Sympathetic Mind and SMF have completely different meanings, implications and changes the mindset of the adventure.

Again, thanks Bernard for your hard work and I do look forward to your new book on the area. Just weighing in with my opinion but I am just a user, not a provider so do what you will. Sep 25, 2008
Cary Gaynor
Cary Gaynor   Longmont,CO
Great, well-protected, bolted face route! Not something you expect to find in this semi-Alpine environment. Best time to climb this is in the fall, when you can cross the creek at the west end of the Piz. Great warm-up climb or a starting point for the west face route to the top. Oct 20, 2015