Type: Sport, 75 ft
FA: Bob Robertson, Ed Quesada, on gear 1986 now retrobolted
Page Views: 10,244 total · 51/month
Shared By: Barrett Cooper on Aug 3, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

184 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


This is a seriously fun, bolted crack that goes at 5.11b between Cactus Cliff Addict and Ain't Nothing But a Hang Dog. Start just to the left of the boulders in the corner and follow the obvious hand and finger crack past seven bolts. Do not confuse this route with Cactus Cliff Addict which climbs directly up the corner and then moves out onto the face right of I Claudius.


7 bolts to anchors.
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
A stick clip might be useful for the first bolt because it is a tricky clip above some jagged boulders. Mar 29, 2003
Drew Allan
Drew Allan   Denver/Aspen
If you want to go limestone crack climbing at Shelf, this is your route. It offers everything from fingers to hands and definitely merits three stars. I climbed to the first bolt with my left hand in the crack and was able to clip and down climb to the right. It is thin to clip and you don't want to fall. If it doesn't feel right, do as Bryson suggests and stick clip. Save your arms for the moves over the little roof. RT's book suggests 11a and this site 11b.Whichever it is, you will be smiling at the anchors. Jun 9, 2003
I did this years ago... before I considered myself a crack climber, and I thought it was 5.10.

It might tick in at 9+ in the South Platte. I'll give it 5.10 for sport climbers.

Just imagine if you had to place the pro...

rob Dec 28, 2004
FA: Bob Robertson and Ed Q with trad pro. Dec 31, 2004
A concerned citizen  
Good climb. Not really a 5.11 though. It would be nice if someone could put a wrench to the left anchor bolt. It's nut was finger-tight after I left. Jan 26, 2005
Englewood, CO
ROC   Englewood, CO
I felt that the 5.11 rating was justified, but I'm not a great crack climber by any stretch of the imagination. As far as the above "stick clip" comments goes, I lead this last weekend and felt very solid clipping the first bolt. I had a bomber right hand on the flake out right of the bolt. I don't believe this is off route as clipping the bolt from this stance is easiliy within reach. Look for the no hands rest (knee bar) just under the little overhang!!! Great climb!!! May 10, 2005
Brandon Bogardus
Scottsdale, AZ
Brandon Bogardus   Scottsdale, AZ
I haven't done this climb, but why are there bolts next to a crack? Any self-respecting (and perhaps tub-thumpin') trad climber would call this lame... Apr 13, 2006
SirVato   Boulder
Sweet route!! I had a good right hand for clipping the first bolt as well. If you blow it, the landing will be shitty though.
Did anyone else notice the runout between bolts 3&4 ?? Seemed like a looong way between those. If you're comfy on cracks it won't be an issue but if cracks are not your thing you may want to keep your cool up there. IMO the jams through that section are straight forward and fairly easy so it's not too big a deal.

Regarding the comment about bolted cracks: I would usually agree w/ the sentiment that a bolted crack is pretty lame. However, when was the last time you took a rack to Shelf Road??

I'm glad I got a chance to get on this, bolted or not it's a great line worth doing. I don't know if it's 11. . . I can't onsight 11 cracks for the life of me yet but, I got this one fairly easily. Jun 5, 2006
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Bolted crack! It's Shelf and it's fun. I did find a red OP link cam placement in the crack between bolts 3 and 4 to be nice for the head. (No, I don't take a rack to Shelf but I do carry a couple of link cams pretty much everywhere for their versatility in cases just like this one.) Jan 27, 2008
Jon Zucco
Denver, CO
Jon Zucco   Denver, CO
Bolted crack: ahhhh. I'm sure if the rock weren't freezing cold this route would've been less numbing and more amazing. I'd say 10d/11a. Feb 8, 2009
Joe Stern
Moab, Utah
Joe Stern   Moab, Utah
Super fun climb - I find it a pleasant convenience to be able to hop on such a route with the standard Shelf rack. I'm predominantly a crack climber and I agree with the folks who consider the 5.11 realm a bit high for the jamming section - probably more like Valley 5.9 handcrack. The roof part sure feels easy 11ish, though. Different styles, different cruxes - typical of a varied climb. As for the first bolt, it seemed pretty casual to me - just focus a little headspace on the slightly polished feet. Fantastic, varied, convenient route! Feb 16, 2009
Chris I
Fort Collins, CO
Chris I   Fort Collins, CO
I guess I need to work on my crack technique, because I found this to be a strenuous 5.11. Without a doubt worth doing, but for those of us who primarily sport climb, the 10d consensus here will throw you off, IMHO. And if you're a solid 11 climber, the first clip is a breeze. May 30, 2010
Top Rope Hero
Was Estes Park, now homeless
Top Rope Hero   Was Estes Park, now homeless
5.10!?! You people are high.

OK, fine...the CRACK sections of I Claudius are fairly sinch, once you develop some decent technique. (Last spring, I had nothing. After having spent two Octobers now in Yosemite? Cinch.) But the rating for this climb comes at the expense of the one or two acrobatic, face climbing, lieback moves that gain the bulge, NOOOOT for any of the crack moves, which happen to be 99% of the route. (So, spare us the tedious comparisons to other crack climbs/areas.)

And those moves ain't no 5.10 moves. Maybe not 11b, not at Shelf, anyway. But certainly harder than 5.10. Oct 25, 2010
Slade   Gunnison
Anybody know anybody that's done this thing with gear any time recently? Jan 27, 2011

Not recently, but yeah about 7 or 8 years ago. Seems I remember the gear being pretty good. Jan 27, 2011
Dan 60D5H411
Colorado Springs, CO
Dan 60D5H411   Colorado Springs, CO
Hey Slade - Did this on gear a couple of months ago. The start is pretty spicy (recommend a good spotter) but well worth the effort. I found myself "re-experiencing" a lot of the routes in the area when approaced with a gear mentality (but I must admit I am glad I wired them on sport first...definitely some funky placements and mild runouts.) Feb 27, 2011
Slade   Gunnison
Hey Dan...way to go, buddy. The "lead on gear" mentality, I think, puts you in this pocket. I'm sure it was cool to do with gear. Will get on that thing with gear soon. Dec 17, 2011
419   Sacramento
My opinion: This is a classic Colorado crack climb.

Where else in CO can you find a limestone crack of this quality? Please tell me so I can go climb it. Warm up on Oscar de la Cholla for a few finger locks and hand jams. Jan 26, 2013