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Routes in Shirt Tail Peak

Can't Find My Way Home T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cro-Magnon aka The Tail T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Destruction T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Double Life T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Emperor's New Shoes, The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Future Primitive T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Gambit T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Ginseng Junkie T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Giuoco Piano Direct T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
King Of Pain T,S,TR 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Missing Link T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Moriarty's Mistake T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Moriarty's Revenge T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Mountaineer's Route T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Mrs. Clean Gets Down T,S,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Serrated Jam Crack T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sorenson Crack T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Throne, The T,S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Tiger Balm Arete T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Windlass or 'The Tail' T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Type: Trad, 200 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Richard & Joyce Rossiter, 1986
Page Views: 2,222 total · 12/month
Shared By: David Hous on Mar 14, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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2017 Raptor Closure Lifted Details
Seasonal Closures Details


Shirtail Peak has two prominent aretes; Tiger Balm/Gambit on the left and Giouco Piano on the right. The Mountaineer's Route goes up the big dihedral in between. Three routes cross the "crux buttress" level with P2 of Gambit on the wall between Gambit and Mountaineer's; The Throne, Cro-Magnon and Serrated Jam Crack.

P1: Climb the slab midway between Mountaineer's and Gambit to a short dihedral/small roof (5.8) and up to a large tree with slings.

P2: Follow a short finger crack over a roof (5.8) and up the small left-facing dihedral above. Place gear as the crack in the dihedral ends and traverse one move right and then up thin cracks to a sloping ledge (crux.) Cro-Magnon takes the left (smaller) of the two cracks above the sloping ledge, the larger crack on the right is Serrated Jam Crack. Follow the thin crack (5.9) up to a short face. Climb the thin face (5.8?) up to the two-pin, one bolt anchor on The Throne. I clipped the last bolt on The Throne for gear here as the flakes seem pretty fragile.

A 60M rope should get you down to the tree with slings and another rap to the ground, or finish up to the top on Gambit or something else. Using a 50M rope left us with a little soloing to do between belays, not hard but exposed.

I really enjoyed this climb so I gave it three stars, I suspect others may only give it two, since it is only the second pitch that it outstanding. This route is fairly sustained, the pro is good but takes a little thought to place.

A word on loose rock: Shirtail has it! There were 5 parties on Gambit last Saturday, I got pegged in the head by a pebble and we saw a basketball size boulder crash on the slabs at the base from up high. This is not a good crag to get too popular, but it seems that the lure of Gambit is high.


Lots of wires and some small to medium cams


As for the first pitch, an alternative to the "Description" (which is not in Levin's book) is to scramble up Gambit about 40 ft to just before a tiny (5 ft?) tree. Step right a few feet, up a right-facing corner/obtuse dihedral, step right a few more feet, up another right-facing corner (wasps here in Sept./Oct. as mountainhick's description mentioned), then put the belay at the large tree. If you choose to step up another 20 ft further up and right, you might end up with a belay in an ant's nest. I'd give this first pitch option a 5.9 PG-13 rating eating some medium/small nuts.

As for the loose rock mentioned on the "business pitch", it is fairly easy to avoid/step around. Once you are established in the thin, continuous crack about 30 ft above the large belay tree, the rest of the pitch has solid rock.

As a few have said, the linkup into Ginseng is a given. To avoid the looseness of the top of Ginseng mentioned by Walburn, simply head out left immediately after the crux of Ginseng, and cruise up the really nice arete (last pitch of Tiger Balm with solid rock). Only 5.4 (5.6 when windy), but it might be the best 5.4 I've been on. I personally consider this the best easy arete pitch in the canyon (and you can get here via Gambit too if interested). Nov 25, 2017
Ben Walburn  
Did this today with Teo Mavis. I agree with want to be solid at the grade on this pitch.

We linked this into Ginseng Junkie, and it made for a fantastic .10a link-up, although Ginseng Junkie has a lot of loose rock, and if any of it pulled, it would potentially drop into parties on Gambit. That being said, it is a fun, rope stretching pitch (Ginseng) to the top. Sep 29, 2014
Black Hawk, CO
  5.10a PG13
mountainhick   Black Hawk, CO
  5.10a PG13
Good adventure climbing, Patrik lead the funky first pitch, circuitous, wandering up, right and up, and right and up. Seems like pro is where you need it if you are creative. Look out for some wasps in a thin crack!

Second pitch, Good climbing if you are solid at the grade, but I would not recommend this for someone's first 5.10 lead! Expect some moderate run outs and having to work on some of the pro. Would be a banner pitch if the rock was truly solid and placements a bit more bomber. It might protect a bit better with differently shaped small passive gear than the nuts I had. There are some creaky and loose flakes and a sizable dinner plate flake that I avoided entirely that seems ready to peel off. Traversed left to the "The Throne" top bolt, then past the anchor, left into the corner and up to the big ledge/tree belay to continue up Ginseng Junkie rather than belaying at the bolt/knife blade anchor on The Throne. Sep 11, 2012
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
The second pitch is good with fun moves beginning with the roof. Green alien at the crux. Make a good placement where the crack ends(blue alien) and run it out to the bolt, or as I did, placed an ify yellow alien in a very hollow flake. The first pitch is funky. Oct 18, 2004
Great route but David is not kidding about the loose rock up there. I too clipped the bolt on Throne just below the anchor because I found the slab moves to be pretty tricky and well above my last piece (a small nut). I found good gear placements often occupied the good holds, mostly nuts and small cams. I also used the edge of S. Jam Crack at times for my right hand and foot and got a good rest. If going to the top it's probably better to climb past the anchor and belay a the next ledge wih a large pine tree. Apr 12, 2003
David Hous
Boulder, Colorado
David Hous   Boulder, Colorado
The red line on the photo above is Gambit, so Cro-Magnon follows a line halfway between Gambit and the big dihedral of Mountaineer's. Mar 21, 2003