Adventure Projects is hiring an Android engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Ship's Prow

Bologna Pony T,S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Etch-A-Sketch T 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
Half Day's Work T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Ice Cream Turned to Shit T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Keel Haul T 5.13 8a 29 X- 30 E7 6c
Man Overboard T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Portal T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Sarchasm S 5.14- 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a
Scots on the Rocks T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ship Of Fools T,S 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Tunnel of Love T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Yard Arms T 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Type: Trad, Sport, Alpine, 450 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: A. Brown, R. Guerrieri, 1996
Page Views: 1,549 total · 8/month
Shared By: Tony B on Jul 5, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

3 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
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This route climbs out of the obvious, big, left-facing dihedral on the East face of the Ship's Prow to reach the huge arete and then up a small crack on the face to the top. The dihedral starts 120' up, rising out of a left-leaning ramp system for 190' to a brief chimney then finishing in another 80' of left-facing dihedral. The climb is rated as 5.11a and as 5 pitches, traditionally, but it can easily be done in 4. Each pitch is 5.10-5.11.

The route is short for a true alpine route (490 feet, including the 5.10 rising traverse pitch). As well, It is now poseible to rap the route with a single 70m rope.

Approach Ship's Prow from Chasm Lake and come to the obvious left-leaning chimney/ramp. This is P1 of Portal, a route that shares the first 200' with this line, but... the first pitch is wet, mungy, and nasty. The stench of rotting vegetation pours from it, and loose rock abounds there. Aside of the nastiness of wet and stink, there are other reason as not to climb this pitch, such as the destruction of the vegetation in it. If you insist though, slog up that past dirt, water, and loose blocks from quarter to oven size to the top. Otherwise... This nasty journey of destruction can be avoided with a nice variation for the first pitch, climbing "Step One (5.9)" or "Man Overboard (5.10d)" instead- which is how it will be described here. Done this way, the climb could be 3-star.

P1: (5.10d, 130') Climb Man Overboard- see that route description, as posted.

P2: (5.10b, 150') Climb up into the dihedral above and continue for 80+ feet (5.9) until a ledge is on your left and a pin and a few bolts are seen on the right-side, protecting the rising traverse. This starts solid and easy, but gets harder and has poor rock as you continue to the last bolt before the belay. This pitch can be done as a scrunch problem (better = shorter) with a reach crux or a reach problem with a scrunch crux. You will arrive to belay at the bolted anchor somewhat ennervated by the poor rock, still on the left side of the arete. Some holds shed under the feet of my partner causing a mild but unexpected fall.

P3: (5.11, 80') The Gillett book seems to be a little confusing. It shows the belay, fixed pro, and climbing on the right of the arete... (where it is not). The climb remains left of the arete for a while, clipping a fixed stopper and then a bolt (strenuous lieback/flag to clip unless you are very tall) and then makes insecure moves up past the bolt 5.11, some recent broken rock) and then up (5.10, you might land on your belayer of you don't clip the bolt with a short sling and watch your slack carefully) then around the corner and up (5.10). The first fixed pin in Gillett's book is not there and I can not see where it would have been. Work up on some face holds through a bulge (5.9, S) to some good hidden stopper placements. Then, continue up to the visible Lost Arrow and continue on. It is possible at any given time before or after this LA to step right to a right-facing corner with a 0.5-1.5" crack, but the face goes nicely with good pro in seams... continue to a good ledge with a fixed belay. Continue on P4 if desired. I did not do so to avoid the potential problem of rope-stretch if my partner fell off of the crux (as it could be very hard to get back into the wall).

P4: Climb the crack directly above the fixed blay to another fixed belay. Stoppers and cams protect it reasonably well. There is a fixed anchor on top.

This climb formerly had no retreat save the downclimb of 'Gangplank' (5.7. loose) to a rap, or scrabling down the back side of the formation (loose, dangerous) but now has a good fixed anchor up top. Rap the route in 4 raps with a 70m rope (don't skip any stations). A 60m rope will not reach the bottom 2 raps- with the second-to-last being a hazard to down-climb.

Rap 1: A super-good fixed chockstone slung (I could not beat it out) and 2 fixed hexes with Kevlar cord (I beat them in well). They are equalized on green and black webbing to a welded steel ring and rapid link. The station is tied in a little funny due to my inability to get my hands into the crack to do tie-ins on the threads, but this is solidly threaded, fully redundant (3X) and BOMBER! (just a little hard to clip into, so use the steel links). Rap 65' to another fixed station. The rope will pull easily.

Rap 2: The next station is cable swaged onto a 2 fixed pins and a good fixed stopper (I just replaced the stopper and and some of the webbing, but the second piece should be replaced (redundant to the cable). Rap from the two fixed biners here (1 is a locker) down maybe 70' to a pair of bolts/lap-links on the left side of the huge arete.

Rap 3: Rap 115' (you need a 70m rope or 2 ropes to avoid 'adventure') to a big ledge with a fixed rap on a huge flake.

Rap 4: Rap 115' to the ground off of a fixed cable and sling with links. The sling is trash and needs to be replaced, but I was out of replacement webbing. Sorry.


The route requires pro from small stoppers (RP or equiv) to 2.5". The first fixed pin on the 5.11 pitch seems to be missing and dictates that some hard moves will be done just above the bolt, just abaove th belay - don't land on your belayer if you fall from this 5.10 section. This route is border-line 's'.Take many longer runners to keep the rope and pro in-line and run a few pitches together


Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
I phoned Bernard, and we agree that the distances of the raps as shown in the book are incorrect. The Second rap is ~70' and the third ~110'. They do add up to 180' as he suggests, so getting down with 2 60s (lots of rope stretch that way, too) will no doubt happen. With a single line though, it will have to be a 70M rope. Jul 8, 2003
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
Gillett and Bubb Clarification (after off-site discussion):

"Gillett's guide shows the belay and subsequent crux on the right side of the arete, while Bubb felt both existed on the left side."

"He and I have agreed to disagree about which side of the arete the bolts are on, and that we agree that you'll find it anyway if they are watching carefully on the rap." Jul 12, 2003
This comment addresses the route itself; I intend to add another comment that speaks to the above controversy/bickering, which brought the route to Andy Moore and my attention, leading to our ascent.

This route is a nice way to have a day in the mountains that is not completely exhausting. The approach is relatively short, basically Casm Lake, the climb is only four pitches and you can rap from any point -- a good one to do if you feel like sleeping in (just kidding, sort of).

The climb features two OK pitches, one good pitch and one great pitch. Except for the traverse on P2, the rock is good. It is exciting enough to prolong the memory, but not too much so.

Pitches 2 & 3 go better with double ropes.

We found the climbing immediately after the crux to be thinly protected, but not too hard. From the stance immediately after the crux (bolt at your waist), a pretty good #3 RP can just be fit into a slot on the right; this piece is a couple of feet higher than the bolt and would probably direct a fall to the side of the belayer. (Note: A newer #3 would not fit in this spot, but an older, rounded-edge #3 did).A psychological #3 or 4 Zero Friend (worst brand name ever) can be placed in a vertical groove above the bolt at the same height as the RP. A move or two higher, the "blind" nut crack Tony referred to comes into play; I was able to drop some gear into this which protected a 5.9ish move that put me on a stance from which I could see that my blind placements were crap, though better could be had. From this point on, the pro is fine.

Good work by BG and partner putting this route up and for that matter, TB for bringing it to our attention.

P1 - 1*: (Man Overboard) the crux section is good but the chimney is your basic talus wallow.P2 - 2*: The corner, most of the pitch, is pleasant enough, but the traverse, is top notch -- like Rosy Crucifixtion, but easier. Once all the questionable holds on thre traverse, are "consigned to the void", it will be even better, but probably harder.P3 - 3* Great position, sound rock, intriguing, Eldo-like crux moves and plenty of minimal-gear-excitement after the crux.P4 - 1* Short, and easier than the rest

The crux seemed to me to be a classic Eldo style 11a or b -- desperate until you break the code. There seem to be plenty of good feet and adequate hands, but the pump clock ticks loudly while you try to figure out which ones to use. Jul 12, 2003
Re the BG/TG "debate" as to which side of the arete the 2nd belay and start of the 3rd pitch are on: they're both sort of right.First of all, in the immediate vicinity of the belay, the arete is less well defined than it is below, possibly leading to divergent opinions about exactly where the arete is. In the vicinity of the crux, though, the arete is well defined and relative to this, TB is right, the anchor, the fixed nut and the crux bolt are just to the left on the arete. However, the belay itself, the little ledge on which one's feet perch while hanging from the anchors, can be fairly said to be dead on the arete itself -- the feeling one gets when arriving at that spot is of being on the arete. As BG noted, before arriving at the belay you cannot see the right of the arete, but once at the belay you can see either side , a good working definition of being on the arete.

BG's topo is SLIGHTLY inaccurate on this point, but not "misleading", one would have to completely clueless to lose the route once at the second belay. Furthermore, BG's text description is dead on.

Correction: my previous note should thank Andy Brown and Rick Guerrieri for putting this route in, not BG. Jul 12, 2003
Ralph Swansen
Denver CO
  5.11- PG13
Ralph Swansen   Denver CO
  5.11- PG13
Really enjoyed this climb!

I felt that taking the absolutely stunning finger crack directly up (right side, out of the corner) on the second pitch to the traverse was harder than the traverse itself. The traverse doesn’t have or need a pin.

On the 5.11 pitch, I was thankful for the fixed nut as I feel a fall before clipping the bolt could take out the belayer completely. Made me wish that my belayer had a Gri-gri. I’d say another bolt between the existing bolt and the belay station would really decrease the possibility of the leader taking out the belayer in a big way.

I left some biners on the rap at the top of the 5.11 pitch as there was only the wires.

Between the beautiful splitter on pitch two as well as the exciting traverse to the position on the arete and the fun .11 climbing above with the .10 runouts above that, I’d say that this is a high quality, spicy little adventure! Jun 11, 2018

More About Ship Of Fools