Type: Trad, 330 ft, 4 pitches
FA: P. Hubbel
Page Views: 4,175 total · 22/month
Shared By: tobias nitchka on Oct 11, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


This route is located on Sunshine Wall. The approach is steep and rather strenuous; allow 45 minutes. From the trail, walk right (north) along the base of the cliff until you come to a chimney and gully in a shaded area. Gonzo's heads up the chimney to what appears to be a saddle between two formations of the rock.

P1: Climb the chimney (5.5) being careful for loose rock. Easier scrambling after the chimney leads to a nice hand crack. The crux of the pitch is the final move up and over. It helps if you're tall, otherwise the move may seem a stretch at 5.9.

P2: Take the obvious dihedral on the right (5.8).

P2 Variation (recommended): Follow discontinuous cracks up the middle of the face. (5.9+) Eats up small to medium cams. Great pitch! Belay when you find standing room and protection for a belay.

P3: Continue straight above the variation. Or, if you climbed the dihedral second pitch, you should diagonal up left for 30 ft from the 2nd belay until you find the vertical crack headed up. A solid pitch (5.8); belay on next ledge with sitting room.

P4: Gonzo's lament? This is a 50 foot off-width, off-balance 5.8 that I thought needed lots of big gear (4-6") for protection. Tough; don't be fooled by the grade.

Variation (if you don't have the gear to protect the off-width...) From the belay, traverse south around a loose-looking block and out of sight of your belayer. You will see the chain anchors for the Standard Route. You can climb the last crack pitch of this route (5.10) or traverse another 30 feet south and gain the 5.8 finish of Equinox--certainly a much easier 5.8 than the finish to Gonzo's.


4-6" cams for the off-width, final pitch.


Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
Awesome route. Above my head at the top of the dihedral is a bush. We cleaned out the 'hold' for this crux move as it was partially filled with dirt. The fourth pitch is definitely harder than the first pitch. I followed the fourth pitch today (8/11/07) and thought it was well protected. Strenuous chimney, however. The third and fourth pitches can be combined with a 70m rope with about 10 feet to spare. Oct 13, 2003
Kevin Stricker
Evergreen, CO
Kevin Stricker   Evergreen, CO
Don't miss the chimney pitch, it's fun and well protected! The largest piece you need is a #4 Friend. Linking the first with the 2nd pitch variation is a great combo. All in all a great route, and an easy descent down the Standard Route. Have Fun! Nov 10, 2003
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
FA: P.Hubbel Sep 13, 2004
Darren, thanks for the FA credit. Supposedly, the name comes from Pete's dog, Gonzo, a black lab. Apparently Gonzo was very upset that his master ran off and left him - or so he thought - and he howled his disappointment to anyone who'd listen. Feb 23, 2005
I just did this a few days ago and wanted to comment on a few things. First, this is a fantastic route. About the pitches:

Pitch 1: The short corner near the top of this pitch takes a blue Metolius tri-cam well, right at the lip, which you'll appreciate when doing the mantle-esque finish. Awkward and fun. 100 ft

Pitch 2: I did the standard pitch up the wide left-facing corner to a belay notch. A few # 4 Camalots are nice. Be careful (or at least be careful for your belayer below) midway up this pitch; there is a very loose forearm size flake. One of the hardest parts about this pitch was not touching this otherwise tempting piece of rock. 60 ft

Pitch 3: Classic! From the belay notch the leader has to traverse out a good ten feet to start the crack proper, and this is getting in to the crux of the pitch. Keep a heads up for any good directional placements, since if you fall early in the pitch the initial pieces will have a lot of side pull with not much rope out. I'd stick with the Hubbel rating on this pitch: 5.9 with sustained 8 and hard 8, great gear, for ~160 ft. Awesome.

Pitch 4: It's time to thrutch and squirm. I am no bold leader nor off-width master and I was comfortable with only a couple # 4 and one #3.5 Camalot on this pitch. You are pretty well wedged in there and there is nothing devious about it. Just lots of heel-toe heel-knee stuff. I found it helpful to be completely racked on my left side (right side in) ~80 ft.

Once you top out here head towards the back side of the giant ledge you'll now be on and look for a sling rap anchor (double ropes needed) that will spit you off the back.. Facing the rock as you rap down, you'll descend the "trail" to the left to get back to the base of the route. Note that the rap route has you pulling your rope such that it falls into a huge off-width system where a number of old rope sacrifices can be found. 2/3 of the way down is a ledge system you can stop on and flip your rope way way to the right, which makes rope stuckage much less likely. There is a short crack that leads up the block comprising the true summit but I do not know anything about it. ~JGH Oct 5, 2005
Danny Inman
Danny Inman   Arvada
Climbed this on 8/5/06. Three double-rope (60 m) raps gets you to the ground. There are brand-new looking rap anchors on the face (climbers left of Gonzo)-I counted five stations.

As far as the route goes... the first pitch is very dirty and has two large bushes. I felt the crux of P1 is stout b/c I got a face full of soil and had a branch poke me in the eye while trying to mantle up on sandy smears-safety glasses recommended. P2 variation pretty good, but still quite dirty. P3 and P4; combined these two pitches: this is the reason to climb this route. P3 and 4 make up for the bush/dirt grovel of P1. In the squeeze chimney, hands/big hands-sized gear can be had w/out much difficulty. I would say that 5-in gear is optional-depending on your comfort level with squeeze chimneys. Just for comparison, this squeeze (5.8) is easier, IMHO than the chimney on Kor's Flake (5.8) Aug 7, 2006
Christopher Jones
Denver, Colorado
Christopher Jones   Denver, Colorado
If the first two pitches were a little cleaner, it would be a classic. The last two pitches are awesome. Sep 10, 2006
Sergio P
Idaho Springs, CO
Sergio P   Idaho Springs, CO
You can also link P2 varation with P3 for a great 180' pitch. This also avoids having to set up a belay on small ledges as the top of P3 has a large (and loose) ledge.

A better rap option then what AC suggests: On the last pitch, go left at the top over a small slab and set the belay. You will see two newer anchors with chains. 5 single rope rappels or 3 double rope raps puts you at the base of the climb. This is that rap for Standard Route. Sep 3, 2007
Dean Cool
Boulder, CO
Dean Cool   Boulder, CO
I felt like the cracks were great for jamming when a plant was not in your way. The crux was really avoiding the foliage and the large chunks of hollow rock that could fall onto your belayer at any time if pulled on too hard. Other than that, really great area to climb. Jul 5, 2012
Jonathan S
Golden, CO
Jonathan S   Golden, CO
The bush at the top of pitch 1 is gone now. While it is nice to not have it poking in your face, you can't grab it when groveling up either. I thought this move was pretty tricky, 5.9+ for sure. Oct 1, 2017
Definitely has an old school feel to it. Nothing sandbagged but makes you work for every part of it including the approach. A #5 is not absolutely necessary, but we happened to have 2 with us, used them and didn't complain.

You can get down in 4 raps on a 60m. Start from the anchors as described by Sergio P., but make the 3rd rap climber's right to the slings on top of pitch 1 and then to the ground. Oct 22, 2018