Type: Trad, 80 ft
FA: Gary Olsen, Chris Pendleton and Stuart Ruckman, 1988
Page Views: 3,382 total · 22/month
Shared By: Ryan Brough on Jul 15, 2006
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Many Hellgate areas closed beginning May 21, 2018 through October 2018. Check photo on page. Details
Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details


This route makes the drive, the hike and the risk of being struck by a large falling rock in the Shooting Gallery...WORTH IT! Continuously difficult for the rating, vertical with technical and commiting movement, complete with an airy finish and a view to remember. The limestone is golden colored and not as compact as other routes. There are still a few loose rocks on this route.


Climb up the Shooting Gallery (the gully between Towers 2 and 3). The talus is loose here and gives way to a ramp. Social Realism is the second route from the left on Tower 2. The belay ledge is decent.

Note: The Ruckman Guide shows this to the left of The Big Chill, but it's wrong.


8 bolts to a 3 bolt anchor with multiple slings and 2 rings (shared with The Big Chill). A few small pieces up to a .75 bd help protect the start. I would also recommend a yellow Metolius in a 4 inch slot for a belay anchor, just in case the leader falls before making the first clip. WEAR HELMETS!


I did this again on thursday and it really is a great climb. I felt the rock quality was better than most up there (outside the cave). Also, the last bolt was gone (as of 7/20/06) so you have to run it out just a little to the anchors. You can see where a rock might have hit it and knocked the hanger off. The rock around it was flaked around the face of the hole but remains solid. The anchor part of the powerbolt was in place but the actual bolt and hanger were gone. That part of the climb is not any harder than the rest of the route and eases up a couple of feet past the bolt to maybe 5.8 for the last 10 feet of the route. If you've done everything else on it climbing those finish jugs should not be a problem at all.

oh - and an orange metolius might fit well in that crack too. Jul 23, 2006
Stan Pitcher
Stan Pitcher   SLC, UT
Ryan, I think you have these routes backwards. Social Realism is the route on the right (second from left). Both are great! Jun 14, 2007
David Shiembob
slc, ut
David Shiembob   slc, ut
the book has social realism on the left, I'm pretty sure. Pretty hard for .10a limestone, but a good route. There are a couple of hand sized holds just waiting for someone to pull them off near the top. Jun 17, 2007
Stan Pitcher
Stan Pitcher   SLC, UT
Well I climbed Social Realism several times before the route to the left of it showed up. I have the old Wasatch North guide that only shows the Social Realism route and Ruckman's description surely is for what now is the 2nd route from the left. If the newer guide, shows Social Realism on the left its a rare mistake... Jul 27, 2007
Ruckmans' 1998 edition shows Social Realism as the furthest left bolted route, but it seems obvious from their route description that Social Realism is in fact the second bolted route from the left. Their description says to use cams or nuts to reach the first bolt; no gear is necessary -- or likely possible -- to get to the first bolt on the farthest left line, which must be The Big Chill. Aug 7, 2007
Crag Turkey
Holladay, UT
Crag Turkey   Holladay, UT
A favorite at Hell gate for sure, Movement is really fun and the rock pretty bomber! Love the section of black limestone you go through, reminded me of the style on Devil's Castle. I would say this is pretty spot on for 10a. Its not a sugar bagged 10 so if your a gym climber this one may challenge your foot work in particular. Also doesn't really climb like your typical limestone route. A must top out sort of route.
Just to verify this is incorrectly listed as the left most route in the ruckman guide AND in the new Granite guide (makes you think that one may actually be the other/ either way the right of the two seems like Social realism to me see comment above, you wont get gear in on furthest left route). Social realism is the second from the left and better quality rock and bolting then its left neighbor in my opinion. I plugged a #1 prior to the bolt, but probably better just to sack up (or put your big girl pants on) and go for that beautiful 1/4 incher. Don't worry they get shinier the higher you get :) Big chill can be used as a direct start if this isn't your cup of tea. Aug 2, 2016
bheller   SL UT
For a bit more clarity, Social Realism is indeed the 2nd from left route on the west-north-west face of tower 2 (within the shooting gallery gully). The first bolt is approximately 16 feet up, but a bomber #1 camalot protects first in a horizontal that appears at about 10 feet up route. The route begins at a dark sloping stance just left of a minor buttress type feature in the upper-middle of the wall. 15 feet diagonally up-ramp and left from this sloping belay stance (found around waist high or so) exists the 4" horizontal pocket as mentioned in previous comments that beautifully accepts a cam from .4 camalot to .75 camalot size and should be used to allow for an extended anchor point for the belayer and belay stance lower down ramp. No other gear placements are required to climb this route safely.

This was the first top-down sport climb established at Hellgate and Mugsy chopped the first bolt because of the adequate gear placement nearby. Enough time has passed now (29 years!) that the first horizontal #1 cam is as much a part of this route as the bolts are.

Admin or Ryan- feel free to incorporate this info into the route listing itself. Sep 12, 2017
Stan Pitcher
Stan Pitcher   SLC, UT
Thanks for the history bheller! I noticed the repeated mistake in the new Granite guide too and was disappointed they weren't checking here for the facts. Whats the deal with limestone and quartzite being included anyway? Sep 15, 2017