Type: Sport, 140 ft
FA: Vernon Phinney & Mike Engle-1985
Page Views: 7,723 total · 52/month
Shared By: Cameron Luth on Oct 31, 2006
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Check NPS for Closures Details


This route is a classic. good moves on crimpers and crystals, and a bit balancey.


This route is on the west face of hornets nest. If you start from the right side it is the 4th route after a detatched flake, starts to the right of a little overhang.


13 bolts and there are anchors on top, bring 2-3 sized cam for the horizontal crack to clip 12th bolt if you are short but there is a good undercling to clip bolt, and 2 ropes to get down.
randy baum
Minneapolis, MN
randy baum   Minneapolis, MN
Highly recommend this route. Just wonderful climbing. Side note: last two bolts are rusted/thin and in need of replacement. But the belay anchors are new, beefy, and well-equalized. Jul 15, 2008
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
I walked by and under this route many times in the preceding 5 years, each time looking up longingly and then coming up with some lame excuse for not going for it. It really boiled down to intimidation. The route is long, mostly vertical, and looks serious. Other 11's at Rushmore are very tricky and can be very balancy and beta intensive. Well, this year was it. Go for it, I say. Superb route!!! It was the best sport route I've ever done. Most memorable anyway, super fun every step of the way. Every varied move, crimp, balance, slab, the feel of the rock, the rests, the breeze, the pine tree scent, Harley's on the road, it's all fantastic. Do it!! Don't wait 5 years like I did. Oh, and I'm 5'10" and although I brought my #3 camalot, I didn't need or place it. I could reach the bolt above the bulge. Jul 23, 2009
It can be done with a single 70m. Great Route! Jul 7, 2011
badass climb, serious credit to all you Rushmore climbers Jul 14, 2013
vernon phinney
pocatello, idaho
vernon phinney   pocatello, idaho
Derivation of the name: "Mr. Critical". The methods of establishing this route were meant to provide climbers numerous topics to criticize!

1) At the time, Devil's Tower first ascensionists were criticizing the style being used in the Black Hills for establishing new routes (ie; ground up using NO AID!) Mr. Critical was put in using top down ethics - bolting on rappel.
2) The route was top-roped first to assess the quality of the climb/rock.
3) The route essentially goes up a face just to the left of a CRACK!
4) The initial bolt hangers were multi-colored (painted), with stripes, polka-dots, etc. George and Joane Urioste (Red Rocks, NV) also used painted hangers previously.
5) There is a large weakness near the top that could be used to escape the route; but you must pull the bulge and ascend a short face to actually claim that you have climbed the route!
6) A register was left at the top to collect ALL criticism from climbers; it would be great if a register was maintained - HARD to do!

Criticism was welcomed and expected! Not a surprise that Mr. Critical gets sooo-much praise, however!! Vernon Phinney Jul 10, 2015
Tony Brengosz
Tony Brengosz  
Awesome route, and you can rap the route with a single 80m Nov 28, 2017