Type: Trad, Sport, Mixed, Ice, 100 ft
FA: Jeff Lowe & Malcolm Day, 1986 or 1987
Page Views: 1,868 total · 13/month
Shared By: Ryan Jennings on Dec 5, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Road Rash begins on slightly overhanging rock with natural pro to get established. Quickly the angle eases as one pulls on sketchy flakes to stand up. Once established you must surmount the lowest flake to clip the bolt in the slab above. Swing your sticks once or twice in the 1-2" ice as you work to get a stance above the bolt which should just get you to the overlap above and more pro. From here follow the left-leaning system, past a tricky layback, to anchors above and left.


Road Rash starts left of a left-facing corner. Begins in slightly overhanging rock that leads up and right to some sketchy flakes which must be surmounted to reach the bolt.


Bolts and natural pro. Nuts and micros with a few larger pieces.


Ryan Jennings
  WI5+ M6
Ryan Jennings  
  WI5+ M6
Cameron.... The single bolt we placed can clearly be seen in the photo that Greg took and if you are familiar with the routes you mention you will see that the bolt is not within reach of either route. Believe me when I say that I put a lot of thought into placing a bolt before I do. This route deserved a bolt to produce an excellent mixed route that regularly forms up, period. Furthermore it should be said that we debated climbing this summer rock climbing wall in crampons for fear of scratching up rock holds. It was with this in mind that we placed our bolt where we did to keep scratch marks off the developed corner to the right and the DT variation to the left. I'm not saying that there will never be crampon marks on the rock somewhere but we did our best to minimize this. We found that if there is enough ice (1-2") on this climb you shouldn't be scratching the route it joins since you will have to be precise in your climbing. If there is not enough ice you will most likely not get past our bolt. Lastly we placed our bolt above loose flakes that it did not appear get touched during the summer. I personally will be back to climb this quality route again and find the bolt to be justified. As I hear the route was in for over a month this year. Jan 5, 2007
Hi Ryan and Cameron. The intent with this comment is not to stir up a bolt war, but only to provide some facts. The bolt that Ryan placed is essentially on a variation to what is listed on this site (and in Hubbel's Lyons Area guide) as "Death Tongue Variation." If you look under Matt Juth's description of DTV (see Narrows Slabs North in SSV Canyon), you'll note in the third paragraph that he describes an easy version to DTV: it comes in from low on Narrows Crack, and traverses up and left to the long angling flake (the upper part of DTV and Road Rash). I went to check it out today, and the bolt in question is about 2.5 feet left of the green Alien placement that Matt speaks about. I'm pretty certain it could be reached from the summer rock climb (I bouldered up there with axe in hand, and chipped away a bit of ice to find the bolt, so I could reach it with my axe without much problem).

In Ryan's defense, this variation is not published in any (hardcopy) guide, so he likely did his due diligence, and came to the conclusion that no route existed there. I don't see much reason to remove the bolt: it protects what sounds like a neat pitch of ice, and it isn't going to change the nature of the rock climb in a significant way, except that you'll be able to fall on a bolt instead of a green Alien. You guys can hash out what, if anything, needs to be done with the bolt. Jan 10, 2007
Ryan Jennings
  WI5+ M6
Ryan Jennings  
  WI5+ M6
Whaaaaat! That's disgusting. If I actually placed a bolt 2.5 feet away from a good natural piece I should be beat to a bloody pulp. That's just unacceptable and future generations should know that's just not right. Unfortunately I misread Matt's description and believed that the easy variation he spoke of traversed in from Narrows crack higher up along the flake. Now that I go back and re-read his description I realize that the ledge he speaks of is the ledge not far above our bolt. What amazes me is that I stood in that spot for an hour searching for something to place, and all I could find was a placement behind the loose flakes that just didn't look adequate for the runout above. I was rather certain that there was nothing but blank slab between that stance, and the corner of Narrows Crack which is definitely more that a few feet. I am interested in seeing where the green Alien placement is and will be down there in a week to check it out. I have no problem pulling the bolt if in fact there is natural pro as a bolt should NEVER substitute a natural placement. We should all absolutely despise the placement of a bolt anywhere that nature pro would suffice. My only defense for not pulling the bolt would be in seeing how far the placement actually is from the stance since we climbed from directly below and left up to the bolt instead of traversing in from the right and therefore moving far right to get a piece would detract from the nature of Road Rash and most likely create a pendulum into the corner of Narrows Crack in the event of a fall as you climb up and left from the bolt. Comments are welcome. Jan 11, 2007
Hi Ryan - I don't think anyone needs to "beat you to a bloody pulp," as it appears you did a fine job of self flagellation in your post ;-) If you climb up the initial easy corner of Narrows Crack for about 15 feet, and then foot traverse left on a flake, you'll see the Alien placement in a hollow, overlapping flake that angles up to the right. It's easy to get to (I got up there in my tennies yesterday), so you don't need a belayer. You'll see that a rock climber would have to stoop down and reach left to snag your bolt.

The Alien placement is not bomber; its integretity depends upon the hollow flake, which might explode with a hard fall, so you placed a bolt near a questionable piece. I place a purple TCU in that flake (probably 15-18 inches up and right from where Matt puts in his Alien), and don't trust it much. I've not done the ice climb, but I'm sure I'd appreciate the bolt over the Alien placement if I ever decided to lead it.

Could you please send an email to me once you've made the decision about what you're going to do with the bolt? It will impact how I describe both the rock climb and your ice climb in my SSV/NSV guide.

As an aside, for anyone reading this who may be wondering when that %^$%&! guide is going to come out: I made the mistake in an old post (last summer, I think) of claiming I was almost done with the guide, and it would likely be out in 6-9 months. The truth is I AM almost done, but it's not coming out soon. Real work is getting in the way as it has so often in the past, so I've had to put the guide on the back burner for a while. Once I get a break from work, I should be able to finish the final details, and publish it. Sorry for the delay. Jan 11, 2007
Matt Juth
Matt Juth   Evergreen
It's been along time since I was there. I remember the placement being in a small vertical pod adjacent to some hollow flakes, but not in them. I do not trust such placements (I've seen them blow), and I used that piece a couple times. Maybe something has fallen out...maybe I placed it somewhere a bit more hidden, maybe the crack I put it in has freeze/thawed and is now a hollow flake? Wherever I put it, it was bomber at the time. The first time I did that traverse I was concerned enough that I wanted a good piece.

Anyways...I can't say that I really care one way or another. No ancient 5 star classic was forever altered by not placing a small cam that is apparently questionable now.

I thought about climbing that ice a few years ago when it was in, but I didn't have the huevos. I'm glad it returned!

Bernard, I hope all is well...I miss the 'ol Vrain....

Matt Jan 11, 2007
Hey Matt! Yes, all is very well; just way too busy. Was up on Dec Wall yesterday showing an old friend around SSV, and we did LAJ in T-shirts (good preventative medicine for this cold snap that has arrived). You're going to cry when you see all the new routes we've done since you left town.

This is going to be boring reading once Ryan figures out what to do with his conundrum, so I'd suggest we delete the posts once it's all cleared up.

Ryan: Maybe Matt does have a secret placement! I always thought it was in the "flake" I use. It's really more of a thin plate that is continuous with the rock surface, but when you knock on it, it is evident there's empty space behind it (Matt, does that sound like your pod?). I doubt any freeze-thaw action has changed things since Matt passed through (it all looked the same to me), and if I had to bet, I'd say my "hollow flake" and Matt's "vertical pod" are one-in-the-same (and his "adjacent hollow flakes" are the flakes I was standing on when I located your bolt). But you can decide when you get up there to check it out -- might want to wait until the weather is warm enough so that you can just do the rock pitch and judge from there. One last bit of info that may help you: Matt and I may, indeed, be talking about the same placement, but what he calls "bomber," I label as dubious. That may be a function of age (mine; I'm becoming more wary of this whole rock climbing thing as I get older).

Good luck sorting it all out. Jan 11, 2007
Ryan Jennings
  WI5+ M6
Ryan Jennings  
  WI5+ M6
I agree about being older and more wary. I don't mind running it out if the ice is good but when we did this thing I felt there was a 50/50 chance of popping off the thin ice and I wasn't about to fall on those flakes with the ground fall potential. As it is, you still run it out a bit above the bolt to get to the system above, but at least you won't hit the deck. I'll check it out when I'm down there in a week and then again in the summer. Thanks for the input, you two. Jan 12, 2007
Matt Juth
Matt Juth   Evergreen

I'm jealous of you guys going up there. I have not been on rock since a Yosemite trip last September. I'm glad to hear you are still working on the place....you do realize you have to stop somewhere though.... You're not leaving room for any updated additions!

I'm going to be in the area for some contract work next week. I'll check out the crack for my curiosity. I hope my Bomber placements are all truly that...bomber! Jan 12, 2007
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
Hey all. If I'm following this discussion correctly, I'd like to add: that in winter/ice conditions, we were thinking that bolt was pretty dam nice. Edward did place a green Alien in the roof/lap as you can clearly see in the photo (with long sling on it). But it was pretty spicy climbing between the 2 points.
As it was, he worked pretty hard for the red Camalot for the next placement and didn't trust it, til he fell on it. Jan 22, 2007
What the hell. . . I pulled my comment soon after I posted it (and before anyone else posted). I'm just now seeing its aftermath.

I wasn't too pleased with the bolt so close to the natural pro, which is why I originally posted. I removed it (my post, not the bolt) because I really didn't care too much and only became excited after drinking a few Hefe's. . . don't even recall what I posted exactly.
I'd never comment and duck - hadn't any clue that this conversation was taking place. . . .

Here's a question if anybody gets back to reading this discussion:
If an ice climb is in for a month, yet it sets up on top of an existing traditional rock climb, and the cracks are full of ice so natural pro cannot be used, is it cool to plop in bolts? Mar 2, 2007
Ryan Jennings
  WI5+ M6
Ryan Jennings  
  WI5+ M6
Hell NO!!!! Mar 2, 2007
I concur.
And I'm not saying that this was the case with this discussion exactly; just wonderin' what the thoughts are. . . . Mar 3, 2007
Malcolm Daly and I did this in '86 or 87. Malcolm led it. I have some pics somewhere.

I did other ice routes in the area, too. To the left of this one, there's sometimes a liite ice in a shallow groove, that makes a nice climb. Others are non-descript, solo wanderings on those slabs on the way to work in Lyons, on cold, winter mornings after snowfall and melt, in the mid '80s.

Bernard, I'm really busy on some things right now, but I'll try to get a list together of as many routes as I can remember. I did at least 100 with various partners, many of which were undoubtedly first ascents. Jul 1, 2007