Type: Sport, 80 ft
FA: Steve Cheney, Ric Geiman belayed, 1987
Page Views: 7,755 total · 54/month
Shared By: david goldstein on Mar 10, 2007
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

154 Opinions

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It seems that this good pitch doesn't get as much traffic as it merits because of a somewhat undeserved reputation as unsafe. Good rock, position and continuouness on the upper section.

Start in a left-facing corner, on the left side of the arete, just left of a wide, 20' high flake. Go up easily for a couple of bolts, then move right and gain the arete (crux). Follow enjoyable climbing on the right side of the arete to the anchors.

There is some cause for concern that a fall around the 4th and 5th bolts could land you on the flake. Since the harder moves in this section are by the bolts, this hazard shouldn't come in to play though the belayer should pay close attention and minimize slack through this section.


This is on a prominent, left-facing arete at the left end of Cactus.


11 bolts.
"Illegal Smile" is a song by John Prine, check it out. I guess the FA was a fan. Jan 25, 2008
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
I didn't feel any reason for concern around the 4th-5th bolt and the ledge. Felt safe to me and I'm 6'5" with a light belayer, FWIW. Dec 22, 2010
Rick Thompson
Mount Nebbiolo, CO
Rick Thompson   Mount Nebbiolo, CO
Keep in mind, this route was completely rebolted in 2005 (or so), and much of danger in the clips that previously would have landed you on the ledge was removed. The direct start was added at that time. The original gear was complete garbage, including the top anchor which consisted of one split shaft bolt (circa 1980s) and a drilled pin, which I wiggled out with my fingers. Talk about scary! In addition, about 200 lbs of loose rock was cleaned off the route. The result is a pristine, clean, and safe route, one that IMO is one of the best of the grade at Shelf. Feb 24, 2012
For the record, this was Steve Cheney's route. I was belayer and second ascent. Yup, John Prine inspired. Jan 19, 2013
Ben Hall
Boulder, Colorado
Ben Hall   Boulder, Colorado
Onsight! Classic route! A little bit exposed but great climbing on manageable crimps! Feb 14, 2013
Mark Rolofson
Boulder, CO
Mark Rolofson   Boulder, CO
One of the best 5.11 routes at Shelf Road. A good length climb with a few cruxes. Nov 25, 2014
Aaron Moses
Richmond, Va
Aaron Moses   Richmond, Va
Great route, but beware of the big killer flake just before you move right from the arete. It seemed solid as I climbed the route but became a lot scarier when I looked behind it. Jun 3, 2015
A. Bandos
Broomfield, CO
A. Bandos   Broomfield, CO
Is the intended line supposed to stem and eventually stand on the detached flake down low? I avoided it, but definitely pumped out on the OS attempt. Oct 25, 2015