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Routes in Prisoner of Your Hairdo Gully

Atlantis T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Buzz Cut T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Hotlanta T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Lost Cities T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
No Country for Old Men T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R
Type: Trad, 1600 ft, 16 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Kent Wheeler, Jim Howe, Jay Shotwell, 2006
Page Views: 13,458 total, 109/month
Shared By: Evan Stevens on Oct 5, 2007
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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2016 Raptor Closures Details


Atlantis seems to be the talk of the town in the Black these days, for good reasons: moderate grade, with well-protected cruxes, great belay ledges, long route, not too much scary, loose and runout climbing. That being said, it is The Black, game on, be prepared for some loose, scary, and run out climbing, just not at the hardest grades on the route. Also be prepared for a long day with lots of pitches. The topo is plenty adequate, but I will provide some descriptions-pitch lengths are on the topo. My partner and I did a lot of 'sub par' alpine style belays-one or two pieces, belaying off your harness - you are not always building a huge anchor and belaying off of it.

P1. 5.9. Climb an easy crack up the right side of a pillar in a right-facing corner to its top. Look for the shitty, fixed, baby angle (loose) which is more a trail marker. Good gear near by, and face climb (a little run) up and right over the bulge to a good belay ledge

P2. 5.9. Climb the beautiful flake up to a right-facing corner, to a massive ledge-belay on the top left side of the corner for a better start to the next pitch.

P3. 5.11. Follow the topo. It is a fun pitch, the crux is at the bolt. There is a one bolt belay.

P4. 5.10+. Go up a right-facing feature right off the belay to under a roof, belay at right edge of the roof.

P5. 5.10-. This is a fun pitch with an annoying belay in the chimney with some flaky rock.

P6. 5.7. This would be the easiest pitch to get lost on, I did. Continue up the chimney and ramp til its end. Traverse right, then go up a right-facing feature for about 5 meters. At this point, you are probably 25-30m out from the belay. You will look up to some broken features in the 'black grotto' and even some fixed tat hanging off the roof-this is NOT the way. Look right and down and you will see a massive, hanging, left-facing corner and roof - step over the corner to get on the ramp that would be the top of this feature. Belay at the right side of this ramp.

P7. 5.10. This is a great pitch, good rock. There is lots of up and downclimbing on the start on good face holds. A fixed pin you climb up to will blaze the way a little bit as you work your way to some right-facing features. Keep climbing out of sight of your belayer till you get to a good ledge belay with 2 fixed pins.

P8. 5.11-. The crux is off the belay protected by a bolt. Pull through some steep overlaps, and then climb easily to another massive ledge.

P9. 5.9. Follow topo, belay on block-tight little belay for 2 people-finger-size pieces and nuts for belay.

P10. 5.11-. This is another fun pitch off by yourself as you can't see your belayer. Belay on a small ledge at the top of the groove-corner feature. I think there was a fixed pin.

P11. 5.8 (R?). The pitches get short for a bit here. This is a peg pitch with a bolt - wow that's nice. It is easy climbing on good rock, I don't know if it's really R, but don't fall. Get on to another massive ramp and go up and left on 4th class til you see the next pitch with its bolt.

P12. 5.10. This is a short crux protected by the bolt, don't blow it after that. There is another small ledge belay.

P13. 5.10. It has a short crux after some peg wandering - it's a little loose in the peg, but the hard climbing is on good rock, with a fixed pin-follow the topo. Go up off the belay, then do a straight left traverse into the spot marked 'awkward'.

The belay is on the huge ledge feature with a tower-you could theoretically unrope here and bushwhack off the route, as per the Lost City escape, but its easier to climb to the top. Either way, take the rope off walk up to the prow of the headwall about 200' away.

P14. 5.11. Climb some groove and face features unprotected and easy for the first 20' to the obvious, right-facing corner til you get to the bolt. Clip it, climb the crux, and use face holds to climb the sides of the OW, because who wants to climb an OW anyway? Belay on the pedestal.

P15. 5.10. There is a short crux off the belay to easy crack climbing to large, broken ledge with boulders.

P16. 5.10. Climb through a few awkward roofs until you get to the narrows overlook. Crack a beer open, and belay your partner up.


Prisoner of your Hairdo Gully as for Lost Cities. Park at the narrows overlook, walk back down the road toward the ranger station about 5-10 minutes, until you see a small rock stood up like a tombstone on the side of the road. Bushwhack perpendicular off the road until you get to the gully edge and scramble down the first gully you encounter. This gully flash flooded probably last fall, and has lots of fresh debris and broken trees in it. We did one short rap off a chock stone-you could down climb around it. Go all the way to the river passing the start of Lost Cities, and then trek up river for just a few minutes until you see the starting pitch-there is a cairn under the grass where the root starts. Solo up the easy, fifth class to the base of the route.


Double set to #3 Camalot, one new #4 Camalot. Lots of long runners. We brought 10 runner, 2 draws, one 3 and one 4. Lots of belays use hand-size pieces, as per topo.
Fritz N.
Durango, CO
5.11b R
Fritz N.   Durango, CO
5.11b R
Long-winded TR:… Jul 14, 2017
Fritz N.
Durango, CO
5.11b R
Fritz N.   Durango, CO
5.11b R
Stellar, unique movement on mostly good stone. We did it in early June with a high of 80 and paid for it. The sun hit around 11:30. There is belay shade in the chimney at the top of the second .11 and the start of the .10+ PG-13 after the 5.8 R peg (if you're late enough in the day).

Some further explanation of the objective hazards of this route. Caveat emptor:

- There is no fixed pin on the boardwalk. If you peeled off midway when it's 5.8, you would fall around thirty feet, swing, and probably nail the belayer. If you fell at the end of the traverse (5.7) before getting a hand-sized piece, you would take a fifty-foot factor-two ledgefall.

- The PG-13 5.10 above the second .11 has gear at least every ten feet, but it's marginal or small. Worst it got was maybe a fifteen-foot run over a grey Metolius, but at that point it eases off to 5.9. Beware rope drag; I should've put a sling on the bolt and ended up having to pull slack before each move.

- If you fell while pulling the roof on the 5.8R peg pitch, you would most likely rip any attempt at protection, take a 40-foot factor-two, and hit some unpleasant stuff.

- The next pitch (.10+ with ".10- R" above the bolt) supposedly has ledgefall potential, but neither of us thought so. Maybe have your belayer ready to jump off the stance and catch you hard.

We ran out of water and took the escape gully (which upper Prisoner of Your Hairdo). Excellent route, but not as consistently high-quality as Scenic/The Cruise. Jun 5, 2017
I'm not the best at directions, but I've still never found the "tombstone" rock that marks the gully. I've been down "Prisoner" 4 times, once for Lost Cities and 3 times for Atlantis. I've ended up in the wrong gully every time which sucks. Do not go down the main drainage closest to the T intersection at the park entrance. You want the next drainage up canyon (farther away from the Cruise). Even though I know this, I've still been suckered down this one 3 times - and the bush whacking through scrub oak and the ensuing added hour plus to the approach are not how you really want to start your day. It does make for better training for bigger routes though if you're into that kind of thing.

Pitch 7 belay only has one pin now but takes great finger-size gear.

Pitch 11 you are ultimately aiming to end up back above the chimney system that you stepped out right of at the top of P10. It can get confusing as you see chalk headed up and right from the belay. You are NOT heading up and right, instead you're going up and left and will be 30-40 feet directly above the bolt that you clipped at the top of P10. There is now a fixed 00 that you can see from the belay - trend left at 11 o'clock after this.

Fun line. Oct 17, 2016
Hobo Greg
My Van
Hobo Greg   My Van
5.11 is moderate? Jun 8, 2016
Ralph Swansen
Denver CO
  5.11 PG13
Ralph Swansen   Denver CO
  5.11 PG13
No more cairn at the base, but the directions and picture here on MP are very accurate for the start of the climb. I will agree with comments above about the topo being excellent except on pitch 13 where going straight up to the bail tat is a mistake. Instead, stay right and follow the description in comments above. This climb is amazing and almost every pitch is high quality. We averaged 45 mins a pitch including the descent approach. We did not bring or see a need for a #4. May 15, 2016
Ouray, CO
Highlander   Ouray, CO
The piton on the pitch 3 peg traverse is getting pretty loose, might not hold too many more falls. Might be time to consider updating the piton or replacing it with a bolt. Oct 31, 2014
jborof borof  
Just a really good climb. Technical face climbing as opposed to some of the more slug fest Black routes out there. Bolts are placed extremely well. Seems like the guys who put this one up did their homework and it shows. Highly recommended. Sep 18, 2014
Santa Fe, NM
Haj   Santa Fe, NM
Wondering if June 24th is too late in the season for this climb? May 23, 2012
Sandy, UT
  5.11b R
notmyname   Sandy, UT
  5.11b R
Thanks so much for what I can only imagine to be an extreme amount of work and sweat putting this route up! The first adjective I would use on this climb would be, "outstanding". After the emphasis on that word, the other descriptions I would use are: committing, engaging (aka better not be distracted), exciting, traversy, frightening, exposed, long, hot, exhausting, and awesome. As stated most cruxes are protected,; however, it is not a route you can pull-through or hang on. You had better be willing to run it out, trust some marginal gear, and commit.

I didn't climb the last 3 pitches (heat and foot pain are wonderful de-motivators), and I certainly went the wrong way a few times making the climb a bit more "exciting". The best beta I can give is you must commit to making the moves above your gear and do not hesitate during or after the cruxes. Keep climbing and you will be rewarded with gear. I felt the key pieces for me were the green Alien (blue Mastercam) and red Alien (orange Mastercam/purple Camalot), but that was just my perception.

Important beta: on pitch 13, the description didn't get me on the right path. There is wrong way chalk on more than a few pitches. On pitch 13, you will see a bush up and to the right. Climb up to it (either go up and traverse on good holds, some gear, or maybe cut straight right and then up), and a crack system leads to a dihedral up and to the right, mostly out of sight from the belay. The topo and description weren't clear to me and my awesome partner. Anything up or to the left of the belay will result in a crackless, gearless nightmare, and the fixed gear is bail gear. I climbed up 30' to a fixed piece w/no gear only to find it was a nut laying on top of a rock with a biner couterweighting it to keep it balanced in position. Also on pitch 9, climb to the top of the chimney, not on the exit looking ramp. That is a bad way. May 11, 2012
This is an excellent, albeit wandering, route on very good rock. Many of the pitches described above can be linked or extended to cut down the number of belays. The escape gully is relatively unpleasant. Having finished both ways, I would recommend climbing to the top up the last three quality pitches. May 12, 2011
A fun experience, but the climbing was consistently of a bit lower-quality than I'd expected. Harder, but not quite in the same league as the Scenic Cruise. The 5.10 climbing above the lone bolt on P12 has one in ledge-fall territory. The final 5.11 pitch (#14) seems pretty contrived. Maybe I was just dehydrated and tired, but it's easy to clip the bolt, then veer back right and up the easier climbing to the intended pillar feature, bypassing any 5.11 section on the pitch. Jun 3, 2010
erik wellborn
manitou springs
erik wellborn   manitou springs
Quality Route. May 20, 2010
Patrick Peddy
Patrick Peddy   evergreen,co
AKA "HOTLANTIS" I agree with Steve, this is a very fine climb. A huge thanks goes to Jim, Kent, and Jay for ferrating out this exceptional passage. We caught up with Jim and Kent during our stay and, while listening to their stories, it became clear the amount of work they put into Atlantis. I highly recommend this one.

A few helpful hints: 1) bring Alien offsets. While not entirely necessary, we used them on most pitches. They were key on many pitches. 2) This is not a crack climb. 3) Don't miss the last three pitches. 4) This climb gets a lot of sun, so plan accordingly. May 17, 2009
Petaluma California
stevecurtis   Petaluma California
I thought this route was better than the Scenic Cruise. A bit harder, and more of a face route. A few comments.

The approach gully is the pits. The start of the route is reasonably obvious--plus, some kind soul put a 20 ft branch up pointing the way. We walked along the river. To be assure of finding it: After reaching the river, walk along the base of the cliff until you find the cairn and the features. The climb starts on the left side of some big slabs. The cliff steepens more up river.

This climb meanders a bit to find the best climbing. There is a fair bit of traversing. I thought the start of pitch 7 was 5.9 R for the second--lower outs anyone? Pitch three is exciting for the leader. Pitch 4 was wet after 3 days of dry weather.

The last three pitches, particularly pitch 14, are superb.

If you meet Kent and Jim, buy them a beer. May 17, 2009
Bryan Gilmore
New England
  5.11- PG13
Bryan Gilmore   New England
  5.11- PG13
Excellent outing. Aug 30, 2008
Jay 1975
Jay 1975   Bonedale,CO
A fav right now...done it 3 times! "No Country" is also as good. If you want to top out by climbing, climb the last 3 of "Lost Cities" instead. Jun 12, 2008