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Routes in North Astro Dome - Northeast Face

Astronomical T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Astroturf T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Figures on a Landscape (aka Monkey on My Back) T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Go Figure T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Gunslinger T 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
In Search of Hush Puppies T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X
Nevermore TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Repo Man (aka Power Fingers) T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Throat Warbler Mangrove T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Unknown Soldier T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Zion Train T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Type: Trad, 400 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Scott Cosgrove and Bob Gaines, April 1990
Page Views: 2,296 total, 21/month
Shared By: Bob Gaines on Nov 7, 2008
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Begin about 200 feet right of Figures on a Landscape (aka Monkey on My Back), just right of the lowest point on the North Astro Dome.

Pitch 1: 12b, The "Moguls" pitch. 8 bolts. 5.9 up to the first bolt, 5.7 R to 2nd bolt, then up the moguls (5.10) to steeper, well-protected slab climbing (11b above 4th bolt and 12b above 6th bolt), then traverse left (5.10a) to a bolt belay.

Pitch 2: 11b, Steeper edging on perfect rock (5.11b) up and left past 4 bolts to another bolt belay.

Pitch 3: 12a/b/c, The "Headwall pitch". A height-dependent bouldery move right off the belay (5.12, V4/5) then follow incredible edges up the gently overhanging wall (11+) 7 bolts. Belay on a narrow ledge with a bolt anchor.

Pitch 4: 12a, The "Coral Corner". Tough stemming (5.12-) past 2 bolts in the corrugated corner leads to easier climbing past another bolt to the top. There was a fixed pin between the second and third bolts on the first ascent.


Bolts, pro to 3 inches


It may not be a 'classic' in the sense that everything about it is perfect and thousands of people flock to it daily, but the route sure is a classic adventure in the Wonderland! As Bob states, it's one of the longest routes in J-Tree. The climbing is really superb at times, especially, I thought, on P2 and P3. It's got some flaky rock, but honestly what's not to love about the 'bad' rock at J-Tree? It's taught me most of what I know about climbing. I recall that in 2002 or so my friend Bob J. was really excited one day about trying this route and I was young and psyched. I remember neither of us freed the crux on P1. I linked P2 and P3 but I definitely fell a few times starting P3. P4 was a little intimidating for us at the time. Our friend had rapped in from the top to take photos and was hanging out nearby, so we had him preclip the 1st bolt. I don't think I got P4 clean either. He got some great pictures of us and I wish I knew where the prints were. I'll post one if I find them.

Back when we attempted this I was fresh from the gym and all 'strange' bolts seemed suspect to me. Sounds like those P3 belay bolts are probably A-OK at 5/16". I know we backed them up with the last lead bolt on P3, so that's an option too. And you're right Scott: we do need to toughen up! Dec 27, 2013
We placed no 1/4 inch bolts on the climb, they are 5/16 button heads and completely bomber. As far as the first pitch, I never broke any holds, but it was poor rock.

I think we may have drilled shallow hook holes as we drilled all the bolts on lead, (legal at the time). I was also way into the Gunslinger by Stephen King at the time, hence the name.

Never said it was a classic, or anyone needs to recommend it...weird... but it was a fun and a great adventure, for me and my Brother Bob...

If I'm out this winter I'll go fix it, or maybe Bob has by now, but I'd belay off two 5/16 all day. After all for my first 15 years of climbing we only had 1/4, you modern varmits need to toughen up, LOL... just kidding; ) Sep 4, 2013
fubar   Babylon
The first pitch is like climbing on a slab covered in eggshells. At the crux I broke what seemed to be a key foothold; I can't imagine I was the first one to break an "important" hold, so it's definitely only getting harder as time goes by. The second pitch is a little better. The third pitch is awesome. The fourth pitch is okay. There is still loose rock on every pitch. With the exception of the third pitch, I don't think any of them would get a lot of stars on their own. The bolts run the spectrum from beefy metolius to spinning smc hangers. There is a pretty good-looking pin on the last pitch. I don't think you need more gear than a set of micros and two finger-sized cams. Anchor takes 3 inch gear. Have fun! Jan 22, 2013
So, does anyone know if the belay bolts have been replaced? I'm thinking of heading out there next weekend. Unless I hear otherwise I guess I'll bring a long cordalette to equalize the bad belay with protection bolts beneath it, but it would be nice to know. I'd bring a hand drill to replace 'em but, frankly, I'm worried I botch it. Been climbing close to 30 years, but haven't been 'clinic-ed' on pulling bolts and re-drilling in the same holes, and don't want to mess up Bob and Scott's line by learning on the route.

EDIT: I climbed this with "fubar" (see comment below) yesterday. Some thoughts: (1) Some bolts need replacing on this route. The two mentioned by Josh don't look much worse than many others. The first protection bolt on P2, for example, is extending a bit from the hole. (2) I was able to do all the moves free (which is very different from actually freeing it), except the start of P3. My partner sent P3 in an impressive effort, but at 5'9" the initial moves seemed impossible for me. Of course, Bob's not too much bigger than I am, so I'm not saying those moves are impossible, but if you are under 6', I'm guessing that 12c or harder is appropriate. (3) The rock quality is mixed, as my partner mentioned. I think Bob and Scott did as well as they could in choosing the natural line on this part of the rock, but the rock quality is definitely sub-standard on the first pitch. (4) As mentioned above, we were able to do the moves free on P1 (after falls), but my partner broke a key foothold on the crux near the 7th (I think) bolt. Not sure if this changes the grade. (5) I think I counted 9, not 8, bolts on P1. (6) P2 seems harder than 11b. I'd say it is definitely harder than Gaines' "Joyride," which gets 11c. (7) In sum: P1: 12b?; loose; persistence of key holds in doubt; really hard face climbing; good movement; well protected; some bolts may need looking at. P2: 11c?; some bolts need replacing. P3: height dependent; 12b-12d?; really, really, really good climbing!; tops out on calcified bird shit. P4: 12a?; potential awkward fall (trust me) between 1st and 2nd bolt, but not dangerous; higher up you may want a micro nut and a few small cams. Overall: This is about as good a line as you could get on this part of the North Astrodome (thanks, Bob and Scott). Gear: a few small micro-nuts (RP, HB offsets, etc) mostly the larger sizes, and maybe 2-3 finger size cams. #3 Camalot and a good stance for the anchor up top. Dec 8, 2012
Bob Gaines  
Thanks Muff. I haven't replaced that anchor yet, so if you're up for it- go for it! It's a wild route that deserves more traffic. Let me know how it goes- hope you send it! Mar 26, 2012
Does anyone know if the P3 anchor was replaced on this? I am looking to attempt this in the near future. If the anchor has not been replaced would it be permissible that we replaced it?

Thanks for putting it up Bob! Mar 26, 2012
Bob Gaines  
Nice send, Josh!

When I get a chance, I'll go out there and replace that P3 anchor, and do some laps on that first pitch and try and clean it up a bit. I don't think it's seen much traffic, but the entire route is a classic, with great variety. Every pitch has its own distinctive character.

Good to know you can pull through the crux on P1 to get to the good stuff on pitches 2,3, and 4. Apr 28, 2010
Josh Higgins
Josh Higgins  
Actually, I cruised the last pitch. It's definitely technical, but that's my style... The only pitch I fell on was the first, and there was nothing I could do to get that section free. I pulled on a bolt.

Here's the trip report:…

Edit: Murf, maybe you saw me complete pitch 3 but then lower back down about 10'. I was building a belay using two of the newer lead bolts instead of using the crap 3rd pitch belay bolts. Roberto went up (couldn't miss his neon shirt) and whipped a few times, then I went up and sent first try in blue. :) Apr 27, 2010
Think I saw a lot of the ascent, seemed to go pretty cruiser. From a distance it looked like pitch 4 was the business. Saw swinging from both you guys.... the stemming corner must be a bitch. Mar 18, 2010
Josh Higgins
Josh Higgins  
The first pitch still needs some cleaning up. It's a bizarre lead that keeps you on edge due to all the potato chips waiting to peel off. Also, I think the 1st pitch is now potentially harder than it used to be. I onsighted the entire route except one 5' section I couldn't free on TR. Maybe holds broke? Or, maybe I couldn't read the micro holds well enough? The upper pitch ratings are on for someone my height (~6'), otherwise the boulder problem might be significantly harder. The quarter inch bolts are still there at the top of pitch 3. I built a belay using the two newer lead bolts below to stay safe. Bitchin route. I highly recommend the upper 3 pitches. Mar 18, 2010
I'll never forget the strange, undulating rock on the first pitch. The whole climb is stellar face climbing, with the hardest move being a boulder problem starting the 3rd (5.12-) pitch. The one thing I remember about the protection is that the belay anchor atop pitch 3 was a pair of 1/4" buttonheads as of 4 or 5 years ago. This is an anachronism on this route as most of the hardware appeared to be 3/8". This really should not be missed and deserves more traffic than it appears to have had. Aug 10, 2009
Bob Gaines  
One of the longest routes in the Park for the grade. The first pitch is a bit flakey, but after that the quality of the rock is excellent. Nov 7, 2008