Type: Trad, Sport, 350 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Mark Ronca and Bernard Gillett, 2009
Page Views: 2,363 total · 21/month
Shared By: Bernard Gillett on Jul 13, 2009
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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If you like adventurous outings, this tight little package has a lot to offer. There's Something About Mary is located on the overhanging west (maybe WSW is more accurate) face of Mary's Bust, immediately right of Violet Blue. There are 6 pitches, though two are just moving the rope over easy terrain. The exposure on this route is phenomenal. Some of the rock is a little less than ideal, but overall it's a very rewarding route.

Pitch 1: 5.0. Begin at the base of Violet Blue, clip its first bolt, and traverse right (no pro) for 50 feet to a ledge with two bolts. It's mostly 4th class with a move of 5.0 at the end. We may add a bolt or two (feel free to step up and do it on your own) -- at present, don't fall.

Pitch 2: 5.12a, 90 ft. An intricate lead with plenty of hard climbing. Head right past 5 bolts (very steep) and pull into a good hand crack (5.11). Follow cracks up to a roof (one bolt), and move out its left side (5.12a). The crux can be done low (funky) or high (powerful and reachy). Continue along the crack system to a bulge, and rock over at 2 bolts (5.11). An awkward 5.11 seam (one fixed wire and tricky small cams) leads to a good belay stance with chains.

Pitch 3: 5.12a, 90 ft. Mostly bolt-protected (11 bolts) with a few wires. Climb moderate ground to a small overhang, and punch through with a crux lunge. A good rest is followed by steep and pumpy climbing (5.11d) to a short, right-facing corner. At the top of the corner, you'll see chains up and left (more on these below*). Ignore them and hand traverse right (5.10a) to a wild perch on the edge of the wall. This is the money shot pitch, with heart-thumping exposure (the second pitch will also redline your heart rate). Lash into 3 bolts for the belay; the upper left is also meant to be used as a directional for the second, and the lower left for protection as you pull the last move to the belay.

Pitch 4: 5.10a, 75 ft. This pitch is easy enough that you can actually enjoy the crap-in-your-pants exposure (rather than feeling like the next moment could be your last). Follow 8 bolts on the edge of the buttress to a ledge with chains. Take care reaching the first bolt (placed high to avoid fractured rock; stay right). Climb through the bulges above bolts 3 and 4 on the right: there are a few suspended blocks glued to the wall with some prehistoric, petrified paste; these are best avoided.

Pitch 5: 5.2, 110 ft. Head to the base of the upper headwall (take a 1:00 or 2:00 heading) and belay at a good ledge with two bolts.

Pitch 6: 5.10d, 70 ft. Follow nine bolts to chains at the top of the wall. Avoid the funky, hollow flakes on the left at the bottom of the pitch -- any loose rock pulled off here would likely reach the road. Don't pull on the blocks resting on the belay ledge at the top of the pitch, either. Though they probably wouldn't budge, there are ample holds elsewhere, and you do not want to see these blocks take the ride to the road.

  • The chains up and left near the end of the 3rd pitch were the original belay (we had not yet bolted the 4th pitch at the time). If you want, you can stop there, and head up and left through a 5.8 chimney (#4 Camalot recommended) to a separate set of chains (we'll call these the Chimney Chains for descent info). We never bothered to lead this pitch after discovering and bolting the more exposed 4th pitch described above.


Descent: There are 3 options.

1. Rope off to the NE (about 40-50 feet of 4th class), scramble over to an obvious pine, and go through the notch to its left. Carefully descend 3rd class slabs to the pass between Mary's Bust and the gold wall behind it. Turn left, and traverse beneath the gold wall to a large boulder, shimmy down its far side, and then switch back to the edge of the cliff that is immediately west of Mary's Bust. You are now on top of The Devil's Backbone, and 3 rappels down that route (60 m rope) reach scrambling territory.

2. Rappel 6 times down the SE (roadside) face. A 60 m rope is sufficient.
a. 95 ft to chains that are located about 20 feet below the belay ledge at the base of the final pitch.
b. 90 ft to chains in a solution pocket -- these are just before the wall gets steep again.
c. 40 ft to chains on a stance on a rib that is a little below the high point on Proud Mary's 3rd pitch.
d. 85 ft to a stance just above a steep headwall. Rappels c and d can be comfortably combined with a 70m rope.
e. 85 ft to foothold on a gorgeous brown dike.
f. 70 ft to the ground.
Rappel route 2 is straightforward, and descends The Brown Palace. If there are people climbing on that route, you can swing left on rappel (d) to pick up the rappel route for Proud Mary.

3. Rappel the route, probably the least attractive option as the rappels are way out there, diagonal some, and when it's windy it can become a nightmare. The first rappel uses all of a 70-m line and ends at the Chimney Chains. Rope over to the chains above the 4th pitch, and then rappel to the original anchors on the top of pitch 3 (do not follow the 4th pitch bolts; stay to the left). Then a slight diagonal rappel to the top of pitch 2 (sketchy and overhanging), and then to the ground (35 meters, overhanging).

Here's the catch: if you're sure you can make it to the top of the wall, a 60 m rope is all you need. If you have to retreat, you're going to want the 70 m rope for the last rappel. You just *might* be able to swing around and get on the easy cliff at the base of the route with a 60 m cord, but you might also be screwed, hanging in space. We never tried.


Rack: one each Camalot from #0.2 (little red) to #2. Extra #0.5 Camalot, 1.5 tech Fr., and yellow TCU. 1 set of wires. First time up: you might want an extra 0.75 and 1.0 just to make sure you've got the right piece when you need it.

All you need for the 3rd pitch is a few wires; throw some finger-sized cams on if you like. 4th and 6th pitches: QDs only.

A 70 m rope is required if you need to retreat or you choose to rappel the route -- see descent information.


Bernard Gillett
Bernard Gillett  
Summer ascents: start early so that you are in the shade for the hard pitches. You'll see sunshine at the top of the wall pretty much all day.
Winter ascents: wait for the sun to come around to the west side. There may not be enough time to get to the top of the wall on the shortest days if you have to start in the afternoon. Jul 13, 2009
Scott Matz
Loveland, CO
Scott Matz   Loveland, CO
Congrats on your ascent, always adventurous here in the Big T. I was always worried to climb on this west side, a couple years back I had a softball-size boulder almost take me out. I don't use a Gri-Gri very often, but it saved a couple injuries that day. Good job, Mark---& B.G. Jul 21, 2009
Congrats on the new route! Bernard- are you going to post/name your other new 1-pitch route, or wait untill adding more pitches? Also, maybe you should add "Dynamite" to this site's roster of routes, the fun one between "Maternal Damnation" and "Deceiver", if I'm not mistaken on names.
Also: found 3 old pitons (from Disney's early ascent?) buried in dirt/pine needles at the base; another guy from Waltonia found a gris-gris downhill from "Deceiver", said it was marked with 2 colors.
cheers- tim Jul 30, 2009
Bernard Gillett
Bernard Gillett  
Hey Tim - yes, I was waiting to post the one pitch route; thought it would be best to wait until I finished the entire route (however high it goes). But I had to finish this route first, and then I got sidetracked with another route. I'll post something soon, and will edit it later for additional pitches. EDIT: See Disneyland.

Pitons: nice find! I saw your other post; I pulled two pins out of the rock with my fingers on the actual route that might match the ones you found.

Posting the route Dynamite: I can't. I'm legally bound by a standard publishing contract to refrain from publishing anything that would directly compete with my RMNP guidebooks (at least until the contract expires, or unless I decide to contact my publisher and ask for and obtain permission). Because I support such contracts (they protect the publisher who makes a substantial monetary investment), I won't be posting Dynamite any time soon.

I don't own a Gri-Gri, so it's not mine. Jul 30, 2009
OK, Bernard- looking forward to more pitches on your other route. As far as posting descriptions of older routes that might be in some older guide books, just to help users of this forum, is it legally/ethically OK for someone else to borrow info from them and post it here?
I called Jim Disney and told him of my find, and he told me he climbed that central crack system in about 1961, using army-surplus pitons he got from either Holubar or Gerry. He said it took quite a bit of work and time, leaving fixed lines on it. He said he also did a line on a pinnacle on the other side of the canyon, maybe 5.7. Jul 31, 2009
Bernard Gillett
Bernard Gillett  
Tim: As far as I know (I am not a lawyer), much of the raw information published in a guidebook (e.g. route names, FA info, and the like) is in the public domain, and I am not aware of any law that prohibits someone from publishing said information. On the other hand, the photos, topos, words used to describe a route (obviously not the words themselves, but rather the writing style and sentence structure), and things of that nature are the intellectual property of the author, protected by copyright laws. Using someone else's intellectual property is plagiarism/copyright infringement (and unlawful in most contexts I can think of).

I can't answer the ethical question; I think that's up to the individual. If you are worried about pissing me off by posting Dynamite due to the fact that you got the information from my guide, don't be (that is, go ahead and post up). While it sometimes pains me to see a route description on this site that was clearly informed by something I wrote, I really don't have a reasonable argument to stop it. Anyone is free to publish (in whatever medium) pubic domain information.

Perhaps the admins could respond to the ethical question by providing to the user a screen button of some sort (in the route entry pages) that acknowledges the guidebook from which the information was derived. Standard procedure in academia (acknowledge the sources that helped you to build on their work). For example, if I decide to post People's Choice in Clear Creek Canyon, I could click on a button that allowed me to acknowledge the fact that I got at least some of the information from Darren Mabe's fine new guide (the other information presumably derived from my own ascent, as that seems to be the norm for posting on this site). However, if, in fact, I got the information directly from Richard Wright (or from any source other than a published guide -- maybe I just walked up to the route and climbed it, and found out the name of the line and the FA info through independent research), then I might not feel compelled to enter in any guidebook reference. It would be up to the user to decide to what degree the author of a previous guide should be acknowledged. If the admins really wanted to run with this idea, they could provide a link to Amazon.com (or in the case of Mabe's book, Sharpendbooks.com) so that anyone who wanted more information about the area could have the option of purchasing the guidebook.

Admins? What do you think? It might be a nice way to lend a hand to the authors and publishers out there who put a ton of time and money into producing guidebooks (the very same guidebooks that, I presume, so many users of this site use as their initial reference to find a route in the first place).

By the way, if I'm remembering correctly, the pinnacle that Disney climbed across the river is known as The Erection (information from Walter Fricke's guide, sometimes available through Chessler books: Chesslerbooks.com). Aug 1, 2009
Ken Duncan
Ft Collins, CO
Ken Duncan   Ft Collins, CO
Great climbing and certainly more of an adventure than most routes at MB! It will get better and better with time as some of the loose stuff gets cleaned off. Four stars if it wasn't for the loose rock. Jan 4, 2013