Type: Sport, 80 ft
FA: Equipped by Mark Rolofson, First Free Ascent: Mark Anderson, March 7, 2010
Page Views: 3,132 total · 28/month
Shared By: Monomaniac on Mar 8, 2010
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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At one time the hardest route at Shelf, Carnage is the striking, S-shaped arete listed in "Shelf Road Rock" as "Wild Virus". I believe I've made the First Free Ascent, so I've taken the liberty of re-naming it "Carnage", which I think fits nicely with the names of Shelf's other 5.13ds, "Damage" & "Triage". Though Carnage is certainly not the best hard route at Shelf, it is considerably better than it looks from the ground, and is certainly worth doing if you climb at the grade. The movement is technical, powerful & improbable, with a number of sequence options that rely more on technique than finger strength. There are numerous hard sections, but there is also a no-hands, sit-down rest at the ledge, which makes this a line that clearly favors the boulderer. The crux is characterized by thin crimping, arete slapping, and technical footwork. There is some dubious-looking rock in the middle, but nothing ever broke, and the business sections all feature excellent stone.

Begin up an easy slab, then make an awkward traverse left to a stance at the lip of the roof. Devious 5.11-ish moves bear-hug up the double arete. An easy runout past the third bolt leads to the ledge. Chossy looking (though surprisingly solid) cream stone leads up and right to a juggy flake on the arete proper and another shake. A few tricky moves in the V5 range gain a pair of sloping crimps, a chance to clip and one final shakeout before the crux. An ultra subtle V10-ish boulder problem slaps directly up the arete to reach the obvious horizontal pod at the 8th bolt. The route is capped with another 20 feet or so of mid-5.12 climbing, with big, commiting moves between relatively good holds.


Carnage is the striking arete ~40 feet left of the Hot Beach Wall. Its also the second bolted line left of Super Suka, and the second bolted line right of The Cure for the Common Crimp.


10 gold coldshuts to 2BA. Stick clip recommended.


Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
Many thanks to whomever had the vision to equip this line! And thanks to Ben, Josh, and Kate for the belays & moral support. Mar 8, 2010
Josh Janes    
After two frustrating burns on the fourth day of working the route, Mark decided to throw in the towel for the day and give his sore bicep a week of rest, despite having unlocked subtle new beta for the crux.

Later in the day, however, it occurred to him that the moves that tended to tweak his arm came after the crux, and it wouldn't hurt to climb up to that point one more time to reinforce the new beta. On his third try of the fourth day attempting the route, and without any expectation of sending, he crushed the crux sequence and then persevered though the upper section for the FFA - an inspired performance!

On the way down he removed his draws and carefully brushed off all his tick marks - leaving the route in its original state for the next suitor. Nice job, Mark! Mar 8, 2010
John Maurer
Denver, CO
John Maurer   Denver, CO
My buddy and I were heading out yesterday, walking along the trail just in time to see the finishing sequences of "Mark's" successful ascent. "That's a proud line" was my comment as it came into view in the afternoon light. Impressive ascent. Congrats. Mar 8, 2010
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
Great job, it's nice to see such a striking line finally go down. It's pretty rare to find natural routes of that style at that difficulty because there is such a fine line between too easy and too hard. It's a pretty rare accomplishment, congrats. Mar 8, 2010
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
My old Cactus Cliff pamphlet/guide by Rick Thompson says Mark Rolofson bolted it in the early '90s. Mar 8, 2010
Fantastic achievement and addition to Shelf!
(Now it's time to start working that line through the face to the right.) Apr 8, 2010
Boulder, CO
Train4life   Boulder, CO
Carnage is really fun, and I am amazed that more people don't climb this route! Carnage has really fun movement, and the arete is beautiful! I do feel there should be a bolt between the 3rd and the 4th, personally just because of the frailty of the rock. I just went up Flight's start and came down from the 4th bolt of Carnage. Maybe I'm a wuss but the thought of swinging into the roof below because of a hold breaking "turned me off" to that part. The upper moves are great and I am excited to try this rig more! I think I have the beta for the V10 moves down but if anyone wants to share their beta and compare I'd be mighty happy :) Sep 25, 2014
Mark Rolofson
Boulder, CO
Mark Rolofson   Boulder, CO
Yes, this is one of the most striking lines at Shelf Road. Good job sending this one. It was above my ability in the early 1990s, and I was climbing well then. I knew it would eventually go. What a prize. I bolted it in Fall 1992. Nov 20, 2014
T Hays
Colorado Springs, CO
T Hays   Colorado Springs, CO
A crucial (at least for my beta) edge broke yesterday on a redpoint burn. I knew its days were numbered when I started working the route weeks ago. Sure enough, an appetizer dish-sized plate released and rocketed me into space. The description here claims multiple sequences, but I was not able to suss out a way to do it after the break.... Also the FA'ist is clearly using it in one of the pics on this page. Bummer.

Anyone know whats going on with the anchors to the right of Carnage? That steep, red wall looks fun, but there are no bolts, just anchors. Feb 10, 2019
I agree with the previous comment. The crux used to be a 6 move V9 sequence revolving around a crucial, two finger, right hand sidepull pinch that is now gone. The crux seems conceivable but much harder- maybe V11? This could be a new Shelf 5.14- when ascended. Feb 18, 2019