Type: Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Greg Lowe, Kent Christianson, Rob Brown - 1967
Page Views: 4,214 total · 46/month
Shared By: RKM on Nov 25, 2011
Admins: grk10vq, Mike Engle

You & This Route


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Description

Greg originally rated this route 5.9+ and the line followed a deceptive path up the middle of the slab. Due to another route right next to it that shares the first pitch plus start of the second pitch, it seems that not many will repeat the original line or experience the original intent of this Greg Lowe masterpiece.

Some years ago writing on a thread for SuperTopo, Jeff Lowe had the following comment about 'Infinite'.

Hard Slab Climbs

 Nov 30, 2006 - 06:11pm PT

In the sixties in SLC we had already drunk the Kool-Aid. . .My cousin George climbed the Dorsal Fin with long run outs between chickenheads to drill from. It's still rated 10d. It was my first climb of that sort, when George took me to repeat it in 1967. I just thought it must be normal. I also really enjoyed the need for concentration and steady nerves. . . Probably the hardest slab climb in the country in those days was my brother, Greg's route, Infinite, in the City of Rocks. Infinite had lots of 5.10 spice climbing, and a 5.11c crux fully 30 feet above the last 1/4" bolt. Kim Miller made the second ascent in the mid 'seventies and I repeated it afterwards. These may have been the only ascents of the route early on . . . .

Location

Base of the Clamshell - upper City of Rocks.  Pitch 1 goes over the roof at the lowest part of the wall (old bolt) and ends at what used to be a two pin (lost arrows) anchor.  The original Lowe route goes left, undercling, and into a shallow grove that you need to step out of via a layback.  Clip the bolt and head for a small tree.  It gets steeper and steeper.  The danger would be falling and sliding down the groove and tripping over the rope that crosses it.

Protection

Mostly old quarter inch bolts.

Photos

zoso  
Cool to add this bit of lost history. Thanks.

Most impressive Kim. I'm doubting any others have done this? Nov 26, 2011
Brian in SLC
Sandy, Utah
Brian in SLC   Sandy, Utah
Wow, Kim, you're one of the very few persons that could enter this route in the database.

Scary looking, to say the least.

No waitin' in line for this one! Dec 1, 2011
Kaylee Catmull
Riverside, CA
Kaylee Catmull   Riverside, CA
RKM thanks for the bit of history. Too bad the Lowe route got bolted and that adventure was lost to history. May 27, 2013
skinny legs and all
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
skinny legs and all   Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
This is the first time I have read a detailed description of the climb outside of the short guidebook description, and I am thoroughly impressed. It is a shame that such an early and bold route has been taken from the few who would dare to court it even today. Jan 4, 2014
Why not restore the route? Jun 5, 2015
I think some clarification is in order, as some of the above statements are misleading.

I should apologize to Jay, as I was quoted as writing "the line has essentially been erased by the addition of bolts and anchors". This is not accurate. In reality, Greg Lowe's original route is largely intact, as it cuts left from Jay Goodwin's line just above the bottom overlap. So - it is still very possible to experience the original line - if you're up for it.

Also, It should be noted that Jay did his variation "ground up" (not top-down as Jeff Lowe writes),drilling from stances and using crack gear when possible.

What I meant to convey in my guide description was that it was unlikely that many people would do Lowe's original line, now that a more direct option was available. Sep 25, 2015
Thanks, RKM, for the photos and info. And hats off to you for this ascent. I never knew where Lowe's original line was other than to climber's left and the rumor was one or two bolts on the entire, difficult pitch. Knowing that finding those bolts was unlikely in that giant sea of stone, and not being brave enough to commit to a no-pro lead (ground fall almost the entire pitch) if I didn't find the bolts, I never seriously considered trying to do the route. Nov 17, 2018
I want to correct some info regarding the history of the bolted variation to the right of Greg's original line, and also to say that I agree with Bingham - you can still do Infinite as Greg created it though you would probably need to skip a clip.

The first time I went to climb Infinite (1982 or 83?), knowing only that it was hard and on the Clam Shell, I found an old aluminum hanger bolt under a overhanging cluster of small flakes. This bolt is what you see clipped in RKM's first photo. Pull the overhang and follow the arching crack/flake right another 10-15 feet to pins marking the first belay; the first pitch was something like 30 feet long. From the first belay (pins), you could see bolts (I think there are four bolts) to climber's left that went straight up to a steep, short bulge on top of which was a small tree (an obvious location for the second belay). The first time I was ever on the Clamshell, the bolted variation to Infinte was already there; I did not put up the variation or place these bolts. It is a good line, and four bolts on a 125' pitch is not bolted to hell in my book. I doubt the bolts went in on rappel; they are far apart and, as I recall, at stances, and having put up a lot of face climbs, I think they went in on lead. And no one was bolting on rappel at the time - that came later. Though I did not put up the bolted variation; I like it and probably would have if someone else hadn't already. The variation second pitch following these bolts was long, with the bulge at the top being the crux well above the last bolt, and rope drag was ....a drag. The final third pitch above the tree was unprotected, relatively easy, got easier as you climbed and the angle of the slab kicked back. Nov 17, 2018
Thinking that this bolt line was Infinite, and knowing that rope drag was bad on the second pitch and that the first pitch was super short, I thought that moving the belay to the first bolt of the bolted line would fix the rope drag problem and about double the length of the first micro pitch. I talked with Dave Bingham about this, and Dave said he would ask Greg Lowe about moving the belay. What I recall Dave telling me was that Greg said something along the line of 'go ahead, why not? The route has already been altered/ruined/bastardized' - I can't remember the words but it was that the route had already been modified and was degraded. So with that ringing endorsement, I added a second bolt at the first bolt on the bolted variation, creating a new first belay location. Nov 17, 2018
RKM
Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
  5.11+ X
RKM   Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
  5.11+ X
Thanks Jay for the new information on this obscure but historic route. I wonder who put the bolts in on the “Retrofit Route”. Maybe someone will read this and fill in the blanks. Also, I have wondered what this route would be like with the new sticky rubber. Might be just 5.9! Nov 23, 2018
Lowe did some creative experimenting with climbing shoe soles is the story I have heard. Would be interesting to know if any of this experimentation involved this route.

It would be interesting to know who put up the variation. Someone passing through seems unlikely given the approach but maybe there was a group who learned of the test piece back in the day. My guess, however, is someone 'local' - out of northern UT (Logan, Ogden, SLC, Provo) or maybe Ketchum area. It is a good route. Nov 29, 2018