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Routes in The Clamshell

Infinite T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a X
Rock Pedophile T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R
Type: Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Greg Lowe, Kent (Hack) Christianson, Rob Brown - 1967
Page Views: 3,712 total, 50/month
Shared By: RKM on Nov 25, 2011
Admins: grk10vq, WAGbag, Mike Engle

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Greg originally rated this route 5.9+ and the line followed a deceptive path up the middle of the slab. It has been essentially erased by the 'Retrofit Route' to the right. Because of this, probably no one 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, as someone bolted the hell out of it top down sometime later, changing the line and completely destroying an important piece of American climbing history.


Base of the Clamshell - upper City of Rocks.


Mostly old quarter inch bolts.
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
Why not restore the route? Jun 5, 2015
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
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
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
Cool to add this bit of lost history. Thanks.

Who's in the photos and when?

The Lowe brothers: Jedi's before their time. Nov 26, 2011