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Routes in The Merlon

No Climb for Old Men T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Super Fortress T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 1300 ft, 11 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Steve Bechtel, Bobby Model, Mike Lilygren, 1995
Page Views: 3,925 total · 55/month
Shared By: Mike Snyder on Oct 9, 2012
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

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Description

Two 3rd/4th class pitches are followed by a 5.4, a 5.7 and a 5.10 corner/face pitch. The upper 7 pitches are all 5.11, with bolts protecting many of the cruxes. The first and last 5.11 pitches are the hardest at 5.11+. Double bolt anchors are available at every belay ledge. Refer to the attached photo for route topo, picture and description.

Location

The route begins in the grassy gully that rises above the lower slabs.

Rappel the route.

Protection

Two 60M ropes, 12 quickdraws, 1 set of nuts, one set of TCU's and one set of cams to 4",
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Mike, thanks for adding this! Is the rock generally pretty good on this route? Oct 10, 2012
Mike Snyder
Cody, WY
  5.11d
Mike Snyder   Cody, WY  
  5.11d
Its been a long time, but I remember being continually amazed by the quality of the rock and climbing on every pitch. This thing is truly a rock star out in the middle of nowhere. Oct 14, 2012
To Mike Snyder and Dan Miller: Are you willing and able to pass on a higher resolution copy of the beautiful route map you made for Super Fortress (and any of the other Merlon or Cloud Peak routes if you have route maps of those)? I see that Dougald MacDonald and Mark Jenkins climbed several of these routes in 2015/2014(?). I'll do my best to track them down too.
Thanks for any help, -Glenn Jul 16, 2016
This is a very good route, way back in the middle of nowhere. There is a lot of extremely cool knob and hueco climbing on bullet granite. I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for something less traveled, but high quality. If it was in RMNP, it would be a famous classic.

We climbed the route with a quick 8 hour bivy in the Paint Rock Creek Drainage. At a casual pace it took about 5.5 hours of total hike time to get to the base of the route, 6 hours to climb the route and escape out of the notch, and 6 hours to hike out. Knowing the lay of the land, I think the following would be a better (meaning less painful) way to do the route. Doing the route CTC is not out of the question, but it is a damn long hike.

Day One: bivy just beyond Mistymoon.

Day two: shortcut past a small lake, and over an obvious notch to the northeast to gain access to the Paint Rock Creek Drainage, and eventually the high col that leads to the base of the route. Climb the route, get in and out of the notch, and descend via the hikers route; shortcutting to the south early across the Paint Rock Creek Drainage, to avoid a large detour by the hikers trail.

Day three: hike out.

To avoid bringing two ropes we did a half rope rap into the notch off the back of the formation, and then climbed a long wandering 5.9 pitch just to the north of the notch on a low angled rib. This allows you to gain the normal hikers trail to descend from Cloud Peak proper.

I think you could rap the route with a 70 meter rope with minimal gear loss, due to all bolts, and relatively short pitches, but it would require some creativity.

If the multiple pitches of 5.11 are a concern, don't be dissuaded. The route features highly featured, relatively straight forward terrain, that's not especially sustained and very well protected. Seemed like 11b max to me, and mostly 5.10.

The last pitch was a bit wet, and has a few blocks on the topout that need trundling. Jul 26, 2017
Brad Burns
Story, WY
  5.12b R
Brad Burns   Story, WY
  5.12b R
Honestly, this route is ICONIC for the area. The view is amazing, and everything about this route screams alpine. The route however seemed to be farily hard to follow. We ended up soloing past the 5.4 and 5.7 without even realizing it, and getting to a “huge corner” on the wall that we believed to be the 5.10. After leading about 110’ off the deck on the corner, we noticed anchors for belaying the first 5.11 way off to the right. My partner Jeremiah had to do a sketchy, unprotected traverse onto the anchors, and we started moving up the “5.11d”. This pitch felt very sustained, and the bolts were far apart, forcing me to place multiple cams in questionable spots in between. I ran out of pro between two bolts on a very runout section, so I lowered back down to Jeremiah, and traded leads. As he climbed the route, he felt strongly that the crux of the route (just below the anchors) was around 5.12 rating. As I pulled up behind him, I felt a similar difficulty as I tried to pull up using an awful splitter crack, and a nasty sloper, with awful smeared feet. The pitch wore us out. When we reached that set of anchors, we saw another set of anchors to our left and down about 30ft, and were severely confused. No bolts were in sight other than the anchors, and the map showed a bolt far to our left around a large outcropping, to get there however, required a traverse on a blank face that looked almost impossible, even if we knew for certain that the bolt was there for sure. Or uncertainty with the proper route path, and our exhaustion from the previous “5.11” pitch required us to bail. We successfully rappeled back to the lower section of the 4th class using one 70m rope, and only leaving a larger piece of blue webbing around a flake. We never did find the anchors at the bottom of the 5.4, or the 5.7 however.
Soon after getting out of the gully, hail and lightning rocked us as we hiked out of the paint rock drainage.
Although we had to bail, the Climb was amazing, and totally worth it up until that point. It was surely iconic, but very difficult for a 5.11 In my opinion.
I would recommend bringing extra webbing, one 70m rope, big boy pants (it’s hard) and a set of micro cams or TCU’s. Many of the Cam placements were .75 or below, and having extra pro on the bolted sections would save you from some pucker factor for sure.
Overall, great route (as far as I’ve seen). Aug 2, 2018
michalm
Boulder, CO
  5.11
michalm   Boulder, CO
  5.11
The climbing and the rock quality on this route gets better the higher you go. Bring cheese puffs for the long hike out. Aug 11, 2018

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