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Routes in Abominable Snowman

Belmont Brie S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Child of Chaos T,S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Corruption is Contagious S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Creature Comforts S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Creature of Habit S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Crystal Ship S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Hill City Shootout: Bullets Not Blanks S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Piranha Crack T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Piranha Roof S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Seven Year Itch S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Side Arm S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Too Easy for Hard Men S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
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Type: Sport, 65 ft, Grade V
FA: Tom Kohlmann at al : 1989
Page Views: 452 total · 9/month
Shared By: Mark Orsag on Jul 22, 2014
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

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Trying routes that get no stars in the thorough new Busse and Burr Rushmore guide is a gamble. Rarely, such gambles pay off and you find something at least ok to pretty good (like the route Tenuous for me on Veiny recently) ... other times you experience something like this. First the good: The climbing on the top of Belmont Brie is really engaging. Steep sustained 5.9 crimping through rolling bulges with good rock quality and interesting holds. Otherwise, this thing has a lot of drawbacks. First of all, the guidebook 5.8 rating is a bit sandbagged. Taking everything into account, I would rate it 5.9+. The bottom has suspect rock quality and lots of slick lichen on it. The middle of the route is a total chossy mess. Protection on the route is unreliable, the bolting is bizarre, and the anchors are suspect. In its current condition, this route should probably be avoided.

If you do decide to give this thing a try...To start, cautiously ascend a shallow dihedral to the right with delicate footwork on lichen-slick rock to the first bolt. You will discover that most of the 8 bolts here are loose spinning buttonheads-- really unreliable in the case of a lead fall. Bolts 2 and 3 are also inexplicably way off line to the left (what the first ascentionists were thinking here, I'm not sure... Was the rock quality better in 1989? Were they trying to avoid extending a draw for some reason?). To clip or clean these bolts requires awkward destabilizing lunges out onto crumbling, featureless lichen-covered rock. The middle section is slightly steeper with less lichen and the bolt line back where it should be , but the rock quality deteriorates further. Holds flex, and the belayer will probably feel like an extra in the Mel Gibson movie THE PATRIOT as musket-ball shaped chunks of rocks will fall upon him/her with greater rapidity than your average Revolutionary War Hessian trooper could fire! Then the pretty darn good top, followed by the decayed "roll the dice" disaster that are the anchors. My partner (who backed up the anchor to lower me) and I both sent this thing cleanly, and he won the rappel lottery. BTW, This route's alternate name is Don't Leave Webbing On the Rock (so listed in the older Phinney guide), so there is some kind of story here that I, as an out of towner, don't know. But the whole thing was a really bad, bad idea on my part that could have ended up being not funny at all. Moral of the story -- be afraid of no star routes, be very afraid...


Not on Abominable Snowman proper but on an adjacent formation. Unpleasant downhill approach on a mat of rotted loose needles, through weeds and over trees downed by the October 2013 storm.


Such as they are...8 bolts. 2 bolt anchors with slings


Kirtis Courkamp
Kirtis Courkamp   Golden
We need more route descriptions like this. Nice work Jul 31, 2014
Mark Orsag
Omaha, NE
Mark Orsag   Omaha, NE
Thanks! I read the guidebook description-- thought 5.8 well-protected climb-- let's jump on that at the end of a long hot day...Figured folks should know the reality of this route before wasting time looking for it. Aug 8, 2014
Kathryn H
Kathryn H  
When Frodo and Samwise undertook the trek into Mordor, their journey was preceded by the darkest and most dreadful of legends, warning them of many ways leading to death, doom, and giant spider attacks. Yet, still, they undertook the journey bravely and lived to tell the tale, to go down into their own Middle Earth history. Similarly, as I heard the description to this route, I was slightly nervous, but curious. Who could resist the allure? A climbing route that might finally make true men out of my climbing partner and me!

Feeling like the above mentioned hobbits, bravely going where few had gone before, hauling ropes and packs, we made the incredibly heinous approach over a pine needle strewn forest floor! Finally, we arrived at the legendarily atrocious climb. At first glance we saw a moss-covered wall, featuring a crack to the right and slabby wall to the left. The angle was decently steep and some of the footholds had clearly been brushed off for easier handling.

“Good luck up there!” I encouraged as my climbing partner tentatively began the first moves up the crack, getting his nerves up for the “destabilizing lunges out onto crumbling, featureless lichen-covered rock” that were now apparent. As I belayed, I readied myself to dive out of the way of basketball-sized holds that were no doubt about to rain down from heaven.

However, as he climbed higher with nary a fall nor a broken hold, I must say this route was disappointingly, dare I say, even depressingly average. After Mark’s route description I expected us both to be weeping tears of victory as he reached the top, barely alive but having lived so much more because of it. What a good thing that I didn’t bring my titanium umbrella (originally because of weight reasons) to protect me from the “musket-ball shaped chunks of rocks,” that never ended up falling down! The route was more mundane than a Sunday afternoon in February (albeit, slightly greener, because of the moss), and the juggy holds were, literally, more 5.8 than 24.36 divided by 4.2. The bolts were in such great shape that it was simply a letdown.

In short, we both felt that 5.8 was a fair rating, possibly deserving of one or two stars, and it was a regular route that I would recommend climbing if you’re in the immediate area and down for a moss-fest.
Aug 19, 2015
Mark Orsag
Omaha, NE
Mark Orsag   Omaha, NE
Someone recently told me that the post above was there. Unless there has been a lot of work done on this routes since the summer of 2014, I stand by everything I wrote in warning people off it. The route isn't safe , and I wouldn't climb it again. There was a lot of choss on it, the bolts were "loose spinning buttonheads", and two of them were way offline. The anchors were decayed. I have climbed dozens and dozens of routes at Rushmore, and this is one of only two that I would say "don't climb it" about. Has the route been fixed in the last year-plus? Maybe... most of my outdoor climbing other than in the summers is at HCR, so I haven't been back to this area in a while-- don't know. Is it possible to make it up and down this thing safely-- yes it worth the risk on a risk/reward scale? My calculation would be no. Others may have-- and are welcome to--their own opinions. Nov 16, 2015

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