Type: Trad, 190 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Kurt Hager
Page Views: 1,792 total · 55/month
Shared By: KurtH on Aug 8, 2016
Admins: Kris Gorny, chris tregge

You & This Route

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This steep and intricate line takes a stunning position up the blank face of A Mind Forever Voyaging, generally following a faint seam that comes and goes throughout.

5.13-, 120 feet, 7 B and small gear. Sustained, technical and slightly runout climbing leads through several long and pumpy 5.12 cruxes. The final smack down comes with an abrupt 12 foot crimp traverse to gain the belay ledge.

NOTE: that if lowering from the Pitch 1 anchors you will need a 70 meter rope. A 60 meter will NOT reach the bottom.

5.13, 65 feet, 2 B plus mid-sized gear. A powerful and bouldery pitch. From the ledge this climbs the obvious thin seam. Three cruxes, each one harder than the previous, lead to an easier top out. Poor feet, several deadpoints, strenuous body tension on gastons and side-pulls characterizes the climbing.


The route starts just left of Danger High Voltage if looking up from the ground.

Shout out to Rick Kollath and Dave Pagel for developing this as an aid route, which I believe has seen few (maybe no?) repeats. From what I've heard via word of mouth is that this was done in winter, bolts where hand-drilled on lead. Even if that's not the case, I'm gonna believe it since that's a great tale and good adventure.


draws, small nuts through #1 red BD cam. You would be hard pressed to find more than 3 placements per pitch.
A few "stylistic" notes on the route:

1) There were actually 11 bolts on the original aid line, including a 4 piece bolt ladder / second pitch anchor, all meant for essentially body weight only (see photos). These were carefully extracted and updated with safe hardware, and there are now actually fewer bolts on the route.

2) Doing this route in two pitches makes sense: first of all, it's really tall and the original route was completed in 2 pitches. Most importantly, one of the hardest sequences is right off the no hands rest ledge / second pitch belay. With the rope stretch from ground, you would certainly deck hard on the ledge with a potentially angle/leg breaking fall.

3) I sent both pitches back to back on lead in a single push. Draws and supplemental gear were pre-placed on route. Aug 8, 2016
Kris Gorny    
Congrats, Kurt! Aug 8, 2016
Peter Caracciolo
Bozeman, MT
Peter Caracciolo   Bozeman, MT
First, great effort on the route. However, leading a route with the gear preplaced is known as pink-pointing and is certainly not a red-point ascent. To that matter, the first free ascent of A Mind Forever Voyaging is yet to be had. But again, nice work in opening the free moves. Place the gear before you post a new route as red-pointed though. Good luck on the future first free ascent. Aug 8, 2016
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
Badass! Nice work! Aug 8, 2016
Thanks Peter for the comment. I thought about this for a long time and decided I personally felt comfortable having the supplemental gear pre-placed as this is a mixed route, not a full trad route. Maybe others will see it differently, and that's fine. My goal in this climb was to free it by climbing from the bottom to the top in a single push without falling on lead, while having the smallest impact on the rock as possible.

If this route were located elsewhere, it would be a fully equipped sport climb as it's certainly not a crack climb. With draws already hanging at a certain point it felt contrived to place the extra pieces. All the other routes I've done at Palisade I've lead placing gear, but this climb felt different due to the number of bolts already in place from the original aid route.

If you or anyone else wanted to send it placing the few gear placements on lead, I truly and honestly would be thrilled to belay you and will be the first to shake your hand and buy you beer when you top it out. If you wanted to claim the first true ascent that's fine: I loved climbing this route, did it in a style that I feel proud of, and after all the work I put into it (ie, upgrading hardware and cleaning it to make it safe) I hope it is something the community can enjoy hereafter.

I get part of climbing is debating ethics since there is no official rule book, and I want to be totally transparent about the style I climbed in. A surprising number of lines have been established on pre-placed gear, even up to massive routes like the Pre-Muir Wall on El Cap, and they didn't try to hide it. For me it's a decision for each individual climber to make and just be honest about. I'll leave it at that. Aug 8, 2016
Nice work Kurt! Looks sick! Climb in a style that you feel is proper and let others expand on that in their own way.

Proud effort on what looks like an extremely high quality route. Aug 8, 2016
Where style is concerned, sure, it was a pinkpoint. But since we're talking technicalities, then let's be objective through and through. Redpoint style is not requisite for a first free ascent.

Congrats on a proud and well-earned FFA Kurt! Aug 8, 2016
Peter L Scott
Pequot Lakes, MN
Peter L Scott   Pequot Lakes, MN
Great job Kurt! I really don't care what label people want to put on your ascent. You were honest about your style, that's what counts. I solo aided this route many years ago. Clipping those bolts gave me a sense of security. I guess it was a false sense! Aug 20, 2016
Rob P.
Twin Cities
Rob P.   Twin Cities
Just wanted to publicly thank Kurt for the time and effort it took to establish this amazing climb. Nothing really compares to the style of this climb in the Midwest. Truly as close to world class as we can get in Minnesota. So good!

The climb has seen at least 2 ascents since Kurt established it and has been sent in 1 long pitch with all gear placed on the lead! I believe by linking the pitches into one, the climb is probably ~5.13c, especially compared to the 2 other 13s at the cliff. I feel Gales is a pretty big step up from Echoes which gets 13b on mountain project. I foresee this climb getting way more popular in the coming years and it will go down as one of the great test pieces of the Midwest. So rad! Thanks again Kurt! Aug 27, 2018