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Back To The Future 

YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Richard Aschert, Dave Dangle, Darryl Roth
Page Views: 6,963
Submitted By: Steve Merschel on Apr 29, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (148)
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Mia beginning the crux sequence.


This route is on an excellent section of the cliff (named Back To The Future Wall) with 4 or 5 other routes that got stellar ratings in the guidebook. It is a great place to spend a day. This is the easiest, with the others being hard 11s or easy 12s.

Back To The Future is easily identified by 2 huge pockets, side by side about 8 feet off the ground. This route has everything. It's not just a pocket-fest like many of the other routes at Shelf. The crux is about halfway up and ends in a huge bucket. The route is sustained and ends on the slabby sharp-as-hell rock that I found at the top of most of the routes at Shelf.


7-8 bolts to the anchors.

Photos of Back To The Future Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: T. Blom about to screw up his redpoint attempt.
T. Blom about to screw up his redpoint attempt.
Rock Climbing Photo: Achey onsighting BTTF. Just before the sun starts ...
Achey onsighting BTTF. Just before the sun starts ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Shake out.
Shake out.
Rock Climbing Photo: BW Back to the Future.
BW Back to the Future.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pockets!
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff getting into the crux & digging deep.  He put...
Jeff getting into the crux & digging deep. He put...

Comments on Back To The Future Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 25, 2016
By Mike Sofranko
Nov 27, 2001

What a sweet route! Definitely hop on this one and give it a go. Don't let your guard down for the last stretch to the anchor, though.
By A concerned citizen
Dec 25, 2003

The fifth bolt (just before the crux) on BACK TO THE FUTURE (.11b) needs immediate replacement. The hanger popped off on me while on a roadtrip (no drill, no wrench) & doing a linkup of BTTF and the route to the right. I replaced the hanger, hand-tightened the nut, and marked it with a chalk 'X,' but the bolt is still too small for the hole and needs to be replaced---the hole itself looks fine.

By Kirk Woerner
Jan 25, 2004
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Great route. However, a WARNING. The bolt protecting the crux is suspect. After 8 whippers (by my girlfriend) and two by me, when she went back to TR the crux, the hangar came off the bolt (we had a directional in it)! The reason is the bolt is too short and the nut will work it's way off. It looks like it's enough to just make sure the nut is finger tightened before you trust it, but MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS. I think it's the 3rd bolt, it's the one below the roof.
By Jesse Ryan
May 20, 2005
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Maybe it's a first. On my birthday, I did a birthday suit ascent. Anybody claim an earlier ascents in this style?
By Steve Merschel
Dec 8, 2005

I came back to clear something up on this route description...I took about 20 falls on this thing on top rope. Most of the description I put on here was just quotes from the ropegun that put up the top rope for me. Sweet route though, but there is crux on there that I remember trying some layback move on it and fell off so many times that my belayer almost tied me off and left. I found a hidden hold after a LONG time and that made it possible, though still tough. My lard falling on this route so many times may be the reason for the bolt weakness listed in the comment above.
By Bill Ballace
From: Pullman,WA
Feb 2, 2006
rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Probably one of the best of its grade at Shelf. The bolt at the crux must have been replaced because it looked good to me.
By Brian Adzima
From: San Francisco
Aug 19, 2007

By Matt Richardson
From: Longmont, CO
Oct 29, 2007
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

Definitely a classic! And polished probably because it is a classic. If you make it past the technical crux (at the flake) and are weak like me, get ready for a big fall if you fub the clip - there will be no backing down from this point!
By Brandon Schirm
From: colorado springs, co
Dec 19, 2010

By Glenn Schuler
From: Monument, Co.
Jan 18, 2011
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Thanks, Brandon!
By gumbotron
From: Denver, CO
Jul 20, 2012
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Truly an awesome route up a great wall. One of the better routes I've been on at shelf.
By Jordan Hirro
From: Colorado Springs/Carbondale
Oct 6, 2013

Oh boy...way too much fun. After bolt 5, it gets tricky but so enjoyable. Jim and I ran laps on this today, and it never got old. Definitely polished, but eh, hop on it!
By Jake Dickerson
From: Lander, WY
Feb 28, 2015
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Super fun route! A little polished but not to bad considering it was the first route bolted on the wall! The layback crux is about 1/2 way up.
By Julia
May 21, 2015
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

This route is very polished but mostly on the easier holds. A really cool move for you shorties out there, moving off the ledge around the middle of the route.
By two chains
From: Fucken Zion
Mar 25, 2016
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Polished??!! Don't ever go to The Pit in Flagstaff. See what real polished limestone looks like. Route is rad and an easy O.S. do to good rests! And save some mojo for the last 20'.

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