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Begin stemming in a tapering dihedral, aiming for the second of two small bulges. Take a deep breath and get ready to move. Follow a technical sequence of sidepulls and gastons up a thinning seam. As the feet get smaller and the moves harder, you are left with one final, desperate lunge for the horizontal clipping jug.
On the northwest end of Crag Ranch sits a large, detached spire. Consolation Prize climbs the west face of this spire, directly across the valley from the Digital Tower.
9 bolts to a 2 bolt anchor with chains.
Bolt-less ascent of Consolation Prize, Crag Ranch,...
By Dan G0D5H411
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 16, 2011
A little history of the route (normally I would not feel inclined to detail the background of a simple sport climb but this route was somewhat unique to me): In the summer of 2006, I made my first visit to Crag Ranch and noticed the detached spire sitting at the northwest end of the crag. On the south face, there appeared to be a beautiful, continuous seam that ran the entire lenghth of the 150 foot face. For the next 4 years, I dreamed about putting a route up this face, and in the summer of 2010, my very patient wife and I hauled all my gear up the long, steep approach to Devil's Head. I tradded up a choss filled crack on the back of the spire, fending off loose rock, grinding offwidths, and hissing creatures (still not sure what it was, but it scared the living crap out of me!) On top, I set up an anchor and brought my wife up on second. The moment of truth was drawing near and my heart was beating rapidly as I started to rappel down the south face, about to get the first up-close view of my muse. With each foot I lowered, so too did my excitement. The amount of cleaning needed to make the route climbable was daunting, but in my obsession I still found a glimmer of hope. As my wife rapped down, landing next to me, the look in her eyes said it all. It was a choss pile.
With despair, I began to pull the rope but it would not budge. Not only had this damned rock dashed my dreams, but now it was trying to take my ropes too! After 150 feet of jugging (and cursing), I threw the ropes over the west face to eliminate some of the friction. For a second time, I started rapping off the spire, only this time I spied a devious seam on the west face with good rock and a fun dihedral start. Hence the name Consolation Prize.
By Jason Haas
Nov 22, 2011
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Dan, it's nice to read the history of a route, especially one that meant so much to the first ascentionist. After reading your account about the trad climb on the backside, I'm surprised to see that you bolted this crack. I am wondering, what was your thought process around bolting the crack as it seems you are familiar with placing gear? As you know, it starts as a finger crack in a corner, then widens to hands, then pinches down to a seam-type crack. I would have guessed that if you were doing the route ground up you probably would have thought the top wouldn't go on gear, but since you rapped the face first, didn't you notice that the seam takes bomber nuts (including the largest BD stopper)? My partner lead the route first and thought he'd have to clip the last two to three bolts at the end, but he was surprised at the abundance of excellent gear placements at that final crux section. In fact, he fell trying to clip the anchor, fully testing the nuts (which held just fine).
Unneccessary bolts on Consolation Prize, Crag Ranch, Devil's Head, South Platte.