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The Mission Wall
Routes Sorted
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Behind The Sun S 
Billy S 
Billy the Kid S 
Challenger S 
Eye of the Beholder T 
Garrett's Revenge S 
Gneiss Roof (AKA: Nice Ride) T 
Gneiss Route S 
Ground Control to Gumby One S 
It's Not You, It's Me T 
Ride The Snake T 
Rocketman S 
Three Points of Contact S 
Wild Child S 
Unsorted Routes:

Gneiss Roof (AKA: Nice Ride) 

YDS: 5.10a/b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 250', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: C. Bernal / D .Mabe, 12/02
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 11,086
Submitted By: Darren Mabe on Dec 14, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (110)
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Climber making the traverse out the Gneiss Roof on...

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P1 and P2 of Ride the Snake, for a link-up dubbed "Nice Ride". This was originally approached with the first pitch of Gneiss Route.

P3. 5.9, 40 feet, 3 bolts and gear. Stem up a short dihedral to the roof, clip the black bolt with a long sling and traverse left (gear 0.5 C4). Pull around the left side of the roof and climb up to the plush Ashtray Belay (optional small nut).

P4. Stem up dihedral, step right and stretch up to the start of the roof crack (#2 Camalot). Make an airy hand traverse right using the roof crack for pro (#0.75 and #1 Camalot), placing the last piece as high as you can reach. Mantle over the right side of the roof and clip a bolt to protect the airy and steep crux. Continue straight up over slabs, bulges and roofs to Surette Ledge. Optional creative gear belay above the fourth bolt. 7 bolts, 5.9+/10, 120 feet.

BONUS Pitch (10+): once on Surette, you could traverse all the way right to the last pitch of Wild Child to top out on Mission Wall!

Descent: walk off left across exposed ledge and descend the loose hillside. OR, Traverse right to last anchors of Gneiss Route and rap twice with two ropes or three times with 70m cord. But the better option is to rap Rocketman and require 65', then a full 200'. Be very careful of loose rock on ledge.


12 QDs (few mid and shoulder-length slings), light rack including a few stoppers and cams, from small to a #2 Camalot.

Photos of Gneiss Roof (AKA: Nice Ride) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Myc, just finishing the traverse.
Myc, just finishing the traverse.
Rock Climbing Photo: High Five! Thank you, Mr. Mabe and Mr. Bernal. Thi...
High Five! Thank you, Mr. Mabe and Mr. Bernal. Thi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling onto Ash Tray belay ledge.
Pulling onto Ash Tray belay ledge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown following Gneiss Roof.
Unknown following Gneiss Roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom leading the traverse pitch.
Tom leading the traverse pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: CM finishing the third pitch.
CM finishing the third pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: CM at the second belay.
CM at the second belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: Silvia topping out on the last pitch of the Nice-R...
Silvia topping out on the last pitch of the Nice-R...
Rock Climbing Photo: Silvia on Gneiss Roof. The gear is a bit of a stre...
Silvia on Gneiss Roof. The gear is a bit of a stre...
Rock Climbing Photo: Silvia inspecting the moves from the rest under th...
Silvia inspecting the moves from the rest under th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Silvia leading through the crux of P3 on the Nice-...
Silvia leading through the crux of P3 on the Nice-...
Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing up P4 just after sunset.
Finishing up P4 just after sunset.
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott right after traverse on P3 about to head to ...
Scott right after traverse on P3 about to head to ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber leading out of the Ashtray ledge.
Unknown climber leading out of the Ashtray ledge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beta photo of Gneiss Roof on Mission Wall taken fr...
BETA PHOTO: Beta photo of Gneiss Roof on Mission Wall taken fr...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back at the belay while starting the trave...
Looking back at the belay while starting the trave...

Comments on Gneiss Roof (AKA: Nice Ride) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 25, 2016
By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Dec 16, 2002
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I apologize to Mr. Jimmy Surette for misspelling his last name "Surrette".

Casey Bernal
By Anonymous Coward
Feb 3, 2003

Fun and exposed route. Not you typical CCC line. It feels more adventurous. The traverse pitch is exciting since none of the bolts are visible until you are at them, but it is safe and well bolted. The roof takes good gear and leads to an exposed stance (bolt) for the crux.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 16, 2003

A more direct route jams the roof crack and stays left of the second bolt. Tight hands near the lip, pinches to a finger lock over it. I didnt do it cleanly my first time, but probably is 5.11-. This avoids the original hand traverse out right. Place the 0.75 cam as high as you can. Though difficult, this variation is more straight forward. Not many roof cracks like that in the Canyon with such airy position!!!
By Bryson Slothower
Jul 23, 2003

Awesome traverse pitch, it felt like the Black Canyon (except for the bolts)!
By micah stocker
Jun 28, 2004

What the hell. I did this route this morning and I don't know what to say. I really wish that I had have brought a rack. Without a set of cams this thing makes some routs in Eldo look like a joke. With some gear the route would probably be just fine. Felt a little hard for 9+, but that might have been the 13a before we climbed this route. Aside from all my griping, this really is a sick route. Mad props to Darren. I recommend it and a rack. I also recommend the rappel, it is worth it. Woooooo Weeeeeeee....
By Ashleigh Bilodeaux
Jun 28, 2004

I just did this with Micah this morning and man it was great! I truly agree about having a rack with you! The lead out are wild! I really like how this route keep you on your toes, and if you like to rap then hop in this route you will not be let down.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 20, 2004

If accessing Gneiss Roof from the two pitches of Ride the Snake, there is belay bolt on ledge-perch right off the ground for your added convenience/safety....
By Phil Persson
From: Denver, Colorado
Nov 20, 2007

Did the Gneiss-Ride linkup this past Sunday at the Mission Wall and found it to be a really adventurous, different-feeling line than most other Clear Creek Canyon climbs; pulling the roof crux is def. a little tricky, the protection is bomber though if you can get a #2 or #3 Camalot in the vertical roof crack, plus the ledge above the rood mantle can take a few medium-sized cams for peace of mind. I found there was a little bit of route finding on P4, not too bad though, and the anchors at the top on Surette Ledge are a little awkward. All in all though an awesome, really fun route that doesn't seem to belong in Clear Creek, just the right mix of safe fun climbing and gettin a little out there on the edge. I'd say the first ~30 ft. of PI is 5.9+/5.10a and the rest of the climb up to the roof is 5.9/5.9+ [the traverse on PIII might be 5.10a/5.10b] and the crux of the roof to be felt like 5.10c-ish.
By Arnold Braker
From: golden, co
Nov 23, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Another great line from big wall Mabe. It's definitely a mixed line so be sure to bring some small gear to supplement the bolts. I'd call the the roof moves benchmark 9+.
By Mikeco
From: Golden, CO
Jun 5, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

I've done this twice now, and I'm going to have to depart from the conventional wisdom. I believe a "+" was originally meant to mean sustained. There is no sustained climbing on this route and the crux is much harder than a 5.9 move. It's a strenuous, highly technical stem move above the bolt immediately above the roof (at least the way I did it - twice) that felt more like 10b I'd say.
By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Jun 5, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

NSFOD - Please vote for the route grade and quality. We would love to see a consensus developed for each of these. Thanks
By Jay Hippel
From: Denver, CO
Aug 4, 2010
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

I agree with the 5.10 rating. The crux move above the roof reminded me of a dreaded, Eldorado "V Slot" with thin crimps and marginal feet underneath the slot. A very difficult move especially in a area that has generally moderate ratings; a few moves on this climb are more difficult than many Clear Creek 5.10s. The traverse on P4 is also a bit challenging. That said, it was a good and very interesting route.
By Craig Quincy
Oct 5, 2010
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

What a fantastic route! I was grinning ear to ear for two days afterward. This is a great addition to Clear Creek.
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Sep 2, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

There is another way to do the crux move: hidden sidepull out right.
By Curt Hokanson
Sep 29, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

What an awesome climb! P1 and P2 of "Ride the Snake" Felt like good 5.9 sport cruiser climbs. I think these could be linked easily with a 70m (plenty of bolts and easy route finding).

P3 climbing up the corner (2 bolts directly above anchor) and then a left traverse (undercling) was very airy but not that difficult (5.9+). Gear is nice but not necessary if you don't mind running it out. P4 pulls a sweet mantle after a #0.75/#2 BD Cam in the crack and then a difficult section after the bolt (10b?)to fairly runout (but easy 5.7/8?) terrain with an occasional roof mantling fun to the finish!
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 29, 2011

Nice, Curt!
Actually one could link all the way to the Ashtray ledge from the ground in one LONG pitch, (watching for drag of course). Links P1-3.
By percious
From: Bear Creek, CO
Jul 31, 2012
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Great climb. Unbelievably great, actually. We linked P 2-3, which I think is good if you have a 5.9 leader on your team. (Give them the first pitch). I think I skipped one bolt and put a couple of long draws in the dihedral before the traverse to manage rope drag. I climbed the traverse to safety, then went back to place gear for the second. The second actually has a clean fall if they blow the traverse early, but the extra gear will make them more comfortable. The fall for the leader is into the dihedral, so place gear or trust your feet.

I found the crux to be after the final traverse, after the mantle, pulling up onto the slab from an overhanging stance. The holds are all there, but I feel like it goes at 10b/c. It is well bolted, but you need a heads up belayer, since a fall from this move puts you right at the lip of the roof (I fell twice and typically onsight sport 5.11a). After that, it's easy sailing.

For gear:
I placed 1 fat-fingered piece on the first traverse, and there was a good spot for a small nut leading out into the Ashtray Belay, but it's easier climbing. I placed 2 pieces at the second roof traverse, and one small cam on the upper slab.
By Dustin Clelen
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 4, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

This route is awesome. That being said, I've talked to several aspiring trad leaders who are enticed by the relatively easy grade and the fact that the 4th pitch of "Nice Ride" has mixed protection. Though it is an amazing climb, I do not recommend it as a practice lead because there are a couple of (what I consider to be) no-fall zones. In my opinion, the first three pitches are bolted just fine (though I did place a #0.5 Camalot in the middle of the traverse, you don't necessarily have to, but a swinging fall while clipping the last bolt before Ashtray Ledge would be pretty ugly). However, that last pitch has a couple of sections (after the roof/crux) that are pretty run out unless you're prepared to get creative with some crack placements. It's safe-ish, but the potential falls could be long (30+ feet with stretch) onto blocky terrain below. The climbing is secure...if you can find the holds.

Overall, if you're solid at 5.10, you'll be fine and enjoy yourself. If you're just breaking into 5.10-, are new at placing gear, and think this would be a fun way to practice multi-pitch climbing and placing crack pro with the security of a few bolts mixed in, you'll probably be scared out of your mind and put yourself in a pretty dangerous situation. It's a great route, but don't underestimate it.
By Chris Moore
From: Loveland, CO
Sep 23, 2013
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

Wow, I wish I had read all these comments before jumping on this. Then again, maybe I wouldn't have had the stones to try it. If you're a stronger climbing, quibbling over 5.9/5.10 probably doesn't mean much, but if you're near your limit, hear take heed. This was the hardest or maybe second hardest 5.9 I've ever been on and easily harder than many 10s I've done as echoed above. Very glad I did it though and will certainly want to repeat (on a day when I'm feeling good and confident!) maybe knowing what's coming now will help too.
By First Track Jack
From: Colorado
Sep 27, 2014

A bad night sleep and other minor injury made me bail at P3, since I was past pumped out. My apologies to partner for not getting in P4, next time. I concur with many of the above statements. It is a tough 5.9 sport climb, and the traverse rating could vary from 5.9+ to 10b, depending on your size or keen eye to find holds.

The Tyrolean should count as a pitch, since it takes some of the juice away that you need to hit this climb, a metal pulley would be ideal. The link on the wire is very worn on both sides if anyone has a replacement next time you head to Mission Wall.
By Tommy Fuerst
From: Golden, CO
Oct 10, 2015

BIG pile of sticky, stinky, and rotten fish guts right at the belay for the first pitch. I wish I had my camera to take a picture of it. I found this treat by starting on the ground and climbing up the little steep section below the normal belay, until I pulled up and my face was 6" from the guts. Looked like a good catch though! Otherwise, the climb was very fun.
By Dakota Millard
Jun 26, 2016

Come through fam, it's lit.
By Cara Hubbell
From: Arvada, CO
Oct 27, 2016

We tried to rap from the top of pitch 3 (we ran out of time and couldn't do pitch 4). The chains for pitch 3 are placed such that a rope cannot be pulled through from below. Don't rappel this line! However, I definitely recommend climbing it because it was super fun :)
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 27, 2016

Cara, are you saying there are chains at the Ashtray belay ledge? I remember there being Metolius rap hangers there?!
By Cara Hubbell
From: Arvada, CO
Oct 29, 2016

Darren, there are two bolts with chains. No rap rings, though those would have been helpful. The angle of the links made it just a little too tight for the rope to run through easily. It was our fault for trying to rap from there. The route wanders left from the start to the top of the third pitch, so rappelling from there wasn't safe or easy. Now we know better :)
By Colin Dandridge
From: Golden
Nov 25, 2016
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

I remember two sets of anchors up on the Ashtray Belay ledge, member?
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 25, 2016

Well we have successfully/easily rapped from the original rap hangers on Ashtray Ledge. I can imagine the addition of some short chains could pinch the rope. The other couple of bolts in the ledge are cozy. I have fond memories of brewing up coffee and smoking ciggies in mid-winter, snow falling. Didn't have to go far for big adventure.

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