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Gollum's Arch Rock
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Gollum's Arch 

YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 160'
Original:  YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Duncan Ferguson & Dudley Chelton, 1970s
Page Views: 5,387
Submitted By: Patrick Vernon on Apr 6, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (33)
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Stemming it wide.

Season raptor closures MORE INFO >>>


This route is not on [Twin Owls]. It lies on [Gollum's] Rock which is directly east of Twin Owls. This is a smaller cliff about one hundred feet high. Approach as though going to Hen and Chickens Rock and when next to that cliff look east 100 yards to find an hundred foot left-arching, aesthetic crack, this is the route.

This is a great one pitch crack climb that begins with a 5.9 fist crack through a bulge then widens considerably for thirty feet. This section doesn't require any offwidth technique as there are [decent] face holds around. After the wide section, the crack narrows down through all the sizes to fingers at the end. At the end, either traverse left to a belay, or continue over a poorly protected 5.9 roof.

This is a very sustained pitch with no single crux. It is given .10a in most guides, but feels [definitely] harder.


This crack goes through several sizes, bring a couple #3 Camalots, and at least two #4 Camalots to supplement a standard rack.

Photos of Gollum's Arch Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: At the crux.  A shorter climber wouldn't be able t...
At the crux. A shorter climber wouldn't be able t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Slimy day for Gollum.
Slimy day for Gollum.
Rock Climbing Photo: Douglas in the middle of the photo...middle of the...
Douglas in the middle of the photo...middle of the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Douglas S. kickin it!
Douglas S. kickin it!
Rock Climbing Photo: This stem feels awful good when you get it and the...
This stem feels awful good when you get it and the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just below the crux, the crack narrows so you can ...
Just below the crux, the crack narrows so you can ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The climbing is relatively easy at the wide part o...
The climbing is relatively easy at the wide part o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Harder than it looks!
Harder than it looks!

Comments on Gollum's Arch Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 24, 2014
By Mike Sofranko
Jul 30, 2001

I don't think I'd upgrade this route. 10- seemed about right for me. Lots of face holds on the lower part. I thought the crux was where the face holds run out and you have a few wider (very deep hand jams) moves before you can start working the stem. I thought the roof protected fine - save a hand sized pieces and a 2 foot runner for the horizontal crack under it. I exited right and it was really only one move of 9.
By S. Kimball
Jun 18, 2002

It's a crack dudes, jam it! Still 5.10- in my book. Bring plenty of big stuff,and you can get enought pro at the 5.8 exit roof to lower off a Cadillac. S.Kimball.
By Dan St. John
From: Castle Rock
Aug 5, 2002

Well, climbed it and loved it except for the fact I only took doubles in the big hands. Here is what you will need to place gear every 6-12 feet. (2/3)#4, 4#3, 2#2, 1#1, 1#.75 Camalots. Be sure to save one #3 for the roof. Placed some smaller Aliens before the traversing out on the face to attack the roof, which looked intimidation but turns out to be a pussy cat.
By Renny Glover
Sep 30, 2003

10 b/c? I don't think so. I did this route in 1987, and I found it to be 5.9+. The roof and lack of protection at it are over-rated. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice route, but no where near as hard as the author is rating it here.
By Terry Gill
From: Boulder
Sep 30, 2003

Ratings are a mysterious thing. I did this route earlier this year and flailed at the crux, hanging, [grovelling] and finally lowering. The same summer I waltzed up the Nose on Sundance, Xanadu and another 10 at Eldo last weekend. If the climb is not hard 10 as described here, I just didn't get it.
By Old Fart aka Dave Bohn
Sep 30, 2003
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

So what Renny, I did this in '76, and I think the grade holds through. An excellent route and don't be afraid of the roof. If you can make it that far, you've got the guns to pull it no problem (I thought the roof was 5.8). Enjoy !
By Renny Glover
Oct 1, 2003

Old fart, my criticism is of the 10b/c rating given by the author, and his assessment of the difficulties and protection at the roof. Now we all know ratings are subjective. Look at it this way. This route is 10b/c, and Crack of Fear is rated 10d? No way. Both these routes are mis-rated. When you did this route in '76 you climbed it without active camming devices. Hanging around that much longer to get good pro, yes, I'd call it 10a then. As I said before, it's a nice route. I'm not trying to belittle it.
By Lizzy Scully
From: Lyons, Colorado
Jul 17, 2008

Perhaps I am a wuss or a terrible offwidth climber, but I got on this route expecting 10a, and it felt harder. I definitely would not recommend a new 10a leader get on it.
By Q B
From: Estes Park
Nov 19, 2008

Lizzy, I totally agree.
Douglas and I went out to do this...fat...slimy..and awkward for me. I would not recommend as an "moderate" climb for anyone who has smaller hands. Either that or my technique is just piss poor!
Scottie, it's only cause you've climbed it a billion reminds me of your Jamesia Jam. HARD!
By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 10, 2009
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

The roof move (5.8) is easily protected by a #2, #3, #3.5, hell, make an anchor below it, then pull it. You already did the hard stuff.

I could see this being argued to be 5.9+, but you old guys have way better crack technique than us youngins. 5.10- is appropriate.
By lenore sparks
From: Denver, Colorado
Aug 14, 2009

This climb is like a super hot valley girl-- it has outer beauty, but inner beauty is arguable. The guide says 'it's a nice line' which is like saying your girlfriend is hot, but....
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Dec 18, 2009

I've climbed this route at least five times. It's fantastic!
By Guy H.
From: Fort Collins CO
Sep 21, 2010
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

5-6 cams around a #4 FR to #4 C4 would not go unplaced on the first half of the route. I am guessing that #3 Camalots could be placed nearby with some effort.

There are currently some slings at the top. A single 70m rope will get you down to an easy downclimb.
By NickinCO
From: colorado
Sep 7, 2011

Any use for a #5 or #6 C4? I'm coming out the beginning of next month, and we plan on doing this route. Probably won't do anything else wide, so I'm not going to bring them if I don't need them. I'm not super confident at the grade, only other off-width I've done is Huston Crack in Boulder Canyon.
By Guy H.
From: Fort Collins CO
Sep 7, 2011
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

There is no need for the #5/6 C4. A few #4s would be handy though.
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Oct 12, 2012

I just read that Bachar solo'd this, wow! That guy was amazing, RIP
By Cocanower
From: The High Country
Aug 24, 2014

Freakin' sweet climb. Got confused and saved the wrong gear for the roof. #4.5 definitely does not fit! HAHA.

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