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December Wall
Routes Sorted
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A Long December T 
Arborvitae T 
Caesar's T 
Climb of the Anonymous Coward (Var) S 
Crown Molding T 
Door Jam T 
I Promise Not To Cam In Your Mouth T 
Life After James S 
Little Caesar T,S 
Mnemonic Plague T 
Moonstruck T,S 
Nocturne T,S 
Nosebleed T 
Ranklands of Perfidy T 
Red Tag T,S 
Road Goes Ever On, The T 
Seams Alright T 
Short Takes T 
Telegraph Road S 
Telegraph Road Goes Ever On (Variation), The S,TR 
Winter Dreams / Gene and George's Excellent Adventure T,S 
Unsorted Routes:

Mnemonic Plague 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 1,868
Submitted By: Matt Juth on Aug 25, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (19)
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Drew McLean getting past the roof.


This is the second farthest route to the left in the Hubbel guide. It is just a few feet left of I Promise... and has a dihedral/roof 10 or 15 feet up.

Start up the finger crack, and pull around the roof(5.8). Jam and smear up the thin finger crack (9+ or 10-), until a small overlap is reached where a good meduim cam can be tucked in.

Climb up the slab, stemming between, and placing a few small wires in the opposing 4 inch "dihedrals" . This was grassy and very serious when I climbed it in 2000 (5.9vs). The grass has been cleaned out since, and apparently climbs easier and offers better pro now. Belay at the ledge below the headwall.

Either finish with the second pitch of I Promise... or rap of the shiny chains, about 85 feet.


Small wires and TCUs. A #1 Rock and a blue Alien are handy.

Photos of Mnemonic Plague Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Dana, on Mnemonic Plague.  Fun route.
Dana, on Mnemonic Plague. Fun route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unnamed (9+) is in the center, I Promise.. is the ...
BETA PHOTO: Unnamed (9+) is in the center, I Promise.. is the ...

Comments on Mnemonic Plague Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 4, 2017
By Joe Huggins
From: Grand Junction
Apr 11, 2004

Funny, I just checked this out because I had climbed there years ago. The name is Karen Os' Sweatpants, I did the first lead of this pitch with Jim Morrison, Marc Hirt, and Dave Hague sometime around '80 or'81. I gardened on lead and Jim tried the steep corner of the second pitch; however the heavy lichen was too discouraging with marginal pro.
By Michael Kullman
Feb 6, 2005

Good route! The start kinda reminded me of the first pitch of Gonzo at Eldo. Similar level of difficulty I thought. Pulling the roof is great fun and has very solid pro. Once you get up to the slab section I thought the difficulty steadily decreased (5.6ish towards the anchors) but so does the quality of the protection. Bring plenty of small cams / stoppers if you don't want to run it out. At this point it could still use a little gardening (which would probably open us some better gear placements on the slab section).
By Michael Kullman
Feb 6, 2005

One other comment - there are now two decent looking 1/4" bolts at the end of the first pitch of I Promise... that can be used to descend this route.
By Kat A
From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
May 1, 2008

I found this "Unknown 5.9+" to be more difficult than "I Promise" to the right, rated 5.10b. Both were good routes.
By Rich Kelly
From: Boulder
Mar 22, 2009

This climb is called Mnemonic Plague and is rated 5.9 in Gillett's new guide.
By Bernard Gillett
Mar 27, 2009

Note that the area around the base of this climb and adjacent climbs has a fair amount of poison ivy. If you have my guidebook, you might make a note of the PI hazard in this area of December Wall for future reference.
By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 13, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great start to a heady ending. RPs and small wires protect the slab well enough (now that there is less grass? There was still a bit, but some gardened out spots yielded good placements).
By Joe Huggins
From: Grand Junction
Jun 17, 2009

Referring to my first comment: I led this (gardening on lead) long ago. The name is Karen O's Sweatpants, after a girl who looked real good in same, (dark blue). Don't ask me to go to the trouble of changing the name.
By s.kimball
Nov 28, 2009

Administrators:Please rename this classic; Karen O's Tight Sweatpants.
By Bernard Gillett
Nov 28, 2009

Hi Scott and Joe - If this route gets renamed, I won't shed any tears, though I don't believe Huggins, Morrison, Hirt and Hague did the FA. Mason Frichette and Craig Lightburn climbed the route sometime in the mid-late 1970s. Frichette climbed all over Dec. Wall with various partners, and my research indicates they beat Huggins and company to this route and several others on the wall by several years. I had a long (several months, even stretching into a year) email exchange with Mason and Scott Woodruff as I filled in some of the history gaps in St. Vrain climbing; they looked at a number of my early drafts of the book, and were of tremendous help supplying accurate FA history. I'm sure that even with all the email/phone calls we shared, I still botched some info, but I'm pretty certain about this one. Mason may have more to say if he still looks at this site.

If I'm remembering correctly, the name I used in my book--Mnemonic Plague--was suggested by Mason. He was able to recognize numerous lines he had done in the past (this one included), but he couldn't always remember the names of the routes (often enough, there was no name to remember, because they didn't always give names to their adventures). In this case, he suggested Mnemonic Plague because of the difficulty he experienced during our ongoing exchange in remembering who he climbed with 30 years ago, what name (if any) they had used, whether it was 1976, '77, or '78 that they did Route X, etc.

Hope that helps clear up any confusion about the name.
By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 27, 2011

P1 of the route is in pretty good shape right now, although the upper slabby bit has some exfoliation going on which adds a little spice. A 5.9 rating is a bit stiff for this route (as are some of the other grades on the December Wall). It felt more like 5.8 or 8+ to me.
By Ross Swanson
From: Pinewood Springs
Feb 21, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Lead this 19FEB2012, thought with good feet on the roof it was 5.8, the slab above has two bolts to the left that can be reached with a moderate traverse. Slab felt like thin 5.10-, I suppose.
By Jay Eggleston
From: Denver
Jan 18, 2014
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Bring small cams and RPs for the slab section on this. Small C3s worked well.
By Eric Klammer
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 23, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

The grass seems to have grown back into the upper seams as good pro was hard to find on the finishing slab. Traversed left to bolts to finish. Expect a decent runout to the anchor or budget some time for gardening on the way up.
By Bill Farrand
Feb 21, 2016

This was a fun route. I don't agree with the earlier commenter calling the first pitch 5.8 or 8+. I'd call it 5.9+ or 10a. Also there was a lot of grass and pine needles in the seams on the upper part of the first pitch.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Feb 4, 2017

The cracks on the upper part of the pitch need some serious cleaning to unearth protection spots and holds. I cleaned them some today in the rain/snain, but a real cleaning would make this pitch more worthwhile. The stone is very good though.

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