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YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  TR, 1 pitch, 40'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: John Knight, Theron Moses
Page Views: 888
Submitted By: John Dalbey on Dec 19, 2004

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BETA PHOTO: Poltergeist


Poltergeist is located at Cerro Cabrillo between El Dorado and Rockland. It's approximately 20' to 30' left of top rope route, Ghost Upstairs (5.5) (Slater guidebook, pg 48). El Dorado is approximately 75' to the right (east) and Rockland is approximately 75' behind you (west).

The height of the route is about 40 feet making it one of the longer routes in the immediate vicinity. Route grade estimated to be 5.6 or possibly 5.7.

It has been possible, though not easy, to top-rope this climb in the past using natural protection. A top rope anchor with two bolts and double rings was installed by John Knight in Nov 2004 and the route was christened "Poltergeist." The location of the new bolted anchor can be accessed from the top of Ghost Upstairs via a short third class traverse with no bushes to trample and no loose rock.

Rock is solid and sound on the arête, but a little loose 10' to either side of the line shown in the photo. The climbing is fun and just a little challenging.


Two-bolt anchor with chains at the top.

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By John Dalbey
Apr 12, 2005

Proposal to install a lead bolt at Rockland.

Contact InformationJohn Knight johnrk@charter.netTheron Moses tmoses62@hotmail.comJohn Dalbey

Type of Proposal

Installation of a new lead route named Poltergeist. We are proposing to place one new lead bolt to make this former top rope problem into a lead route.

Route Location

Route will be located at Cerro Cabrillo between El Dorado and Rockland. Route will be approximately 20' to 30' left of top rope route, Ghost Upstairs (5.5) (Slater guidebook, pg 48). Another route, KinderGeist (5.6), has been established using only clean protection in Fall 2004 that begins at the start of Ghost Upstairs and ends at the Poltergeist anchors. El Dorado is approximately 75' to the right (east) and Rockland is approximately 75' behind you (west).

Detailed Description

See route picture with bolt location. The height of the route is about 40 feet. Route grade estimated to be 5.6 or possibly 5.7. Proposal includes placement of one "lead bolt" on the pinkish arête. This bolt will be able to be clipped from a good stance on the small ledge which bisects the middle of the climb. Rock is solid and sound at the arête, but loose 10' to either side of the line shown in the photo. Top rope anchor is two bolts with double rings. The anchors were previously installed by Knight on 11/04.

Ethical Considerations

Much of the history of the Cabrillo/Rockland area is unknown. Many of the routes and anchors were installed by Tom Slater 10 to 15 years ago. Most of the lead route bolts and anchors were not drilled by hand or on lead. Cabrillo, specifically Rockland area, is generally considered to be a beginner area with top ropes and a few lead routes. The installation of a new, easy (5.6?) lead route next to Ghost Upstairs (5.5 TR) provides a good complement to the climbs in the area. It has been possible, though not easy, to top-rope this climb in the past using natural protection. The lead bolt proposed will be drilled with a power drill, from a free stance, on lead. The base of the climb is rock and will withstand additional foot traffic. No vegetation or lichen needs to be removed. No new use trails are likely to evolve because access to this route is along existing paths.


Provides a new, easy, well-protected, lead route in an area generally considered as a beginner area. The route offers several opportunities for clean protection placements and thus will serve as a great training ground for novices. We intend to post a "full beta" route description, including photos, showing where each clean placement is located and what kind of gear to use. The beginning leader can practice placing gear on top-rope until they are confident with the placements, then they can climb it as a real lead. (Any "purists" don't need to read the beta page and can lead it "on sight.")

Due to loose rock at the "true" summit, the bolted top-rope anchor was placed well below the top. Even though natural anchors could be constructed at the "true" summit, for most beginners getting to this summit requires scrambling up a loose, vegetated gully to the left of the rock. There is some rockfall hazard here as well as impacts from trampling bushes. In addition, the top-rope lines would run across some low angle broken areas and there is potential for them to dislodge rocks on the climbers. The location of the new bolted anchor can be accessed from the top of Ghost Upstairs via a short third class traverse with no bushes to trample and no loose rock.


1. There is some loose rock 10' left and right of the route could be a safety hazard to belayers from climbers trying variations away from the arête.2. Base likely to suffer some impacts due to additional human traffic and trampling of surrounding vegetation. However, immediate base of climb has little to no vegetation.3. The third class traverse from Ghost Upstairs to the top rope anchor is a tiny bit exposed and might be intimidating for a complete beginner. However, complete beginners shouldn't be setting up top rope anchors without supervision, and if they are intimidated by this minimal amount of exposure, they are probably lacking in the skills necessary to safely climb here. Regardless, this issue isn't directly related to placing a lead bolt on the route.4. There are places for clean gear on this route and a bold leader could lead this route without the planned bolt. Thus there is an argument that the lead bolt isn't needed. However, the crux move of the climb is right where the planned bolt is located. The clean gear at this point is marginal (a poor #2 stopper) and a fall would probably result in hitting the deck.


1. Leave existing top rope anchors only (no lead bolts). Consider adding in lead bolt later if the route becomes popular and people express a desire to lead it.2. Move anchors closer to allow easier top rope access. Leave as top rope only.3. Remove top rope anchors altogether and leave route in original condition.


Prior to installation of bolts, proposal will be e-mailed to interested parties for comment. Proposal will also be posted on website for comments for a minimum of 30 days prior to installation. Where practical/possible, comments will be addressed and changes made. Maintenance to include periodic repainting anchors. Bolts should be good a minimum of 15 to 20 years. Fixe Triplex bolts can be easily removed and replaced when the time comes.

All bolts will be 12mm x 75mm (approximately _" x 3") Fixe Triplex removable bolts with Fixe hangers. All hardware is/will be Stainless Steel. All hardware will be painted to match the local rock color. All hardware is strength rated at a minimum of 30 KN (approximately 7,500 lbs).

DiscussionJ. Hanlon 12/14John and Theron did a nice job putting this proposal together. The only question I have is, how available is the natural pro between bolts 3 and 4? The proposal describes possible gear placements, but also describes some loose rock (10 feet to the left or right). If the possible gear is 10 feet away from the line and in the loose area, I would definately support a bolt. If pro is available 1 or 2 feet away, I would not support the bolt. Most 5.6-5.7 climbers dont need a line of bolts to keep them away from loose rock or to define where the line is. Without further clarification on how far offline gear placements are, the burden is on me to go out and evaluate it myself. Since I wont be able to do that anytime soon, I would only ask the FAists to consider these comments when establishing the route. Based on the area, and the description given in the proposal, I think Poltergeist will be an appropriate addition to Cabrillo.

J. Knight 12/14Thanks for your comments. I took at look at the gear placement between 3 & 4. Yes it is is possible with a very small cam. I would not consider it "solid", certainly not for a beginner with a limited rack.

J. Dalbey 4/10/05John Knight and I climbed this route again in early '05 to check out clean pro possibilities, and the one reasonable protection placement near the proposed bolt exploded while we were experimenting with the gear. I've looked very carefully for any excuse to avoid placing this bolt. After much inspection I conclude that there isn't a reasonable way to lead this route on pure clean gear. If there was history or popular sentiment for leaving Rockland as a top-rope only crag, then I would be against this bolt. But there are many very short top rope climbs here that have been bolted for leading. In my opinion the value to be gained from establishing Poltergeist as a training climb for aspiring leaders outweighs the arguments against this bolt.

Document History

4/10/2005 The original proposal was revised to place only one bolt instead of four.

By Ken Klis
Apr 20, 2005

Hold off John. Your track record clearly indicates your inability to wisely add bolts where they did not exist prior.


  • the 8 or so bolts you recently removed, that you had also recently added, to the right side of the p-wall.

  • The start to Fat Man.

  • Shadow Wall belays, 3 or 4 exist now above Thin Man, very close to each other.

  • Happy Birthday

Friendly advice, slow down and think before continuing the bolting crusade man, it ain't working.

By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 20, 2005

John --

JD and I climbed this a few months ago. Here are my thoughts: I think it's a fairly good route; pretty short, but everything at Cabrillo is pretty short. I think the one protection bolt makes sense and is a good compromise.
By Floyd Hayes
Mar 22, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Slater's guide lists only two climbs for this formation: Poltergeist 5.6 and The Ghost Upstairs 5.5. The "new" Kindergeist is the most obvious and natural line on the left side of the formation, plus it's a relatively well protected and easy lead. After looking at the photo and descriptions in Slater's book, and top-roping this route which felt much harder than 5.6, I concluded that Kindergeist was probably the original Poltergeist and that the climb described here as Poltergeist is more likely a "new" climb. Am I deluded?

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