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Seal Rock
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Sea of Joy 

YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c A0

   
Type:  Sport, Aid, 3 pitches, 190'
Original:  YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c A0 [details]
FA: Richard and Joyce Rossiter
Page Views: 4,354
Submitted By: Stich on Jun 6, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (7)
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Photo of Roger Briggs (leading) and Pat Adams on p...

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  • Description 

    We only climbed P1, but there are two others. We spied the line rappeling from the Seal. Rossiter has an excellent topo on p. 75 of his Flatirons book, incidentally.

    In any case, I'll only describe P1. The rock on the entire slab up to the fifth or sixth bolt is covered with lichens, so it can be pretty exciting. The first several clips are in the 5.9 range, then it gets very tricky and thin at the light orange band with larger quartz sand grains after the lichen rock. This section starts getting into 5.11+ territory and continues into a red-brown section of fractured rock. This affords some jug holds, and though overhung, is a bit easier to climb than the thin face below. Mounting the ledge to the left to reach the anchor involves pulling on a poor sidecling on the left from a good handhold. We did not climb it clean. P2 looks fearsome, but P3 is just amazingly blank. I gave it a good look on rappel and just grimmaced.

    So if you have just done the Seal and you don't care to hike elsewhere, give it a go.

    P2 addendum from Steve Annecone: the second pitch was very wild and exposed, and the bolts seemed adequate. Working up into the alcove above the belay, beware of loose rock and don't go too high before traversing out left. The moves working out left, out of the alcove and onto the steep face, were fun and wild and hard, maybe 11c.... I grabbed a jug and had to cut loose with both feet to get established onto the face. These are a pretty fun couple of pitches if you don't mind the approach (which is steep, occasionally loose, and long).

    P3 addendum from Andy Donson: this is an excellent pitch only slightly marred an out of place bolt at the crux. Weave up the beautiful rippled face to a vague twin crack feature which trends slightly right. Where this ends make crux moves back left to a bucket (big throw) - this move is made extra exciting by the unclippable bolt out to the left. A few more hard moves to stand in the bucket and it's all over.

    Protection 

    10 draws.


    Photos of Sea of Joy Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Seal Rock from northeast
    BETA PHOTO: Seal Rock from northeast
    Rock Climbing Photo: The old bolts.
 
 Huge thanks to the ASCA for supp...
    The old bolts. Huge thanks to the ASCA for supp...
    Rock Climbing Photo: On our first ground up attempt of Sea Of Joy, a ge...
    On our first ground up attempt of Sea Of Joy, a ge...

    Comments on Sea of Joy Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 9, 2017
    By Stich
    From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Jun 6, 2004

    Some of the hangers higher up on P1 are an older style Metolius that is just a bent piece of bar stock with a hole drilled in them. They are difficult if not impossible to insert more than one draw or quicklink into while you are hanging, so retreating will be very difficult. Press on.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 7, 2004

    Too bad you did not try the other pitches. While the first pitch is a bomb, the second is quite memorable. Not as hard as it looks, and as you pull the crux, you can see all of Boulder between your legs. Very short pitch with some loose sections, but very fun and quite the outing. The third pitch is fun if you like 13 slabs, and there is a hueco about half way that breaks up the lack of holds. Not a bomb route, but rather a fun adventure. It has been a few years since I have done this route, but still remember it fondly.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 7, 2004

    PLEASE don't write up any more climbs that you have not climbed.

    Thank you.
    By Stich
    From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Jun 11, 2004

    No comment.
    By ac
    Jun 11, 2004

    Tim, just curious, how is someone without a guidebook going to know how to get to this climb? Nothing in your description gives those details. I pity the fool that tries to find any route based solely on descriptions here, with the exception of new routes going up in Boulder Canyon like Plotinus Wall where the people posting have been thorough in their descriptions.

    Please save your wit for rec.weanie.
    By Steve Annecone
    From: boulder
    Jun 11, 2004

    I can add a bit about the 1st and 2nd pitches, but I haven't done the 3rd pitch. I thought the first pitch was nice and exciting, a bit runout lower down. The first 2 or 3 clips were sporty, then the pro improved. I didn't think the moves were as hard as shown in the Rossitter guide, maybe more like 11a. The second pitch was very wild and exposed, and the bolts seemed adequate. Working up into the alcove above the belay, beware of loose rock and don't go too high before traversing out left. The moves working out left, out of the alcove and onto the steep face, were fun and wild and hard, maybe 11c.... I grabbed a jug and had to cut loose with both feet to get established onto the face. Pretty fun couple of pitches if you don't mind the approach (which is steep, occasionally loose, and long).
    By ac
    Jul 22, 2004

    Tim- despite your assertions to the contrary, it seems that you are way oversensitive. You post a route that you have not climbed, and then throw a fit when people call you on it. I guess that kind of stuff flies over at rc.com, which by the way, this is not.

    Anyone who has done this route care to post a real route description?
    By ac
    Jul 22, 2004

    Tim, I know what you might be thinking..."Man, all these people are coming down on me just for posting this route. Ok, maybe I didn't do the whole thing, but I said that in the description. But at least the route is in the database now. Better than nothing."

    I have to agree with some of the other posters. If you haven't done, or even tried the route, then try and refrain from entering that route into the database. I could enter hundreds of routes that I have walked by or glanced at while rappelling down, But I don't have intimate knowledge of the route description and can't speak to its quality, so I don't post those routes. Over at RC.com there are thousands of routes with horrible descriptions, usually no description at all. I guess they expect someone will come in later and revise it. That doesn't happen very often. Moral of the story: try and do it right the first time or don't do it at all.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 24, 2004

    Andy is much too humble to get into this fray, and Pat is too busy teaching his son how big "big as the sky" really is. Better to leave it to one of the Boulder Canyon real-estate specialists to speculate on that which they will never know.
    By Andy Donson
    Jul 26, 2004

    Humble! - enough with the insults already.

    I'll attempt to recall some useful detail:

    Pitch 1. as described above. OK with one tricky move right at the end. Pitch 2: as above. Flambouyant. Pitch 3: An excellent pitch only slightly marred an out of place bolt at the crux. Weave up the beautiful rippled face to a vague twin crack feature which trends slightly right. Where this ends make crux moves back left to a bucket (big throw) - this move is made extra exciting by the unclippable bolt out to the left. A few more hard moves to stand in the bucket and it's all over.

    A good route to escape the heat but not the crowds - every time I've climbed on this wall there have been hordes of people rappeling down from the Sea of Joy anchors.

    The AO rating refers to Rossiter's rest point - It's actually a pretty doable 13a, if you're wearing planks - a grade easier than Rainbow Wall.
    By Area Dan
    Apr 5, 2012

    Has anyone been on this route recently? It seems like it doesn't get much traffic. Specifically, how clean is it (lichen, dirt, moss, etc) and how do the bolts look?

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.
    By Andy Donson
    Apr 5, 2012

    I would have thought the whole thing is pretty clean - unlike its neighbor Archeopteryx which has some veg issues up high. The bolts are probably fine - same condition as pretty much all the other sport routes up there apart from the recent stuff. Nice and cool up there too now summer has begun....
    By Area Dan
    Apr 9, 2012

    I went up to Seal Rock today to try Sea of Joy. We climbed the first 2 pitches as one, using slings on the 2nd pitch. My partner onsighted this 100'+ linkup hanging the draws and thought it to be about 11d/12a.

    P1: Very licheny with no chalk. The rock seems very solid here, but holds are small and infrequent and smearing on lichen covered rock perhaps makes it feel harder than it would be if the rock was clean. This first pitch felt like very techy 5.11b/c. The bolts are spaced pretty far apart, making for some very thoughtful climbing. Probably not a good first 5.11 lead for someone.

    P2: This very short and interesting pitch climbs a steep, mudstone choss band up and left over the roof to a hanging belay at the base of the upper slab. The crucial holds are fairly solid (we didn't pull anything off), but everything else feels like a game of jenga. Toproping this pitch felt like 5.11+ with a very cool and funky stem out to the lip of the roof.

    P3: (our P2) The spacing of the bolts on this pitch is much tighter - although getting to the first bolt off the belay is very heady and not easy (felt like 5.12-) if you fell here you would fall below the slab over the roof into space and have to ascend the rope. The upper slab is also quite crusty with lichen, and we may have overlooked some decent footholds because of this. The climbing is quite good and very technical - balancy movement on small edges and slopers. We pretty much aided up the pitch and then tried it on toprope. The crux is not well-protected: at the end, the obvious climb is 7-8' to the right of the bolt line, then traverses back left.

    For this to turn into a truly good sport climb, the whole thing needs a serious wire brushing, some minor trundling on P2, a few more bolts on P1, and different bolt placement at the crux. Currently, it is a good rock climb of a different sort: crusty with lots of lichen, sometimes spicy, and übertechy.

    Also, we had a single 70m rope which is the perfect length for rappelling from the top of P2 all the way to the ground. Both anchors (P1, P2) consist of several slings threaded directly through bolt hangers. If you go up there, it would be awesome to cut the slings off and install quicklinks on the anchor at the top of P2.
    By Maxito
    From: CO
    May 18, 2012

    If anyone is curious as to the current status of the hardware on this route, I've got a whole slew of photos I would be happy to share. In any other circumstance, I would probably vote for a re-quipping, but it's hard to justify this when all of the other 'vertical' climbs at Seal Rock seem to be a testament to bold free climbing....
    By Jason Ogasian
    From: South Lake Tahoe
    Nov 18, 2012

    2 new bolts were added to the anchors on all three pitches (standard rappel route) in fall of 2012. This was done thanks to donations to the ASCA.

    Rock Climbing Photo: ASCA.
    ASCA.

    safeclimbing.org/
    By Stich
    From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Jul 15, 2015

    Rereading the comments in 2015.

    Memories....

    By Phil Gruber
    Jul 9, 2017

    Big thanks to Mark Roth for replacing the bolts on this route in June of 2017. Thanks also to OSMP and the Flatiron's Climbing Council for approval and support, and to Richard Rossiter for supporting the relocation of the bolt at the crux... the bolt has now been aligned to the direction of the route and can be clipped before the crux dyno. The spice on pitch 1 remains.

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