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The Melting Mud Wall
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YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a/b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Alan Humphrey Aaron Rickshaw, 9/2001
Page Views: 1,993
Submitted By: Boissal on Sep 13, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (21)
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BETA PHOTO: A view from "Sinister" from the bottom. ...

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  • Description (2 or 3 in this one) 

    Sinistar is one of the older HelmetGate lines which departs a bit from the sanitized feel you get after climbing one too many lines on Melting Mud. Expect a bit of gnar, a (fair) bit of sand, big moves, ugly old bolts and an assload of fun and pump on this one.
    The black rock at the bottom is Devils Castle-ish, the white rounded choss in the middle is reminiscent of Ibex's eroded caves, and the headwall feels like typical pockety HelmetGate.

    The start is a bit in your face and the hardest moves on the route might be right off the ground (they won't feel bad at all when fresh). Clip the ancient bolt and make your way through blocky sidepulls and a few long moves until your reach the chossier rock/chossiest rock divide below the start of the overhanging section.
    Catch a rest, ask for the protection of whatever deity you believe in and fire up the roof using jugs that have been defying erosion and gravity for way too long.
    You might want to thread the 2nd bolt in the white section with a runner instead of clipping it, it's resting in a recess and would take a lot of torque if you fell on it...
    Shuffle up and slightly right through a pumpy section of pancake pinching and sidepulls until you cross the ill-defined chossiest rock/chossy rock boundary and re-enter HelmetGate style climbing. Brush an unbelievable amount of sand from your hands, shoes and eyes, start breathing again and motor up the pocketed headwall to the longest set of chains you'll ever see (longer that Sasquatch).

    Lower and proceed to dodge the sand avalanches the next climber will be sending your way if you're belaying - while trying not to fall of the slowly decomposing belay stance.

    Did I mention this one is really good? GO DO IT.


    Sinistar sits West of the pillar that marks the left end of the Melting Mud Wall. Approach as for Melting Mud, skip the last switchback and head West to a giant alcove featuring 3 layers of rock: compact black, sandy rounded white and brittle looking gray. Kinda like a layered cake. One that tastes like sand and choss.

    Scramble up into the alcove looking for an old trinket bolt at the base of a steep blocky section of black rock. Look up and be scared. You should see another bolted line to your right. If you don't, you're about to get spanked on Septic Death.


    13 bolts to chains.
    60 m rope only and you won't have much to spare.

    Photos of Sinistar Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Emily on Sinistar
    Emily on Sinistar
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sam on Sinistar
    Sam on Sinistar
    Rock Climbing Photo: another look at the 5.11 that travels through the ...
    another look at the 5.11 that travels through the ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: this one definitely was solid 5.11!  steep, long, ...
    this one definitely was solid 5.11! steep, long, ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sinistar

    Comments on Sinistar Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By junkshow Greenwell
    Aug 13, 2009

    could be my favorite line on hellgate.
    liked the sandy stone layer - and its bolt that is starting to erode off the rock.
    Its the shittiest, scariest, BEST climbing i"ve done outside of the desert. Must do!!
    By Alec LaLonde
    Sep 19, 2010
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    This is a really, really fun line. Pretty sustained and long, but with adequate rests. Better than Martinez Mind Melter, it's a steep jug haul through the roofs.

    We did this with a 60m and it was just barely long enough w/ rope stretch. I'm not especially fat either.
    By Spencer Weiler
    From: Salt Lake city
    Apr 11, 2012

    Super good. I thought the first bolt was bomber. Rust means its solidified nicely into the rock. Which sandy pocket should I grab?
    By Sam Miller
    From: salt lake city, UT
    Aug 11, 2012

    So Sandy!
    By Cassidy Thomas
    From: Salt Lake City, UT
    Sep 16, 2016

    I really did not enjoy this route. After the halfway point the rock quality is just terrible in my opinion. I was terrified pulling on some of those thin 'jugs'. It was like climbing up a wall of chalk. The rock is so soft that there are a couple bolts sticking out of the wall a centimeter or two, because the rock eroded away from around the bolt. I wouldn't recommend it at all, I'm definitely not going back to it. Lots of routes at hellgate get a lot better with traffic, this is not one of them. The rock will always just continually erode, not 'clean up' like the routes on the right side of the wall.
    By KameronM
    Aug 11, 2017
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    Cassidy: My guess is that you were on Septic Death(12a), which is aptly named(I almost killed my belay partner with a 2 ft, by 1ft, by 1 ft ledge of rock that came off while climbing that one.)and has a bolt with a rusty exposed shaft right at the crux.(I've seen a few groups make the mistake of getting on Septic Death thinking it was Sinistar while up at Hellgate.) Sinistar is to the left, and much more enjoyable. Wear a helmet and happy climbing!

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