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Unsorted Routes:

Solo System 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Sport, TR, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Mike Engle Free Solo Equipped: Ron Yahne, Jeff Whittle, Bob Archbold 1994
Page Views: 1,980
Submitted By: Anonymous Coward on Oct 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (62)
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Ryan emery nearing he anchor on solo system

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Solo System is found just to the left of the large boulder described under 'Star Dancer' - a slab angling just a bit to the climber's left.

A fun route and a good introduction to Rushmore friction. For most of the route there are nice, big crystals for the hands and feet. At a couple points, however, you 'get to' make a couple pure friction moves. The climb gets easier the higher you get.

Once at the top you can rap down or walk off to climber's left. Note that it is physically possible to set up a TR here, but you'd be setting yourself up for a big swing if you fell - not recommended.


7 bolts and 2 bolt anchor.

Photos of Solo System Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan emery leads solo system
Ryan emery leads solo system
Rock Climbing Photo: Lots of other possible lines of similar difficulty...
Lots of other possible lines of similar difficulty...
Rock Climbing Photo: I thought this was harder than Gossamer
I thought this was harder than Gossamer
Rock Climbing Photo: JADE climbing outdoors for the first time... on hi...
JADE climbing outdoors for the first time... on hi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo by Byron Adams.
Photo by Byron Adams.
Rock Climbing Photo: Solo System is directly below the photographer.  T...
Solo System is directly below the photographer. T...

Comments on Solo System Add Comment
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By chad m. davis
Aug 1, 2004

Climbed this after Gossamer (my wife wanted a climb preview before she lead it) and failed to enjoy it very much. It does not suck, but it is nothing to write home to your plants about. The bottom half has newer bolts but the top ones are somewhat rusty and found myself pondering the integrity of the chain/shut at the top due to their colouring as well. They broke and I died.OK, they held just fine and probably will for a few more seasons.My wife never lead it because the sun crept out from behind the rocks and turned the whole Marker area into an oven (1 PM or so).
By Aaron Costello
From: Rapid City, SD
Sep 24, 2004

The friction on this climb is spooooky. There are other friction 5.6's in the Rushmore area, but Solo System is much longer and much steeper. One 60m rope worked for the climb and repel, with about 3m left on each tail. Enjoy!
By vernon phinney
From: pocatello, idaho
Oct 9, 2005

this route was originally soloed by Mike Engle as an approach to the top of Star Dancer, etc. I came out on the day Mike soloed it and asked him how he had gotten to the belay ledge where he was sitting, whereupon Mike stated he had scrambled up the face (Mike had climbing shoes on!). Mike also made the comment that it was 5.2-5.4 in grade; so up I scrambled wearing my tenny shoes. As you may well geuss; at the crux (quite a ways up the climb), my tenny shoes cut lose from the rock and I started plummeting (sliding) downward. I remembered all the huge boulders at the bottom and recognized that a landing in this area would be very detrimental to my health; I launched myself at the chimney/crack to my right and ended up with my buttocks jammed tightly in the chimney stopping me from a fall to the bottom of this face. Mike asked me if I was going to climb as I limped off towards my car. I stated NO. I was far too embarrased to tell Mike exactly what had occured. It took several weeks for the wounds to heal and I still carry the scars (on my buttocks). The route has been called tenny shoe because of this epic and it has also been called solo system. This is not a classic route by any means; however, many beginning climbers find routes similar to this to be very fun and commiting for first leads. Vernon Phinney (dakotagriz).
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 11, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

That is a great story Vern - thanks for sharing.
By Mat Pond
Dec 6, 2006

This is a real fun route unless you take a swing to your right... then its not quite as fun, as you are now in a large crack
By Paul Huebner
From: Portage, WI
Jul 8, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

The first time I led this route was in 95 coming home from a road trip to Lumpy Ridge. It was almost dark and I was told the climb was rated 5.5. It was my first lead at Rushmore and felt more like spooky 5.7 at two places where you have to palm the rock and rely totally on your feet. Now after ascending it on about 3 different trips, I feel it's 5.6.
By RustyLane
From: Minneapolis
Jan 12, 2014

Interesting I always knew this climb as "Tennis Shoe Slide" and it is called that in my guide book from back in the early days.

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