REI Community
The New River Wall
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Ali Natural  S 
Aqua Huck 
Beta Test S 
Bitch Strength 
Crucifixtion  S 
Dark Waters 
Dark Waters Stand 
Dark Waters Traverse 
Deep Sea Angler 
Dragonslayer S 
Enjoy Your Youth  S 
Execution  S 
Flash Flood 
Fluid Mechanic 
Formula 50 
Formula 500 
Fountain of Youth S 
Good Vibrations  S 
Green Herbs'n Sam 
High Waters 
Kinky Reggae S 
Kinky Reggae DS S 
Know Your Enemies  S 
Know Your Inclinations  S 
La Mega Positive  S 
Love Your Enemies  T,S 
Love Your Inclinations  T,S 
Master Beta S 
Merlin S 
Mobbin' Around 
No More Crucifixions  S 
No More Enemies  S 
No More Enemies DS S 
No More Inclinations  S 
Positive Vibrations  S 
Public Crucifixion  S 
Public Enemy T,S 
Public Enemy DS S 
Public Execution  S 
Public Inclinations  T,S 
Public Inclinations DS  S 
Public Youth S 
Red Makes Me Angry! 
Sonic Vibrations  S 
Sonic Youth S 
Swamp Traverse 
Sweet Inclinations  S 
Sweet Inspirations S 
Than's Problem? 
Unknown at New River S 
Wet Carrot (aka Under Your Clings) 
Unsorted Routes:

Sonic Youth 

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

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.13a French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E6 6c [details]
FA: Kurt Smith/Mike Pont, 1990
Page Views: 27,420
Submitted By: Nate Weitzel on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (72)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Jim Logan, age 60, redpointed Sonic Youth on a wal...

Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


This is one of Clear Creek's best climbs. The route ascends the steep ceiling and finishes with an awesome, overhung dihedral. The route used to be rated 12d, so maybe the correct rating is 12d/13a. Either way this route will challenge you. The initial moves are powerful, but solid, while the final crux requires endurance and good body tension. There are some classic moves on the route that will leave you smiling. A couple moderate rests can be found to help with the redpoint effort. It is highly recommended.


9 bolts, 3 coldshuts anchor. The third clip on this route is tricky to make. Cleaning this route can be done by threading the rope up through the coldshut on the arete and then the two out right. This prevents the rope from running over the sharp edge. Or it is possible to lower off the coldshut on the arete and the last bolt on the climb if fixed gear is in place. Lowering here will put you about five feet out in the river, but it is possible to keep dry by stepping on some rocks, or have your belayer reach out to you.

Photos of Sonic Youth Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan Levison on the thuggy opening moves.
Dan Levison on the thuggy opening moves.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kevin on Sonic Youth.
Kevin on Sonic Youth.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sonic Youth, the tourist extravaganza.
Sonic Youth, the tourist extravaganza.
Rock Climbing Photo: New River Wall.
BETA PHOTO: New River Wall.
Rock Climbing Photo: Quinn Stevens going for the redpoint attempt.
Quinn Stevens going for the redpoint attempt.
Rock Climbing Photo: Curt MacNeill on the upper crux moves of Sonic You...
Curt MacNeill on the upper crux moves of Sonic You...
Rock Climbing Photo: Hardwoman on Sonic Youth.
Hardwoman on Sonic Youth.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulled this off Sonic today.  This was from the 6t...
Pulled this off Sonic today. This was from the 6t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bob Horan repeating Sonic Youth circa 1990.
Bob Horan repeating Sonic Youth circa 1990.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tony following SY (c) Jesse Ryan.
Tony following SY (c) Jesse Ryan.
Rock Climbing Photo: Heading out to hang some draws! (c) Jesse Ryan 200...
Heading out to hang some draws! (c) Jesse Ryan 200...
Rock Climbing Photo: Oh, that's probably a nice 5.11d rest or so.
Oh, that's probably a nice 5.11d rest or so.
Rock Climbing Photo: Quinn, turning the crux roof.
Quinn, turning the crux roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: Quinn again. What a beautiful line...
Quinn again. What a beautiful line...

Comments on Sonic Youth Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 7, 2017
By Nate Weitzel
Jan 1, 2001

It is good to hear some of the history behind the ratings for this route. I had only heard talk from a number of people on what they said it was rated, hence my write up for the page and the rating comment. I think that by the time you pull that final roof move, the 13a is definitely earned.
By Sven Lavransen
Aug 18, 2001

We had quite wonderful week climbing cracks in Utah desert. Coming back to Boulder Friday evening we stopped for the route Sonic Youth. This short power route has good sequence on big holds to start on very steep angle. Next is dihedral with many good places to rest. To end is small roof with power move. This route was good flash for me after some rest in dihedral and some struggle not to fall off in the finishing move. Very nice.
By Stefan Griebel
From: Boulder, Colorado
Oct 21, 2002

A couple of holds have broken off towards the top - you can see the fresh rock and chalk lines where they used to be. I'm not sure if the climb is harder now though since I was never on it when these holds existed. Has anybody done it before and after?
By Andy Donson
Oct 21, 2002

I pulled off a hold at the top crux about a month ago - it was a pretty critical R-hand sidepull (for the sequence I had) - I didn't have time to figure out an alternative, but it seems that it may be a grade harder now. Sorry.
By Adam Holmes
Oct 22, 2002

I was just on this route. The crux at the top goes just fine though I don't remember what it was like before this hold broke. Still 13a in my book.
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 1, 2002

I was working this thing before and after the two holds broke. It sounds like A.D. broke the right sidepull. Pete Sharp then broke one of the right-gaston holds. I found that the crux went fine with the remaining right-gaston hold, and prefer this beta to that with the broken holds. So, I don't think the grade changed. -Mike Sprague
By Dan Green
Aug 2, 2003

WARNING: DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT ANY BETA. This is an attempt to add some meaningful commentary to this climb other than the Sven Slander. I fired this route today after a ton of work, and have to say that it is just stupendous climbing. First you've got to deal with a ceiling. WOW! I actually thought this was the hard part. Here's why. Right off of the ground you get two easy moves to clip the first two bolts and then it's all business to the first rest. A powerful undercling leads to small but positive edges(that I would make the powerful 3rd clip from) then a big toss to a good flat edge that you stack on and then toss again to a hideous right hand gaston on the ceiling. Move off of this quickly to get a good hold to clip bolt 4 from. Lunge out to the lip, clip 5 and then lie back up (forearms screaming) and make another toss to a big love jug and up into the first stem rest. Woo! The next section is some tricky crimp and foot work up to a big no hands rest and then you get to wrestle with a way cool bouldering problem, split by the possibility of a clip or not to clip conundrum. Climbing out of the rest, poke your head out from under the little roof, clip, and grab what I and my buddy Jack call the "Mini Gaston". Now reach out left for a first pinch, and then lunge again for a further pinch. When that is in hand, pull up hard for a very incut right hand edge and ask yourself the question, "shall I clip, or shall I conserve energy?" (I actually clip now but was taking a wild 30 footer while working the route when I didn't have the power-endurance to clip). After you make the decision, get your left foot up, cross up and over the mini roof with your left hand, lie back the tiny edge with a little thumb catch, then pull up for a right hand sloper and lunge for the last mega jug. Now feel good!

OBSERVATIONS: From climbing this with a bunch of different climbers; if you are a boulderer you will not find the upper crux super hard and you will more than likely find your work down low. If you are a power endurance, little waif, spider, munchkin climber, you may find that your work is up top. For either group, it offers stellar sections of both power and power-endurance. If you are like Sven, you will flash it.

Have at it, and have a blast!
By Fred Knapp
May 12, 2004

This route certainly rivals Anarchitecht as the best route in the canyon. I ignored Clear Creek for many years because of the road noise, but have started climbing there more in the past few years. How did I manage to avoid this climb until this week? This has to be the best bolted route within 50 miles of Boulder. I won't comment on the grade; I'll just praise the route for its quality.
By chris deulen
From: Castle Rock
Oct 9, 2005
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Our tyrolean was taken down yet again. Upon replacing it with a third, my friend Chris Harkness left a note with his info stating that if someone was going to take it down to contact him. Lo and behold, two weeks later Jeffco Open Space contacted him, citing that it was an "eye sore" and a "danger" since people that don't climb may use it without knowing what they're doing. In my opinion, people don't need a rope crossing a river to endanger their lives in this canyon, just a severe lack of common sense. As far as the eye sore goes, I've only ever been able to see it if I was looking for it. The only reason tourists pull over here is to watch climbers. I really wonder if anyone has ever complained formally to Jeffco about all the "eye sores" in CCC ("Damn it! Every time I'm going to gamble I have to look at all the ugly things those climbers are puttin' in!"). So, enjoy the hike, which is probably more dangerous than a tyrolean.
By Tod Anderson
Oct 11, 2005

No big surprise that Jeffco rangers are the problem here. There are an awful lot of them & they don't have much real work to do, like building trails or anything useful like that. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to get around the tyro at this particular location. Hopefully they won't mess with anything else in the canyon. Sonic Youth is well worth the walk around.
By Tom C
Apr 19, 2006

12c, easier than Anarchitect for sure.

I also heard that this was the original rating, not 12d.
By Tom C
Apr 19, 2006

To add to my previous post, Head Like a Hole is much more difficult than Sonic Youth, and that gets a slash rating of 12d/13a. So, Sonic Youth clearly cannot be 13a, especially because of the considerable rests on it.

I'd give you 13a if you climbed past the rests, but what would be the point in that?
By chris deulen
From: Castle Rock
Jun 1, 2006
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Tom, I didn't think Anarchitect was harder. Plus, the first "rest" on SY isn't that great, and the no-hands rest up top is nerve-wracking. I haven't been on Head Like a Hole, but in my opinion, this endurance piece has moves worthy of the 5.13 grade. Difficulty is relative for different people, so your logic in comparing it to Head may not be reasonable in this circumstance.
By Jamie gatchalian
From: denver, co
Aug 22, 2008
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

What a great route! The first 'rest' is awful for those of us that are short (5'7"), and the second 'rest' pumps out your calves. Barely got anything back. Made it that much sweeter to hang that finishing jug on link. This rig was well worth the effort.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 22, 2008

Gatch, that first rest is for us tall bastards, because we can't get our finger tips in the crack! Congrats on your send!
By Luke Childers
Sep 13, 2009

When I sent this route many years ago, I remember getting this unsuspecting no hands rest via a difficult and slightly painful head jam just bellow the final upper crux section. I could milk it for a good 10-30 second rest or more... and it was sweet. It made the line go for me.

The rest is not obvious nor is it conventional and it was the first and only head jam I've every found which was of some practical use. For me, it helped de-pump a good bit while boosting my confidence for the last section of bouldering!!

I wonder if anyone else has tried or used this head jam that I speak of??
By Jay Samuelson
From: Denver CO
Sep 18, 2009

Hey Luke, myself, and a few, I've been trying this route with all use the same head-jam rest to get ready for the crux. Definitely an awkward rest, but hey, whatever works right? Kinda insecure position, and you really crank on those calves to make sure you don't come peeling out of there.

BTW, this route has been sent by a friend a few weeks ago, sans mega-jug finishing hold at the top. We all know it wasn't a jug, but compared to whats up there now it sure seems like it. So, yes, the route still goes, and in good style (at least by those who have technique, unlike myself).
By Luke Childers
Sep 20, 2009

Cool!! Others have used the head jam-thing!! Are you saying the top hold has been messed up??? I heard the bottom has been jacked as well?? What's the deal? This line was perfect why would anyone mess with it!!! or any other line for that matter!!??!! Thanks for the info Jay van Sam.
By Jay Samuelson
From: Denver CO
Sep 20, 2009

No one messed with the line, but a few holds have broken off this year. Early in the year the right half of the starting jugs broke, but it didn't change much. Then around the end of june the incut crimp that you got right at the top after the crux moves broke off; the entire block is gone. The new crux moves are hard but solid, and I don't think the grade has changed. So if anyone's to blame it's mother nature, but I think she just wanted to give us a new challenge to work on.

We still need to get out to three sisters, and I see your working some routes at Primo I'm interested in. Give me a call and let's do some climbing.
By Luke Childers
Sep 22, 2009

Yo Jay,
I feel some 3 Sister action must be addressed, but I've got biz at the Primo wall that needs my attention. From the sound of things, you seem to have the same needs to crush at the Primo Wall that I do!! Want to go tomorrow morning?? I would like to get on "Shine" and a few others. What say you??
By Blake Cash
From: Chattanooga, TN
Apr 11, 2010
rating: 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c

Did this route yesterday and hadn't been on it since the jug up top broke off. Way better now IMO as the new crux ends at the jug by the chains instead of at the now broken hold. Much, much harder crux sequence, too. If it was 12d/13a before, I'd say it's hard 13a now as the top crux is V6 on its own. Couldn't figure out how to clip the draw by the broken hold I just skipped it and went to the top.

I think the route received an upgrade when that hold broke...way cooler.
By Keith H. North
From: Englewood, CO
Apr 3, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Just an FYI: there is a tyrolean up slightly to the west of Merlin.

Also, could someone give me some beta for the last little bit? I had some serious trouble figuring it out. I was getting to the rail where you clip the second to last draw and have it all figured out to that move, but from there, what does one do?

Incredible route :)
By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Apr 4, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

In regards to the tyrol:
This should be taken down ASAP. Jeffco Open Space does not allow tyrols with the exception of the Mission Wall tyrol (which was grandfathered in). Whoever put it up, please take it down (if the Open Space hasn't already), so we can keep a good relationship with the Open Space.

The approach only takes 5 minutes without the tyrol anyway.

Beta wise:
From the rail, I'm a little fuzzy on beta, but I remember a really crucial left heelhook that allows you to suck in really tight and bump your right hand twice, realease the heel and start stemming your right foot behind you getting a wicked drop knee.

By Jay Samuelson
From: Denver CO
Apr 5, 2011

Hey Keith, my beta for the last boulder problem was as follows:

Warning - Beta spray!!
Once on the good rail to clip the second to last bolt, I go right hand up to a gaston, get some wide feet and then grab a left hand pinch. Bump the left hand to a second pinch even wider out (original crux), then re-arrange the feet and stab into a digit-and-a-half pocket under the roof with the right hand. Some more foot trickery allows you to bump the left hand a few times to the final crimp/pinch just above the roof with the left hand, then a right slap up to the jug. A few friends of mine were doing some crazy drop knees through this section, but i was going with a stemming solution through there.

Good luck and happy climbing!
By Keith H. North
From: Englewood, CO
Apr 6, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Thanks for your help, Monty and Jay! Hope to get the route in the next couple goes.

Would it be in-appropriate to cut the tyrolean down my next time there, or should I just leave it for the person who put it up to take care of?
By Jay Samuelson
From: Denver CO
Apr 6, 2011

Hey Keith, I would recommend leaving it for either the person who put it up to take it down or the JeffCo rangers.
By Mike Morin
From: North Conway, NH
Apr 6, 2011

Hey guys, myself and another ranger removed it a couple of days ago. Upon returning to our trucks, the owner of the rope showed up and we were able to return it to him. Thanks for your concern.
By Keith H. North
From: Englewood, CO
Apr 6, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Question @ Mike

Just curious, why have tyroleans been banned in the canyon, is it just aesthetics or something more?
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Apr 7, 2011

Would there ever be the possibility of getting an OS permitted tyro for the New Economy Cliff installed? That crag is essentially unusable since the water is too high when it's warm enough to climb there. A cable would be the most resistant to nimrod damage and would keep too many non-climbers from getting across the creek if that was deemed to be undesirable.
By Mike Morin
From: North Conway, NH
Apr 8, 2011

Hey guys, let me try to address both of your questions. In regards to the reasoning for not permitting tyroleans, the primary concern stems from them being a liability for the non-climbing public. The canyon sees a fair share of recreation outside of the typical climbing, kayak crowd, and there is a concern that these river crossings could be attractive to people that don't have the proper gear or knowledge to safely use a tyrolean. With that said, we will be discussing tyroleans at our next Climbing Committee meeting, with some focus on the suggestion for New Economy Cliff. I'll post an update when I have some more information. I encourage anyone with thoughts and suggestions to shoot me an e-mail regarding this issue.
By Keith H. North
From: Englewood, CO
Apr 8, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Thanks Mike,

Too bad humans couldn't be a little smarter and lawyers less available.

In other news... I intend to replace the first draw with a steel fixed draw, this way it wears a little slower.

And there are a few other draws that aren't "dangerous" but are somewhat scary, I'm going to head to REI tonight and pick up a few cheap wire gates to switch out.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Apr 12, 2011

Mike, thanks for considering New Economy Cliff for a tyro. It seems that a properly placed tyrolean would not pose an attractive risk to non-climbers. The Mission Wall tyro has existed for years and is difficult enough to get to that most yahoos won't mess with it, but it does provide great access to climbs across the creek. Also, having a reasonable way for climbers to cross Clear Creek avoids the risk of them attempting to cross in high water. Cables also seem to be less visible as well which helps the noob factor. The Sonic Youth tyro was clearly unnecessary as it's easy to walk an extra 10 minutes across the bridge. It would be encouraging to see JCOS take a more supportive stance toward the tax paying climbing community.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 28, 2011

Excellent linkup vision, Brian. You're an animal!
By Keith H. North
From: Englewood, CO
Apr 28, 2011
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Brian is awesome! His long draw also removes any sketchiness on the 4th clip of Sonic. The first draw on Sonic is gon,e so FYI if you want to clip it, you will need to bring your own.

And @ Brian... anytime you need a catch, hit me up. I am free any day of the week.
By Curt MacNeill
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 24, 2011

What an awesome route! I got on this route first about 2 years ago, I couldn't even do the start moves. Just last fall, I still could not do the upper crux and hadn't got to the top. I started working this route June of this summer. I got so close to sending, but when the heat and humidity of this summer set in, it proved challenging. I had one hung the route pretty much every burn I did for the last couple of weeks. I went super hungover one day. My head was spinning (I think I was still drunk) and climbed all the way to the top falling just before the clipping jug. I have been on numerous occasions when it was so hot and humid it felt like there was a layer of slime on every hold and again I could get all the way the end of the upper crux in a single burn. The last day I went, there was a gnarly thunderstorm that came through in the evening and there was mad seapage. It was also incredibly humid. The funny thing is the holds just after the upper stemming rest right before the upper crux were soaking wet. I had to chalk up in the middle of the crux, because my hands were wet and I still managed to get within one hold of the top, but still NO send! I knew the route was going to go down. Today, I found a friend to throw me a catch insisting to them that I would get it on my first try. Without a warm up and minimal stretching, I walked the route with ease on my first try. In fact, when I got to the clipping jug, I was not pumped and could have probably sent the route a second time right after it with no rest. I really just needed ideal conditions. And even though the temp was in the mid '90s, the conditions were not humid, none of the holds were wet, and I wasn't hung over. Apparently that's all I needed. I took a massive victory whip after grabbing several arm lengths of rope and jumping off. Man it feels good to put this route to bed. So stoked! I need to give a shout out to my homeboy Dan Levison for giving all those soft catches and giving me rides in his air conditioned Audi S4 wagon....
By Stephen Felker
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 5, 2015

For the fixed gear record: I recently replaced the last of the aluminum rope-end biners with black, steel Petzl Djinns. Also replaced a couple of the worst fiber draws, including the long fixed sling at the first crux on draw 4. When you replace the dogbones, please reuse the steel biners and stainless 8mm quicklinks that I gifted to the route. They could outlive the bolts.
By Nolan Robertson
Apr 7, 2017
rating: 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c

Love the epic finishing hero jug! Grabbing that thing is awesome!

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About