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The Crack of Dawn 

YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Bob Robertson and Richard Asher, trad 1st then bolted.
Page Views: 5,927
Submitted By: montay on Oct 13, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (142)
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James Ellis wakes up midway through Crack of Dawn.


To find this route, read the directions given in the route titled "Pinhead". From Pinhead, hike approximately 100 yards to the north and locate a HUGE roof about 60 feet off the deck. To the left of this lies the gorgeous lines of "The Gym Arete" (please see Richard Wright's entry for this route) and "The Crack of Dawn". The Crack of Dawn is probably the most striking crack line I have seen at Shelf. We are talking BEAUTIFUL!!

The Van Horn book gives this line 10b. The old select 200 book gives a rating of 11b, which is a bit far fetched. Purists might have a kiniption about seeing a crack like this bolted. However, I am going to stick to the facts on this one (please join me in leaving this subject untouched as it could easily explode into terrabytes of discussion).

The facts are as follows:

Start up on funky, hollowed, pockety rock to a high first clip (red home made hanger). Get ready to crank. Jam from fingers to hands and maybe even a fist or two, and heck, even throw in a lieback or two just for kicks. Follow this recipe for about 4 bolts. Stir in a little finger crack/ face edging for about 3 bolts to the anchors. A very tasty route.

This could probably be a good trad lead for a sport climber who is learning to place gear. No brainer bomber gear and bolts for backup.


8 bolts and anchors.

Photos of The Crack of Dawn Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack of Dawn.
Crack of Dawn.
Rock Climbing Photo: Frankie on The Crack of Dawn.
Frankie on The Crack of Dawn.
Rock Climbing Photo: Fun crack. Photo: Andrew Doll.
Fun crack. Photo: Andrew Doll.
Rock Climbing Photo: Gym Crack aka The Crack of Dawn (I think).
Gym Crack aka The Crack of Dawn (I think).

Comments on The Crack of Dawn Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 28, 2016
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 23, 2001

Bob and Carrie Robertson are responsible for this route. There only reason I know this is the homemade hangers on the route. That is their trademark and every route with these hangers on them should be attributed to Bob and Carrie.
By Rick Thompson
From: Mount Nebbiolo, CO
Jan 31, 2002

AC - I think you need to do a little homework here before you start suggesting that every route with home made (I prefer to call them "Homer-Made") was put up by Bob & Carrie. Home made hangers were used by nearly every new route activist at Shelf Road in the 80s. In fact, they were commonly used at many climbing around the country. That's the way it was back then! Cold shuts were also commonly used as bolt hangers. Frankly, the high quality gear that we see on many of "today's routes" simply wasn't so readily available 10-15 years ago. While you may be right that Bob did this one, a great number of other routes equipped with these were done by others.

Why don't you take a moment to actually log on with your real name - no need to be a faceless corward.
By Bob Robertson
Feb 27, 2002

This route was done by Richard Asher and myself on natural pro. Carrie and I went back, recleaned the crack, and bolted it. We then went back a second time and changed the hangers. We think it's one of the best 10s we have done at Shelf.
By Peter Beal
From: Boulder Colorado
Mar 19, 2002

I also think this route is one of the finest lines at Shelf and fact that it's bolted doesn't detract from this. In fact if I had to use natural gear, I'd probably put in a lot more pieces than the number of bolts. There's a spot where the crack goes a little wide and the last bolt is well below your feet, not to mention the chossy opening section where a broken hold could send you on a 15-20' digger. So it's not exactly overbolted.
By Erik L Ahrn_
Nov 17, 2003
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

This route deserves three stars!
By richard magill
Nov 18, 2003

Three stars for a Shelf Road bolted crack?

Some folks in Boulder are going to lose their lunch when they see that.

Excellent line!
By Bill Ballace
From: Pullman,WA
Feb 3, 2006
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Shelf is a designated sport area. I'm not going to bring my gear here, so the fact that this crack is bolted doesn't really distract from its greatness.
From: broomdigiddy
Apr 30, 2007

This route could go on gear, but I wouldn't want to take a whip on it. The rock is a bit chossy as is most of Shelf. Great line though and a perfect spot to get warmed up for the stout classics that surround it. Great for the grade 5.10 for sure. Super fun!!!!!!!!!
By WSue
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 5, 2010

Great route!

Though actually there are 8 bolts + anchors instead of the advertised 6.
By Jessica Pemble
From: Yosemite, CA
Nov 24, 2011

The final push to the anchors really makes you think. Sick route!
By William Mondragon
Feb 23, 2012

Felt pretty hard at .10, but whatever I will play along. Fun climbing.
By Zane Dordai
Nov 29, 2012

This climb is incredible. Perfect lieback movement if you choose not to jam. Excellent thoughtful crux as well. Some holds were loose.... I would absolutely not trust gear in this rock. Thank you to whoever bolted this and made it accessible to everyone!
By Jordan Hirro
From: Colorado Springs/Carbondale
Oct 20, 2013

Didn't feel very 10b with the numerous juggy rests but overall a fantastic line! I think its length may contribute to its rating. In any case, amazing. Highly recommended. :)
By Dylan Demyanek
From: Fort Collins, CO
Nov 28, 2016

The line is beautifully obvious until the last bolt. It appears from the chalk that many people have trended to the right, ending on a jug about 4 feet to the right and slightly above the anchors. This makes clipping the chains incredibly awkward and is not the correct line. The route actually bends slightly left of vertical at the top and climbs, more or less, directly to the chains. The holds and movement are better this way, if a bit less obvious.

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