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The French Are Here 

YDS: 5.12c French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: IX- ZA: 27 British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.12c French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: IX- ZA: 27 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: Bob D'Antonio and Richard Aschert, 1986
Page Views: 5,556
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Sep 25, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (70)
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Juancho just beginning the OS.


See Gravitations. The French Are Here tackles the bulge to the right of Gravitations via pockets and a gaston corner for one hand. The bulge is actually pulled on the left side. Big reaches on good hands lead into the gaston/corner. Pull around and over the bulge to very continuous 5.11d face climbing on greyish-colored stone. I thought that The French Are Here was a very nice line with a relentless series of upper 5.11 face moves following the bulge; I have yet to do it one push, and while I don't know how others experience this route, for me the difficulties arise mostly in the relentless forearm pump. The reaches and big muscle moves are all reasonable if you can detox the pump. Unlike some reach-dependent routes, on The French, the reach is all ape index, toe to tips distance confers little advantage while a peculiar genetic ancestry can be quite useful. This is an excellent line and very much worth solving.


Eight to ten draws and a rope.

Photos of The French Are Here Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting the upper face.
Starting the upper face.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lower bulge.
Lower bulge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Juancho with the OS.
Juancho with the OS.

Comments on The French Are Here Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 5, 2016
By Mark Eller
Nov 6, 2001

I agree with Richard that this is an excellent route, but by my reckoning, it's extremely cruxy. If you get by the big lockoff from a nasty two-finger pocket, and a few more 5.12 moves that follow, there should be no problem getting to the anchors. The first few clips are easy. A good route for low-endurance bouldering fiends.
By richard magill
Oct 2, 2002

By Dana Bartlett
From: CT
Nov 18, 2003
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

Just a great climb!!!
By Joe Collins
Mar 22, 2004

Awesome. I found the crux to be the section right after the bulge, moving past the third bolt.The bulge is a hard pull, but no harder than 12a in of itself. Pretty good whipper potential if you blow the end of the crux sequence getting to the 4th bolt.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 16, 2005

This is surely one of the best on Cactus Cliff, if not all of Shelf. It's certainly the best of the "harder" routes at Cactus that I have been on. I also found the route to be very cruxy. I passed the crux with a long reach off an extremely powerful undercling. There are a few more hard moves past this, then it eases considerably.

This route was bolted back in the 80's, so don't expect a bolt every 4 feet like the other Cactus Cliff routes.
By Kaelen Willaims
May 31, 2008
rating: 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

Owww!!! My tips were in a world of pain! The upper part is sharp. Felt easy for .12c.
By Seth Finkelstein
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 12, 2010

Awesome line. The third bolt is looking a little suspect; the left side of the bolt hole seems to be deteriorating in the standard Shelf manner. Cuidado.
By Brandon Schirm
From: colorado springs, co
Mar 1, 2010

The third bolt needs replaced, it is bent and someone tried to reinforce the bolt with glue. I will try to catch up with Bob D. and ask him if I can replace it.
By ZachS00
From: Denver, CO
Dec 15, 2011

Anyone know if that third bolt has been replaced?

Edit: It hasn't yet. The third bolt looks like it was placed in at an angle, not bent. I also didn't see evidence of glue or any bolt deterioration.
From: Boulder, Colorado
Nov 25, 2012

Bolts are bomber. Soft for the grade.
By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
Feb 20, 2013

Replaced the third bolt 2/16/13. As mentioned above, the bolt was not bent but was drilled at an angle. The rock around the bolt, however, was breaking up. See photo for before/after. Thanks to ASCA for the hardware!
Rock Climbing Photo: Before/after of crux bolt.
Before/after of crux bolt.
By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
Jan 13, 2014

5th bolt replaced yesterday with ASCA hardware. The hangers on the remaining bolts and anchors were swapped with modern hardware provided by Bruno Hache. Big thanks to ASCA and Bruno!!!!
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Jan 14, 2014

You guys rock!!
By slim
Feb 26, 2014
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

Fantastic route. The climbing is super fun. I've seen probably a dozen people do it, and it seemed like everybody found a different way to get through the crux. If it seems like you are deadending, take a step back and try some other things. You will be pleasantly surprised.
By Curt MacNeill
From: Boulder, CO
May 18, 2014

Perhaps one of the best routes I have done at Shelf. Felt worlds easier than Surreal Estate, Sparkle in the Rain, or Ejection Seat. Once you know what to do it was pretty chill. Props for an onsight of this route as its fairly tricky at the crux. Amazing! I can't believe I walked past this thing for the last 4 years and never once stopped to try it....
By Jack Sparrow
From: denver, co
Dec 4, 2014

This is probably one of the best hard twelves at Shelf. Usually at this grade, the holds are very small and sharp where a high pain tolerance is necessary. This is not the case on the French are here, the crux holds are amazing not sharp or even that small. It's a little steeper than the average Shelf route too. The only downside for me is the old school bolting, clipping the fourth bolt when your pumped on point is very exciting. I would not want to fall with clipping slack out. Overall, an amazing climb with some of the best stone and moves at Shelf.
By Train4life
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 15, 2015
rating: 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

Very cool climbing. I agree with the spooky fourth clip, but it isn't bad when you figure out the moves and the holds. Very close to 12b, I think Tits Up might be harder! But if you are short, I think this is a solid 12c. I am not short, so I am just assuming, but it looks like the small, unusable sidepull on the right that short people use is small as hell, and I would love to see it done that way. Go Shorties!
By Mr. Stevens
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 27, 2016
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

I'm on the shorter side (5'7") with a negative ape index and didn't find any of the moves to be reachy. I toyed around with that small sidepull as mentioned above, but in the end, I didn't need it and wouldn't of even been able to use it as it's so bad. Heavy Weather at The Bank had bigger moves for me!

As for the grade, I don't know. It was my first of the "grade" at Shelf, but it's nowhere near as hard as something like Power Bulge in the Flatirons, but I think that one just might be a sandbag....

Regardless, definitely an awesome route on great rock with no tweaky moves!
By Jake Dickerson
From: Lander, WY
Dec 5, 2016
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

Such a fun route, get on it! The 4th clip is not bad at all.

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