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The Armory
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Diggler, The S 
Fission aka Ken T'ank S 
Fully Automatic T,S 
Gauntlet, The S 
Handicapable S 
I Don’t Know What It'’s Called, I Just Know The Sound It Makes When It Takes A Man’'s Life (aka Beretta) S 
Ken T'ank Low Start S 
Off the Couch S 
Overhangover, The S 
Semi -Automatic T 
Siberian Express S 

The Gauntlet 

YDS: 5.12d French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 28 British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 65'
Original:  YDS: 5.12d French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 28 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: D. Mabe, 3/06
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 5,771
Submitted By: Darren Mabe on Aug 5, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (27)
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The amazing finger crack on the Gauntlet.

Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


Start with an overhung stem dihedral, crank off of a flake, and reach into the left angling and sharp finger crack in solid orange stone. Pull around the roof to difficult clip, finish with steep crimps on the narrow pillar. It is sustained and overhung most of the way.

How Ya Get There 

This is actually located on The Armory downstream of the Crystal Tower and above the new tyrol. Locate a huge, slanting boulder at the base of an overhanging, left-facing dihedral, uphill and left of Ken T'ank.


9 bolts and chains anchor.

Photos of The Gauntlet Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Gear beta. I thought the blue/green Alien protecte...
BETA PHOTO: Gear beta. I thought the blue/green Alien protecte...
Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing up The Gauntlet after starting up Siberi...
Finishing up The Gauntlet after starting up Siberi...
Rock Climbing Photo: A rest after the first crux on The Gauntlet.
A rest after the first crux on The Gauntlet.

Comments on The Gauntlet Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 6, 2016
By Nate Weitzel
Oct 16, 2006

This is a fantastic line, thanks to Darren for putting it in. Hard start, then sustained difficult climbing to the top on beautiful rock. This has become one of my favorite routes at the grade in CCC. Probably soft for 12d, perhaps as more people climb the route, the grade will solidify.
By micah stocker
Jul 11, 2007

Sick fucking line now who is going to man up and lead this thing on gear?
By Kyle P.
From: Lander, WY
Dec 3, 2007

Tried it on gear but bitched out. Dammit. Harder than we were prepared for.
By Patrick Pharo
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 8, 2008

This might turn out to be a candidate for one of those assinine "12D," "No, it's 12C," "No, it's 12C/D" arguments, but The Gauntlet is solid 5.12 on fantastic stone. Thanks a ton to Darren for bolting this and leaving draws up to encourage traffic. Highly recommended.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 8, 2008

Glad that you enjoyed it. When I first bolted it, the initial stem corner was very crumbly and has since cleaned up a bit to yield some solid edges. In fact, on the FA it felt closer to 12d or even 13a. However as is, there are some long moves that are slightly height-dependent, that I could not justify it being harder than 12c or d. So in other words, a shorter person that can not make those wide stems, or long reaches would feel its solid 12d. Also, the moves coming out of the dihedral were more straightforward, though harder, and did not need to go too far out right (I moved bolt 3 about 8 inches to the right after the FA). In fact, we did not use the jug side pull at the top of the dihedral to establish into the finger crack. The kneebar helps quite a bit too! I also stay directly in the excellent finger crack feature, for the intended line, but found that folks can also stay right of it, easing it up, using the crumbly, leaning corner and still make the clips.

I think this is why there is a grade discrepancy, but I think no matter how you do it it is 12"+", and a nice sustained line. The move over the roof is no give away and clocks in at low 12, IMO. Therefore, an overall grade of 12d seems appropriate.

I did not want the bolt line to define the route, but avoiding the stem work down low or the leaning finger crack locks would be a shame. Those features and position is what makes the route.

And honestly, if I left it as a trad line, I do not think it would get much traffic; however, I suppose could see it being done as such but there are no gear placements once over the roof.
By Patrick Pharo
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 8, 2008

I think that the observation about height dependency is spot on. I am a tall guy with a wingspan of 6 foot, and the low crux (bolts 2-3) felt reasonable (V4ish) for me. I was working the route with someone who is considerably shorter, and she had a tougher time at this spot due to the fact that she had to use some terrible holds.
I wasn't trying to initiate any sort of grade debate, merely indicate that it might feel easier for some. You said it better than me with regards to the height issue. Also, in reading the way you avoided the good rest between the stem crux and finger crack, and stayed entirely in the crack before tackling the roof, I have no doubt that it felt harder. This beta seems like it would be really intense. Good work, but good grief! Why not use the better holds that seem on route? Now I feel like I cheated. I took full advantage of the rest when I sent, and was fresh for the moves between finger locks.
I have been really excited about going back and doing this on gear. I think it would be a different test now that I have done the route on the bolts, but I'm not advocating that it should have been left as a gear climb. Clear Creek is primarily a sport area, and I think you're right to assume that if it was a trad route, not too many people would even try. Especially if the rock quality was originally as marginal as you say.
Lastly, for the top, I found pulling the roof much easier with a knee-bar. I'm excited to go explore gear options at the roof, and agree that from there, it is run out to the chains.
Ok, enough spray from me. Thanks for the route.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 9, 2008

Patrick, I have 6'6" wingspan and am able to make the move off of the flake, at the top of the dihedral, intermediate left hand press, left drop knee then go for the arete crimp just out of the finger crack where a better hold used to be. Broke off in subsequent attempts. Before I moved the bolt, you had to clip off of the flake. Later ascents opened up the flake a bit, so now you can get about three pads on it.

When I did it again later, it probably was closer to the way you sent it.
BTW, knee bar at the roof is indeed handy (as well as the hand jam!), and also the knee bar smear at the top of the stem dihedral.

We better shut up now, or we will blow someone's onsight and will get downrated to 12a. ;)

Are those draws in good shape? I haven't been over there for about a year. Good luck on the gear ascent! Be careful!
By Patrick Pharo
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2008

Ha, no kidding. We pretty much spilled the beta beans.
The draws were looking good, although the one DMM draw under the roof (bolt 5, I think) was getting a pretty solid notch. If I get back up there soon, I'll bring a draw to leave if it really needs it. If I switch it out, do you want it back? I think it was one of those sewn DMM guys.
By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Jul 1, 2009
rating: 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b

I'm gonna go with a solid 12d. It's harder than both Sucking My Will and Anarchitect, at least in my opinion. Very technical climbing the whole way on great rock, get on it!
By monkeyvanya
From: Denver, CO
Mar 21, 2012
rating: 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a

Life is much easier if you can jam.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Sep 15, 2014
rating: 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b

Yes, life is easier if you can jam, but life is easier if you're a total boss at opposition and stemming... and if you have really long legs. I thought the stemming down low was solid V6 and would likely be harder if you didn't climb to the right after the 3rd bolt. For being a relatively short route, this route has a lot of character and very little rest making it a pretty pumpy/power endurance route and a great one at that! Solid 12d IMO.
By michalm
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 1, 2016

Hey Darren, thanks for putting up a rad route, but no thanks for bolting a protectable crack. How many hard gear or mixed gear routes are there in Clear Creek? Only a handful.

How rad would this have been if you cleaned the crack and didn't put bolts next to it?!

The "sport crag" argument is a tired excuse for robbing routes of the ability to be led in the best possible style and without contrivances such as skipping bolts which are next to bomber gear placements.

Take a look at Thunderdome at Easter Rock in Boulder Canyon. It is all gear at a crag with otherwise only bolted routes. It is rad and doesn't get done much. Even better that it isn't as greasy as the sport routes! Does every route need a lot of traffic (i.e. chalk and grease) to distinguish it as a high-quality line?

There are plenty of mixed gear and bolted routes in climbing areas all over the country. These are highly sought-after and so much more rewarding than the mindless clip-ups they could have been if people took the "sport crag" attitude like Bob D'Antonio, Mark Rolofson, and other flagrant perpetrators of criminal rock vandalism.

You have put up some rad routes and first ascents, and I respect you for this. Please don't stoop to the level of Bobby D., who is widely loathed for his disprespect for natural gear placements. You can do better than that, Darren.
I fully intend to use removable gear and skip bolts as necessary when I try this beautiful line.

Clear Creek has plenty of sport routes... please leave some excitement for people with the skill and will to step up to the challenge!
By slim
Sep 1, 2016

Soooo, have you actually been on this route prior to commenting???
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 6, 2016

Michalm, I've been waiting ten years to entertain this discussion!, but not until you climb the route first, you silly goose. Since I apparently robbed you of your pure trad experience of The Gauntlet, have a stab at Big Bros Watchin', Naked Kill, Brennivin, and Wiled Horses if you're willing to step up to the challenge.

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