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Third Stage 

YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Bob Robertson, Harvey Miller, 1986. Re-equipped 2001
Page Views: 2,226
Submitted By: William Prehm on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (138)
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Third Stage, May 2008.


Start at the left end of the ledge below Lats Wall, just left of Red Giant. Follow a meandering line up the center of a slabby, reddish face.

Don't fall on this one. The rock on this climb is like a grater: sharp, pointy formations on less-than-vertical rock, with widely-spaced bolts.


7 bolts and an anchor.

Photos of Third Stage Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Cactus Cliff - Left (2).  Errata: Route 31 is Tits...
BETA PHOTO: Cactus Cliff - Left (2). Errata: Route 31 is Tits...
Rock Climbing Photo: Robyn flashing Third Stage at the Cactus Cliff.
Robyn flashing Third Stage at the Cactus Cliff.
Rock Climbing Photo: A very cold morning in April '08.
A very cold morning in April '08.
Rock Climbing Photo: Said at the cruxy clip. The holds tend right to th...
BETA PHOTO: Said at the cruxy clip. The holds tend right to th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike B. and shadow eye the crux.
Mike B. and shadow eye the crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bob and Carrie, just after the big snow of 2003.
Bob and Carrie, just after the big snow of 2003.

Comments on Third Stage Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 28, 2015
By Matt Robertson
Oct 18, 2001

This route climbs a section of red stone perpendicular to the main orientation of Cactus Cliff. Look for the left wall of a right-facing dihedral. Even with updated gear, the bolt locations and frequency might offer some excitement for a climber at his or her limit who is used to the modern style of bolting on most Shelf routes.
By Peter Beal
From: Boulder Colorado
Apr 1, 2002

I thought this climb was one of the best 5.10s at Shelf. Instead of mindless pocket grabbing and big ledges, this route offers genuinely thoughtful climbing. I agree that several bolts aren't in quite the right place but the slightly runout feel of the route adds something interesting without actual danger. And I don't remember any problem with getting to the anchor.
By Old Fart aka Dave Bohn
Apr 9, 2002

This route has been re-bolted again since the last time I climbed it 2 years ago. I didn't get on it but the bolting looks sound and takes a nice direct line up the slab. (Now if somebody could take care of the sharpness :)
By Rick Thompson
From: Mount Nebbiolo, CO
Apr 14, 2002

Dave, et al - With the assistance of Lauren Sigman, I re-equipped this route last November as part of a volunteerism day (in a similar spirit of Celebrate Eldorado) organized by Mark Hesse and the Rocky Mt. Field Institute. In doing so we had the arduous task of removing about a half-dozen rusty 1/4" star-drives split shaft bolts and home made hangers. All old bolt holes were restored to hide any potential scars, and new stainless steel bolts and hangers were placed in the general location of the originals. It took something on the order of 5 hours for two of us to complete the work - ouch, my legs were numb from hangin' in that harness for so long. It is worthy to note that first ascentionist Bob Robertson drilled this route ground-up style about 15 years ago. I suspect this explains the "sporty" nature of the route (I prefer to call it "old style sport climbing"). Peter, I couldn't agree more with your characterization of this being a fine route. Dave, you'll note most of the critical holds were conservatively comfortized when we re-equipped it and I think you'd have a fine time on it now, although you'll still find an occasional "sharpie". Enjoy :~)
By Dan Durland
Apr 15, 2002

It survived for 15 years without being "conservatively comfortized", why did it need it now? Just a question...nothing more...nothing less
By Rex Mammel
Apr 22, 2002

Thanks for comfortising the holds. It makes a more enjoyable line for those of us not as tough as the previous commentator.
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 1, 2002

Be careful with guides...My Falcon Guide calls this a 5.10a. No way in hell is it a 10a, so watch yourself.
By David Danforth
From: California/Colorado
Oct 22, 2002

I agree; I probably have the same guide and it says that this route is a 5.10a, and it sure didn't seem like a 10a to me, so don't trust the books.
By Larry Shaw
Sep 27, 2004
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Small pockets and small feet at a slabby angle.
By Brian Adzima
From: San Francisco
Nov 11, 2007

The # of bolts is fine. One or two are in a little less than optimum place to clip if you are short.
By jarthur
From: Westminster, CO
Mar 23, 2008

This climb is good to throw in the mix if you are out at Cactus Cliff for the day. Although this might be thought provoking once you've done a few other Shelf routes (not suggesting Shelf is overbolted, spend the day at Muir Valley at the Red River Gorge and you'll see true bolt ladders) this route has bolts exactly where you need them. Reminds me of the typical bolting style at the New River Gorge and earlier Red River Gorge. Not a route I'll keep doing, but a really awesome route to do at least once.
By T.Dailey
From: Avon
Sep 8, 2010

Watch out for the family of hornets living in one of the pockets about 3/4 of the way up. Came face to face with 5 or 6 of them, that was the mental crux for me!
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 30, 2011

Great route, scary lead. Stay off this one if .10c is pushing your limits; there is potential for a 25' fall and the low angle and good friction of the rock will take your ankle. Kudos to hardman Bob R for bolting such a bold lead ground up.
By nate post
From: Silverthorne
Mar 7, 2013

Not my favorite, but nonetheless it was well worth one go and a good lead it was. It's a little different than everything else around here and in my book deserved some extra credit for the spicy lead over a cheesegrater rock and for the bold, ground up bolting.
By Jordan Hirro
From: Colorado Springs/Carbondale
Dec 2, 2013

Not really the biggest fan of slab, but this was great. The holds are sharp, and the route a bit interesting. Great warmup.
By Sends McGee
From: Denver, CO
Sep 28, 2015
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

I have been in Colorado only about 4 months, but this is probably my favorite route out West so far. Very underrated. Lots of awesome pockets and crimps with some semi-technical moves that were really fun and balancy.

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