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West Ridge - part A - Verschneidung to base
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
A Moveable Flake T 
Allosaur T 
Auntie Perspirant T 
Blind Mouse T 
Blues Power T 
Clean Freak T 
Crow's Landing T 
Earnest Stemmingway T 
Ernest Extended Way T 
Exterminator, The T 
Farmer's Wife, The T 
First Unknown T 
Flyback T 
Foaming Cleanser T 
Initial Hangover T 
Initial Route T 
Jam Con T 
Kickin' Chicken T,S 
Leg of Ilg T 
Mineral Maze S 
Morning Thunder T 
Odarodle T 
Office Girls Walk The Plank T 
Party Pooper T 
Piece Easy T 
Pork Chop T 
Quo Vadis T 
Ranger Danger T 
Roadside Attraction T,S 
Runsholl Scrunch T 
Shot and Chaser T 
Sleepytime T 
Something Blue T 
Stepping Stones T 
Super Scooper T 
Territorial Integrity T,TR 
Thunderbolts From Hell T,S 
Thunderworld T 
Turkey Jerky T 
Up the Downclimb T 
Verschneidung Dihedral T 
Water Line T,S 
Wild Turkey S 
Wingshot T 
Wishbone T,S 


YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a PG13

Type:  Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 65'
Original:  YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a PG13 [details]
FA: Kevin Gallagher
New Route: Yes
Fixed Hardware: 4 Lead Bolts, 2 Belay Bolts [details]
Page Views: 3,413
Submitted By: Kevin Gallagher on Nov 26, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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Kevin Gallagher on Wishbone.

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  • Description 

    Wishbone climbs the vertical and exposed, south-facing wall overlooking the creek at the very end of the West Ridge. The route was originally attempted as a headpoint and can be led by the bold with minimal and hard-to-find gear at 5.11b/c X. This is a safe, Eldo-style bolted route with exceptionally technical face climbing and a thought-provoking finish. From the belay, step down and right to an instantly exposed start and the first bolt around the face. Climb up and right through 3 bolts to the big flake, place a piece then move right then up to the 4th bolt. Climb up through the technical vertical face clipping the 5th and 6th bolts, followed by the crux and the thrilling finish. This is a wonderfully exposed climb with classic, technical face and one of the most scenic belays in the canyon. Enjoy!


    See directions to Amphitheater on page 232 of Eldorado guide. Shares the belay with Wild Turkey and Kickin' Chicken located approx. 40ft right of the Blues Power/Wingshot alcove. Follow the broken band right and down to an exposed belay overlooking the creek. This is one of the best belay spots in the canyon with lots of sun (good in winter) and great exposure.


    There are 6 bolts and anchors with an additional finger-sized cam or medium-sized nut placed between the 3rd and 4th bolts. Bring a #3 Camalot and #2 Friend to supplement the fixed nut for the belay.

    Photos of Wishbone Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the Wishbone: photo: Bob Horan Collection...
    Climbing the Wishbone: photo: Bob Horan Collection...

    Comments on Wishbone Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 28, 2009
    By Hank Caylor
    From: Glenwood Springs, CO
    Dec 3, 2006

    An excellent route that consists of steady difficulty and sneaky rests. Mixes well with its neighboring routes Wild Turkey 12a, Thunderbolts From Hell 12a and Blues Power 12b. A great days worth of fun if you're solid at this level. Kevin and Wayne deserve much respect for putting in these routes and filling in this area with more quality product.
    By Rob Kepley
    From: Westminster,CO
    Jul 19, 2007
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Yes, this is one sweet piece of rock! Immediate exposure from the start with incredible position and movement. The moves are thought provoking and cool, and wow, what a thrilling finish!
    By ABB
    Aug 21, 2007

    I've heard 'talk' about adding a bolt between what is currently the last bolt and the anchor. That would certainly remove any last semblance of 'teeth' this fine route has to offer. I think we can all agree we don't need another non-descript clip-up with a queue. The dash between the crux and the anchor is moderate by comparison and will ensure continued engagement rather than a reckeless 'get-me-outta-here...clip-and-punch-it' to the anchor. A fall at that point says more about head-strength and technique (or lack of) vs. arm-strength.

    The 'pg' rating is unwarranted. I'll speculate the current 'pg' is a gratuitous nod to the 'sport-minded' faction. Falls don't get much safer than this: steep and clean. Some may find it invigorating...both the dash and fall. Well-done 'AS-IS'!!
    By Rob Kepley
    From: Westminster,CO
    Aug 26, 2007
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    I haven't heard about the idea of adding a bolt to the finish, but I hope it never happens. The runout to the anchor is what makes this climb sooo good. Yes, it would be quite a fall but totally clean. You're forced to stay focused to the very end with interesting and tricky moves. One of my favorite bolted climbs in Eldo!
    By Guy H.
    From: Fort Collins CO
    Aug 28, 2007

    The ACE application
    By Joseph Crotty
    From: Broomfield, CO
    Sep 6, 2007
    rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Position and movement mix nicely throughout. Finish requires a dash of mental stamina - embrace it.

    At all key climbing junctures bomber pro is in hand. If you want to lead routes with top rope crux climbing, then journey to one of the many Front Range clip up crags.
    By David A. Turner
    Oct 2, 2007
    rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    The bird poop in the middle, the loose jug after the crux, and the contrived runout thereafter on uncleaned lichenous holds to the anchor will certainly keep the crowds away from a climb that otherwise has very good movement.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 3, 2007

    Is the runout here a groundfall or ledge fall? Otherwise, is it 'safe?'

    I think it's OK to have less gear on easier parts of climbs. I don't recall reading in the ACE objectives that all bolted lines have to be mentally comforting. I don't think that all lines with bolt must be bolted into submission.

    Perhaps it needs a little more cleaning though- the lichen will clean up with time. Use a brush or nut tool, or your hands to whatever extent possible- clean while lowering off if you are too pumped on lead.

    Let's take this proposal, from the above comment to its natural conclusion... If Steve Levin had wanted to add a single bolt on Shasta to protect a crux runout, then would he have been forced by charter to bolt all of it? If so, will that have the end effect of encouraging MORE runouts than less, by virtue of removing the decision from the FA party?

    For my own part, I'll happily run the $%#@ out of something within my limit if the rock is stable- but might add a bolt if it was dangerous at the crux or something. But if I knew that meant I had to bolt the whole thing, hypothetically well then: Runout it will be- No bolts.

    I'm inclined to let the school of unintended consequences teach its lesson a few times, which it has. Are you asking to make the entire bolting process a matter for the committee to decide or would you like to leave it to the FA party? I'd rather have the smaller police force out there, myself. Seems we're never better off when we ask someone else to make the decision and can't settle it for ourselves. Why invoke a rule and interpret it such that takes an area like Eldo and sucks the potential for any future diversity out of it.
    By Rob Kepley
    From: Westminster,CO
    Oct 4, 2007
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Chris, I left a comment about Yellow Fellow, go check it out.

    Wishbone is fine the way it is.... Yes, the fall would be big, but clean.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 4, 2007

    As you know, new routes in Eldo are practically required to be TR'd before any bolting- that's how you mark the wall for the application for where you want to put the bolts, verify all the info required for the form, etc... So I don't see the relevance here.

    I am asking: Is the route really unsafe? Or is it just exciting? If people want to site the ACE charter to try to say a route must be changed, I think that we have to be clear on what the language on the charter MEANS, not just what it SAYS.

    If the FA party decides for themselves that the present route is not what they intended, then I'd support their application to add one. Otherwise, I'd be against it. I'd also view any external pressure from pro-retro-bolters to overrule the will of the FA party as a vote from them that the FA need not be respected- ergo, taking the position that anyone has equal right to ADD OR REMOVE bolts, from an existing climb, regardless of the FA intent. That would sure open up some interesting doors.

    While I enjoy being safe, I sometimes also enjoy an exciting route...
    And just for the record, BOLTS are contrivances (ones I usually prefer to runouts) and nothing is the natural state of things. There is nothing contrived about a runout until someone places a bolt below it.... Surely it is not your position that a bolt is the natural state of things and that a space without one is manufactured?

    I have no interest in leading Paris Girl. But glad that it is there for those who want that sort of experience. People can decide for themselves what kind of experience that they want to have, then go for it if that is what they want.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 5, 2007

    Chris Beh:

    "How can you come up with a line like that from anything I wrote? It looks like you're trying to put words in someone else's mouth in order to deligitmize their point of view. Spewing bogus accusations like that makes you sound like a jerk."

    When did I say YOU said it? I said what I meant and that is IF anyone were to say it... the only bogus accusation was your own. If it seems different than what you said, maybe it is.

    "Why don't you go climb the route so you have some first hand knowledge about the issue."

    As for doing the route, I've been mostly in the Flatirons backcountry in the fall, between when they are opened after falcon season, and snowed in there is a brief window. Eldo is my winter territory- I'll get on it this winter... when I climb in Eldo. I have done a majority of the routes in that canyon, but not so many lately.

    As for what other recent route has such a runout:
    And it's harder than 5.10... you asked.

    Bob D:
    "As to removing or adding bolts to a changed your tune since LJBS."

    I know you are sensitive about the bolts in LJBS. Are you still afraid that someone will pull the bolts out of the #2-#3 Camalot handcrack you bolted above Crystal Tower in CCC or something? My tune has never changed, though it appears that yours has, bolting handcracks and all.

    Is this the same Bob who told me not to criticize people's efforts at development on-line, and rather, to simply just not climb there? It's the same name, but maybe you changed your tune? I'm OK with voicing a disagreement with the way a route is developed. Are you now, suddenly?
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 5, 2007

    First Bob wrote:
    "Forced run outs are contrived and take away from the quality of the climb."

    Then Bob wrote:
    "I don't have to agree with them. A runout can be contrived when the FA ascent party top-roped the climb, and then put five bolts in and then doesn't add one in the upper 20 feet of climbing where no other gear is present. "

    Then Bob wrote:
    "Ken was right and so is can't read WHAT people write I didn't critize anyone...I gave an opinion on forced runouts."

    Sorry, I guess I can't read. Must be me. It sure seemed like you were talking about this route. You know, not agreeing with the FA party, the TR preview to FA, the 5 bolts count, the upper 20' runout, etc....
    Must just be that your general opinion just happened to be on this route's page and kinda sorta resemble this route in exact detail.

    My bad. Sorry, I know you wouldn't change your tune whilst accusing me of doing so. I mean, that would be SOOOO hypocritical.
    By Wayne Crill
    From: an Altered State
    Oct 10, 2007
    rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    I'd just like to make a few comments re the above discussion.

    First, there is room in Eldo for a variety of styles, so this route with mixed gear and bolts seems pretty reasonable. Second, there are so many routes in Eldo, bolts or trad gear, with long runouts near the top after the difficult climbing eases (often it doesn't really!) that 'arguing' about that seems more contrived to me than any of the climbing/bolting itself. Third, so there is some lichen and a loose hold or two up there, well it's climbing and it's not the gym, so *deal* or don't climb the route, no biggie either way. Regarding safety and ACE rules recommendations, not only is the climbing and potential falling safe, the specific bolt placements were approved by the ACE committee with at least two committee members climbing the route and giving specific bolt placements the A-OK, initially with only 4 bolts! The first ascentionist (KG) decided, with ACE approval, that it would be more consistent with an additional bolt added to the upper face from what was initialy suggested and approved. Lastly, many climbers have said they thoroughly enjoyed climbing the route, some falling, some not, as is.

    More climbing, less arguing and complaining - can't please everyone all the time.
    By Bob Rotert
    Oct 15, 2007
    rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a R

    I can see this route, bolted as it is, is going to generate some controversy between various opinions.

    Another note. I am not the "Bob" referred to in the comments above. That is referring to Bob D' Antonio who has, for some reason, removed his comments..

    First of all, great route & nice addition to the canyon Kevin!! It sure is nice to have a new route to climb! I can understand and would have to agree with those that state in comments above the runout at the top is contrived & out of character with the rest of the route.... climbing the last section on sight & not knowing what is above is testy especially right now with the current nature of the rock & lichen. It could be a pretty big fall for someone. As for the PG rating, there are many R rated routes in the canyon that are much less committing than this one.

    That being said, there is no question that the runout at the end does give the route much more additional character & really, in my opinion, creates the crux of the climb. It provides future ascensionist a route that requires some mind control over pure technical ability. Which must have been the First Ascent party's intention by creating the runout.

    My following point drives to ethics & style in climbing FAs & goes back to my Trad roots. Something that was important years ago but has lost a lot of significance since bolted sport routes have become vogue. Having the person that TR'd a route, then lead it & create a runout can lead to this kind of controversy. It is my understanding that the FA party did have the luxury of climbing it on TR before leading it which really changes things for an ascent of a route that has a runout as being part of the crux. I'm not saying the First Ascent party would have a problem leading this on sight, I'm just saying they don't have a full perspective on what it would be like to lead since they have TR'd it. I know in this type of climbing there isn't much of a choice in the matter. One way to "ethically" do this for a bolted FA is to have someone TR it and bolt it & then someone else in the FA party lead it. That way it really is climbed for the first time with the bolts in for pro in an emulated, ground-up manner. Many would argue that when you start TR ing a route with the intent of placing bolts for an on sight lead you should make it safe for other parties as they will not be TR'ing the route before leading it. I am not arguing that point for this route but I can see that side of the coin.

    Without the runout at the end, this route would still be a good route, but it definitely would be a less memorable one. I also don't think every top down bolted route has to be a grid bolted sport route. I can understand why some would say this isn't a fair way to put up route when you are doing it top down. Particularly with the length of the runout at the top of this route, hence that is why we have some controversy.

    Personally, I like having some routes that require very controlled climbing & head space in the canyon. Even if they are contrived that way. Because of that I think this route should stand as is. Maybe it should be noted in any write up, so future parties are aware, there is a sizeable runout & that it was TR'd by the FA party before being led.

    Ultimately, I don't think it matters what my opinion or others is. If the route was conceived of by the FA party it is an expression & creation by the FA party & if they want it to be the way it is it should probably stay the way it is. Some folks are not gonna like it & some folks are "Not every monkey gets to climb every tree!"
    By slevin
    Oct 16, 2007

    The FHRC process for approving/rejecting bolted new route proposals includes a period for input from the climbing community. Please take the time to personally review new route and/or anchor proposals during this period, and make your opinions known.

    The FHRC process is only made better with more climber input. It's extra work for you, but not nearly as much work as the climber who susses a new line, puts forth a proposal, goes through the voting, gets a permit from Steve M., installs the line, and then climbs it.
    By lauren di scipio
    Nov 16, 2007

    Excellent point, Steve.

    The Fixed Hardware Review Committee (FHRC) has tremendous respect for the climbing community and they, along with the first ascentionists, spend a significant amount of energy organizing information in order to provide a method to give feedback during the application process.

    go to:
    By Joe Huggins
    From: Grand Junction
    Apr 25, 2008

    I'm late to the party here, as usual,but I recently climbed this. I was interested for many years in doing some routes on this face and I'm glad these guys finally got around to it; it was real good. That said, I did find the runout at the end to be arbitrary.
    By Marc H
    From: Denver
    Aug 13, 2008

    Great route. I don't think an additional bolt before the anchors is necessary for a safe ascent; I think it would detract from the route.

    As of 8.08 there is a fixed stopper in the overlap. All you need is 9 'draws.
    By Wayne Crill
    From: an Altered State
    Jan 27, 2009
    rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    It's been a while since I've looked at these comments and to me it seems a few final (!?) comments are in order. I'm bummed Bob D. removed his enjoyable comments on this and many other routesfrom the database, neverthtless . . . Wooohooooo! awesome job Kev on creating a nuevo Eldo classic!

    I think this route has now stood the test of time: It's heady, but safe, and not for everyone: completely within the Eldo tradition. At the grade its totally reasonable, comments from someone like MS, with his skills, indicate the potential thrills (and enjoyment!), and I know that was at least part of Kevin's intention.

    This route is completely within the severity/danger scale of many other Eldo routes, ancient and modern. Sure, it could have been bolted into submission for easy access for all, but it appears that there is still room for creating something that is a special and memorable experience for those who step up; for people to build up to ... Bob R's comments are sage . . . .

    A musical analogy from the nuevo classic band The Heavy: ". . . I'm sure she's gonna rock your world . . . and do you want that love?"

    Great job Kevin; rock on!
    By Wayne Crill
    From: an Altered State
    Jan 28, 2009
    rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    Dave its between 20' and 30' from the last bolt to the anchor, prob pretty close to 25' I would guess. However the 5.11 climbing finishes at/around 10-12' above the bolt (hence your feet are just above the bolt)and the angle and difficulty of the climbing drop off rapidly from there to something approaching 5.7 at the anchors.

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