Gates of Delirium

Route Name: Gates of Delirium
Rock Formation: The Maiden
Number of Bolts to be Placed: 11 bolts
Proposed Grade: 5.11+ / 5.12-

Route Description: 
The route starts at the landing point of the standard rappel south from the Crow’s Nest.  Undoubtedly, this line and variations thereof have been top-roped by multiple people over the years, as its quick and convenient to set up when rappelling from any of the summit routes.

The line follows very steep, near vertical climbing on hueco’s and pretty nice edges.  It is surprisingly sustained and pumpy, with an 11+ or 12- crux up high on the route.  Overall, this is a very high-quality line that will add to the area’s selection of excellent routes.  Also, it seems likely that future parties would use this pitch to access the West Overhang and the Maiden Voyage, thereby avoiding some bushwacking and scrambling up to the regular start for these routes, on the far west edge of the ridge leading to the Crow’s Nest.

A description of existing routes on the same face of the rock formation, including the number of routes, route names, route grade, type [traditional or bolted], and approximate distance between routes (a photocopy or diagram of the existing route(s) is also required): 
The Gates of Galas (5.10d X) starts about 50 feet up hill (west) of this proposed route.  It leads to the Crow’s Nest, where one could continue around to the North Face, or straight up to West Overhang (5.11c) or the Maiden Voyage (5.12).  Further downhill of this proposed route, maybe 50 yards to the east, are the Kor-Dalke (5.12a R) and Hasta La Hueco (5.13b).  The Kor-Dalke route includes a belay at the Crow’s Nest at the top of the second pitch.  Further east is the South Face (5.9), and South Crack (5.11) is the last route on the south face.

A description of the approach (include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails leading to the climb and condition of the trail, and state whether there is a durable surface, such as rock. Include photographs of the approach.): 
The shortest approach is to take the Old Mesa trail, starting in Eldorado Springs, up to the Shadow Canyon trail. Head west to the old cabin and then follow the Shadow Canyon trail cutoff east and then north towards the Mesa Trail.  At a point perhaps 1.25 miles from Eldorado, and just before a talus field is crossed, follow the faint trail (see photo) up past an old quarry.  Avoid heading up the talus, but follow the old quarry road north until it ends.  At that point, a small trail leads steeply up to the east ridge of the Maiden.  The total distance from the Shadow cutoff trail to the base is about a half mile.

If starting from Boulder, take either the north or south Shanahan trails to the Mesa Trail, then fork off south at the Shadow cutoff trail, and follow the same path mentioned above that goes through an old quarry. It’s approximately 2 miles if going this way.

If different from the approach, a description of the descent, (include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails, a description of the trail condition and whether there is a durable surface, such as rock. Include photographs of the descent.): 
The descent involves rappelling from the fixed rappel anchor at the Crow’s Nest, and then reversing the approach described above.

A description of the area at the base of the climb (include existing levels of soil compaction, existence of a durable surface such as rock, and existing soil erosion. Include photographs of the area at the base of the climb.): 
The staging area at the base of the climb is rocky, most flat, with exposed rocks, dirt, and shrubs (Oregon grape) on the edges.  (see attached photo).

Has all reconnaissance work that can be reasonably done, short of placing any hardware, been done? 
Yes, it has been top-roped clean several times by many people.

Has the route been top roped? Is there loose rock?  Is it extremely overhanging? 
Yes, it has been top-roped.  The rock is very clean, as any loose rock has already been removing via past top rope ascents over the years.  It has only brief sections of overhangs and is mostly near vertical in general.

7 replies
  1. Tony Bubb
    Tony Bubb says:

    Interesting. Haas and I TR’d this line over a decade ago, in Sept of ’06, trying to work out where Gates of Galas was.
    Yes, I have photos, IE one at:
    At the time we felt like it was more like 10d/11a, though recall that 10d is a sandbag rating.

    Bill Mentions this variation on his write up as 5.11, back in 2002.

    So as mentioned, it is a not-too-obscure TR variation to the existing line.

    Each ascentionist I know of mentions that there is a lack of gear up top, and with that, I can also say that Jason and I both opted not to lead it trad, which is to say it would be pretty significantly bold at the grade absent bolts. I say X-rated.

    While this route is not as cut-and dried as others, whereas a FA party has discovered a new line, the decision is not as clear to me. THis is quite clearly an instance of someone asking to bolt an existing, known, and documented TR line.

    I do not adamantly oppose the line. I am slightly inclined to approve if it were just an issue of the line on it’s own merits. It is a good line.
    But an eyebrow is raised, and I am not supporting it (nor opposing). Is this a precedent for the approval of the bolting of existing TR’s just for lack of certain history of who climbed it first or what their intention was?

    I have my reservations.

    • steve annecone
      steve annecone says:

      This line does not conflict at all with Gates of Galas. Yes, it has been top-roped by many people many times over the years. Yes, this is a proposal to bolt a line that has been top-roped before. And there is plenty of precedence for bolting top-ropes, including the recent Feathers and Stone on the Third, and Say Bye to your Tips aka Long Journey on the Sacred Cliffs. Feel free to come to the public meeting on Feb 1, 6:30 pm at the Spot to discuss further.


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