1. A photocopy or diagram of the rock formation with the proposed route drawn in;
Figure 1: Diagram of rock formation with proposed route drawn in (2nd route from left). More detailed photos with proposed bolt locations at the bottom of the page.
2. 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);
There are currently eleven established routes on the west face of Overhang Rock. Snake Watching (sport, 5.13a) is the leftmost route on the wall and is separate from the rest of the routes. To the right of Snake Watching are two recently established sport routes, Ouroboros (5.12+, est. 2015) and Honey Badger (5.13a, est. 2013), which like Snake Watching are roughly 35 meters in length and ascend up the face and tiered roof system to the top of the wall. One of the current applicants established both of these routes through the Pilot Program review process and has received very positive feedback on the routes from the climbing community. The other existing sport routes on the west face begin approximately 50 feet to the right of Honey Badger and include three 5.12 sport routes (The Big Picture, Missing Link, and Tits Out for the Lads, from left to right) that begin from atop a large ledge as well as a 5.11d sport route, Short Attention Span, which ascends the face just to the right of the ledge. Further right there are also four traditional climbs: the 2-pitch 5.8- traditional route Junior Achievement, which summits the formation, A Chorus Line (5.9 R), Shibboleth (5.8), and West Side Story (5.6).
It is worth noting that the proposed route will ascend the arête just right of the existing trad route, Rogue’s Arete (5.10a), which is located on the north face of Overhang Rock. This proposed new line is located roughly 30 feet right of Rogues Arete. The proposed route will not encroach onto the existing route, so both routes could be climbed at the same time with no impacts to either party.
3. 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 proposed climb would share the same approach as the existing climbs on the west face of Overhang Rock. Currently, the fastest and least intrusive approach is to walk along the Bear Canyon trail until about 15 feet east of the Shelf Block boulder, then take a climber’s trail southeast up the hill past two distinct boulders to the power line tower in the talus field. From the tower, cairns lead to the southeast along the lower edge of the upper talus field directly below Overhang Rock to the base of Snake Watching. The proposed climb, Thulsa Doom, begins roughly 10 feet to the left of Snake Watching from a flat, rocky area.
Figure 2: Acess trail off of the main Bear Canyon Trail
Figure 3: Trail approaching crag
4. 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.);
Climbers would descend from the route by either lowering or rappelling from the anchor at the top of the route. Due to the length of the proposed route, a 70 meter rope will be required. The same approach trail would then be followed back to the Bear Canyon Trail.
5. 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 is a rocky, compacted area at the base of the climb, just left of the existing staging area for Snake Watching. Climbers would likely leave packs, etc. in the existing staging area due to its proximity; however, the belay area directly beneath the proposed climb is similarly flat and rocky with no vegetation so there would be no impacts if a team decided to leave their packs, etc. there instead. See Figure 4 below for photograph of staging area.
Figure 4: Photo of staging area at base of proposed climb
6. Has all reconnaissance work that can be reasonably done, short of placing any hardware, been done? Has the route been top roped? Is there loose rock? Is it extremely overhanging?
The applicants have put in several days of reconnaissance work at this point. The initial reconnaissance consisted of constructing a gear anchor at the top of the wall (in a crack system about 30 feet left of the existing Snake Watching anchor at the top of the arête forming the northern end of the west face) and inspecting the route on rappel then top-roping several sections. The applicants have spent two additional full days toproping on the proposed climb using the same gear anchor, and at this point have successfully freed all of the moves. Both of the applicants have freed all of the individual sections on the climb but have not freed the line in its entirety; however, the applicants are confident that the climb goes free at the approximate grade of 5.12+.
Thulsa Doom climbs the obvious, striking arête which forms the far left (north) side of the west face of Overhang Rock and the right (west) side of the north face. The proposed climb would be 35 meters in length, finishing roughly 15 feet below the top of the wall under a large overhang. Thulsa Doom accesses the arête and face by climbing through the lower tiered roofs via powerful moves on good holds. From there, the climb ascends the lichened face just right of the blunt arête on excellent rock using solid edges (5.11) until the terrain eases (there is an optional gear placement here so the applicants are not proposing to add a bolt) and a small but hands-free ledge just below the start of the “arête proper” is reached. From the ledge, the climb goes up the steep face just right of the arête with more engaging and technical 5.11 climbing until the climber is forced to move left over the arête via tenuous and powerful 5.12 climbing to a good rest just below the right-leaning, overhanging upper arête. From the rest, the climb goes directly up the right-leaning arête, providing about 25 feet of some of the wildest, most exposed and most gymnastic climbing to be found anywhere in the Flatirons. The crux ends at a large hold where the arête becomes vertical again, then continues directly up the arête for another 30 feet of incredible, exposed 5.11- jug hauling with an impressive view of the city to the northeast. The climb ends at a good rest at the end of the “arête proper” under a large, left-angling roof feature at the top of the wall.
The applicants propose using 16 protection bolts, plus two anchor bolts at the top of the climb. The applicants feel that this is the minimum number of bolts to safely protect the climb given the length. The route is comprised of incredibly solid rock that the applicants are confident will remain solid and not require any additional cleaning.