The proposed route, The Yellow Door, is a two-pitch route located on the North face of Seal Rock that climbs across two natural features – a long arching roof on the first pitch, and a prominent dyke that splits the middle of the North face headwall and forms the second pitch. The first pitch starts at the very lower left corner of the north face and climbs thin vertical ground up and right for ~70’ under a long roof before pulling over the roof and finishing on a slab. This pitch is long and continuous, with a pump factor at the roof (11+/12-, ~100 ft). The second pitch climbs up to and traverses across a yellow dyke that extends across the full expanse of Seal Rock’s North face headwall (visible from the city of Boulder). This pitch is also long, continuous and pumpy, with several difficult and technical sections (13-, ~100ft). Because the second pitch climbs on a dyke feature (hands on the protruding dyke, feet underneath), it feels steep and climbs like a modern sport climb until the dyke ends and the climb exits on the final ~15’ slab of Archaeopteryx. Natural gear is used at the beginning of the first pitch and end of the second pitch. For those looking for a pure sport climbing pitch, it will be possible to finish the second pitch of Yellow Door on Sea of Joy, climbing through the crux of that climb and adding a letter to the grade.
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 North Face of Seal Rock has 2 existing routes: Sea of Joy and Archaeopteryx. Sea of Joy is a 3 pitch 5.13a sport route in the middle of the North Face. Archaeopteryx is a 3 pitch 5.11+ traditional route on the right side of the North Face, approximately 40 feet from Sea of Joy. The Yellow Door would cross Sea of Joy in the middle of the 3rd pitch, and would finish on the final 15 feet of Archaeopteryx. However, it would not interfere with or change the character of either route. The proposal has been discussed with the first ascentionists of both routes, and in both cases permission and support for this proposal has been granted.
In the case of Sea of Joy, Richard Rossiter has granted permission and support for the proposal. Note that the top half of the 3rd pitch of Sea of Joy (crux section) would offer an alternative finish to the second pitch of The Yellow Door and would increase the difficulty of this pitch by a letter grade.
In the case of Archaeopteryx, both Jeff Achey and Roger Briggs have granted permission and support for the proposal. Importantly, the proposal does not include any fixed hardware that is accessible from Archaeopteryx, so the nature of this bold and historic climb will not be impacted.
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 approach is up the designated trail to the base of Seal Rock, and then up the climbers trail to the North of Seal Rock. This is the same trail as is used to access the existing climbs on the North face of Seal Rock (Sea of Joy and Archaeopteryx), and also serves as the descent route for popular routes on the East face of Seal Rock.
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 is from the rappel anchors on Sea of Joy (40 feet East of the summit), and then down the normal descent for all routes on the North and East faces of Seal Rock, as described above. Alternatively, climbers can down-climb Shortcut on the East face, which exits at the break on the North. This puts the climbers right back at the start of pitch one.
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 on broken rock and compacted dirt near the break on the East face that climbers and scramblers often use as the exit from the East face (i.e. start of Shortcut).
Has all reconnaissance work that can be reasonably done, short of placing any hardware, been done?
Yes, great care was taken by the submitter to ensure a high quality route that optimizes the natural features of the face and also respects the existing routes established on this wall. The route was inspected over seven days, with many variations attempted, and all moves climbed.
Has the route been top roped? Is there loose rock? Is it extremely overhanging?
The route has been cleaned, loose rock has been removed, and all moves have been climbed.