Life of the Party

Route Name: Life of the Party

Rock Formation: South Shanahan Crag

Number of bolts to be placed:    Total of 22 bolts
19 lead bolts plus 3 anchor bolts: 1 extra bolt at ~25 meters for second rappel anchor and 2 bolts for top anchor at ~40 meters

Route Difficulty: 5.11/12-

Proposed Route:

Life of the Party (route #4 in pictures) shares about 10 feet of Route #3 before veering right up a sweeping, orange wall for 40 meters. It’s slightly lower-angled and more featured than its neighboring routes to the left, and therefore substantially easier. It begins about 15 feet right and downhill of “Shoulder Season” (5.12d) and ascends sculpted rock through a series of scoops and waves to some juggy features and a final mini-headwall.  

Climbers will lower (or rappel) to a ledge at about 25 meters where I propose an anchor will be placed to make it possible to lower (or rappel) from the route, twice, with a single 70-meter rope. All three routes to the left are similarly equipped with two anchors.

I have scoped the line, top-roped short sections from a rope on the anchors of Shoulder Season (with a few directional placements) and have confirmed the rock is of equal quality to the other sport routes on the wall. I believe it to be in the 5.11+/12- range.

South Shanahan routes with proposed line

A description of existing routes on the same face of the rock formation, including the number of routes, route names, route grade, type, and approximate distance between routes (a photocopy or diagram of the existing route(s) is also required):

The main south face of South Shanahan Crag has 9 existing routes, two of which are newly developed sport routes, plus one more project in the process of being bolted:

1) Leonine (5.10d), 2 pitches, traditional + bolts. The only route left of my proposed line, and the closest to it, Leonine begins about 60 feet uphill and around a corner. Leonine veers rightward throughout its length, and near the top it ends up about 30 feet to the left. *The route line in the Flatirons guidebook (left-most route, photo attached: “Shanahan routes”) is incorrectly drawn too far right.

2) DK Superstar (5.12, 1 pitch, sport). It’s about 20 feet downhill from Leonine.

3) Shoulder Season (5.12d, 1 pitch, sport), which is 15 feet down from Route 2.

4) “Route 3” (5.13, 1 pitch, sport), about 15 feet downhill from Shoulder Season.

5) Great Expectations (5.8+), 2 pitches, traditional. This line is about 80 feet downhill from my proposed route.

6) Prune Face (Identity Theft) (5.7), 2 pitches, traditional. This is immediately right of Great Expectations.

7) Better Offer (5.9+), 1 pitch, traditional. This is a few feet downhill from the Prune Face.

8) Beau! (5.7), 1 pitch, traditional. Located a short way downhill from Better Offer.

Mesa Trail
Climbers’ path to South Shanahan Crag

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 starts from Cragmoor trailhead. Hike the North Shanahan Trail to the Mesa Trail, then turn left (south) and walk for about 10 minutes until you reach a drainage just beyond an open meadow (with some prominent boulders). From here, a climber’s path — a faint path on rocks and dirt, then grass — leads up the drainage, then up the hillside on the right to the Shanahan Crags. These are located approximately a quarter-mile from the Mesa Trail. The South Summit is about 5 minutes uphill from the Eastern Crag — the first of the Shanahan Crags one encounters (about 55 minutes total to the south face of South Shanahan Crag). The base of the entire south face is talus and rocks interspersed with dirt.

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 from the proposed route is to lower (or rappel) from the top anchor down to the intermediate anchor at ~25 meters with a 70-meter rope. From here, an additional lower (or rappel) will reach the ground. Reverse the approach to reach the trailhead.

Staging area for proposed route

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 base of the route is mostly dirt, interspersed with some low vegetation, and rock. Packs and gear can be placed on the rock slab to the left or underneath the adjacent trees, thus minimizing impact to the staging area (see attached).

Has all reconnaissance work that can be reasonably done, short of placing any hardware, been done?

I could have top-roped the final portion up high with quite a bit of extra work finding directional placements. But I was satisfied with having climbed on the lower two-thirds of the wall, especially having top-roped “Route 3” 15-20 feet to the left of this line.

Has the route been top roped?  Is there loose rock?  Is it extremely overhanging?

The route has been mostly top-roped. I have confirmed its quality. Generally, the rock is very solid. I kicked off a few loose flakes while top-roping and did some minor cleaning. There are a few hollow blocks up high, in the red band of rock, that will need to be removed, but again, the rock is overwhelmingly solid.

Any additional notes:

The sunny exposure ensures this will be an excellent mid-winter route option. This route will provide a welcome “warm-up” for Shoulder Season, DK Superstar and “Route 3.”

6 replies
  1. Brian Stevens
    Brian Stevens says:

    How many bolts does it share with the other route? If it’s only 1-2 bolts and it’s possible for two separate groups to be on both routes at the same time, then I say yes. If it shares several bolts and not possible to climb both routes at once, then I say no.

  2. Mike Tritt
    Mike Tritt says:

    I vote yes, but would encourage bolting so both routes can be climbed at the same time, thru an alternate start or thoughtful bolting

  3. Jack Lange
    Jack Lange says:

    Is it possible to establish independent starts for routes 3/4? That would really ease the pressure on these inevitably popular routes.


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