Route #3

Route Name: Working title: “Route #3”

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: 5.13

Proposed Route:

This route takes a striking, direct line up solid rock on the south face of South Shanahan Crag. It begins about 15 feet right and downhill of the recently finished route, “Shoulder Season” (5.12d), and it slowly diverges on the way up, for a beautiful, independent route that’s 40 meters long. It’s characterized by thin face climbing on sculpted, yellow rock in the first half, followed by steep, jug-riddled rock on its upper half.

Climbers will lower (or rappel) to the 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. Both long routes to the left are similarly equipped with two anchors.

I have top-roped the route in its entirety, and believe it’s in the low to mid 5.13 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 nine existing routes, two of which are newly developed sport routes:

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) Route 2, a work in progress (low-mid 5.12, 1 pitch, sport) that will be completed within a few weeks. It is about 20 feet downhill from Leonine.

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

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

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

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

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

8) South Face (5.4), 1 pitch, traditional. This moderate classic is 20 feet downhill from Beau!.

9) Vague Jug Line (5.7), 1 pitch, traditional. About 50 feet downhill from South Face.

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 pure rock. Packs and gear can be placed on the rock itself or underneath the adjacent trees, thus minimizing impact to the staging area (see above photo).

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

Yes. I set up a top-rope and climbed on the entire route, base to top.

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

Yes, I have found the best line and confirmed its quality and difficulty. Generally, the rock is very solid. I kicked off a few loose flakes while top-roping and did some very minor cleaning. There are a few hollow blocks up high 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. Combined with “Shoulder Season” and “Route 2,” these three lines will be well worth a visit for a weekend of good, hard climbing.

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