At one time the hardest route at Shelf, Carnage is the striking, S-shaped arete listed in "Shelf Road Rock" as "Wild Virus". I believe I've made the First Free Ascent, so I've taken the liberty of re-naming it "Carnage", which I think fits nicely with the names of Shelf's other 5.13ds, "Damage" & "Triage". Though Carnage is certainly not the best hard route at Shelf, it is considerably better than it looks from the ground, and is certainly worth doing if you climb at the grade. The movement is technical, powerful & improbable, with a number of sequence options that rely more on technique than finger strength. There are numerous hard sections, but there is also a no-hands, sit-down rest at the ledge, which makes this a line that clearly favors the boulderer. The crux is characterized by thin crimping, arete slapping, and technical footwork. There is some dubious-looking rock in the middle, but nothing ever broke, and the business sections all feature excellent stone.
Begin up an easy slab, then make an awkward traverse left to a stance at the lip of the roof. Devious 5.11-ish moves bear-hug up the double arete. An easy runout past the third bolt leads to the ledge. Chossy looking (though surprisingly solid) cream stone leads up and right to a juggy flake on the arete proper and another shake. A few tricky moves in the V5 range gain a pair of sloping crimps, a chance to clip and one final shakeout before the crux. An ultra subtle V10-ish boulder problem slaps directly up the arete to reach the obvious horizontal pod at the 8th bolt. The route is capped with another 20 feet or so of mid-5.12 climbing, with big, commiting moves between relatively good holds.
After two frustrating burns on the fourth day of working the route, Mark decided to throw in the towel for the day and give his sore bicep a week of rest, despite having unlocked subtle new beta for the crux.
Later in the day, however, it occurred to him that the moves that tended to tweak his arm came after the crux, and it wouldn't hurt to climb up to that point one more time to reinforce the new beta. On his third try of the fourth day attempting the route, and without any expectation of sending, he crushed the crux sequence and then persevered though the upper section for the FFA - an inspired performance!
On the way down he removed his draws and carefully brushed off all his tick marks - leaving the route in its original state for the next suitor. Nice job, Mark!
My buddy and I were heading out yesterday, walking along the trail just in time to see the finishing sequences of "Mark's" successful ascent. "That's a proud line" was my comment as it came into view in the afternoon light. Impressive ascent. Congrats.
Great job, it's nice to see such a striking line finally go down. It's pretty rare to find natural routes of that style at that difficulty because there is such a fine line between too easy and too hard. It's a pretty rare accomplishment, congrats.