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Fool's Gold 

YDS: 5.12+ French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 27 British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 5 pitches, 450'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12+ French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 27 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: D. Montgomery, 7-18-11
New Route: Yes
Season: Sun AM, Shade PM
Page Views: 1,980
Submitted By: Monty on Jul 18, 2011

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Pulling into the crux on the FA of Fool's Gold, 12...

Upper Canyon access closed - 8p Mar. 22 - 5p Mar. 28 MORE INFO >>>


Only a fool like me would get so obsessed with a gem like this. It's pretty surreal to have finally done this thing. I've looked at this line for 3 years and had actually gone up to bolt it on 2 other occasions, but I'm glad I waited until now. I bolted this route entirely on my own, mostly after work over the course of 2 weeks. With that said, I want to thank Jeff, Lance, and Steve for your help during FA attempts.

The route starts on Solid Gold but then climbs on new territory for 4 pitches with an amazing finish on an overhanging arete. The route can be linked into 3 pitches with some simul-climbing and good rope management. The last pitch is a beautiful overhanging arete with great position and would be a classic at any crag, but is guarded by some 2 star climbing that you'll forget about as soon as you are on the arete. Bring your desire for some adventure (even though it's a sport route) and have fun.

P1. 5.8, 200 feet:
Link the first 2 pitches of Solid Gold.

P2. 5.0, 160 feet, 7 bolts:
From the low anchor, traverse left accross a ledge system. Pass the anchor for Big Bros and continue on for another 80 feet. (Be mindful of loose rock.)
(It is possible to link this and the first pitch with about 115 feet of simul-climbing.)

P3. 5.11-, 60 feet, 6 bolts:
Pull a low roof (crux) into a band with some bad rock that's easy to avoid, then lieback up some good gold stone to a nice belay ledge.

P4. 5.11-, 90 feet, 11 bolts:
Step right off the belay, then traverse back left (10+), pull a small overhang, then rest on a ledge under a roof. Traverse cool blocks right across the roof to a jug, pull the roof to the left (crux) and tip toe through another short rotten band. Pull another small roof on good stone and continue up great stone to a ledge below the loft. Either belay out left at the rap anchor for a nice view of your partner, or climb up the short crack to the right up to the 3 bolt anchor in the Loft.
(This pitch requires at least 4 slings. Also the 3rd and 4th pitches can be linked, but I wouldn't do this until you are familiar with the route.)

P5. 5.12+, 55 feet, 8 bolts.... The Reward!
Well you made it hear, now it's time to take in some exposures on one of the coolest aretes I've ever climbed. It's gymnastic, the holds are perfect, and it's really exposed!

Hand traverse left across an incut rail. Make a long hard move to gain the arete and a marginal rest. Slap up the arete to a foot cutting toss to an edge (crux). Snag a jug and another couple of 5.11 moves drop you at the anchor. Awesome.

  • Make sure to get a good swing (exciting) as you lower down, so you can get back into the ledge right below the loft. If you can't make it in, your belayer can throw you a loop of slack and pull you in. Also, the best way to clean your draws is to follow the pitch, since you could take a dangerous swing otherwise.

This will sound way more complicated than it is, but it's really easy if you pay attention.

Just below the loft to the left is a 2 bolt anchor. The best way to get both climbers here is to have one climber lead then lower off the arete and swing in to this anchor. TR belay your partner up the arete, then have them lower and swing in to the anchor as well (if draws are fixed, they don't have to climb at all. Just simply lower them). Pull the rope off the arete, and rap.

R1 80 feet: Trend climber's left and clip one rope to a fixed biner to the left of the 4th pitch, this will keep your rope from traveling over any dangerous edges and drop you off right at the next anchor.

R2 60 feet: Trend climber's right, and clip the fixed biner on the 3 bolt of the 3rd pitch. Same thing, this will keep you from swinging over any dangerous edges and puts you right on the anchor again.

  • From here, pull the rope and lead back across the ledge system to Solid Gold.

R3 Rap 100 feet down P2 of Solid Gold.
R4 Rap 100 feet to the ground.

Not so bad, right?


This is primarily left of Big Bros Watching.


1 60m rope, 4 shoulder slings, 10 draws.
More draws/ slings if you plan on linking or simul-climbing. We did 5 slings and 13 draws.

Photos of Fool's Gold Slideshow Add Photo
Lance swinging back in off the arete.  Some sweet ...
Lance swinging back in off the arete. Some sweet ...
Fool's Gold.
Fool's Gold.
Workin the arete before the FA.  This is the "...
Workin the arete before the FA. This is the "...
Jeff taking in the exposure and getting back into ...
Jeff taking in the exposure and getting back into ...
Lance getting into the 5.10 roof on P3.
Lance getting into the 5.10 roof on P3.
Just above the 5.11 roof on P4 tip toein' through ...
Just above the 5.11 roof on P4 tip toein' through ...

Comments on Fool's Gold Add Comment
Show which comments
By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
Jul 19, 2011

Good Job, D! I can't believe that arete went at 12+! Looked much, much harder!!
By Bingman
From: Denver, CO
Jul 19, 2011

Good Job, dude! I'm psyched to try this!
By Reggie7
Feb 9, 2015
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Awesome route! Dave's beta is right on. If you feel comfortable, you can simul the first two pitches and traverse. Combining the two upper pitches (I'd rate 5.10 and 5.10+) is the way to go. Draws are still hanging on the crux pitch, and they are in good shape. The route is easy to rappel.
The crux pitch has cleaned up nicely and is really two boulder problems separated by pumpy, jug rest. Shorter climbers might find some of the moves a bit harder. Enjoy the swing out of the alcove after you send!
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