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Gorilla's Delight 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Pat Ament and George Hurley, 1965.
Page Views: 3,239
Submitted By: Aaron Shupp on Jan 24, 2002

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BETA PHOTO: Routes on The Dome:

1. Prelude to King Kong
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Description 

This route is mentioned in the description of Prelude to King Kong. It is usually done as the second Pitch. It begins with a beautiful, steep, left-facing corner with a nice crack. The difficulty is around 5.9 here. After cranking up through the corner, there is a low-angled traverse to the right. Although the angle is less, the holds are much smaller. There are a few thin placements followed by a relatively committing move to gain easier ground above a large flake. Here, the difficulty seems to be around 5.9+. At the top, there are many large boulders and a few cracks to make an ultra-bomber anchor. Enjoy!


Protection 

This route protects fairly well. The first part takes about a #1 or #2 Camalot in the corner. A few smaller cams (like #1 and #2 TCUs) and some medium to small nuts are also useful for the upper part of the pitch where the pro gets thiner.



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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 27, 2011
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 5, 2002

Can you imagine soloing this in EBs, RRs or anything before that? Wow, Henry. I was trembling, and I had gear!

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 23, 2002

I had a memorable epic on this route once. Doing this 2 pitch route after work one evening we got caught by darkness. Good idea to throw in a headlamp for this one if you are starting after 6 PM!

By Doug Redosh
Sep 12, 2002

Nice climb, though the 2nd crux is definitely balancey. One month after I led it (in 1997 or so), I went back with a different partner. He fell at that spot, pulling his gear, and landed on the ledge 25 feet below. He fractured a rib, broke his arm, and sustained a head injury (no helmet). We needed help from Rocky Mountain Rescue to get down the hill below. Place good gear at this crux!

By Steve Levin
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 13, 2002

As I'm sure many of you know, "Hot Henry" Barber on-sight free soloed this in the mid-1970s and, according to his account, came closer to taking the big one on it than on any of his other solos. When climbing GD this is easy to understand- a difficult start into thin, insecure climbing, and a bit of routefinding on the slab. Henry stated that, in retrospect, it was a poor choice for a free solo, but his approach at that time was pretty much to "do it and ask questions later", so to speak. I always found it curious with his comment that, when confronted with the possibility of a fall from the slab 100+ feet up, he scanned the ground and tried to picture where it would be best to land- as if a fall from that height was survivable.

Henry was perhaps the most impressive and accomplished of the 1970s free climbers, and unquestionably had the greatest influence on world-wide climbing standards of any climber at the time. He was one of the first climbers to travel widely. His style was to show up at an area, and blow the local standards out of the water. In one trip, he single-handedly jumped technical standards in Australia by more than a number grade. Other accomplishments include succeeding on the often-tried Butterballs in Yosemite (a climb that everybody who was anybody had attempted) with an almost mystical onsight, pre-camming protection; blazing a trail of desperate first ascents in the Gunks; onsight free-soloing dozens of routes on many different rock types, up to hard 5.10, at a time when the 5.11 grade was only starting to soldify; and blowing the climbing world away with his free solo of the Steck Salathe on Sentinel in Yosemite. His repetoire of moves, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, and his tremendous self-confidence and mental control, set him apart from his contemporaries. In the 1970s Gunks, he was an integral member of the "A Team" quartet: Henry, John Stannard, Steve Wunsch, and John Bragg. Unfortunately, his career ended on a sour note after an epic accident with Rob Taylor on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The press was always a bit harsh on Henry, perhaps due to his brash personality (a little backstabbing occurred in the original CLIMB! book when the only photos of Henry were of him failing on Kloberdanz), but his significant contributions to freeclimbing standards are undeniable. I find it curious that many young climbers have never heard of Hot Henry- kind of like music lovers who think Paul McCartney's first band was The Wings.

By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
May 29, 2003
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Henry's still around. I saw him doing solo laps on the Dome's E. face couple years ago, like he was at the track doing 400 repeats...finish, go back do it again, like 3 times. I was surprised when I ran into him again last month on Reggae, and he was actually roped up.

By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Oct 15, 2003
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

We climbed this tonight and I led P1 and followed P2.On P1, the first move up and around into the dihedral isn't too bad... good holds. The next move is more cruxy and favors taller folks, with decent holds way up high, but not much for feet. My shorter partner,could not reach the high holds and settled for working the thin crack, which is good down low but off hands higher. Once past that move, easy climbing to a ledge.The start of P2 is cool...yard up off the ledge using a good little flake out left and the crack to the right (a bit smooth from chalk build up) to a pretty airy stance. Work up the overhanging corner over a bulge and exit right. Make a delicate traverse right (runnout) over to a nice flake and mini ledge to start the layback. Work up the flake (crux), smearing the feet and reaching left for a high seam, then step up. Follow a wide crack a short distance up to the summit...

By Matt Chan
From: Boulder
Jan 26, 2006
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Great finish for Prelude To Kong, but expect it to be significantly more difficult. I found the crux to be in the corner above the traverse right, where you roll onto your right foot after a fairly sustained lieback. Really not that big of a deal, but it is a bit heady - as you are committed a few moves above your last piece and a good 5+ feet from your next one. It felt 9+/10- to me, but I think a second go at it would prove that the 9+ is more appropriate.

By Jeremy
From: Boulder, CO
May 19, 2007
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This thing felt harder to me than some Eldo and Valley mid 10s!

By Paul Hunnicutt
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 7, 2009
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

The thin 'alternate' crack out left at the second crux seems more 5.9+ than the main crack to me. I did climb this after many months solely in the gym bouldering (so crack climbing felt alien), however I thought the second crux was a 5.10 move to lieback, smear, and gain the jugs. Sure repeating it on TR afterwards it didn't feel that bad, but trying to onsight this climb is pretty difficult if you are thinking 5.9+ (and you climb around that grade on trad). Think OLD school grading, make sure your gear is bomber, and relax on the slab (unlike me).

Actually repeating it on TR it still felt like a 5.10 move to me and the left crack felt easier - though it would have also been hard to lead. I took a nice long fall with my hands about 6" from the jugs...with rope stretch landed on the slab between the two cruxes below - but not hard. Make sure you place good gear before committing to the slabby 2nd crux, because it is very insecure, pumpy (not really after you know the moves though), and a long fall if your gear blows here as Doug mentioned. Basically I got my ass kicked. At least I went for it (with good gear placed) and took the fall.

Overall, a great little line...kind of like two crack boulder problems in a row. I'm not really into free soloing, but leaving my personal feelings aside you have to give the man some props - because that is BOLD even nowadays to onsight.

By Paul Hunnicutt
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 7, 2009
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

For those trying to onsight don't read further:

My gear was as follows: #1 (Camalot) in the crack above the belay, then #0.75 or smaller cams/nuts after that in the dihedral. #1 or 2 (with a long runner) in the same crack once you gain the slab, then a #2 to start the second crack, #0.75 higher, then a great, mid-sized nut and yellow Alien just above the lip right before you set off onto the slab. After that I found it pretty hard to place gear...though you can place some difficult small nuts and a green Alien (yellow-green offset would be perfect) if you can find the time to stop.

If you want to TR the cruxs...I recommend setting up a belay right after the 2nd crux. Mid-sized gear in the horizontal or #1-#4 in the crack above. This way you can see your second and avoid rope drag on the easy slabs above. In fact it was nice to run laps on the two cracks.

By James Aikman
From: Boulder, CO
May 28, 2009

I also thought the second crux on GD was harder than 9+... although I've felt like most the routes on The Dome are slightly sandbagged, I was cruxing hard, well above my gear, going from the lie back onto the face below the belay crack. Great lead!

By Matt Swartz
From: Nederland, CO
Oct 7, 2009

Man! What a fun route, it got me pumped though! I found the crux to be the transition from the arching crack that narrows to fingers and tips to the slabby finish, took a 15 footer! I eventually managed to do it. I found this to be harder then the 10a variation to the second pitch of The Owl.

By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Nov 18, 2009
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Like every other climb on the dome, Gorilla's Delight is a sandbag. The upper crux is at least 10-. There is currently a fixed nut (which I did not place) in situ at the top of the second crack (after the slab) which protects the crux very well. And it works, as I discovered.

After falling a few times off the slab moves above the crack, I decided to belay my second up to the outstanding hanging belay right below the crux, from there he could coach me through the tenuous moves out of the crack and onto the slab.

Fun climb! Probably the climb that wanders the least on the dome!

By Rich Farnham
Mar 13, 2010

This climb is yet another example of 5.9+ being way harder than 10a!

Jokes aside, I think the grade is appropriate at 9+, but all of the cruxes are insecure and therefore scary. The gear is good enough, but the climb is hard enough to read that you end up filling up key holds with pro if you aren't careful/lucky (this refers to the King Kong start as well).

The fixed nut is still in place at the final crux, which definitely makes this thing easier. It's probably only a #3 BD, but it practically gives you a toprope through the crux, and would surely hold a short fall.

Committing to that right foot as you rock onto the final slab is a real mental challenge. I was pretty psyched to grab the jug after that section.

By Chris Plesko
From: Westminster, CO
Mar 27, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

The fixed nut is gone, but plenty of gear can be had. It is pumpy to place, but you can easily downclimb to a no hands stance before committing to the final right foot move which is insecure for sure. I think the grade of 9+ tells you everything you need to know as a leader. Linking this with Prelude in 1 pitch onsight would be proud! Kind of like a bunch of boulder problems split by easier climbing. Bring some crack skills, too.

Beta hint:
There is an arm bar pulling the lip of the first steep crack section.