This route is near the obvious arete just to the right side of the famous route "The Unsaid." This is located in the "Unsaid Area" of the West Ridge of Eldorado Canyon. Hordes of climbers may be in this vicinity, climbing the more popular lines, including: The Unsaid, Crusing for Burgers, Break on Through, Strawberry Shortcut, Sunshine Wall, and Washington Irving.
After conferring with Chris Archer, Steve Levin, and Bob D'Antonio about this line, I am a little more clear on why it felt hard. As it turns out the route is not meant to be forced directly up the arete the whole way (refer to variation called AFTERSHOCK). Rather, start just to the right of the arete on a flake system, then up it for a short while before crossing it to go SIGNIFICANTLY left of it to another "flake system" (The Unsaid), just below the small roof. This is how it is drawn in Rositer's topo as well. As Chris Archer put it "No, Sharp lead that thing, and he was pretty out there, but he wasn't an idiot."
Which sums up how I feel about the possibility of *ME* leading the arete either as originally done or direct. Even at it's difficulty, it is hard- there is almost nothing positive on it. By way of comparison, The Unlead (11b, S/VS) is both easier and better protected compared to either. Bob D'Antonio (FA party) also stated that he believed that the original grade was a sandbag. I had never seen another climber attempt Shock Of The New, although since the original posting here, both versions of the route have been getting some attention. I've now talked to people on it & now see lots of chalk on both versions)"
This route is a serious lead for any climber. The gear is for naught and the moves are difficult and insecure. I do not know how anyone could safely lead this route, but it can be toproped with only minor swing-potential. If you attempt to lead this route and are not injured, you will still probably wet the bed every night for a few weeks.
To my knowledge this route has been led only a time or two since Alec's first ascent. Chris is correct in that the 5.10d vs, i.e. original version, is a wandering, less-than-direct line. The direct arete had been toproped in the late 80s by myself and others. Whatever the rating, I don't see any point in listing the direct arete as a separate route on this website, since it is both obscure and unled. Ditto for naming it. Just my opinion though. -SL
Shock of the New, according to the Rossiter guidebook, moved to join The Unsaid pretty early on. The 'new climbing' according to the topo is Rossiter's book (presuming he correctly depicts the original) is about 30'. It's a different set of cruxes. In any case, I had a discussion with a few people about if or not to post the route separately and was encouraged to do so. It wasn't meant to be egotistical, it was meant to be clear. And interestingly enough, it has produced a discussion of perhaps some value.
At first I believed that not renaming it and just calling it a variation would be best, but I was encouraged to post it, so I did. I honestly believe that the nature of the climbing is different if done super direct- the original line only has 30' of new climbing other than the joining of The Unsaid. Keeping that in mind, this variation has as much 'independant terrain' as the original, no matter who did it first.
Similar things were done to name other variations in Eldo, for example: Electric Aunt Jemima, Rabbits From Hats, RastaMan Roof, etc... which appear both in the book and on the site. Perhaps this is a good way to designate which line was taken, given their vastly different grades.
I am at least one of the people who encouraged Tony to post this information, including a name. He was reticent to do so. I did so because it seems to me that the theme of this site is that 'the more information and communication the better.' I'm glad to see attention given to this route. I had overlooked it but am now intrigued and appreciate being pointed toward it. If this direct arete was done before Tony's TR then great, it's always nice to clarify these things. If the shortness of Tony's possible new variation is an issue then I would welcome further discussion about defining 'route' . Given the vast number of heavily bolted variations and squeezed-in 'routes' that have appeared locally I feel thankful, more than anything else, that Tony didn't want to slam in five or six bolts on this.
I believe I correctly climbed (on toprope) the "wandering" line. So here's some more detail. You can set the toprope from the small pine tree up and left from the top of Strawberry Shortcut and Crusing for Burger. You can reach this point by walking right (with a belay) from the top of Unsaid . Using long slings (a cordalette) and any 2 of .75/green, 1/red, 2/gold Camalots and the pine tree, run the slings diagonally left to the left side of the arete. Use a long sling on a fixed wire for a directional. The fixed wire is about 10 feet right of the Unsaid bolts and about the same level.
Start right of the Unsaid and step over the initial overhang. Follow the easy slab to the arete. Step right around the arete and up flakes, stemming and reaching right to some holds that are probably on Strawberry Shortcut. These holds and flakes lead back left to the arete. This part is pumpy, but you can rest by stepping right onto Strawberry Shortcut. A hard move left around the arete leads to a thin slab. Step up and reach a hold on the ceiling, then over the ceiling on buckets. Climb the bulge above on the left (essentially avoiding the bulge). You are close to the crack on Unsaid at this point, but not using it. Easy rock leads back to the arete. Finish directly on the arete (finally) on good holds.
One more thing...the grade. I thought this wandering route as I described above was around 11a (on toprope). I was pretty stressed out the whole time, but didn't fall. I can't climb much harder than this, falls or no falls. But the grade depends a lot on how much you "cheat" by wandering, resting on adjacent routes, etc.