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South Astro Dome - Northeast Face
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Bleed Between the Lines 
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Middle Age Savage 
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Solid Gold 
Such a Savage 
Such a Waste 
Walking Pneumonia 

Solid Gold 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ British: E1 5a

   
Type: Trad, 2 pitches, 200'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a/b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VI+ British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Herb Laeger, Jon Lonne, Jim Wilson & Mike Jaffe, March 1977
Page Views: 8,177
Submitted By: C Miller on Jan 1, 2005
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Grace under pressure on Pitch 1 - Climber: Scott N...

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Description 

What a great route! This classic route takes a magnificent line up the northeast face of the South Astro Dome in two great pitches. Well worth the thirty minute walk and potential wait if others are already on it. Be advised that this wall can be extremely cold in the winter months.

Start down and right from the highpoint of some blocks stacked against the face (roughly 75') at a prominent gold streak. P1) Climb the steep gold streak past 6 bolts and many sharp edges to a belay on a ledge above (5.10a). Set your own anchor, or move slightly right to use the belay bolts on Shooting Star. P2) From the belay climb up a ramp (pro) up and right and then trend up and left past 3 bolts to the top (5.10b). It's possible to get in a little additional pro between some of the bolts, so keep your eyes open!

To descend you can make two raps with a single rope from bolts (3/8") atop My Laundry down to a second set of rap anchors atop Shooting Star (3/8"). Another option is to descend via the route Breakfast Of Champions in two single rope raps via two sets of rap anchors (3/8").


Protection 

First pitch has 6 bolts (3/8") and second pitch has 3 bolts (3/8"). Additional pro is needed for the belays as well as the second pitch. Stoppers and small to med cams work well for this route.



Photos of Solid Gold Slideshow Add Photo
Peter Croft at the start of Solid Gold.
Peter Croft at the start of Solid Gold.
1st pitch - credit card-like holds. Climber: Krzysztof Gorny
1st pitch - credit card-like holds. Climber: Krzys...
Upper part of P1, looking towards the belay. March 1990.
Upper part of P1, looking towards the belay. March...
Solid gold from a distance
Solid gold from a distance
Hillary on P1 of solid gold.
Hillary on P1 of solid gold.
Looking down P1 of Solid Gold, March 1990.
Looking down P1 of Solid Gold, March 1990.
A well known soloist.
A well known soloist.
P-2 1984. Photo: M. Stewart
P-2 1984. Photo: M. Stewart
Comments on Solid Gold Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 30, 2013
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 22, 2002

Most people seem to either love this route or hate it, and I am in the latter category. It's a repetitive crimp-fest, although it does lead to a very cool summit. But this is one route I'll not repeat.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Jan 11, 2003
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

A hallmark classic! Brutally honest line up a golden waterstreak. Great composure is required on the first pitch which is run-out in places. On my first attempt of this route I took a huge fall just before clipping the last bolt. Can't believe I got back on the horse.

The second pitch is a worthy counter-point to pitch one; steep and exposed with very cool technical moves.

Can be sweaty in the morning sun.

Line, purity, technique, exposure, setting.

By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 11, 2003

From the ASCA website: "A bomber anchor is at the top of the crack on the second pitch [of My Laundry], and is the rap route for Solid Gold as well. ASCA 2/02"

By Jon Lonne
Mar 9, 2003

For a more exciting ending to this climb, instead of going to the left to end the 2nd pitch on the 5.7 groove, go straight up past the last bolt for a hair-raising 5.11d finish. We originally did this a few weeks after the initial ascent.

By namascar
Feb 2, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

That bolt after the mantle move is a bit of a stretch. Surely makes the move exciting. I peeled off my feet in the mantle but managed to still hold with the left hand. Close. Great route if you are into crimps.

By Woody Stark
Mar 17, 2004

Let's see. I'm presently recovering from falling just below the last move on the first pitch. If this route is 10a, then Loose Lady, Sweatband, Terrawassie Wiggle etc. etc. etc. are all 5.8's. The second pitch is the crux at 10a which means the first can't be over 5.9 vis a vis a little logic. But then, what does logic have to do with RC. I'll go back, but I dread it.

As per my fall: As I was traversing up and left to the mantle, a party above allowed a loop of rope to drop behind me. When I fell, I instinctively grabbed for the loop as I went by. The instant I realized what I'd done, I let go. I don't know how much rope I pulled, but it was enough to burn through a portion of the daisy chain on the belayer above. I regret grabbing the loop, but all happened in a split second in the first ten feet or so of a long fall.

I noticed as I was climbing the first pitch, it appeared that quite a few holds had probably come off recently. Both my partner and I agree that the pitch seemed around 10c. I'll go back because my ego-stupidity-demands it; however, I'm not looking forward to it.

By Murf
Mar 18, 2004

Solid Gold has always seemed hard to me... We did it one year for perhaps the first time of the season. The leader got to the top, right by the mantle shelf, and found a pile of powdered bird droppings. At least I think it was bird shit. It was black, slick, and finer than sand. He of course had to give it the push. It cascaded down the face, covering every hold on the route. When I climbed the sequence was something like; lock off, blow hard at next hold, inhale bird shit, cough, repeat. A fairly miserable experience, to say the least.

By David Orr
Mar 18, 2004

I have done this route several times and have always enjoyed it. For Joshua Tree standards I didn't feel like it was very runout. I think "fixing" this route is totally unnecessary. I haven't been on it since holds have broken off but I do remember having a fairly good selection of holds to chose from as you move up the face, and I never felt like there was and dangerous fall potential. If it has increased in difficulty that may be a good reason to go back and give it another lead.

By Ben Craft
Mar 18, 2004

You going to tell me that routes get harder every time it rains?

By Todd Gordon
Mar 18, 2004

Try doing the climb in EB's ,..that' s what everyone wore when the climb went up... The damn climb has always been hard (except for KP and Hensel, who find all climbs with dime edges '"easy.").....

By Randy
Mar 18, 2004
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b

Can't imagine rain doing anything to holds (except as Murf observes, many get them covered in dirt or other substances). If some overpowering ya-hoo pulled some the holds off, well that might affect the rating of the first pitch, but as has been observed there are lots of holds.

And as for being run out, get a life! The first pitch is practically a sport route.

I am working on Vol. 2 right now (which includes the So. Wonderland) and will end up re-climbing Solid Gold at some point this spring or fall to check the route and rating.

BTW, the second pitch is the crux (10b; a hold did break off a number of years ago).

By Bob Gaines
Mar 19, 2004
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b

Over the years I've guided a lot of people on this route, and the general consensus from these folks is that the first pitch is harder than 10a! Many fall all over the first pitch, then cruise the second pitch, which is a bit reachy at the crux move up to the horizontal crack. Many people also comment that they find the first pitch of Solid Gold harder than the first pitch of Figures. A couple of years ago the first pitch of Solid Gold was plastered with bird detritus, which has taken a while to wash off. Sliperry and sharp is a good way to describe it. Difficulty depends on how stiff your shoes are and how good you are at edging. 10c?

By Gary Kleiger
Mar 19, 2004

I climbed this route last spring. It was cold and I couldn't feel my fingers until the 3rd bolt or so. Many of the moves were challenging and I felt fully engaged. I milked all of the rests that I could, providing me with what seemed like alot of time standing on only small edges. And then the mantle, far above the bolt, providing both excitement and demanding the determination to concentrate for one more important move.

Solid Gold means so much more to me than grades or style of climbing. At the time, Solid Gold was a testpiece for me. Pushing my limits on a classic line in a classic Joshua Tree setting. I on-sighted this climb, and as I stood on top of the South Astrodome, I felt as good as I have ever felt in my life. I had experienced the essence of why many of us climb, and I experienced this on Solid Gold. To me, it will always be one of my most memorable climbs.

By chris s miller
Mar 26, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

I thought j-tree 10a to be pretty accurate. We made the mistake of "warming up" on this climb one winter after a six hour car ride. Not a smart choice. Did anyone else have trouble getting to the mantle on the first pitch? I had to really commit and jump for the mantle holds. A little scary since your a bit run out.

By TraiseB
Apr 2, 2004
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b

This lovely route has lost many holds recently as evidenced by the fresh granite in contrast to the "water shoot" salman look of the rest of the climb. My partner and I both thought it was 5.10a/5.10b with 1-2 5.10c moves. I do have to admit that I have just recovered from a nastly sprained ankle (bad year?!),...and I was not so gutsy as my partner. After a few clips, I bailed from "fear of pain" should I hit my foot again! (Yes, I wimped--I'll admit it!) Actually, hiking out was the worst part anyways due to high water. By the time we reached the parking lot, I was munching the "Vitamin Ibu". I would like to go actually do the climb soon again, as this is usually my "type of climb" in addition to finger cracks and seams (sick, eh?). ANY GOOD BETA from recent ascents? (other than, "don't fall")Maybe I'll visit the zen master at the "metaphysics center" first! (Kidding)Yours TruelyTraiseB

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Jun 4, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

Wonderful route when I led it in 91. Yes, the edges on the first pitch were sharp on the fingers, but lovely for the feet. The last moves to the belay provoked a bit of thought. Nice job by Laeger et al to not punch in another bolt. I only recall one bolt above the slung horn on the second pitch, but who cares. All quality.

By Michael Jaffe
Jan 4, 2006

A couple thoughts. There was a 2nd bolt off line to the right because that was the only place to stand on the lead. The hold I stood on broke off just as the bolt went in. I understand it has been led straight up. Great.

Some of us used EB's, some didn't. I used adidas sneakers with green dot soles.

We regarded the second pitch as about 5.8, very elegant.

By Jon Lonne
Mar 28, 2006

It's interesting to hear Michael Jaffe's recollection of the difficulty of the second pitch. Since I was the one that bolted that pitch, maybe it just seemed harder to me. At the time,I thought (with concurrance from the rest of the group) that it was a solid 5-10a. Amazing what all those years of debauchery will do to ones memory, eh Mike?

By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Apr 3, 2006

It had been eight years since I last climbed Solid Gold, and I found the first pitch much harder and more polished than I remember.

It might be a "10a", but given the slick nature of the small (and now rounded from years of travel) edges it is definitely becoming harder IMO. Just like "Figures on a Landscape", I'd recommend being very comfortable at the grade before climbing this one. Unlike the typical JTree friction route, the polished rock on the first pitch causes each stance to be more tenuous than normal for a JTree 10a.

And the mantle above the 2nd-to-last bolt gets one's attention.

The 2nd pitch is varied and spectacular, and I enjoyed it far more than the 1st pitch.

First pitch all bolts. I placed small nuts for the belay. For the 2nd pitch, I placed a 1/2 Camalot getting to the first bolt, and a green alien getting to the last bolt. And a slung horn is quite handy as well.

By Randy
May 1, 2006
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b

We climbed this last weekend. The first pitch hasn't changed an iota --not slicker, holds haven't broken off, no nothing. But, it is pretty sustained and probably worthy of 10a/b. Crux of 2nd pitch is technically as hard or harder than anything on 1st pitch. Maybe no-one knows how to use their feet anymore....

Route will be rated 10a/b in Vol. 2.

Also, the 4th bolt drilled out right is very stupid and should be moved further left (off good stance). If FA party -- Lonne, Laeger, et all approve, this should be done. Run out to last 7th bolt is a bit bizaare since a good stance is available before the mantle... Oh well, at least you won't hit the deck.

By Tavis Ricksecker
From: Bishop, ca
Jul 27, 2007

Solid Gold goes left from the belay, past a gear placement or two and a few widely spaced bolts! 10a and spicey!

By Tyler Logan
From: Bishop, CA
Mar 16, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b R

Just did this for the first time in many years. It seems the bolts on the first pitch are more in line than I remember, so maybe the bolt Randy spoke of moving has been moved? Falling from the easy mantle towards the end would be very bad--worse than fumbling the easy mantle at the end of the first pitch of Figures IMO. I also think the first pitch of Solid Gold has harder moves than anything on Figures, and is more seriously runout in general. There's potential for hitting the deck on this one if your belayer is lazy or inattentive, whereas on Figures once you've clipped the first bolt you're golden.

By Souljah
From: Northern NM
Jan 25, 2010

First time on this beauty was in 84. I neglected to consult the topo and as a result I missed that 4th clip. I recall seeing chalk and what appeared to be easier ground leading off right , but I couldn't see the bolt and was afraid of getting hung-up off-route. I don't recall the moves being any harder through that section , just more of them. You can believe me when I say I didn't have any trouble finding that bolt on subsequent ascents.

Haven't climbed in Cali for 17yrs , and whether that bolt has been relocated or not SG will always rank high. Thanks to Herb et al for another classic.

By Cornelius Haupt
From: Dresden, Germany
Oct 25, 2010
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b

p1: After the 1st six bolts conveniently placed in short distance of each other the way from bolt 6 to the ledge seems bit of a runout in comparison so our lead climber fled to My Laundry and continued from there. Cleaning off the excrements was more work than the actual climbing and spoiled it a little bit.
p2: Wonderful on clean (!) exposed face with three bolts exactly where you need them. A bit scary the move from the flake to the 1st bolt, but there´s a cam placement in the flake. Small cam(s) or nuts in the horizontal crack before the last bolt.
I could hardly follow on p1 and led p2. Translated to my (East German) scale it is p1: 5.10c, p2: 5.10a

By Tommy L-D
Dec 6, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

Lots of bird poop on this one, but, a classic nonetheless!!

1st pitch: Solid 5.10a
2nd pitch: 5.9?

By jimi thornburg
Mar 30, 2011

Does anyone remember the original rating of this route? Wasn't it 5.9 for many years?

I too missed a clip when I did it in 1985 (there was a bolt way out right). I remember wondering if I'd deck if I blew the mantle. I also remember thinking, well, it's only 5.9, I might as well go for it!

By Richard Shore
Nov 28, 2011
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b

A recent rain has brought lots of bird poo down from the belay ledge atop P1. The small holds were generally clean though. Bring your best edging shoes for this one.

With the exception of the belay ledge and first 10 feet of P2, the rest of P2 was clean and enjoyable. Less sustained than P1, but harder technical face/slab moves and a little more spice! A 4 ft sling was handy for slinging the horn between bolts 1 and 2.

By Phil Esra
Nov 29, 2011

Agree with Richard--p1 was filthy thanksgiving 2011. Climb is stout for the grade.

By Dylan Weldin
From: Austin, Texas
Feb 21, 2012

Covered in poop. Classic.

By Jeff Laina
From: Southern, New Mexico
Apr 15, 2012

I Flashed the first pitch 5.9 Wearing EB's nice edging, after my friend could not get Five Feet off the ground, in his new FIRE'S 1983.The Crux is the second pitch, 5.10a Smeary hard in EB's. Is this climb really covered in poop? Have not done the route in years. P.S. Those Damm Birds! It was clean in the early 80s, when I did it.

By Simon Hatfield
From: Oakland, CA
May 25, 2012
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

Only did the first pitch, but it was pretty free of bird droppings. If someone had told me this was .10c I wouldn't have argued.

Its definitely as hard as the similarly styled Run for Your Life, (.10b) which I did right after.

I thought it was a classic pitch, especially because it is such a different style of climbing from anything else in the park.

By roman d
From: Pasadena, CA
Nov 19, 2012
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b

First pitch was pretty gross, and had to dust feathers and crap off of most edges. The top of pitch one was particularly nasty at the mantel and belay.

On the flip side, no chalk made for a fun onsight dancing up the face! Doesn't get much better if you dig steep edging routes.

By Kazu Watanabe
From: Irvine, CA
Mar 30, 2013
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII E2 5b PG13

Did Figures and Solid Gold today. I felt both pitches of Solid Gold were harder or as hard as the first pitch of Figures (all on lead).

After climbing this route we walked down the backside and climbed up on a sport route on SW face of N. Astrodome, then rappelled from the top. It was a fun little trip. A single 80m rope was just enough to rap down from N. and S. Astrodomes.