This is a fun route that involves a bit of face climbing and some good cracks. The first pitch is somewhat runout to the first protection (spicy), but the crux can be well protected with some smaller cams. The second pitch ascends a thin crack, and the crux comes shortly after the start of the pitch.
There is one bolt at the start of the climb, and the rest can be protected with nuts and small cams.
The first pitch is S. The second pitch is about 20' long and might be the softest 11a trad pitch in the canyon. Not sure why it isn't done as 1 pitch; maybe because of risk of hitting ledge after rope stretch. There are chains at the first belay and large rap hangers at the second.
Atlas Shrugged can be top roped from the chains at the end of p1.
I tried to link this route as one pitch since the second pitch was so short. I put in what I thought was a bomber red Alien straight up underneatth the roof and then couldn't figure out how to do the crux. If you know the trick this move isn't that bad and it is really just one move or two, but it was too much for me to onsight and I pitched off. I pulled the Alien and fell about 30+ feet (missing the ledge thankfully and I'm not sure how I missed it) and was caught by the draw clipped to the first belay anchors. It was quite exciting when the piece blew, but I didn't hit anything at all - steep up there.
I, and I think most people, actually start on "After Forever" (#32 in Rossiter's book). Make a move or two up up the slab just left of the start for "Atlas Shrugged". Then pop up and left (harder for short people) to handrail left along a 10' long ledge and then mantel up at it's left side. At this point you can clip the bolt (1st pro on the pitch). Climb straight up to the fixed pin on "Tongo" and then continue to angle up and right with that route. This is a very enjoyable route!Don't forget to TR "Atlas Shrugged" now that you have the rope up. You can get a directional for that up high with a med tcu, or just go for the big swing if you fall.
Ben Mottinger said, "If you do just the first pitch, it is straight fwd 10a to the chains." I strongly diagree. If you're a 10a climber you don't want to be leading this pitch. Compared to the 10a sport and mixed routes being put up these days, the first pitch of Tongo is on another planet in terms of difficulty. Although technically more difficult, I had an easier time leading P2 than P1. Speaking as a tall person with no recent experience as a short person, I would think that the start of P1 and the crux on P2 would be very difficult for shorter than average people (e.g. most women), although thin fingers might make up for lack of reach on P2.
For all you Crack n Up fans (there must be some?), I placed a very good beefy Crack'n Up above the obvious brass nuts to proctect the moves off the ledge on P2. It made me feel better. I placed 4 pieces at the crux (after reading of Bill Wright's winger) including a tipped out #1 Camalot in the "hole" at the roof. A #2, if it fits though the opening, would be better. Also got a very good aluminum HB offset way high, giving a toprope at the crux.
Question: How hard is the left start to P1? Looks real hard to me.
Feeling old suddenly.... Looked in my old guidebooks and see that the first (and only other) time I did Tongo was in October '77, my first semester here in grad school.
By Tony B From: Around Boulder, CO May 23, 2006 rating: 5.11a6c22VII+E3 5c PG13
The climb is probably soft for 5.11- if you are of average height or taller, but the bottom section is hard for shorter people (<5'6"). This climb is probably a 5.11a modern sport grade or old-school 10d.
By Ken Trout From: Golden, CO Sep 10, 2009 rating: 5.11a6c22VII+E3 5c PG13
I think I know where the name, Tongo, came from.
In the sixties Hanna-Barbera had a kid's entertainment hour on TV called The Banana Splits. A regular feature was a show called Danger Island. Whenever the tree-swinging, Tarazan-like, hero came to the rescue everyone would cry out: "Uh oh, Tongo!". The hero's name was really Chongo, but google reminded me that most of us heard is as Tongo.
It would be really cool to find out from Pat Ament where the name came from. This route sorta makes me feel like a tree-swinging chimp.
David Goldstein, the reason that it's done in 2 pitches is because someone (Captain Publicservice?) put in a bolt station there about 15 years ago.
By Kat A From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO May 27, 2011
Fun route but not recommended for a 5.10 leader unless you are comfy bouldering. There is a way for short people to do this. Ok, beta spew here for the vertically challenged, because of its unprotected start.... Use the amazingly good left foot, a higher right hand hold, and your inner thigh muscles to slowly elevate to good crimps (left hand) right of all that chalk on the rail. Phew, now breathe and continue to the bolt via the hand traverse, with spotter below you. :)