Black Canyon

In the last couple weeks I've made two trips to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, climbing with some great folks. The older routes there have very soft commitment grades, but newer ones seem more in-line with reality.

First off was Trilogy with Jason Nelson. The route has 100 meters of low-5th climbing, then 5 plumb-line pitches of solid climbing from 5.10 to 5.12-, then a long pitch of mid-5th class to the canyon rim. We hauled a small bag, which was actually a fun way to do the route. It allowed us to have lots of extra clothes, no shoes on our harness, good food, and it was a vertical plumb line, so the hauls were easy.

Route Beta: The 'R' rated climbing on p1 is a traverse out to the arete. It involves some up-and-down shenanigans and wouldn't be too great to fall off for the leader or the second climber. However, it's probably 5.10-. The 5.11+ crux has bolts much closer by. The long crack on p2 is sustained 5.11, without any real definite crux. On P4 I hung in the flaking pegmatite crack below the bolt. The 5.12- crux is weird. We found the section up-to and past the bolt, to be easier than the start of the pitch. The pro is good either way, but I think the crux might be before the bolt.

Take a double set to #3, and one #4.

Jason on p1 arete - Weird angle, the haul line at right is pointing straight down.

Stemming out some cool moves on the start of p3 of Trilogy

With Nate Farr, I climbed Atlantis (fairly graded a grade IV). We found the day fun and long, but the route wasn't quite as high-quality as we'd hoped. It's not on par with the Scenic Cruise. However, running out of water on p8 (of 16) when the whole route is in the sun probably fried our brains a little.

The Atlantis Topo, courtesy of my friend Evan Stevens. If only our hand-drawn reproduction of this hand-drawn copy had looked so good after 16 pitches in-an-out of a sweaty pocket.

I'd suggest 1x blue alien, then 2x gear from green alien to #3 camalot, then 1x new #4 camalot. You can get buy with only 1 #2 ans #3 camalot, but it makes belays slower and more creative, so probably not worth the trade-off.

Nate on Atlantis:

Nate and I also climbed Journey Home. Journey's a great ~.10a climb for someone who is really confident on the grade. The first pitch has some major leg-breaking ledge fall potential, with the hardest moves right off the ledge boulder. A yellow alien placed in an arch up-and-right can partially mitigate the danger here. The subsequent 4 pitches were well-protected and excellent. We bootied a "fixed" nut from the route (sans nut tool) that I traded for dinner. Major dirtbag points. Bring one #4 for the OW on the last true pitch. It's worth having.

Finally, we hooked up with my friend Neil Kauffman from Patagonia for the climb "Escape Artist". Nate led the middle of the climb in one 280' pitch, so we did the route in 4 pitches with some scrambling afterward.

Last pitch on Escape Artist

1 comment:

  1. I think i might have to make a trip out there very soon. The black sounds amazing. Thanks for the detailed write ups.