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New Mixed Pitches at Hidden Falls, Mt. Warren

December 23, 2009 Climb, Firsts No Comments

Ryan Bogus and Eli Helmuth climbed a wild-looking mixed pitch through the big roof left of Hidden Falls in Wild Basin (Rocky Mountain National Park). The two attempted the route on December 16 (in the video), and then returned on December 21 and led it cleanly with a few preplaced cams and a preplaced screw. “Firhang” awaits a traditional lead, which Helmuth hopes to complete soon.

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Concrete Shoes: New Mixed Route Near Mt. Evans

December 10, 2009 Climb, Firsts 5 Comments
Rob starting the second pitch of Concrete Shoes. Photo by Greg Mionske

Rob Gonzalez-Pita starting the second pitch of Concrete Shoes. Photo by Greg Mionske

By Greg Mionske

My cell phone rips out a startling harmony and stirs me from my slumber. I flip open the nagging device. Rob Gonzalez-Pita is on the other end with the dangerous question.

“You still wanna go?”

I hesitate, momentarily thinking of what a reply of “no” would yield: at least five more hours of sleep in a warm bed and filling meals throughout the day, interlaced with steaming cups of black coffee. It all seems so sweet.

“Yeah, let’s do it.”

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Ice Conditions Round-Up

December 4, 2009 Climb No Comments
Ouray Ice Climbing

Ice near Silverton. Photo: OurayIceClimbing.blogspot.com

Silverton is still the place to be, with many of the area’s classic routes in prime condition—and, without much snow on the roads, you could drive close to the climbs this week. But change is coming, with deep cold blanketing the state and more snow on the way. As nighttime temps dip below zero, the till-now skimpy waterfall ice in East Vail, Redstone, Loch Vale, Ouray, Telluride, and other hotspots will be growing fast, and the winter season should be fully in swing by this time next week. One challenging climb is already in great shape: Stoneman in RMNP.

These nose-hair-curling temps will forestall the formation of melt-freeze routes like the Hessie Chimney, which was seen to be dry this week despite snow above the climb, and they likely spell the end of routes like Total Abandon on Pikes Peak (which was already anemic last week) and the suddenly popular routes on Mt. Warren, below Mt. Evans. Such high-altitude ice climbs quickly sublimate in dry midwinter conditions. But they were good while they lasted!

Moderate Mixed Below Mt. Evans

November 14, 2009 Climb, Firsts No Comments
The bottom section of The Road (WI3 M4) near Mt. Evans; the icy upper gully is hidden. Photo by Ben Collett

The bottom section of The Road (WI3 M4) near Mt. Evans; the icy upper gully is hidden. Photo by Ben Collett

Ben Collett and Eric Zale have climbed an attractive, moderate mixed line (possibly a new route) above the first Chicago Lake near Mt. Evans. The Road (WI3 M4, 5 pitches) follows a gully system in a west-facing rock buttress. The two approached Chicago Lake via the trail from Echo Lake, and then, after the climb, hiked over a ridge to the Mt. Evans road and walked down to the car.

This fun-looking route probably comes into condition many years after a big fall snowstorm. It’s impossible to say for sure if it had been climbed earlier—ice climbers have been prowling this drainage for decades—but regardless of its history, it’s a good one for Denver-area climbers to know about.

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Recent Comments

  • Jamie Jones: The secret chute was only a secret top all you easterners....
  • Jeff: Awesome!!!! Are they ever going to be published in book form! These stories need to be made into a movie!!!!...
  • Karen D McCall: What a story, I read every word, absolutely enthralled. As an aging outdoor enthusiast headed for hip replacement, I can...
  • Kirk Miller: New rats in the Platte. Well done sir....
  • Dale: I met Clerin Zumwalt hiking on the Long's Peak trail back in the 1990's. He was with his family and was wearing his RMNP...
  • Ben Collett: Dougald, I miss the updates on this site. Anyway, there is a great route on the 4th Flatiron (see MP.com for details) th...
  • Tim: Thanks for the great writeup. We just did this loop yesterday and had a blast. Do you know if anyone has skied the coulo...
  • 14er Sports: Awesome accomplishment!...
  • Kailas: Yes Wick there are that many people. And they are all from back east or Texass... booooo. I've skied up here for ove...
  • jeff: What amazing experiences Dr. Cook had. I feel so fortunate that I've found this website and have been able to enjoy Dr. ...

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Firsts

A Fine Line on Arrowhead

March 26, 2010

A Fine Line on Arrowhead

Climbers Scotty Nelson and Gil Weiss have discovered (or maybe rediscovered) a great-looking moderate mixed route in Rocky Mountain National Park that might take pressure off overcrowded climbs like Dream Weaver or Martha. The line, which they called Deborah, splits the south face of Arrowhead above the high bench to the west of Black Lake [...]

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

March 10, 2010

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

Colorado’s Shelf Road , a network of vertical limestone cliffs near Cañon City best known for sunny moderates, has a new 5.13d pitch and may soon get its first 5.14. On Sunday, March 7, Mark Anderson redpointed a striking, super-technical arête at Cactus Cliff that was bolted in the early 1990s but apparently never free-climbed. [...]

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

February 14, 2010

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

Jason Haas, who’s working on a new guidebook to South Platte rock climbs, has just redpointed what’s likely the Platte’s hardest pitch, a roof seam that’s protected with removable pro and might be 5.14a. The new route, Comprometido, took about a year and a half to complete. Here, Haas tells the story.
While researching routes [...]

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Classics

Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

March 18, 2010

Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

In the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, a granite spindle called Zowie protrudes from the convoluted south face of Mt. Otis. Just to Zowie’s left is a zigzagging chimney and gully system that holds an unlikely mixed-climbing gem. Brain Freeze was discovered very recently (early 2008) by Andy Grauch and Chris Sheridan. Several parties [...]

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

February 19, 2010

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

Kevin Landolt is a skier/climber/student, based in Fort Collins, who writes the fun Alpine Ambition blog for the Mountain Shop. Here, Kevin describes a favorite midwinter ski tour near Cameron Pass offering a little of everything.
Trailhead: Lake Agnes Road, 2.5 miles west of Cameron Pass
Tour Distance: 7.3 miles
Total Vert: ca. 2,900′
Season: Midwinter to spring; two [...]

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

January 28, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

Two of the wildest and most difficult water-ice pitches in the state are in plain view from Highway 50, en route to Ouray and Telluride from points north, plunging down the sheer face of Grand Mesa. Yet few people notice them, and far fewer have climbed them. The routes are tough, to be sure, but [...]

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

December 28, 2009

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

Mt. Bancroft’s rocky east ridge is a terrific mountaineering adventure for Front Range climbers, beginning less than an hour from Denver. The 13,250-foot peak is relatively close to the road, and avalanche danger can be easily managed, making this perhaps the most accessible technical winter summit on the entire Front Range. The east ridge offers [...]

Wild

Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

February 5, 2010

Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

Photographer James Beissel sent us this fantastic dawn-patrol shot of the full moon setting over South and North Arapaho in the Indian Peaks, shot from Flagstaff Mountain. Said Beissel: ”The first full moon of the New Year is often called the Wolf Moon. The name comes from Native American culture, in which it was associated with [...]

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

January 20, 2010

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

By Bob Berwyn
Stakeholders in the San Luis Valley have taken a giant step toward protecting Great Sand Dunes National Park from mining, energy development, and water exports. Lexam Explorations has agreed to sell its mineral rights if a $9.7 million deal can be finalized by May.
Great Sand Dunes National Park was created by Congress [...]

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