So, I found this little guy (the overhanging roof crack) just the other day while hiking cliff line with my son Rowan and will be coming back to climb it shortly. Yeah it is steep and sandy and a beautiful line that has my name written all over it. In the mean time, I had my sights set on another dihedral that I had scoped out last year. Ben was game to play with my dream and off we went to a place called Rough Canyon just minutes away from my house in Grand Junction.
After a cold hike at 8am (it was well below freezing out) we reached the dihedral. A little wide, a little loose but with a pay off at the third pitch. a Roof crack 200ft + off the deck! Ah yeah was all I could think. From the ground it was tough to know what size gear to bring so I had my big gear with me. Double cams up to 6 inches and sets of four from 1 inch to 3 inch sizes. I felt that I would be ready for anything on this route.
The view from the belay at the top of pitch one. I knocked off some loose blocks and had Ben get out of the way. The roof above turns into 6 inch wide crack and then tapers to fists after some off width moves. Such great fun and on sighting this route on a sunny December day. The temp rose to 40 degrees and we were in t-shirts at times cause the way that the heat radiated off the wall.
Ben all ready to go even though he was feeling the effects of the night before. Props for being on time and psyched for the unknown. I gave him a drill and other gear to carry to the climb and he took care of things without any complaints.
Ben coming up to the base of the third pitch. You can see that my CAMP rope bag was getting destroyed on this day. The rocks that were trundled from the route were nailing that thing like target practise. Oh well all in the name of a new route. Each belay is on a ledge and has two bomber half inch bolts set up for rappelling. All you need for this one is one rope. But you can use two ropes and get down from this belay with a double rope rap.
Ben coming up the 6 inch wide section. He chose the sport climbers way, lie backing. I had to enjoy the awkward jams of offwidthing to make me feel secure.
Ah yeah! At the belay of the base of what we came for.
When Ben joined me he found this on my shoulder. If you look closely its a scorpion. Needless to say I was a bit nervous. When you toss loose blocks off an unclimbed desert wall you are bound to disturb the insects and things. Well, I did.
Me giving the roof an onsight attempt. I thought that it was going to be wider from the base but it turned out to be half inch to .75 inch cams. I didn’t have enough to protect the whole route so I had to have some shady placements. I also blew the onsight because I got all tired and messed up what would become a very tricky sequence.
Ah, roof crack love!
Getting lowered after placing the anchor at the top of the pitch. The rope coming from the camera was used to pull me back into the belay. Notice the snow on the ground!
Ben was able to unlock a part of the sequence that I missed. crazy moves that are upside down!
Enjoying the late afternoon sun and an awesome adventure! Not sure of the name yet and not sure of the grade. I gave it 3 lead attempts and as the sun was setting blew off the wall near the top of the pitch. Maybe with a little more rest I would have pulled it off but I was just plain tired from all the excitement, bolting and cleaning of the climb. I think that it is in the 5.12+ range and I am sure that I will fire the pitch the next time that I attempt it. Thanks to Ben for coming out and being a great partner on this wild ride. The route is clean and safe (with a PG rating for sure) with two pitches of 5.10 climbing to reach the 5.12+ crux and last pitch. Thanks to Sterling for the ropes and anchor webbing and CAMP for the great biners and draws, ArcTeryx for the perfect clothing and harness, SCARPA for the best climbing shoes around and Wind-Xtreme for the warm neck gator that graces my neck all fall winter and spring!
Get outside and have adventure of your own.
piz : )