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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I haven't had a chance to visit some of the more notable bouldering destinations in Colorado, but Durango has made an impression on me.  There is not a lot of published material on Durango, so that is why it may go unnoticed by most.  Just recently, a guide book for the route climbing around Durango was published, "Durango Sandstone", but a bouldering guide book is still in the works.  I was lucky enough to meet Ian, an employee at Pine Needle Mountaineering, who is working on putting together an extensive bouldering guide for the most popular areas.  He was kind enough to draw me an overview map of the "Sailing Hawks" bouldering area and point out boulder problems of interest.  There are highballs, overhangs, long traverses, and just about everything in between, all located in a beautiful setting.  Given the climbing in Durango and other high quality areas near by (Riffle, Black Canyon, Moab), Durango could be a potential place to settle down.

               Like orangutans, some of the Durango locals dub themselves as "Durangutans."

 Skully var. on the left - V7, Skully on the right V6

The massive Euro boulder, with part of the Sacred Traverse (V10) highlighted

Pocket Change - traverse 4 pockets from left to right and end with a big throw to the arete

Petrified Tree

Petrified Prow - V5

Warm-up boulder

A storm looming in the horizon

Monday, September 15, 2008

Black Canyon, Weekend of 9/6

Since I moved to Colorado, I have been bugging Trevor to take me to Black Canyon (located near Gunnision, CO).  In the spring it was too cold, late spring/early summer I was working, the summer too hot, and now the temps are bearable again.  The Black is host to some of the longest trad. routes in the country, 1500-2000 ft. in length.  Trevor and I climbed Journey Home (5.10) on the North Chasm Wall (9/6/08).  The beginning is approximately 300 ft. of 3rd-to-easy-5th class climbing to a good ledge.  There is a dangerous 1st pitch rated at 5.9 R/X, which I lead, and then sustained 5.9/5.10 for another 1,000 ft. or so.  All said and done, the route covers approximately 1,500 ft. of vertical gain.  It is by far one of the longest routes I have ever done.  Here is a blurb from Mountain Project about the Black,  "All routes here should be considered adventure climbing with challenging rock, rock quality, route finding, runouts, etc.. Assistance, in the event of the unexpected, is difficult to non-existent. Be prepared."

Journey Home highlighted in red

I didn't have time to edit the video.  So, if you have a laptop be prepared to move your screen with the video I took.

Climbers across the canyon on "Astro Dog" (South Chasm Wall)

Trevor rappelling into "Cruise Gully"

Trevor on the 3rd pitch of Journey Home

Painted Wall

Checker Board Wall

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cathedral Spires

Last weekend (Aug. 3oth and 31st) Trevor and I combined two things we love to do: riding motorcycles and climbing.  Forty-five minutes from the house, via Hwy 67, we road our bikes to Cathedral Spires.  The Cathedral Spires are host to a majestic collection of outstanding rock features.   Out of these beautiful formations, we climbed Cynical Pinnacle via the Center Route (touted as the best 5.9 in the state) and Block Tower via Hurt Dance.  Cynical Pinnacle is probably the most popular of the crags in the Cathedral Spires of the South Platte.  It's prominent south-facing prow attracts the eyes for miles, and holds Tommy Caldwell's tick (Wunsch's Dihedral via the Breasher's Finger Crack) in "Fifty Favorite Climbs of North America."  What holds even more beauty, is climbing at Cathedral and looking over at the South Platte river split the valley below.  


Cynical Pinnacle with Wunsch's Dihedral in the corner

Poe Buttress Spires in the shadow of the sun

My shadow over looking the west face of Cynical Pinnacle 

Trevor sun bathing on the 4th pitch of Hurt Dance