May 15, 2014

Black Canyon and Big Wall Thoughts

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 Gearing up at the River
 Heading up a nice 5.9 pitch
 The traverse pitch from left to right through the pegmatite band (the pink stuff).
 Getting wet
 Nice views
 Ledge belay!
 A far away splitter.
 Getting my flare on.
 A bolted anchor in the Black? Oh my.
 Nice roof lieback
Super views!

I climbed in the Black Canyon the other weekend and it was great fun.
My partner and I were each climbing on routes that were new to us both and that is always a good time and adventure. Upon thinking about why I liked both of the routes that we climbed, I decided to share what I think makes a great multi-pitch climb.

Here is my list based on what I like on a big route:
  1. Ledge Belays (after breaking my back in 2006, I will never turn down a place to sit while I belay)
  2. Bolted Belays (at least one bolt makes life so much easier and faster.) I don't mind building a complete anchor, but if its in a super assessable location (like the Black) and you are not getting the alpine portion/feel/experience of it with a long hike in for hours and blah blah blah, anchors are good.
  3. Varied Climbing (the same move over and over is not that fun) I like overhanging terrain, cracks, face, slab, chimney, off width',  the works!
  4. Good Protection/Stone (that means safe, but not necessarily every three feet)
  5. Exposure/Views (who doesn't like that feeling that they are way out there)
  6. Solitude (I don't need to be standing in line on a big route, I could go to an amusement park for that)
  7. A Line (this means that the wandering is limited) For me classic routes might need a little wandering, but when the majority of the route is all over the place, its just not that fun.
  8. A Good Descent Route (nothing taints the experience more that when there is no established way down the wall)
  9. Shade Potential (melting in the sun is not classic!)
When I think about my favorite big climbs, each of them embrace the above topics. What do you think?



  1. Hard to argue with that list, which is probably why I love Red Rocks so much!

    1. You know it! let's get out this summer mr splitter choss before OR!