American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Colorado, Boulder Canyon, 1982

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

Garden of the Gods. 1983 inspired the development of hard new lines and freeing old aid lines by Bob D’Antonio and me. I was responsible for 99% of the drilling, most of which was done on lead, and some on rappel. The reason for rappel-placed drilled angles is because in many cases it is the cleanest alternative on the soft rock. Many free routes ascend walls too steep to let go with both hands and drill. Hooks have occasionally been employed, but never to take ones full weight which would break the rock. Another technique used was to drill one handed. However, a complete hole has never been the result. A shallow hole is achieved after much work. Then a shaky pin is placed, tied off and used for aid to drill a good pin. What is left is an extra hole, creating a finger-hold and defacing the rock. Rappel-placed angles eliminate this and allows the climber to create longer run-outs. Between 1977 and 1979 many free climbs went in after the climbers drilled bolt ladders consisting of as many as 6 drilled angles. This was the poor result of lead ethic. The future should insure harder and bolder lines and it has already begun thanks to some rappel-placed drilled angles. On the west face of North Gateway, Men At Work (130 feet, 5.11+) ascends the vertical potholed wall right of Borgoff sBlunder, with four 5.11 sections (F.A.: D’Antonio and Rolofson). Men At Work has become fairly popular being a steep, clean, direct line. Right of Pete and Bob’s Face, D’Antonio and I freed the first pitch of an old aid line, producing Horribly Heinous (80 feet, 5.12–) In spite of many ascents by the first-ascent party, other climbers have not repeated the lead. Perhaps this is due to the horrifying-looking bulging wall on the upper 40 feet. Thankfully it is more solid than it looks. Robert Warren and Mike Johnson climbed a Direct Start to Fall From Grace (120 feet, 5.9), involving a long run out on loose rock with groundfall potential. On the north buttress, The Refugee (150 feet, 5.11+) ascends an unfinished aid line via face climbing and a pocketed crack on solid rock (F.A.: Rolofson and D’Antonio). On South Gateway, Rocket Fuel (130 feet, 5.12–) ascends a steep slab between Mighty Thor and The Fixer. The Fire Rock Boot played an important role on this friction/face route. Other climbers were stopped cold with many short falls, until Fires were purchased (F.A.: Rolofson and D’Antonio). On the west face of the Three Graces, The Weenis Route (50 feet, 5.11–) ascends a direct variation to a Harvey Carter aid line. The climbing is 5.10, but a desperate move (5.11–) to clip an old aid pin is the crux (F.A.: Rolofson and D’Antonio).

Mark Rolofson

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