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North America, United States, Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black Canyon of the Gunnison. On the Cimarron Slabs, Patrick Griffin, Udom Likhitwonnawut and I climbed a clean and enjoyable route, Wonderland (III, 5.8), which consisted mostly of face climbing and low-angled finger-cracks. Several bolts were placed for protection on pitch three. A month later, on June 17, Lauren Husted and I completed an ascent from the river of the knife-sharp arête on the west side of SOB Gully. According to Layton Kor, the ridge’s upper portion was first climbed by Bob LaGrange and Jim Disney in the mid-1960s. However, our lower pitches were new. The climb ended tragically. Lauren pulled off a loose handhold while unroped on 4th-class ledges near the canyon’s rim and died an hour later from her injuries. I named the climb for her Lauren’s Arête (III, 5.7). Ironically, it is the easiest full-length route in the canyon, spectacular, airy and well worth climbing.

Edward Webster