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North America, Contiguous United States, Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, The Serpent, Second Ascent

The Serpent, Second Ascent. In November, Jeff Ofsanko and I were looking for adventure about a week after Jeff Achey and Kennan Harvey did the first ascent of a free variation to the Dragon on the Painted Wall. With Achey’s topo, we found our way to the top in four days of wild climbing. The climbing is excellent although a bit more serious than they noted. Even relative to other climbs in the notorious canyon, we felt it deserved an “X” rating. Harvey and Achey placed the existing pins from tricky free stances, so not all the placements are perfect. Carrying a few pitons is mandatory. Getting dangerously offroute would be easy, so putting a bolt kit in the bottom of the bag is good insurance.

Topher Donahue