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North America, United States, Utah, El Sombrero, Just Another BBQ

El Sombrero, Just Another BBQ. This spectacular line on El Sombrero at the end of the Mexican Mountain Road in the Swell was finally climbed. I had traveled into this area on four prior occasions to climb this route, but was thwarted by an unusually wet fall and winter in the Swell. The road itself was often impassable. Franziska Garrett and I had intended to do this route earlier but because of cold, sunless, north-facing conditions, we opted for the shorter and warmer south side.

In April, following a fine BBQ the evening before, the British hardman Paul Ross, Huntington, Utah, local Layne Potter, Franziska Garrett, and I made the two-hour approach across the river and up the talus. The first pitch is a 60-meter, left-facing 5.10+ to 5.11 dihedral hand crack to a hanging belay. Then Paul drilled up and right through the blankness and past the roof. The third and final pitch (reminiscent of Pale Fire’s last face pitch) ends on top. The real adventure awaited the team during the descent when wind and darkness turned the rappels into a pulling epic. We bivied at the base of the tower until morning light.

James Garrett