North America, United States, Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Wishmaker, First Free Ascent
Wishmaker, first free ascent. In September Topher Donahue and I masde the first free ascent onsight of Wishmaker (IV 5.11+R [5.10X]), a route just to the right of Lost Cities, in the Hairdo Gully on the north side of the canyon. Pike Howard made the first ascent but aided a few sections and suggested we try to free it. Wishmaker shares its first pitch with Lost Cities, then branches off right into a series of thin cracks and slabby faces. The second pitch follows a diagonal crack to a ledge. The third pitch follows a barn-door crack off a ledge (hard to protect—tiny cams and RPs) to a scary mantle, followed by unprotectable 5.10 climbing. Falling on this pitch is not an option. I suggest that the next party add a bolt. The crux fourth pitch climbs a sustained finger crack leading to a traverse and is a bit runout. The fifth pitch climbs a funky roof slot to a great crack that finishes below a roof on a ledge. Pitch six climbs steep hands-and-fingers to a big ledge. Pitch seven climbs out a roof to a hands crack, traverses a face, and finishes up a corner. We hiked out from here, but you could climb the last four pitches of Lost Cities to the rim. We removed a lot of loose rock, so the route is safer for future parties.