North America, United States, Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Charm School Boutique and Dylan Wall Free

Publication Year: 2004.

Charm School Boutique and Dylan Wall free. In spring 2003 Allan Porter and I completed a new line on North Chasm View Wall, beginning on the Journey Home route and finishing on the Cruise, climbing the smooth shield between those two major crack lines. From the large belay ledge at the top of the first pitch of Journey Home, we traversed 60 feet left (reversing a traverse on the Dylan Wall and Highway 61 routes) to a belay stance, putting us at the start of an unclimbed crack system.

The first pitch above the traverse—an overhanging dihedral leading to technical seams and corners, with very thin gear—was 5.12, took several trips to redpoint, and ends at a small belay ledge where we placed the route’s only bolt. From the ledge we aided a thin, vertical corner (50 feet of A2+, with a few pins left fixed, the only aid), hand-traversed left, then finished over bulges to another belay. A short corner ended in the biggest blank section on the route, passed via a very long, old-school 5.10+ pitch with runouts and pegmatite. Allan led the last independent pitch late in the day, through a weird-smelling cave and out across a band of roofs to hit the upper Cruise at bolts on the ninth guidebook pitch, 300 feet below the top of the wall.

The name Charm School Boutique comes from a funky women’s shop in Glenwood Springs, where you could find all sorts of bizarre and startling things, kind of like our route.

I first saw the line a year or so earlier with Jason Keith, during an ascent of the Dylan Wall. We climbed that route almost all free (the first “near-free" ascent probably was done by Robert Warren in the mid-1990s), and then explored the lower part of the line that would become Charm School. Later, Tracy Martin and I freed the remaining aid on the Dylan Wall (about 10 feet) at 5.12-, traversing off into the gully once we joined the Journey Home. (The first ascent of the Dylan Wall, we learned from Colorado Springs climbers, included the first ascent of all but the first pitch of the popular Journey Home, which is now started much higher in the approach gully.)

Charm School Boutique is a logical direct finish for the Dylan Wall, avoiding the traverse to the Journey Home crack system. On the last of a half dozen forays, involving lots of approaching and retreating in the gully, Allan and I climbed the last of the missing pieces of this line, but the full link-up and 50 feet of aid remains. Done free, the A2+ will probably be hard 5.12, and exciting but passably safe without bolts.

Jeff Achey