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North America, United States, Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Various Activity

Black Canyon, various activity. In late April Chip Chace and I linked the opening pitches of the Dylan Wall (IV+ 5.12-) with Charm School Boutique (IV+ 5.13- R) to create the hybrid route Hard Rain, completing what Topher Donahue had referred to in the 2005 Journal as “a mighty day.” The route is of extremely high quality, and likely the hardest free route in the Canyon that doesn’t require ice tools. A week later Chip and I linked the lower half of Shadow Boxing (V 5.12+) with the upper half of Tague Yer Time (V 5.12) to create the hybrid Cameron’s Shadow. The route is highly recommended, as it covers the best and hardest stretches of both Shadow Boxing and Tague Yer Time. On October 5 Mike Pennings and I made the first one-day ascent (3rd overall) of the notorious Serpent (VI 5.11+ R/X) on the Painted Wall. We completed the climb in 13½ hours car-to-car and found the route to be of excellent quality, worthy of more attention. Finally, in late October Zack Smith and I made the probable first free ascent of Twisted (originally IV 5.11+ A2) on the North Chasm View Wall, finding surprisingly well-protected climbing up to 5.12-.

Jared Ogden and Topher Donahue added a five-pitch direct start to the Free Diagonal route, calling the line the Rectagonal (V 5.12-). The line, reputed to be of high quality, eliminates much of the undesirable low-angle terrain previously necessary to gain the steep upper portions of the Diagonal.

In April Alan Doak and Stefan Griebel made the long-awaited first one-day ascent of Hallucinogen Wall (VI 5.10 A3 or 5.13- R D10) in 23:29. However, Jared Ogden and Ryan Nelson shattered this record on May 12, using their intimate knowledge of the route to make a base-to-rim ascent in an astonishing 8:59.

In mid-May Jonny Copp and Andy Donson climbed an oft-looked-at line that they dubbed Ouiji Board (5.12-), up the middle of the Checkerboard Ball. They climbed groundup, trundling a truck-sized ledge and hand-placing three bolts along the way.

Leonard Coyne has been extremely active in the vicinity of Dragon Point Buttress, taking part in several new routes on the steep, shaded wall facing upriver, just across from the Dragon Point overlook. In the summer of 2004, with Keith Reynolds, Coyne established Dragon Rider (12 pitches, V+ 5.12a/b). The route ascends a striking overhanging arête with superb rock quality; Coyne compares the route’s quality to Yosemite’s Astroman. Then, in the fall of 2005, Reynolds and Coyne—this time with the help of Mick Haffner and Colin Stenhouse—opened a free variation to Black Circus, calling the line Black Snake (10 pitches, V 5.11d). Coyne and Haffner went onto establish Silent Rage (8 pitches, V 5.12a X) on a giant arête, approached via rappel, high in the gully. Also on the wall directly beneath the Dragon Point overlook, Coyne and Haffner established Black Adder (7 pitches, IV 5.11b R). Finally, as if they hadn’t been busy enough, they spent several weeks establishing 827 GO! (15 pitches, V/VI 5.13a) on the North Chasm View Wall. Combining stretches of the relatively new aid line Black Planet with the older Air City, 827 GO! achieves the long talked-about goal of free climbing Air City’s massive roof pitch. Although Coyne and Haffner free-climbed each pitch, they approached the route from the top down, and never climbed the route continuously from the ground, so a complete redpoint of the route still awaits willing suitors.

In June, Jim Beyer established Captain Hook (VI 5.10 A4), solo. According to his topo at the ranger station, the route appears to begin with the first two pitches of the Hallucinogen Wall, then angles left, shares part of LaVisage on pitch 5, and after 11 pitches joins The Diagonal to the top. Beyer s topo notes, Adding chicken bolts for free or aid climbing is an act of war against that route and its creator. Belays 3,4, and 5 could, however, use a bolt.”

Beyer also established the Diagonal Arête (V 5.10 A2), on the Diagonal Will buttress, in a 24-hour car-to-car solo effort (date unknown). His route climbs on or to the right of the arête, and shares the final three pitches of Pathfinder.

Topos for these new routes, updated topos of The Serpent and Twisted, and more detailed information concerning the Dragon Point locations and approaches are available at the North Rim ranger station.

Josh Wharton, AAC