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Rocky Mountain National Park Season Summary (2016)

In a superb effort, Josh Wharton completed the three hardest free routes in the Park in one year: Sarchasm (5.14a, a sport route below Longs Peak), the Honeymoon is Over (5.13c) and Dunn-Westbay Direct (5.14a), both on the Diamond. Wharton didn’t redpoint the latter until October 10, well into usual ice climbing season on Longs. In what he called a “Triple 14” challenge, Carlo Traversi bouldered Jade (V14) in Chaos Canyon, then hiked to Chasm Lake and climbed Sarchasm (5.14a), then followed Pervertical (5.11a) to Longs’ 14,259’ summit, a 20-hour day that included about 23 miles of hiking. Also on the Diamond, Madaleine Sorkin ticked the first female ascent of Honeymoon is Over, breaking the final 5.13a pitch into two leads.

Just west of Longs, Ryan Gajewski and Dakota Walz toured all eight towers of the Keyboard of the Winds in a 27-hour round trip from the car, creating the Glissando Link-up, with about 3,800’ of scrambling and roped climbing, likely including some new ground. The ever-active Ben Collett partnered with Ben Rosenberg to climb Brexit (6 pitches, 5.10 R) on the northeast spur of Taylor Peak. Ken Duncan and Dede Humphrey found Magic in the Middle (7 pitches, 5.9), a direct and reportedly excellent new line up the south face of Zowie spire. On the far right side of Hallett Peak, Mark Jenkins and Dougald MacDonald did a possible new line up the prominent fin leading to Point 12,308’: the Fourth Buttress (750’, 5.9 PG-13). At the foot of Hallett, during the winter season, various climbers found short lines near Bullet (M6+, Grohusky-Sievers, 2001), including the difficult Ms. Inferno (M7).

– Dougald MacDonald