Black Canyon, Casual Route

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skykilo
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Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by skykilo » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:06 pm

I hollered at Mike and piqued his interest to make a two-day blast through the Black Canyon. But come late Friday morning, as I lazily rolled out of bed, I got a call from Mike. He was swamped at work and Saturday was not going to work for him. I was considering lots of different options, but eventually I packed my car and hit the road without much of a concrete plan.

Both Tres Piedras and Dead Cholla Wall are on the way to Gunnison. But it's easier to drop a rope down the routes at Dead Cholla Wall. So that was my call for Friday afternoon entertainment.

Looks like it's raining over by Taos.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

The route is called Cholla Backstep and I had a top-rope solo mini epic, but it was fun.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

My spanking was a nice diversion for the long drive. I had a plan. I was thinking about rope-soloing one of the shorter 5.10 routes in the Black Canyon. But that could take a long time, even on a shorter route. So I was going to get up at 4:30 am to be sure I would have plenty of time to get it done before an afternoon thunderstorm could hit.

The alarm rang way too early for my morning motivation. I slept another three hours before decamping from the gravel pit. I headed to the North Rim Ranger Station to see if I could scrounge a partner. But then it occurred to me: solo the Casual Route. Mike and I had climbed Casually Off Route, right next to it, in May. The two routes only diverge for two pitches.

I mentioned my plan to the ranger and he didn't bat an eye. So I headed to the car and considered what to take. I didn't take much. I did take my harness and a #1, #2, #3 and some slings as a very crude panic plan.

Pretty soon I was hiking down SOB Draw, anxious and excited.

The route basically goes from the bottom right to top left of this picture.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

The first pitch was really fun rambly stuff.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

The views are truly spectacular.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

The short 5.8 finger crack was a treat.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

The 5.8 chimney did evoke a bit of fear.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

But it wasn't so bad.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

I climbed the direct finish as described for Casually Off Route, because it adds three pitches and avoids some bushwhacking. I had totally forgotten that the book describes it as 5.9, but I do remember a split second where I thought, "This feels rather engaging." The human mind is a funny thing.

That took no time at all. I spent the rest of the day with a pretty chill buzz. Hiking the scenic loop by the North Rim Campground is worthwhile.
It's another exciting picture on Ski Sickness

Good thing my mom doesn't read this stuff. Mike and I climbed a killer route today. I'll post that at some point this week. Back in Black!

E_$
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by E_$ » Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:56 pm

noice. soloing .9 these-a-days, eh? must be feeling it.
looking forward to the 2nd installment.

ryanl
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by ryanl » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:53 pm

nice one hoss. Beautiful spot, too. I didn't realize how impressive the black canyon is

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skykilo
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by skykilo » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:56 pm

Actually, I don't think there's really any 5.9. The book mentions it in the text for the direct finish but the topo shows 5.8. A bit of misinformation is in perfect character for the Black. 5.8 on some funky rock at the top? Maybe, but it's better than it looks.

Ryan, it's a singular place. We should climb there one of these days.

ziff
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by ziff » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:38 pm

Very casually done, Sky.

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DonJuanPakistan
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by DonJuanPakistan » Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:06 pm

Can of worms open?

danhelmstadter
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by danhelmstadter » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:16 pm

knarly meng! that looks pretty core.

i've been doing some solo leading recently, but i bring a rope!!!

do you just use short dynamic slings as daisys to your gear?

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skykilo
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by skykilo » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:53 pm

That sounds like a better plan, Dan, but I don't have any dynamic slings. I mostly took the gear to give me a chance to get my shit together in case of a panic attack.

Maybe I'll tie some dynamic slings with one of my old ropes, but that would amount to admitted premeditation. Maybe I'll get some screamers for thin gear, then I can take them if I have another bout of silliness.

jsjue
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by jsjue » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:09 am

Listen up bubba, I do read and look at these posts but not every day or week. I live on a computer 9 hours a day so I have a hard time logging in when I'm off. I have it in my mind that you don't have a 'death wish' and I think your're a pretty wise guy so I'm doing good with this stuff. In fact I want to come back up and go with you again and would love to watch a group climb. It's a little scary but also awesome...love ya kid!

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skykilo
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by skykilo » Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:26 am

I guess you showed me!

Love you too, mom!

PeteH
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Re: Black Canyon, Casual Route

Post by PeteH » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:28 pm

Ha!

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