Serpent Point and the adjacent walls within one-half mile are closed to public use from March 15 through July 15. This includes the landscape portions above the walls extending 50 feet from the rim edge. This pertains to the following areas:
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A Midsummer's Night Dream is an excellent, short climb which lies left of Leisure Climb. The climbing is varied and sustained at the 5.9 level, with a short section of low-end 5.11 on P2. With the "Sex Comedy" finish, a great pitch of 5.10 can be done instead of trending right into the very mediocre exit pitches of the Leisure Climb. Afternoon shade, a short "approach", and fast, well-protected climbing add up to a nice afternoon romp, something to do if you arrive at the Black in mid-morning and feel compelled to leave the beer cooler and campground. It is far better climbing then either Leisure Climb or Musical Partners (it's neighbor to the left).
Locate the middle of 3 obvious crack systems just below the 2nd rap in Cruise Gully. Scramble 30 feet 3rd Class to a ledge to start. Pitch 1 is nice 5.8/5.9 corner and crack climbing. Belay on a small ledge. Pitch 2 climbs the crack and bulge, tricky, strenuous, but good pro, moving up and slightly right past a fixed pin to a belay stance. Pitch 3 climbs excellent 5.8/5.9 up a wall right of the prominent R-facing corner (some interesting fixed stuff, including a beak!), into the corner past some overhangs, then steps left to belay (with a 70m rope you can keep going to next belay). Pitch 4 climbs 5.6 rock, clean and fun, up the buttress- do not trend right into Leisure Climb- to a "green" wall below a steep, sharp, hand-sized crack formed by a flake splitting the vertical gray wall above (this is "fresh" stone, i.e. somewhat newly fractured). Pitch 5 climbs the splitter, a bit of jamming, liebacking, etc., stepping R around a small pinnacle, then up to a short, 5.10- face move to finish on the large terrace. Have doubles to 3.5", and perhaps a 4" cam, for this pitch...great exit pitch of 5.10. Exit: Walk left 150', around the corner to the exit slab to the actual rim.
Whereas Leisure Climb and Musical Partners are forgettable, mediocre routes, this one is very worthwhile- even worth repeating (a distinction in the Black).
Doubles to 3". Bring up to 3.5 or 4" cams if you do the "Sex Comedy" finish.
Climbed this a couple weeks ago. Found the second pitch (the crux) real strenuous, solid 5.11b/c_real glad I was following! Rather like the crux of Center Route in Eldo (another longtime sandbag, if compared to what goes for 5.11a on recently developed local cliffs), but perhaps more sustained. Next pitch was a gem. We opted not to do the direct finish up the flake crack. A party above us did this pitch and commented it was around 5.10+ and slightly friable rock. The rock is great, there are very few bushes to wrestle with, and, as stated by Steve Levin above, the route is certainly worth doing.
OK, since this route is so much better than Leisure Climb, I have 2 questions. First, how easy would it be to french-free the crux, for those who don't climb 5.11 (and certainly not .11b/c), and second, P3 sounds (and looks) really cool--would it be easy to access that from atop P2 of Leisure Climb, thereby upgrading the quality of that route? (you also could easily do P1 of MND instead of LC's 1st pitch)
The 2nd pitch would be very easy to aid through- the crux is short and protects well. But you should go for it free and see what happens. I assume that the P3 you mean is the "Sex Comedy" hand crack finish. This is probably a more burly pitch than the crux pitch...the rock is sharp and it's sustained and pumpy 5.9/5.10 climbing, and to sew it up you would need at least doubles to 4" cams.
Good, but not great with three good pitches, one so-so pitch and one pile. SL's description is quite helpful but I found its description of the transition from P3 to Sex Comedy finish confusing -- there is another pitch between those two which consists of more than 100' of vague, infrequently protected climbing on dirty, vegetated and occasionally loose rock; the path we chose for this section was harder than 5.6.
I also take issue with several people's contention that the crux pitch has one move of 5.11. I found two hard moves, one exiting the slot near the beginning of the pitch and another little while later which seemed slightly easier than the first and is probably the Center Route like move Crusher referred to. For the record, my partner and I both found this pitch to be slightly harder than the Lightning Bolt Crack.
Very good route for those days when you drive up to the Black in the morning and are looking for a shady afternoon route. It's in shade by around 2 p.m. or so. You can do it in 4 pitches by stretching the 3rd and 4th, and except for the 100 feet or so of crappy 5.7 in the middle the climbing is all excellent. I thought the crux second pitch was around 5.11a, but I got some beta by watching my partner lead it. (He thought it was 5.9+, but what the hell does he know.)
Answering Charles' question (about 4 years too late),
Yes, you can climb pitch 1/2 of Leisure Climb and then easy traverse over to Midsummer. Maybe 5.4 on the traverse, 20 feet. We belayed on Leisure and a 60m rope was sufficient to cover the traverse plus pitch 3 of Midsummer.
By Jesse Zacher Administrator From: Grand Junction, Co Apr 28, 2007
Link the 1st and second pitch together to make things go faster. Besides the 2nd and third pitch I didn't think it was that great. I regret not knowing about Sex Comedy variation to the ledge walking crap.
Don't miss the Sex Comedy finish, it's great, perhaps the Outer Limits of the Black, mirror image. After 100 feet of low angle terrain on Pitch 3/4, it is straight ahead at the toe of the next butress. DON'T go right on the easy ramp.
Now we just need a good direct finish to the rim....
By mike bromberg From: Crested Butte, CO Aug 1, 2007 rating: 5.11a6c22VII+E3 5c
Climbed on 7/31, great afternoon shade (~1:30).... Felt like 11a to me with good gear on both 2nd pitch crux sections.
By eDixon From: Durango, Colorado Jun 6, 2011 rating: 5.11a6c22VII+E3 5c
A fun, short outing. P2 & P3 are fun climbing and then adding the "Sex Comedy" (2 #4 Camalots are nice) makes for a worthwhile day. P2 protects well, as you are pulling the hardest moves with gear right there.
Just did this a couple of days ago. It's a great route! Yeah, it's short, but we put 1 and 2 together and that seemed fun as hell. Very nice to watch it led. Combined 3 and 4 and that was wild through those roofs. Easy enough, but man what climbing! We did the Sex Comedy finish and that made it! I only had two 3s and no 4. I moved/bumped one of the threes once and felt it a very well-protected pitch. I didn't use a runner on one of the deeply sunk 3s, and it appeared that maybe the sharp edge of the crack might cut the rope? I had a moment, but just a moment! It's hard to fall out of a nut placement-like fist jam, ya know?
By Eric and Lucie From: Boulder, CO Jun 4, 2012 rating: 5.11a6c22VII+E3 5c
Great climb, particularly combined with Sex Comedy.
Even though I think there is one bona fide 5.11a move on p2, the pitch is not sustained and therefore quite soft for .11.
BTW, based on the description here, I was expecting the pitch to be a "strenuous... finger crack". Instead, I found the pitch to be mostly in balance, technical, varied, and with short powerful cruxes between good stances. Really fun!
I found p3 long and sustained with some tricky climbing. And if you do the Sex Comedy exit, this is IMO the real crux of the route. Indian Creek style splitter, sustained and solid 5.10.
Oh, gear: for Sex Comedy I'd recommend 3ea #3 C4 and 1ea #4 C4 in addition to a standard rack (the start of the pitch requires some #1 and #2). You could (as I did) substitute a large hex or two for one of the #3s and save some weight. Try to keep a #2 for the anchor.