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Big Tuna from the base, that's one big tuna....
This is the big prize in the Upper Gorge. If there is a harder route on a basalt column anywhere in the world, I'd like to see it.
This route is the ultimate in a unique genre of double-arete column climbing, or "Outies" (vs. "Innies") as Jeff Frizzel sometimes called them. If you're interested in achieving an ascent of this route, I recommend a gradual apprenticeship through the bolted columns of the Lower Gorge (routes such as Try to Be Hip & Catalayst) then working through the "outies" of the Upper (Mojomatic, Shark Infested, The Urge, Feminazis).
This route is sharp, thin and ultra technical. The physical crux is getting to the 4th bolt, but the upper column is 12+ in its own right, without any significant rest. As far as is known, this route has seen only 3 ascents.
This route is in the Red Columns section of the Upper Gorge. The Red Columns are the furthest section of cliff downstream. This route can be easily identified as one of only a couple "outies" on this section of cliff. The rock has a unique maroon hue to it, and there is an obviously glued hold (aka "the secret agent") around the 2nd bolt.
Clipping the 3rd bolt on the third ascent of Big T...
From: Morrison, CO
Nov 28, 2006
This route is listed at 13b in the original Watts guide. However, word on the street is that it will be 13c in the new edition. The FA-ist never really repeated routes, so he had no idea what the grade scale was when he recommended the grade of 13b. He just knew Big Tuna was harder than everything else in the Upper Gorge. The first person to repeat the route suggested the higher grade. Big Tuna is slightly harder than Rude Boys, and since folks (most notably notorious sandbagger Bill Ramsey) often say, "Rude Boys is the hardest 13b you'll ever do..." then it must logically follow that any route harder than Rude Boys is 13c. Anyway, if you want to down-rate it, you have to climb it first!