This route was another ďJack letís go climb that mountain and find a route thatíll take us up.Ē We wanted to climb bridge mountain and saw our chance through a series of crack systems that appeared on the east side of Bridge Mountain. Rather than climbing all the ridge stuff up to the east face proper we decided to cut some vertical distance out by taking the approach to upper gemstone gulley and then looking for any obvious signs of weakness in the wall to our right. This route was quite the rockaneering adventure as we started hiking in toward the route at 4:00 in the morning. Since the loop road didnít open until 6, we decided that hiking in the 2-3 miles on the road and then up the trail from the Pine Creek Canyon parking lot was the fastest way to access the rock. Despite the early start, we didnít actually start climbing until 8:00 Ė after four hours of hiking!
Pitch 1: Climb up the awkward start, avoiding bushes on the right. Then continue up fun face climbing through the corner system and up towards the large chimney above. Either move out right underneath the roof just before the cave or climb the east ground on the face and continue upward. Squeeze through the birthcanal through into the cave. Build anchor in the cave, get great pictures of your second trying to squeeze through the hole with a backpack on! 50 m. 5.8 FUN!
Pitch 2: Climb over the blocks just within the entrance to the cave and then climb DOWN out the mouth (moving to the north) of the cave again but up the black patina that is out in the sun! Slot the rope up through the detached flake and pull on some awesome patina face holds. Head straight up and a little left as the ground gets easier protection is a little sparse. Pull past small corner with a few bushes, pass up obvious hand crack on the right and head left up easy ground to HUGE ledge. Sling tree for anchor near the back of the ledge. 45 m 5.7. FUN!
Pitch 3. From this ledge there was no obvious way UP but look around to the right and follow easy ledge system up and to the right. These ledges intersect with a gully system which cuts left again Climb up to level ledge and pass small tree on the right then look up and see obvious chimney/slot. A diagonal traverse through a two to four foot wide chimney for at least 70 feet with a couple spicy moves on brittle and sandy rock, then an aerobic double crack chimney section and quick rest ledge for about 20 feet. . Then after this chimney the real action begins. Walk back into the slot, reaching the bottom of a dead vertical corner. Youíll come to a 40ish foot 5.10 hand / fist crack to a nice belay ledge Thrutch through hard, awkward crack with small face holds (the crux) to a large ledge with HUGE boulder, build anchor below boulder. HARD, FUN! Beware loose rock and rope drag. 50 m. 5.10+.
Potential, from the belay it is possible to walk north and down climb to the base of another corner, which after two pitches should take you to the summit of the gendarme infront of the main east face of Bridge Mountain. We chose not to continue climbing due to the lateness of the day and I injured my finger, taking a fall on the 3rd pitch. This climb was super fun and could be continued all the way to the summit of bridge mountain!
From the top of the third pitch, we did a double rope rappel to a large ledge with two trees (near the end of the ropes). Then downclimbed to skiers left (where there is conveniently some webbing). Follow some mixed cairns for a while and then continue your way down. Probably possible to pop back over the ridge and go down the gemstone gully approach trail, we continued on down to the southwest - which it turns out is the actual gemstone gulley. Reaching the top of a HUGE cliff, which we rapped from a slung tree. Then continue on down the easiest line of descent, with two more rappels off of trees until reaching the ground and heading back toward the parking lot.
This route was a pleasure to climb. Both Jack and I wish that we could have pushed it through to the summit, but we will return either to complete the route or check out a route that someone else has put up on this mountain. Yet again RR has amazing potential for those willing to pursue it.
Hike in from the Pine Creek Canyon main trail until you reach Daleís trail. Turn right on Daleís trail, following it for half a mile. Turn left and up toward the Eagle wall (as highlighted in Handrenís book). We stumbled across some cairns most of the way up which helped us access the Gemstone gully, which you want to turn left and go up.
Boulder your way up some tight chutes in the gemstone gully until almost to the top. As you near the top, you should see a single tall tree. Our route starts on the east facing wall 50í below and to the west of that tree. Look for the chimney/gully that heads to a cave. Approach time: 3 hours from the Pine Creek Canyon parking lot. The best thing may be to bivy at the base of the wall.
1 ea. BD. .5 - 5; doubles .5 - 2.
amazing views from the bottom of the 3rd pitch
BETA PHOTO: approach w/route
Jack sending on pitch 3
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the first pitch
Gotta get up really early to hitup these routes! (...
BETA PHOTO: east side of Bridge Mtn.
BETA PHOTO: The approach is in purple, the route in red. We d...
The name for our route!
Jack tunneled to the left from his current positio...
jack frictioning his way up some slabs on the long...
BETA PHOTO: poor photo of the 5.10 corner at the top!
BETA PHOTO: Jack in the cave where we ended our first pitch
Headed through the tunnel at the top of pitch 1.
Jack looks up at the intimidating 3rd pitch
a fall with the pack led to bloody fingers and the...
|By Jack Lazar|
From: Portland, OR
Apr 15, 2013
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
I'd highly recommend trying this line out. It held some of the best and most varied climbing I've found at Red Rocks -- chimneys, holes, patina face, slab, big huecos, 5.10 cracks. There's a lot of potential here. I'd recommend sleeping at the base of the route or perhaps at the base of the mountain. It's easy to run out of time up there--but it was so, so worth it.
|By Jon O'Brien|
May 7, 2013
glad to see peeps up in the gemstone gully, nice work!
|By J. Thompson|
From: denver, co
Nov 5, 2013
So, from looking at your pictures and reading your description, I think you have some geography confused.
What you went up was the approach to get into the upper part of the Gemstone gully. You may have continued up the upper part of Gemstone gully before starting your route.
Then, from your descent description, it sounds very much like you descended Gemstone Gully. If you take a look at some of the other Gemstone gully photos, on this site, you'll see it.
Just seems like you migt have gotten confused about which gully was actually Gemstone.
I'm stoked you had a sweet adventure!