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BETA PHOTO: Topo of Colonial Ambush and its neighbors.
This really is a kick-ass "hybrid" line of unique Cathedral face climbing with some traditional crack climbing flavor to keep it real. It starts 60' right of Remission and 100' left of Diedre.
Pitch 1. Stick-clipping the first bolt is a wise option. Make powerful moves up into the corner, and then pull right, around the outside corner onto the face (5.11+). Climb the face, following a faint, diagonal dike, past four bolts and a knifeblade. Belay at a two-bolt anchor on a ledge on the left. 60' 5.11+
Pitch 2. Step back right and face climb diagonally right, at first, then straight up the wall, past five bolts, a knifeblade, and a few gear placements. Interesting face climbing with a troublesome bulge at half height. Belay at the two-bolt anchor on top of the second pitch of THE BRITISH…, under a small roof. 80' 5.10+
Pitch 3. Freeclimb the first 20’ of the third pitch of The British Are Coming: climb the short corner above the belay to a ledge, then move right past an old bolt to a stance. Protect, and then move further right around the corner to gain the slab leading back up and left. With significant exposure, regain the steep wall on the left by climbing onto the sloping ledge. Carefully traverse left to a knifeblade in a thin crack, and continue left to a left facing flake on the top of Warlock’s crux pitch. Climb the flake to the horizontal crack, get some gear in, and then make hard moves up and right onto a ledge (5.11). A short, overhanging set of thin cracks (5.11) leads up to a pine tree, and from the pine, make a difficult traverse left (5.11+) to a short finger and hand crack. Jam the crack over the final steep bulge and belay, on nuts, on a sloping ledge. 80' 5.11+
Pitch 4. Climb the enjoyable finger and hand crack up a low angle slab and join Don't Fire..., and The British.... to pull onto the summit slabs. Belay at a tree 25’ higher. 60' 5.6
Start 60 feet right of Remission, and 100 feet left of Diedre, below a horizontal roof 15 feet off the ground. Above the roof is an overhanging, left-facing, left-slanting corner, the line of Frenchman's Fury. Colonial Ambush shares the opening moves of Frenchman's Fury, then breaks right and follows a line of featured dike rock for 140’ to join The British Are Coming at it’s second belay. From there it takes a wandering line up the steep wall between Warlock and Don't Fire Until You See The Whites Of Their Eyes, and finishes up a moderate crack to join Don't Fire..., topping out.
For the sake of clarity, it seems appropriate to make the following references: Frenchman's Fury was climbed as a direct start to The British Are Coming, at A3/A4, in November 1999 by Paul Cormier and Brad White. In the spring of 2000 I received permission from Paul to replace his first fixed pin with a bolt to get Colonial Ambush started. That same spring Tim Kemple began working on freeing The British Are Coming using the Frenchman's Fury direct start. In 2003 he completed Candidus - 5.13b/c: Frenchman's Fury, to the remainder of the first two pitches of The British......, to Warlock's crux pitch, to the end of Colonial Ambush's 3rd pitch.
Standard rack. The third pitch is quite a journey and wanders quite a bit. You’ll want to carry many long slings or lead on half ropes. The 1st and 2nd pitches, and the 3rd and 4th, could certainly be strung together, but the route flows well the way I described and it keeps the leader and second in sight of one another much more effectively.
The anchors atop the first and second pitches are fixed with bomber modern bolts. The climbing on the 3rd pitch is almost entirely gear-protected and its belay also requires gear.
Make two double-rope rappels from the tree at the top of the 4th pitch, or walk down.
The route was cleaned and equipped on rappel. 9 protection bolts, 2 anchor bolts (1st belay), and 3 knifebaldes were installed in total.
On the full redpoint first ascent all pitches were led clean by Jason Seaver. He received a lot of help establishing the route during the preceding year. Thanks to AJ Jones, Paul Rowe, and Christy Mackie.
By jason seaver
From: Estes Park, CO
Apr 7, 2008
I haven't been on this route since 2001 but, the last I heard, the fixed knifeblade on the first pitch has been stolen. This would make the long set of moves off the sloping ledge on this pitch scary and dangerous. I suppose I should have put a bolt there but I was attempting to keep the bolt count low, and it was a bomber pin. I would like to remedy this situation myself but I live in Colorado and have rare opportunities to spend time in the Mt. Washington Valley. If anyone out there has some time on their hands, I hereby give permission to add one bolt to pitch one. It would be the new fourth bolt on the pitch, protecting the climbing off the sloping ledge in the middle of the pitch. Thanks, in advance, if anyone finds the time and energy.
By frank carus
May 29, 2008
I just climbed the first pitch of Colonial Ambush the other day for the first time. There is a blue or green alien slot on the left side of the sloping ledge after the crux which, with a shoulder length runner, would protect the next moves adequately. I had no gear beyond QD's and found the runout manageable without the units or old knifeblade, since their is nothing but air below and you won't hit the ground if your belayer is paying attention. I think the route, at least the first pitch, would retain it's Cathedral character without an added bolt so I hereby invite you to retract your permission to add a bolt.
BTW, I look forward to doing the rest of the route after the Crag Turkey closure lifts.
Hope things are going well for you in Boulder!
By jason seaver
From: Estes Park, CO
May 31, 2008
Hey Frank, That's great news. I have to admit I feel a little ashamed that I suggested placing a bolt there. If it's reasonable the way it is then let's definitely leave it that way. I hereby retract my permission to alter the route in any way.
I'm psyched to hear you got on it Frank, and that you plan to go back for the rest. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Hope all is well for you and yours in NH. Life here in Estes Park is good. The high peaks are drying out....the Diamond should be ready soon.
Thanks for posting that info,
By E thatcher
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
Oct 3, 2010
I was steered toward this route today by a friend. We only did the first two pitches but man did I enjoy it! The first pitch crux felt rumney-esque and fun followed by some pretty awesome face climbing. The second pitch was also really awesome with a style of face climbing that didn't fee all that common to Cathedral. A lot of positive holds. It's also quite lichen and pine needle covered which made it a bit of a change of pace. It's easy to crag the first 2 pitches and then do two rappels to the ground with one rope. I highly recommend it.
By David Friend
Jun 20, 2012
I was on the first two pitches of Colonial Ambush on 6/10/2012. The lichen has grown back like barnacles on a ship. We tried but bailed on the third pitch...bring a brush and your gardening gloves if you want to do the whole thing.
First two pitches have neat slab cruxes which are a lot easier if you're seconding on chalked holds :). Sure wish that knifeblade on the first pitch was still there.
If you're only doing first two pitches, rack is single set of small cams 0.3 through 0.75, and 12 draws (at least one of them double length).