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Colorado Welcome Party 

YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c R

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Seth Shaw and Tim Wagner
Page Views: 1,867
Submitted By: Steve Levin on Feb 24, 2002

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Description 

After a full day of off-the-couch Black Canyon adventure, Jeff and I were in need of a shorter, less-involved climbing experience. Over beers that evening we flipped through the topo binder in search of a likely candidate. Colorado Welcome Party. Hmmm. Four pitches long, not far down the Cruise Gully, mostly 5.10 with a spot or two of 5.11, and a friendly name. Perfect.

Unfortunately, our ability to sniff out the "route-name-sandbag" had eclipsed us (a strange oversight considering the first ascent party). Instead of the requisite mellow day, the next morning found us far beyond that fun, comfortable realm that makes climbing palatable when all the pistons aren't firing. Maybe we were having a bad day (a cheap excuse), but even the 5.9 sections felt unfriendly. What was intended as a nice finish to the weekend became what I call a "retro-climb": one that you look back on afterwards with positive, warm and fuzzy feelings, but while actually climbing you were wishing you were somewhere else.

Colorado Welcome Party climbs the right margin of the clean, sweeping wall left of and just beyond the Cruise Gully rappels (i.e. left of Leisure Climb etc.). This stretch of beautiful white stone contains the central plumb line route, Apparition (one of the best and most challenging routes in the Canyon), and the wild left arete route, Qualgeist. For the quality of the face climbing, overall difficulty, nice mix of pitches, and a healthy passage or two through pegmatite, CWP is a very worthwhile route.

Early morning and mid-to-late afternoon shade. Plan on 4-6 hours round-trip from the rim. Fixed and bombproof belay (i.e. rappel) anchors are not in place.

Descend the Cruise Gully to immediately past the second rappel. Third class a short, grassy R-facing corner to a ledge system below three obvious crack lines (the Leisure Climb/Mid-Summers Night Dream/Musical Partners cluster), then head up and left (short stretch of 5th class) to a higher ledge. Belay left along this before obvious boulders, and just below some bolts.

P1: Scratch past 2 bolts (5.11-) to a R-facing corner (runout but moderate climbing in corner), clip a third bolt, a fixed head, and mantle into the land of no-return. Now slither across the wall right, past 2 more bolts and an ambiguous crux section of minimalist edging. Prance straight up and belay at a small stance, with gear for anchors. Long runners are necessary to reduce rope drag on this weaving pitch. Classic and challenging face climbing.

P2: Climb to a small overlap (fixed pin, 5.10+/5.11-), then up and left. Continue up (avoid the tendency to climb off right) to belay at a stance with a bolt. Nice climbing and a long pitch. Mild fuzziness.

P3: Climb runout 5.10, then blast through two peg bands (more scary 5.10) to a small hanging stance with slightly funky gear anchor. A classic pitch of pure, unadulterated Black Canyon climbing.

P4: Punch up a section of strenuous, runout 5.10 through an overlap and into some hanging corners. Now finesse your way through the roof above (5.11 but contrived and kind of a pile) or step right near a big hanging block, then back up and left.

P5: Exit to the terrace, then walk and scramble off left.


Protection 

Double set wires (include RPs) to #2.5 Friend, one #3 Friend, TCUs. Some people have suggested double rope technique for the first pitch, but long slings reduce rope drag just fine. There is some runout climbing on just about every pitch, and at least one belay anchor that requires some focus to optimize.



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By Jay Brown
From: Aspen, Colorado
Apr 30, 2007

Wow! Sustained route for sure...time to head back and red point it. (I will shoot myself for using that phrase when talking about the Black)!
jay brown

By Bryan Gilmore
From: Your Mama
Jun 11, 2010
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R

Yup, after bolt you head into that little corner. Gear isn't great, but you can trickle a few shitty pieces in. Definitely keeps you thinking the whole way. And, the fixed head before the .10 mantle is gone.

By Jay Brown
From: Aspen, Colorado
Jun 22, 2010

I didn't even do a mantle, it is an easy high step onto the ledge!

By Jay Brown
From: Aspen, Colorado
Jun 18, 2011

The peg pitch isn't 200', it's like 50'.