BETA PHOTO: Durangutan. Photo by MP contributor Bob Degray.
This is a three pitch classic.
Pitch one - climb the short stem corner to gain belay ledge past one bolt (10a). Pitch two - climb past a small tree, and go for the ledge, bring your usual East A rack for this affair (10c). Pitch three - this is a short pitch that takes you past two bolts to the top.
By Ben Griffin From: Durango, CO Mar 17, 2007 rating: 5.10c6b20VII20E2 5b
An excellent route that any strong 5.10 climber can cruise. The second pitch is bolted really well excepet the top where you run it out 30 ft. There is a very obvious crack during the run out, so you can place some gear.
Durangutan. According to Wikipedia, the word is a demonym used by residents of the town or owners of the SUV. Late in 1979 I meant it to be a particular red-haired climber who ignored the taboo against bolts and rappel drilled a wonderfully apish climb. It seems my route name spread from the climb to the town, and then to Dodge. Inventing a silly word and seeing it spread trumps new route for me.
To check my memory, I messaged Bruce Lella, the skiing and climbing guru at Gardenswartz. He knew everyone in town, climbers, skiers, hunters, fisherman, golfers, softball players....
He wrote back:
"I had always assumed that Durangutan was entirely a creation of yours, when I first heard the name I was pissed because you came up with such a great climb without me. Then I was even more upset because the name was so brilliant (nature of the climbing, color of yer hair, location) Yes. I'm in therapy today because 30 years ago you trumped the best climbing name in history."
FIRST ASCENT HISTORY
I was joined for the final send, June, 1980, by Glen Banks, Mark Dalen, and Paul Horak. These New Mexico climbers and another local, Dave Baltz had recently found and done New Mexico's most impressive climb, Question of Balance. I'd been to Questa Dome and also taken the exam on Mark and Dave's test-piece Crack of Heraclitus. Durangutan was easy for them.
Brian Hansen and I made the first attempt on the route. Later I cleaned the face and drilled three angles on rappel. Next, I came back with someone else (maybe) and failed to lead it. Again, I rappelled in and added some more bolts. Finally the route was ready, but all my friends had graduated or left town by summer, so I was SOL. I'd just rappelled off the Hallucinogen alone that spring to attend my last class at Fort Lewis and was not about to let Durangutan get away too!
My luck changed when I met Mark, who was from Farmington. He got the other guys to come on over from Los Alamos and Albuquerque for both Durangutan and a much bigger new route on The Pope's Nose. Dave Baltz was invited but couldn't make it. Mark or Dave drilled a couple bolts for the last pitch on lead and tip-toe.
Brian Hansen is a true native of Eldorado Canyon. Moving to Durango in January, 1980, he increased the number of 5.10 leaders in town by 25%. He remembers more:
"I don't recall hearing the term 'durangatan" prior to your use, so I'll back you up. I do recall an initial foray on the route, perhaps on the day I met you at the Outdoor Pursuits office or soon thereafter (winter 1980). I am pretty sure you thought of me as fresh meat. After doing the first pitch of Watch Crystal crack, you handed me the rack and pointed me straight left. Some manky pro, as I remember, culminating with a tied off Leeper pin. Then you said "Straight up! Lots of jugs!" I backed off quickly. There is some comfort that it eventually took several days and much drilling for the route to go. I went out to watch you drill a few times: "white-hatted wall pecker" was my name for you then. Guess I am one of the many that left you SOL for The Send. I was off working for Outward Bound by that time. Didn't you go up on the Hallucinogen about then? I remember because Bryan Becker was in OB training with me, fresh off the route.
Brian on the summit of Big Rock, finally done after ten days of work to drill Childhood's End.
Bruce Lella, 2007 first one day ascent Merriam Peak, North Buttress.
He knew everyone and anything that went on in Durango in the late seventies!
This is a strange and incongruous account of the FA of Durangutan. First of all, Durangutan was a somewhat common term used by climbers and others in Durango in those days. Search your memory, Ken. You might recall that I followed you on the FA of the second pitch (after I led the first pitch). Pretty sure you placed one bolt from a hook that day. At the belay, atop the second pitch, your wife asked you descend, You agreed. Otherwise, we would have completed the FA.
Oh, but what a great route, classic - the middle pitch is really, really fun - steep with lots of positive crimps.
@ Bryan & Ken - memory is a funny thing. Ideally my contribution clarifies rather than adds confusion:
In the summer of 1980, it was our understanding - we three NM climbers, namely myself, Paul Horak, & Mark Leonard (not Glen Banks) - that we were on Durangutan to do the FA link-up of all 3 pitches, P1 & P2 having already been led while P3 had only been top-roped. After a free lead of P1 where I left a drilled angle, Ken Trout re-led P2 on which all protection was already placed. Mark Leonard then free climbed P3 hand-drilling both bolts on lead.
Hope this helps. All this comes from my logbook kept at the time which incidentally records a July, not a June date for the ascent. While giving credit where it's due (to Bryan and of course to Ken), I should note that while I indeed played a role with Horak & Baltz in establishing A Question of Balance, I have never been anywhere near the Crack of Heraclitus. That was all Paul, Dave, & Andy Embick. So, it isn't just a matter of memory failing after 30+ years. It has to do with so many different climbers connecting in so many different places. Speaking for myself perhaps most memorably this link-up of Durangutan proved to be a warm-up for the same party successfully establishing Contraceptive Cracks on the Pope's Nose later that summer....
The direct start pitch is a little dangerous, but it can be protected, somewhat. There is an obvious but questionable yellow Camalot in the 2" flare, right below a loose, rattly block, and above that a #4 or 5 nut placement in a flared seam that you have to really want. One of these should catch you if you fall getting to the fixed pin. Calling this a 10a pitch is misleading and will definitely get a new leader with low gear-placement skills hurt. The red Camalot mentioned in earlier posts is in 5.5 territory higher up, not likely to see a fall unless rock breaks here.
Also, I don't know what an East Animas rack is, if I did I wouldn't be querying MP for beta, but it seems to be a rack that has lots of draws and a few pieces of gear up to a red Camalot, heavier on the tips sizes.
I agree with the previous post, calling P1 10a (read 10-) is misleading. I found it harder than the start to Crime and Punishment (a route on the left side of the Watch Crystal for those not familiar), which goes at 11-, I believe. It looks like 10- but doesn't climb that way. Perhaps I missed something. Found similar gear too; you could also place a manky offset finger-size cam, or better yet a slider in the sandy slot in the bit of the roof just before turning up and around the corner to the left. Good fun regardless!
By Ben Griffin From: Durango, CO Jul 16, 2014 rating: 5.10c6b20VII20E2 5b
The first pitch is 10-, it's just not a easy pitch. 5.10- is allowed to feel hard. Do not fool yourself with silly numbers. I just read my 2007 quote. HA! I had a long way to go back then.