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Jason Seaver pulling through the first crux of the...
Lost Cities has a really fitting name. Set away from the humdrum of the rest of the Canyon climbing, the remote setting feeds the imagination with thoughts of primordial ooze and the climbing archaic. The climbing in stretches is excellent, with several memorable passages of difficult-to-decipher contortions, but there is also a fair bit of munge (does this sound familiar?). The sweeping character of many North Chasm View routes is also somewhat lacking here, since the climb is broken by a large terrace 3 pitches from the rim. It is possible to escape from this terrace to the climbers left should the mood or circumstances require. It is also possible to climb only the upper pitches as an afternoon activity, or on one of those marginal spring days when rain threatens enough to deter thoughts of venturing deeper into the gorge. These pitches are pretty fun, and almost completely on (for once) very nice peg. The route ends right at the Narrows Overlook. If you have never been to this overlook go there now- great views of the Nose of Chasm View and a spectacular perspective on the gorge await. Lost Cities is an excellent adventure route with difficult climbing- a great (and creative) effort.
Descend Prisoner of Your Hairdo Gully (say what?). This is the second gully up-canyon from the Cruise Gully (the first is Grizzly Gulch, the major drainage you drive down to the "T" intersection; it has a sign at the top of the actual descent). You can walk from the CG, park at the "T" intersection, or (best) park at Narrows Overlook and have the car waiting when you top out. Cross the meadow that leads into the head of the gully and stumble down the gully.
P1-P3: The lower section of the route is 5.8 chossy wandering. The best route description is to locate the very obvious crux roof about 400 up, and head for it. Belay at the base of a slab just under the roof.
P4: Climb the slab (rated 5.11 but easier) and, without the slightest hesitation, tackle the 5.12- roof above. This is a weird bit of climbing that requires a rather creative approach. Above the lip one is faced with a powerful lieback protected by some bolts, hard 5.11. Belay at a tiny stance.
P5: A short blip of 5.10 leads up and then left under a large roof, then back up and right to a ledge.
P6: Climb hard 5.10 fingers (tricky) to 5.9 hands. An excellent, semi-classic pitch. Belay at a stance below an intimidating and steep section of wall.
P7: Another crux pitch but very different from the roof crux below. Head up a 5.10 corner into a difficult, shallow dihedral (hard 5.11) protected by a fixed pin and some sparse RP-like gear. Luckily the hardest section is brief, although above is a tad more 5.11 stemming. Belay at the edge of the bushy terrace.
Cross the bushy terrace directly to the upper wall. Head climbers left along the base of the cliff about 300 feet, to below the best line you can see.
P8: Moderate climbing leads to a short stretch of 5.11- hands, then past a flake and a belay at a bolt somewhat higher.
P9: Step right and climb a 5.11 corner leading to a wide groove (5.10) with some finger jams in it. A short 5.10 hand crack leads to a 2-bolt belay.
P10: 5.11 fingers leads left past a ledge and a nice (hard 5.10) stemming section. The top out is just above.
A double set from wired nuts to #3.5 Friend, include RPs, TCUs, and one #4 Friend. There are modern bolts at many of the cruxes, a fixed pin or 2, but also some crafty nutting on difficult terrain. A classic, new-wave, mixed protection scenario.
|By Brad Bond|
Jun 21, 2002
This is an everybody route. Great description, except I thought it was worthy of the three-star grade!
|By Willie Mein|
Sep 3, 2002
This route is a three star route by my standards. From P4 and up, there is fantastic climbing on (relatively) good rock, with good gear. The climbing is quality all the way to the very last move. Hard climbing, good gear, with possible bail option 3 pitches below the rim. This route is excellent.
|By justin dubois|
From: Estes Park
Apr 15, 2003
Climbed this over the weekend, and it is for sure a spectacular route. Even with the terrace at two thirds hieght,this might deserve 3 stars. As for being an "everybody route", I have to disagree. It's hard!! Does the Black Canyon even have any of those?After the first 350' all the climbing is 5.10 or harder, somtimes much harder. It would be hard to aid the cruxes, and it stays sustained all the way to the rim (the last four pitches are 5.11). The fixed pin on the second crux pitch is not there, and if it was were I assume it was, there are no other options for gear. This proved to be very scary and a little serious. A fall from the exit moves of this pitch would produce a worthy flyer. Also the traverse across the bushy terrace is cruxy for sure, but it is not 300' left. It is 100' up and almost straight ahead. There is a cairn at the start of these exit pitches.
|By Roy Leggett|
Sep 11, 2005
rating: 5.12- R
Helpful Beta....take your helmet and pack off for the crux. You may want consider ditching your pack for the OW section on p.9 too (only necessary if you are as pooped as I was). If you have a tag line, you can haul your pack on these pitches....but given the fact that a possible walk off ledge splits the route, it's a good route to go commando style on (one rope). After p.1 (400 ft.), No pitch is over 120ft.
|By Jay Brown|
Jul 11, 2008
Nice one. The crux roof is actually nothing like the one on "Naked Edge". This one runs sideways and is fully awkward. Quality route though. Most should be simul-ing the first three pitches, too. Then Flash pump crux!
|By Paul Nunez|
Sep 21, 2009
There is no longer a pin on the 7th pitch, so protect well (nuts and finger size gear) before the hard part. The route is awesome, and in my opinion, the last three pitches are the best.