BETA PHOTO: The Many Bands Wall, as viewed from I-70 westbound...
The Many Bands Wall is an obscure Glenwood Canyon wall with history and great potential for exploration. If you've driven west through Glenwood Canyon, chances are you made note of the beautiful grey-streaked quartzite wall on the south side of the highway, just before you enter the Hanging Lake tunnels.
The horizontally banded quartzite in this area is some of the best you'll find. A rack of cams supplemented by a selection of pins from really thin to finger size can also be helpful. Some of the horizontals are quite dirty while others are relatively clean. Pins can be used to great effect in those dirtier horizontals where cams are less likely to hold. Plus, thin knifeblades will fit where nothing else will.
Layton Kor and Ed Webster climbed a route on this wall in 1985 and called it Many Bands (III, 5.9). Their ascent is chronicled in the 1986 American Alpine Journal and is located on page 174. They describe climbing the obvious grey water streak and climbing four pitches although the fourth pitch did not sound quality and they recommended that future parties may rap after the third. They describe the climbing as fun with great buckets and a roof to finish.
Michael Kennedy also climbed a route here with Chris Landry, sometime shortly after Kor and Webster. Kennedy believes they climbed a corner system to the left of the grey streak.
I wasn't able to find evidence of either ascent to confirm their exact location, and Kennedy and I speculated that it was possible that the rappel tree(s) used may be gone.
Scott Nykerk and I climbed a 100 foot pitch to a ledge in the fall of 2010 and found solid rock when you got past the superficial loose stuff. Two bolts were placed on lead to supplement the gear and a rappel anchor was placed on the ledge. The climbing was about 5.9 and very enjoyable.
Much potential exists for adventure seeking souls who wish to travel off the beaten path.
The wall is mostly north-facing, so it receives little sun, making it a great summer or fall destination. In the spring, the grey streak is typically wet.
The best approach seems to be swimming or boating across the Colorado River in the section where a small reservoir is created by the Shoshone power plant dam located at the Hanging Lake turnoff. The water is mostly calm for much of the year although be forewarned about unexpected dangers. A man was killed a few years ago when he tipped his canoe in the reservoir and was carried over the dam spillway and into the Barrel Springs rapids. The best crossing for the Many Bands Wall is a considerable distance from the dam, but at certain times, such as high water/spring runoff, there can be a current visible from the surface. Just a warning.
Park at the Hanging Lake rest area/trailhead and walk east on the bike path. Go about 1/4 mile past the trail for Hanging Lake. A relatively short path across the river/reservoir is found underneath the interstate and close to some highway road pillars. It's a direct shot to the Many Bands Wall.