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Rock Climbing Photo: View from the road.
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By Sam Feuerborn
Dec 4, 2010
I don't understand where the climbing would be on this. Beta anyone?
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
Dec 6, 2010
Hike up to the base. You'll see the bouldering, the bolts and the anchors. But, beware of the death blocks.
By Sam Feuerborn
Dec 7, 2010
Sounds and looks unappealing. Why leave the death blocks? If trundling is not an option, why bolt choss?
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
Dec 8, 2010
I knew from your initial post you were looking for a place to vent/air your opinion. Fine.

Trundling, as you may know, has been, and is, a long honored tradition. Think Whymper, Rébuffat, Bonatti, even crazy Crowley.... They all delighted in dislodging big blocks and letting gravity do her work.

I simply don't want to as they are not on any routes. One has to only walk underneath them, quickly perhaps, at one point; but, they are not going anywhere-one would need a crowbar.

Additionally, they provide little perches and pooping nooks and pee-pee crannies for the cliff's residents: chipmunks. Minimizing impact is something I think about, believe it or not.

Lastly, and relatively speaking, this cliff is actually not too chossy.... Why create climbs here, there, anywhere? Because it is there.
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
Dec 10, 2010
Hmmnnn...I was just going to say, yes this place sucks, don’t even think of climbing here, and leave it at that and not write another word, but… Well, I just have to impart the adage that one man's garbage is another man's treasure.

Posting them is a means to disseminate information about climbs that are not for everyone, but are for some, for, as we know: "Not all routes are meant to be safe or enjoyed by many people." (There’s also my immense ego to consider.... ;-D)

Again, many here will never even get close to these types of climbs, but there are a few of us out there who actually enjoy them and their solitude. I’m fine with this and encourage those who are leery of my routes to please avoid them.

There's a Durango climbing scene? Do you mean everyone who frequents East Animas? (I do love that place and have been thinking about climbing/cleaning up Tennis Shoe Traverse again. It’s great climb!) Or do you mean those who boulder at Sailing Hawks? (A fine spot too.) Or the ice climbers of Cascade, Eureka, S. Mineral? (More climbs to enjoy…) So many places around here to get pumped…so many ways to delve into the vertical realm and have fun, don’t you think?

My particular slant is to find cliffs that yield adventure and climb them. I have fun doing this.

Even East Animas, as vital as it is to our sport locally, our way of life in the here and now, was upon discovery, chossy and a habitat for critters with all their little poop gifts on ledges. Traffic over the decades has diminished this. Yet, as we walk under these historic routes, every feature charged with meaning, do we acknowledge that this cliff’s early “life” involved questionable rock and less than ideal conditions as well? Yes, the quality there has improved over time and so too will it in other, newer areas. (By no means am I comparing East A. with the inconsequential “worthless-shit,” as you put it Choss, outcrops I have developed.)

But why knock another's pleasure while worrying about how we look. Is how we “look” really that important to you? Who cares how we look? Choss, who exactly is watching? Are we in some sort of competition with Silverton/Ouray/Montrose?

I have respect for others who create routes and I refrain from making any sort of judgment until I have climbed their routes, if I can. You might consider this approach. What looks “ludicrous and pathetic” is divisiveness, demeaning comments, and petty bickering over something we all love to enjoy. (I don’t mean bolting existing routes is petty-this is an important point and vital in maintaining the character of long established climbs.)

Anyway, from the Black Arête postings and others, it's evident that for our own health as a climbing community, we ALL should convene for dialogue. Let's meet around a keg and expound our ideas in person. I think it might help us come to terms with who we are, the values/ethics we have, and what we hold in low or high esteem. I imagine our commonalities would surpass our differences by quite a stretch, plus it might be fun!
By chosspector
From: San Juans, CO
Dec 16, 2010
Matthias, I didn't mean to get on your case so hard. I realize that these routes probably give you great joy to climb. But, I see rock as a resource and, in my opinion, only certain spots should be bolted. Maybe some of these outcroppings should be left as toprope problems. Bolting forever changes the landscape, and it is a bolter's obligation to weigh the appropriateness of his endeavors. The fact that this cliff and others are within close eyesight of the Colorado Trail is reason enough to keep them free of shiny hardware to preserve the pristine viewshed that many non-climber users have the right to experience. FA-ists should have a selection process for routes that involves more than merely the possibility of having fun.
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
Jan 8, 2011

Thanks for explaining yourself; I appreciate that.

But, “Merely.” Really?

O.K., "fun" is too broad of a word and so is “joy.”
“Flow” is better. Check out the link below to see what I am referring to.

Un-trodden vertical worlds consistently find me on or in their edges and fissures, their corners and ceilings, and this newness, in my case, enables Flow to happen. This big component of climbing is surely something first ascentionists acknowledge.

You say FA-ists should have a selection process for routes. For sure, man, and I do, I mean, there are many places I’ve scoped, that haven’t made the grade. Perhaps you mean we all should abide by the same criteria for what constitutes the eligibility for the creation of a worthy route or area.

At Junction Creek I worked to the utmost in maintaining a low decibel and visual element during the route creation process and even thereafter whilst frequenting the vertical realms there.

One nice thing about Ciao Bella is that it’s a summer place, a welcome shady spot in the dense foliage-heat of summer. Another plus, passer-bys are oblivious of one’s presence way up and behind the trees; they’re focused on the trail or the creek. Winter effectively closes the place, and fall and spring are cold, so I’m kind of feeling like, because of the trees and all, only climbers are going to notice folks climbing there.

I mean, Choss, may I call you Choss? Just be cool, have your belay signals down if you are splitting up Julia Raye’s Journey into two pitches, otherwise the routes are short enough to be heard. Pound your bolts off hours and, of course, establish as many TR’s as possible. What am I doing? I’m writing like you or someone else is actually going to climb here!

Anyway, I’d be happy to leave as many of these TR’s alone as possible. Having hand drilled all of Hermosa and other areas, believe me and I’m sure you’ll understand, I don’t want to pound any more than needed.

Seriously, it’s pretty low key...these places I find cater to those who like climbing in the 5.6-5.9-/+ range, maybe some easy aid, I suppose; those who are tired of leading the same classic route at East Animas, those who don’t mind dirty sandstone, and those who have the perception that like them, there are a lot of 5.6 – 5.8 climbers out there who are psyched to have new routes to lead. But here I go again writing like someone is actually going to climb there.

I post routes because I think it’s good to share. I found a real nice cliff with good moves and sought help for realizing its huge potential. In response, I was not wholly treated very nicely by the Durango People of M.P.

I can take it. I imagined I was doing a service to the climbing community, you know, providing routes for those of us who can’t lead 5.11s and above, we mortals who like easier routes which are gymnastically aesthetic, we who usually don’t mind a long approach and now find it ironic that finally, when a cliff, which has an immense potential for this climbing niche I have described, you and others question the validity of my choice and deride my efforts.

Please go repeat my routes and tell me if they and climbers like me deserve to practice our craft near the brightly colored mountain bikers who nearly run you over and screech their brakes down the hill, or the dogs who crap nearby, clean their butt, and then lick your kid’s face, or the cacophony of the creek revelers throwing big rocks against other rocks in the creek bed (why do they do this?) or those on the flat rocks splashing and screaming at their dogs who shake muddy water all over you, and I must mention the 4-wheelers gunning up the dusty gravel road after tail-gating in the parking lot with a cranked stereo. Really, this seems to be normal summer behavior.

These users don’t have anymore of a right to be there than I do. Believe me, their decibel and visual impacts far exceed mine, so "pristine" it is not. But I do admit: I have not yet finished painting all my hangers at Ciao Bella, or at Chipmunk Rock.

Lastly, I will once again mention the many quality fin-bedecked roofs at Julia’s Outcrop and remind those of you who are interested in establishing some amazing roof routes…there they are!

Here's the link I mentioned and a photo of some fins.
By chosspector
From: San Juans, CO
Feb 20, 2011
You're probably right about the impact issue. And I do apologize for being rude. I just tend to wrestle with the issue of bolting in public places where there's lots of people, because I've bolted in such places and it's... interesting. But I think you've defended yourself quite well, and it's obvious that you're quite fond of these areas, so I say BOLT ON!
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Feb 22, 2011
Really good discussion, guys. Thanks!
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
Nov 22, 2014
So . . . four years now . . . . I was up here the other day, and it looks like it's cleaning up nicely; anyone climbed here or up the road and have an opinion/photograph they want to share?
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
Nov 5, 2016
Wow - two years later... ha!
Anyway, found some gear on a route here - describe it in detail and it's yours....
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View from the road.

Submitted By: Matthias Holladay on Apr 13, 2010
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