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Black Dog 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 500', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 838
Submitted By: Aaron Martinuzzi on Feb 15, 2010

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BETA PHOTO: Black Dog climbs through the overlaps on the left ...


Black Dog is a fun, mostly-crack line on Greyrock's Southeast Face with an exciting, runout face-climbing crux. It is mislabeled on the SE Face topo in the Leubben/Cross/Scott Poudre Canyon Routes guidebook as route 68.

P1. Climb the side of the flake (left side is easier, right side is much nicer and only about 5.7) and a short stretch of face above to a crack that runs through two small roofs. Clamber over the roofs (5.8 or 8-), passing a fixed pin after the second. Continue up the enjoyable crack as it squeezes down to nothing and spits you out on thin, protection-free, friction climbing. Man up, crimp down where possible, and work out the sequence up and left until you reach a large ramp. Belay here, 5.9 (?) R, 150 feet.

P2. Follow left-trending seams and finger cracks with nice face holds for a rope length or so until a belay can be had on lower-angle terrain. This pitch trends naturally toward Central Chimney. If necessary, an intermediate, semi-hanging belay could be made along the way, 5.9-, 200 feet.

P3. Ascend lower-angle terrain, either trending left toward Central Chimney's finish, or following lichenous but interesting features straight up for more "full value" climbing. Belay at or near the summit plateau, 5.6 (harder if you choose), 150 feet.


About 70 feet climber's right of Central Chimney, and about 20 feet right of Inner Mountain Flame, a large flake leans up against Greyrock's main face behind a tree. Black Dog ascends this flake (either side works) to a handcrack that passes through two roofs above the flake.


The protection is excellent on this route, with the exception of 15+ feet of very bleak friction climbing at the end of pitch one. Unfortunately, this section coincides with the hardest climbing on the route. A standard rack protects pitch one just fine, but extra small cams and nuts will get used on the lengthy, mostly thin pitch two. Testicles/ovaries of steel also useful.

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By Aaron Martinuzzi
Feb 15, 2010

The Cross/Luebben/Scott guidebook has Black Dog listed as a one-pitch 5.8. I am confident that I was on route today, as the line clearly matched their description - "Ascend a large flake leaning against the lower wall and climb cracks past two small roofs. Continue up or rappel."

The crack through the roofs is a very obvious feature, one clearly noted by climbers many years ago, as indicated by the ancient pin above roof #2. However, this description did not account for the 15 - 20 feet of face climbing between the end of the nice crack and the horizontal break at which this route supposedly finishes. I've spent the afternoon thinking about this climb, and, though I was ropeless and in an unexpectedly difficult situation (read: about to soil myself), I feel that the patch of rock between the end of the crack and the ledge is tougher than 5.8, but I'm not sure how much, since it was a significant mental challenge, hence the 5.9 grade. The climbing, while less steep, was much less featured than that on the crux of Jazzman (a.k.a. Turdland), and, aside from an early right foothold, mostly devoid of positive holds. I do not hold the guidebook authors accountable for the challenges I faced this afternoon, but I do feel that a grade of up to 10a could be applied to this bit of climbing. I'm anxious for someone (possibly me) to get back out there and climb this pitch roped-up, for a possibly-more-accurate assessment of the grade.

As for this being a one-pitch climb, one could rappel from a tree on the ledge/ramps system at which P1 ends, but it held no tat, and the climbing above was enticing enough that I think Black Dog is better treated as a multi-pitch route.

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