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Chockstones of Unusual Size (C.O.U.S.) 

M6-7

   
Type:  Mixed, Alpine, 4 pitches, 800', Grade III
Original: M6-7 Mod. Snow [details]
FA: Andy Grauch and Chris Sheridan, Winter 2010
New Route: Yes
Season: Late winter for the best ice conditions, but ice isn't needed for an ascent
Page Views: 1,639
Submitted By: Chris Sheridan on Jan 24, 2010

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Two climbers below the first chockstone. It was l...

Description 

This is perhaps a new route in what seems to be an ever growing sub-genre of mixed climbing. As Scottish winter climbers have learned to embrace rime covered rock, Colorado climbers have extended the expression "It doesn't have to be in, to be in" to discover a whole set of enjoyable winter climbs with little to no ice.

Typical to this style of climbing, Chockstones Of Unusual Size climbs steep gully snow separated by drytooling cruxes past, as the name would suggest, very large chockstones. Though not as sustained as its neighbor Brain Freeze, the route has some really fun climbing.

Kick steps up to a deep and sheltered cave below the first chockstone.

P1: climb the vertical rock on the right side of the cave up to the bottom side of the chockstone, then traverse out and around the lip of the roof and exit on ice (I had to hang a few times, but this pitch will likely go at M6-7). Later in the year, it forms a more substantial pillar and may allow you to skip the drytooling all together on what could be a stellar, WI4+ pillar.

P2: simul-climb steep snow for a few hundred feet up to a second cave below yet another very large chockstone.

P3: chimney up the very back side of the cave till you reach the top, then work your way out towards the chockstone until you can squeeze through a small opening behind the chockstone (M4). When we climbed this section, Andy tied into the middle of the rope and led through the opening, clipping just one side of the rope. He then used the other side of the rope to haul packs through the opening. Set a belay anchor in another cave about 20 feet above the top of the opening, but you may want to extend the anchor down to the top of the opening to facilitate hauling packs. This pitch is lots of fun.

P4: exit the cave on the right and climb one last enjoyable drytooling section to the final snow slope (M4).

Location 

The route is on the south face of Otis Peak, between Zowie and Wham. Descend by walking off right (same as the Wham Couloir) or by rappeling the route. The walk off can be hard to find in whiteout and may require a rappel if you get off route. There are currently no fixed anchors on the route, but it wouldn't take may rappels as the middle of the route could be downclimbed.

Protection 

Stoppers, cams to a #3 C4, 2 knifeblades, 1 Lost Arrow, 2 baby angles, #11 hex (or a #4 C4), 1 stubby screw. If the ice pillar on P1 is in better shape, you might want more screws.


Photos of Chockstones of Unusual Size (C.O.U.S.) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: About to climb up the squeeze.
About to climb up the squeeze.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan M. enjoying good ice on the first chockstone....
Ryan M. enjoying good ice on the first chockstone....
Rock Climbing Photo: The view from the second cave on Chockstones Of Un...
The view from the second cave on Chockstones Of Un...
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy standing just above the opening that provides...
Andy standing just above the opening that provides...
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy Grauch exiting the second cave on Chockstones...
Andy Grauch exiting the second cave on Chockstones...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Sheridan climbing step rock on the first pit...
Chris Sheridan climbing step rock on the first pit...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Sheridan kicking steps up to the start of th...
Chris Sheridan kicking steps up to the start of th...
Rock Climbing Photo: The route Chockstones of Unusual Size on the south...
The route Chockstones of Unusual Size on the south...

Comments on Chockstones of Unusual Size (C.O.U.S.) Add Comment
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By Dougald MacDonald
Jan 25, 2010

Congratulations, boys! People have been eyeing that line for a long time, but I don't think anyone else has ever braved those chockstones.

For a first-person account of this climb, see Colorado MoJo: coloradomountainjournal.com/20....
By Kevin Landolt
From: Fort Collins, Wyoming
May 22, 2010

Climbed it today via a fat dripping pillar over the first chockstone. The second chockstone was entirely iced up as well. Really fun climb.

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