Monday, April 21, 2008

Old Dawgs

I got to do a nice new route in Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday with Greg Sievers. It takes the chimney line that forms the gap between a spectacular pinnacle and the main wall on the west side of the Gash, the deep ravine north of Sharkstooth. We think this is called Forbidden Tower and has at least one rock climb on its main face. It was a very warm day, and it took us almost three hours to ski to the base of the climb, but fortunately there wasn't much hanging above us, and nothing big fell down the line during the day. Fortunately, too, the route went into the shade around noon.

Greg had tried the route about two weeks earlier, but a powerful snowstorm had forced them off about halfway up the route. On Saturday, in beautiful weather and with Greg knowing how to do the tricky entrance to the chimney, our climb went fairly quickly, despite a time-sucking false start when I climbed 300 feet of steep snow and the first bit of technical mixed climbing before realizing I had left all the slings and quickdraws back at the packs. I fixed the ropes, and Greg slid down to the packs and then slogged back up to the belay, graciously minimizing his displeasure at me. Or maybe he was just too winded to curse at over 11,500 feet. We did four pitches, with good mixed climbing on each of the first three, followed by a short rock climb from the notch to reach the airy knifeblade summit in early afternoon.

We had maintained a slim hope that the tower itself might be unclimbed, but there were slings of varying age on top, indicating the pinnacle gets climbed in summer at least once every few years. Still, we were pleased with the route, which we named Old Dawgs Chimney, after a couple of old climbers who may not be able to learn many new tricks but can happily get up to some of the old ones. Given my boneheaded maneuver with the slings at the start of the day, the name may also reflect some memory-loss issues.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dougald,
congratulations for your new route!
All the best,
Carlo Caccia
(from Lecco, ITALIA)