Climbing in Eldorado Canyon: “Rewritten”

Now that it’s been a few days I would call Rewritten one of the best climbs I’ve done. At the time, I wasn’t sure how I felt.

I followed behind Andrew, cleaning gear, taking in the views and trying to grasp where I was. I felt lucky to experience such a cool place, but at the same time Eldorado Canyon terrified me. I don’t have the slightest interest in leading in Eldo and if it weren’t for Andrew I wouldn’t even get to experience it. The history in the canyon amazes me. The people who climb there impress me. I’m not sure I’m worthy of climbing in such an epic place.

Unknowing of where it’s coming from, I duck towards the wall multiple times throughout the climb, after hearing someone scream “ROCK!!!” I feel a bit helpless and uncomfortable. Moments later, I find myself feeling more relaxed, staring down at the trees, enjoying the view from the anchors. I can’t help but remember my first climb on North Table Mountain in that moment; I didn’t even make it 10 feet off the ground before I wanted to come down. That thought makes me smile and gives me the confidence to take a deep breathe and continue up.

At the top! 07/22/12

“Rewritten” 5.7 07/20/12:

Pitch 1: We got up early and waited for two parties ahead of us. We climbed the more popular pitch which is actually the start of a climb called Great Zot 5.8 up to the second pitch. I struggled to climb up the pitch, feeling uncomfortable wearing my old, worn shoes, instead of my usual Miuras. It felt like I was wearing tennis shoes until I got used to them, which made the first pitch a little rough.

Pitch 2: This route was easy enough. I can’t remember many of the details, besides a lot of loose rock, using a hand bar for the first time and getting my finger stuck in a crack for a split second. This is the only pitch that has anchors.

Pitch 3: The start of pitch 3 was easy enough until you get to a chimney. Andrew who lead said the chimney had little protection. I had never done a chimney before so I found myself loving it and hating it at the same time. Wearing a backpack made it even more tricky, but I managed to wiggle through it.

Pitch 4: This is the most popular pitch. The start of the climb is a hand traverse. I felt a little nervous watching Andrew lead it, but he had absolutely no problems with it.  I tried to avoid looking at the traverse while I belayed Andrew up. I didn’t like it. From the belay ledge, it looked like there would be little to no feet, but once I started I realized that there were small foot holds. As long as I stayed focused, I could use them, even with my old un-sticky climbing shoes on. I also realized that having old un-sticky climbing shoes really helped me think about my foot work so maybe they’re not so bad.

After the hand traverse, the route goes up a really great and exposed crack (which currently has lots of angry birds living inside). Sorry guys! I had very little trouble with the crack, but I did have to fight past the feeling of being four pitches up.

Climbing the arete on pitch 5

Pitch 5: There are two options; a 5.0 climb up a gully or a 5.7 climb up an arête. Andrew, choose the arête. I don’t even know what to say about it. I assumed it would have some exposure, but I didn’t realize just how much until I got out on to the arête. I felt like I was climbing a shark fin shaped rock, with nothing on either side of me. Nerves didn’t quite get the best of me until I had to down climb off the arête to get to the next pitch. While it didn’t end up being as bad as I expected, it was still not necessarily a safe down climb.

Pitch 6: Was short and sweet. Another fun crack (5.5) to the top.

We didn’t spend much time at the top because of the heat. From the summit, you hike off the back down a trail toward the north, then west, following cairns. The descent is pretty unremarkable, but having run out of water halfway through the descent, on a 100 degree day, we were anxious to get back down. Once we finally got down the trail, we staggered into South Boulder Creek to cool off, then finally set off to 7-11 for slurpees, Gatorade, and lots of H2O.

For me, Eldorado is the definition of “Type 2 fun.” Every time I go there I swear I’ll never return, but after I reflect on it I can’t wait to go back.

See you next time Eldo.

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