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Black Canyon of the Gunnison
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tradlad


Jan 10, 2003, 9:22 AM
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Black Canyon of the Gunnison
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Hi all,

Allright, so this is my first post to any of these forums. My question is about the "Black", which sounds about as trad as it gets (and looks it--I saw it once from the rim a long time ago, before I started climbing). I'm just dying to go there as it sounds so intruiging, but its hard to find info other than the new guide, and everything I have found says its a total horror show. It sounds like you need 30 years experience, and every route has some horrific loose unprotected pitch, offwidths, route-finding, poison ivy,etc.

So, have any of you climbed there? What're your impressions of the place? Does it live up to the hype? How serious is it really? Any stories or epics to relate? Route recommendations? What advice would you give to a first-timer? (I'm hoping to get down there this spring).

Specifically I'm wondering about hte Scenic Cruise. I'm dying to do this route more than any other. What advice would you have about the route? Particular scary spots or trouble spots? I moved to Colorado (Ft Collins) last summer, and since then I;'ve managed to on-sight a few 10s in Eldo and Lumpy (mostly easier), and done a few adventure routes like Causal Route, Sykes Sickle, Castleton Tower. They were scary but things went OK. So based on my "resume", would it be feasible for me to tackle this route on my first trip (with a partner of similar ability)? I'm definitely willing to french-free hard 10s sections if necessary. I'd want to do an easier/shorter "warm-up" route on the first day--what would you recommend? Journy Home sounds good but how runout is the first pitch?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Chad


rprp


Jan 10, 2003, 1:06 PM
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Registered: Dec 26, 2002
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I was eager to go try some of those routes until I heard about the poison ivy. Lots of it. Everybody who has been talks about it.

So now the Black is off my list.


nimo


Jan 10, 2003, 1:34 PM
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“every route has some horrific loose unprotected pitch, offwidths, route-finding, poison ivy,etc.” Excellent description. The “Black” is the worst hell hole known to man. Stay away, run for your life, all you will find there is pain and suffering!!!!!!







Now if that along with all you have read has not scared you off you have a chance. I would plan on spending a couple of trips out there. First time plan on doing several routs well below your level to get use to the “Black”. Then go back and try for your dream rout. For prep do as many pitches with your partner as you possibly can in a day as often as you can until you go. Good luck and post the picks and your story.


sonso45


Jan 10, 2003, 2:27 PM
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I've done Journey Home and Scenic Cruise. If you've done the Diamond's Casual Route I don't think you will have a prob. The runout on the JH is a meandering search for pro on the first part of the 1st pitch that seemed like 5.9 face. The Cruise's big traverse left on the pegmatite band was ok but you had no pro then climb up to grab a flake/crack that was great fun, esp at the end. M


dlintz


Jan 10, 2003, 3:15 PM
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The "black" is on my list also. Most of the poison ivy is at the bottom of the canyon and in the gullies. Use plastic trash bags to cover yourself and your pack for the hike down. Not exactly breathable material but better than the alternative.



tradlad


Jan 10, 2003, 3:23 PM
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To "Sonso45"--
About that Journy Home Runout...how much pro is there? I don't mind some 5.9 runour, but I try to avoid stuff like ledgefall potential. You say it wanders...is routefinding difficult?

Chad


cologman


Jan 10, 2003, 3:27 PM
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The Black is as Classic as it gets. For a trad climber it is one of those places in the lower 48 you should have high on your list. As for preparing yourself for the "adventure", CLIMB, CLIMB, CLIMB. The routes are long but doable. Work up to your goal by trying out some of the lesser but still good climbs there. Somone above mentioned Journey Home that would be a good route to do right before S.C. To get used to the length try Russian Arete and to put yourself in the dificulty ball park try Comic Relief. If you want company let me know I'm always game for a trip into the void. And yes there is Poison Ivy!


tradlad


Jan 18, 2003, 12:40 PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone!!!


tradlad


Jan 18, 2003, 12:42 PM
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Comic Relief sounds good for the first day. And then I'm thinking just go fro broke and go for Scenic Cruise on day two. Journy Home--at least if you have to back off, then your only on the first pitch, so maybe that's in the cards somewhere. Hopefully, this May...maybe I will write a trip report if it's exciting enough!

Chad


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