Ute Pass

Ute Pass

Posted on 26. Apr, 2010 by in News

As the winter has thawed into spring, I have found some new motivation and have been looking to put my strength to the test. Sunday I went to Ute Pass, out side of Colorado Springs with Asher, Flann and Stephanie. It was a great choice. I visited Ute Pass once, perhaps three years ago, and I split my tip in a matter of tries on Daddy Fat Sacks V12. The rock at Ute Pass is somewhat sharp, but it was nice to see some fairly new boulders.
We “warmed up” on a great undone line called The Horseshoe Project. Three power moves, a flat landing and an obvious start make this a worthy challenge. Austin Geiman, a strong Colorado Springs local, told us that this line has been tried for 20 years. This has to be one of the best undone lines in the state. I did two of the three moves, including the last move, which is potentially the crux. In an effort to save skin, I rested, but I would love to come back and give this one some more effort.
We walked up the hill through the brush and the scrub oak. The next objective was The Gusher V11, established some time ago by Dave Marquess. I thought this would fit me and gave it a flash attempt. I fell off of the last hard move, rested a bit and sent the line. The topout was tricky, balancy, and commiting. I was psyched to be able to get myself into the proper mindset to finish it off. The girls climbed well on this as well, but no sends to report.
IMG_4793 The Gusher V11

We all climbed on some more moderate things around the corner.

IMG_4821 Stephanie sends a nice V6

Finally, we walked over to Daddy Fat Sacks V12, which was my mission for the day. In a few goes I had the beta figured out, climbed it to the last move and fell. I took a good rest, worried about my thinning skin, and refined my beta in my mind. This time I topped it out, grabbing the final pinch and rocking over with a blank mind. It felt nice to try hard and earn success through that effort, and it feels like my training is paying off.
IMG_4840 Daddy Fat Sacks V12

I finished the day by climbing Cool Cuts for Tojo V9. A fun and somehow mellow day with crew.

12 Responses to “Ute Pass”

  1. tyler durden

    26. Apr, 2010

    right on Emerson. Been a week between posts figured you forgot about us, glad to see your gettin’ out after it

  2. Beaudering

    26. Apr, 2010

    Sick! Good job gettin’ it done! Nice Organic Arrangement and sweet photos!

  3. Arnór Heiðar

    27. Apr, 2010

    Awesome pictures. Also, I love the pants 😛

    good job

  4. B3

    27. Apr, 2010

    Thanks, Asher has quite the eye.

  5. Chuck

    27. Apr, 2010

    Pink Pants for the WIN!

  6. Byron T. Jones

    28. Apr, 2010

    First off, nice sends man, sounds like a good day on good problems. I am a little disappointed though that you failed to mention that access is very touch and go and extreme discretion should be used when visiting the area. Perhaps you were unaware of the access issues, however if you used the road to access the trails you must have seen the big signs on the gate and I will refrain from stating on your page what those signs say. I will say that access has improved over the last few years but that could change in an instant, it could take just one little incident to set the land managers or home owners off thusly endangering the area for our use even further. Some of the land managers have gone as far as to stop people at the gate, take id’s & photos of boulders hiking out and my personal experience with them is even more outrageous and verging on violent. I would hate to see any climber get arrested or the areas access more sketchy then it is right now. That being said if anyone visits the Pass try to travel in a small group, don’t cross the highway when there’s a car at the gate, don’t park at the gate and try not to make to much noise at the upper areas are there is a house in very close proximity.
    Byron T. Jones

  7. B3

    28. Apr, 2010

    Byron, Austin didn’t seem concerned when I asked him, and simply mentioned that tensions had eased a bit, and that climbers should stay off the road, but the boulders are on public land. It didn’t seem like a big issue, but I am happy to advertise that climbers should proceed with caution. Thanks for your post.

  8. peter beal

    29. Apr, 2010

    Maybe also not wearing hot pink pants to go bouldering in access-sensitive areas near the Springs?

  9. sidepull

    02. May, 2010

    Byron, this is interesting. I’ve only been here once back in 2003. What sparked the access problems? Also, you seem to imply that people are still climbing here (am I wrong?) if so, is it because a small group has permission or you’re simply using ninja tactics?

  10. entropy

    03. May, 2010

    Ute Pass has been a sensitive area since I started climbing in 1998…and I would assume before that also. As I have understood it, the road technically belongs to the city (used for purposes of city watershed) but there are also a few private residences along this road. In my experiences the city employees have always been friendly and expressed no issues with using the road to access the trails (I believe Ric Geiman has checked with the proper people multiple times throughout the years making sure this and the climbing is acceptable); however, some of the homeowners seem to want to claim the public lands as their own and will take issue with people using the road (where boulderers are pretty obvious) and climbing near the houses (where a loud group is very noticeable in the quiet mountain air).

    Basically, those of us who have been climbing at the Pass for over a decade try to keep a low profile up there to avoid conflicts (even though there should not be an issue). There is no reason to further antagonize a small group that could potentially cause serious access issues to the best climbing near Colorado Springs. The majority of us have used the methods Byron has suggested for years and it is probably for this reason that the climbing is still accessible.

    I would also suggest, if one uses the road, take the first trail to access the other areas (yes, even the Ant Can/Crack in the Woods areas). That means you’re only on the road for a few hundred feet and it’s a prettier hike that way anyway.

  11. Greg Twombly

    08. Dec, 2010

    Access to the Ute Pass boulders was an issue when I was at CC in 1974-75. Things havent changed much.

  12. Darryl Roth

    09. Dec, 2010

    Those areas can be accessed from the north instead of the usual parking spot across the road. Once you learn the trail from the north / west, it’s actually easier and there is virtually zero chance of being spotted. Also, you’ll find a a whole new bouldering area that most people have never been to on the way.

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