Warning: Graphic content of a cut below
This weekend I made it back to Upper Upper Chaos Canyon, the place of most potential and the best rock in the Front Range for new and amazing hard problems. Jimmy Webb was psyched to get out, and he got in touch with me to go on the hunt for some more new ones. Jimmy brought with him a climber I had never heard of before, Toru Nakajima, from Japan. Although Toru was a new name and face, it was very apparent immediately that he was one of the strongest climbers I had ever seen. Perhaps because I had no expectations, his quickness, lightness and confidence caught me off-guard. Toru is here for a few weeks and I would expect him to climb just about everything he tries. Here is a link to an article regarding his background, and video of his impressive and fast ascents of Gritstone testpieces.
Toru and Jimmy were psyched to climb a project I found in 2003 while exploring this area with Angela Payne. Angela had done all of the moves on the end when we tried it, and we estimated it to be V11. The boys were gunning for a lower start I had cleaned up earlier this year and it looked like Toru was about to climb it, when Jimmy, loaded up on an undercling, broke off a flake. He unintentionally pulled the flake into his left arm and fell on his back. Within seconds he popped up, proclaiming “We have to leave, now”. Holding up his arm it was evident that we had to get Jimmy out as quickly as possible. The rock had cut a 3-inch gash in his arm, leaving the muscle exposed, as blood poured profusely from the wound. We were all shocked, but acted quickly to bandage Jimmy’s arm as best we could before he took off down the trail. He made it out ok, but the wound was fairly serious, requiring 15 stitches to sew up. Unfortunately, that was the end of Jimmy’s trip, and I wish him a speed recovery.
Jimmy’s injury brings up a brief ethical question. Many of you have commented that it would be abhorrent to use a screwdriver to clean a boulder problem. A screwdriver was not used to clean this project, but had one been used, it’s possible that Jimmy would not have sustained the injury he did. Does the prospect of such an injury legitimize the use of metal implements when cleaning a new boulder?
It’s awesome that Jimmy had been so enthusiastic about making the hike and going out with us. There are still so many great projects left, and if I am in Colorado this fall and have time to boulder, it will be in Upper Upper. New problems continue to go in almost every weekend. Recently, Ryan Silven added a project I found and tried last year, The Ring of Fire V11 . This is the highest, hardest problem in Chaos Canyon. It is not far from the Pond, which is at an elevation of 11,004ft. Area A in Mt. Evans is 11,100ft. Other great new problems include Snakepit V7 FA Alex Kordick (Estivation Cave is the V9 sit, added by Jaeger), Whole Lotta Love V8 FA Collin Horvat.
A number of people have asked for directions to all of the great new problems and I put together this map of a few of the key ones to get you in the right place. If you have other questions about specific problems I would be happy to share information.