<-- Map of summer 2019
     climbing roadtrip 
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Route: D1 Pitches 1-4 (of 7) (First 4 pitches: 5.11, 4p) (Full route: 5.12a, 7p)

TR #: 363

Category: Colorado     
Elev: 14,255 ft (Longs Peak);  ~14,000 ft (top of full route);   ~13,600 ft (top of Pitch 4)  
Rock Type: Granite

Partner: Nathan Arganbright

"D 0.6"


Before I get to the trip report, here are links to useful beta page I have compiled for the Diamond....

The trip report on this page represents the sixth time I have climbed on the Diamond.

As of September 2019, I've climbed on the Diamond seven times. I have put together a DIAMOND BETA PAGE summarizing the main methods of approach and descent as well as summarizing/comparing the time stats of the various approaches and descents I have taken. Check it out by clicking any of the links below!  


D1 was the first route put up on the 1000-foot vertical walls of The Diamond on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. An interesting tidbit of history is that climbing was banned on The Diamond until 1960, when for some reason the National Park Service decided to change their stance and allow climbing. Soon afterward, on August 1-3, 1960, Dave Rearick and Bob Kamps made the first successful ascent of the Diamond, via a long crack system straight up the middle of the wall. The route became known simply as D1. 

D1 saw its first free ascent in 1978, by John Bachar and Billy Westbay. But Bachar and Westbay did not quite climb the original line at the crux pitch. Thinking the route line was obvious, the two had not read the route description, and when they reached Table Ledge, they continued straight up the crack system, a dark, mossy, overhanging offwidth running with icy water. This terrifying crux pitch of the route clocked in at 5.11. Rearick and Kamps' original line had actually ascended an excellent (and dry) corner/crack just left of this nightmare offwidth. In 1980, Roger Briggs and Jeff Achey made the first free ascent of the original line. The rating was given 12a.

D1 is listed as one of the climbs in Steck and Roper's Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, published in 1979. Now there are numerous other routes on the Diamond, many of them considered to be of higher quality than D1. D1 has the reputation of being a difficult and adventurous route on rock with frequent vegetation and sections of questionable quality. But its historic status coupled with the fact that D1 is one of the longest routes on the wall (going all the way to the top rim rather than stopping at Table Ledge as several routes do) makes D1 is a respectable tick. I suspect that most climbers who succeed in getting to the top of D1 feel greatly satisfied with the adventure yet feel no immediate desire to climb the route again.

So Nate Arganbright and I knew we were headed up into a challenge when we started up D1. It was one of the few <=5.12a routes on the Diamond Nate had not climbed, and I am always up for adventure, so we were willing to give it a go. We ended up climbing the first four (of seven total) pitches before deciding that we had enough difficult adventure climbing for the day. Doubtless the slightly overhanging kitty litter sections of Pitch 4, the half dozen bail anchors on this pitch alone, and the presence of a bolted rap station at the top of Pitch 4—kind of a subtle "here's your free ticket out"—played a key role in the decision to bail. Excellent lead, Nate.

Usually I do not create trip reports for uncompleted climbs, but I feel that for a route like D1, even climbing four of the seven pitches ends up feeling like a full-value adventure on the Diamond. Plus, D1 is a route with a lot of intrigue, so I figure this trip report will be of interest to climbers trying to gather beta for the route. Moreover, someday I will climb the route in its entirety, so I will be back to fill in the details in this trip report once I do climb the rest of the route.

The following page gives a trip report for our climb of the first four of seven pitches of D1. Nate and I called the day's adventure "D 0.6".



Approach Option 1: North Chimney
Rappel D1

13.25 hours car to car
15.75 hours Boulder to Boulder

Leave Boulder: 2:00 am

Leave trailhead: 3:10 am
Base of North Chimney: 6:10 am
Base of D1 on Broadway Ledge: 6:55 am
(Trailhead to base of route: 3:45) 

Start climbing D1 Pitch 1: 7:08 am 
Top of Pitch 4: 11:26 am 
(Climb D1 P1-4: 4:18)

Begin rappels from top of Pitch 4: 11:40 am
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 2:10 pm (2:30, got rope stuck)
Trailhead: 4:28 pm (2:18)
(Top of route to trailhead: 4:48 (got rope stuck))

Boulder: 5:45 pm 


Photo descriptions:
We approached via the NORTH CHIMNEY to Broadway Ledge.
1.    2   
1. Approaching North Chimney. We had crampons/spikes, but felt we could have managed without them (which was interesting, since the previous week I had felt I really wanted my crampons on for the snow, but the snow seemed tackier now).
2. Scrambling up slabs in the North Chimney.
3. At the base of the route. The other climbers are on Casual Route. D1 heads for the obvious crack splitting the headwall, which forms Pitches 6-7 (the final two pitches) of the route.

D1. 5.5-5.9. Start on the Casual Route, but ascend corners to the right to the middle or top of the D1 Pillar. Can probably keep the grade closer to 5.5 if you climb the Casual Route or cracks on the face, but it seems more like 5.9 in the somewhat-vegetated corner system.
4. On Pitch 1. This shares the corner with Casual Route briefly, but for the most part stays right of Casual Route. The other climbers are on Casual Route.
5. Expect a bit of moss and vegetation on this route.

D1. 5.9. From the top of the D1 pillar, follow a right-facing dihedral up right, then back left to a ledge. 
6.   6. Looking up the right-facing dihedral of Pitch 2.

D1. 5.10d. Climb a right-facing dihedral up to a roof, pull through the roof on the left, and follow cracks to the top of the Ramp. 
7. Nate pulling the crux roof.
8. Climbing above the roof.
9. Climbers to the left of us on The Honeymoon is Over (13c).

D1. 5.11a. The guidebook mentions that it is best to move the belay from the top of the Ramp to the ledge about 30 feet higher before launching into Pitch 4. We did this as a short pitch. From the ledge above the Ramp follow the steep crack system for a long lead to a ledge on the right with a two-bolt anchor. By Diamond standards, the rock quality is poor and granular. The wall is vertical to slightly overhanging at times, and the pitch is about 200 feet long, so it is a strenuous lead. There are several bail anchors on this pitch. 
10. Looking up the start of Pitch 4, just above the ramp. As recommended in the guidebook, we did ashort 30 foot pitch to bump the belay to just above this section, to have enough rope for the rest of Pitch 4.
11. Pitch 4 above the belay 30 feet above the ramp. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the rock is pretty much dead vertical to slightly overhanging.

12. Rock quality on this pitch is sub-par by Diamond standards. Awesome lead Nate! I much preferred getting gravel rained down on me at the belay to having to be up there leading this pitch.
13. Looking down the pitch while following.
14. An old bolt midway up. 

D1. 5.10d. Continue up the crack system to an alcove at Table Ledge Crack.
15.    15. Looking up Pitch 5. Someday....

D1. 5.12a. Step left and climb a difficult crack to a left-facing dihedral, that is followed to a pedestal with a two-pin anchor. The first free ascent (Bachar and Westby, 1978) climbed directly up the chimney, but this is a wet and runnout 5.11 OW. The thin corner to the left is the original line.
no photos

D1. 5.9. Follow the upper chimney to the top of the wall, which is apparently often wet or icy.
no photos

If we had gone to the top of D1, we were planning to tag the summit and then descend via the CABLES ROUTE to CAMEL GULLY and back into Chasm Lake Cirque below Mills Glacier. But since we stopped at the top of Pitch 4, we RAPPED D1 in 4 double-rope rappels off of bail anchors situated near each belay. I suspect it is quite common to get as far as Pitch 4 and throw in the towel. From Broadway Ledge, we rappelled the lower DIAMOND RAPPEL ROUTE back into Chasm Lake Cirque and hiked out.
16. The climbers making good progress on The Honeymoon is Over (13c) next door.
17. The bolted rap anchor at the top of Pitch 4. 
18. An old bolt and sun-baked tat at the rappel at the top of Pitch 3. This was backed up with a chockstone, nut, and a wad of tat. I think the weakest link in the system was the tat, which can be replaced with new tat.
19. Climbers (I knew one of them, Michal, a Boulder friend I made soon after moving there) on Hearts and Arrows (12b) to the right.
20. View of the Diamond above Chasm Lake on the hike out.
21. The walls of Mt. Meeker looking inviting above.

22. Rocky Mountain Columbine.
23. Lenticular cloud. It was a windy day.