<-- Map of summer 2018
     climbing roadtrip 
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Mt. EVANS: The BLACK Wall Route: Good Evans (5.10d, 5p, ~400')

Category: Colorado      Trip Report #289
Partner: George Foster
Rock Type: Granite
12,000+ ft

A fun half day climb on some high-quality Front Range alpine granite.


Just an hour and a half west of Denver and at 12,000+ feet elevation, Mt. Evans has some of the best quality alpine granite in the Front Range. Of the many climbing venues at Mt. Evans (The Alpine Lite Cliffs, The Aprons, The Black Wall, Lincoln Lake Slabs, not to mention several boulder problems), the 400-foot Black Wall is one of the premier multipitch venues at Mt. Evans, offering a fine selection of 5.10-5.11 multipitch trad routes that face east. Routes on the Black Wall are committing, since to access them you rappel down and then climb back up to the plateau. Beware that due to it's high elevation Mt. Evans can get some pretty gnarly weather....

I had planned a week of climbing in the RMNP area with George Foster. To kick off our trip, and before heading into the Park, a route on The Black Wall sounded like a fun choice. So George and I started off our week of climbing by climbing Good Evans, perhaps the most popular route on the Black Wall. 

Apparently 8 other parties (9 total including George and me) also decided that the summer Sunday was a good one for climbing on Black Wall. And we all arrived in somewhat of a mad rush at the same time (~7:15 am) at the top of the rappel route. All of us were there to climb either Good Evans or Cary Granite. In the end, 3 parties climbed Cary Granite, 3 climbed Good Evans, and 3 changed their plans and headed to the right side of the wall (to climb routes such as Emerald Highway, Rainbow Highway, and Cannonball Corner). This resulted in a 6-party back-up on Pitch 1, since Cary Granite and Good Evans share the same first pitch. George and I were the 5th party in line, and we ended up having to wait a total of 2 hours to get started and about 1 hour more on the route itself. Apart from the waiting, the actual climbing on the 400-foot route went relatively quick. We were a bit worried when some dark clouds began to build above us but fortunately the "50% afternoon thundershowers" decided not to materialize and we was spared the intense experience of being caught in a Colorado thundershower. 

The following page contains a trip report for the climb. The climbing was excellent and George and I had a blast on the route.


I was going to put together a map of the approach, but then I found a great map posted by Michael Underwood on mountainproject, and figured there was no use repeating his work:



Photo descriptions:
From the Summit Lake parking lot, hike on a faint trail to the north and west. After passing some steep chimneys/gullies, and about 40 minutes of hiking, look for a bolted rap anchor at the edge of Black Wall. Four rappels with a single 70m rope put you at the base of the route.
1. The Summit Lake parking lot. Crowded by 6:30am on a Sunday morning.
2. The view of Black Wall from an overlook a few minutes up the trail. Good Evans climbs up the left side.
3. Approaching the top of the rappel route.
4. Sunday morning get-together at the top of the rappel route. There were 9 parties climbing The Black Wall that day, and we all arrived in a mad rush at the top of the rappels at practically the same time (~7:15am).
5. Hanging the packs on a set of anchors about 100 feet from the top of the rappel route.
6. Looking down the rappel route from the rim.

5.10d (crux). Start up the flakey features, moving up and slightly right to a crack, passing a fixed pin along the way. This crack narrows into a seam. Continue to a small ledge system which jogs up and to the left towards some fixed anchors. 
7. Looking up the route from below. The leader is at the 10d crux of Pitch 1.
8. Looking up the offwidth of Road Warrior, which splits right just before the crux on Pitch 1 of Good Evans.
9. Climber following the 10d crux.
10. George nearing the top of the pitch, having a blast!

5.9. Step to the right from the belay and work yourself onto a large flake. At the top of this flake, move a few feet right into a splitter crack system (C4#3 size). The pitch finishes in a pod/alcove at the base of a wide dihedral. 
11. George starting off Pitch 2.
12. The fist crack on Pitch 2. We brought 3 #3 cams and were glad to have them.

5.8. Continue up the wide dihedral and move right at its roof. Move up and around right and into another good crack system. This ends at a small ledge below a steep right-facing dihedral with a roof not too far above. 
13. Looking up the start of Pitch 3.
14. A #5 cam is nice to have for the corner below the roof on Pitch 3; without it you run it out for about 15 feet, but it's relatively moderate terrain so many parties do not bring a #5.
15. Looking down Pitch 3 from the roof.
16. The awesome crack on the second half of Pitch 3.
17. George is still having a blast.

5.10(+). Climb the steep right-facing dihedral to the roof, using a mix of crack and face holds. Pass a fixed pin before the roof. At the roof, move left and around a corner to gain a small ledge with an old bolt to belay. 
18. Looking up Pitch 4.
19. George peeking around the edge from the belay. Such a fun partner!

5.easy. There are probably a few ways to gain the top (only about 30 or 40 vertical feet) from the end of Pitch 4. Move upward where it looks easy. You can belay at a large flat boulder about 25 feet past the top of the cliff.
20. This photo is taken looking straight up from the belay at the top of Pitch 4. There are some fixed pins in the crack above. Going this way is harder (10+??).
21. Go left to exit on low 5th terrain.

22. View looking east from The Black Wall.

Hike back the way you came.
23. Hiking back to the Summit Lake parking lot.
24. Mt. Evans.
25. Some mountain goats near the trail. 
If you drive through salt flats on the way to the Summit Lake parking lot, beware that a herd of bigborn sheep might attack your car with their tongues!