<-- Map of summer 2018
     climbing roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)
JULY
8
2018

JULY
27
2018

Mt. EVANS: The BLACK Wall 
Route 1: Good Evans (5.10d, 5p, ~400')
Route 2: Road Warrior (5.10+, 5p, ~400')

Category: Colorado      Trip Report #293 & 307
Partners: George Foster (Route 1) & Will Starks (Route 2)
Rock Type: Granite
Elev: 
12,000+ ft

Two fun half day climbs on some high-quality Front Range alpine granite. Climbing a 250-foot vertical 6-inch splitter at 12,000 feet elevation is a great workout!

INTRO:

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....

On my July 2018 climbing road trip to Colorado, I climbed two routes on the Black Wall. The first was with George Foster. To kick off our week of climbing together, George and I climbed Good Evans (10d, 5p, ~400'), 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. 

When climbing with George, I was quite intrigued by the 250-foot vertical 6-inch wide splitter on the wall just right of Good Evans. This is Road Warrior (10+, 5p, ~400'). I made a mental note to climb this route if the opportunity ever arose. Three weeks later, I was back with Will Starks, big bros and big cams in tow. It was a Friday, and we had the wall to ourselves. The climb was pure fun. Road Warrior is the longest continual offwidth I have climbed, and quite memorable. Climbing a 250-foot vertical offwidth at 12,000 feet is a great workout. I admit to a bit of cam-pulling when the offwidth got a bit featureless near the top of Pitch 2, but Pitch 3 was featured enough I could burl my way up it despite my poor offwidth technique. Will did an impressive job leading these two offwidth pitches. 

The following page contains a trip report for my two climbs on The Black Wall. The climbing was excellent and I had a blast climbing with both George and Will. Super solid and super fun partners.


APPORACH:

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:


ROUTE OVERLAYS:



PHOTOS:

CLIMB 1
Good Evans (5.10d, 5p, ~400')
Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
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. *If you have a single 70, make sure to use the anchor furthest to climbers' left on the wall (no chains as of 2018). The anchor to the right of this (chains as of 2018) is set up for double ropes.
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
5.    
6.    
     
   
   
   
  
   
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.


Pitch 
1
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.    
8.    
9.    
10. 
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!


Pitch 
2
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.    
12. 
11. George starting off Pitch 2.
12. The fist crack on Pitch 2. We brought 3 #3 cams and were glad to have them.


Pitch 
3
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.    
14.    
15.    
16.    
17. 
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.


Pitch 
4
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.    
19. 
18. Looking up Pitch 4.
19. George peeking around the edge from the belay. Such a fun partner!


Pitch 
5
5.easy. Continue on easy ground to the top. Go left to avoid hard climbing. Short pitch.
20.    
21. 
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.


Top!
Yay!
22.  
22. View looking east from The Black Wall.

Descent
Hike back the way you came.
23.    
24.    
25.    
26. 
23. Hiking back to the Summit Lake parking lot.
24. Mt. Evans.
25. Some mountain goats near the trail. 
26. 
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!


CLIMB 2
Road Warrior (5.10+, 5p, ~400')
Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
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.  *If you have a single 70, make sure to use the anchor furthest to climbers' left on the wall (no chains as of 2018). The anchor to the right of this (chains as of 2018) is set up for double ropes.
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
5.    
6.    
7.    
8.    
9.    
  
 
  
  
  
 
  
1. Bring your big cams and big bros! (Note: We brought everything in the photo, but found we didn't need it all. We would have been more than comfortable with CAMS: 2 #5's, 2 #6's; BIG BROS: 2 #2, 2 #3. The #3 and #4 cams were useful for the non-offwidth pitches.)
2. The Summit Lake trailhead at 6:45am on a Friday morning.
3. Approaching Black Wall.
4. Black Wall as viewed from the edge of the plateau on the approach. When you look at it, it's hard to tell if it is just "okay" climbing or "great." It happens to be the latter - so many steep crack systems with wild climbing,
5. Zoomed on on Road Warrior, the 250-foot, 6-inch offwidth splitting the face just right of Good Evans.
6. There was a pair of cute marmots at the top of the wall. 
7. Look at this cute face. I wouldn't possibly pillage your pack while you are climbing.....
8. We rapped down from the wrong anchors (even though I had rapped down the correct ones for Good Evans a few weeks previous; I claim I was distracted by those cute marmots!). The ones with the chains on them are for double ropes. We had a 70m rope. I lowered Will to a ledge and then repositioned the ropes on the correct anchor about 100 feet to climbers' left.
9. The correct rap anchor for rapping with a single 70. As of July 2018, there are no chains on this anchor, so you have to leave your own draw and collect it when you finish.



Pitch 
1
5.7. Same as the first pitch of Good Evans, except stop before the 10d crux face and set a belay below the obvious offwidth going off to the right. Set a belay in the crack (uncomfortable but good photo op of leader starting out next pitch) or on the ledge to the right (comfortable, but involves the leader starting out on unprotected face).
10.   10. Looking up from the base of the route. The offwidth of Pitches 2 and 3 is hard to miss.

Pitch 
2
5.10. Climb the wide crack for over 100' to a belay stance with 2 nice new bolts (2018).
11.    
12.    
13.    
14.    
15.    
11. Will starting up the offwidth. Big bros and big cams in tow. Having fun!
12. The offwidth.
13. Big bro. That's a #2 size.
14. A #6 cam is nice to have. We had 2 and were plenty happy.
15. There are shiny new bolts at the belay anchor at the top of Pitch 2. Apparently this anchor used to be a single old bolt, a piton hammered into a bolt hole, and a fixed nut. Thanks to whoever installed the new anchor!
Pitch 
3
5.10. Do more offwidthing through steeper but more featured rock to a belay stance. 
16.    
17.    
18.    
19.    
20.  
16. Looking up Pitch 3. The fun continues! I found Pitch 3 to be easier than Pitch 2, since there were more features to help out.
17. Will starting up Pitch 3. Thanks Will for leading both offwidth pitches. Awesome job too.
18. Halfway up Pitch 3. Those are #3 size big bros.
19. Looking down while climbing Pitch 3. Awesome!
20. The upper part of Pitch 3. Features here make the climbing quite fun.



Pitch 
4
5.10. Continue up the last bit of the wide crack, pull a small roof and traverse left into the steep corner. From here on up the pitch is the same as for Good Evans. At the roof, move left and around a corner to gain a small ledge with an old bolt to belay. 
21.   21. Pitch 4 is short, but the climbing is pretty wild.

Pitch 
5
5.easy. This is the same as Pitch 5 of Good Evans. Continue on easy ground to the top. Go left to avoid hard climbing. Short pitch.
22.   22. Easiest exit is off left.
Top!
Yay! Say hi to the marmots. Hopefully they did not eat all of your spare snacks.
23.    
23. Hi marmot.
Descent
Hike back the way you came.
24.    
25.    
26.  
24. Hiking out. Summit Lake below. Mt. Evans is a cool area where you can drive into the alpine.
25. More marmots. Marmot mommy and baby.
26. A climbing trip report wouldn't be complete without a butt shot.