Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Red Dihedral

Some routes are on everyone's ticklist but never get done.  They are stunning, classic, and proud, but something keeps people away.  Maybe the approach is huge and difficult or it's notorious for being hard and scary.  Sometimes it never gets done simply because there's no information about it.  For whatever reason, years fly by, and other routes get crossed off the list, but these routes remain.  

The Red Dihedral(5.12d) is one of those routes.  I wanted to do this route 10 years ago, when I first moved to Boulder and saw a picture of it in the Eldorado Canyon guidebook.  However, like most climbers new to Boulder, I got overwhelmed by the amount of climbing and sucked into sending convenient trade routes to alleviate the stress as economically as possible.

This year, I want to step outside of my comfortable sport climbing bubble and trad climb a bit more and the Red Dihedral seemed like the perfect choice.  So, after putting it off for a decade, I nervously trudged up to the Mickey Mouse Wall and tried it with the perfect partener, Justen Sjong.  

A view of the Red Dihedral from the ground.  The first 30 feet is the crux and then it eases off just a bit.  The crux is protected by a new bolt, a couple questionable pitons, a very good fixed stopper and a small, slightly rusty RP.  Since the first piton keeps you off the ledge it's a good idea to supplement at least this piece,

Justen Sjong booting up.

Here are some pictures of Justen trying the upper bit of the crux dihedral section.

Besides the occasional face hold, this pitch contains lots of very insecure palming with your hands and smearing with your feet.

Justen getting his stem on!

Me mentally preparing to lead.  I almost made it through the entire crux but fell just before the crack.

This thing is HARD!  Neither of us made it to the top of the first pitch.  This hyper-technical 80's testpeice is just another example of how bold and capable climbers were 30 years ago.  With our nerves fried, we humbly cleaned our gear and vowed to return. 

A final look at the pitch before we rapped off.  With only two weeks left before the wall closes, I am very excited to get back to this pitch and send it.  Maybe 2012 will be the year I finally clean up my ticklist...

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