Checking out Combat Rock

March 15, 2008 at 10:01 pm

The Big Thompson canyon has rock formations all along the way to Estes Park. Many are difficult to get to, unexplored and unpublished. After having fun tradding like mad the last few weekends, but getting tired of the crowds down south, we decided to check out a local favorite in the BTC: Combat Rock. There are a few more pics from the day in the gallery.

We got in three pitches before the sun dipped below the clouds

The southern exposure, short hike, and fine granite of the rock make it a great destination for a quick afternoon out in NoCo. But Mark and I found some great looking, very long and exposed, multi-pitch trad routes that are definitely worth going back for. On our Saturday at the rock, we were the second pair of climbers to arrive, and only saw four other people all day. Just the kind of quiet, quality tradding we were looking for.

Rambo Santa (5.7) – We had to start with the easiest but one of the longest single pitches on the rock. It got tricky in some places, interesting in others, and was lots of fun for the whole 140ft. At the anchors, Mark was cold, and I started taking pictures like mad. The scariest part, for me, was the long rap down using our new 8mm tag line. That little purple rope is thin and it wasn’t taking knots very well to begin with. We got it tied in and got down without any problems. I guess it’s just something else for my over-active imagination to obsess about.

Combat on the Rock

Wonderin’ Where the Lions Are (5.9+) – We moved to the climb up and left of where we were for the next one. Mark was nervous on the very thin, but relatively well protected slab moves. I loved every minute of the climb. The thin ledges, crimps and scallops felt great, especially while climbing in near-freezing temps (ok, so, my fingers went really numb). Mark loved the first climb, I loved this second one.

Tree Ledge (5.8) – Mark ran up the easy bottom section of this climb and then checked out the big 5ft wide roof for a while. He sewed it up with gear, placing four pieces besides clipping the manky bolt under the roof. He triumphantly pulled the roof, strapped some gear to the chains around the tree and then came down. When I got up to the roof, I think I was too high on the wall. I actually couldn’t reach the edge! I fiddled around for a while in the muck seeping out of the roof before coming down. Mark climbed it again on TR and cleaned it. The climb seemed fun, but the slime flowing from bottom of the tree ledge made it really gross on Saturday.

Kate and Mark up high in the Mountains

It was a fun day out, and I’m looking forward to heading out that direction again. Just as soon as it stops snowing.