Climbing in the South St Vrain Canyon

April 19, 2008 at 9:47 pm

The last (and only) time Mark and I went to check out climbing in this corner of Colorado, we got lost, thrashed by bushes, nearly struck by lightening, and spit off of a climb that was much harder than we thought. When Dylan and Sean proposed we go back to the South St. Vrain Canyon again last week, we told them our story of pain and woe. Dylan disagreed completely, and we decided to trust him for another trip back to the area. There are lots of pretty pictures up in the gallery.

Dylan carefuly climbs past the big cactus

The day began with a bright sun, which never left us. We started off climbing some fun routes on the way into the Buttonrock recreation area. We had the cliffline to ourselves on Saturday, and we climbed hard. Dylan has a blow-by blow of our routes for the day, I’m just going to list the first SIX that Mark and I tackled here. We cruised so many pitches because many of the routes were easily top-roped from the same anchors, and because Mark was ON.

Mark cheers Dylan on

Unknown Flake (5.7) – Mark’s first lead, a nice traditionally protected slab. I followed.
Civic Duty (5.8) – A toprope of the thin slab to the left of our first climb. Lots of fun for both Mark and I.
Green Slab (5.9+) – Mark and I climbed on Dylan’s TR. Mark did a fantastic on-sight, and I took a few falls. It was tricky.
The Buick (5.10a) – Mark jammed this overhanging crack so beautifully. I couldn’t get off the first big ledge.
Unknown Face (5.10c) – Mark pulled off another brilliant on-sight on Dylan’s toprope. I took several hangs, but made it all the way up this pumpy little climb.
Beemer up Scottie (5.8) – Mark lead this overhanging hand crack cleanly, with one scary moment. Dylan followed and cleaned it. Sean and I were done for the day and just enjoyed the show.

Mark heads around the corner to climb

Mark and Dylan both felt the need to continue down the road after those first six hard climbs. We ended up in a beautiful spot next to the river spilling out of a reservoir. Mark put up a beautiful, smooth lead of Introducing Meteor Dad (5.10d). This was one of the longest routes of the day, and I enjoyed an hour or so without a pack, taking pictures, while Mark and Dylan climbed. It was a great way to end a fantastic day. And then Mark fell in the river on the walk home.

Mark climbs at Buttonrock