Clear Creek Canyon has a reputation for having soft short routes on ok quality rock with the exception of some hidden gems. When you first enter the canyon all you see is choss. To the left and right there is nothing but steep hills and loose rock. But as you progress forward you start seeing small cliffs with unique features and good sized walls. The day before planning our day trip to CCC we checked the weather and saw a high of 61 degrees, but didn’t check the wind forecast.
Clear Creek Canyon and Shelf Road - Urs Moosmuller
So the next morning we woke up to high winds reaching 50mph and up in boulder. Checking the weather again we immediately saw that Boulder Canyon was going to hit 80mph winds, Eldorado Canyon was going to hit 110mph, and CCC was going to hit 60mph. After talking things out with my partner we decided to go and attempt to climb at CCC were the winds were the least strong. The drive down to CCC took about an hour an a half and by the time we arrived at Wall of the 90’s it looked as if things had calmed down. But we soon realized half way up the warm-up 10c, gusts of 60mph winds would hit you from the side for about 25 seconds. You just had to hang on for dear life until it passed. Then you have about a minute to get to the next big hold before it hit again. We finished the climb and headed over to the classic Refer Madness. Starting up the route you repeat the same cycle as the last time except this time with the melting snow from above drenching you every time the wind stopped. After this route we were done. We were wet, cold, and decided to drive up canyon to see if we could find any climbing less miserable. As we drove up canyon we scanned all the cliffs for people until we spotted two parties climbing at Primo Wall and decided to give that a go. We arrived at the base of the wall and were surprised to find the cliff pretty well protected from the wind by the trees and the giant cave up canyon. We started warming up and only felt nice 30mph gusts every once in a while. The temperatures turned out to be perfect and I quickly dispatched Public Solitude 5.13b and River Run 5.13b second go. Public Solitude is one of my favorite routes in CCC, because from the base it looks like a good 5.11 warm-up, but immediately the main crux hits you with a very technical sequence into a dihedral. Then you clip the last bolt and leap for the hidden jug to the left of the anchors. What started out as a shitty day turned out to be another good day of climbing.
The following weekend the CU alpine club organized an unofficial trip to Shelf Road were the weather was 60 degrees and sunny both days. I immediately signed up and found myself at the base of Carnage on saturday. Carnage is the first real project I have been working on and for the past 5 weekends it has taught me a lot about working routes. Every weekend seemed to end with me getting closer and closer to sending. At the beginning it seemed to be impossible but slowly things started coming together. Projecting something for that long becomes really frustrating. Moves that seem pretty straight forward turn out to be a lot harder when you link everything together. Beta has to be re figured out before you can move on to the next little snag. For the past two weekends I had been dealing with the final snags and by last saturday I was ready to start going for the send. The first attempt proved to be my strongest and I came within one move of finishing the crux. From there things seemed to start going down hill. The next attempt I ended up falling one move below my high point. By the third try my tips were torn and bruised. I lowered off and knew I would have to come back another weekend. I lowered off happy that I was so close to sending, but a little frustrated. The route was taking way long than I expected. After an hour break my friend convinced me to get on some other routes rather than obsessing over the one route. I surprised myself by onsighting a 13a at the end of the day.
The next day instead of focusing everything on Carnage I went over to the gym and sent the classic Deeper Shade of Soul 5.13b. Deeper Shade of Soul was a route that I had seen before from a distance and marveled at the beautiful overhanging buttress but never got a chance to try it. I quickly got it third try and it turned out to be one of my favorite routes. No where else had I used double monos in the middle of a 4 bolt long crux sequence were every move was V6/7. The monos turned out to be big and friendly. Lowering off I inspected the “Chipped” left hand mono and to my best guess it looked like it had been enhanced which was a pity. The trip ended and another trip to shelf was scheduled for next weekend which I am really psyched for. Im looking forward to sending Carnage and exploring some of the other 13’s in shelf.