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Ben Spannuth - Two Tiny Routes

Ben Spannuth - Two Tiny Routes
Ben Spannuth - Two Tiny Routes
Ben Spannuth - Two Tiny Routes
Ben Spannuth - Two Tiny Routes
December 10, 2012 - 

This one has been in the vault for a little bit but this story starts in Spring 2009 when I was helping coordinate the Rocky Mountain Region of the Collegiate Climbing Series. During its first season in CO I met Will Anglin, who at the time was attending Western State and spearheaded the season’s final regional comp. I went to Gunnison to help with the comp and just like after most of the CCS comps stuck around for the day after to check out an area I hadn’t been to near the hosting school. This time it was Hartman Rocks.

Will had finished hand drilling a line a month prior and wanted to get a crew together to check it out. After playing around on it for a while and cleaning it up a bit more we were all psyched on the unique, fun moves it offered and left motivated to return to try to link more than a couple of them together.

For the next few years Will and I talked about the line, how fun it was, and how it needed to be climbed. He dialed the beta through the distinctive intro and series of laybacks on poor feet and started getting to the routes final beat down move consistently.

The route ends with a long tensiony move off two slopey pinches to the lip of the wall before the final pull to a victory jug and slightly harder than you want mantle.

Right as we finalized plans to meet up again to and climb on the route just before Will was going to graduate and move from Gunnison disaster struck and Will popped his left ring A4 pulley on a low crimp move on the route. Out of the game for several months. Awful.

We decided to hang out for a bit anyway since we hadn’t seen each other in a while. By the time I got there Will’s non climbing cabin fever was in full effect so he was always ready to get outside and search for a couple final boulders before moving, try to drown me in the river, show me around things he had bolted and put up over the last four years, or stop me from hitting the ground from the last move of the proj.

Around this same time Jon Glassberg and Paige Claassen were gearing up for aweekend in Mill Creek and I’d never been so I made the short drive from Gunnison to Moab, with a food poisoning pit stop, in about as much time as it took them to rocket across CO for a couple days at the Wicked Crag. Mill Creek is has no guidebook and requires a little more exploring than most areas but what’s there is some of the best rock in the US and well worth exploring. One small example of which is a route Noah Bigwood put up and called the Bleeding.

If I had to pick America’s top three sport climbs I’d say they’re the Golden Ticket, Grand Ol’ Opry, and the Bleeding. From walking up to the wall to the individual moves all three are perfect: amazing rock and holds, interesting and challenging movement, and zero glue/ chipping.

For the “sportsman,” Mill Creek also has excellent pre and post climbing activities with favorites like Aspen Bending and Camp Golf.

Back in the canyon, the skin is thin but a little try hard prevails with Jon hanging at the top to get the actual send on film and Paige getting super close. Next time!

Driving on Hwy 46. Tons of Joes Valley looking rock in another middle of no where. Back in Gunnison. Conditions kinda suck. Leaving soon.

Will’s been here before; falling on this same move for way too many times. He even stuck the final move to the lip but not quite well enough to slap the jug. I can’t decide what to change. I typically refine something every time I fall but when you fall on the last move this many times and there is no other sequence or feet to try and the bottom is dialed the only thing to do is try harder. That sounds dumb but I fall all the time sport climbing because I’m in chill mode and don’t punch it when it counts.

Cobra Strike is super short and has basically no endurance component. I’m probably weak from not bouldering enough recently but for me it felt harder than the Bleeding. It’s the only route I can think of where I didn’t shake at all on the send go. It could certainly be flashed by the strong kids, just like the Bleeding, but it took me way more effort than the Bleeding before things clicked. The video is obviously filmed later on just to show the moves.

Enjoy the video and thanks for bolting the rig Will! I’ve got some fresh ones at the New with your, or anyone’s, name on them!

Photo credit: LT11, Paige Claassen, WIll Anglin

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