Here's a short video from last summer on the Craig Luebben unsung classic Go Spuds Go! (5.12a), seems kind of stout and maybe short enough to boulder if you hike enough pads up the 2 mile approach.....
A couple seasons ago Pamela Pack and Andrew Burr came up with a good ol' desert challenge and tribute. To climb Craig's top 10 offwidth FA's in the desert ;and asked if I was interested. I couldn't say no, but was some what skeptical at the same time as Craig defined offwidth and his routes are a testament to what is possible in the world of wide. We dubbed the challenge the 10 x 10 and weren't quite sure what we were getting ourselves into...
The list... (they're mostly 5.11s, how bad could it be?!)
With everything on a single peice of paper and thinking we would cruize these things we felt pretty good about the idea at first.
We started in the creek with the Dentist Chair and the Tooth Fairy and hit a slight bump in the road when Pam fractured her hand on the second route of the trip....
Maybe we could start over on the 10 day rule?
With some rest, very quick healing time! and lots of tape we relocated up to Moab where the majority of the challenge sat in empty canyons.
We went to Long Canyon and climbed the Done-Lubin' and would later set others up top ropes and sandbag leads while we worked on the more difficult lines around the corner being the Mayor and Ralph. By now the ten day rule was far out the window, but finishing or atleast trying all of Craig's routes was still on.
The Mayor in all of its glory
We took a break from the empty long canyon where we would be the only climbers but sometimes would see the random jeeper and once saw Pam's buddy Isaac cruizing through on his dirt bike with his gang. We went to River Road and up to the Sorcerer.
Two routes ascend the sorcerer; we were psyched to do them both, decided to replace all the old belay anchors and fix lines for Andrew all over this thing. It took a bit of work and so did the climbing.
The common final pitch suited me as there is a bit of height needed on some of the moves and Pamela had some serious doubts, but we kept hiking up there day after day. The last time we went up there, Pam hiked it and I think suprised herself. Bad Ass!
The very serious Pamela Pack trying to avoid pitch 3 at all costs...
After swearing of the Sorcerer and the Crossing for the season we found ourselves back in Longs for one more route before we had to bail for other commitments.
Dragon's Lair is obvious from the road and is also VERY obvious that you don't get much gear after about the first 50 feet on this monster of a route. It was a calm hot day, and this thing was cooking in the sun, so Pamela and I sat in the shade and threw small rocks at a target for a solid 2 hours waiting for the shade and an attempt on this beast.
Waiting for the shade
After the route hit the shade I easily "floated" (inside joke) this beast in just under 90 minutes and was only completely stuck for 30 of those short minutes. Pamela then ran up the thing in less than 15 minutes and we walked out in the dark. It must be easier for girls or something. haha
A season later we were back.
We had a good chunk of the routes done, but still had a few to go.
We ended up spending 3 or 4 trips in Longs looking for the infamous Slither and Scream, which we assure you doesn't actually exist, but settled for something that looked like it might be it at the time.... well sort of. With more than alittle pressure from Burr and Pamela, I racked up under a mega long chimeny system and set off into the unknown for what seemed like an eternity. The climb turned out to be good in the classic old school no pro feeling that it should. Burr got some shots and we walked out tired in the dark.
Burr rapping down with camera gear and the drill. He chucked the rock we used for the hammer.
With 8 down, we only had 2 to go. The amazing Sidewinder, and the casual? Offwidths are Beautiful.
Sidewinder is way up in Longs Canyon, and simply put, is amazing. Its 160 feet of burl and helping put the enormous sling of gear onto Pam's shoulder, I think we both wondered how she was going to leave the belay ledge or let alone climb! Its a tough pitch that took Craig alot of time to finish and even developed a new technique for; but Pam did awesome on it, and Burr got amazing shots. Its a route that I know we both want to go back to for sure and is easily one of Craigs proudest in the desert.
Mike Clelland, Climbing Magazine
Last on the list that we once thought would be done in less than two weeks, to thinking we would never finish was Offwidths are Beautiful. Its located on river road, just outside of Moab on a detached and astethetic pillar. Perhaps the most impressive thing about that day was the new route that Burr established on the analog crack that was done mostly solo until I put him on belay for a 20 foot pendulum out of a sandbox and onto the ledge system that connected to the route proper.
It turns out that OWs are Beautiful isn't as easy as one would expect, (Craig puked on it!) but it does live up to its name. Its a CLASSIC and is easily 4 more stars than the route known as Mogwidths are Beautiful, probably 5 more actually.
With the list complete and pics taken Pamela wrote an amazing story about it for Climbing Magazine and it should be on the shelves any day now. It was a good adventure, and the first question asked at the end of the day was "what's next?", I guess thats always the question.
This somewhat obscure project became kind of infamous in Montana (or atleast in my mind), as it was located in the most popular bouldering venue in the state; Whiskey Gulch. The Crack of Doom was put in the bouldering guide, (which was later included in the Butte guide) named and even given the grade of (5.13!) even though no one had ever been on it before. (we did our fair share of research, but if you know anything, speak up!)
an attempt from a few years ago
The route is steep, around 45 degrees and goes from a seam with a few tight hand pods to a flared fists, offwidth and squeeze in about 45 feet. Short, but fierce, with the bottom flared hands being the crux.
Steep little beast
Anyways after 4 days over a few years, 30 + attempts and lots of flopping around like a fish, I finally got up it. The main concern was that the crux was super low and above uneven ground. After the first piece there isnt much to work with until after the crux and decking wasn't really in the cards for me. I could place a bolt or a pin i suppose, but didn't have either with, and there was the RARE chance that it had been done before so I didn't want to dumb it down for a second ascent. I DID however fix a nut with a sling hitched to it from the key lock crack above and hung a combo draw from it prior the lead. I know, I know, chicken sh!t, bull sh!t, but better than decking on my one day off from work. I left the nut and sling hanging and if you are so inclined you can skip it, booty it, or try it like i did. What ever you want. All other gear was placed on lead.
Here's a short vid of the send, well the bottom crux anyways and the sling in question. Above the route backs down to .11+ offwidth and I couldn't feel my right arm at the top of the climb.
As for grade, name or whatever.... Im not going to rename the thing even though Crack of Doom is more famous in the City of Rocks than it is in some gulch in Montana, BUT it is known to all that frequent the area, majority carrying pads and climbing V-hard. I think from the ground .13 was a good guess, but think that .12d or so is a bit more on.
Thanks to Tom for going out there over and over with me even though we barely bouldered, Trevor for holding the rope on the send and following it CLEAN and Ty, Hutch and everyone else who helped keep the pysche up!