The Ole #6

Back in September when we (Erik Wellborn, Phil Wortmann, and I) went up to climb the moderate classic, Total Abandon on Pikes Peak, we located a small amount of ice at the start of a sort of dihedral system. We put it off that day as it looked pretty moderate but we noticed a roof up high. As luck would have it, Erik and Phil went up and put a 4 pitch route right up the thing at WI3ish M6+ish and named it “The Ole #6”. I was pretty jealous as I wanted to climb it with them but since I live farther north, I can’t go there every weekend. Psyched for them, I also wanted to give it a go. They also wanted to know our thoughts on the route and grade. I sent Buster a text but expected him to be busy with the whole Alpine Mentors program with Steve House and Vince Anderson. As luck would have it, he had it open and we went and got the second ascent.

The route is located about 100 feet to the left of Total Abandon. It’s an open book system until you get to the “Great” roof in which you traverse out exposed terrain. All in all, about 400 feet. Doubles up to #3 and a #5 is kind of mandatory along with pins and a spectre or two. One stubby is good enough.

Buster following P1

P1 (WI3ish M4) Climb thin ice and mixed terrain until at a nice belay ledge. This pitch kind of reminded me of the climbing on Bird Brain Blvd. Never hard, but a little run out in some spots.

Buster on P2

P2 (M5+ish) Climb the short offwidth with a finger crack on the side for picks and protection. (Don’t actually need to commit to OW on the section) Follow the terrain until the last run out sort of slab to a slabby belay.

Then the exposure kicks in. Buster following one of the crux pitches.

P3 (M6/+ish?) The most sustained pitch on the route though it doesn’t have the hardest moves on the route. I felt it was sustained M6 for most of the way. Start by climbing the OW. #5 is key here. Run it out when it get’s to wide to the upper corner system. Good protection overall on this pitch. Steep too.

Buster sending the roof traverse. Woohoo!

P4 (M6+ish) Traverse the big roof! It starts as a hand crack to a finger crack to a seam. We felt it was solid 5.11 with pons on. Good hooks towards the end. So that makes it M5 in Canada?

P5 (M5+ish) Climb 10 meters to the top

Superb route! Go do it!

About Noah McKelvin

Never skip a day of living life
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