| El Dia de los Quatros Unos
Fourth Class Fun on
The Day of Four Ones
Peak: Cathedral Rock (aka Grey Rock, Kindergarten Rock)
Route: South Ridge, 5.6 and Class 4 route to summit
Length: 0.3 miles
Vertical: 300 feet
Ascent Party: Shredthegnar, Dancesatmoonrise
Every year on New Year's Day, a friend likes to summit Cathedral Rock in the Garden of the Gods. Due to weather, work, and family responsibilities, he has not been able to get up there the last couple years, but the concept sounded pretty fun, particularly with somewhat alpine conditions. A cold front came through, bringing a few inches of snow and highs in the single digits yesterday, with warming to the teens today. While not your typical rock climbing weather, it sounded like the best practice we were going to get for fifth class routes in the alpine - ten minutes from the front door.
Initially the idea was to acheive the summit via New Era (5.7,) a Garden Classic on the east wall. The route was dry; however, delays resulted in a late start, and the sun, being so far in the southern sky, quickly went off the wall, leaving it chilled in the 12 degree morning temps. Amy was ambivalent, and when the fingers on my left hand got numb in the gloves while placing pro, we decided to come down and make a new plan.
What the heck, the sun was on the south side, why weren't we? We quickly bailed on our plans to be as miserably cold as possible and opted for some solar comfort, heading south.
The south side of the rock is set up for one-pitch top-roping in the 5.4 to 5.8 range. We decided to just lead the main weakness, which I believe is a 5.6 line. No matter, it was in the sun, afforded a little protection in the crack, and looked really fun. We found huge 5/8" glue-in eyebolts at the belay, inspiring confidence.
After the first fifth class pitch, the remainder of the route was fourth. Amy stayed on belay for a short section to a flat area with a large tree.
The views from the route were incredible, especially with the new snow. The storm had come in with extremely cold temps, so the snow was easily brushed off, leaving bare, dry rock.
The summit was incredible. Seeing Montezuma's Tower and the Three Graces in the new snow, so far below, was a sight rarely enjoyed.
Amy found the fourth class downclimb a little exciting, so we roped for one short section past a boulder.
After this it was clear sailing all the way back.
Mr. Big Buck came out to say hello as we returned.
We rapped the bottom fifth class pitch from the eyebolts.
It always amazes me how warm it is in the sun, as long as there is no wind, even in temps well below freezing. Great way to enjoy the first day of the new year.
Thanks, Amy, for enjoying a great start to 2011!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):