I have wanted to climb the Petit Grepon since ’99 and long before I was qualified. In July of 2003 my friend Ben and I had hooked up with a bivy permit and had blasted out the hike to Sky Pond in just over 2 hours. We had a great night in our new bivy sacks under a large overhanging bolder just above Sky Pond. We got a lessen in the “Alpine Start” and were scooped by a group that got a really early start from the TH and were slowly working their way up the first pitch when we arrived at the base of the route. We took our time flaking out the gear and planning our lead change plans before we decided to solo the first pitch and get to the first ledge. We were sitting on the ledge watching the goof troop slowly move up the P2 chimney when Ben realized that he had cell service and a message. He checked his messages and for work related reasons that I won’t go into he had to bail.
On September 2nd, 2004 Jason and I returned. We had a great hike in and set up camp on a ledge where we were working on our successful “Alpine Start” and taking in an amazing sunrise the next morning. At about 7:30 we found ourselves at the base of the phallical looking beast and this time without competition. We soloed P1 as before with no incident. We then worked our way across the ledge to the chimney and set up for Jason to lead P2 and string it with what most guidebooks call P3. All went well and we traded out leads the rest of the route. Jason lead the crux pitch and pulled off what I see as a burly lead! That move at Clear Creek on a sunny Saturday morning would be no big deal, but at about 12,000 feet and on P5 with the incredible exposure that this climb offers, I was impressed. I took the long 5.7 pitch leading up to the “Pizza Pan Belay” and had an absolute blast with the rock quality and exposure. The good pro on this pitch is a bit run-out but the rock quality makes it a non-issue. The last pitch was mine and though it is well featured, I managed to find a way to make the first 15 feet far harder that it needed to be somehow. Once back on route I was having a blast with the exposure and pulling down on quality rock. At some point I realized that I hadn’t put much pro in and yelled down to Jason that I was going to throw some in out of respect for the Petit!
This is a photo of Our Route.
We enjoyed the views of the other spires for a few minutes, and decided that with the clouds that were building up, it would be best to get off of the summit.
Due to some pretty windy conditions it took longer than expected to rap the route. About 2/3 of the way down one of our 60M ropes got hung up and despite all efforts Jason was not able to get it undone. He yelled up and I headed down to learn of the situation and that he thought it would be best if I cut my own nearly new rope. When we arrived safely at the base of the route after having sat on the 6’x30’ summit it cutting the rope didn’t seem to matter.
The Glacier Gorge area is one of my favorite places in Colorado! I am already working on plans to head back for some skiing!