IntroGrey Rock (6700')
Garden of the Gods Park
Via New Era (5.7)
May 21, 2010
Participants: Adam & Kevin
Adam was coming down for the annual Y couloir trip on Pikes and asked if I wanted to do something technical in the morning on Friday before trudging up to Barr Camp. I'm always looking for a rope gun, so we decided on a classic line on Grey Rock (aka Kindergarten or Cathedral Rock) in Garden of the Gods. Grey Rock is a prominent formation on the southeast side of the park adjacent to Ridge Road. Many visitors have gazed upon it in awe and I've always wanted to get up it. I'm more inclined to rock climb if there's a summit involved, and this has been high on my list of formations to climb in the park.
The map actually shows the north summit as being higher by one contour, but a Front Range climbing guidebook says that this is the highpoint of the park. The easiest route on the north summit is the north ridge, which goes at 5.4R.
Adam and I met at the visitors center after securing our permits. Our goal for the day was looking mighty nice across the way.
Grey Rock is the obvious grey formation on the left with Pikes and Cameron Cone in background.
We park at the large parking area along Ridge Road on the southeast side of the fin and make the short hike to the base of New Era, which is an east facing dyhedral route that gets plenty of sun early. Luckily there is plenty of shade on the ground and there is a nice breeze. We spot the prominent alcove at the top of the second pitch and can see the route clearly.
Route topo of first 2 pitchs courtesy of Adam McFarren:
New Era: A Classic Open Book
The first pitch is pretty easy with plenty of holds and Adam decides to setup a hanging belay below the crux layback section so that he has a full rack to work with. It also works well to give my arms a rest! I follow and am no more than 20 feet off the ground and take a minor fall trying to pull a nut out of a crack. Nice to know that your belayer is paying attention!
It takes a bit of work for Adam to help me setup the hanging belay as this is only the 2nd time I have done this. It is a very exposed perch that takes awhile to get used to! Adam passes the layback section without incident using some stemming and jamming to get through. I'm glad to get off that airy hanging belay as my feet are screaming because I am borrowing Dominic's old pair that is a size small!
I follow and lucky for me Adam doesn't place many cams through the layback section, so I find a chicken exit to the right that is easier!
Prior to the chicken exit in the layback crack:
I traverse into the alcove, which is much roomier than the first belay stance. There is an overhang above this alcove, which we work around to climber's right. The GOG guidebook actually says to go left, but it looks harder.
Looking down from the alcove:
Above this, the third pitch is much easier on some flakes that are a bit thin. This section is probably no harder than 5.4. Adam belays me from a nifty notch at the end of the technical climbing that we downclimb into.
Looking down from the notch:
From there, we enjoy a bit of 3rd class scrambling to the summit. Adam might be on 4th class here.
I give out a summit yell to the tourists and they return the favor. Wish I took a video. Amazing views on this airy little perch.
Looking north to the north summit and to the Gateway Rocks:
The Three Graces & Montezuma's Tower:
We scramble down the south ridge, which is mostly 4th class in gullies with a short 5.0ish crux traversing from one gully to another.
Looking down the south ridge:
We rap the final 100 feet or so to the ground off a couple huge eyebolts. Highly recommended climb, even for a rock climbing wannabe like me!
Adam amidst the scenery along the south ridge: