On this particular Saturday morning we had my wife’s family in town so if I wanted to go for a hike it would have to be short and sweet. Nelson had told me about a fun class-4 route on Greyrock Mountain, a cute little peak just a little ways up Poudre Canyon. Nelson calls this route the “Weenie Route” and told me the name was coined by a member of the Colorado Mountain Club who has a tradition of climbing the route with a portable barbecue grill, then having a cookout on the summit. When I mentioned giving it a shot he immediately volunteered to go with me.
Nelson swung by my house at 8:20 and we he headed up Poudre Canyon. Within a half hour we hit the trail and began our hike. Greyrock itself sits on a plateau of sorts and is not visible from Poudre Canyon - you have to hike up a gully to even see it (though it is visible from downtown Fort Collins). Nelson and I set a brisk pace as we hiked up the gully and arrived at the base of Greyrock about an hour after leaving the car.
I’d climbed Greyrock several times before, but always via the standard class-2 route. The standard route traverses along the southeast side of Greyrock to its northwest side and then heads back southwest to the summit. This time we circled around to the very southwest end of the rock where we found a gully that pointed up toward the west face. We climbed this gully until we came to a dead tree. Nelson said this was the key to the route. When he’d first attempted the route he’d spent quite a bit of time exploring different options before discovering that it was best to exit the gully at the dead tree. Also, from this point we had an excellent view of Fall Mountain and Comanche Peak to the southwest.
From there we shimmied up a crack in a slab that rose away from the gully. Then Nelson made his way on what appeared to be a steep featureless slab. However, there was a significant crack running down it that was a foot deep and six inches wide in some places. This crack wasn’t visible from below and Nelson said that last time it had taken a good deal of exploring before he’d discovered it. After we scrambled up this crack we had essentially rounded our way around the south end of Greyrock and were now on it’s southeast face.
We made our way up some relatively easy ramps that were interspersed with an awkward move or two. Soon however the ramps petered out and we had a couple of short, difficult pitches straight up toward the summit. This was the only real test of my nerve on the route. It was quite steep and the holds were not very big. However I made it and so did Nelson. After that it was an easy scramble to the summit.
We rested, ate, and chatted with another fellow who was on the summit before we began our descent. We descended the standard route and arrived back at the base two hours after we’d reached this point during the ascent. Probably one and a half of those hours was for the ascent and a half hour for the descent. We snapped a couple of photos and then hiked back down the gully. We made it back to the car almost exactly four hours after leaving it. We piled our packs into the car and headed back into town. Nelson dropped me back at my house almost five hours after leaving. After a quick shower it was back to entertaining our guests.
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