I called Crisco last night and asked if he wanted to go climbing. He he. I told him that there was this chimney/gully thing in Rock Canyon that had some ice in it that would make a fun mixed route. It’s the wall past George/The Kitchen that comes pretty much right down to the trail. Fast forward to 9:15 this morning when we arrived at the base of the route. “Where’s the ice?” Crisco asked. “There isn’t any. I just told you that to get you here.” I took a stubby screw just in case, though.
It had snowed several inches the night before and the whole chimney system was covered in the stuff. From the trail, the route looked like it would be about 100 feet long. I led the first pitch. It started out with a fun little bulge, then went over a couple more bulges with some thorny plants and lots of snow thrown in between them. The pitch just kept going and going and before I knew it, Crisco yelled up and said that I had 15 feet of rope left on my 60. I climbed up one more bulge (which turned out to be the crux), but I had used up all of my big pro so I couldn’t protect it. I set up a crappy belay that consisted of a small KB piton (that went in a little too easily), two crappy nuts, and a good small cam and belayed Crisco up. We looked up and figured we had about 30′ to go to the top.
I led the next pitch, too, which went up a fun, steep little drytooling section and then more snow gully. There were another one or two bulges after that that were a little bit tricky and eventually (150 feet later) belayed from a good-sized tree. I belayed Crisco up to me, but we still weren’t at the top yet. We had to trudge through knee-deep snow up (south) for 100-150 feet or so until we saw a brush-choked gully coming up from the left. We fought our way through it and eventually made it back down the trail.
The route took a while, maybe 4 hours backpack to backpack. It was slow going in the chimney because I had to clear off all of the snow from every hold. The route’s about 450-500 feet long if you include the snow slope on top. I’m guessing that this has been climbed before, but maybe not. And maybe not in winter? Not sure. Anyway, it was a ton of fun. I’d give the route 2 stars out of 5–a solid “good.” It’s definitely better than climbing in the gym. Crisco asked what we should name it, then suggested the name Higbee Gully. I’ve never had an eponymous route, so I agreed. Again, maybe this has been done before and has a name. If so, let me know what it is.
For gear, I took a set of nuts and a set of Camalots to #4. Doing it again, I’d take an extra set of cams from red (#1) through blue (#3) Camalot. The pitches are long. I didn’t use any screws.