Ginger Cracks (5.9) – 11/22/2015

“Ginger Cracks” was our next outing at Red Rocks. We chose the route because of the difficulty level, length, and also because it was supposed to be less crowded than the Red Rocks classics.

We go to the National Park entrance around 6:40 am, and started hiking towards the Ginger Buttress at 7:10am. The approach was straightforward: we used the shortcut via the ecology trail, and got to the base of the climb after 1:20 minutes of hiking. We were the first and only party there!

Aaron led the first pitch (5.7), up a wide crack, to chimney. These 5.7 Red Rocks aren’t easy!

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Then I started the second pitch (5.8). The start was really hard for me. I couldn’t reach the side-pull off the belay. I had to down climb, traverse right, and pull some hard moves on crimpers to finally reach the finger crack where I could finally place some gear. So for people shorter than 1m65, this pitch is definitely harder than 5.7. The supposed crux, up a chimney / roof felt way easier than the start.

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Aaron led the third pitch, another wide crack to chimney (5.7). It seems like he keeps getting these!

I led the fourth pitch, it starts easy on good rock and gets progressively steeper on less good rock. A few bolts are there: I don’t think they are needed, but I was definitely happy to clip them. After that the crack widens and I was also forced to run it out, not having the gear anymore.

Another 5.8 pitch crack climb on less good rock follows.

After that we simulclimbed the next pitch. In retrospect we could have done it unropped to be even faster.

Aaron led the last pitch to the top: a 5.6 corner leading to a very wide crack (again!). The crack is actually so wide that it was like big hole. The pro was really sparse and it was a heady lead.

We did one single rope rappel from a slung block, then scrambled down to a “bowl” to reach a set of anchors (top of the climb “Power Failure”). From there we did three double rope rappel.

The night was falling on our last rappel: we stopped our rappel on a ledge, thinking we were down on the gully. When we figured that out, we had already pulled our rope so we had to rappel down from a tree to the real ground.

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