by Mark Anderson
I spent the end of 2015 bolting a bunch of new lines. With a huge “To Do” list looming over me, I focused my winter season on ticking off as many of those new lines as I could. The weather during February and early March was amazing (from my perspective)—highs in the 50s or 60s most days and zero precipitation—which allowed me to get a lot done.
As the snow melted, I worked my way up Clear Creek. I polished off two crags in the canyon that I’m particularly proud of. The first, dubbed the Iron Buttress, is a brown shield of rock I had been eyeing for a long time. When I finally hiked up there, I was a bit disappointed the cliff wasn’t steeper, but the rock quality exceeded my expectations. In the end the routes turned out really good—among the best I’ve established in the5.10 to 5.12- grade range—and the fact that it’s not super steep means that more people will get to enjoy these climbs.
The second crag was actually bolted over a year ago, but I never got around to climbing the routes since high water in Clear Creek prevented me from reaching the crag over the summer. “The Talon” is a precarious, jutting finger of rock that overhangs on the north and west faces, creating a super sick overhanging arête on the northwest corner. There are two other great lines, to either side of the arête, but Where Eagles Dare, 13b, is the premier line.
In related news, back in January I applied for a seat on Jefferson County’s inaugural Fixed Hardware Review Committee (FHRC). I was selected in February along with six other great folks from the Front Range climbing community. While I would certainly prefer unregulated bolting, an FHRC is much better than an outright bolting ban. We’ve had three 2-3 hours meetings since then, trying to define our internal procedures as well as attempting to establish new fixed hardware approval processes. I’m really optimistic about the direction things are headed. The Jefferson County Open Space staff has been a real pleasure to work with. They are incredibly receptive to the FHRC’s recommendations and have proven to be very reasonable and open-minded in their approach to climbing management. I can’t really speak on the record about what is in the works, but hopefully there will be an official update coming out soon.