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The Pear, Lumpy Ridge, Rocky Mountain NP  |  Chrome Plated 5.7



      I have been trying to keep track of the climbs that I have done so I

have decided to try to write trip reports for the more memorable

experiences. About a month and a half ago I turned 25...(ok 27 but who's

counting) and my two great friends and climbing partners (Andrew and Lisa)

and I decided to celebrate the occasion by going climbing at Lumpy Ridge.


    The only catch was that my birthday fell on a Friday and we all had to work.

However, since we are all a "little" addicted to climbing, we decided not to

let a little thing like darkness stop us. We all own headlamps right? So the

plan was to climb a formation called The Pear which is on Lumpy Ridge in

Rocky Mountain National Park. This route is usually done in 5 pitches but we

have a longer rope than most so we were able to do the climb in 3 pitches

with a little unroped scrambling.

      I got off work at 5 sharp and headed straight to the trailhead to meet

Lisa and Andrew. At the trailhead, we sorted gear and ropes and headed down

the 1.5 mile approach to the base of the route.



    It's still light at this point so we start debating what climb to do. We

had planned to climb The Chrome Plated Semi-Automatic Enema Syringe. (Yes

climbers can be quite weird!) Chrome Plated is rated 5.7. However, there is

another route that you can climb for the first pitch and then join Chrome

Plated up higher. The problem is that this climb is rated 5.10a. (that means

it is right at my limit and it is a 50/50 proposition whether or not I will

fall.) I'm feeling a little cocky at this point so I decided that I want to

lead this pitch. It will be way harder than anything I have ever led, but it

is a bolted route and once you clip the first bolt it is a relatively safe

place to take a fall. The problem is that the first bolt is 20 feet up the

wall. After a short internal debate,. I decide that I can climb this thing.

    I tie in and begin up the unprotected start. I should also mention that the

base of the climb is a collection of boulders and generally unforgiving

terrain so falling before you clip the first bolt is a really bad idea. I

move up about 10 feet on nothing but friction. (no holds, just a steep slab

of rock that you basically try to "walk" up) It is not too difficult and I

am feeling good. Then comes the hard section. 


    The first bolt is about 10 feet above me still and I am standing on little

rock protrusions that are smaller than a quarter. The next move requires me to

step up on even smaller "nubbins" which are the size of a penny. After that, 

it is two more  moves up on tiny holds (we're down to dime size things here) 

before you can reach the bolt and clip in so that you are safe. I stood up on 

the quarter size holds (my feet are now about 13 feet off the deck) and contemplated

the next move. I started to get scared and my leg started shaking (think Elvis) so I

decided to just step up on the next set of holds and hope it got better.


    Of course it got worse and I was really starting to worry about breaking an

ankle or worse. My leg starts shaking again and before I know it, my feet

are sliding down the wall and the rest of me is following. I slide down the

wall about 2 feet and my feet finally catch on another tiny hold. I am

sweating by now and am only thinking about getting off this rock. Actually

my though process is more like Please God... Oh shit... Please God... Oh

shit. Luckily, I stopped sliding at a point where I could down climb to the

base. OK, so I guess I can't lead that one quite yet and I scamper over to

the start of the easy route. Without letting myself think too much about

what just happened, I prepare to head up. It is getting dark now and I put on my


      After trying to climb unprotected 5.10, climbing this 5.7 route that

is easily protectable seems really easy and I climb 200 feet in about 10

minutes. I set an anchor and bring up Lisa and Andrew. The next lead is

Andrew's and by now it is almost pitch black. The whole experience is

limited to the 5 feet around you. You know the exposure is there, but you

can't see it so you tend to forget about it. Andrew leads up and over this

roof and is out of sight of Lisa and I who are still at the top of the first





 After about 20 minutes, we hear Andrew yell that he's ready for us to

climb. Lisa heads up second and takes a fall on the roof move. Now I have

taken a lot of falls climbing on second, but, as Lisa will tell you, falling

at night is a little scarier. She pressed on though and climbed the roof on

her second try. Then it was my turn. As I climbed, I realized that Lisa had

climbed over the roof about 5 feet below me which meant that her route was

more difficult.  I climbed the roof which involved standing on a little

pillar of rock so  you could reach some holds above the roof. (when you are

standing on the pillar, the roof is at about neck height) Once you get the

hand holds, you have to throw your right foot up to  a knob of rock that is

about chest level and about 2 feet to the right (you are in a really awkward

position now) and rock your weight onto that right foot. It was quite fun

and exciting by headlamp. From there it was an easy romp with no protection.

No protection is no  big deal when you are not leading but Andrew had an

exciting time above the roof. You have to climb about 40 feet unprotected.

That would mean an 80+ foot fall if he came off.

      From the top of the second pitch we unroped and scrambled up about

50 feet until it started to get steep again. The next pitch was mine and was

fairly uneventful. There were a couple tricky sections but it was well

protected. In about 20 minutes, I was standing on top of the formation and

bringing Andrew and Lisa up. We rappelled off the top, which was fun in the

dark. (when you look down, you can't see the ground, just your ropes heading

down into the darkness)

      A little hiking put us back at the base of the formation and then on

to the trailhead. A great night and a great way to spend a birthday.