Anchor Replacement in Bear Canyon, Boulder Colorado - July 2009

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On July 15, Matt Samet and I trudged up to the back of Bear Canyon to upgrade three sport climbs. The first two routes we replaced were Megasaurus (5.10d) and Liquid Crystal (5.11c), in the Bedrock area, aka the South Ridge. The last route we maintained was a spicy 5.9+ R route called Thought Control at the Stonehenge area. It’s also in Bear Canyon, right above the creekbed.

On Megasaurus and Liquid Crystal we replaced the 3/8” Allen key bolts (with Mammut hangers) with full-stainless 1/2” X 2 3/4” ARI hardware — except for the first bolts on each route, where we used 1/2” X 4 3/4” bolts. We replaced three of the four bolts on Thought Control with the same type of hardware. We also replaced the anchors on all three routes. (Note: Megasaurus and Liquid Crystal share an anchor.)

It was an early morning. I met Matt at 7 a.m. at Starbucks. It wasn’t long before we were hiking up the climbers’ trail to the South Ridge. Poison ivy was everywhere. Luckily, I wore long pants, cause I can break out in rash by just looking at the stuff. As we unpacked the hardware, we realized we’d forgotten the drill bits. Thanks to the divine assistance of Kristin Bjornsen, with help from Clyde, we were able to proceed as planned — she drove all the way across town and hiked up 45 minutes to hand-deliver the bits. After Matt and I pre-flighted the climbs and he marked where the new bolts would go, all the new bolts went into solid rock without a problem.

It was getting hot and we were in the sun over at Thought Control, but we didn’t want to have to come back with the big, heavy packs. We decided to get it done then and there. Matt climbed the route and replaced the anchor before I hauled up. Then, he proceeded to put in new bolts as he descended the fixed rope. I followed behind him, removing and patching the old bolts. We were unable to replace the first bolt on the route due to some hardware issues, but plan to return shortly to finish the work. For now, the old first bolt looks to be in good shape.