Colorado’s Hallucinogen Wall Free-Climbed
5/27/11 – Austrian climber Hansjörg Auer free-climbed the Hallucinogen Wall in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in mid-April at 5.13+ R. Auer and partner Ben Lepesant redpointed the 16-pitch route in just 8 hours 41 minutes, after previously aiding the climb over three days. The Hallucinogen Wall was established in 1980 and goes at 5.10 A3+ as an aid route.
Most of the route had previously been free-climbed, but the crux 13th pitch has extremely thin face climbing protected by fixed copperheads. In 2004, in just under 9 hours, Colorado climbers Jared Ogden and Ryan Nelson climbed the wall all-free except for the crux pitch, which they ascended using the hybrid free-climbing method of dry-tooling with modified ice tools in the hands and rock shoes on the feet. Auer worked these moves during their aid-climbing ascent, and then fired the redpoint first-go on April 22.
In an interview on planetmountain.com, Auer said, "I had originally thought I’d encounter a smooth wall with tiny crimps. But the crux pitch is really athletic, good holds with cool heel-hook moves. To free the pitch, I swayed slightly from the original line on three occasions: immediately after the belay (where I added two pegs and a copperhead), in the middle of the pitch at the start of the bolt ladder, and then just before the belay with a leftwards dyno… Actually, the route itself isn’t all that difficult, but the pro is fairly alpine, with numerous copperheads, above all in the middle section."
Read the full interview with Auer and see a few photos at Planet Mountain.