Second Ascent of Wild Colorado Trad Route

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Devils Thumb, high over Boulder. Chasing Reality (5.13d/14a R) ascends the north face, near the left skyline. Photo by Joe Mills.

Devils Thumb, high over Boulder. Cheating Reality (5.13d/14a R) ascends the north face, near the left skyline. Photo by Joe Mills.

Five years after the first ascent, Joe Mills has done the second ascent of Matt Wilder's Cheating Reality (5.13d/14a R) on the Devils Thumb, a spectacular pinnacle high on the mountain skyline above Boulder, Colorado.

Mills first tried the route in early October, top-roping the climb and working out the protection. "I got it all figured out on Saturday and came back the next day with the plan of going for it," he said. "However, the wind was nuking up there, probably around 60mph. I decided not to go for it because the possibility of getting blown off the run-out, technical upper crux." He returned the following Saturday, October 11, and led the climb cleanly.

Cheating Reality climbs the very overhanging north face of the Devils Thumb, following an old aid line. Wilder skipped the ancient fixed gear on the route during his headpoint-style first ascent in 2009. Mills chose to clip the pro and said the route still deserved an R rating, though he thought it was closer to 5.13d than 14a.

Matt Wilder on Chasing Reality in screen shot from the 2010 movie CORE (Sparkshopcreative.com).

Matt Wilder on Cheating Reality in screen shot from the 2010 movie CORE (Sparkshopcreative.com).

"There are three old quarter-inch aid bolts and a pin protecting the first 40 feet of face climbing before you reach a thin seam," Mills said. "Doing it the way Matt did is essentially soloing this bit, and gives it an X rating in my opinion. I was scared to do it that way, and so I clipped the fixed pieces—they aren't great, but they are better than nothing. The rest of the route protects pretty well, even though the top is a bit run-out. Probably, R-rated but no real danger of serious injury—you just might take a monster swinging whip if the marginal gear were to pull and possibly hit the wall pretty hard.

"It's a really cool position up there and a wild route," he added.

Date of ascent: October 11, 2014

Source Joe Mills, Climbing.com