Freed from the Undertow (5.11+) on CO's Black Wall


7/6/12 - Brad Wilson and Shaun Reed have made the first free ascent of Undertow (5.11+), one of the hardest routes on the Black Wall of Mt. Evans, Colorado. Undertow is a 20-plus-year-old aid route (5.10a A4-) first put up by Kirk Miller and Ken Trout. Wilson and Reed freed the line in six pitches, with four pitches of 5.11. On pitch five, the pair deviated from the original route's A4- roof traverse and instead climbed the "Undertoad Variation," which follows a crack across the 10-foot roof to an undercling, before firing over the lip to start the final vertical pitch.

"The climbing is tenuous, sustained, fairly sharp, and gear is sometimes tricky to place," said Reed on "However, the entire route takes great gear with clean falls, no runouts, and sinker finger locks are to be had throughout."

The Black Wall is known for its long, committing routes at altitude (between 12,000 and 13,000 feet), with the easiest, good climb going at 5.10. It's consistently wet, with groundwater pools on top of the cliffs collecting water and sending it down and through the rock.

Date of ascent: June 23, 2012