Pent Up in the Black Canyon - New 5.12 Added to Colorado's Somber Gorge


Photos courtesy of Jason Nelson: - View a Gallery by Jason Nelson, Jack Jefferies and Cody Sims

On June 7, Jason Nelson, Jack Jeffries, and Cody Sims, put up Pent Up, (5.12c 700 feet), a new seven-pitch Black Canyon line. The climbs sits in the South Rim’s Chillumstone Gully to the climber’s left of Count Your Lily Pads (III 5.10 A2). Both routes share the same last pitch, originally aided on the FA of Lily Pads (John Kaandorp and Steve Demaio; 1983) due to rain wetting the route. View a Gallery by Jason Nelson, Jack Jefferies and Cody Sims

Several years ago, Nelson noticed the line while approaching Blackjack, a moderate route in the Chillumstone Gully. “The top looked like it might be thin, but the lower section looked like it would go for sure,” Nelson said. Hearing that Jeffries and Sims were coming to visit, Nelson instantly knew he had a good crew with whom to attempt the line. “It was Cody's first route in the Black, and Jack had only done two routes prior. Neither of them knew any better,” joked Nelson.

Taking one day to scout the project and three days to work the seven pitches, the trio only put in four bolts (two on the fifth crux pitch) “to keep it from being a death route.”

Starting with an easy (5.6) first pitch, Pent Up then leads into a 5.9 pitch, some tricky 5.10 pitches, and the P5 crux — dubbed “The Mexican Standoff” – which tackles overhanging headwall on the buttress, following discontinuous seams. “Cody sent it first, then I pulled the rope and did it, too,” Nelson said. “I was pumped, scared and barely got through it. I felt lucky to send.”

Finishing on two 5.11 pitches featuring thin seams, the route is chocked full of steep, engaging climbing, characteristic of the Black Canyon’s always adventurous, brooding walls.

Directions: From Montrose, travel east on Highway 50 for eight miles until you reach the junction with Highway 347. Follow 347 north for six miles to the park’s south entrance. The Chillumstone Gully is located along the South Rim between the North Chasm View Overlook and Devil’s Lookout.

Approach: Descend the gully to just above the Chillumstone rappels, where the route is to left as you descend. Pent Up is in between the large chimney and Lily Pads.

Sources: Jason Nelson,

Date of Ascent: June 7, 2008

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