New High-Altitude 5.13 in Colorado

Courtesy of Rob Pizem.

Courtesy of Rob Pizem.

Rob Pizem has added a second 5.13 route to the P Wall, located at around 12,000 feet near Mt. Evans in the Colorado Front Range.Rocky Mountain High (5.13a) is a two-pitch line with a crux 170-foot corner protected mostly with traditional gear. The route got its name from Mike Patz, who did the second ascent and said he was so addled from lack of oxygen that he forgot sequences on the crux pitch.

Rocky Mountain High shares the 100-foot 5.12a corner crack of Back to the Earth (5.13c/d), which Pizem established last September on the P Wall (Possibility Wall). After traversing left across a ledge, the second pitch begins with three bolts to reach the gently overhanging corner crack; two more bolts protect slab moves after the crack ends. Pizem described the crux climbing as long reaches between jams, mostly fingers and tips. “The climbing is sustained,” he said. “You may end up with a stem-type shake, but all the while your legs are pumping out. If you have a good hand or finger lock, then your feet are on bad terrain.”

Pizem is now working on a hard seam that splits the overhanging wall right of Back to the Earth. He previously bolted an arête variation to Back to the Earth that is also unclimbed. With two 5.13 routes and two possible 5.13 or harder projects, the P Wall may host the hardest collection of high-altitude free climbs in North America.

Date of Ascent: July 2, 2008

Sources: Rob Pizem,

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