Three Black Routes in a Day

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Undeterred by autumn’s shorter days, Thad Friday and Josh Wharton climbed three full-length routes in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado in under 21 hours. The two left the car at the North Rim of the 2,000-foot-deep canyon at 4:30 a.m. on September 25, descended to the base, and climbed Southern Arête (5.10+), returning to their car in a little over six hours. They headed back to the canyon floor, crossed the Gunnison River, and climbed the 15-pitch Astrodog (5.11+) to the South Rim in less than five hours. Rappelling to the base, they re-crossed the river and started up the 14-pitch classic Scenic Cruise (5.10+) as darkness fell, reaching the rim and the car at 1:15 a.m., 20 hours 45 minutes after starting. The Black Canyon “Trifecta,” which takes classic routes up each of the canyon’s three major walls, was first completed by Jeff Hollenbaugh and Mike Pennings in just over 24 hours. The link-up requires about 6,000 feet of technical climbing, with arduous descents and river crossings between the routes.

Trending on Climbing

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.