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A clean river wall, streaky orange and outward-tilted; two V7/V8 cruxes, a heartbreaker V6 up high. Such was the route established and tried over 2020 by Dariusz “Darek” Krol and Ed McKeown of Boulder.
After the beloved Krol—route author, event organizer, and one-person welcome wagon at Rifle, Colorado, and elsewhere—was tragically killed in an avalanche while backcountry skiing in December, the route passed to Matty Hong for its FA. Aquadarius, confirmed at 5.13d, is on the River Wall, St. Vrains, Lyons, Colorado.
Ed McKeown wrote on Mountain Project, “Thank you, Matty, for opening the line in such good style. Darek would be proud (and smiling per usual).”
Just lately Sasha DiGiulian, 28, got on the route, and asked a friend to film her so she could analyze her movement at the cruxes (that film is below). DiGiulian is a onetime leading comp climber and a hard sport climber who has taken her skills to big-wall free climbs in Europe and Canada. She has also traveled to Washington, D.C., lobbying to fight the climate-change crisis, and, as a board member of Ascend, an organization that taught climbing and leadership skills to young women in Afghanistan, wrote this article last week: “Women Climbers Need Your Help Fleeing Afghanistan.”
DiGiulian posted on Instagram, “Thank you, Darek, for the incredible climb, I hope you know the positive impact you had on the climbing community.”
She tells us: “Darek is missed so much.”
She hasn’t sent yet, says she is just excited for a new sport climb. The film shows her working the route’s three cruxes, and falling up high. Her last caption reads: “Need to try harder!”
See this tribute to Krol written by McKeown in our annual “Climbers We Lost” compendium.
The annual Rendezspew trailwork, route maintenance and comp weekend at Rifle Mountain Park will include a comp named for Krol and a plaque-dedication ceremony. The event, canceled last year for covid, will happen September 18-19. A great community gathering featuring hard work and a party, it won’t be the same without Darek at the helm, clipboard in hand, ushering everyone in.