Andy in the Rockies

Trip reports, videos, and photos from hiking, climbing,
and mountaineering adventures in Colorado and beyond.

Piz Badille - The Ridge
October 8, 2005

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On October 8, 2005 Julie and I completed our first multi-pitch technical climb without the benefit of someone smarter, more experienced, and more skilled than ourselves along for the ride. For this milestone climb I chose a crag high up the Saint Vrain Canyon named Piz Badille after the mountain in the Italian Alps ? Pizzo Badile. The crag consisted of a sizeable triangular face bordered by a very nice ridge on the left. I chose the ridge for a number of reasons: at four pitches it was nice and long but not too long, the hardest pitch was the first at 5.6-5.8, the later pitches were 5.5-5.4, we could walk off the summit without the need for rappels, there was minimal approach, and it was just a really cool looking climb.

The climb was incredibly fun. The first pitch was indeed the crux with challenging route finding through a series of small roofs and very exposed slabs split by very thin cracks. Whereas I was at my very limit leading the first pitch Julie was still well within her comfort zone following.

I led all the pitches and Julie was able to follow without difficulty. After the first pitch the climbing was more straightforward as we worked our way up the ridge. After four pitches we reached the top of the technical difficulties. We packed up the gear and completed the remaining, exposed, fourth-class bit of the ridge to the summit unroped.

There was a large talus and boulder gully to descend to return to the base of the climb. We made short work of it and soon had our stuff packed up and were ready to celebrate our great climb. The only remaining obstacle was re-crossing Saint Vrain River back to the car. This time we both opted to wade it. The water was cold and the rocks were slippery but we both managed to make it without falling.

Julie and I both agreed that this was the most fun adventure we'd had in quite some time. The climbing itself was really fun and it felt really great to have made this major breakthrough in our climbing career. We tested our selves on a significant multi-pitch route and passed with flying colors. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

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