Friday, July 24

God's Crag

The real summer in Vegas typically starts late June or early July. May and most of June are quite good for the higher elevation crags but at some point near the Solstice, the night time lows begin creeping up too damn high for my taste. As the desert went through this transition we packed the truck and made the pilgrimage to Colorado. First stop was something of an obscurity that I had wondered about for years… God’s Crag. Every once and a while I try to dig deep through Mountain Project, exploiting all of the most advanced search functions in pursuit of hidden gems. A shocking number exist, but few are as enticing as God’s Crag; with it’s towering streaked walls, variety of grades and prime summer temps. I first stumbled on God’s Crag nearly 10 years ago during one of these searches, but the timing and stoke never lined up until this summer. 

Just outside of Lake City, Colorado, God’s Crag is nestled into a steep hillside in the shadow of Uncompahgre Peak. Some primitive camp sites line the road right next to the river and not far from where you start the 20 minute uphill approach. The crag itself is a horseshoe shaped amphitheater, with routes peppered all over, left to right. The Creamy Salmon Wall is the highest quality rock overall and has some outstanding 5.12 climbing of which ‘Black Velvet’ was my absolute favorite. The massive Mileski Wall has mixed rock quality but the good rock is very good and the lines are crazy aesthetic and 40 meters long. I revived and partially bolted 2 forgotten projects here that I called ‘Fools Gold’ and ‘Rainmaker’ - a waterfall splits the Mileski wall and depending on your luck (and the wind) you might find this route soaking or bone dry. We figured the chances are roughly 50/50 from day to day, but it’s worth the gamble for what I would consider the king line of God’s Crag. The most sought after route must be ‘Full Facial’, a resistant 8a up a consistently overhanging panel bookmarking the left side of the Mileski Wall. 

Up above there is a second tier, with a stunningly beautiful black and white streaked, overhanging wall (Zebra Wall). Will Anglin and Ben Spannuth put in some work here reviving old projects and bolting a couple new ones back in ’13. ‘Fruit Stripe’ 13d is super good and likely the best on the upper level. Some of the rock up here can feel friable and some is downright razor sharp, but the beauty and difficulty of the lines up top were motivating enough for me. Plus you just can’t ignore the fact that the position and setting of this crag both on the top tier and below is completely mind blowing. Summer climbing damn near its finest if you ask me. 

We spent the week hanging and climbing with Nate Liles and Bekka Mongeau. No cell service. Long days of bolting, cleaning and climbing. Laughs and Catan in their RV at night. Searching for rare gems by cracking open mine tailings in-between burns. It felt refreshing to be in the cool, thin air, and also just to be out there exploring this new part of the world I had been wondering about for so long. 

Nate killed it; climbing his project ‘Zooty Head’ 12d on the Creamy Salmon, bolting a rad new one on the Mileski (‘Beautiful and Savage Country’ also 12+) and shooting a video for Epic TV. I will post more about the video as it is released… Some drool worthy shots in there for sure.