On Sunday (8/12) we were lucky enough to get a tour of a new area up on Mt. Evans called The Abyss. Rachel, Jered, Adam, and Mordy cruised up the hill with Vikki and I to meet Jon Glassberg and some other climbers, and we hiked in to the boulders.
The Abyss is named for Abyss Lake, which is near the peak of Mt. Evans and is visible from the talus field. Most of the problems are given a nautical themed name, and by Jon’s approximation there are 80 or so established boulders, all contenders for the highest altitude V_ in the country. I think you end up parking at around 13,000 feet.
The best part is probably the hike. It’s a 20 minute flat (flat!) hike across some pleasant tundra to the top of the talus, and from there you choose your own level of involvement. A few established lines sit atop the hill, and they continue all the way down to the valley floor, where a Lincoln Lake-sized boulder field sits, apparently called The Winds (the hillside we were on is called The Bends). The potential for moderates is enormous, but the development has focused mostly on harder lines. We were able to put up three new problems in a casual afternoon. The rock is similar to Lincoln Lake, mostly solid with a bit of choss and exfoliation. As with most areas, more traffic will help it clean up.
Jon was there filming for an upcoming movie that LT11 will release in about a month. You may have seen the cryptic trailers. Chris Schulte was also there, trying an arete project that looked incredibly fun, somewhat tenuous, and seriously difficult. I couldn’t even start the thing. He also filmed Adam on his two new problems.
Apparently, the Abyss was discovered several years ago and kept secret. Jon and friends stumbled upon it and started developing, and their crew has put up most of the problems there. He invited us to shoot photos and blog and generally put the place on blast.
That this place would be kept secret is a strange concept for me. The place is all on public land, and with so much else around I’d be surprised to see it crowded. The timing of the film is a little funny, though…it’ll come out right after the road closes for winter. Regardless, there’s been some controversy (guess where) at B3bouldering. Jon Glassberg also posted about it at his blog.
We mostly spent the day hiking around, trying a couple of lines that looked good, and gawking at double-digit problems. At the end of the day, I also scrubbed a sweet rail traverse that gradually rises above a terrible landing. It ended up being about V2, and thankfully the topout, shared by Adam’s new problem Scalawag, was quite easy.
The valley looks insane. There are several house-sized boulders in the field, plus the aforementioned gigantic boulder field. We are hoping to spend a couple of days exploring, but it only really makes sense if you were to camp for a night or two. The hike back up the talus would be about 50-60 minutes of pure trudgery.