/ NEW ARTICLE: Black Canyon of Gunnison
"The rock is at times suspect and at other times total choss. The routes are long and retreat is difficult... In short 'The Black' is awesome!"
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2425
Great Jack. It's certainly an awesome place. We did Scenic Cruise in 1996. An American team let us go past them about 3 or 4 pitches up - and then sat on their belay until we were a clear pitch above them. I remember clipping three of the WORST bolts I've ever seen, on the pegmatite band. Our American friends paid dearly for their generosity as they were caught in the mother of all thunder storms - I imagine on that three bolt pitch - as we topped out... Brilliant, but we've never been back!
It's big-wall Gogarth with wide cracks.
The only route I've done is a big 5.11+ which had an offwidth crux! We paid heavily for the mellow 9am start by getting darked before topping out. Had to split the last pitch into 3 as we found we had only 1 headtorch between us.
Brilliant, but never been back either!
But it is commonly known as 'The Black' or Black Canyon of Gunnison.
Hope you found the article and PDF topo useful as well as taking umbrage with the title.
Excellent article. One question, you will have to excuse my ignorance of the distances involved; it possible to combine a trip here with a visit to California?
when I was there I was sure the geology was gniess and pegmatites.
2 days drive ish
agree Jack bangs on about looseness and choss, and first person photo - no helmet !
Cool - nice informative article. Looks brilliant.
It's an awesome place, by any standards.
When I was there in the mid 1990s you needed a Wilderness permit to descend any of the gullies and the park rangers were on the ball. We were asked for ours shortly after we got back up to the rim. (Luckily we'd been good and we had one in the car.) Is this still the case?
Also, the river at the base of the canyon is paddleable. When it was first done in fibreglass boats, it took several days to complete the trip and apparently food dumps were left at the bottom of the gullies.
This link is for a vid of a far more recent descent and is well worth watching, if only to get a feel for the sheer scale of the canyon:
It was the Feldspar apparently that threw me off the scent.
Here is my updated paragraph (you may need to refresh your browser to see the change in the article).
The walls of the canyon are up to 700m high and are made mainly of gneiss. However the gneiss is so heavily enriched with feldspar it is virtually identical to granite in physical attributes and very close in composition too. Pegmatite veins slice through the gneiss walls and range from a few centimetres in width to huge scary snakes several metres wide. To my inexperienced eye the pegmatite seemed to be just like quartz. So it's black and gold granite-type-rock shot through with loose 'quartzy' veins.
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