|The Stumbling Block
Fortunately, Battle's End turned out to be a terrific route, equal to the best in Clear Creek Canyon. The stone is immaculate and the climbing relentlessly difficult and as varied as a route can get.
Like many routes, Battle's End has a personal story to it. I had worked closely with a colleague for 8 years and had watched him slip slowly into an irreversible state of depression. After years of therapy, drugs, and agony, Dale took his own life - the end of a long, frustrating battle. This climb was put in place for Dale as a small way for a climber to keep his story fresh.
The snowy November day I placed the bolts on Battle's End turned into one of the most terrifying days of my life. The top of The Stumbling Block contains a narrow, water channel that fills up with ice in the winter. I had gone up to the channel with a rope, descender, and slings for clipping the anchor. Seeing it full of ice should have turned me back, since I wore only light hiking shoes. Descending the ice filled channel, bridging against the ice on either side, must rank as one of the stupidest and most terrifying experiences I can recall. The channel slopes downward at 40 degrees and dumps out right over the climbs for an 80 ft ride.
The climbing on Battle's End begins with the first three clips of "Lips Against The Steel" for a 5.11c entre. Where Lips moves right to the trad crack above, Battle's End books left into the horizontal jams. Clip a bolt and cop a rest, it's all there is. Chase the seam above via six more clips. I would rate the moves 5.11c (in Lips), 5.12a, 5.12c, 5.12b with a bit of 5.11 as you approach the anchor. The end of this battle comes when you clip the anchor.
FFA went to Alan Nelson who blitzed the route in archetypal powerful, high efficiency style in the summer of 1997. Battle's End is easier than Anarchitect because it has no single move at 5.12d, but it has just as much continuity. Three stars for the superb quality stone, the powerful sequences, the cool moves, and the relentless continuity. It is worth mentioning that a positive ape index of about twelve feet would be useful.
QD only. This 80 ft route needs 10 draws and something for the double bolt anchor at the top.
|By Quinn Stevens|
From: Denver, CO
Feb 11, 2002
When I went up to try this route yesterday we hoped that either we would send it that day, or not like it enough to come back. Unfortunately I didn't send it and I liked it too much to stay away for too long. Battle's End is a superb route with memorable sequences. I'd love to watch someone onsight this. Too bad it involves such a horrible approach. I think the rating is perfect because, as you say Richard, there are no purely 12d sections. However, I feel the c/d rating is warranted as the route dishes up some continuously hard climbing for 80 feet. I'm just glad there's a couple good rests. Thanks for putting up this fine CC addition.
|By Richard M. Wright|
From: Lakewood, CO
Feb 11, 2002
I have to admit holding my breath throughout Alan's clean-as-a-whistle FFA. I knew he had it only when he clipped the anchors. While it may be overkill to put in routes for commemorative reasons, we are climbing afterall, every time I pass the Stumbling Block I am reminded of Dale. The last thing Dale did was to take his sea kayak for a two week trip around the Alutians. He shot himself when he returned, so the trip must have been like saying goodbye to the one thing in life he truly loved.
|By Nate Weitzel|
Feb 12, 2002
I will second Quinn's comments on this one. Great route, super rock, with a challenging and continuous flair. No move is so hard as to stop you in your tracks, but linking the entire sequence will take some concentration and stamina. Comparable to Anarchitect, slightly easier but with more thin moves. While the approach is not all that enjoyable, the setting is nice being on top of the mountain, away from the road. Great addition to CC. One of the top 10 routes of its grade in the canyon.
Oct 8, 2007
I was hoping someone who has done this route could tell me if being short (5'2" wingspan) would make it super difficult. Also, since the comparison to Anarchitect was brought up, does it climb similarly in style to the Anarchy Wall 12d's?
|By Tzilla Rapdrilla|
Oct 17, 2007
I would say that this route is similar in nature to Anarchitect, but a bit longer. I actually did some of the work putting this route up, cleaning, etc., but wasn't able to send on a hot summer day. I went back later on a cooler day (2nd ascent I think) & found that sending the whole route had a pump factor that makes the easier climbing toward the end feel as hard as the crux in the middle. The crux is a bit reachy and involves some foot trickery, so I'm not sure how it would be for a shorter person. There would probably be other alternatives for that move though. It's well worth the walk up there though.