Home / Blog / Journal / Red Rocks Classic Climbs with Andrew: Jubilant Song, Unimpeachable Groping, Purblind Pillar, Cookie Monster
Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 8
The final moves on the final pitch of Unimpeachable Groping.

Red Rocks Classic Climbs with Andrew: Jubilant Song, Unimpeachable Groping, Purblind Pillar, Cookie Monster

I met Andrew Sawman last year in Red Rocks. He was floating around the desert with our mutual friend Ian King. They were in Vegas for the Red Rock Rendezvous. I was guiding.  We met at Calico Basin Trailhead and climbed Yin and Yang, Atman, and Winter Heat (5.11). We had a great time but Ian and Andrew left soon after the Rendezvous. We didn’t get a chance to climb much.

Last week Andrew sent me a text saying he saw my message on Mountain Project looking for climbing partners. He was in town and ready to climb. We texted back and forth and agreed that we wanted to tick off as many moderate classic climbs as we could.

JUBILANT SONG (5.8)

Our first objective was climbing Jubilant Song (5.8), a remote classic climb the South Face of Windy Peak. The approach was long and arduous. We got a little off route leaving the trailhead, but found the trail at the mouth of the canyon and started heading up. Once we got within view of the first pitch we realized another party was on it. We still had a bit of hiking left and we took our time to give them a head start.

 

Jubilant Song Windy Peak Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 1
Andrew Sawman enjoying the early morning sun on Jubilant Song.

 

Jubilant Song Windy Peak Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 3
Belaying Andrew up to a tiny ledge about half way up Windy Peak.

 

Jubilant Song Windy Peak Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 2
Mr. Sawman leaving the belay station on a runout section of 5.8 climbing on Jubilant Song.

 

Jubilant Song Windy Peak Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 4
A variation to the final pitch that goes out a right leaning corner to the summit.

 

Jubilant Song Windy Peak Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 5
Andrew on the summit of Windy Peak.

 

Jubilant Song Windy Peak Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 6
Selfie summit shot on Windy Peak.

 

Then it rained in Las Vegas. It rained hard and long. Climbing was out of the question for a number of days. Andrew was considering making his way back to Denver. I was thinking about heading out to Joshua Tree. We both ended up staying put in Vegas. After a number of days to let the rock dry we decided it was time to get back after it.

UNIMPEACHABLE GROPING (5.10b)

This climb was put up in 1999 by Mike Clifford and Jorge Urioste. It’s a 7-pitch rock climb that follows a line of bolts up Ginger Buttress in Juniper Canyon. Some parties bring a few small pieces for the beginning pitch, but 15 draws is enough protection for most parties. We got to the wall early and were the only ones there. I led the first pitch and wasn’t feeling very fresh for the climb. But as we made our way up the climb the pitches started to feel easier. As the sun faded behind the looming walls the air got crisp and the rock cold. Even though we were on a sport route it almost felt like an adventure.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 1
Andrew and me leaving the parking lot in the early AM.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 2
You can see the climb on the formation to the right. It looks like a fast approach from the parking lot. But it’s not.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 3
Andrew Sawman following on the first pitch. This was one of the hardest pitches on the route for me. Maybe since it’s the warmup it felt especially difficult.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 5
Andrew Sawman leaving the belay and heading up the second pitch.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 6
Climber and belayer about half way up the wall.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 7
Andrew pulling the steep roof crux on Unimpeachable Groping.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 8
The final moves on the final pitch of Unimpeachable Groping.

 

Unimpeachable Groping Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 9
Just a couple double rope rappels and you’re back on the ground. Not bad.

 

PURBLIND PILLAR (5.8)

Purblind Pillar is a classic. I’ve written about it before. So there’s no need to go into it other than the fact that we had an enjoyably casual day and the large ledges were well appreciated.

 

Purblind Pillar White Rock Red Rocks Andrew Sawman Kevin Riley Action in Solitude 1
Andrew Sawman making a few more moves before finishing the third pitch of Purblind Pillar.

 

Our bodies were trashed from all the climbing we had done over the previous few days. But we had one more day before Andrew took off for the Ouray Ice Festival. Andrew thought we should do Cookie Monster (5.7) into the final pitch of Cat in the Hat. I loved the idea. I hadn’t done the climb and it seemed like a good climb to know for guiding.

Cookie Monster (5.7)

We had a leisurely start around 8am. After having our coffee and making a stop at the pit toilets we got on the trail and headed into Pine Creek Canyon. The approach is mostly flat and easy to follow. At the base of the climb we decided to simul-climb the route and combine all four pitches into one long pitch. since I was climbing the entire time I didn’t have a chance to take any photos. But I really enjoyed the route and it’s a great alternative start to Cat in the Hat which will most likely be busier and requires a longer approach.

About Kevin Riley

Kevin Riley has been a rock climbing and general outdoor enthusiast since 1998, served as the associate publisher for Climbing and Urban Climber magazines, and co-founded the Denver-based non-profit, First Ascenders. He graduated from UMASS (Amherst).

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