Forty minutes from the parking lot near Summit Lake sits the multi-pitch granite
Black Wall of Mount Evans. Bring two sixty meter ropes (twins are ideal) for
the rappels and get an early start (storms tend to roll in starting around noon).
We hit the trail around 8 and topped out on the trade route Good Evans (5.11a)
around 1. Route descriptions call it five pitches (the fifth is 5.easy). We
linked the third and fourth pitches (be sure to reach back around from the belay
and unclip the last pin to reduce drag).
Good Evans is an extremely high quality route with solid rock on the low pitches.
The upper pitches get a bit loose, but the pro is excellent. An easy crack leads
to a crux of fingers and smears at about 15-20 meters. Trust the feet and hands
to access the jugs above. The second pitch is the glory pitch. Climb a huge
flake to its top (the first piece of real pro is fifteen feet up). Tip-toe across
the flake the access the splitter hand crack that takes you to the belay under
a roof. Link pitches three and four by traversing in and out of prominent cracks
and features with a 5.10 crux rounding the corner to the belay (a nail-in marks
the belay). Lead out left for 15 meters of 5.easy climbing to the summit. Pack
your bags and start hiking. It is not uncommon to get rocked by hail on the
way out of climbs at this altitude and the talus offers little in the way of
protection. Note: do not leave food in your pack at the top of the route. Marmots
know how to gnaw through nylon to access what they are looking for. If you really
want to keep them away, take a piss fifteen feet from your pack. They will hone
in on the electrolytes and might forego the pack.
The Black Wall is committing and casual at the same time. It is certainly more
accessible and climbs faster than the Diamond, but these are routes you must
top out on if you don’t want a heinous hike out. If you bail into the
valley, you will have to slog through snow and talus and up a big, loose scree
field to the car. It would not be end of the world, but it will make you curse.
As with all things alpine, I recommend traveling light and fast. Start early,
finish early. And do not eat at Paco’s in Idaho Springs.
Check out Mountain
Project for detailed route descriptions