| Big Rock Candy Mountain: One Big Chunk of Granite
March 23, 2011
Trailhead: ~7,500 off FS 205, Metberry Gulch Road. 4WD required.
Total Milage: ~1.0, Total Gain: ~900.
Route: Petered Out, 5.9. 7 pitches.
Big Rock Candy Mountain from Tick Dome. Photo courteous Jeremy Hakes
I've been wanted to climb BRCM for a while now and a recent report of Tick Dome showed a stellar photo of the peak. It was time to get it climbed. I spoke with my rock climbing partner, Justin, who got off of work late, 8:30 AM, and met up at my house. We originally planned on a mellow day of rock climbing at Turkey Rocks but on the drive down I was able to convince him of climbing BRCM. How did that happen? We left my house at 10:00 AM and it was a long drive.
The drive was familiar as I was just in the area two weeks ago. After passing the road to Turkey Rocks we continued down Cedar Mountain Road finding many blown down trees across the road. Fortunately, we were able to move all of them off of the road. Eventually, we turned off onto Metberry Gulch and the 4WD drive began. Overall a decent road but there were some rocks that made things interesting. We finally arrived at the trailhead at 12:30 PM.
Hiking to the base of the climb.
Hiking to the base of the climb.
After gearing up we were finally on our way at 1:00 PM. I made sure the headlamps were packed. It didn't take long to reach the base of the climb and without wasting time we started up the first pitch. Our first pitch was ~90 feet and we stopped at a good ledge due to the lack of large gear. We only brought 1 #4 and #5. I thought the first pitch was 5.8. The second pitch was the crux with an OW 5.9 crack and it ate up our #4 and #5 pretty quick. Justin led.
Looking down the first pitch.
Second pitch. The crux.
Justin taking on the second pitch.
The climbing became much easier after the crux and our second pitch took the full 60M rope. I took the third pitch which I thought went at 5.6-7. I stopped at the ledge just below the Gum Drop; a huge boulder along the route. I didn't want to continue due to rope drag concerns. Pitch 4, was really short as I took a short awkward chimney, 5.6, to the base of the Gum Drop.
Justin took the two famous 5.7 run out pitches. I was too chicken S*&T to lead them. The start of the 5th pitch starts with an airy bound across a 3 foot wide 20+ foot deep chasm with a mantle move to finish the job. Then it's sweet 5.7 slab climbing. Not so sweet that there just a few Star Drives with rusted hangers to protect the entire pitch. I thought this was the highest quality climbing but also the scariest.
Start of the 5.7.
5.7 slab climbing. It’s not that steep.
Looking down the 5.7 pitches.
Luckily, the 2 bolt Star Drive anchor at the top of the 5th pitch can be backed up with 2 cams at a foot level crack. Starting the 6th pitch was interesting but I thought was easier slab climbing than the 5th pitch. Finally the 7th pitch. It started out with a quality 5.6 seam then went to complete garbage granite; the kitty litter glued together granite. I felt like I was climbing in the Needles again. Fortunately, it was easy climbing.
From the top of the last pitch, it was an easy stroll to the summit of Douglas' counties hardest peak. Great views, too bad there isn't any trees left. The summit felt pretty remote considering how close we were to Denver. After a short summit break, we headed to the rap anchors on the NE corner of the summit block. We did a short rope belay to the anchors as they are close to the edge on a friction slab. If you were to slip there, it would be a certain splatter at the bottom. Two raps with a single 60M rope to get down. We returned to the car at 6:15 PM just in time to drive out with some daylight.
North summit from the south summit.
Looking at the south summit from the summit.
Big chunk of granite.
Overall, not the best quality rock climbing but still a great route in a remote setting with great views and a fine summit.
BRCM from the car.
Route topo. Original photo by Jeremy Hakes.
Directions to the TH: Take CO 67 south from Deckers and made a right turn on Abbey Ave, which turns into Westcreek road, in Westcreek. Take another right onto County Rd 68. Follow 68 for bit then take a right on FS 360. Take FS 360 for a few slow miles and then a right onto Metberry Gulch, FS 205. Take Metberry Gulch road until a very steep hill near the base of BRCM. 4WD required after Metberry Gulch turnoff.
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