Nick Bullock and Tim Neill recently returned wide-eyed with excitement from a four-week climbing trip to the imposing Black Canyon of the Gunnison in western Colorado. Below they share their impressions and choose some must-do routes.
“While on my most recent trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, I lost count of the people who asked, ‘How the hell did you hear about the Black?’ At first this question took me by surprise, because the Black had been in my mind for years, almost as many years as I’d been climbing. But in the end, I realised that the Black is under the radar for many Brits and we were something of a rare breed that many local climbers were surprised to spot.
It took a while to remember, but I’m sure it was while reading about a climber from the States called Charlie Fowler, that I first heard about the Black. Almost from the start of my own interest in climbing, the people that have inspired and influenced me are people who, like Fowler, appear to value exploration and adventure climbing over big numbers, a person with a quest for the unknown. I’ve attempted in vain to find the piece of writing that described a failed solo attempt by Fowler to climb from the base of the Black in winter; maybe it’s another of my made-up mind tricks. However, there is no doubting that on rock and in warmer temperatures, Fowler climbed some pretty impressive stuff in the Black. Whatever, it was certainly reading about Charlie Fowler that piqued my initial interest in the Black many years ago.