Rob D’Anastasio: “Newlin Creek, Colorado Bouldering”
I spent a pair of consecutive weekends this April in Newlin Creek, an impressive area I hadn’t been before. The high quality granite boulders are scattered creek side among the pine tree hills, flanked on either side by cliff lines that provide welcome shade on warmer days. There’s a New England feel to this Colorado scene, where the moisture of the spring hangs in the valley and receives little sunlight. This is something to consider when making the trip to Newlin if there’s been recent snow or rain.
There are about fifty boulder problems in all and excellent lines to choose from at every grade. My first experience here was a day trip with a friend who knows the area well, and he suggested I try the V12 test piece William Shatner. I took a quick tour of the classics of the area that are near William Shatner, scoping out lines such as The Nickness V10, The Passion V9, Bear Trap V7, Walk Softly V9, and others. That’s when I realized how well this granite lends itself to distinct lines and solid rock. But I made a plan to stay focused and put as much into William Shatner as it took to finish the line that day.
The thing about that was, I failed. And having put all my eggs in one basket I left Newlin Creek with too much good looking rock untouched. So I returned the next Friday for a long weekend.
I was able to complete William Shatner on day one of the trip, excited to hit the rest of the area with plenty of time and energy left in the tank. On the following day climbing commenced farther up creek in the New Sector, on Old Guard V9, Uncivilized V8, and an entertaining link up called Undercivilized V9. Now I felt ready to give a good effort on another classic line in Newlin Creek, Jacque Custo V11. This one move wonder on bullet proof rock sits next to the waterfall that at one time carved out its features, and with a snow packed landing beneath its technical slab finish, I topped out and hurried to ford downhill to the next classic, the Nickness V10.
I don’t usually put extra pressure on myself to flash boulders, but for whatever reason I did this time. It’s a proud line with a low crux and a power-endurance element that I feel is a more flashable style of problem than straight power problems like Jacque Custo. But power-endurance element, beta and all, the flash eluded me. Fortunately I finished the Nickness a few goes later and called it a night.
On my last day I waited for cooler temperatures before trying the next classic line, Knees In The Trap V11. In the meantime I did Bear Trap and The Passion, two of the best for the grade at Newlin. It wasn’t until late afternoon that I got far up creek to Knees in the Trap, and then it took at least another hour before I figured out how to actually use a knee bar. But this line is well worth the time, and I came away with one last spectacular Newlin Creek boulder problem under my belt.
From Knees in the Trap I hiked the length of the Newlin Creek climbing area back to the car and thought about how much quality is packed into this relatively small place. I fried an egg, hit the road, and was home 3 hours later still thinking about the same thing.