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North America’s 50 Classic Climbs: Scenic Cruise

Colorado’s Black Canyon is known by many as the testing ground for traditional climbing. Jim Donini calls it, “Yosemite with and attitude.”

Epic TV continues its America’s Fifty Classics series with another installment, this time on the Black Canyon’s Scenic Cruise. As Epic TV points out, the imposing chasm certainly has a forbidding reputation, even among the rough and ready climbers who frequent its walls. Once you get over the sheer size of the place, plunging 650 metres into the earth to split the otherwise flat landscape, there are other factors to consider.

Fifty Classics Fine Jade

Fifty Classics Ancient Art

The canyon is notorious for its wildlife with both tics and poison ivy running rampant at the base. Add to this a reputation for stiff grading and you have the makings of a seriously hostile place to climb.

Among the most vaunted routes to grace its walls is Scenic Cruise, which despite climbing from the base of the canyon to its lip through unremittingly steep terrain, weighs in at a “modest” grade of 5.10, but every route at any grade should be taken seriously. The Black Canyon is notoriously run-out and serious and deserves respect.

Few climbs can claim to provide such a committing, testing experience at such an accessible grade and it is undoubtedly this that places it among America’s most classic climbs.