I first got word from Dave Graham in May of 2011 of a potential new project in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. The climb is located a few hundred feet past the Moraine Park turnoff, on the right hand side of the road. An obvious landmark to look for is the raging river filled with house sized boulders, running underneath the road bridge. You park in a pull out just past the bridge on the right and run a few hundred feet up the hillside into the woods.
Daniel Woods on Mirror Reality (V14), Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. Photo: © Cameron Maier - bearcammedia.com
Eager for new boulders, I decided to take a solo mission and check it out. The nature of the rock is glassy with large chunks of crystal seamed together, creating just enough friction to hold on. The beginning is steep (45 degrees overhanging), but as soon as you reach the lip, the angle changes to a bulged-out slab. You begin with a four move 8A+, the crux of which revolves around a low-percentage first move. The theme of the problem begins (most of the time concludes) at the half way point of the boulder. Here you take a flat full-pad edge with your right hand and a flat half-pad edge with your left, place your right toe on a needle-tip piece of crystal, and jump blindly over the bulge to a glassy sloper with your left hand. This one move in itself is around 8A and is tough to stick from this point, let alone from the beginning. The exit is a four-move 7C/+ with a hard right-foot rock over to the finishing edge. At this point you are relieved and can walk off to the right.
Woods on the glassy lip of Mirror Reality. Photo: © Cameron Maier - bearcammedia.com
I tried this project on and off for a couple of weeks in May into June, but the conditions became too warm to succeed. At this point I was disappointed, knowing I was not able to return until the spring of 2012. My plan was to travel to Europe and boulder for the fall/winter season. The whole time I was in Europe, I thought about this project and if anyone was going to go try it. I heard that a couple of climbers in Boulder were working it on and off, but there was still no success. My departure time in Europe arrived and I flew back to Colorado in January. I had my doubts that the project would be doable in winter, due to snow levels. With a low snow season, the park was in prime conditions and I paid the “Bridge Project” another visit.
It took a few days to remember the moves, but on my fifth day I executed each move perfectly and grunted my way to the top. Dave Graham and Cameron Maire were there to support me, and it felt nice to have friends to share this experience with. There are still more projects to be climbed. I am impressed with how much rock the park has to offer. It seems that gems keep popping up each year, get cleaned, and then become a reality.
– Daniel Woods