History has always been writ on the Naked Edge. Coral Bowman fell unroped from this world-famous Eldo 5.11b, having accidentally unclipped, and stopped herself by miraculously grabbing and skidding down her haul line. Also decades ago, Jim Collins soloed the five-or six-pitch trad route after a fight with his girlfriend. Derek Hersey soloed it as well.
But please… the approach and 460-foot route in 44 minutes?
Funny thing is, the ascentionists think they can do it faster. For starters, one of them, Brad Gobright, is recovering from a broken ankle. The two had also already done the route once that day, so weren’t fresh.
Their first “lap” was just a fun climb on a sunny winter day, with no particular motive—until they noticed their speed.
As Scott Bennett, the other climber, describes it, “I had seen a friend starting to follow a pitch [across canyon] on the Bastille, and I knew we were going fast when I topped out the Edge and he was still following the same pitch."
In the past year, an impromptu competition had kicked up on this longtime hard classic in Eldorado Canyon, Boulder. Records are given for time “bridge to bridge”—meaning the footbridge at the base of the approach/descent trail. Times comprise not only the approach and descent but the easier yet technical terrain to the base of the route proper.
In recent history, Bob Rotert and Dave Vaughan held the record at 1hour, 22 minutes.
Blake Herrington and Scott Bennett cut it down to 1:13.
Jason Wells and Stefan Griebel got serious and added simul-climbing to the mix, posting a big dip: a cool 49 minutes.
On Sunday, January 27, Brad Gobright and Scott Bennett shaved off five minutes, going bridge-to-bridge in 44 minutes.
“We had a blast up there,” Bennett tells us. “It was one of those great days out in the canyon with the sun shining and tons of friends climbing on every formation."
The day began with a few cragging pitches, and then their first jaunt up the Edge. The two walked back to the car, talked a bit of strategy, and then started the timer.
They ran to the base, and scrambled unroped up two 5.5 approach pitches, and the short 5.8 "Cave Pitch."
Recalls Bennett: “At the base of the Naked Edge proper, I tied in and began to lead, trying to focus less on speed and more on good footwork.” He linked a 70-meter pitch through the first three pitches, and then stopped to belay Brad. “Once he was past the 5.11 climbing on the first pitch, I stopped belaying and continued climbing with him simuling behind.
“Leading off on the final two guidebook pitches, the 5.11 business of the route, I only had one cam left on my harness. Thankfully there were a few pieces of fixed mank to clip, and I didn't fall to test them out!”
They topped out on the route only 29 minutes after leaving the bridge.