Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Destinations

Black Sheep

Wharton entering the crux (5.13) of the Black Canyon's hardest free pitch to date, and (below) one move later, the real business.IN AP...In April, Josh Wharton and Mike Pennings completed The Black Sheep (5.12 A0), a new route in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado. Originally Pennings' vision, the line took the two three years to finish.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

p.027-Breaking-News.162

Wharton entering the crux (5.13) of the Black Canyon’s hardest free pitch to date, and (below) one move later, the real business.

In April, Josh Wharton and Mike Pennings completed The Black Sheep(5.12 A0), a new route in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado.Originally Pennings’ vision, the line took the two three years tofinish. The seven-pitch route takes the prominent Plunge Pillar on the North Chasm View Wall, and went mostly at 5.10 to 5.11, with one pitch of 5.12 A0. In May, Wharton freed the A0 section at 5.13, establishing what is likely the Black Canyon’s most technically difficult pitch.

The route is very good, said Wharton, and that’s not just because I have first-ascent-itis. Wharton returned to the crux fourth pitch, and worked out a sequence for the steep crimpy climbing. He made five separate trips to try to redpoint the entire route, finally succeeding on May 10 with Jason Nelson. The two swung leads for a team-free ascent.

There’s a tendency to over-rate climbs that are done in adventurous places like the Black, said Wharton, not the case with this route. It required all the focus and attention to detail it takes for me to do a very hard sport route, something I’d never experienced beforein the Black.
Wharton lives in Rifle, Colorado, and has climbed over 60 routes in the Black Canyon.