We were not as motivated as you might think during our first summer in Estes Park, for many reasons…but we did get out and climb some of the classics – such as Kor’s Flake. The line is a mega-classic 5.7 on Sundance Buttress at Lumpy Ridge. We had heard plenty of stories about the crux pitch: a 200 foot squeeze chimney with little to no pro. Figuring that it wouldn’t have the crowds found elsewhere at Lumpy, we decided to have a go.
The “crux pitch” was my lead – and it was indeed a 200 foot squeeze behind the massive flake that give the route its name. I struggled my way up, fishing in a pair of micronuts for my only pro on the route. Falling wasn’t an option – not because of the consequence, but simply because it wasn’t possible. I was so stuck in that damn chimney that I would have had to try really hard to fall out.
Apryle drew the next pitch, which I firmly believe was the crux. She placed ample pro, but send the awkward, under-clingy crux moves with a smile on her face. I almost popped off while following.
Afterwards, I discussed the route with Eli Helmuth, head guide at the Colorado Mountain School. He commented that “that route should actually be graded 5.7f or something…” We both agreed that the last pitch feels more 5.8+ish than 5.7. I guess no one has the nerve to go re-grade a Layton Kor classic. You should check it out; it’s worth the approach.