Today's crag exposure comes from P&C's friend Andrew Bisharat. Rifle needed to be covered, and Andrew is the only person I could think of that would do it better than me, so naturally, I convinced him it was a good idea. Enjoy. -Wig
When people think of Rifle, they think of what could only be called “A Scene”: shirtless posers, loser spraylords, dumb beta scammers, belay gumbies, non-pimps, overly self-conscious females who annoyingly whisper to each other while sitting on rope bags, dreadlocked trip-hoppers, and the gaper choads of climbing gyms who have everything to prove and nothing to lose by talking as loudly as possible.
Guess what? In this case, people are completely right. (How often does that happen?)
Rifle IS a Scene. It’s fucking annoying. At least to me, a “local,” which is to say that my opinion overrides the opinions of just about everyone reading this.
On weekends, I am forced to park in butt-fuck-istan (aka The Bauhaus) with all the chossers and Mexicans. Then, I have to walk up to 10 minutes just to go wait in line to climb my favorite warm-up, Rehabilitator (5.11c). This is Not Fucking Cool! I hate walking. If I wanted to walk, I would get on a treadmill and drink apricot smoothies and smell my own farts. Rather, I want to fall out of my car into my harness and, in an instant, be pissing all over Your Project (5.easy).
Some say that the climbing in Rifle is pretty fun. These people have never been to France or Mallorca, where there is actual quality stone and beautiful scenery. Those who have been abroad and still think that Rifle is good need to be Danza slapped.
Climbers go to Rifle for the same reason that gay men sign up for priest seminary school: To hate themselves by repressing their most intrinsic nature. Rifle is not a place to Send—it’s a place to suffer, suck and fail. Crushing your psyche into a bitter, vestigial ego totally describes the climbing experience here.
Arguably, the best part of Rifle may be how many climbers with vaginas it attracts. “Females,” as they are otherwise known, may be showing increasing presence throughout the climbing community (especially compared to the 1970s, when you could count the number of Climber Girls on one cloven hoof), but nowhere do you find a higher concentration of Girls Who Crush than at Rifle.
This canyon is a fantastic place to socialize and flirt, and that (not the climbing) is certainly the strongest attraction for many. This is why you rarely see people leading, and more often see gumbies hanging out by their big, stupid camper-cars with annoying little stove-and-cooler set-ups, sniffing each other’s crotches like a pack of wild dogs.
Big fucking deal. Anyone can tighten their harness leg loops to make their baby dicks look bigger, but not everyone can interact with members of the opposite sex. You don’t see many Rifle climbers, say, “rollin’ up on dat shorty and spittin' hot fire.” Instead, Riflers play strange mindfuck games, like they do in sexually repressed Japan, such as projecting an adjacent route to their love interest. This works right up until the Female realizes that she climbs much harder than the Male, whose ego becomes even further crushed because of the gender prejudices concerning athletic performance that still linger among a majority of climber dudes. But again, having your ego crushed is the quintessential Rifle experience, so it’s fine.
The climbing here can best be described as “tricky.” Climbers take months or, not atypically, years before finally reducing a hard climb with enough kneebar trickery and dickhole jessery. In fact, what people “do” in Rifle is barely considered rock climbing in the Eastern bloc of Europe.
So what? This is America, which gives us the freedom to be Louder and Righter than anyone else. It’s the embodiment of this attitude and the freedom to yell “MEX-I-CO!” on the rare occasions I send something that continues to draw me back. Huh? Never mind, robot, and listen to what I say: Rifle is the best summer crag in the United States, and right now its “Scene” is one of the most fun, none-too-serious parties rocking the vertical ghetto.
If you know how to laugh at yourself, and more important, bring extra beer for Me, Rifle can be a pretty good time. I don’t know. There must be some reason that I spend every weekend there. Maybe I just enjoy hating myself. It was either Rifle or priest school.
CAMPING: Campsites are getting fuller and more crowded as the years go on. As a result, more cops come up to patrol on the weekends, which is BAD. Keep a low profile, and don’t do anything stupid. Rules are: no more than two cars and two tents per site.
Rifle is extremely busy and possibly dangerous. There was once a veritable holocaust of two unfortunate victims in a dumpster here. Hungry-looking bears have been spotted in the Wicked Cave. Old, worn draws have been known to slice ropes quicker than bushido blades. Fingers have been lost to desperate clips. Consider not coming to Rifle in the first place. There’s perfectly reasonable climbing in Clear Creek Canyon.
ACCESS: Rifle is open to climbing, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping this place open means not being a Dumbasss Idiot. And by that, I mean: Don’t belay in the road at the Project wall. Pay the $5 entrance fee (or buy a season pass). Pay for your campsite ($7/night). Don’t park like an autistic loser in illegal spots. Clean up your trash. Don’t shit everywhere. Be friendly. Leave Me alone. And most importantly, keep your dog on a leash. Better yet, don’t bring your dog at all. I assure you that your pet is not as well behaved or cute as you think it is. Rifle’s crag dogs are often annoying and always wet. If this were Mexico, they’d be shot.
PROJECTING ATTITUDE: You’re not special, no one cares about you, and what you are doing is not badass. People climbed all of these routes over a decade ago, before there were gyms to train in. They also didn’t have 15 years of beta refinement from which you now so thoughtlessly rely upon to climb even the most straightforward routes. Leave the attitude at home, in the Front Range, where it belongs.
MUST-DO ROUTES: There’s nothing worth climbing here under 5.13b. Still, some gumbies say they like: Pinch Fest (5.12b), Hand Me the Canteen Boy (5.12d), Cardinal Sin (5.12a), Choss Family (5.11c), Rumor Has It (5.11b) and Do The Mashed Potato (5.7). Other favorites include: Anti-Phil (5.13b), Sprayathon (5.13c), Fluff Boy (5.13c), Pump-o-Rama (5.13a), I’m Not a Philistine (best 5.12c in canyon), Sometimes Always (5.13c), Simply Read (5.13d) and Zulu (5.14a).
Avoid: Cryptic Egyptian (5.13c). It’s a zero-star pile of glued shit.
Check out Dave Pegg’s brand-new guidebook to Rifle (and other Western Slope choss piles), which should be arriving in stores this week. Notable changes to the guidebook include downgrading The Beast to 5.12d and upgrading Roadside Prophet to 5.14a.
REST-DAY ACTIVITIES: Cleaning up trash. Brushing chalk off of my projects. Replacing old, worn draws by contributing your brand new ones.