Unaweep is a Granite/Gneiss oasis in the middle of sandstone rich desert. While fraught with many challenges, Unaweep offers some of the best climbing in Western Colorado, if you know where to look. I first fell in love with this canyon shortly after I moved to Grand Junction in 2005 and started climbing at crags like Sunday Wall and Sun Towers. Over the years my love grew and eventually led to the first routes and crags I ever developed. As I have started to write a guidebook to the climbing in the canyon, I am starting to talk with people that were involved in shaping what that looks like. These conversations are being recorded and I have decided to put them out as a podcast for other lovers of the canyon to enjoy.
On the far east side of the canyon, in the Burrow Canyon Sandstone, it is almost entirely BLM land. But as you drive through the short section of Wingate before coming up on the Granite/Gniess, the canyon floor is mostly private property, blocking legal access to many of the cliffs. In this section, on the east side of the road most of the cliff line is on public land with private blocking it, but on the west side, the cliff is often included in the private property. There are a few places where the road meets the public land and gives access like at Quarry Wall, Divide Wall, Mighty Mouse, and Wildcat as well as later in the canyon. These pockets along with the properties purchased by both the Access Fund and the Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition give access to some really great climbing but really only about 10%-15% of the potential in the canyon is currently legally accessible.
With all of the access issues many of the developers of the past had taken to not really sharing info on routes and areas for fear of getting climbing shut down, though this has been changing over the years as more public access has been purchased and found. I’ve always been a fan of history. I like to hear the stories of the past, especially when I can associate those stories with a place I love. It has always bummed me out that there was little to none of this history recorded for the canyon because so many of the developers of the past were more secretive. So, I have set out to do what I can to record as much of it as I can before the people that were there are no longer around. I am reaching out to route developers, climbers with decades of time climbing there, land owners in the canyon, people that were pivotal in obtaining access to crags, and others that I feel have relevant history that add to the history.
I’m doing this as part of a bigger project and this aspect of it is not the priority. Getting the interviews and history is, but producing a high-quality podcast for the masses or building a brand and following is not. There will be no set release schedule, there will be times when I go months without posting and times when I post 5 or 6 in the same day. While I did buy some higher quality recording equipment, the sound and production quality will sometimes be not so great. I plan to do very little editing and there will be times when the interviews drift and become hard to follow. I am going on a journey to record as much of the history of the climbing in Unaweep as I can, and if you’re interested, you’re welcome to join on this journey. As new episodes are released, I will post to the GJ Climber’s FB page but otherwise I will probably not promote this until maybe the end when it is all complete and the book is ready to publish.
Bob and Lisa met in college at Western State in Gunnison CO back in 1980 and began a life long journey together filled with adventure. Having first climbed in Unaweep in the early 80s they moved to the canyon in the early 90s and have called it home ever since. The...