On the way home from climbing on Saturday, we caught these beautiful clouds right at sunset. The ice is very refractive, and if you check this one out large and on black, you can really see the incredible colors formed by these ice crystals.
On Saturday, we piled the whole gang into the car and took off for North Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado. This crag is about an hour from our house, and sits directly above the Coors Brewing Plant. While it’s not exactly the most asthetically pleasing of all climbing destinations, the basalt cliff band provides climbs from 20 to 90ft tall, on solid, dark rock, with lots of interesting roofs, cracks and sloping holds.
Our group was 5 people strong: Mark and I, Rachel and JD, and Dylan. When we pulled up to the base of the south-facing rock at around 10:30am, we immediately noticed it was already about 10F degrees warmer than it had been in Fort Collins. Even though there was some snow on the ground in the area, we spent the day baking in the sun on these climbs. I had a small burn on my shoulder where my t-shirt had pulled away and I forgot to put on sunscreen, and I found myself feeling a little ill from the heat by mid-afternoon.
We got some great climbs in, though. Dylan lead up the 5.8 pictured here first thing, and did a great job of it. The crux was really getting to the first bolt, which was a pulse-quickening 20ft off the ground. The picture below is of JD enjoying the climb on top-rope. Mark grabbed the small rack we had packed and lead up a 5.8 crack climb called the Big Dihedral. Kudos to Dylan for the awesome shot on that one.
After lunch, we traveled west, and Rachel got the pink point on Kevin Spies the Line (5.6), while Dylan lead up a roof-ie and exposed 10b. Mark jumped on the longest climb I’ve ever seen at North Table Mountain. This 10a went on for nearly 80ft, and included some rather scarey run-out sections. Mark (aka McGuiver) handily protected these with his sparse biner of stoppers, and had a great time on the climb.
We all took off for the hike back to the car at around 3:30p, tired, a little sun-burnt, and very happy.
Another good weekend, even if it was rather cold. On Saturday, we got a little climbing in with Dylan and Ann again at the Palace. I experienced a cold against which all other “cold” will be measured that day. I walked across the Poudre River in near freezing temperatures. My feet hurt soooo bad at first, and then my legs went completely numb from the knees down! It was quite an experience, and happily a short one as I had dry socks to put on once I reached the far bank. We hit two fun climbs, a long 9+ and a fun 10a that were in and out of the sun. Eventually, the snow from Friday night returned and we retired to Coopersmiths for beer and fish and chips. I’ve really had a great time hanging out with Dylan and Ann lately, and I’m really happy we’ve been able to meet such cool interesting people.
Today, we hooked up with Grant and tried embracing the coming winter with a hike to Chasm Lake. We lost the trail somewhere above tree-line in 50 mph winds and blowing snow, so we decided to turn around. These interesting cornices hovered over the trail near tree line. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Yep, we got our first snow of the season earlier this week. I’ve been a little sick the last couple of days, and I was not feeling up to really getting out and documenting the event. I think it was Tuesday afternoon that the white stuff started coming down. It melted on contact for much of the day, but then started sticking at around 4pm. By the time Mark got home (around 6p that day) there was an inch or so on the ground. By the next morning, there was probably 2 inches. Luckily it was all melted by 1pm or so that afternoon.
I took this shot just for the fun of it while I was out walking the dog before dawn on Wednesday. It was so dark, and I was having fun playing with the flash and the bright white snow.
This is one of the shots from the climbing we did on Saturday. Greyrock mountain is a huge granite dome just northwest of Ft Collins. The hike in is pretty rough, 2 miles with some serious elevation gain. Usually, after doing such a massive approach, Mark and I climb one of the 4-5 pitch routes to the summit of the dome. Liv usually hangs out at the bottom and guards the packs from rodents. But on Saturday, there were signes up everywhere warning of active bears in the area and loudly dissuading everybody from leaving pets and children un-attended.
We decided to keep Liv with us and explore the South Slabs area. These are a group of single pitch climbs that turned out to be really nice. We still got in 4 pitches of climbing, and Liv got to spend the day sleeping next to us on the ledge.
For more pics from the weekend, click here!