Bruce leads Terminal Velocity (5.11b/c)

March 29, 2007 at 6:28 am

Another shot from climbing last weekend. The Cirque of the Cracks (where we were climbing) was quite busy all day long. This is Bruce leading up a hard 5.11 right next to the fun 5.9 I was climbing on toprope. He was working hard here, and told me later this was a spot that he almost pitched off of.


Sunday in Eldorado Canyon

March 27, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Last Sunday we had another great day of climbing with a fun, big group. I’ve got a couple of nice photos up in the gallery, check them out!

The morning started late, as the area we wanted to climb at gets afternoon sun. We arrived at our parking places in the canyon around 11:30p. The first adventure of the day was fording the creek running through the canyon. These mountain streams are so unpredictable. It’s still early for the snow melt to make crossing too serious to attempt, but the full two days of rain that we recently received made it really darn exciting.

Dylan took such a great video that I’m going to post it here. That’s me leading the pack across the butt-deep water in blue jeans!

The hike up to the climbs felt really, really long. I guess it’s just early in the season! After over half an hour of stiff hiking brings us to the area with the climbs. There are groups climbing some of the other climbs, but we are able to get on our moderates.

Here’s a quick run down of the climbs from the day.

Duh Dihedral (5.6) – This climb was kind of the purpose for the whole hike. Mark lead it first, Rachel seconded and cleaned the gear out of the wall. JD cleaned his first climb of the season and did a great job. Dylan then lead up the climb again, and the rest of group enjoyed the climb. Many people commented that the corner climb with a juggy off-width was amazingly just like a gym climb.

River of Darkness (5.8) – A heck of a lead for Dylan. There was loose rock shuffed off this climb all day long. When I got up there, I was massively creeped out by the amount of large loose flakes covering the bottom of the dihedral. The fat offwidth looked really intimidating, until I jammed a foot in the hand crack next to it. Cool!

Fine Line (5.9) – We dropped a rope down this climb and everybody enjoyed it. I didn’t climb past the shelf in the middle because I had my nice camera with me, and the guy next to me was standing on my holds. Ah well, that’s what I get for climbing in a crowded area.

Hand Crack (5.10b) – Mark sets up a top rope on this one late in the day. Sometime while he was on top of the cliff, we all figured out that it was past 5pm and various dogs needed to be let out and people needed to get home. So Dylan and Mark climbed this one and enjoyed it. I should have spoken up and got a turn, but I guess I’ll just wait until we’re in the area again. Looked like a great climb!

Again, we had a fun day. I didn’t get to lead anything as I was hoping, but then, there really wasn’t much leading that needed to be done. It was nice to get back to crack climbing after all of the sport that we’ve been doing. Bring on that TRAD!!

Mark Rappelling the West Ridge

Another reason to love the weather out here

March 26, 2007 at 10:35 am

From the local NWS web page about the storms hitting our area on Saturday, March 24th:

“While the Denver/Boulder Forecast Office was concentrating on the snow warnings, advisories, and the snow conditions for the foothills and the mountains west of Denver, suddenly severe thunderstorms with multi-vortex tornadoes developed over Philipps and Sedgwick counties. Although the tornadoes were short lived and were generally weak, they skipped around the area causing alarm for the residents of the 2 counties.”

May it make you happy…

March 26, 2007 at 9:20 am

We had a great spring weekend again. Over an inch of rain on Saturday (and 4 inches of snow in Wyoming) causes us to change plans at the last minute and take the group out to climb in Eldorado Canyon. I got some cool shots, and I’ll be posting them in the next couple of days.

Also, we got the good news today that our trip to Devil’s Tower at the beginning of May is officially confirmed. Possible obstructions are not an issue, and I’m REALLY excited about it. We have reservations to climb with Frank Sanders for a day of Master Jammer crack-climbing school on Saturday, and a day of summiting the tower over and over again on Sunday! Frank is a legend in the climbing community, and I feel so lucky and excited that we are able to get a weekend in with him this spring. It should be a really incredible experience.

In the confirmation email, Frank suggested we check out this “What about me?” video on You-Tube. I enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d post it here to share with everybody. Enjoy!


One more from Shelf Road

March 21, 2007 at 6:32 am

I just wanted to post a few more shots from climbing last weekend. And let everybody know that I put all of the shots up in our photo gallery.

Here’s a shot of our tent on Friday night. One of the reasons I love camping out in this desert is how incredible the stars are! This was a 30-second shot, and only a few of the millions and millions of stars are visible. But you can still see the bottom half of Orion!

On Saturday, we climbed in the Cactus Cliffs area. I wish I could link to the exact climbs, but I’m really not sure what they were called. Our first two climbs were in the Vault area just left of CC.

Kate’s Favorite 5.6 (5.6?) – I lead up the first climb of the day. Hung on the second-to-last bolt so I didn’t get the redpoint, but it was still a fun climb.

Cool Stemmy Climb (5.9?) – Mark lead up this climb in the corner or wall right across from the 5.6. It was so close to the wall behind, that it was possible to stem across most of the way up. Pretty cool. Too bad neither of these climbs seem to be in the book or on the website.

Crynoid Corner (5.7) – I lead this one on draws left by Tungsten after he climbed it. This climb is rather scary and stressful, but exactly the kind of thing I need to lead over and over until I relax. So I did it again. Still scared. Still took a couple of hangs. Though, I used about half the extra trad gear as I did the first time!

Slicer (5.10a/b) – Mark leads up the buttress just to the left of Crynoid corner next. I know this route actually has a name, I just can’t find it right now. I think pulling the roof at the bottom is the crux, Mark thinks the blank face with the mono pockets near the top is. To each their own.

Fast Food Nation (5.10d/11a) – All the guys climb this one on top rope as it shares the anchors with the first 5.10. Mark says it’s a little harder, but still hasn’t fallen at all today.

Ian’s Route (5.8) – I thought this one was a 5.7 until just now. Not sure why it’s 5.8, but that makes me happy. I lead this one with one hang again. I think I added one cam. Weeks climbed and cleaned this one so Mark didn’t have to bother with it.

Lorba pulls the roof

Sunday we spent out at Sand Gulch for the first time. More specifically, on the Contest Wall. I’ve seen these climbs in the guidbook for years now, but we usually went with friends somewhere else. I now know that one of the main reasons people avoid the place is because everybody else in the world is climbing there. We ended up waiting for each climb we tried to get on, but they were all great climbs, and it was nice to have a low-stress day.

Time Square (5.8) – Mark leads the warm-up today as the people before us warn the route is rather run-out. The 40ft free-solo to the first bolt confirms it. It’s a long, fun route though, with some interesting, but never too difficult, parts.

The Dune (5.10a) – Mark leads this one after a mini-epic of him sitting on a ledge 40ft off the ground with no pro in again, not willing to climb the 3 more moves to the bolt above without pro. And I think that the green camalot is “two fingers” wide. I still do. Weeks flashes the climb on toprope, once again proving that he can go without climbing for 2 years and then have no problem on an 80ft 5.10. I take a couple of hangs, go up the chossy left side, and enjoy myself.

Knot Head (5.9) – This climb is a bit contrived, with the bolts far left of the natural line in the rock. Plus, there’s loose rock all over it, and a party before us drops a base-ball size rock down into the dirt before we get on it. Still, it was a really fun climb! Jams, movement back and forth across the rock, tricky sections that were fun to work out. We all climb and enjoy it.

In all, it was a great weekend. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this kind of Dylan-detailed style of TR for all climbing trips, but I’d like to. Gives me something to look back on when we go out there again, and a sense of improvement (hopefully) as time goes on.


A Few Small Improvements

March 20, 2007 at 9:09 pm

Spent a little time working on the site this week.

As you may have noticed, I added a link to the Adventure Map on all posts with location information associated with them. It’s pretty cool, if you see the “View on the Adventure Map!” link at the top of the post, give it a try!

Also, I added a little graph on the left side of the number of nights we’ve spent outside since I started the blog last summer. I’m hoping to expand this into a section or page on our camping and climbing statistics. Should be interesting, check back!

Finally, I removed all possibility of adding comments to photos in the photo gallery. I also cleaned out the comment database which had been massively bloated with spam in the last few months. Yikes. So now, if you want to comment on any of the pictures, please add your comments to the blog or flickr sites. Thanks!

Mark leading Times Square (5.8)

March 19, 2007 at 6:22 am

We had a fantastic couple of days climbing in the desert last weekend. Great sun, fun climbs, awesome people. This is Mark on a tricky solo up to the first bolt on this sporty route on Sand Gulch’s Contest Wall.

I actually lead three routes (three 5.7’s) on Saturday in the area of Cactus cliffs. On Sunday, when this shot was taken, we decided to go over and check out Sand Gulch. Tons of climbs in this area… but many of them are in the 5.11 range. Need to get back into good climbing shape so we can really enjoy all of these climbs!

Still, the moderates on this wall are lots of fun, long, beautiful climbs. Totally worth the crowds, lines, and hike. Also, thanks to Weeks for digging my camera out of my pack and taking this shot while I was belaying!!


Estes Elk Herd

March 16, 2007 at 9:29 am

Just one more wildlife shot before we take off for another fun weekend of … this time … camping! Woo hoo! It’s FINALLY warm enough to get outside and camp and climb and enjoy the prelude to spring.

For now, I wanted to add that I have a whole gallery full of shots from hiking with Amy last weekend: click here.

Have a happy St. Patty’s Day everybody!