October 31, 2007 at 6:34 am

So, I’ve been saving up a ton of little movie clips over the past year or so. Last weekend, I finally put a couple up on YouTube, and then added a page dedicated to Movie Clips back to the site. Check it out! As always, let me know if anything isn’t working the way you’d expect it to, or if you have any comments or suggestions. Thanks!


Climbing at the Palace: October 28, 2007

October 28, 2007 at 8:38 pm

In which Kate discovers that some toproped climbs are even more exciting than leading. There’s some pretty pictures in the gallery!

The river was low and the fall sun was shining on the bizarre sport climbs in the Palace, in the Poudre Canyon. It was a chilly morning on Sunday when we picked up Dylan as he hiked out of his campground and drove the 20 miles up the canyon to our little local sport crag. Crossing the river was an epic in itself, there were patches of ice in the low water pools, on some rocks, and covering the logs we usually hike across. This was my third time rock-hopping across the river this season, and I still slid into the cold water once or twice.

Back on dry land, I laid out my socks and shoes to dry while Mark and Dylan racked up for the “warm up” climb of the day.

Churchill Rejects (5.9+) – As this is one of maybe three climbs in the whole area that is rated less than 5.10, it makes a pretty classic warm up route. On Sunday, the climb was still in the shade, and after a night of heavy frost the rock was bitterly cold to the touch. Mark and Dylan complained of numb fingers on the way up. When I climbed it, the rock was still cold. It hurt like climbing a block of ice wth your bare hands. I slid off a tiny hold once, but otherwise had no problem with the route.

The Scepter (5.10a) – Ann and Sean showed up while I was cleaning the first climb. Dylan decided to go give moral support to their lead for the morning, and Mark and I decided to hike up the hill and climb this imposing monolith. Mark started the lead, and had some problems moving off the third bolt. He figured it out eventually, and then flashed the rest of the climb. On top, there were anchors, and Mark went static to those while I fixed the lead line to go take some shots of this awesome climb.

Mark sits atop the Sceptre

While I was racking up for the climb, putting on shoes and chalkbags and such, a little butter fly came over and landed right on my belay/rappel device! He hung out there for a few minutes while Mark took pictures, and then crawled onto my hand to let me take some up close shots of him. I’m guessing the little guy was cold from the night, and his lowered metabolism allowed him to put up with the crap I put him through. But he made me intensely happy.

Even in my happy frame of mind, my climb up the Scepter was intensely challenging. It wasn’t just physical strength (which was consistently required) but also a mental fortitude to keep climbing up this ever narrowing, ever more overhanging, tiny finger of rock. It is what the climbers call Exposure, where you are constantly bombarded with amount of air and space around and below you. It can be unnerving, alarming, even terrifying. I focused on my deep breathing, on my hands and feet and all aspects of my body position, and worked my way up the climb. At the very top, I hit that overhanging summit cap and finally fell. Screaming and cussing I got back on the rock and finished up the last 4 feet in a fit of rage. As I anchored in to clean the climb I calmed down, and on rappel I realized what a beautiful and special place the Palace truely is.

Strictly Business (5.10c) – Mark and I had hoped to get on Monstrosity next, but there was already a group on it. Dylan ambled over and decided to lead up the 10c two climbs to the right. The bottom was overhanging, small, weird holds, and he took a couple falls around the second bolt. One or two were so big they lifted Mark off the ground, which he enjoyed immensely. After Dylan, I gave it a shot on toperope, and slowly worked my way up. The bottom was hard, but not outside of my capabilities. It was good remembering to use my feet not just to stand on, but also to pull myself into the overhanging wall. The top was, as Dylan put it “made for Kate!” With thin slab and beautiful delicate moves. Mark claimed loudly he was going to flash the route when it was his turn, so we pulled the rope and let him have a go at it. There were a few tenuous moments, but in the end, he pulled through and climbed the route cleanly.

That climb tuckered Mark and I out, so we hung out for a few minutes cheering Ann and Sean on their leads of Churchill Rejects, and somebody called “Big Red” kept dyno-ing over and over to the big lip on Armor Plated (5.11c). Eventually we packed up and hiked out. This time, I made it back across the rocks without slipping into the river once.


October 25, 2007 at 5:59 am

Something about the fall out here makes for some beautiful sunsets. The air gets dryer, the wind picks up over the mountains, and we get lots of high, cold clouds on the Front Range. I’ll keep posting them as I keep seeing them!


The Epic of the Big Bed

October 23, 2007 at 6:39 am

You might have noticed by now, if you read regularly, but when my family comes into town, we like to put them to work! My parents and little bro, TJ, were in the Fort for a week at the beginning of September. There’s photos of the last part of the Epic in the gallery.

Now, I’ve been complaining about our bed for over a year now. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great mattress, and a very nice bed. But I’ve discovered that I definitely prefer a firm mattress to the ultra-soft pillow top we had been sleeping on. I’ve been sleeping so lightly lately that any move or jiggle by Mark or the dog would wake me up at night. We needed something firmer, we needed something more stable, and we needed something bigger.

TJ saw the platform beds I was looking at buying online. Mark and I came very close to buying one for the rock-bottom price of $900, and it would sort of match the rest of our bedroom furniture. Thank goodness TJ stepped in.

“Oh no, don’t buy that crap!” said he. “I can make that for you with about $200 in wood. Do you have any tools?”

Of course, we didn’t have any tools, but that was easily remedied by borrowing from friends. After drawing up the plans, TJ and I headed to the hardware store and managed to buy all of the materials for about $150. TJ then spent the next day and half in our garage measuring, cutting, sawing, screwing and building the bed in the “plans” he had scribbled into his notebook. The highlight of the building was when we all discovered that the king-sized platform was more than 7 feet long on all sides, and there was no way it would fit through any of our the doors in our house.

So we cut the bed inhalf, and then rebolted the middle back together after adding a few extra legs for stability. After the family left, Mark and I sanded and stained the outer boards, and were happy to find they perfectly matched the rest of our bedroom furniture this way. We moved the bed into the house a few weekends ago, and then put everything together and slept on the platform with the old queen mattress for a while. About a week later, our king-sized futon mattress and 3 inch memory foam topper had all arrived, so we put together our bed and sent the old mattress home with Doug & Liz.

We were supposed to add a shelf to the outside of the bed for a modern platform bed look. But we decided it would be easier and look just as good to put some stained chair railing around the top edge, and I love it that way. We still have work we want to do. We’d like to cut a doggie door in one side so Liv can sleep under the bed (her favorite kind of doggie den). We’d like to put the chair railing around the headboard and the vertical corners. But for now, it’s great.

The bed is fantastic. It’s everything I could have ever wanted. It matches the rest of the furniture perfectly. It’s wonderfully comfortable. I can sleep soundly without even noticing Mark or the dog in the bed with me! Thank you TJ!


October 21, 2007 at 2:40 pm

We were forecast to get 1-3 inches of snow today! Looks like we got some flurries, but nothing stuck in our area. For snow reports in the area, here’s a link. Looks like the area south and east of Denver got dumped on!

Stormy Day

Back to the Palace: October 20, 2007

October 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm

There’s a few nice shots from the day in the gallery.

After the snowy hike to Vedauwoo, it seemed the Wyoming trad climbing season is now officially over. But on Saturday, we had a nice sunny, warm day, so Mark and I decided to head up the Poudre canyon for some sport climbing. We haven’t climbed in this area in almost a year, but we were both excited about the lightweight packs (no rack) and the simplicity of a quick trip out to climb.

Our original goal for the day was the Crystal Wall, where we’ve never been before. Good directions from Doug helped us find the fixed rope for the walk up. But we were standing in the road, looking up at the shade-covered imposing face of the Crystal wall, or the sunny familiar climbs at the Palace and we decided to change plans for the day.

I’ve been working on my leading, so the first climb of the day was the easiest one we knew of at the Palace.

Escalera (5.8) – Unfortunately, my lead here did not go as well as planned. I got three bolts up and completely stuck. It was a different situation for me. Usually, I get into these spots and panic until Mark lets me lower, but this time I climbed up and down about 15 times and just couldn’t figure out how to get to that 4th bolt. Finally, I think Mark got frustrated enough to let me come down, and he finished the climb with plenty of nice comments about how that middle section was really tough. I climbed and cleaned it on toprope, and fell a few times. I guess the trick is to climb above that bolt to the left, and then hand traverse across a positive ledge with icky feet to the bolt, and then continue the traverse to the chimney on the right. I think I’d like to go back someday soon and pink point this one with an extended sling to protect this hard part.

After my two strong attempts at the 5.8, my fingers were sore and I was feeling like sport climbing was a different beast than we were used to. Mark agreed to lead up a climb I’ve been wanting to do since we first set foot in the Palace for our second route of the day.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel (5.10) – This climb was really fun. It was very well protected, and I think if we go back, I’d have a much better chance at leading this one all of the way through than Escalera. There were great big holds at the bottom, beautiful thin face climbing in the middle, and a tricky overhanging crack at the top. What more could you ask for? We both had a great time with this one.

By 2p, we were feeling pumped and ready to head home. Besides, Mark wanted to play tennis at 4p, so we needed to get packed up. Clouds were moving in rapidly, and what had been a blustery warm wind all morning was turning into a strong chilly breeze.

On the walk back across the river, Mark lost his balance and nearly did a full face-plant into the water. I made a similar mistep after giving up and wading. I tripped over an underwater rock and went full front body into the river. We both came out looking like we’d been swimming, but at least the water wasn’t too cold… yet.

Misty Morning

October 20, 2007 at 6:53 am

This was actually shot a couple of weeks ago also, before the big fogs this week. Mornings like these are why I like to be the one who takes the dog out at dawn.

Foggy Morning

Another Pretty Sunset

October 19, 2007 at 5:41 pm

This is actually a shot from a couple of weeks ago. October 3rd, to be exact. There were some really nice wave clouds at sunset tonight also, but I’ve got a backlog that I want to put out on the web. There’s a few more of this sunset in the gallery. Enjoy!

Paintbrush Cloud