Kate in Colorado Springs, Again

October 21, 2009 at 9:54 am

This fall, I spent another 4 weeks teaching a great class on Climate Change at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. As they did before, the college rented me an apartment for visiting faculty, and I stayed there during the week while I was teaching.

The house I stayed in was a huge converted Victorian Mansion

This year, however, the apartment was not part of an old tenement, but converted rooms from one of the largest Victorian-era mansions I have ever been in. This apartment was much larger than the last one, and had it’s own unique features. The kitchen was clearly added on, and in a narrow galley-style that was too small to contain all of the appliances. So, the refrigerator was in the dining room. Oh, and there was a formal dining room. The large mahogany table had room to seat 10.

The back of my apt building, four stories of rooms

The house sat on the western edge of the campus, on a hill above Monument Creek and looking out over the town directly at Pikes Peak.

View of Pikes Peak and an impending storm from my back balcony

The teaching keeps me incredibly busy for the whole month, but I managed one sunny afternoon to get out and hike up and down the creek.

The End of Summer

I find each visit to Colorado Springs makes me like the area a little more. It is an interesting mix of colleges, military installations, tourist traps and outdoor playgrounds. Nearby climbing areas such as Shelf Road, the South Platte and even Red Rock Canyon open space are some of my favorite places.

A small waterfall and mountains in the distance

It was a great trip, and a really nice way to spend the last few weeks of a beautiful fall.

Old stairs from surrounding neighborhoods lend access to the trails near the creek

Climbing on Golden Cliffs

October 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Ron on North Table Mountain

Dylan and Ann were in town for the weekend, so we met up at the warm basalt crags that sit above Golden, Colorado. It was a lovely day, warm enough to climb in tank tops, crowded enough to give the crag a party feel. Sean came up from Denver and met us around lunchtime as well.

Ann working the hard final moves of Toast and Jam (5.7)

Two bolts clipped

I’m not going to chronicle the day hour by hour or anything. One important lesson from our day though: bring a trad rack to this area, even if you expect to only be sport climbing. There are a surprising number of really fun cracks to be climbed on North Table Mountain. If you never plug any gear out there, you’re missing out!

Sean gets angry!

Ann is an awesome belayer

We climbed Toast and Jam (5.7+), Intuition (5.7), Hate Hate (5.9+), Henry Spies the Line (5.10a), and Mark worked up Death of Innocents (5.11d) on TR.

That sunburn will hurt a lot later

Colorado Autumn

October 14, 2009 at 6:22 am


Usually, the minute leaves on aspens start to pale and crinkle, I am all over fall colors in the Rockies with my trusty little camera. It’s one of my favorite times of year, as the seasons shift from long, high-energy days to quiet, contemplative nights.

This year, I spent a(nother) month in Colorado Springs teaching an undergraduate class on Climate Change. It is an incredible learning experience for me, and the three-and-a-half week block system means the course is hugely demanding. I love the chance to throw myself at a task completely: intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

The 3 Season Tree

So, the moral of this post is that I gave up the chance at photography of mountains draped in yellow and orange aspens for the chance to talk about clouds and climate with an awesome group of college students. Totally. Worth. It.