Archive for the 'Climbing' Category

Climbing Encounters of the Third Kind

What follows after the break is a story that I wrote for my climbing partners to read via e-mail after I had an encounter with a new climbing partner I met online here in Colorado. The events took place in November 2006, and I sat down that night and wrote this story. After I e-mailed this off to my buddies, it got forwarded around to THEIR friends and eventually posted on a couple of climbing message boards. I was out in Eldorado Canyon climbing last weekend and shared a belay with another climbing party who had read this story online – I couldn’t believe it had gotten around so fast. Anyway, here is the story… more…

Ouray Ice Park

Last week I went to Ouray in southwestern Colorado to climb at the Ouray Ice Park. The ice park is farmed by redirecting water to flow over the edge of the canyon, freezing and creating quite a few good ice climbs. There are convenient anchors to set up a toprope with, and the park itself is only a few minutes walk from town. Ice climbing is supposed to be a suffer-fest, Ouray changes that big time. Breakfast in town, climbing in the park in the morning, lunch in town, more climbing in the afternoon, soak in the hot springs at the hotel after climbing, dinner in town. You couldn’t ask for a better place to improve your climbing skills than Ouray.

Update: Andy Welter posted some more pictures of the trip on his website.

Ouray - Gazebo Wall Ouray Ice Park Ouray Ice Climbing

Ice Climbing

My friend Jason Deugan and I went up to Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday to get in a bit of ice climbing. This was my first time climbing ice, and I wanted to try out my new ice tools and crampons. We hiked up to Loch Vale and found an easy toprope to climb, called Mo’ Flo’ Than Go. I climbed an easy ice/snow gully to the left of the climb to set up the toprope, then Jason and I took turns climbing the WI3 route. I had a great time, both on the hike in and climbing. We did learn several things yesterday that I’ll have to keep in mind in the future.

Rule 1: Always bring tools for your gear. We needed to adjust Jason’s crampons and didn’t have a screwdriver, so we had to improvise a screwdriver using the points of his crampons. I also bashed the freshly-sharpened pick of my ice tool on some rock and seriously dulled it. If I had a flat file I would have been able to sharpen it.
Rule 2: Bring along a thermos to keep your hot drinks hot. A Nalgene with an insulating cover doesn’t keep liquids warm when it’s 10 degrees out. We brought a stove, but it was quicker to just start hiking out and warm up that way. A thermos of coffee would have really hit the spot.
Rule 3: Remember clear-lens eyewear. I had to borrow Jason’s yellow-lens sunglasses when I was climbing, you’ll get a lot of ice in your face when setting your tools in the ice. Eye protection is always wise. Keep your helmet down over your eyebrows, too.

Both Jason and I had a great time. We hiked about 5 miles overall on a packed snow trail, postholed up 200′ to the climbs from the packed trail, and glissaded down around 100′ from the climb. On the way out we met some other climbers heading back to the trailhead who gave us some good beta on other ice areas and also showed us a shortcut back to the car. I think I’m hooked.

Holiday Greetings

This past month we were able to take advantage of some nice weather here and get some climbing, hiking and skiing in.  Samuel’s skiing is improving every time we hit the slopes, and he now prefers the chairlift to the rope tow.  Monika’s been snowboarding with her sister again at Winter Park, and I was able to get up there once, too.  I went to A-Basin today, it was a bit windy but the snow was very nice.  I found a few areas that still had a foot or two of untracked powder, definately worth getting up at 6am.

We took the family up to Chautauqua Park in Boulder to get a good Christmas picture, and made them into cards at Wal-Mart.  There are always people there taking photos, I think the Flatirons there are the most photographed place on the Front Range.  The next photo below is a view of the Indian Peaks from Green Mountain, just behind the Flatirons.  The third is a view of Boulder from the summit of the First Flatiron, I climbed it with Jason and Jessica Deugan earlier this month.  Cold day, but nice to get out and get some climbing in.

Family Flatirons Picture Indian Peaks Jason and Jess on the First

Climbing Mt. Washington

Luke and I had decided to climb Mount Washington a few months before my vacation to Maine (2001). He had attempted Washington two times in winter before, but was turned back each time because of weather. The weather on this trip turned out to be better than we expected. more…

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