Archive for the 'Outside' Category


Brotherly Visit

My brother Luke came to visit me a few weeks ago and we did quite a bit of climbing while he was here.  He visited to sample the best of Front Range climbing and I think we did a pretty good job of getting around and climbing a lot of different classic routes.  We began the day he flew into DIA with a trip to Eldorado Canyon and a jaunt up Wind Ridge and then the Bastille Crack, two classic routes at a moderate grade with short approaches.  The next day challenged our legs a bit more with ascents of the First and Third Flatirons, simulclimbing as much as possible.  We rounded out the climbing the next day with some sport climbing in Boulder Canyon at Avalon.

Wind Tower Descent Redgarden from the Bastille First Flatiron First Flatiron Lunch Ledge First Flatiron Runout

The ultimate goal of Luke’s trip was an ascent of the Petit Grepon, an alpine rock spire in Rocky Mountain National Park that is on the list of the 50 classic climbs of North America.  Looking at the weather and noticing that later in the visit the chances of rain increased, we made the decision to go for the climb early.  We got a nice alpine start and motored on up to Sky Pond, at the base of the Petit.  Making good time, we climbed well and topped out just after noon, then rappelled back down to the base of the climb.  On the last rappel, the skies opened up and the rain started.  I dove into a bivy cave while Luke pulled the ropes in the rain, and we waited out the storm in the small cave.

Loch Vale from the Petit Taylor Glacier from the Petit Looking For a Belay Snack Thatchtop from the Petit Step Carefully

Sky Pond from the Petit Top of the Petit Petit Grepon Summit Cramped Bivy

After the rains stopped, we were able to hike back to the car in dry conditions and celebrate the ascent at Ed’s Cantina.  The last weekend of Luke’s trip was spent driving to Steamboat, camping out there and taking a much-deserved soak in the Strawberry Hot Springs.  A short side trip to Breckenridge and we were on our way back home.  Super fun visit and a good amount of climbing made this a memorable trip.

How To Sew A Custom Chalkbag

This chalkbag design is inspired by Krieg chalkbags, a super company that will make you a custom chalkbag at a killer price. It’s a simple barrel design, but one of my favorites because it allows for full-hand dipping. Chalk up with one of these bad boys and I guarantee that you’ll increase your onsight grade a full number. Well, maybe not, but at least you’ll look wicked cool. You will need the following materials: more…

Ice Screws and Ankle Screws

My more-or-less annual trip to the southwest of Colorado went fairly well this year. Dan Dalton and I stuffed my car with heaps of gear (6 ropes? What do we need 6 ropes for?) and headed down the highway for Ouray. The first day in Ouray we climbed at Camp Bird Road to avoid any crowds in the ice park. Camp Bird was my first backcountry ice in that area, and it made me very excited for the potential elsewhere around Ouray and Silverton. The next week was spent climbing in the ice park, leading routes at my level and toproping challenging ice lines.

Slippery When Wet Sea of Ice Pick o' the Vic South Park View from South Park

The last route that Dan and I planned to climb before leaving was Stairway to Heaven, a 900 foot WI4 line in Eureka, just outside of Silverton. We scoped out the approach beforehand and got up early in the morning to try to get there first. We were 5 minutes too late, as another party motored up the trail just before us. As we approached the base of the climb, I thought it might be a good idea to climb to the left of the first party where the next best line appeared. Dan and I rock-paper-scissored for the lead and I “won”. I began to lead up the left side of the first pitch.

I placed 4 screws in 100 feet of climbing, and my last screw was in some decently solid ice. The route pulled up over a bulge at this point and I encountered some snice, or consolidated snow/ice mix at the lip of this bulge. I was about waist-high with the bulge and moving my right foot up when the rotten ice I had been standing on with my left foot gave way and I fell. I dropped about 20 feet, caught my crampon on one of the double ropes (core-shot) which flipped me upside down. The Yates Screamer I had placed on the last screw was fully deployed after the fall. I hit nothing on the way down, but I could tell right away that something was up with my ankle, so I lowered off the climb and Dan retrieved the gear from above.

Pinky Steep Ice Five Fingers Area Deployed Screamer Talus Fracture CT Scan

After hiking 3/4 of a mile back to the car we drove back to Ouray and then the next day back to the Front Range. During the fall I fractured my talus and had to have surgery to get the bone repaired with three screws and a small plate. In retrospect, it wasn’t a good idea to climb a sunbaked, alternate line on the first pitch where I did not have solid ice the entire way up. We should have waited for the party ahead of us to complete their line and then followed. I also think that I was trying to make too big of a move (highstepping) to get over the bulge and a few smaller moves to pull over that particular obstacle would have been safer. I’ll get to think about not falling on ice for 3 months while I recover!

Hiking and Aid Climbing in January

The past few weeks the weather has been very nice here in Colorado, everywhere else seems to be freezing but we’ve had temps in the 70s! You know what that means: winter hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park! I added a backrest made from a Ridgerest and some hardboard to a plastic sled, drilled some holes in the back and used some bungee cords to hold down our lunch. I stuffed Benjamin into a sleeping bag and we took off to Dream Lake. The sled worked really well most of the time, although the sled would sometimes track off the trail when traversing a slope. Nymph Lake was frozen and we had some fun sliding around on the ice, made our way to Dream Lake and ate lunch. Fun family outing!

Yesterday afternoon I finally reached a meager goal, aid climbing Country Club Crack at Castle Rock in Boulder Canyon. It goes free at 5.11c, but I wanted some aid practice and the 170ft route was a perfect site for testing out my aid system. It took me 2 hours for the lead, I really need to get faster at aid before heading onto something bigger. I felt better at the top and things were starting to click, so more practice and I should be good to go.

The Transporter On Nymph Lake Family Photo Monika, the Boys and Dream Lake Clean Aid Country Club Crack

Flickr has the option to upload videos to the site, so I’ve uploaded a few videos that we took here at home and on our hike in RMNP to my Flickr page. The quality is much better than YouTube, and it will convert the videos directly from my camera just fine. Seems to be a great way to share videos with friends and family members, hope you like them!

Sliding on Nymph Lake Dogsled We Will Rock You! Iron Man!

Lincoln Falls Ice

Lincoln Falls is an ice flow on the side of Mount Lincoln, a 14er located just south of Breckenridge, CO. It forms up fairly consistently each year due to the high elevation (11,800ft) and natural springs that feed the ice. Some friends and I climbed for a day there this weekend and enjoyed good temperatures in the 20s with little wind, unusual for this typically windy area.

Lincoln Falls Ice Lincoln Falls Ice Main Flow Chicken Screamer Test Main Flow

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