Alpine Rock

Climbing, climbing, climbing.  This past month has seen some vertical action and I finally got up into the  Park to do some alpine rock.  I had been climbing a lot in Boulder Canyon mostly to take advantage of the cooler weather there, but also to climb some more sport routes on granite.  If you find a shady area in the upper section of the canyon, it can be quite comfortable even when the temperatures in Boulder hit the 90s.  I did get to Eldorado Canyon once this month to climb Rewritten with Fabio, still one of my favorite routes there.

Mike and I went up to the Park on Wednesday evening to start BivyFest ‘08.  We had planned on bivying for three nights and climbing three alpine rock routes, but the weather was not cooperative.  We were able to bivy below and climb Spearhead, but bailed on the trip after that climb due to weather.  It’s gonna snow up there today!  We got a bit wet on the hike out, but luckily we were able to avoid the worst of it.

Animation 4th Pitch Belay Rewritten Spearhead Bivy Spearhead Spearhead

On our hike out from Spearhead, we saw a small herd of elk grazing above Black Lake.  After seeing several smaller elk, we spotted the big daddy of the group – right in the middle of the trail!  We snapped some pictures and waited for a while (as we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes), but he stood his ground in the middle of the trail.  Finally we made enough noise that he moved off to the side and we were able to quickly pass.  His horns looked sharp!

Bull Elk and Black Lake Roadblock Big Daddy

Summer Vacation

Our family wanted a little vacation this summer, preferably at the beach. We left Colorado last week and headed west, stopped in Arches National Park and Las Vegas, then ended up in San Diego. Las Vegas was hot, but comfortable as long as you stayed by the pool during the day and only ventured out at night. I lost a grand total of $4 in the Green Valley Ranch casino where we were staying. We visited the Hoover Dam, but didn’t stay long due to the 110+ temperatures. San Diego was more pleasant, and the sea breezes off the ocean help with the heat. The drive out and back was interesting, if it was cooler I would have stopped in Zion and scoped out some big walls!

Delicate Arch Eiffel Tower Replica Vegas, Baby Run Away! Pacific Beach Pier Gopher? La Jolla

Rock, Snow and… Ice?

This month has been good for climbing, June is the ideal time of year to get in some alpine routes in avy-safe conditions while still being able to rock climb in the shade.  I ticked off a climb I’ve been wanting to do for a while, the Yellow Spur in Eldorado CanyonDan took the direct start and bolt ladder pitch, and I climbed everything in the middle of the route.  Later that evening Dan, Monika and I went to the Dosage V premiere in Boulder and got to be humbled by the sheer pool of climbing talent that was on screen and in the audience.

The Yellow Spur The Yellow Spur The Yellow Spur

This weekend my friends Matt, Gregory and I climbed the route Martha on Mount Lady Washington in the Park.  This year we’ve seen record snowfall and cold temperatures, and we thought the route might be in a bit longer than usual.  It was fairly melted out and we ended up climbing the difficult sections with our bare hands instead of our ice tools.  Even though the conditions weren’t ideal, we had a great day up above treeline.

Chasm Lake Trail Starting up Martha Martha Mount Meeker and Longs Peak The Diamond from MLW Descending Mount Lady Washington

Summer Activities

Summer is now in full swing in Colorado, time for cookouts, hiking, climbing and enjoying the warm temperatures! Where to begin? Mike Wysuph and I climbed four routes in Eldorado Canyon in a day: 13 pitches and a boulder problem to total 100 points (grade of the climb x number of pitches, 5.8 x 5 = 40 points). A 100 point day has been a goal of mine for a while, to me it represents a full day of climbing on great rock in a good setting with a fun partner. Recently I’ve been climbing more sport climbs in Boulder Canyon, Animal World and Tonnere Tower are two fun crags with a variety of good routes.

Samuel and Benjamin are growing up every day, they both love to go swimming and dive into the water with their swim goggles. Benjamin is especially fearless, Monika and I have to constantly keep an eye on him because he’s always diving underwater. As brothers, they alternate between war and peace, one moment they will be playing nicely and the next fighting over a shared toy. I finished building a loft bed for Samuel, and now Benjamin and Samuel share a room.

Indian Peaks from Gambit Gambit Arete I Don't Wanna Go! Chillin' New Sheriff in Town Erie Balloon Festival 2008

RMNP in the Spring

This past month we’ve been getting out in Rocky Mountain National Park to do some hiking, snowshoeing and camping. Monika and I went on a hike to Mills Lake a few weeks ago, last weekend I spent a night camping at Jewel Lake, and today I tried using touring skis with my mountaineering boots as an alternative to snowshoes for ice climbing approaches. The uphill part went just fine, but the downhill part was difficult due to the lack of support with my boots. It was a beautiful day, though, and I was able to get a few panoramic shots of the Glacier Gorge region of the park.

View from Mills Lake

This is a view from Mills Lake, with the ice climb All Mixed Up on the right Pagoda is visible at the end of the gorge, and Longs Peak is barely visible at the center of the picture. I was able to cross over the middle, but temperatures will soon begin to melt the lake and make things a bit messier. The freeze-thaw cycle that comes every spring will help some of the higher elevation ice climbs form up and stabilize the snowpack to allow for safer avalanche conditions. more…

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