Louisville Colorado

(Part 3 of 41 in 2014 Colorado Rock Climbing)

Almost to Boulder. Spent the night — after some epic delays in Allentown, missed connections, missed standby, and terminal hussle in Chicago — in Louisville Co. Caught up with Mike; dinner, beer, and probabaly the last/only night under a roof. Sorted all my gear out this morning, and Mike’s leaving me the van for today. Couple stops, then off to try a trail hike to see how this “thin air” really works out.

Flatiron #1

(Part 5 of 41 in 2014 Colorado Rock Climbing)

900 feet. 6.5 hours of climbing.

It is 6am and I’ve been napping in the front seat of Mike’s van since 3am. I’m pecking this out, stream of consciousness, on my phone, racing the dying charge, with a sore right pointer finger. Other than some apples and oranges, I’ve not eaten a ‘real’ meal in about 20 hours. What we managed to do last evening is the most amazing, most challenging, most focused thing I have ever accomplished. Nothing else I have ever done is even worth *mentioning*.

We started on a whim at about 6pm: spreading gear out of Mike’s van into the parking lot as the the regular mortals stared. “Look! Real climbers!” From the lot we power-hiked up what, I’m guessing, was at least 500 vertical feet of increasingly gnarly wooded trail.

To the base. Of the biggest inclined slab of rock imaginable. We spent a lot of time going over gear, call-n-response stuff, etc.

And on my first day on real rocks, Mike started up the first pitch, dragging the “sharp” end of the rope, and setting hardware for fall protection.

“CLIMBING!” Then I followed.

We did seven pitches, meaning Mike climbed away out of sight, and set up. a belay position as high as our 200ft rope allowed. Then I climbed, picking up gear as I passed it.

Seven pitches. Three before it got dark. Four in the dark. (We’d brought head lamps. ) Oddly, the dark was WAY easier: All I saw was this rock, my hands, my feet, and the infinite piece of rope I was following.

Up, down, around, over. Literally one. Inch. At a time. I covered something approaching 1400 feet along the rope, 3, 4, 5? false summits. Where you scale a thrust of rock – rock sticking up literally into the Milky Way hanging from the sky – an inconceivable puzzle of body and mind, to the top. Only to find a little down climb, over, and up yet again.

Six and one half hours of, “I’ll move my left foot up two inches to that nice looking spot. Now, I wonder what’s up to the right for my hand…”

We reached the summit at 12:30am.

Then rappelled literally down into the inky black off the back. From there we walked down an endless foot trail and back to the van.

At nearly 2am. Where I lay in middle of the parking lot, flat on my back, enjoying the sheer comfort and staring at the exact same stars.

It was transcendental. It was Herculean (for me anyway. )

Now, at 6:30, my legs are a bit tired, my finger tips are sore. I’ve not one bruise. The sun has just popped up on the other side of the world. Climbing is not “my thing.” I’m never going to want to sleep in a park, or live in a van, as Mike does now without a second thought.

But.

My god! It’s full of stars.

Lumpy Ridge

(Part 12 of 41 in 2014 Colorado Rock Climbing)

Our project for Mon thru Fri is Lumpy Ridge.

We’ll head up to the town outside of Estes Park to pick up provisions and to visit the local climbing shop for a guide book and local knowledge. We’ve a campsite a short distance from the ridge. So we can ride our bikes a few miles to access whatever we want to climb.

So far, my visit to colorado has been pretty easy; hotel rooms, and climbing about half the days. But this week is going to be a lot more climbing. Yesterday (blog post/photos not yet up), we climber two single-pitch routes on Cob Rock in Boulder Canyon to get me some time doing jam cracks on granite. Oof! Burly stuff.

So much to post

(Part 13 of 41 in 2014 Colorado Rock Climbing)

…so little time. We’re currently campimg in Rocky Mountain Nationel Park, and climbing in/around Estes Park. Yesterday was some practice sport climbing — mostly Captain Suffer (aka Mike) yellin at me. Then today (tuesday) we climbed all over Jurrasic Park; more sport climbing, but really pushing my grade. Photos coming!

Eldorado Canyon

(Part 28 of 41 in 2014 Colorado Rock Climbing)

We were in Eldorado Canyon on three separate days. These photos are from Wednesday the 20th, when we went in to climb the Wind Ridge route on the Wind Tower. As you approach Eldorado Canyon, you’re driving into the “front range”. You leave the Flatirons to your right, and wind your way into the canyon.

Continue Reading…

The End

(Part 41 of 41 in 2014 Colorado Rock Climbing)

It’s taken me nearly a year to go through the 2,000 odd photographs and videos that Mike and I took. Time well spent.

Looking back over the posts continues to bring back floods of memories.

th-th-th-th-that’s ALL FOLKS!