Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The weather has been bluebird the past few days. We got out for a session at Eldo on Sunday, and the Millennium block with Ricky and Charly yesterday. We're thankful for all the friends we climb with, the great weather in Colorado, for the public lands we have access to, and the great days we've had. Thanks to those who leave comments on the blog too.

Ricky on the Millennium Boulder. A variation of "Revolution."

The Millennium Boulder.

Charly on the "Revolution" variation.

Ashley climbing "Revolution."

"Ghost Dance" is an incredible problem. I've been wanting to do this for years. Yesterday it happened.

Sierra enjoying the weather.

Late afternoon in Eldorado Canyon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Weekend, Two Sessions

The weather was great this weekend, and Ashley and I both wanted to get on projects at different areas. We went back to Eldo on Saturday, and Ashley managed to finish her traverse project on the third full try of the day. It's a nice (but sharp) variation on the Pony Keg Traverse. Based on descriptions in Benningfield's "Colorado Bouldering 2" It sit starts on "The Rail" then traverses left on the horizontal seam, off-routing holds above the seam, and ends by doing the "Fingertip Traverse." Ashley was very psyched to send it.

Ashley decided to end the day on "Ron's Keg Traverse." Ashley managed to work out all the moves. Some of them are really long for her, and require interesting beta. Below is one of the coolest moves on the line.

Now Ashley has another project to get at Eldo. We met Adam, and talked about the new development Chuffer has mentioned. We hope to check some of it out on our next visit.

Sunday I went to Red Feather.

My goal was to climb the Clockworks Arete. It has a left side problem, and a right side problem. I was hoping to get up one of them. I contacted a lot of people, but ended up at the boulder by myself. It's harder to commit to big moves when you're by yourself, far from the car, without cell phone reception, but I think I tried hard enough to figure out that the left side won't go for me. I'll still need at least on more session on the right side before I'll know if it will go or not. Between attempts I spent time messing with my camera timer and tripod, photographing myself.

I needed to climb something new, so I searched for a boulder Jacob calls "That Guy's House." I walked up a couple wrong gullies, but found it eventually. After climbing a cool crack on the South side I found this line on the North side. At first I thought it was going to be difficult, but once I found the right holds and heel hooks it went at about V3. It's a fun problem.

It will be easier getting through the bad weather that's coming, if I know I did all I could to take advantage of the good weather when it was here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Eldorado Canyon Pony Keg Boulder

We had a rough night. A drugged up stranger tried to break into the house at 2:50 on Saturday morning. The police responded to quickly our call, and took the man into custody. Damage was cleaned up in about an hour, but we were feeling tired and a bit stressed the next day. We felt like a laid back bouldering day, and the Pony Keg boulder fit the bill. Ashley says she hates sharp holds and lichen, but she loves hard traverses. Love trumps hate. She wants another day on the atrociously sharp "Pony Keg Traverse."

Going for the lichen covered top out on the "Northwest Corner."

This was my third day on the "Center Route." I'd never gotten on it fresh before, and I thought it topped out to the left. After I tried matching on the dish and moving right, it didn't feel quite as sandbagged. If "Milton" is V3, I guess this can be V4.

A peaceful day, after a crazy night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Needle Peak, WY

Scott wrote me early in the week, and invited me to go up to Needle Peak with him. Josh had told me that the area was good a few years ago, and that I should check it out. I wanted to, but it just hadn't happened. Ashley agreed to watch the girls all day so I could scout the area properly. Things worked out, and the day finally came. Two and a half hours of driving. The rocks came into view, and they just kept looking better as we got closer. I was struck by the strange shapes of the boulders and towers.

The next thing that caught my attention was the rock's texture. Scott says the rock is granite or gneiss, and it looks just like it, but it feels like textured quartzite and in places reminds me of Ibex, Utah. The rock is solid, featured like Hueco, and has great friction.

The area rises out of the vast flat valley between the Snowy Mountains and the Sierra Madres. The views are indescribable.

Many of the following photos were taken by Scott.
Warming up on the "Prairie Shrine" boulder.

Here is Scott doing an unknown problem on the "Prairie Shrine" boulder. It felt about V6 and has features that remind us of Hueco Tanks.

Same problem, different view.

We hiked up a gully, passing about 4 great looking boulders on the way, and got to a meadow on top of the formation. South of two large towers is one of the best boulder problems I've ever seen. It's about 20 feet tall, up a perfectly featured bulging face, and is appropriately named "The Gift." Davin Bagdonas, the main developer at Needle Peak, found and established this perfect line. With beta from Scott, I climbed the problem while two bald eagles circled overhead.

From there we went to Heart Strings, also reminiscent of Hueco.

We kept climbing and exploring into the evening. It was a Happy Halloween weekend.

The day stands out in what has already been a really good season. Thanks Scott.