Sunday, August 30, 2009


Each time a summer break ends and a new school year begins, I'm utterly shocked at how much time being a teacher requires. At how little time is left over for the important things, like climbing up rocks.

Now that we're both teaching, our lives are filled to overflowing. Everything must be scheduled in accordance with our priorities. We managed to get out for a session at the Cheese Graters, another at the Cabin Boulders, and a full Saturday at Wild Iris this week. We didn't manage to get many photos, or give our daughters a bath for three days in a row. Like I said, we're sticking to the priorities.

After our session at the Cheese Graters, we checked out the Beehive Boulder. The long V7 traverse that goes all the way across the south face looks really good.

The Beehive Boulder

Enlarged to show texture.

Now that the blog post is finished, I'll start cleaning the house.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Last night I decided to search for new bouldering. I still have many established places to check out, and boulders at Worthen Meadow to brush and climb, but I'm also hoping to find some cool alpine bouldering in the mountains. I didn't do any homework. Just looked at a trail map and saw that the Stough Creek Basin Trail headed west.

Less than a mile into the hike I saw moose in Roaring Fork Lake. I didn't find much bouldering though. A few good boulders, very spread out, and not much overhanging rock. From one vantage point I saw large boulders on the ridge south of Roaring Fork Lake. Maybe I'll get back to check them out.

Last Tuesday we had a day off, but we still put our daughters into daycare. We had a wonderful day at Wild Iris. I redpointed "Choke Cherry Eyes," an outstanding route up the cleanest part of the right side of the cliff.

We had no one with us to take pictures.

Ashley's been getting extra value out of the Cabin Boulders. One of her projects is a V10 sequence to top out a V5. She's spent three days on it so far, and she's really close. Each day out we warm up on different moderates, and climb a few more after getting worked by our projects. Here's a sequence of me on "Joe Spice."

Great moves on perfect rock.

The post session Sinks sunset.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Lander Climbing Sampler

We started work last Monday. Kids aren't in school yet, but we had a full week of professional development. Our weeknight sessions weren't that long, but we sampled four different areas.

Wild Iris

Last weekend we spent a day up at Wild Iris. The weather was cool and sunny. It already felt like Autumn. The sky was bright blue, the grass was green, there were little puffy white clouds just above cliffs with large rounded mushroom-like roofs. The whole environment had a playful feel to it, and it reminded me of something, but it took a minute before I figured it out. Then I realized that it was like being in a real life version of Super Mario Brothers level 1. Such a good game. Such a good climbing area.

We did a few climbs and tried a couple more. Sierra took this photo of me climbing "Butch Pocket & Sundance Pump."

Worthen Meadows Boulders
Davin sent directions to a few clusters of boulders off of the loop road that he developed with a few other boulderers. Road construction shortened our session, but we did the following sit start problem called "Viskers." Classic, not too difficult, but it has a couple tiny crimps.

Hidden in the woods up there are many large boulders of Poudre quality granite waiting to be cleaned and climbed. I've started cleaning one of them. We'll see what I can do on it. Thanks Davin.

The Cheesegrater Boulders
One evening our goal was a quick finger workout in fading light. Repeating as many problems as we could on the steep faces of Punk Rock did the trick.

Ashley climbing the "North Face."

The Cabin Boulders
Convenient high quality problems at the Cabin Boulders drew us in for two sessions. I finally climbed "Mo's Traverse" which turned out to be pretty difficult for me. It took four days to finish it off. I also enjoyed the stand start version of "Honest Joe."

"Honest Joe" stand start.

And the short, but very aesthetic "Senor Matanza."

We were very saddened to hear that Craig Luebben died in the Cascades this week. Craig had a huge influence on us and the whole Ft. Collins climbing community. He organized the Horsetooth Hang, and wrote an article on Horsetooth Reservoir bouldering that helped get me into the sport. He was a really nice guy, who always took the time to talk with us when we ran into him at the cliffs. We accompanied friends when they hired him to guide them up some off-widths at Vedauwoo, and went out for dinner that night with him and his wife Silvia. He was a very safety conscious climber, an expert in the field, which drives home the fact that the mountains can take anyone regardless of their level of expertise. Losing Craig is a tremendous loss to the climbing community. Our thoughts are with his family.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Sport Climbing Begins

Ashley climbing "Wotai."

We got out the rope and went sport climbing at Wild Iris and Sinks Canyon this week. It's difficult to get photos when you're either climbing or belaying, but I got our six year old daughter Sierra to take some.

With a little cropping, rotation, and brightness adjustment they turned out alright.

Some were unconventional, but interesting.

I haven't sport climbed for quite a while. So long that I wasn't sure what grades would be possible yet still push me. We warmed up on a 5.10d which felt alright. The second route we did was a 5.11c that really didn't feel much harder than the 510d. So for the third route I decided to take it up a notch or two and try a 5.13a.

Trying "When I Was a Young Girl, I Had Me a Cowboy."

I managed to get half way to the second bolt.

Ashley did some hanging on the first bolt too.

After a few more climbs we determined that 5.12 seems to be a good project grade for us right now. After years of bouldering and short gym routes, I'm not thrown by 5.12 cruxes, but my endurance is pretty weak.

The Aspen Glade Wall

On Thursday we had an afternoon of sport climbing at Sinks.

We warmed up and did a difficult toprope. Then I decided I wanted to try "Bush Doctor" a three star 75 foot 5.12a in the Killer Cave.

Ashley taking a look at "Bush Doctor."

It starts with a small roof.

Followed by good handjams and even a couple chimney moves.

Then overhanging pocket face climbing to a large roof, and more overhanging pockets. My endurance ran out near the roof.

The route is fantastic, and I can't wait to get back on it again. Ashley didn't get a full work out since she belayed a lot, so we went out this morning for a session at the Cabin boulders. We worked out all the moves on "Mo's Traverse" but didn't manage the link yet.

Sundance did some pretty impressive bouldering. She'll do anything to retrieve a thrown stick, even climb boulders.
Sundance reaching for a crimp.

Sundance approaching the top out.

Project completed.