Friday, August 8, 2014

A Day at El Dakota

While my family was out of town, I made a trip to see El Dakota.  Davin was giving a tour, and I'd seen enough photos to make me interested.  High altitude Dakota sandstone?  Deep forests, and expansive views? Seemed like interesting, almost unbelievable, combinations.  But we drove up a mountain, a few boulders came into view, and all those things really do come together in one place.
Only a few blocks are visible.  Most of the boulders are hidden in the dense forest above.  A lot of work has gone into cutting a path into the area!  Davin and Bryan compared their machetes before we headed up the hill for the day.
Mike M., the other Mike M., Abby, Jamie, Wendy, and Brian C. all made the trip as well.  Once we made it to the top of the steep hill, Davin gave me a tour of the first sector.  He showed me a lot of problems and projects on varying Dakota Sandstone.  Some of the rock feels just like the stone at Rotary Park, Horsetooth Reseservoir, some of it is like the pebbly stone of Carter Lake, and all of it was quite solid.

Mike climbing "Alca."  It's a V5 that climbs tenuous, pebbled slopers.
Abby climbing "Alca."
After climbing for many years on the lower altitude Dakota sandstone areas found on the Front Range of Colorado, it felt odd to be climbing on sandstone blocks in a deep forest environment with occasional alpine wildflowers.

While waiting for cooler evening temperatures, we got on "Ever Dusty" a V5 slab problem.  Really good, difficult slab problems are hard to find, but this line really fits the bill.
Here's a shot of Wendy climbing "Ever Dusty."

A gem of the area is the "Mega Mega" project.  All the moves go, and I wonder who will be the first to piece them all together.
Brian unlocking one of the project's many difficult moves.
The "Mega Mega" was way too mega for me.  So I hiked up the hill and cleaned a wall just well enough to make an ascent of a line I named "Mossified" V3/4.  The beta is simple, just reach for the only holds that aren't covered in moss.

We hiked out in the dark.  Everyone else drove home,  but I camped with my dogs on the mountain.  Gorgeous stars, deep sleep, and an inspiring sunrise!
I felt too sore that morning to do any more bouldering.  So I drove home through Saratoga, where I soaked in the hot springs.  New landscapes, new boulders, a fun group of boulderers to hang out with, and hot springs on the way home.  It was a very good trip in what's been an incredible summer.

No comments: