Booked out to CO to climb with ct, the man who introduced me to the trad game. Last time I was out there was '08 and we climbed moderates at Lumpy, Hallet, and the Spearhead. This time would be a little less moderate :) While in general I like to offer my prose to tell the tale- I am a bit spent creatively and will let the pics do most of the talking for this one.
Day 1 I got into the flow at Dream Canyon, and then a solo of the first flatiron. Apart from bruising the sh*t out of my foot grounding off of In Your Dreams- it was an all around pleasurable day. Coming from Oakland- experiencing access like that gives one pause. The road warrior price for metropolitan Cali climbers is steep.
Day 2 was set to acclimatize on the Black Wall at Mt. Evans. There is a road for cars that goes to 14K feet? Really?!
The Mt. Evans plateau is a bit reminiscent of the Dana Plateau- rapping in and climbing back to the top contributed to this feeling.
Cary Granite is beauty of a four pitch route. I onsighted the fingery 11- first pitch, and ct cleanly dispatched the 11- second pitch.
Desperate 11c face off of the belay leads right into an 11c hands and layback roof. After pulling the roof I had to dig pretty deep to climb a long section of featured wideness a loooong ways above the last piece. I fiddled in an ok purple c3 into a seam before pulling the last moves to the belay.
Ct blasted up the last 5.10 pitch to the top and we were back in Boulder in time for mango margaritas.
Day 3 the alarm goes off at 130AM and away we drive to RMNP. Some quesy hiking that blurs in darkness and points of headlamp lights, and a few timewarped hours later I find myself staring at this.
I have felt much better, and I have felt much worse as we started up the North Chimney. Pretty casual except for the 400 feet of vegetation, mud, snow, and toaster sized blocks rained down on us by the people above.
Gaining Broadway ledge I mutter aloud "Can we do some Real rock climbing now?"
ct- "That wasn't real enough for you?"
me- "Oh that was real, I just wouldn't call it rock climbing."
pro climber next to us- "What would you call it?"
me- "Uhh... uphill surfing."
D7 was first freed by John Bachar, and is one hell of a line. The first few pitches get going with some physical and steep "5.9" There is at least 40 fixed pins over the 700 feet of climbing- some of them looked pretty damn good! Others- not so much.
A lot of great 5.10 climbing gets us underneath the crux pitch- sustained 11c/d fingers/face/lieback. ct bears down and sends all of the techy climbing up to the last little sequence where the locks turn to shite and the feet disappear. One last desperation move is just missed, and the onsight- just barely missed. What is it with pitches and heartbreaker moves at the end?
One more long ass pitch of 11- to keep us honest and we are outta there!
Getting in an alpine beatdown with one of your closest friends is an experience that reaches beyond mere language.
Beers and girls in Boulder ensure that 25 hours after waking up, I go to sleep for 2 hours before going to the airport at 4 in the morning. Next thing I know I am back to work in the Bay and can only tangentially fathom that mere hours earlier I was standing on top of the Diamond. Life is crazy, and crazy good.