After Indian Creek and Unaweep, Jim and Angela invited me back to Ouray to take a shower (probably needed one!) and regroup. Crack climbing involves its own set of skills and muscles, and I felt pretty good after two weeks at the Creek. Prior to this trip, I hadn't climbed since winter due to elbow surgery, so Jim suggested we spend a warm afternoon on the Pool Wall in Ouray where we could do a little face climbing. My finger/forearm muscles were weak, so it sounded like an excellent plan.
Annie Whitehouse called when she heard I was in town, and we invited her along. Annie was a member of the all-women's 1978 Annapurna expedition and a good friend. Last winter she and I had done an ice climbing demonstration for the Ouray Ice Festival. She had just returned from a nursing stint in Africa, and we would catch her for a couple of days between jobs. It sounded like a great afternoon.
Jim's idea of starting slow is more 5.10d than the 5.6 more appropriate to my age and conditioning. Jim and Annie made the climbing look easy as they flowed up every route, discussing the first ascent, who they were with, and how much they loved the climbing. But then they are young and in shape. I also figure that since they are locals and probably put up many of the routes, they have them wired to sandbag an unsuspecting visitor like me. But Donini was patient as always, and we had a great afternoon. Jim worried that I, an Alaskan, was cold. I was too hot in the sun in my short-sleeved shirt. Jim brought a parka.