Shelf Road- The Gallery- Farside

After getting a much better night’s sleep, we decided to climb in the Gallery at an area called “the Farside.” Sarah had been there before, and said it was in the shade for most of the day–and bonus, we could walk there from camp!

Ashley and Scott

The guide book said that it was only a 15 minute approach, but we soon realized that was from the upper trailhead. We found an area that had a few 5.8s, a 5.9, with some more around the corner… and another bonus– it was in the shade.

Sarah led first on a 5.8 call Zu den händen von Herrn Wiesenthal, a fun but weird crack climb.

Day 2 of outdoor, Ashley was Crushing it!
Scott sailing up the wall!

The 5.8 route right next to the Zu den händen, called Anselmo Power, was a pocketed, face up to an arete–such a blast to lead.

We took turns climbing the routes, though my real goal for the day was to lead a 5.9. I knew I was strong enough, but I just needed to calm my head and focus.

Since Ashley and Scott had to leave early, we had set up the routes so that they could get some climbing in before their long drive. Both of them improved so much over the course of the weekend. I was so proud! I took them for their first time indoor rock climbing about three years ago before they moved to Alaska, and it was awesome to take them on their first time outdoors!

Playing with prussiks!

After they left, we stayed to get some more climbing in before the long drive back home. I decided it was time for me to climb my 5.9. I settled on Schindler’s Pissed, a beautiful, corner/face/arete– really an all in one. Greg decided to jug up the rope for Anselmo Power to get some photos of my first 5.9 lead.

Once I started up the rock, my mind was clear and focused. I just worked my way up the rock, dealing with what was right in front of me, which was awesome. Once I came down from the route, Greg took a lap on the 5.8 before belaying Sarah;s lead up the 5.9.

I thought I’d jug up the 5.8, and take photos of them climbing,  then clean the anchor.

Then Greg cleaned the route before we moved on to a 5.9 called Ramses.

LOOK!!! ONE HANDED!

Meanwhile, the dog passed out completely. We even flaked a rope onto her and she didn’t move.

Last view while on the rope before cleaning.

I thought maybe since I led one 5.9 I could lead a second one… I made it up four bolts, but Sarah had to finish it for me. It was mostly an awesome crack climb, until this really weird layback/face climb. I know, now that I have figured out the moves that I would be able to lead it–but I had to top rope it to figure it out.t.

It was an amazing trip! I got myself addicted to climbing again– the challenge of climbing harder, stronger, more confidently. Can’t wait to get back out!

Shelf Road- The Bank

Shelf Road is a climbing area about 10 miles north of Canon City, Colorado. This place is currently being developed, so new routes pop up somewhat frequently. I’d never been, but it’s a great place to climb from fall to spring when it tends to stay warmer on the rock.

Ashley, Scott, Greg and myself drove down on Friday after work to secure a campsite, and Sarah planned on meeting us at camp around breakfast to climb at the Bank all day in an area I believe is called ‘Bank Rob Buttress’.

We managed to get a campsite(luckily, it was the last one) down in the Sand Gulch Campground right before it got dark and spent the evening relaxing with  tacos, beer, and a nice fire.

 

The next morning we ate a lazy breakfast, and once Sarah arrived we all piled into the cars and made our way down to the Bank.

Jessie, our adventure mutt, isn’t exactly great with strangers–she’s an anxious dog. She did all right on this trip, though she had to be muzzled/on-leash most of the time, which was her least favorite thing, but she got lots of pats!

We started our day off with a 5.7+ called Pretty Boy Floyd–a rather burly route for it’s grade–but it was a good warm up lead for the day!

 

Sarah led up a great 5.8-called Poncho and the Three Perverts–oddly it seemed easier than the 5.7+ around the corner!

I decided to lead this route after Sarah, and boy was I glad that I did! It was a beautiful solid route, with fun moves all the way to the top!

After eyeballing the 5.10a/b called Knot Too Many Roaches, Sarah decided to lead it. There was also a 5.9 option to avoid the tiny pockety section before the anchors, and we all ended up taking it.

Greg decided to play around with our new (to us) camera during this time, jugging up the rope to hang and take photos.

It was such a great route, though all of us hung on it while attempting the crux moves. Just gave us another reason to go back and climb routes clean!

We decided to go back to camp for a while and take a break. Ashley and Scott took a drive to town and got us ice cream and more beer.

By this time I was so dehydrated, I had drunk 3 liters of water and not peed yet, so I slumped and drank more water in shade until I was re-hydrated.

We were going to go back out and climb after we ate ice cream… but we hiked about 20 minutes from camp and realized that the approach was longer and it would be dark before too soon. So we went back to camp and hung out instead, made a wonderful dinner, drank beer. Sarah hadn’t intended on staying, but decided to hang out and climb with us the next day, which was awesome!

I also got a chance to play with some of the filters that came with the new camera!

Java Dome

Ever since I went to Turkey Rocks back in 2011- I’ve wanted to come back down to the South Platte to climb- and we decided to check out a new area called Java Dome in the Malay Archipelago near the town of Deckers.

The approach was supposed to be (according to the guidebook) ten minutes…. it was a bit more tricky than that. Loose gravel, up to scrambling over boulders- it took us much longer than we wanted to make our way over to “Quit Your Beachin'” a 5.6 slab climb with 3 stars.

 

Left is Java Dome, right is Bali Dome.
Some of the boulders we had to figure a way around without a huge drop. 
Greg at the base of the climb, the only really solid belay spot. 

The base of the climb lay in a pile of boulders, with big drop offs, leg breaking slots- not exactly the greatest place to hang out- We took refuge on the big flat boulders, and prepped for the easy 5.6 sport route.

I lead the route first, not quite sure what I was looking for- on nice slabby, grippy granite! The route was a bit longer than a 70 so we needed to tie together both our ropes- but it was a great climb- I only got to go up once- which was a disappointment- but still loved the adventure!

Poking my way up!

Dan the Older, and Dan the Younger- our other two compatriots for the day, both lead the route after Greg and I had.

Just as Dan the Older was approaching the first bolt, a CRASH of thunder peeled through the l air, and some drops of rain spit out.  Luckily- it was very short lived- but certainly pucker worthy. Dan clipped the bolt and lowered- as we waited to see what was going to happen. The sun came back out, and he quickly lead his way up the route to Dan the Younger, waiting at the top- followed up by Greg.

5 minutes later it cleared up!
10 mins later, it was so clear!

Meanwhile I found another route down from the boulders- so as the guys rappelled by me, I’d hand them their packs- then rap myself. It worked splendidly!

Look MA no hands! Dan the Older- using his 3rd hand!
Greg got the heavier pack because I’m not supposed to carry weight- so he fashioned a chest harness to shoulder some of the weight. 
My view from the rappel station!

We worked our way down the loose gravel again, and back to the car….just as the wind picked up- it started raining heavily. Just in time.

The South Platte is one of the most beautiful places I’ve climbed in a while, though it’s difficult and sort of a pain to get to most of these places. I’m glad we had a chance to experience a little bit of the granite dome, next time- we have some other places to check out.

Poudre Canyon- Crystal Wall- Team Building

I love when people decide to skip work on a Monday- and come climbing with me! Sarah decided to take out her employee on a team building day- and what better way than  to go rock climbing!

So two days earlier we had a big snowstorm roll through the front range, dropping anywhere from 2- 24 inches- luckily Fort Collins only had 1.5 inches- which was totally melted and dry by Monday!

We made our way up into the canyon around 10:30 in the morning, hoping that the rock had warmed up enough to climb- the high was in the low 60’s…and it was supposed to be partly sunny. It was a wide range of things- sunny, windy, cold, warm, drips of rain- just typical Colorado spring weather.

Since we couldn’t make our way across the river to Poudre Face, we decided to climb on Crystal Wall, across the canyon from it.

Crystal Wall

The approach consisted of a fixed line, then a nice short walk up to the north face- to climb Gates of Crystal- a 5.8 with beautiful thin ledges!

 

Sarah getting ready to lead up!
Taking a break because the rock was so cold it numbed our fingers!
Teambuilding!

We each took a turn on that route, it was awesome- then I lead up the next route, a 5.8 mixed trad/ sport called “Lunch Bucket Crack.” I was silly an psyched myself out at the last bolt, and just couldnt’ make the move I knew I could- so like a dope I traversed to the right and clipped a bolt for the next route over- then made my way up to the chains.

 

It was such a fun route though, and luckily shared the anchor with the 5.9- next to it called “Clean-up on aisle 9”. This route was mostly ledgey, with some buldgy sections- I was so tired I just couldn’t make it up over that one area- tried for like 20 mins– then asked to be lowered. Sarah, managed to get up and clean the route, thankfully.

Just hanging here. 

I would say, team building day was a success! We had a blast, went to a new climbing area, and I got to hang out with fun ladies! So looking forward to climbing again!

Climbing across the river for next time!

Patience is Key

Patience is Key.

I recently read this quote at the end of an article on the woman who help to found Columbia Sportswear and still sits as the chairwoman of the board- Gert Boyle.

It’s a common saying, one I’ve heard many times over the years- but for some reason it spoke loudly right now.

I’ve been trying really hard to listen to the doctor, I got all of the shots, and did as she asked. No hiking, no approaches, flat walks only with my brace on, etc. I’ve taken 3 Advil 2 times a day for about 3 weeks to attempt to get the pain and internal swelling to go down.

After my last visit, she suggested that I start PT again, and pay attention to the pain in the middle inner side of my knee, where the meniscus has a small tear/ freying.

It’s been over two weeks since I got my last shot, and at first it felt decent. She told me I could start riding the bike at the gym, and  walking the dog- with my brace. I have been doing this for two weeks, and the meniscus still tweaks and hurts.

I’m at the point where if it still hurts, they want to sew up the little tear in my meniscus- putting me back another two months. Which is essentially my entire summer peak/etc. season.

It’s been hard to stay as inactive as I have been, even though all of my climbing partners have been out enjoying our longer winter season/ early hiking season.

I want to be out there with them, and I know it’s silly- but I feel like I’ll get forgotten and they’ll all move on and have better partners etc. It’s silly, and illogical- but I can’t help but feel that way.

I mean, I know I’ll get better, but as Gert Boyle said “Patience is Key”.

If it needs to be another two months of inactivity, then it needs to be. I have to give my body time to heal. So, for right now- that is my mantra.

“Patience is Key”

 

 

 

Wild Ladies- Boulder Canyon- Tonnere Tower

With good weather, brings days of rock climbing, and adventure.

This was the weekend we HAD planned to go canyoneering, but my doctor had put the kibosh on it- so we went rock climbing instead! Saturday’s weather was rainy, so we decided to climb locally on Sunday in Boulder Canyon at Tonnere Tower.

We met for a big breakfast, then headed into the canyon.

Pancakes as big as Laura’s head!

The first obstacle for us was getting across the Tyrolean traverse- packs gear and all.

Over without a hitch!
Too much weight in the pack- but managed to get across- there had to be a better way!
Charlotte’s first Tyrol!

We hiked up the hill, attempting to climb in the area called “the garden” but it was crowded- so we made our way up to “sport land”, a few easier routes in the middle of the wall.

Sarah leading up 5.7 called Face Off

We decided to set up two routes, so I lead up a short 5.6 trad climb called Nick of Time just to the left of Face Off

Then we worked our way up a 5.8 over on the right side of Face Off, using the same rope, just a great day for climbing!

But i think probably the most amazing part of the day was Sarah’s ingenious method of getting our gear BACK across the creek. She came up with a clothesline idea, and engineered the shit out it!

Courtesy of Laura Weeks

It was just a great first day out climbing here in Colorado, and since, it’s essentially my only “sport” i’m allowed to do right now– there will be a lot more days like this.

Tour of Western Colorado

There are a lot of places I’ve been meaning to explore, but with all the mountains, and climbing I do- there is no reason to head to these areas. Since I currently have lots of physical restrictions due to my knee issues, we thought this would be an excellent time to go on a short road trip with the dog!

Our road trip began after work on a Friday, Greg had a week in between his old job and his new job-  and this was our first adventure. We got into our truck, and made our way down to The Mt. Shavano Trailhead- a great spot to quickly camp for the night before we made our way further south.

We had a small fire in the dark, ate our dinner, and slept incredibly soundly- it was glorious.

We woke up, found coffee/ breakfast on route 50 in Salida, then made our way down 285- along the desolate stretches, eventually ending up at the Chimney Rock National Monument, about an hour from Durango. I was disappointed to find out that the Monument was closed, but we at least got to walk up the road a ways with the dog, and view the chimney rock.

It was a great short break in our drive, to be followed by a dirt bag lunch at the tailgate of our truck at Ska Brewing in Durango.

We had decided to make our way over to the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and spend the night in the BLM land surrounding the monument.

We tried to stop and see Sand Canyon- which is supposed to be an old pueblo site…but say something that may have been intentionally piled rock, or just a pile of rocks. It was kind of disappointing- but we managed to find a great campsite down a rough 4WD road, not a single person in the area.

View from our Campsite the next morning, looking  the Ute Mountain Range. 

After Breakfast we figured why not drive down to Four Corners Monument- the junction between Colorado Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. I had been there once as a kid, but had not been back since. I decided to recreate a photo for my mom that she took of me on that trip- she got a kick out of it.

Rather than spend more time in Canyons of the Ancients we decided to continue up through to Hovenweep National Monument- a quiet beautiful area in the middle of nowhere straddling Colorado and Utah.

Unlike Canyons of the Ancients, Hovenweep has a striking collection of beautiful Pueblo ruins, along a 2 mile hike around the mouth of the canyon. We only ended up walking a little bit of it with the dog, but it was really beautiful- I would like to go back.

Our last night was spent just outside of Gateway, CO- right off of the Unaweep Canyon, in the Uncompaghre National Forest. Turned out to be the most beautiful, quiet campsite- one we’ll likely take a group there.

After breakfast the next morning, we drove up through Grand Junction, then towards Steamboat Springs, stopping in small towns all along the way- then back down to Fort Collins, then home.

Beautiful View from Almost on Cameron Pass- This is the Never Summer Range. 

Despite our trip being only 3 days, we actually covered 1143 Miles around Colorado, exploring places we’d never been to, and enjoying the nomadic lifestyle.  It was an awesome trip.