Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer in Chaos Canyon

I haven't posted in a while so I just thought I'd upload a few pics from bouldering in Chaos Canyon this past Saturday. The weather was fantastic, if a bit too warm for good friction and we even managed to get a spot in the Bear Lake parking lot right away. We spent the WHOLE day up there, leaving Boulder around 9am and returning at 9pm! I also managed to climb a lot better this time than my last visit up there, managing a pretty easy flash of Autobot (I'd have to say V4, not V5), and coming very close to doing Revenge, V6, and a very fun V7, Geeks of the Industry. Another awesome day in the mountains of Colorado.

And now, some of the first evidence in years that I actually climb. Thanks Sarah and Paul for the pictures!

Geeks of the Industry, V7

Geeks of the Industry, V7

Geeks of the Industry, V7 from Doug Lipinski on Vimeo.

Something ~V3 on the Potato Chip Boulder

Potato Chip Boulder

Potato Chip Boulder

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Longs peak speed ascent

Looking up at Longs Peak (center) from the Jim's
Grove/Battle Mountain junction. Mt Meeker (left)
and Mt Lady Washington (right) are also pictured.
I've been planning on doing a fast ascent of Longs for quite a while and it finally came together last weekend. I ended up staying in Estes Park on Saturday night before getting up at 5am and heading to the trailhead with Dave. We hit the trail right at 6 and made fast progress up through the trees, quickly hitting the Jim's Grove/Battle Mountain junction. We headed left, keeping to the main trail. After a quick picture stop at Chasm Junction, things were mostly uneventful until the Boulder Field.
Showing off my sexy legs at Chasm Junction
Looking back down on the Twin sisters peaks
during the ascent to Granite Pass
I think we both started feeling the altitude here due to our fast pace and poor night of sleep (and less than stellar acclimitization?), but we soon reached the Keyhole and crossed onto the west side of the mountain.
The Boulder Field, I've still never seen a picture that
accurately shows how enormous it is.

It was a lot colder here (in the shade) and we quickly added layers, gloves and hats. The ledges passed quickly due to the relative lack of elevation gain and we soon started the slow slog up the trough. I was really feeling the altitude here (~13,800') and the loose rock combined with the occasional sketchy snow/ice patch didn't help. Our pace slowed significantly, but we eventually reached the top of the trough and transitioned to the narrows. Again, the relatively flat narrows section passed quickly and we were soon sucking wind as we scrambled slowly up the home stretch, avoiding ice and wet rock on the way. We hit the summit (14,259') at about 10:50 and made a short stop before heading back down the mountain.

Me on the summit.
Dave freezing on the summit
 The route to the keyhole passed quickly and soon we were shedding layers back in the boulder field. We felt a few rain drops as we left the boulder field, but nothing substantial and we started running as soon as we hit real trail. From that point on, we ran most of the way back to the parking lot, only walking where the trail was particularly poor. We also took the Jim's Grove cutoff to save a bit of time and distance. We finally arrived back at the parking lot at 12:30pm, 6:30 after starting.

I'm pretty happy with the time and very happy with the day spent on such an awesome mountain. When I consider how miserably slow the top part of the mountain felt I'm actually amazed at the final time.

We only saw significant numbers of other people in the trough and above, but on Monday the last bits of snow melted off the route and it's officially non-technical. For the rest of the summer there will be lots of crowds on weekends. Perfect timing!

I'm thinking about getting in some more acclimitization hiking and giving this another go later in the summer. If I do, I'll wait for a particularly stable weather day and leave around noon. Should be much warmer in the trough that way and I'll get better sleep and better food before starting out.

The stats: 6.5hrs, ~13.5(?) miles, 5000ft vertical

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chaos Canyon Bouldering

Yesterday I went up to Chaos Canyon with a few people to do some bouldering. I had never been up there before and it turned out to be a pretty good day. It's definitely an awesome setting for a day outside, but unless you climb harder than I do, it's probably not an area you'd want to visit a lot.

Great views of Glacier Gorge and Longs Peak on the hike in.
Lake Haiyaha and Upper Chaos, taken from atop the Gobot Boulder
The strong people were out in force yesterday as well. We saw Chuck Fryberger, Brion Voges, John Gass, John Cardwell, Daniel Woods, Carlo Traversi, Dave Graham and others up there. Carlo was headed up the trail as we headed down and he apparently had a very productive afternoon by himself. Being a V6 climber in Colorado is a bit like running a 5 minute mile at the Olympics, it's pretty good for the average person, but the other participants consider it a warmup.

I'm not sure when I'll be heading back up to that area. Definitely a spectacular setting and well worth the visit, but if I really want to climb a lot I need an area with more moderates.