Chris and I have just returned from a climbing trip to Colorado. It is hard to believe that our first trip of this sort took place nearly 15 years ago as freshman driving out to college. Being on the cusp of my wedding, the tenor of this trip was something different.
From Cleveland I drive solo to Chicago. Chris flew in from Sweden in the afternoon but I arrived early enough to buy new tires for the truck and to visit the Chicago Art Institute. It was a beautiful day. Before picking Chris up I stretched out my visit in town by taking in Anish Kapoors installation.
On the road. Someone left us a curious note on the windshield??
The drive across the American plains also proved a bug bloodbath. Sorry bugs.
An interesting part of a climbing trip is figuring out where to sleep. I think I find this so interesting because I have been fairly nomadic in my life and have found so many different ways and places to rest my head. Our first night in Iowa we sleep in a church parking lot. We first pulled off the highway around 2 am and into a Days Inn, with the plan of sleeping in the bed of the truck. A woman, overtly high, parked next to us and engaged in conversation. She said she was waiting for her friend to meet her and get into her car with her. Then she asked if one of us was her friend. With was much politeness as you can answer such an overt question, we told her, no, that we were not her friend. We moved to a more quiet local from there.
Estes Park this time of year is a good time to climb in that we avoid major crowds. It is also a time of afternoon thunderstorms. Our first day out we were rained off our climb. After checking the forecast, we chose to drive to Boulder, to climb in Eldorado Canyon.
That night we pitched a tent at the end of Colorado Road 47, also called Big Elk Meadow Rd.
In Eldorado, we climbed the classic Bastille Crack. In the afternoon, we met Chris’ friends Will and Mira at the restaurant, Illegal Pete’s on Pearl St. We spent the night in a tent in their yard.
Climbed Rewritten on the Redgarden Wall. That night, we wound our way up to Dream Canyon, off Sugarloaf Rd. We would camp out their for the next few nights.
Climbed The Great Zot, a classic four pitch route next to Rewritten.
Hopped on Starwars, on the Peanut Wall and then Chris cranked out The Great Course, back on the Redgarden Wall. Below, Chris leads the second pitch of Starwars. Further below, Chris is rappelling off of The Great Course.
Met up with Luke and Ema for a day of light cragging at Clear Creek Canyon. It was crowded and hot but a dunk in the frigid water made up for it.
We drove back to Estes Park for a few more days of climbing. Hopped on Pear Buttress, a classic four pitch splitter on the Book Wall. Below, a picture of me at the summit (photo courtesy of Chris)
For the last day of climbing we got on J-Crack, a hard and eventful 4 pitch route. We topped out just as blueberry size hail (below) began to pelt us. Lightning and thunder were not too far away and prompted a hasty retreat off the backside.
We drove into Rocky Mountain National Park, slept in the woods and aired out our wet belongings the following day. We spent much of the last day hiking. We stopped at Bierstadt lake where the painting supposedly worked and then hit the road back east, stopping in Kearney Nebraska for a night before reaching Cleveland the early morning the following day.
See ya, Colorado. Thanks for treating us so well.