Friday, July 26, 2013

Colorado 14ers!

Although Ken lives in Texas he is on a mission to climb Colorodo's 54 14,000 foot peaks!  Last week we went into Chicago Basin with his son and climbed the areas three semi technical 14ers; Windom, Sunlight and Eolus.  I believe after our trip Ken has climbed 38 14ers!  I will be seeing Ken again in a couple weeks to climb Mt. Wilson and El Diente near Telluride.  Stay tuned!
Summit of Windom!
Taking a quick dip in Twin Lakes.  

Our camp in Chicago Basin

Midwestern Motivation

Its not super common that we hike into Vestal Basin from Molas Pass.  We usually take the train which cuts off about 6 miles round trip and a 2,000 foot climb from the river back to the car on the way out.  Aaron, Jacob and I left Molas on Wednesday morning and made great time getting into Vestal Basin in 5 hours.  We set up camp and talked about the strategy for Thursday.  Vestal Peak would be first via the incredible and classic Wham Ridge.  From the Vestal summit we would descend the South Face back to the base of Arrow and then climb Arrow's Northeast Face and descend to camp.  Although we woke up to clouds on Thursday the skies cleared and everything went as planned.  Except that when we got back to camp Aaron and Jacob decided that they didn't want to spend another night out as planned but would prefer to hike back out to Molas Pass.  It's amazing what three soccer players from the midwest can do when they have been at altitude for a few days!  Or a few years in my case. All total we hiked about 20 miles and gained 8,000' of elevation.
Aaron and Jacob on top of Arrow Peak after climbing Vestal Peak earlier that morning.
The beautiful Wham Ridge on Vestal Peak.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Black In Action

Matt, Bill and I managed to find a couple days that we all had off to go to the Black  Canyon.  The plan was to do a smaller route day one, then on day two do a slightly larger route. Bill and Matt had made a deal that if Bill led the A3 pitch on day 2 than Bill could bic Matt's head. Unfortunately for Bill and luckily for Matt we ended up not doing the route we had planned on day 2.
We woke up early in Durango on day one and drove up to the black.  The gulley was one of the nastiest we had seen. We made it down to the route and enjoyed a few pitches of great climbing. Then hours of getting back to the rim along a complicated ridge.  We had considered doing another route down the same gulley that same day but after the nasty gulley and complicated ridge we decided a better option was to get some Corona and chill out at the river in Montrose. 
The route we had planned on for day two ended up being in the sun for most of the day, so that was nixed.  We had noticed a cool looking pillar/tower with continuous crack systems bottom to top so we decided to give it a go on day two. We couldn't find a trace of the route in the Black Canyon guidebook or online so it was likely a first ascent but you never know with the Black Canyon.  Some Gunnison local probably free soloed it years ago.  For not having anything other than a standard climbing rack things went well. We were back at the car at about 2pm. We stopped in Ridgeway on our way home for another dip in the river.
I have to say it doesn't sound like a bad way for Bill to spend his birthday! 
"We have everything?"
Nasty gullies!
Matt doing some trail work. 
Bill starting pitch 3. Note the mono.
Matt on a tyrolean traverse on the complicated ridge back to the rim.
Matt and Bill at the base of pitch 4 of 'Black In Action'.

Monday, July 15, 2013

High Country Ride

We knew we were going to get wet when we left the trailhead at Coalbank Pass, so everyone had rain gear and a little extra clothing.
Barb, Jody, and Amanda riding up the Pass Trail.
Taking a break with Engineer in the background.
Seth, with Engineer behind. 
It started to rain then the rain turned into hail, then the temperature dropped twenty degrees. There are three people with every stitch of clothing they brought under those two space blankets.  I jumped in the huddle right after taking this photo. When the hail and rain finally stopped we decided it was time to turn around.  We didn't complete our objective but it was a great ride with fun friends.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Savelli Express

Matt, Adam and I left Durango last night for some climbing on Ophir Wall.  After some apple pie and ice cream for dinner we hit the hay.  Matt K. was driving out to meet us this morning so when I woke up to rain a little after 5am I texted him to let him know.  He responded, "Oh well I'm coming anyways." Fair enough.  The rain didn't last long and everything was dry by the time we got up.  A little more apple pie, two breakfast burritos and a the rest of Matt's box wine and I was ready to climb.  We originally wanted to climb in the Black but it's been so hot lately that was out of the question.  So I found the route Savelli Express, thinking cooler temps, 8 pitches and only one pitch of hard climbing.  The route was fun but I felt like it was slightly misrepresented. The 8 pitches turned out to be 4.  Every time the topo said 90' it turned out to be more like 60'.  Either way it was a fun day with fun people on a fun route.  Back at the base around noon, no one could muster motivation to crag on the 400' wall so we headed home.
Adam on pitch 3.

Matt K. on pitch 4.

Bomber anchors everywhere!

Headed back to the car.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wilson Peak

Bruce and I climbed Wilson Peak near Telluride last week.  We left the Rock of Ages trail head at 6am and were on the summit at 10am, and were back at the trail head by 1pm for a 7 hour car to car trip.  Thanks for the great trip Bruce!
Bruce on the hike up to the Rock of Ages saddle.
On the way to Wilson Peak's summit.
True fans of "Coors"
Bruce on the summit of Wilson Peak with Gladstone, Mt. Wilson, and El Diente in the background.