Climbing has been part of my life for a long time and living in Boulder has allowed me to explore that passion on a daily basis. One aspect of climbing that I have always been interested in but distracted from, is ice climbing. Moving climbing into the the winter realm always seemed like a natural progression. I like the bite of winters teeth on my face and how the snow makes the world peaceful and quiet. Why not go climb in it? I finally gave it a try on a trip to Ouray, Colorado. Ouray is situated between towering rock cliffs in southwest Colorado in the Uncompahgre River valley and hosts the worlds best venue to learn how to ice climb, The Ouray Ice Park.
I woke up from a beautiful, vivid dream. We were lounging on the deck of a white boat, adrift at sea. The sun was hot, the sky was clear. A crew of my family and friends surrounded me. Normally, a dream like this wouldn’t be noteworthy, but this dream was special, the first I’ve had in two months.
My wife and I recently had twins. This has been amazing in so many ways, but not without it’s challenges. We’re losing sleep, personal time, and many of the freedoms we’re accustomed to (like having time to bathe every day, complicated meals, and climbing).
But it’s getting easier, and the possibilities, the dreams, are returning. Jamming up the cracks of desert towers, squeezing through slot canyons, dips in the creek. I’m dreaming again, browsing Mountain Project, hands sweating. And a funny thing has happened: I stopping drinking soda, I went for a run, I’m stretching. Just the dreams are helping me live better.
The siren song of sandstone sings again; This time I’ll bring a bigger crew.
“I almost punched myself in the balls.” – Cliff Li
That was the day in a nutshell at Mickey’s. Sebs, Cliff and I were battling the greasy boulders while greasy naked old guys threw around a Frisbee, the scene reminiscent of Boulder’s Dream Canyon. Enjoy a few pics from the day’s events.
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I hope you’re enjoying the 4th with friends & family. When I think of America, one of the first images in my mind is the American West: red rocks, blue skies, and wide open spaces. This spring we took the family, along with a handful of close friends, to the desert for climbing and the like. Below are some photos from the trip (by Ron Propri, Andrew Kuklinski & Eli Powell).
It’s day two at The Needles and the breeze is a godsend, sweeping away the heat of an intense sun. Kris and I have 12 miles of hiking and 1200 feet of tough, tenuous climbing under our belt. Though only two pitches remain to the last summit, our trip is far from over. I’ve placed a red C3 as far as my frame could stretch and am staring up the Atlantis crux, trying to convince myself to launch into a barn door tips layback sprint. The adrenaline acts as pain relief and for the first time all day my feet don’t hurt. Several times I feel out the moves, waiting for that magic moment of stability, but more than anything realizing the commitment I’ll need to muster to pull that second foot off the edge. Kris is just to my left on the belay ledge. He doesn’t say anything. He knows.
The arguments play out in my head but I know the winner the whole time. Finally I core up and pull on for the ride.
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Think about the elements of a great climbing trip: Good friends both new and old, a spectacular setting, awesome climbing, maybe a couple big falls, if you’re lucky a proud send or two, and music, beer and stories around the campfire. Last weekend at Shuteye Ridge had all of it. If you’re looking for rad climbing photos from Shuteye, check this out. Here I wanted to capture a speck of what makes the rest of Shuteye so memorable.
Jonathan, Alania, Steven and I spent days visiting High Eagle crag where the Aerie cliff hosts some of the hardest routes in the area as well as Electric Eagle, an incredible 400 foot rainbow-striped monolith.