When we left Boulder in January, I got Lizz’s purple PT Cruiser stuck three times in deep snow. The Flatirons were great white shields fissured by frosted pines. When we crossed the border into blustery Wyoming, I thought about all that I was leaving behind – friends, colleagues, Monday night softball, Thursday night soccer and a tick list of climbs that would remain unchecked.
Upon returning, fire and heat roasted the parched landscape like torched ashes. Mixing shade, altitude and water was the only solution. Despite the scorching conditions, we made the best of our time back home on The Front Range and I got busy on the old list. Check out some photos of our climbing in the Boulder area and a couple videos that Tyler put together, including of the Eldo oddball testpiece Your Mother and Tyler’s first 5.12 send.
I tried Your Mother three times when I lived in Boulder, once each in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Each time I felt more able, but with so much time between attempts, didn’t stand much of a chance. With a week in town and the easy approach in the beautiful Eldo setting, I thought the climb would make for the perfect mini project. I needed one attempt to hash out the moves and, somewhat to my surprise, only one more shot to send. The route is well known for the committing crux dyno at the top. If you clip beforehand, forget about sending. If you go for the move and don’t stick it, you’ll be taking a huge (but safe) fall. Awesome route. Go do it.
Eli’s previous post about Upper Dream summed up that day pretty well. One thing he forgot to mention was his very entertaining send of Dream On (5.11+). In infamous Eli fashion, he just wouldn’t let go. I swore he was coming off for about ten consecutive moves. It’s inspiring climbing with Eli. Some things never change.
The time at Upper Dream with Tyler, Andrew and Eli was a really special day because it reminded me in such a tangible way of how many great times the four of us have had climbing together, in particular at Upper Dream Canyon. Eli and I used to go there all the time until Eldo really hijacked my attention. The meticulous footwork needed on the smooth granite and the precarious flared seams for hands require precision climbing that is unique to the area. But even after a three-year absence, like riding a bike, it all came back.
Our granite tour continued across the tyrolean at Avalon, home of some of the best 5.10s in Boulder Canyon.
There the tall pines cast merciful shadows on a pair of short, cruxy 5.12s, Free Fall and Rip Cord. Tyler and Andrew had been on them before, but had some sending duty remaining. Tyler got the train started for his first 5.12 clean and Andrew followed suit for 5.12 number dos! Check out Tyler’s go below.
Not to be out done, Lizz took the sharp end on a quality 5.9, Dead Can Dance. She’s been climbing hard in the gym and her progress is only beginning to show outside.
It’s awesome seeing everyone climbing hard and still living a life full of fun and friends in Boulder. More than anywhere, Eldo was a special place for me and getting back there with David, Ryan, Tyler and Lizz for several awesome sessions reinforced my addiction to the stunning sandstone. On the very first day back, Tyler and I found some shade and shelter in the Kloof Alcove, an overhanging pocket of amazing lines between the West Ridge and Redgarden walls. There I was happy to send Sequential, my first 5.12 completely on gear.
I wasn’t sure how I’d react to being back in Boulder, climbing in all these places that have so much history for me, with so many friends that I hadn’t seen in so long. But quite simply I felt content. Instead of feeling like I wanted to press and climb as much as possible, I realized how happy I am to have had the time in Colorado. Boulder is a climber’s dream and though my wish list is still long, I’m thrilled with what I’ve done. Every tick from here on out is a bonus.
Thanks to everyone who made the time for us while we were back.