Sunday, September 8, 2013
Retroactive Blog Post 9/5
After the long drive, we went straight to Boulder (or broomfield rather, 15 minutes outside Boulder), where we had a hotel courtesy of my dad's Marriott points waiting for us. We have a certain number of points we can spend on the trip and decided to cash in on some of them so we could have a comfortable place to rest after the long drive. After a quick shower, we met up with our friend from Asheville, Ben Newton and his friend and Eric Purphur at a cool brew pub in Boulder called Fate.
After dinner, Eric and Ben went into Denver to catch a free MC Hammer Show(not a typo) while Alanna and I explored Boulder. Of course, me being me, we had to peek into the two super gyms of Boulder, Movement and the Spot, both of which were amazing facilities. Afterwards, we met up with Ben and Eric again( too much traffic for them to get to the MC Hammer show) and walked around downtown Boulder. Boulder was beautiful! I loved the vibe of the city and would love to visit again.
The next day, we met up with Ben and Eric at a park near Evergreen, called Three Sisters. We bouldered with them for a bit and had an all around great day. The approach was short which was perfect for us after being tired from the long drive. We had a herd of elk walk straight through the area while we were climbing. I had 4G service so I could do my FF draft, AND we had the qunitissential post climbing cheap Mexican dinner.
After dinner we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. We passed through black hawk, which was a bizarre experience. Black Hawk is a strip of fluorescent lights and gambling in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty surreal for us, driving through the night and coming through this extremely brightly lit area in the middle of a canyon. Eventually, we made it to a campground in between Evergreen and RMNP where we spent the night.
The next day we made it to the park, and WOW is it beautiful. It's a stunning place that everybody should visit at some point. When you wake up in the morning Deer and Elk are grazing in the field behind your tent in front of the backdrop of Long's Peak. Like I said, beautiful. That being said, not everything was perfect. Getting into the park is fairly expensive. It's $20 for 7 days, which isn't bad if you're there for 7 days, but for only a couple it's a little bit hefty. Camping is also expensive at $20 a night and there's not even a shower! There are no other options for camping within an hours drive of the park, so you're forced to pay.
After setting up camp, we made the long hike up to lower chaos canyon(near lake hayayyayyyayayayay). Once we got our bearings, we found some warm ups and started to climb. What a place to climb. I've never bouldered (or probably climbed for that matter) in such a beautiful location. The rock has an aesthetic green moss on it and the backdrop is unparalleled.
After meandering through the boulder field, we decided to go check out the warm up boulder. As we turn a corner to approach the boulder, who should be warming up there but Tommy Caldwell. For those who don't know, Tommy Caldwell is in my opinion the MOST bad ass all around climber in the world. He does every discipline of climbing at an elite level.
Before I go any further, I should note that my friend and I often talk about what pro climbers are "like". Do you think so and so is cool to climb with? I've hear this guy is kind of an asshole and he seems like it in his videos. For Tommy, we've always said "Man, I bet he's a cool dude and down to earth."
Well, he couldn't have been any nicer. After he finished the warm up he was doing(sans pad mind you) he came over and introduced himself. This is how the interaction between Tommy and Alanna went.
"Hi, I'm Tommy" He said, reaching a hand out to shake Alanna's.
Alanna takes his hand and her face turns a dark purple. With a quiver in her voice, she manages to whisper "I know...I'm Alanna"
After that we chit chatted and he asked us where we were from, where we were going on the trip, etc. I told Tommy that if he comes to NC that trad climbing 5.8 is scary. I'm pretty sure he took note of that for future reference. It was a pretty cool experience, bouldering with Tommy Caldwell in RMNP on a boulder problem he did the FA of years ago. The only other people we saw at the boulder field was Josh Wharton(another sponsored athlete), Paul Robinson (one of the best boulderers in the world), and a guy named Rick who had been bouldering at lower chaose for 20 years. All in all, a great day.
The next day, we made the long hike to the boulder field. A note about the hike, it is LONG, but it's not too tough. It is unrelentingly uphill for 45 minutes, but it's never to steep and you're greeted with beautiful views the entire time. The most annoying thing about the hike is constantly being asked what you're carrying on your back. It's funny how many people just assume that you're going to be spending weeks out there because of the size of the crash pads you're carrying.
Anyway, we did the hike, warmed up, and then I went over to Gangbang Arete and tried that. It took me a while to figure out the lower sequence, but I never sent(apparently this problem has been campused and climbed with a crash pad on the back). We were getting ready to go to Alanna's project, Revenge, when we noticed that the clouds were darkening. Not wanting to be caught at 10,000ft and above tree line, we made the tough decision to bail on the afternoon and head down the trail before the storm hit us. We were questioning the decision, which was only exacerbated by seeing little Ashima Shirashi hiking up the trail as we were going down it.(Ashima is a 12 year old crusher. At 12, she has arguably the best female tick list in the world) However, a few short moments later we were reassured with our decision when the skies opened up with hail and rain.
We made it to our car, hoping that little Ashima was safe and sound. From there, we tried to decide our next step. We had climbed 2.5 days straight and needed a rest day, but Alanna REALLY wanted to try and send Revenge. We decided that we would try and wake up early and do a half day the next day, before leaving for Lander.
The next day, Alanna couldn't move. The hike had taken it's toll and we decided to take the rest day, get a shower and head to Lander!