Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Climbing at Eldorado Canyon, Camping at Golden Gate Canyon

Brief update: I am back from my day of climbing with Chris; got about 3 1/2 hours of climbing at Eldorado Canyon outside Boulder. Got to lead two pitches of great rock, just so beautiful.

I am camping at back country site #18 at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. I will be in the park all day tomorrow, running and hiking. Friday morning I may make an attempt at Dead Dog Coulior on Torrey's Peak before heading back to the park to pack up my tent and stuff and then head back to Denver.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"First of many"

3:15 AM: My alarm goes off. Warm in my bed, I silence it and ignore it for a second. But then it clicks: you're about to climb with Chris Warner; time to wake up!

I made it to Chris' house a few minutes past 4 AM, where we said our rather chipper hellos as I got introduced to Randy, a friend of Chris and another partner who would be joining us today. Introductions aside, we load the truck and go.

Our destination is Skywalker coulior on South Arapaho, a 13,300' peak in the Indian Range just outside of Golden, CO. In all of my planning, this had been my most-anticipated climb. And now, it was going to be the first climb I attempted since arriving.

We arrived at the 4th of July Trailhead in the Arapaho - Washington National Forest around 4:45 AM. The early start was necessary to minimize the risk of avalanche: as the sun warms the snow, it becomes increasingly unstable. Our approach was brisk, and soon enough we were at the foot of the coulior (a coulior is a gully in a mountainside, often used to describe ones with snow). We popped on our crampons, got our boots and crampons organized, and grabbed our ice tools!

The climbing was steep ice, consistent 30-40 degree slope, with sections that got steeper, especially as we neared the top out. The photo to the right is the view from about 1/2 way up, and the one below shows I and Randy working our way through the last few feet of the climb!

From there, we followed the ridge to the summit, arriving at 9 AM! Watch the video below to see what I saw.

Tomorrow, I'll be meeting back up with Chris for some roack climbing around Eldorado Canyon State Park. I'm taking the morning to move my stuff to my campsite: I'll be staying at Golden Gate Canyon State Park tomorrow and Thursday night.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Safely to CO, and adventures along the way!

 So from KY I made it to Missouri, and spent a great night with Alex and his girlfriend. On the way to MO though, I stopped for lunch with Kathryn, my good friend from when I worked at a summer camp. Alex and I went from St. Louis to Columbia, MO on Friday, where Tera met up with us. After some good fun exploring the town and then later bowling, I was on my way Saturday morning for CO!

After the drive through Kansas, which was miserable (it really is as bad as everyone says...), I safely made it to Littleton, CO to stay with my uncle for a few days while I got organized. Below is a photo of my poor car after all the driving!

I took Sunday to run from Littleton into Denver. Went into REI and talked up a few of their staff about climbing options. Walked out all psyched and with two new guidebooks!

Today, Monday, my uncle Gordon and I took the chance to do some hiking and biking. We started by going out to the Three Sisters peaks park, and hiked out to a neighboring peak. The best part was some fantastic views; to the right is me with a shot of the front range behind me. After a drive back home, during which we swung through the Red Rocks Amplitheater, we threw the bikes in the back. We drove to Washington Park in Denver and had a nice hour cycling.

For tomorrow, I'm meeting up with Chris Warner and a few others to climb Skywalker coulior on South Arapahoe. On Wednesday, he and I will head out for some early morning multi-pitch, probably around the front range area.

The trip is going great, loving every second.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Made it to KY!

Day 1 and 2 are down! I successfully made it from DC to Seneca Rocks last night, arriving at about 7:30 pm, just in time for the sunset. I immediately went to the campground, where I set up my tent and started dinner. It had rained on the way out, so I was worried about showers while trying to set up, but I lucked out and had clear weather the rest of that night.

Dinner was a delish three bean chili. I thought I made a small amount, but it still wound up being enough for dinner and then today's lunch.

I woke up to the sun beating through my tent flap at 8:15. I had intended to go running in the morning, but since the tent was dry, I thought I'd just pack up and run in KY. After picking up a breakfast egg and biscuit sandwich at the gas station down the street from Seneca, I hit the road again.

Lunch was that leftover chili, yum! Which I then ate in the parking lot of a random 7 Eleven in WV. With Doritos. Cold.

Once into KY, Google took me through back roads with the best views ever. It was unbelievable! I stopped in the Red River Gorge national park (I think the Daniel Boone National Forest is its technical designation). Went trail running, passing the trail for Military Wall, and made my way up to some great overlooks on the Gray's Arch trail. On the way back, I came upon two hikers and scared them a bit as I raced up on them.

From there, it was to Miguel's! I arrived at 3:45 pm, after a total of 504 miles since leaving Olney. After setting up camp, you know what time it was: Pizza! Low and behold, the two hikers I scared happened to come in for dinner, so we joined tables and had a great time talking about local hikes and climbing and whatnot.

Plan for tomorrow is to wake up and go for another run, shower, and then on to Bloomington to meet Kathryn for lunch. From there, I'm off to St. Louis to spend the night and Friday with Alex and Tera.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The time has come: I leave today for Colorado. I will be spending Tuesday night in Seneca Rocks, WV, and then spend the next morning running some local trails. From there, I drive to the Red, spending Wednesday night there. Thursday will take me through Bloomington, IN to St. Louis, MO, and then spend Friday there. Saturday should see me arrive in Denver. The general plan: 5/28 - 6/7: Climb with Chris W. around CO. 6/8 - 6/9: Climb/hike with Gordon R. around Denver/Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) 6/10 - 6/17: Climb with Cristina P. around Denver/Boulder. 6/18: Fly to Seattle 6/19 - 6/21: Climb Shuksan in the North Cascades, WA with Ashley G. 6/23 - 6/26: Climb Rainier with Ashley G. 6/28: Fly back to CO. 6/29 - 7/6: Climb with Cristina P. around CO or the Grand Tetons, WY. 7/7: Start the drive back.