Lincoln Lake-The Final Day

Lincoln Lake-The Final Day

Posted on 14. Oct, 2010 by in News

With the road closure pending, it seemed that many of the dedicated in Boulder were hopeful to finish their projects up at Lincoln Lake. The last day the road was open was a great one. Many turned out, and throughout the day there were screams and yells as people were trying to squeeze out one last climb. My project was Little House on the Prairie, a V13 put up by Dave Graham, although it had been suggested to be V12 by both Nalle and Daniel. For me it was hard, and I had spent a few days on it. I had fallen off the last hard move on my fourth day of attempts and I thought if conditions were good, I may have a chance to send. The added pressure I thought was a good thing. Conditions were not ideal on the final day but the energy was electric. People seemed to be exceptionally motivated. This pushed me to try very hard, and I fell off the last hard move perhaps 15 times.

In the late afternoon, the sky smelled of smoke, and an eerie red light cast over the entire area.

This only added to the epic nature of the day. It was, however, not enough, and as evening set in, the humidity built and it became clear through the smoke and haze that the day was not to be mine.

Picture 2 This screen grab shows my path (in white) on the final day.

Well, this did not sit well, obviously. I came home and began looking at Google Earth to see if it was even a possibility to hike in. There is a trail from the closed gate to Echo Lake, but that is around 5 miles with some elevation gain, a serious endeavor. We discussed renting scooters, but the road forbids motorized vehicles after the closure. The next option was bikes, although it seemed daunting to try and ride 5 miles, up hill, with a crashpad full of gear. Finally we measured what it would be to simply hike, direct up the hill to the road above the treeline, and then down to the lake. The path came out to be a reasonable 2.84 miles. This was no further than Area B. I was up for an adventure and decided to go. I knew if conditions were as good as advertised on, there was a good chance I could send. I also knew I needed only one pad.
Saturday was a gorgeous day and I woke up early and drove up the same familiar hill out of Idaho Springs. This time, as expected, the massive brown gate was securely locked, and I parked my car in the gift shop lot. I had memorized the lay of the land and marched straight up the hill. The woods were open and, while the hiking was somewhat steep, it was fairly easy to get to the road. It took me 35 minutes to reach treeline and the hard left turn in the road.


The summit was dusted with snow and everything took on more depth, more color and more vibrance in the relative slow motion of my walk. Once I got on the road moving quickly was easy. I was passed by several bikers, including one woman who asked, “You’re not actually going bouldering, are you?” It took me 1:14 min to reach the drop in point, which I was very pleasantly surprised about. 12 more minutes brought me to Evil Backwards. Conditions were absolutely perfect and I quickly got warmed up and climbed Little House on the Prairie V13, 2:09 min from the car.

IMG_9072 I managed a self-timed photo.

It was almost anti-climatic but I sat alone on the side of the auburn hill and soaked in the sun and the wind and the solitude. It was a very nice way to end the season.
I wasn’t enthusiastic about climbing with only one pad on anything else at Lincoln Lake, so I decided to head back up to the road. It was still fairly early and the idea of driving back to Boulder held little appeal. With an intimate knowledge of the area in my head, I knew it was only a short, but steep trip to Area A, and so I began the march.


From the bottom of the horseshoe in the road, I walked straight up the tundra to a low pass, and down the open slope towards the older areas of Mt. Evans.

IMG_9080 The Idaho Springs Reservoir, which climbers pass on the way to Area A.

The scenery was stunning, amplified by my aloneness. Looking down on Area B.

IMG_9096 Area A
Before I knew it, I had reached the top of the the cliff and had a new and unique perspective on the classic Dali wall, which is the dark overhang on the edge of the forest.

I picked my way down to an almost empty Area A. I was exhausted from the effort, but I did give some good burns on Chrome V12, falling off the last move on my best attempt. I hiked out in the dark, 8.91 miles hiked with my feet and V13 climbed with my arms. This was one of the best days I have ever had in the mountains and a fitting end to a memorable season at Lincoln Lake.

17 Responses to “Lincoln Lake-The Final Day”

  1. justin

    14. Oct, 2010

    Thanks for sharing Jamie.

  2. Christian Mengel

    14. Oct, 2010

    Amazing post…right here in Bavaria we often hike into our areas because there are no roads…something I personally like exactly because of the aspect of life destilling to its essence that I can read in above post as well…can´t wait until next year when I´ll finally make it to Evans as well…

  3. steve

    14. Oct, 2010

    very nice account.

  4. Christopher

    14. Oct, 2010

    beautiful photos. really makes me want to get out there asap.

  5. tendon

    14. Oct, 2010

    Seriously, can you stop telling to refrain from sticking there head all the way up your ass?

    i think that dudes in love with you….
    “Jamie Emerson has a wonderful and beautiful story of Dedication, Beauty and the Creation of Challenges – what climbing is all about :-)”

    i taste vomit in my mouth

  6. kyle

    14. Oct, 2010

    epic. thanks for the adventure and inspiration

  7. tom

    14. Oct, 2010

    thats a strong pair of troos

  8. flow

    14. Oct, 2010

    great write-up, stunning photos and a great accomplishment for yourself! thanks for sharing

  9. Beaudering

    14. Oct, 2010

    @tendon I feel ya blood.

    Great story of an epic hike and great climbing! grats on the send.

  10. Justin

    14. Oct, 2010

    Best post so far.


    14. Oct, 2010

    bwahahahhaaaa…. a post so inspiring that it inspired the great BS to chime in. AMAZING!

    i’ve had similar experiences… not nearly as much hiking, but similar in theme. while perhaps anticlimactic, it’s hauntingly peaceful and deeply satisfying to finish something off on a solo mission, well after the checkered flag was waived, just to put it to bed and tuck it in properly before letting the light get turned off.

  12. JB

    14. Oct, 2010

    This is pretty much the very best of what climbing is about in one story.

  13. Gomez

    14. Oct, 2010

    Love those pink pants Jamie! Good on you for being committed!

  14. campusman

    15. Oct, 2010

    ———–> best post so far. wow, it just keeps getting better.

  15. Rob

    16. Oct, 2010

    What an awesome trip. Props for trusting your gut. Love it

  16. lovinit

    16. Oct, 2010

    Have not been out in a moment but reading the story makes me think a quite a few times hiking forever through rhododendron alone to go snag a project and just sitting there with that feeling of accomplishment, after finally getting it done.

    More power to ya on the send and the dedication, looks like you boys had a solid season

  17. Harry Robertson

    17. Oct, 2010

    I happened upon this by accident, and I’m glad I did. Thanks for sharing, Jamie. Sounds like a wonderful day up there.

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