This weekend I was feeling a bit under the weather, but it wasn’t enough to stop from getting out to scope a “new area” practically in Estes Park. The reality is that the Nicky’s Boulders (aka The Billards) have been climbed at for a long time. In fact I visited the area in 2002 when I first moved to Colorado, as I worked my way through the then fairly new Colorado Bouldering Guidebook by Phillip Benningfield. Thankfully a new edition of that book is on it’s way in the coming months from Sharp End. What’s in Benningfields old Guidebook wasn’t much in the way of what I was interested in, and I didn’t bother to hike up the hill, although there seemed to be more rock.
Cameron Maier, who has worked on the RMNP trail-crew for a number of years and had lived in Estes Park knew of a project there, and a few weeks ago took the ever-psyched Dave Graham up to check it out. Dave climbed the FA of Memory is Parallax V14, which is one of the best hard problems in Colorado. I was anxious to check it out, and there was word that several other difficult lines had gone in as well.
Saturday I went there with Daniel Woods, Courtney Sanders, and Brian Capps. We made the relatively short approach, and saw a small cluster of boulders, some good problems, some good projects, and got to work.
Daniel and I climbed an awesome traverse put up, I think, by Dave, called The Desperate Houseboys Traverse V10. Daniel climbed it first try, and it took me perhaps 2 hours to piece it together. While not cutting edge, these kinds of contributions go a long way towards cementing Dave’s commitment to find and establish great new problems for the community here in Colorado. Development is rarely done at the highest level (and although important), it’s these quality lower level problems which really make an impact.
We also saw a really nice project cleaned up by Dave that could be V12-V14. I would like to try that one on my next visit. We then walked down the hill to try Memory is Parallax V14. I struggled to do anything, but Daniel quickly did all the moves. The problem has some very intricate footwork, and eventually DW sorted it out. By this point the wind had picked up and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were gusts of 50 mph. Snow was in the air, but we were relatively sheltered and Daniel managed the second ascent, in a day. It was a great effort. Here is some fairly raw video of his ascent:
I don’t know much else about the area, except that it was known to several Estes locals for this significant project that was very difficult. If someone has more information about the history of the area I would love to hear it! Estes Park is one of my favorite areas in Colorado, not just for the bouldering in Chaos Canyon, but the scenery, the wildlife and the hiking make it a great place to spend an afternoon.