Right before last weekend I finished up my Calc exam and I had the chance to get out. I felt very anxious to give Rodeo Free Europe, in Wild Iris, some more work, but it would not be, and so I hung around the Front Range. Being in school is difficult and I really cherish the time I do have to get out.
Lately, I’ve been climbing with a contigent of British climbers, David Mason, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, and Shauna Coxsey who have stuck around after the bouldering World Cup in Vail.
Friday I went to Guanella Pass with the Brits. I’ve spent more time exploring that area than actually climbing there so it was nice to put my boots on. I felt extremely flat, probably from the preceding week of intense studying, but I managed to do the moves on Mind Matters V12 in poor conditions. I was surprised how good the line is, and surprised that I had never tried it before, and a little surprised that I even managed to do the moves. Very psyched to go back and finish that one off. Angie Payne recently made the FFA.
Climbing with the Brits is a treat. I’ve long been fascinated with the British climbing scene because it is a scene I think I can relate to. The intense training, the emphasis on history and strong ethics, and long list of talented climbers that have come out of Britain (Malcolm Smith, John Gaskins, Ben Moon, Jerry Moffatt, and more recently Mickey Page, etc) all make it a center for climbing that should be paid attention to. I love British sarcasm and I really enjoy getting out with climbers who are new to Colorado. It’s interesting to see the differences in their approach to the sport and how that plays out at the boulders. In this way so often climbers from Europe are more refined than Americans, and I feel like I can learn a lot from them. I am also fascinated by the differences in climbing language across cultures.
They did not disappoint, with their beet-ah, (beta), their humor or their ability on the rock and I feel fortunate I’ve climbed with them as much as I have. David, Shauna and Mina all climbed Mind Matters in less than ideal conditions.
Shauna sends, I take Iphone photo.
Mina sends, I repost David video.
It was motivating and inspiring to watch Mina send on her last burn of the day, in the dark, the wall illuminated by a single and powerful head torch.
Having traveled so much it’s fun being on the other end, climbing with people who have that extra bit of desperation that comes from knowing they may never come back, or perhaps a little more motivation to continue climbing well into the night. David made very quick work of Bessie, a stellar V10 before we moved on, in the darkness, to Dark Horse V10, which Dave climbed on his first go that day and Shauna promptly flashed.
Shauna has had an outstanding trip so far, making the FFA of Riddles in the Park V12, Valis V11, and climbing a number of other hard problems (Whispers of Wisdom V10, Unshackled Sit V10/11) in downright hot weather.
The next day I went to Wild Basin for something different. I gave a brief effort on Tetris V12/13 doing all the moves save the very end in an hour or so. Tetris is an amazing compression problem and it will be one of the first things I go back to when the weather cools off. The climbing is so fun however I am tempted to return before then. I sessioned with Jason Pinto, Herm Feissner and Theo Merrin, three local Colorado climbers who may have 60 years of climbing between them. It was a stark contrast from the previous day, but a very enjoyable time in the woods with motivated climbers I have known and climbed with for years.
Sunday I marched up to Upper Upper Chaos, to scope, clean and climb on some of the amazing projects I’ve found over the years there. It was more typical of the sessions I’ve had more recently, with a good friend (Collin Horvat) a lot of new rock, and no one else around. Collin and I cleaned boulders and climbed all day. It’s surprising how much is still left to climb in Chaos Canyon, although it does require a bit of hiking. I worry about the day I get stuck up there in the inevitable thunderstorm with no where to hide. It’s also been a bit of a pain dealing with the road construction on the Bear Lake road, and I either make an effort to wake up early to beat the 9am closure, or laze around until 4pm. However, those issues are relatively minor and won’t slow me down. Once the time changes, climbing with a lantern will become almost mandatory. Here are some of the projects:
A sick project we found in a sector beyond Upper Upper, which we are calling Colossal Chaos (opposite the pond). There is only one more sector of bouldering, which I have been to three times and that is called The End Of Chaos.
I am still very motivated to sport climb, it’s just difficult to have enough free time to head up to Wyoming, and many of the boulder projects I assumed would be buried are just starting to open up. Time and money will dictate as to what I invest effort into.